Shopping in New York City can be quite the experience. Depending on your tastes, it can mean braving long lines for fitting rooms and cash registers, weaving your way through large crowds of wide-eyed tourists, or stumbling upon the cutest little boutique on a random street. New York is the fashion capital of the country, but it comes at a price, and many of us simply can’t afford the clothes we really, really want. It’s hard to look but not touch, but there is an answer – and it takes you out of the city and on the road. Here are some of the country’s best upscale outlet malls.
1. New York
Just 50 miles outside the city sits Woodbury Commons Premium Outlets in Central Valley, N.Y. With 220 stores, you want to plan a full day, as you’ll need to comb through the racks searching for slashed deals at stores like Barney’s New York Outlet, Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH, and Neiman Marcus Last Call. It’s important to keep in mind that these are outlet stores, which means that you will definitely find a better price, but the selection can be hit or miss. Be sure to check out DVF, Theory, and Betsey Johnson, who have better selections than most, and some hard-to-pass-up prices.
Mall Info: Woodbury Commons 498 Red Apple Court, Central Valley, NY 10917
Just 20 minutes west of Palm Springs, you’ll find 130 mid-to-high end outlet store at Desert Hills Premium Factory Outlets. Why shop Rodeo Drive when you can hit up Gucci, Giorgio Armani, Prada, and Michael Kors for way less. And if you’re still not ready to drop four digits on a dress, then check out stores like True Religion, William Rast, Miss Sixty, and J. Crew for discounts on your brand faves.
Mall Info: Desert Hills Premium Factory Outlets, 48400 Seminole Drive, Cabazon, CA 92230
Texans know that San Marcos Premium Outlets is the best place to find 140 of your favorite stores. Take a trip 45 minutes south of Austin to find savings on Abercrombie & Fitch, DKNY, Tory Burch, and pick up your favorites undies from La Perla.
Mall Info: San Marcos Premium Outlets 3939 IH-35 South #900, San Marcos, TX 78666
Shop ’til you drop
4. Las Vegas
You’re already in Vegas, but it’s time to save some cash rather than losing it. Make up for your bad luck playing the slot machines and bask in the warm glow of 150 outlet stores. Located just five minutes off the Strip, you can fit in some shopping at Perry Ellis, Polo Ralph Lauren, and Hugo Boss between rounds.
Mall Info: Las Vegas Premium Outlets 875 South Grand Central Parkway, Las Vegas, NV 89106
You’ve done the beach thing and even did a day or two at Disney, but shoppers know that Ellenton Premium Outlets, located about 30 minutes from Tampa, is one of the best ways to spend your holiday. If you are looking for shoes, you check out any of their 24 different shoe stores and snag those heels you’ve had your eye on at Stuart Weitzman.
Mall Info: Ellenton Premium Outlets 5461 Factory Shops Boulevard, Ellenton, FL 34222
Images from Numero Tokyo October 2009, editorial by Allen Tsai