Wondering what to buy in the USA? Consider designer clothes. American outlet malls sell them at incredibly low prices. You can get a Hollister T-shirt for $6.00, a Tommy Hilfiger sweatshirt for $18.00, and Nike shoes for $25. In this article, you will find tips on the best outlets. As for browsing through the stores and hangers, that will be up to you.
What’s Worth Buying in the USA
Years ago, when the dollar was very cheap, a friend of mine paid extra for an additional suitcase before traveling to America. In America, he bought inexpensive Lacoste T-shirts, Hollister sweatpants, and Tommy Hilfiger polo shirts. He sold off a suitcase full of affordable clothes from the USA back home and the profit paid for a return ticket for two.
The current dollar exchange rate ($1.00) no longer makes importing clothes from the USA as profitable, but shopping for personal use is still very beneficial. Additionally, clothing purchased must be cleared upon arrival.
In America, it is particularly worth buying brands like Hollister, Tommy Hilfiger, Abercrombie & Fitch, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Gap, Quiksilver, or Roxy.
Department Stores in the USA
Brand stores, fashion boutiques, and department stores are located in city centers. You can buy the latest collections in all sizes and at regular prices (by American standards).
Attractive prices appear during seasonal sales. The most notable event is Black Friday, which always falls on the last Friday in November.
🏬 J. C. Penney
This chain includes more than 660 department stores, most of which are in the suburbs. In addition to Adidas, Levi’s, and Nike, J.C. Penney malls also sell less renowned brands such as Stafford, Xersion, and Liz Claiborne.
Department store Sears tends to focus on lower-priced brands of clothing, shoes, electronics, and home appliances. It has 17 locations across the United States, exclusively offering clothing brands such as Cheryl Tiegs, Covington, Goolagong, J.C. Higgins, Pilgrim, Roebucks, and Toughskins.
With approximately 510 locations, Macy’s is one of the most well-known department stores in the United States. The most famous is Macy’s Herald Square store in New York. Located on 34th Street, it is the largest department store in the world, covering 205,000 square feet.
Department stores Dillard’s are found primarily in Florida and Texas.
The department store chain Nordstrom focuses on higher-quality and more expensive clothing or shoes.
Kohl’s department stores sell, for example, Abbey Dawn clothing designed by Avril Lavigne.
Department stores Bloomingdale’s focus on luxury clothing; Bloomingdale’s is owned by Macy’s. The largest department store is located in New York City.
Largest Outlet Towns in the USA
For affordable clothes shopping in the US, you need to head to outlet stores. They focus on older and incomplete collections with a limited selection of colors or sizes. You can buy designer clothes for significantly less there.
The most famous outlets in the US include Premium Outlets, Marshalls, Ross, Tanger, T.J.Maxx. For affordable clothes shopping in the US, you need to venture outside the mall. Outlet towns are often in remote locations.
Single brands also have their own outlet stores across the United States. Affordable clothes shopping is made easier with a map of outlet stores in the US.
1️⃣ Woodbury Common Premium Outlets, New York
The outlet town of Woodbury is an hour’s drive from Manhattan. It hosts nearly 180 brands including Polo Ralph Lauren, Nike, Michael Kors, Burberry, and The North Face. You can dine at Chipotle, Pinkberry, and Pret A Manger.
🛍️ List of stores
🗺️ 498 Red Apple Court, New York City
2️⃣ Sawgrass Mills Outlet, Florida
The mall, with about 150 outlets, is a 40-minute drive north of downtown Miami. Among the stores are Puma, American Eagle, Aeropostale, and U.S. Polo.
3️⃣ Wrentham Village Premium Outlets, Massachusetts
Just under 150 stores are in the Wrentham outlet mall, located a 30-minute drive south of Boston. There are outlets for Lacoste, Under Armour, Tommy Hilfiger, Swarovski, and Gap.
4️⃣ Camarillo Premium Outlets, California
Roughly a 40-minute drive north of Los Angeles lies Camarillo Premium Outlets. Among the 144 stores are Skechers, Calvin Klein, Columbia Sportswear, Crocs, and DC Shoes.
5️⃣ Orlando International Premium Outlets, Florida
The outlet mall with more than 130 stores is a 20-minute drive southwest of downtown Orlando. Stores include DKNY, Victoria’s Secret, Polo Ralph Lauren, New Balance, and Oakley.
