Since I've started reselling, jeans have become some of my very favorite items to flip! They are made of more sturdy material and last longer + certain pairs hold their value very well and can make for a very profitable margin. The jeans rack is usually one of the first places I start in a thrift store, so I've been seeing a LOT of jeans and I've also been doing my research on jean brands and trends to make sure I'm buying what people are looking for.
One trend I am seeing a LOT this spring is the distressed crop fringe or raw hem jean. Being at 5'8", I often find an average size jean is too short and a tall size is too long, so I like a crop jean because it doesn't really matter where it hits my leg when it is over the ankle. Plus I love the fringe/raw hem and distressed detailing that makes it easy to wear casually or really fun to dress up!
The BP (Nordstrom junior's brand) pair I am wearing here are actually a thrift store find (shocker!) and were only $5! Below I've linked a bunch of crop raw hem jeans that are on major sale right now and all under $35 (some of these were originally over $100!) To shop you can just click the link below, and it will take you directly to the website to purchase.
As far as the rest of my outfit, I'd been on the hunt for a double breasted oversized blazer and picked this Mango one up for myself at Goodwill for $9.99 (which was actually a little painful for me haha #resellerprobs) but it was brand new and I actually couldn't find anything anywhere else cheaper! I've shared these Frye boots before but gosh I wear these every other day and just love how chic and comfy they are. They are still on major clearance online, and I've linked those as well as similar blazers, one as cheap as $8, below to shop!
It was not long into my reselling journey when I heard about Nordstrom's final clearance store Last Chance located near Phoenix, Arizona. Known for near nothing deals on clothes, shoes, accessories, and home goods, items end up in this store for a variety of reasons. You will find a lot of the same item if they overproduced or overestimated the interest in the product. As well, a lot of one off items end up in the store due to Nordstrom's generous return policy. If the item is no longer on the floor, or is too worn to be sold in their Nordstrom or Nordstrom Rack stores, they end up at Last Chance. I'd seen other people's amazing hauls from the store, but really had no idea of what to expect going into this experience. I thought I would share the good, the bad, and the ugly (!!) of my 3 hour experience there to hopefully help any other people decide if those deals are right for them! Keep scrolling to read!
Before The Store Even Opens
I knew this place gets busy (duh, great deals) and I was going on a Sunday so I was expecting a crowd. However, rolling up to the store 30 minutes before they open, I did not expect already to see a line of people wrapped around the building! The store is located in the basement area of an indoor shopping center, however they start lining people outside and around the building before they open. I would guess there were already at least 50 people waiting in line when we got there!
Once it was only a few minutes before opening, employees came out and sorted the people waiting into two lines, those who wanted to shop shoes first and those you who wanted to shop clothes first. They definitely had a system down to avoid chaos! I chose shoes because, well, I was just overwhelmed and this was the closest line to me ha. From there the employees led us single file down into the store, so far so good!
Similar to Goodwills in my area, all the items being sold at Last Chance have different color price tags. The day I was there, the sales they were having included 50% off all purple tags, and 80% off the purple tags on long dresses. Everyone swarmed that area when we entered, so there was barely anything left by the time I made my way to that area of the store. Most of the items I bought that day were purple tags, so there were definitely a lot to choose from. Honestly, I didn't pay more than $15 for one item, with my average item cost being around $9.
Outside of the purple tag items, 99% off the items I saw (all color tags) were priced SUPER low. I was pretty picky just because I am not a super big fan of retail arbitrage, but if you are purchasing for your own personal closet these deals can't be beat anywhere. I'm talking DVF wrap dresses for $30. I heard some women talking about how they are used to Last Chance having more discounts, so its possible there are days where more colors tags and items are discounted.
What I was not expecting was to find that most of the items in the store did not have original tags attached. It makes sense that they would do this to deter reselling, but wow that must take a lot of work. (There are even signs around the store forbidding reselling) However, I was still able to find a few pieces with the original designer tags attached. I was worried that maybe the cashiers would be on the lookout for this and remove them, but honestly they were in such a hurry to check people out they didn't even notice/care.
Another thing about the items that I was not expecting was how many were visibly worn, especially for the shoes. Most of the shoes had scuffs and wearing on the soles. I guess this speaks to Nordstrom's return policy. Even items that had original tags attached still had holes or pulls in the material. I recommend THOROUGHLY looking over piece of clothing you are looking to purchase for any irregularities. As far as the range in clothing brands and designers, while a lot of the items in the store are Nordstrom's lower end brands (Halogen, BP, Hinge, etc.) there was also still a very large amount of mid (Tory Burch, Kate Spade, DVF) to high end (Jimmy Choo, Gucci, Burberry, YSL, Chloe) to choose from.
