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The Urban Graduate [bar.gain]

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Bargain Hunting is a full contact sport — and the Urban Graduates are Professional Athletes. Some of us are LeBron’s and Kobe’s others…well, they may never leave the bench (I’m more of a Chris Paul myself). However, in order to stay at the top of your sport, or to rise to the top, you have to practice. Bargain shopping is not about cheap deals! It’s about elevating your style by acquiring a quality piece that satisfies the age old Micro Economics principle “MC = MB” (marginal cost = marginal benefit, google it). Think of it as Bar Gain, not bargain. With that in mind, here are some resources you can use to gain practice to overcome that bar:

Target

Don’t sleep!! Target has some quality finds, especially in the Accessories genre (my personal selection, Tie Bars). And ever since they’ve begun working with guest designers (Alexander McQueen, Isaac Mizrahi) they’re clothes have taken a suprisingly positive turn. Look for some basic pieces for a price you can appreciate.

Pros (+): Easily accessible, multiple locations.; Cons (-): May be out of stock

Filene’s Basement

Yo, it’s just like rummaging through some rich person’s cellar (or attic). Trust me, this may be your best bet for affordable Cashmere. Also, they have outerwear sections that can lift your spirits without lifting your pocketbooks.

Pros (+): Great selection of designer labels, variety; Cons (-): few locations nationwide, items in complete disarray (that store always looks like Category 5 hurricanes shop there).

DSW

I honestly don’t know what the initials stand for, but it should be, “Dun Saved Wallets“. This shoe warehouse probably has more budget ballers per square inch than any other store in its respective city. Look for quality brands, and cop shoes OFF SEASON (meaning, in preparation for the next season). And low key, they have pretty nice hosiery too. I recommend this one to ladies because they have great transition (work-appropriate and play-appropriate) styles you can afford.

Pros (+): variety, labels, locations; Cons (-): Can be a mediocre discount, popular sizes go first and don’t return (unless returned)

T.J. Maxx/ Marshall’s

Okay, I was struggling with putting this one up here because people will think this is an “endorsement” rather than a “resource mint” (my wordplay is SERIOUS). I’m NOT SAYING SPEND YOUR CHECKS AT TJ OR MARSHALL’S! Shopping at these stores is like looking for a diamond in a bag of Kingsford Barbecue Charcoal — it’s possible, but highly unlikely (I lucked up once and found a cleeeean pair of Cole Haan wingtips). Stick to the accessories — ties, belts, eyewear — and the occasional marked down dress shirt. 

Pros (+): American labels, generous discount; Cons (-): goods are often in complete disarray, you have to go on a safari to find what you want.

eBay and Craigslist

This is the secret come-up of all come-ups!! People are always pushing great items at lower prices. Hell, you might even be able to pull a Hammurabi-era move and barter trade.

Pros(+): find what YOU want, availability, convenience, often reasonably priced goods; Cons(-): Gotta search and search and negotiate, and renegotiate, may lose to another bidder.

*Honorable mentions: Nordstrom Rack, Outlet stores, Macy’s sale rack, Off Broadway Shoes.

** The picture at the top is for J.Crew — sale ends tomorrow Ladies, take advantage.

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