IT CAN BE hard to ignore that Impulse Buying Gene, if you’ve got it: When we want something, we want it now, without the hassle of research or the delay of waiting for a sale. But as any hard-core shopper knows, the only thing more thrilling than finding what you want is finding what you want at a discount. So tuck this shopping list in your wallet the next time you’re about to overspend on designer loot, and remember the three cardinal rules of bargain shopping: If you think it looks cheap, it does; never buy something just because it’s on sale; and no one ever needs to know what — or where — you really paid for your goodies. (Your secrets are safe with us.) Happy shopping!
Head to: Out of the Vault
Where: Down the Shore
Bernie Robbins doesn’t do discount racks. Instead, the superlatively glittery jewelry store does an entire discount shop, just a few doors down from its Somers Point flagship. Discounts are deep — 30 to 70 percent — on Tag Heuer and Baume & Mercier, hefty rope bangles and oversize amethyst cocktail rings by David Yurman, irresistibly princess-like chandelier earrings by Anthony Nak, not to mention an entire case of engagement rings and settings. And because of the surprising location — nestled among a mix of strip-mall stores — your purchases end up feeling, truly, like treasures found. Groveland Center, 501 New Road, Somers Point; 609-927-5056.
Head to: Head Start
Where: Center City
Head Start continually wins Best of Philly awards for its designer boots, heels, wedges and sandals. But what often go unmentioned are its two best-kept sale secrets: the annual four-week end-of-season sale in January and February, and the extensive private-label collection of shoes. Owner George Patti explains that the private-collection shoes are made in the same factories that turn out high-end lines like Dries Van Noten and have the same great workmanship and style — but without the designer label, they have a steeply reduced price. Add to the equation the fact that the private collection is often marked down by as much as 40 percent online and at the store, and you’re looking at some serious justifications for that shoe fetish of yours. 126 South 17th Street, 215-567-3247; headstartshoes.com.
For: Men’s Suits
Head to: Off 5th,
Saks fifth Avenue Outlet
Where: The Northeast
Hickey Freeman, Calvin Klein, Alfred Dunhill, Ted Baker … all the Big Designer Boys can be found hanging on the racks at Off 5th. Sample discounts: Michael Kors down from $595 to $174; Alfred Dunhill down from $1,395 to $499; John Bartlett for just $499 from $995. Best of all, there are multiples of almost everything, and a range of sizes. And pssst: Occasionally — though less frequently than in years past — Saks gets designer tuxes, too, like a recent batch of Hugo Boss ones, marked down from $795 to $499. 1618 Franklin Mills Circle, 215-632-5600; franklinmills.com.