The Other Customers
Ok, this is where everything gets a little nutty. Everything up to this point has sounded great, but you really need to be alert and keep your wits about you in this store because people are not here to leisurely shop. I've shopped a lot of sales and thrift stores in my lifetime, but none of those trips really prepared me for this place. The people are here to find the good deals, and find them before anyone else. Most of the common decency you would expect at a Nordstrom or Nordstrom Rack will not be found here. People WILL push your cart out of their way. They will grab an item out of your cart if it is something they want. They will jump ahead of you on the rack to grab something right out of your hands. While I was looking through a rack of jeans an employee rolled out a rack full of down jackets, some of which I saw had the Moncler symbol on the arm. I beelined that direction and was only about a foot away when two people jumped in my way and made me stop while they grabbed EVERY SINGLE JACKET OFF THE RACK. I just stood there for a minute literally like :0
Another little interesting tid bit of info is that Last Chance only has a couple fitting rooms, so don't be surprised to come face to face with a topless woman squatted behind a clothing rack trying on shirts. Nothing to see here folks.
Like most Nordstrom Rack stores, the checkout counters are at the front of the store. After I was done shopping, I was surprised to find that the checkout line went from the counters at the front of the store down the middle of the store to the back, went along the backside of the store, and turned back up almost all the way to the front of the store. Pretty much a full upper case "U". But like how they wrangled us into the store at the beginning, the employees really have a handle on lines and keeping things as organized as possible. There were employees along the way that took off your hangers and security tags. As long as the line was, it probably only took me about 10-15 minutes to get to the front of the line.
Tips FOr Success
- Get there early to take advantage of the biggest deals of the day
- Bring a buddy along so they can watch your cart if you need to go to the bathrooms (which are outside of the store)
- Lay a big item over the top of your cart and your other items so no one takes them out
- While the racks having size sections, a lot of items are disorganized and out of place so I recommend going through all racks
- When you see a new rack being rolled out FOLLOW IT AND BE THERE FIRST
- Only water is allowed inside the store, but I definitely bring some because time moves at a different pace inside this store
- Keep a mental note of what items have the big security sensors on them and make sure they get taken off (one of them got left on one of my items)
- Wear a crossbody bag to allow maximum arm usage
- Dress comfy because I can assure you no is there to impress anybody (I think the opposite actually lol)
- Look over every single item CAREFULLY because so many items have holes or defects, and this store is no exchange/refund/return
Overall for me, I would come back in a heartbeat if I find myself in the area again. I may even make the 10 hour round trip just to come to this store again. Considering the brands I found (a lot of which I've never been able to find in a thrift store) it is the perfect situation for me because I absolutely live for the hunt of a good deal. But if you prefer the comfortable, leisurely shopping experience, and don't mind paying up for that, THIS IS NOT FOR YOU. It was fun reliving this crazy experience with you, and if you have any questions or your own experiences with this store to share feel free to leave a comment below!
I've started enjoying this new challenge recently where I try to see how low in price of an outfit I can make out of my current wardrobe! Its a walk down memory lane of my past conquests and makes me even more thrifty when shopping now. And I have really outdone myself with this one, where I literally only paid $1 for the top+jeans+shoes+bag! (Ok sorry this doesn't include the Gucci sunnies, but it was so bright outside) Keep scrolling to see all the details!
Banana Republic Tie Front Blouse [new, $0] Banana Republic Raw Hem High Rise Jeans [new, $0] Banana Republic Navy Block Heel Sandals [new, $0] Ralph Lauren Leather Tan Crossbody [secondhand, $1]
So how did I get all that Banana Republic loot for $0?? Rewards my friends, beautiful rewards <3 Those bad boys NEVER expire in my possession! The top, jeans, and shoes were all completely free when I applied the rewards I had received from the purchases I made with their credit card. It's important to remember that in order to get the better end of these store credit cards you have to pay it off every month in order to avoid crazy high interest rates. Otherwise you are paying so much more than you are getting back!
Unfortunately the top is over a year old but I found a nearly identical one from H&M for under $12! It's so classic and preppy, it is definitely a wardrobe staple!
The most flattering jean in the world is a dark high rise skinny jean. Don't @ me on this. Another thing I look for in a jean is a cotton/spandex/elastane blend because they are stretchy but don't stretch out. These are my most recent BR reward purchase and I love that they are so versatile but have the fun raw hem bottoms. I've linked a very similar pair from Banana Republic below, currently over 30% off + free shipping!
Navy just happens to be my favorite clothing color and my most recent shoe obsession is a nice, retro block heel... so when I pulled these shoes off the clearance shelf, last pair AND in my size I was so freaking excited! There thick heel + ankle strap makes them so easy to walk in and the color goes with everything. Sadly they aren't making these anymore to link but I have found a few similar pairs on sale below! (those Calvin Kleins are on serious clearance!!)
