Cheryl shops...Woodbury Commons
Much like eating a Jacques Torres chocolate then having a Hershey's Kiss, once you shop at Woodbury Commons, you can't go back to regular outlet malls. Seeing as how it had been a year and a half (!) since I'd last been there, I persuaded MW to stop there on the way back from Pennsylvania on Monday (granted, it was an hour out of the way and I made MW wake up at 8 so we could fit in a full day of shopping, but whatever). I remembered shopping there a few years ago on Labor day and not thinking it was too, of course, when we arrived, there were state troopers directing traffic, and we ended up parking closer to the highway than to the mall itself. And, yes, it was crowded beyond belief, but for some reason, most of the people seemed to be outside, not actually in the stores.

So, as for the stores themselves, most of them were completely ransacked--Neiman Marcus Last Call, where I usually go to town, had stuff that interested me at first (an Alexander McQueen sweater, a Chloe blouse, a Marni top, a Marc Jacobs dress), then turned out to be a disaster (pills on the sweaters, black marks, runs, etc.). Gucci, as usual, was a mess, as was the Burberry outlet, where MW and I took a step in, then, upon seeing the piles of clothes and general mayhem, immediately stepped out. Same with the Gap and Banana Republic outlets. La Perla, which normally has incredibly good deals, marked most of their merchandise down only 50% (call me cheap, but at an outlet mall, I don't want to pay $250 for a bra and underwear, no matter how gorgeous they are). Barneys was also quite disappointing: The majority of their merchandise is now private label stuff, which eliminates the thrill of finding a pair of Miu Miu shoes for $49, as I did once. Space (the Prada/Miu Miu store) was overpriced as always and, except for shoes and some bags, had no Miu Miu merchandise. The Chanel store had a total of, like, 14 items for sale. And Wolford sucked as usual (unless you're an extra-small, in which case it's a bonanza). I also noticed that the Club Monaco outlet no longer exists, and that the Studio 7 outlet (which had Celine, Givenchy, Marc Jacobs, and Christian Lacroix) is now just a Celine outlet.

But I did have some success. Off Fifth (the Saks outlet) had an incredible selection of Sigerson Morrison shoes; I had four pair in my hands, but MW convinced me to downsize to one pair (metallic periwinkle flats for $120, from $365). I managed to find a bra for $25 at La Perla (after much digging). And the Theory outlet is now officially one of my favorites: I got a tank top and a pair of Max C pants for $60 (for some reason, Theory pants never fit me well, but I am now a convert). I'd never seen the Diesel outlet before; their jeans were still pricey but 50% off--an excellent deal considering they rarely go on sale. MW got a cool pair of sneakers at the Puma store (a mob scene as well), and North Face had a lot of winter parkas at very affordable prices, although most of them were powder blue or black. There was also a lot of cute stuff at the Earl Jeans store (which was also new to me) at reasonable prices.

All in all, it was a pretty successful trip, although I doubt I'll ever go back on Labor Day weekend. The problem with outlets is that they're rarely consistently good; I guess the point is that you have to keep going back...and spending money on things you don't really need, like metallic periwinkle flats.

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