October 8, 2009

LOCAL FLAVOR: Polo Ralph Lauren and Puma @ the Albertville Premium Outlets

In contrast to the past few days, which have been downright miserable with all the rain, the sun came out today and made for a beautiful clear and crisp fall day. My friend and I celebrated by taking a drive up to the Albertville Premium Outlets, located north of Minneapolis in...Albertville.

The last time I was here was over three years ago...
the thought of outlet shopping in this state doesn't excite me...especially when other outlet centers out there like Woodbury Commons (operated by the same parent company, Chelsea Premium Outlets) offer destinations like Balenciaga, YSL, Versace, Dolce & Gabbana, and a Barneys Outlet...so I'm fine holding my breath most of the time. However, we are lucky to still keep a Polo Ralph Lauren Factory Store -- sadly, downtown Minneapolis' Ralph Lauren store closed a couple years ago -- and I remember finding a few gems at this outlet in the past...so it didn't take much arm twisting to agree to go...

To a certain extent, Ralph Lauren factory stores are guilty of what I feel is the extremely off-puting practice of stocking factory-direct merchandise.
Per the Ralph Lauren website:
"Our merchandise is comprised of overstocked, prior-season, discontinued and returned merchandise from Polo Ralph Lauren full-price retail locations. We also carry exclusive lines, mildly irregular products and cuts of fabric leftover from making current or prior-season merchandise—all with the exceptional design quality that you expect from the world of Ralph Lauren."
But as the above statement states, they also receive authentic product from previous seasons, and if I remember correctly from visiting the store at the Wrentham Outlets in Massachusetts, they'll actually outright identify which products are factory-direct...so they're not completely shady...like other outlet stores that cater to mass-consumption America...

Today, I noticed this rack of oxfords on further promo from their already reduced price. At $39.99 USD, the price isn't unlike similar product I've found at the sale rack of Macy's or at TJ Maxx...but the shirt I picked up was my size and of the "custom fit" cut...these are two qualities my local Macy's NEVER considers to include when planning their inventory as they assume all their male shoppers must be size "M" or larger and enjoy their button downs LONG and BAGGY (i.e. the Ralph Lauren "classic fit")...so to me, this was definitely a check in the worth it column...

At the check-out counter, I noticed a pile of bow-ties...sifting through them, I found this silk tartan print piece from the Rugby line marked down to $2.99! Not too shabby given a regular priced bow-tie from Rugby can cost up to $69.50... I particularly am fond of the ones that have the tapered ends like this one. I'm not as obsessed with the Rugby line as I used to be when the line first came out in 2004, but I look forward to whipping out this bow-tie over the coming holiday season.

On a whim, my friend and I checked out the Puma Outlet...although in my wildest dreams the store would stock previous seasons of Alexander McQueen X Puma, this was obviously not the case. I was surprised to find a few styles from the Rudolph Dassler and Black Label lines.

I settled on a pair of the Speed Cat style done in pony hair...this particular silhouette has been around for ages...but I couldn't pass up on the fact that this specific pair was of the pony hair variety...
originally $150, the outlet was selling them for $89.99. As luck would have it, everything in the store was 40% off, and my friend had a coupon for an additional 25% off... Pas mal.

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