Outlet Malls Worth the Gas

By: Leslie Milk

Style > Best Bargains Package

It costs too much in time and gas to drive an hour or more to an outlet mall to save a few bucks. With discounters like Loehmann’s inside the Beltway and regular stores offering constant sales, outlets have to be special to make the trek. If you’re hooked on a brand—Banana Republic, Brooks Brothers, BCBG—a manufacturer’s outlet may be worth the drive. If you’re passing Queenstown, Maryland, on the way to the beach, you may want to stop at Prime Outlets. Likewise, if you’re nearby, Tanger Outlets in Rehoboth, Potomac Mills in Dale City, and Arundel Mills in Hanover are well worth a visit. But the area’s best outlet center—the one worth the drive? Hands down, it’s Leesburg Corner Premium Outlets. The discounts on top-quality brands and big-ticket items can add up. Before you go to Leesburg (premiumoutlets.com), Queenstown (primeoutlets.com), or Rehoboth (tangeroutlet.com), go online and sign up for the mall’s VIP club to get online coupons, in-store discounts, or both.

 

Best Bets at Leesburg Corner Premium Outlets

Burberry, 703-737-2300. Racks of classic belted trenches along with lots of accessories in that signature plaid.

Coach, 703-771-7881. Terrific selection of handbags and accessories, often only months after they were in a mall.

Cole Haan, 703-669-0069. Men’s and women’s shoes including comfort styles with Nike technology, plus luxurious handbags.

Crate & Barrel, 703-669-5003. Furniture, housewares, linens, lamps, rugs, and home accessories are deeply discounted. The selection of goods can be viewed online, at crateandbarrel.com/outlet. (Can’t make it to Leesburg? There’s a C&B outlet in Alexandria.)

Kate Spade, 703-669-9115. Top-quality handbags galore.

Le Creuset, 703-777-1747. The cast-iron pots and casserole dishes—some are “seconds” or discontinued colors—are a good buy.

Movado Company Store, 703-737-6580. Up to 40 percent off Movado men’s and women’s watches, including classic models. Also Coach, Hugo Boss, and other brands for which Movado makes parts.

Pottery Barn Outlet, 703-443-8113. One of only ten outlets in the country for Pottery Barn furniture, housewares, linens, lamps, rugs, and accessories.

Restoration Hardware, 703-443-1162. Lots of leather furniture, chairs, lamps, and home accessories. There’s also a limited selection of door pulls and other hardware.

Seiko, the Company Store, 703-669-9690. Seiko and Pulsar watches at 25 percent off.

Tumi, 703-737-2287. A good selection of Tumi’s near-indestructible luggage, computer cases, and travel accessories.

If You’re in the Area: Six Other Very Good Outlets

Island Rattan, Queenstown; 410-827-6649. Terrific prices on indoor and outdoor wicker furniture. If you like kitschy beach accessories, this is the place.

Neiman Marcus Last Call Clearance Center, Arundel Mills; 410-379-0159. Great prices on Manolo Blahniks, Jimmy Choos, and other designer heels. Also good deals on evening wear, designer fashions, last season’s handbags, and contemporary clothes.

Nordstrom Rack, Potomac Mills; 703-490-1440. The big daddy of Nordstrom Racks, with a sea of shoes and a wide selection of women’s, men’s, and children’s clothing. Not everything comes from Nordstrom stores, but racks are clearly marked.

Oakley Vault, Potomac Mills; 703-497-4444. Athletic wear is 30 percent off; discontinued sunglasses are 30 to 50 percent off.

Saks Fifth Avenue Off Fifth, Potomac Mills; 703-497-2100. Lots of separates from top designers for women—a recent visit unearthed a rack of St. John. The best buys are in the men’s department: A Hickey-Freeman suit that sells for $1,495 was $699.99.

St. John Company Store, Queenstown; 410-827-5600. Day and evening separates arrive here eight or nine months after they were in St. John boutiques.

This article appears in the August 2008 issue of Washingtonian magazine. To see more articles in this issue, click here.

 

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