Clothing outlets

A back to school sale not to miss

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

The Sample It sample sale (Days Inn, 7851 Normandale Blvd., Bloomington) starts today and runs from 2-8 p.m., and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday. It’s a great sale for fans of Billabong, Hurley, Volcom and Quiksilver. All are new fall styles but at about half the price. Some are priced even less than wholesale. The downside is the size range. You’re in luck if you’re a men’s or women’s medium or large. Otherwise, too bad. Deals include hoodie sweatshirts for men and women ($20 to $35), Billabong backpacks $15 to $35, T-shirts $8 to $15, women’s sweaters, jackets and tops $15 to $45 and Sanuk flip-flops and shoes for men and women from $5 to $24. One great deal is a rack of Billie Girl (Billabong sizes 5 and 8 only) marked half of the wholesale price. On Thursday, everything is discounted an additional 25 percent.

Everything* half-off today and tomorrow at Jos. A. Bank for men

Monday, June 15th, 2009

There is a lot of markup on clothing. That’s why savings of 40 percent or less aren’t usually worth writing about unless it’s an exclusive designer. But Jos. A. Bank for men is discounting its entire stock in stores and online 50 percent, except shoes, through Tuesday June 16. And for each $100 spent, get an additional $25 discount, which boosts the discount to a little more than 60 percent. Twin Cities shoppers can find locations in Eden Prairie, Edina, Maple Grove, Roseville and Woodbury, but online shoppers should check out the “on sale” section. The clearance doesn’t get the additional 50 percent discount, but I saw several of Bank’s top-of-the-line men’s suits (regularly nearly $1,000) for less than $300.

I’ve seen better discounts at Bank’s like the buy one suit at 60 percent off and get two free or the 70 percent off all cashmere offered last year but no storewide sales like this. Guys who wear dress shirts a lot should get one of the no-iron shirts (reg. $98), rated a ”best buy” by the Wall St. Journal. I have several items from Bank’s and I’m happy with the quality, although recently I’ve noticed goods manufactured in China. Anyone else have a comment on the quality?

BTW, check out my semi-annual sale calendar in Tuesday’s Dollars & Sense. It’s a keeper, if I don’t say so myself. It contains nearly 50 of the best sales happening locally between now and December.  

H&M’s quiet sale

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

H&M, including its Mall of America store (952-858-8888) started its summer sale earlier this week in a quiet way. Save 50 percent or more in men’s, women’s and kids departments, including a lot of summer items. Look for the red tags to find the sale merch.

Prom deals this week

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

In Thursday’s Steals +Deals column, I mentioned the good deals going on now at Opitz Outet (see below). But if you don’t see something you like at Opitz, wait for Saturday at Second Debut (4300 W. 36 1/2 St., St. Louis Park, 952-922-9640, The high-quality Goodwill outlet will have nearly 1,000 short and long gowns priced at $49, $69 and $89 from designers such as Vera Wang. Sizes range from 0 to 24.  

When the prom budget shrinks, Opitz Outlet (4320 Excelsior Blvd., St. Louis Park, 952-922-2435) comes to the rescue. The outlet’s sale in progress includes more than 700 short and long prom dresses in sizes 0 to 24 for about $40 to $50 (regularly up to $200), plus shoes, clutches, jewelry, hair accessories and wraps. Designers include Nicole Miller, BCBG, Jessica McClintock, Ruby Rox, Sue Wong, Delaru and Calvin Klein. For even greater savings, the Annex next door will have prom dresses with fixable flaws starting March 11. Those dresses will be priced at about $10 to $15.


Sheen/Richards’ divorce sank their kids line too

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009

Another casualty from the Charlie Sheen/Denise Richards divorce, besides any attempt to keep sordid details of their lives private, is the line of girls clothes that Sheen and Richards designed themselves. Yes, the same guy, Sheen, who allegedly visited prostitutes, gambled excessively and abused prescription drugs along with Richards, who allegedly asked for her ex-husband’s sperm so she could have a third child with him,  created a line of high-end, high-buck girls clothes inspired by their two daughters Sam and Lola born in 2004 and 2005 respectively.

Big deal, you say? Well, it is for bargain hunters. Local retailer Uber Baby has acquired nearly 1,500 pieces from the infamous line called Sheen Kidz for its outlet store at 6021 Lyndale Av. S., Minneapolis, 612-869-0930, The entire line is discounted 50 to 75 percent, said Uber Baby co-owner Lynne Gonsior.  Quite the opposite of what parents might expect from Sheen’s lascivious Hollyood persona, the line is described by Gonsior as exquisitely cute with embroidery on bell bottoms and funky lace on tops.

