Have you heard? The ‘Great Retail Apocolypse of 2017’ has arrived. As The Atlantic described it this week, there is a full on ‘meltdown’ of retailers. Malls you loved as a teen are souring more than Warheads you scored at the Sweet Factory. It’s only April and according to The Atlantic, ‘J.C. Penney, RadioShack, Macy’s, and Sears have each announced more than 100 store closures. Sports Authority has liquidated, and Payless has filed for bankruptcy.’
Maybe you saw this coming years ago the moment you signed up for Amazon Prime. Yet, there are a few retailers who are actually expanding this year and sales are booming including TJMaxx, Homegoods, Dollar General and Ross. Yep, Ross Dress for Less, which brings me to last weekend in Scottsdale, Arizona and my Ross shopping skills I learned as a teen. It was the only way to find brands like Calvin Klein, Coach, Michael Kors and Ralph Lauren in a small town where I was raised with extremely limited clothing choices (aka Mervyn’s, J.C. Penny and Walmart). Here’s a quick trip to Arizona with my best Ross shopping secrets…
We flew to Phoenix a couple weekends ago to hang out with family and check out the NCAA Final Four action. Packed: jeans, a denim dress and casual basics. When my husband informed me we were headed to Scottsdale for Sunday brunch, I had nothing to wear. It was time for a Saturday night Ross special…
Tip 1 – Stick to your budget. Especially on vacation, I didn’t want to splurge or pile on extra tops or skirts I didn’t need. So as my husband rolled his eyes, I ran into Ross. Spotted: Lightweight linen dress in a serenity shade with tassel details fun for Scottsdale: $11.99. Calvin Klein nude mules in my size on extra clearance: $23.99. Total outfit: under $40.
Tip 2: Don’t Try Clothes on in Ross Fitting Rooms. It may sound like a terrible idea not to try before you buy, but I do this 90% of the time at Ross to avoid the unflattering fluorescent lighting and dingy fitting rooms. It helps to know what sizes you are in different brands (aka Calvin Klein dresses run on the large side so go a size down). If you get home and it doesn’t work, Ross has a forgiving return policy. Stop in during the first hour of business to avoid crazy lines.
Tip 3: Mix High & Low – As you treasure-hunt through racks at Ross, don’t forget your wardrobe at home like handbags, jewelry, and accessories to pull the look together. (Sidenote) Sorry for the wrinkles: I didn’t pack my Conair ExtremeSteam Handheld Steamer along for the trip, which works like a charm and speaking of Amazon Prime if you need one – it’s only $34.99.
Tip 4: Look for Designers! As The Economist stated earlier this year as it reported the booming sales at Ross and TJ Maxx, ‘clothes shops that sell famous brands at big discounts are thriving.’ Those big designers are often better quality than fast-fashion finds and will last as staple pieces. You may need to search a bit harder for designers, like these Coach sneakers I found for under $15 seen in my last post in Kelseyville, California.
Tip 5: Get Creative with Ross Finds – I got home with this dress and it was too flowy. ‘Nice MuuMuu,’ my sister said. But it was my only option so I borrowed her belt and Gap denim jacket to complete the looks. If you find bargains, you can always get them tailored or add accessories like belts or jewelry to make it look more expensive or flattering.
Hope these tips help! Do you do most your shopping online these days?