Loehmann's Haul, Shopping Tips

So, first, for the out-of-towners, Loehmann's is a discount clothing and accessories store. It's what you get when brands like Ed Hardy and Gucci and Calvin Klein and stores like Macy's sell off leftover stock wholesale to make room for their new stuff. Loehmann's prices it at least 20 percent lower than it originally retailed for and puts it on the floor. A few weeks later, when the remaining pieces aren't moving, they get "yellow stickered" which just means marked down another 20 to 50 percent. A few weeks after that, they get "red stickered" which is the final markdown price, resulting in 40 to 80 percent discounts from the original price. Then, to make room for more yellow and red sticker items, they run specials where they make additional discounts on stickered items when you get to the register.

Last week was the beginning of 20 percent off yellow and 40 percent off red. I went to this Loehmann's. The strategy at this stage, for me, is to get all the things I absolutely love and look adorable in and find cheap enough that I'm not willing to risk it not being there next week for the 50 red markdown. My shopping strategy is to start only with red sticker racks and go through every item on them (quickly but thoroughly) and move onto the next rack. I take occasional detours if an item on a yellow sticker rack or non-clearance rack catches my eye, but I primarily stick to the red racks.

If I like something, I eyeball it, disregarding the size. Sometimes things have ended up here because their sizing is funky. When in doubt, I take it and try it on (sometimes in two sizes). You need strong arms and endurance for this kind of shopping. I'm a pro, but my fiance is a trooper and will usually follow me around holding my selections for me (upwards of 50 things by the time I'm done) so I haven't had to feel the strain lately.

Even if something's $300 and I know I don't need it and won't buy it, I still try it on for fun. I use expensive, well-cut items as an opportunity to assess how things should fit and feel. Then I buy cheap versions later.

So, the fitting room. I re-assess my pile before I go in. Having picked through the whole store, I find I'm not as hot on some things I first picked up now that I have other, better things. There's usually a couple of emptier racks near the fitting rooms expressly for the purpose of re-assessing your load. When I go in, I don't waste my time with one of the closed fitting rooms. I have 40 things to try on and you're only allowed 8 items in the private rooms. I just change in the open room with everyone else. No one cares if you haven't shaved your legs or whatever. They have serious bargains to attend to. The only time anyone else will pay any attention to you is if you ask for opinions or they need their zipper zippered.

I try to go wearing full coverage boy shorts, regular everyday supportive bras, wife beaters, bottoms that slide easily on and off my body and a ponytail. I want to focus on the clothes, not the way my hair keeps getting funked up every time I try something new on.

As I'm trying things on, I make piles for yes, no and maybe. Yes is for things that looked so divine on that it's criminal not to get them. No is for crap that doesn't fit or isn't flattering. Maybe is for stuff that I like but maybe not at that price. I make frequent trips to drop off the "no" stuff in the communal reject pile so I'm only looking at stuff I like while I keep trying things on. Then I bring the "yes" and "maybe" stuff out of the fitting room for me. The "yes" stuff is getting bought, so there's no need to discuss it. I show the "maybe" stuff to Eric and see what he thinks and suss out what I ultimately think. I get rid of a few maybes to wait for next week and keep a few in my pile to keep thinking about.

Then we head downstairs to look at men's clothes, bathing suits, underwear, sportswear. I don't look at shoes at Loehmann's. I never score with their selection and none of their shoes meet my personal price point. The men's section is smaller and the clearance section isn't such strong sauce, so we start with a quick spin around the non-clearance items before we find the clearance racks. We tend to find good shirts there much more frequently than good pants (and, bonus, Eric can try them on without going to the fitting room). We score one Ben Sherman on this trip. Bathing suit section was 40 percent off, whether stickered or not. I got a Penguin bikini (with penguins on it!) with matching cover-up boy shorts priced at $50 for (do the math!) $30. Bra section is generally shite and dowdy, but there are great bottoms there and I've never had a problem matching them to Target bras in a pinch.

Red tie-back halter marked $8.97. This was a maybe that Eric really liked.

Red sugar skull wraparound short-sleeved hoodie by Starling marked $7.97. I couldn't resist. Great for when it's a little chilly on the water at Eric's parent's place.

Brown Romeo et Juliet Couture dress marked $23.97. So great for fall and holy crap do I love everything they had by them this year. If it's still there, I'll be coming back with way more by them next week.

Burgundy Buffalo shorts marked $12.97. A size larger than I usually take, but they fit! For my newsboy-look obsession and Buffalo is famously butt flattering.

Green dress marked $11.97. Doesn't look like much on the hanger, but very mod and makes my bust look balanced in comparison with my hips and bum.

I'll get some styled shots of them after next week's haul! And, soon, actual tag sale recounts on this weekend's sale in Greenlawn.


  1. Sounds like fun! Wish we had places like this to shop at in Utah!

  2. Wow!! I miss shopping like that. I live out in nowhere now, haha, and they just don't do sales the same. They don't have to! Plus there are not great places to buy from anyway. Thanks for stopping by my blog and none of those ideas were 'original' probably, so have at Mrs. Pac Man! I can't WAIT to see you as it!

  3. It's so true that the retail bargains are just HERE in giant stores waiting for us to take them. But, man, the thrift shopping in more rural areas cannot be beat! Here, you have to get up at four in the morning and try to outdo all the big spenders to even FIND the good stuff in thrift stores.

    Believe me when I tell you that, when Halloween rolls around, there will be pictures. Holy crap will there be pictures.

  4. Nice haul!!! Very Impressive indeed.

    And what a wonderful and informative description of how to hunt those bargains down. There was a few Loehmann's Shopping Tips! on the blog a few months back, but you have it down to a science!

    Now, you do know the other wonderful tip about Loehmann's for even more savings? The Insider Club sends you couplons and more discounts on top of the already great savings.
    And then the blog, has posts from the discount designer store buyers giving even more upcimng merchandise and such.

    Anyhow.. I am terrible jealous of the R&J find.. great dress. The shopping gods have surely smile upon you!

  5. Haha, I guess I will allow this Loehmann's advertisement on my blog since I'm a big fan and since I didn't mention the Insider Club (which, of course!, I'm a member of).


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