Faux or Favorite?
Before you continue with this post, know 2 things: 1) I swear I don't follow internet conspiracy theories and 2) I love outlets!!! So when this video from Vox popped up on my timeline, I saw the words "outlet stores" and instantly clicked it. The words it said left me shook.....apparently, outlet stores aren't as much of a steal as we assume they are!
It turns out that most outlets are just stores that have licensed out the names of our favorite brands, and actually sell lower quality items using "Insert Store Name Here Outlet". I was floored. And in order to circumvent any legal implications, instead of saying things like "compare price to $198, price $90", they say "valued at $198, price $90". Not gonna lie, I was kind of hurt! My whole shopaholic life, I was raised on the premise that outlet stores sold merchandise that was left over from the actual store at discount prices, so if a store had 100 leftover jackets, they'd sent them to the outlet store and discount them by like 30% and call it a day. Alas, said jacket is made for lesser quality, stamped with a certain store's outlet/factory name, and sold. We've been bamboozled!
While doing further research on the interwebs, I started to think about my beloved store J.Crew Factory! The local mall at school has both a J.Crew and a Factory store, and though I love both, the prices at the factory store are just so darn good. But I should've known, 50% off everything with a J.Crew label should've raised my eyebrows.
Take, for example, this adorable wool skirt that I would absolutely scoop up if I wasn't on a buying ban. Right above the price, it says "valued at.....". And when I googled "J.Crew vs J.Crew Factory"? It seemed like what I thought was true....was true. Factory was lower quality J.Crew. For example this Jezebel article titled "Your J.Crew Outlet Clothes Aren't 'Discounted,' They're Just Cheap", which almost made me cry. And of course Reddit had some trusty gents in the male advice subreddit discussing the case.
So....final verdict? I honestly.....don't.....really....care. Okay, maybe outlets are a cheaper watered down version of my favorite stores, but the style and aesthetic remains. Yes, I wondered why my Factory tees were misshapen after 2 washes, but maybe its because they cost $7. On my college student budget, and even when I start my first year of work, I will go back to Factory and pick up some basics or "trendy" items to hold me over. I think there's some fantastic finds, and it's not like you're buying knockoffs of your favorite brands (ok maybe, but you're saving a ton of money and no one cares) and the styles are super similar to the point where you might find the exact item re-constructed and much cheaper.
Shoutout to outlets for providing us the opportunity to be stylish on a budget and to feel like we're making big bargains! I'm happy to know this new information, and I can't say for sure that it'll stop me from shopping at outlets. It did sting a little because I do feel bamboozled, but ya know what.....i'm a stylish bamboozlee.