Have you ever walked into a store and been coldly eyed by a tall, high-browed saleswoman as you attempt to gracefully make your way over to a “sales” rack, where the one item you can afford is a slighly stained, stretched out crewcut T-shirt…and even that’s a little above your price range? If so, then you’ve probably been shopping out in Long Island. Yet as intimidating as LI may seem, if you know where to go, you can come out lookin like a million dollars, but spending only a hundred. Here’s a few favorites:
1. Century 21 – Old Country Road, Westbury – If you have a passion for designers but don’t have the cash, this is the place to go. Century has discounts on everyone from Dolce & Gabbana to Versace…and I mean real discounts. The same Seven jeans you can buy in Bloomingdales for $165 go for $49 at Century. The key is to make sure you know when new merchandise is coming in, and have enough patience to really pick through the racks. The best finds are often hanging somewhere in the wrong sized section. Century’s also great for shoes and accessories like hats, belts and sunglasses.
2. H&M – Roosevelt Field Mall, Garden City – If you’ve got a specific occasion coming up and are looking for a particular peice of clothing, here’s where you’ll find it. Absolutely incredible savings on basics like black pants and khakis, as well as some really cute camisoles and summer skirts. Don’t forget to check out their accessories section for great savings on hair clips and belts. Just beware of the items they put on the manicans…these tend to sell the most and become a bit too recognizable. Stick to simpler peices that you can layer together.
3. Forever 21 – Roosevelt Field Mall, Garden City – It can look a little too teeny-bopper when you first walk in, but if you really look you can find some really great items, like trendy cropped pants and A-line skirts. If you need a top to go out in, this is your one-stop shop…they carry every item in almost every color. Just make sure you try everything on first, and watch the seams to insure that nothing’s going to fall apart after one go in the wash; they don’t take returns.
4. Lord & Taylor – Franklin Ave, Garden City, Walt Whitman Mall, Farmingdale – It may look like an ordinary department store, but Lord & Taylor has some of the greatest sales you can imagine. This is by far the best place to go for evening gowns, cocktail dresses, business suits and swimwear. And make sure to hit them up at the end of the summer, when designer bathing suits go on sale. The best part is that often times final markups are not on the tags, so when you go up for a pricecheck you may be pleasantly surprised.
5. Bloomingdales – Roosevelt Field Mall, Walt Whitman Mall – I know, it seems like unlikely choice. Yet as expensive as Bloomingdales may be on an ordinary occasion, their clearances are off the charts. Bloomingdales tends to clear all of their merchandise right before new seasons, like the end of January, to make more room for the newcomers. But if you wait a few days after the sale ends, thats when the real markups begin. Bloomies will often take over 70% off of already reduced merchandise…you’d be amazed at how many brand-name items end up costing less than $20.
6. TJ Maxx – Glen Cove Rd., Carle Place, Sunrise Highway, Massapequa, Woodbury Shop Center, Hicksville – TJ Maxx may look a little rundown and unfashionable when you walk in, but if you have a little patience, you’d be amazed at what you can find. Brand names like Bebe, Abercrombie & Fitch, BCBG, and even Michael Kors show up all the time, and at prices you can’t believe. Ask the store manager when their new merchandise is coming in for the season and make sure you’re there. If you’ve got a good eye and enjoy the hunt, you’ll have a blast.
7. DSW – Old Country Road, Westbury – Shoe Heaven! If you’ve never been to DSW and you love shoes, make sure you leave yourself a LOT of time. You can find shoes for absolutely any occassion, and in any color. Prices generally range between $25 and $100, and can sometimes go up to $300-400 for top designers. But either way you save a fortune over the original prices and you are always guaranteed that they’ll have the latest styles. Just be careful, the moment you put the box down, it’s likely to be snatched up by someone else.
These are just a few to get you started, but the more you explore Long Island, the more you discover that it’s not quite so unaffordable. And I gurantee that once you start shopping, you’ll notice far more Long Island women wearing clothing from these stores than from those uptight boutiques…