6️⃣ Las Vegas North Premium Outlets, Nevada
For affordable clothing shopping in Las Vegas, the outlet town is 1.86 mi from the Stratosphere tower. In 120 stores, you will find brands like A|X Armani Exchange, Diesel, GUESS, and TAG Heuer.
7️⃣ Philadelphia Premium Outlets, Pennsylvania
The outlet town, located a 50-minute drive from Philadelphia, houses stores from brands such as UGG, Under Armour, Michael Kors, Timberland, and Forever 21.
🛍️ List of Stores
🗺️ 18 West Lightcap Rd, Pottstown
8️⃣ North Georgia Premium Outlets, Georgia
This chic outlet mall, less than an hour’s drive northeast of Atlanta, features over 120 stores from brands such as Gap, Nike, Burberry, Crocs, and more.
9️⃣ Tanger Outlets, New York
The campus, a two-hour drive from Manhattan, features over 120 stores. Brands such as Abercrombie & Fitch, American Eagle, Banana Republic, Michael Kors, and Tommy Bahama are included.
🔟 San Francisco Premium Outlets, California
This small town, housing 120 outlet stores, is an hour’s drive east of San Francisco. Featured brands include Samsonite, Carter’s, True Religion, Coach, Burberry, Prada, and Abercrombie & Fitch.
Clothing Brands in the USA
The most renowned American clothing brands either do not sell in this country, or their perception here is quite different from that overseas. Most of these brands have their stores in outlet malls.
⚪ Abercrombie & Fitch
Abercrombie & Fitch targets younger, upper-middle-class customers, competing directly with brands such as Aéropostale and American Eagle. Abercrombie & Fitch outlets sell T-shirts from $7.00, jeans and sweatshirts from $12.00, and polo shirts from $15.00.
Founded in 1973 in New York City, the fashion brand Aéropostale primarily focuses on youth between the ages of 14 and 20. In their sales, you can buy an Aéropostale T-shirt from $6.00, a polo shirt from $8.00, shorts from $9.00, an Aéropostale sweatshirt from $10.00, and a tank top for $3.00.
⚪ American Apparel
The provocative brand American Apparel does not shy away from featuring porn actresses in its advertisements. American Apparel T-shirts are sold by outlets for $9.00, skirts for $12.00, swimwear for $13.00, sweatshirts for $22.00, and shoes for $12.00.
⚪ American Eagle Outfitters
Clothing manufacturer American Eagle targets high school students. The brand was established in 1977 in Pittsburgh. American Eagle offers T-shirts, socks, sunglasses, and caps for modest prices.
⚪ Forever 21
Forever 21 competes directly with H&M as it specializes in fast fashion. Their collections of affordable clothing are refreshed several times a year. In the USA, Forever 21 is especially popular among teenagers. The brand was established in 1984 in Los Angeles.
The surfwear brand Hollister is a subsidiary of Abercrombie & Fitch. Founded in 2000 in Ohio, it primarily caters to youth aged 14 to 18. Hollister clothing prices are lower than those of A&F. Hollister outlets sell T-shirts for as low as $8.00, sweatshirts for $26, sweaters for $10.00, and shorts for $13.00.
⚪ Michael Kors
Founded in 1981 in New York City, the luxury brand Michael Kors is known for selling renowned handbags, watches, wallets, and shoes.
⚪ New Balance
The history of New Balance dates back over a century, starting in Boston in 1906. Originally specializing solely in footwear, today it offers a range of sports and fitness apparel. The least expensive New Balance running shoes are sold by outlets starting at $20.00.
Nike is the largest clothing retailer in the USA. Its range of sportswear in America is significantly more extensive than in other countries, with shoes, in particular, being more affordable.
Founded in 1980 in California, the surf brand for teenagers, PacSun, is one of the most popular among American youth. PacSun stores often sell clothing from other brands.
Quiksilver, a brand exclusively for men’s surf clothing, was founded in 1969. Outlets offer Quiksilver T-shirts on sale for as low as $9.00, swimwear for $20.00, shorts for $12.00, and shoes for $25.
⚪ Ralph Lauren
The hallmark of Ralph Lauren is a polo player seated on a horse. Founded by the eponymous fashion designer in New York in 1967, the brand targets the upper-middle class and gained popularity due to its collared T-shirts. Ralph Lauren polo shirts are available in outlets from $30, regular T-shirts from $10.00, and shirts from $20.00.