And lastly, something that wasn't bought at Banana Republic. This Ralph Lauren leather crossbody was actually a Goodwill find! In the LA area, many goodwills participate in a Thursday tag color day where the tag color of the week is $1. And somehow this bag managed it's way all the way to Thursday and I snagged it! Couldn't find any good sales on a Ralph Lauren piece like this (they retail from $200-300) but linked a couple similar, classic brown crossbodys below.
Thanks for following along! I'm loving this series because it really pushes me to be an even smarter shopper and find more classic, versatile bargains (and steals!) Let me know what you think of these types of posts below in the comments. :)
I would definitely consider myself the queen of the sale rack (trademark pending ;)) so I've had my share of good and bad sales purchases. It can be really tempting to make a quick purchase just because the price is so low! But when you do this enough it can really add up price wise, and if you are making purchases that you aren't totally in love with it can contribute to the negative effect our shopping habits are having on the environment. I've tried to be smarter when shopping clearance items, and have shared a few questions you should think about to avoid any regret!
Why Is This On Sale?
Yeah the price is low, but WHY is this particular item on sale? Is there an irregularity? Are there many like this on the sale rack? Is the fit off (ie try it on!)? If none of these apply, maybe the style was just not very popular with the masses, or it is an off return.
Is there Damage?
I've found a lot of one off items on the sale rack have some sort of damage (usually stain or a hole) Don't let this scare you off! Story time: I found a beautiful, classic, silk button down Theory shirt for $10 at Marshalls on clearance! However, I noticed it had a 1/2 inch pen mark along the side. But luckily I knew that hairspray magically erases ink from silk! I often see makeup also on sale items. These can also be easily cleaned out of clothing!
Would I Pick This Off The Rack If It Wasn't On Sale?
This is something I constantly have to ask myself. What do I like better, the price or the item? Would I even pick this up if it wasn't on the sale rack? This takes a lot of honesty on your own part.
What Are Three Different Ways To Wear This Item?
Something very important to me currently is creating a versatile wardrobe. So when shopping the sale rack I want to make sure this is a valuable addition to my closet, not just a purchase to make because it is cheap. If I can imagine three outfits with completely different items from the pieces I already own, I am more interested in purchasing.
Will I want To Wear This Item 1,5,10 years from Now?
As I expand my reselling business and learn more about how we shop and get rid of our clothing, I'm looking more at my own purchases when it comes to the longevity of the item in the my closet. Is this a trend item (ie only "in" for a short amount of time) or is it a classic wardrobe builder? There is no shame when it comes to buying trendy items, but it is worth the time to consider whether the trend is at the beginning or end of its trajectory. If this trend has been around for a while, is the price of the item worth it? On a side note, when you are ready to get rid of those trendy items, always donate instead of throwing in the trash. :)
We all know how tempting those Target and H&M clearance racks can be. A trendy $3 piece sounds good at the time in the forgiving store lighting, but once you get home you notice the loose ends and cheapy fixtures. Yes they are inexpensive but enough of these pieces add up, so it is important when shopping low end stores that you take the time to review the piece and avoid certain mistakes in order to ensure this item will look like you spend 100x more than what you did!
Target Who What Where Polka Dot Wrap Dress [new, $12] Chanel Ballet Cap Toe Flats [secondhand, $190] Gucci Club Master Sunglasses [new, $140] Kate Spade Oversized Stud Earrings [new, $9]
1. Inspect the Material Tag
With any clothing I buy, I always try to stick with natural materials like 100% cotton or linen. I feel they hold up much better over time with wash and wear. If you aren't going with natural materials, try to stick with items that have 100% same material. The rayon/polyester/nylon/spandex pieces rarely hold their shape, and are subject to pilling.
2. Avoid Cheap Fixtures
With tassels + sequins + flower embroidery, the more materials you are dealing with the more likely it will be to notice that the piece is cheap. Another detail that is a total no go for me is when a top or dress has a belt/wrap detail and there are tiny thread loops to hold them in place! Higher end pieces are better made and will typically have loops of actual material, so this is a total give away your item is cheap-y.
3. Stick with Classic, SImple Pieces
Similar to my previous point, when shopping lower end stores I tend to stick with low key, simple pieces that don't scream trendy. H&M, Target, and Zara (for example) tend to regularly update their lines with what is most popular and trendy in fashion at that time. I think the more trendy and detailed the item the more likely it is to come off as cheap. Stick with simple pieces that can be dressed up!
4. Pair with higher end items
When I'm rocking a Target or H&M dress, I like to also mix in some higher end pieces out of my closet to pull the outfit more together to look more high end. I've invested (and been gifted) a few pairs of neutral, high end flats that
5. Try On To Ensure Fit
This goes for low and high end pieces! An ill fitting piece will never look as nice and expensive as a great fitting item. When you are already shopping cheap, make sure the item fits you well and works with your body type, otherwise it is very hard to make frumpy look expensive. Also, you are so less likely to return an item within the allowed time frame once you get it home. Waste of money!
Thanks for stopping by! Feel free to leave any questions or your own advice below!
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