SECURELY FASHIONED: The ins and outs of outlets

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First Posted: 8/5/2013

Nothing gets my blood pumping like seeing a billboard for an outlet mall.

Especially when I’m on an impromptu road trip with the hubby. That’s right ladies, I caught a man who likes to shop.

Let’s start with a little history, shall we? At first, outlet or factory stores were usually attached to the company’s warehouse, just like the Lord & Taylor outlet in Wilkes-Barre. Half of the shopping space is retail shopping at ridiculously low prices for designer clothing, while the other gated-off half houses visible conveyer belts and boxed-up product.

Outlet shopping was born in the 1930s when factories would offer less than perfect goods at a discount price to their employees. In 1974, Vanity Fair opened up the first outlet shopping center in the country in Reading, Pa. The public was now in on all the great factory deals, and the product sold wasn’t just factory excess or oopsies – they offered a wide variety of items for a fraction of the original cost.

The not-so-bright side of outlet shopping is that the products are usually last season’s looks (which isn’t the end of the world, especially if you aren’t buying trendy), and some products are made specifically for the outlet so that slashed price tag you see may be a phony starting price to make you feel like you are getting a better deal. But if the price is right, who cares?

Most outlets are located in a rural area, not in a big city or in close proximity to the original store. This is probably a strategic move. If you travel an hour to the outlets, you will most likely stay for the day, which leads to more purchases. Also, the rent is cheaper for the mega store location.

Most stores in an outlet mall are legit outlet shops, but there are also regular stores within the outlet mall. These stores will have the same prices and items as your local mall – don’t assume the prices will be lower.

If you have small children to buy for, most children’s outlet shops have amazing deals. Gymboree, Carters, and GAP are running some great promotions this week at the Crossings Premium Outlets in Tannersville. You can also check a specific outlet website for weekly sales and deals. Now is the best time for outlet shopping since we are heading into fall and back-to-school deals are everywhere you look.

Whatever you do…

• Check out Lord & Taylor Outlet and Clearance Center in Wilkes-Barre.

• Visit some local outlets online to see what kind of steals and deals are offered in our area right now.

• Take a short ride to the Crossings Premium Outlets in Tannersville or visit

See you at the outlets!

-Erin Rovin has been working in the entertainment industry for 10 years and writes for various national gossip publications. You can reach Erin at [email protected]