Roxy, a women’s surf brand, was established in the early 1990s as a sister company to men’s brand Quiksilver. Outlets sell Roxy swimsuits for as low as $12.00, handbags for $16.00, T-shirts from $10.00, and flip-flops for $8.00.
⚪ Tommy Hilfiger
While Tommy Hilfiger is viewed as a standard brand in America, it is considered a luxury brand in certain countries. Named after the famous New York designer, the brand originated in 1985 in New York. Tommy Hilfiger outlets sell polo shirts for modest prices, shirts cost around $10.00, and jeans start from $25.
⚪ Under Armour
Under Armour was established in Baltimore in 1996 by a 23-year-old student in his grandmother’s basement. Today, it is one of the most popular sportswear retailers in the USA. Under Armour produces T-shirts, sweatshirts, backpacks, and shoes.
Tips for Affordable Clothes Shopping in the USA
💡 Outlet Malls Require a Whole Day
Browsing through hundreds of stores can take significant time; reserve an entire day for your visit. These malls also feature restaurants and cafes where you can take a break.
💡 Outlet Centers’ Opening Hours
Outlet centers operate seven days a week. During public holidays, stores may offer extra discounts, but be prepared for long queues. The best shopping time is on weekdays when most Americans are at work. New merchandise usually arrives on Mondays or Tuesdays.
💡 A Car Is Essential for Outlet Shopping
Outlets are usually located far from city centers, where public transportation is not readily available. Rents in these areas are cheaper, and outlets don’t compete directly with full-price stores. For shopping trips, you will need a car, which also conveniently carries all your purchases. Read this advice on renting a car in the USA.
💡 Opt for Card Payments
Most shoppers prefer card payments; cash is seldom used, especially for pricier purchases. I recommend paying by card and indicating it is a credit card at the checkout.
💡 Lower Prices Usually Mean Lower Quality
A substantial portion, about 80%, of outlet clothing is specifically manufactured for these stores. Lower prices often reflect the lower quality of goods. If a clothing item is new and undamaged, it likely has never been displayed in a designer store.
Strategies to Save Money When Shopping for Clothes in the USA
💵 Purchase According to Season
Always purchase the most affordable clothes after the season ends. Buy winter jackets in the spring, and summer swimwear in the fall. That’s when prices hit their lowest.
💵 Search for Discount Coupons
Before visiting an outlet mall or store, check out its website. You can often find discount coupons there. Simply save them to your phone and show them at the checkout. Some discounts apply to your entire purchase, others to specific items. You can also ask for a discount book directly at the outlet mall.
💵 Receipts May Offer Additional Discounts
In the USA, it is common to print discount codes on receipts. Typically valid for the same day, these coupons can be used either at the same store or others within the mall.
💵 Refunds on Purchases in the USA
A sales tax is added to every purchase you make in the USA, which can increase the price of clothes by up to 10%. However, in some states, you can request a refund when leaving, or shop during a tax-free period.
Considerations When Shopping for Clothes in the USA
⚠️ USA Clothing Sizes May Differ
The sizing of clothes and shoes may differ from what we are accustomed to in Europe. Furthermore, sizes can vary across brands. Pay attention to size charts and, if possible, try on clothes before buying.
⚠️ Not All Discounts Are As Good As They Appear
Discounts often range between 65-90%. However, bear in mind that the original price is typically inflated. Always base your decision on the discounted price of the goods, not the discount percentage. You can compare prices using the ShopSavvy app.
⚠️ Outlet Store Clothes May Be of Lower Quality
Some brands sell second-quality items in outlet stores. Examine the clothes carefully, checking for loose threads or spots.
⚠️ Sales Tax Not Included in the Price
Price tags in the USA do not include sales tax; it is added separately at the checkout. The tax is variable across states: it is zero in Delaware, whereas it is at least 10.5% in California.
⚠️ Be Mindful of the Luggage Weight Limit
For economy class flights to the USA, the standard weight limit is one checked bag up to 23kg. A second bag is typically charged extra, with even higher fees for overweight luggage. If you’re planning a big shopping spree in the USA, consider paying for an extra bag in advance.
⚠️ There Is No Duty or VAT up to the €430$461 Limit
For air passengers, the full limit €430$461 applies. If you are declaring more expensive consumer goods from the USA, you must admit it to customs, who will then charge you duty and VAT.
💬 Tips on USA outlets and budget-friendly shopping can be shared in the discussion.