5.24.2006

Loopy at Loehmann's

I spent Tuesday afternoon at the Beverly Hills Loehmann's to find gifts for some visiting family members, but I ended up buying gifts for myself (surprise, surprise). I spent $30-something on 2 things:

1) The (in)famous Sigerson Morrison kitten heel flipflops in orange

I can't believe this pair of sandals retails $80 when they're nothing better than glorified flip-flops! Sure, they're cute, but really! I was drawn to them because they are slightly dressier than casual. The color makes them even more unsual. Who cares if they were popular back in '03 but not anymore? I got them because I like them. Finally, the price sealed the deal. The red tag price was $6.97, plus another 20% off, which made them around $5.60. A pair of flipflops from Kmart costs about that much, and not remotely as cute or comfortable (yes, they're surprisingly comfy). I'm no label whore, but it's pretty exciting to get "the original" so cheaply.

Whenever I hit off-priced stores, I still limit myself to the clearance section because high-end items at 70% off are still beyond my reach. It's pretty easy to find great deals in the shoe department because the clearance corner is fairly small. When I went downstairs to the clothing department, I was completely overwhelmed.

I know that a lot of people LOVE Loehmann's because there are so many great deals there, but I felt that the Joy of the Hunt was eclipsed by the stress of shopping there. I could handle Ross, but Loehmann's was a different animal altogether. I've only been there one other time, when I was there to find something very specific. This time, I wasn't sure what I was looking for. At Ross, there was a lot of stuff, but even the full-priced ones are pretty affordable. At Loehmann's, things were pretty expensive if they don't have that little red sticker on them. Ross is fairly small. Loehmann's is huuuuge, and even patient people need lots--and I do mean lots--of time to rifle through all the racks. The sales sections weren't all that organized; I had to do a lot of fishing in the red tag section just to find a single red tag. Furthermore, it doesn't help that parking isn't free and I had to watch the clock constantly. To keep the costs of parking low, it's better to just park at the Beverly Center to get the most bang for your parking buck ($1 for 3 hours). Even then I had to pay an extra dollar for going over the limit by just a few minutes.

With time running low, I was forced to make the search process more efficient. To do that, I had to develop new filtering mechanisms. At first I thought about scanning for red tags only, but the racks were too jam packed and the tags were hidden. So, other filters had to be used as well. I didn't know what exactly I was looking for, but surely suit jackets don't make good gifts. So anything with lapels were out. Anything bright neon was out. Anything with crazy floral prints was out. After setting up these basic filtering mechanisms in my head, I instantly felt better. Although I didn't find anything for my family, I did find something in the Contemporary section for me...

2) Jak & Rae jeans, about $28

I couldn't find a better picture on the web, so this pic will have to do (yes, I'm wearing the crazy kitten heel flip flops). I can understand why the retail is $170, even though I'm unwilling to pay retail. The antiquish wash and distress details are cool, as are the lattice-fence pattern of the fake belt loops. The jeans are also very comfy. The sizing seems to run small. I was a little paranoid about a potential gap in the back because the waistband isn't tight, but the dryer took care of that, along with the tad-too-long length. Love the jeans!

I suppose there is some truth to the expression "you get what you paid for." The Jak & Rae jeans more comfortable than my Ross-bought Express jeans (which aren't even cheap if you buy them at Express, and on top of that they shrink, lose color, get stiff...OK, I'll stop now), and when I got home, my roommate said that she could tell these aren't cheapy jeans. Still, I need to stop making such extravagant purchases. After all, my best-fitting pair of jeans was only $10. I only need a couple pairs of $20-30 pants for special occasions. The cheap stuff are just fine for everyday use.

Are any of you Loehmann's vets willing to share shopping tips? I can sure use some. Comment away =)

3 comments:

amy said...

i just discovered ur blog thru stylediary (i'm an MUA forum poster as well) i personally love Loehmanns but it sounds like the one in my area is a bit smaller than yours. i get the best bang for my buck by watching for email coupons (i have their insider card) and saving up points for extra % off. i have bought Theory pants for $40, Joie capris for $12, FCUK tube top for $3. i love bargain shopping, and i'm a poor grad student as well, so i totally relate. thanks for the informative & entertaining posts!

Marcy said...

That's awesome that you got $80 shoes for $5!

My favorite pair of jeans right now is Express. But the wierd thing about them is they're constantly changint their jeans!! It's like very 6 months they change the fits, the colors, the styles, etc. So even though I had a pair that I loved (could have been a bit more flared-y, though) I can't go back and buy more b/c they're all different now. They did fade a ton, though, which I have experienced with every pair of jeans I've ever owned (they've all been cheapy, the Express pair were my splurge).

Anyway... random rant over.. Cute jeans! =P I haven't ever been to a Loehmann's. I've made some great findings at Ross in the past (including hot-pink pumps for my Jem costume last oct). I should go back there more often..

Sales Rack Raider said...

Amy, thanks for the Insider Card tip! I don't shop enough there so I didn't sign up for it, but I'm sure I'll need to do that when I have to shop for a better set of work clothes (can't believe school is almost over, forever!).

Marcy, I know what you mean by the here now, gone tomorrow styles at Express. They clear everything out in one big sale. I guess their strategy is to keep things fresh all the time, but unfortunately you've experienced the downside. Ross generally has the older styles, so maybe you can stock up from there.

Unfortnately I don't have an Express favorite. I've only bought 1 pair of non-stretch jeans from Express when it was on clearance for $15; before that, I bought a really dark stretch pair of Express jeans from Ross for $20. The $15 pair didn't lose much color, but they feel stiff even after many washes and the waistband got all weird. I still wear them regularly because I like the cut. The $20 pair faded big time, and they shrunk in the worst way. I handed them to my sister because it's the right length for her, but she hardly wears them now. That's why I won't be buying Express jeans again, though their tops are not bad.