As a lifelong New Yorker and shopper I love a bargain. I learned early on that paying full price for clothes just isn’t worth it. Instead of shopping in boutiques I turned to discount stores like Filene’s Basement and Loehmann’s to find the same clothes for less money. Unfortunately in 2011 Filene’s liquated their inventory and this week after filing for bankruptcy Loehmann’s, a New York institution for 93 years announced that it would do the same. With this news I asked myself two questions, why are all the good discount stores disappearing and where is a New Yorker supposed to find a good bargain?
Bargain shopping used to be a way of life in New York. Women like me would see clothes we love in the boutiques on Madison Avenue but balk at the high price tags. Instead of purchasing the clothes I would run to Loehmann’s or Filene’s in the hopes of finding the same clothes with a smaller price tag. These stores were great, with lots of floor space and racks of marked down designer clothes they were a shopper paradise. I and my fellow shoppers would hunt through the racks looking for the best deals, and feel triumphant when we it. Finding a great bargain would be a chance to show off my purchase and allow me to brag to my friends and show off my new clothes.
However in recent years the shopping landscape has changed; stores like H&M and Joe Fresh have opened. These stores offer clothing meant to look like designer fashions at cheaper prices eliminating the need for the discount stores. Women brag about the deals they find in these store with the same pride they once bragged about deals found in the discount stores. The problem with these stores is the quality of the clothes is not good. The fabrics are cheap and the clothes just don’t last no matter how carefully they are washed. I would much rather have a marked down designer garment that will last for several years than something cheap that will fall apart quickly.
So what is a girl like me supposed to do, where should I shop for good looking clothes at a good price? The only discount store left is Century 21 and it is not among favorites. They do not carry the same kind of quality merchandise that Loehmann’s and Filene’s Basement have and sizes are hard to find. It seems the best option for finding discounts is to go to the outlets. Outlet malls have become the new discount stores. Places like Woodbury Commons feature lots of designer stores with good deals on clothing that is either last seasons or made for the outlet. However they tend to be located outside the city and are not easily accessible but, if I or any other shopper still wants to find a good deal on designer fashions they are our best bet. It is either make the trek to the outlets or wait for the designer stores to have sales. Bottom line without discount stores you can still find good deals on designer clothes it is just harder.