A few weeks ago I was invited by the lovely folks over at TJ Maxx to go shopping, on them. More specifically I was invited to experience a 'shopportunity', what it's like to shop "off price". So armed with a $50 gift card I went to my local TJ Maxx to do what I do best, shop.
I was already familiar with my local TJ Maxx, in Glendale we have a relatively new store that boasts a plentiful stock of stylish clothing, including many large designers names at substantially discounted prices. I'm someone who's style is not exclusively trend driven, I prefer to take trends and make them work for me within the realm of my personal style, as opposed to the other way round which can often result in disastrous consequences. Therefore wearing last seasons dress is not an issue for me, I'm not into disposable clothing. That said TJ Maxx works extremely hard to bring current trends to the consumer regardless what season they evolved from, including current seasons overstock.
My first stop, upon entering the store, was the shoes, I'm a shoe fiend, I blame my early retail education (working for Russell & Bromley in the UK) for this, it gave me knowledge and experience of what to expect in a fine shoe. The kind of knowledge and experience that makes buying cheap shoes a struggle and my wallet sad. TJ Maxx offers a perfect solution for this; designer shoes at discount prices.
The selection boasted name brands such as LAMB, Michael Kors, Sam Edelman, and one of my personal favourites Pour La Victoire.
These shoes, snapped covertly with my i-Phone were my two favourites, both from Pour La Victoire. The wedges were marked down from their original retail price of $149 to $69 and the ballet flats (which were in a scrumptiously soft leather) were $200 at their original retail price marked down to the TJ Maxx price of $99.99. Whilst these prices were substantially discounted, and considerable bargains, they still felt a little expensive for a discount store. However we are still looking at a 50% or more markdown for quality shoes from a prominent designer.
Shoes by LAMB
See by Chloe Dress
Motivated by keeping to my $50 budget and getting the most bang for my buck (a self imposed challenge) I moved on. I found similarly amazing (but not in my personal budget) bargains in these LAMB shoes, originally retailing at $179 discounted to $89 and this beautiful See By Chloe dress originally retailing at $399 and discounted to $175. I also spotted a beautiful Gucci purse originally retailing at $800, reduced to $399, again not the price one expects from an item at TJ Maxx but definitely a considerable discount.
The store had some beautiful Nanette Lepore dresses, but budget aside, the only available sizes were 2's and 12's neither of which were useful for me.
After browsing the designer wares I started shopping more pro-actively, in other words, sticking to my budget. As I perused the over flowing racks, organised, thankfully, by size, it wasn't hard for me to find item after item in my budget. It wasn't long before my arms were overflowing with my bounty. It was at this point, after carrying around 15-20 items complete with hangers, that some irritation kicked in. Not once did an employee ask me if I needed any help or offer to take the load to the fitting room, the store does offer shopping carts, but negotiating the tightly packed racks with one would have been worse than carrying everything.
It's this kind of thing that stores like TJ Maxx need to improve on, especially stores like the Glendale branch that expect their consumers to purchase $400 purses. Customer service is extremely valuable in encouraging a consumer to spend more, and it's so easy, I've worked in retail enough years to know this, which is probably also why I find a lack of it so very irritating.
Moving swiftly on to the more positive, once I'd collected more than could carry I headed to the fitting room to try on my finds. Everything I'd gathered was around the $10 to $20 mark at at least 50% off, cute dresses and mini skirts, which are generally my 'go to' garments of choice, were bountiful. I could have easily spent more than $50 if my figure had been more forgiving. A nautical inspired dress with a ruffled bottom, priced at $14.99, was hard to say no to, but at 5ft 10 and 26 years old, it's best I don't let my butt hang out in public. Another find, that was unfortunately just too small, was a gorgeous romper, with oxford shirt and linen shorts priced at only $10 on clearance! Yes, each section has a clearance rack, meaning sometimes even the sale is on sale!
What I finally settled on, after many negotiations with myself was: A cute black cotton mini skirt, for $12.99 (RRP $20), a striped tank top, for $5.99 (RRP $12), a strapless ruffly dress, for $14.99 (RRP $24) and a loose, striped vest for $12.99 (RRP $20). My savings per item were not enormous by any means, but my total bill (including tax) was $51.54 as opposed to $86 (including approximated tax) which I'm sure you can agree makes a huge difference. I was exceedingly happy with my purchases, and will continue to, as I have in the past, shop with TJ Maxx.
You want to see what I got though right?! Well here they are expertly styled by me (!) and photographed by my husband (who was pleased to know I thought he was better at taking my photo than my tripod)
TJ Maxx Finds: The Ruffly Dress ($14.99)
Styled with: Stylesmith headband, Vintage belt & Poetic Licence Shoes.
TJ Maxx Finds: The Ruffly Dress ($14.99) & The Loose, Striped Vest ($12.99).
Styled with: Vintage Belt, Stylesmith Bow Bobby Pin and Topshop Ballet Flats.