Sizes for the line produced in 2006-7 range from 6 months to girls 12. Most items are priced between $15 to $40, regularly up to $150 with quality comparable to Juicy, Oilily and Lily Pulitzer.   Lucky or unlucky for the Twin Cities, we got nearly all of the remaining inventory of Sheen Kidz, so D-list star gazers from the coasts will have to come to Minneapolis for a chance to dress their kidz in Sheen. Gonsior expects to have the full line on the shelves Wednesday at Uber Baby.  At press time, neither Richards nor Sheen is expected to attend the blowout sale.


Where can locals find pieces from the First Lady’s inaugural designers?

Wednesday, January 21st, 2009

On a day when Liz Claiborne just wouldn’t do, First Lady Michelle Obama wore designers known mostly to insiders, Isabel Toledo and Jason Wu.

Wu, the 26 year old fashion phenom, designed the cream-colored one-shouldered dress. Originally from Taipei, Wu has only been designing for a few years. Nordstrom recently added his designs, the first major store to do so. But local fashion plates hoping to score one of Wu’s or Toldeo’s pieces locally won’t have an easy time of it. Nordstrom carries both designers but not at the Mall of America. Wu’s pieces are only carried at Nordstrom stores in Texas, Washington and California. His dresses sell for $1,000 to $4,000 and gowns for $3,000 to $6,000.

Obama wore Toledo’s pale lemongrass dress and matching coat during the swearing in and inaugural parade. Toledo is only carried in Nordstrom’s Seattle store, but designs can be special ordered locally via the Look Book. Only about a dozen retailers in the country carry Toledo’s designs, according to Nordstrom.

Gretchen Weisman, who co-owns high-end consignment stores in Edina and Wayzata, said that she has had sold both designers in her stores but does not currently have any pieces in stock. Toledo, who used to design for Anne Klein, has never been a very commercial designer, said Weisman, making her designs difficult to find.

Attempts to find local sources of the two designers were unsuccessful. So was my attempt to find the gloves that Michelle Obama wore and the outfits that Melia and Sasha wore, all from J Crew. An employee at the Southdale J Crew said that all of the items worn for the inaugural were custom-made. They might be available next fall if the demand is there.   

 If you know of a local boutique with Wu’s or Toledo’s designs or access to get them, please post a response.  

Good deals all around

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008

If you’re waiting until after Thanksgiving for great deals on holiday shopping, you may be late to the game. I was in Saks Off Fifth outlet downtown Minneapolis today and almost very display was discounted an extra 30 to 50 percent. Kohl’s has discounted many items 50 percent today too. It’s a buyers’ market, no doubt about it.

Will the deals get even better as Christmas nears? Probably, in my opinion. But if you want to git er done ASAP, you’re hardly overpaying. What great early bird deals have you seen out there recently, oh bargain hunters?

Free food and beer at Macy’s Thursday (expired)

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

Need a person say more than free food and beer? Macy’s men’s night in downtown Minneapolis is a chance to get additional discounts throughout the 2nd floor. Discounts may not be quite as hefty in past years. For example, a Hugo Boss suit that got a 20 and 20 discount last year will get a 25 percent discount this year, but the 25 percent discount is good on most clearance merchandise too. Customers can take advantage of sale prices now, but the free food and drink starts at 5 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 6 and continues to 8 p.m. Questions? Call 612-375-2202.

Great men’s suit deal at Jos. A. Bank

Monday, September 22nd, 2008

Choose one of two great deals going on Monday and Tuesday (Sept. 22-23) at Jos. A. Bank men’s store. Choose any suit online and get 60 percent off or go into any store location and buy one suit at regular price and get TWO free.

 I called two of the four Twin Cites stores, Eden Prairie and Maple Grove, and got two different answers about matching the online deal. An Eden Prairie employee said they would offer either deal, but the Maple Grove store employee said they would only offer the Buy One Get Two deal.

No one is offering to let a guy buy the first suit at 60 percent off and then get two more free. Bank’s suits are regularly priced at $550, $595, $695, $795, $995 and $1,595. If you’re shopping online, check out the clearance section too–some discounts higher than 60 percent. Bank’s offers free shipping online for purchases over $175.

 Also check out Bank’s Traveler Wrinkle-free shirt, rated by the Wall Street Journal as “the best.” Looking for a sportcoat? It’s not discounted during the suit sale.

Everything $6.98! at Steve & Barry’s

Thursday, September 18th, 2008

The Steve & Barry’s clothing and collegiate apparel store in Brookdale will close Wednesday, Sept. 24. Starting Friday, Sept. 19, everything will be $6.98 or less. The Westgate Mall store in Brainerd will sell everything at $8.98 or less. The stores in Northtown Mall in Blaine, Burnsville Center and Knollwood Mall in St. Louis Park will remain open and will not honor the $6.98 price.

 Buying hats, shoes, sweaters or pants for $6.98 is a great deal, but I have to chuckle when I also report that the clothes were originally only $10.98. A pat on the back if you can find any made in the USA item there.