YOUR FLORIDA BARGAIN-SHOPPING MECCA
When it’s time for some serious shopping in Florida, your best bet is to head down south to the biggest of all Florida outlets, Sawgrass Mills Outlet Mall. Even for expert power-shoppers, shopping this entire mall will probably take an entire day or two. This gigantic shopping center near Ft. Lauderdale is like 4 malls in one. In addition to the outlet mall staples like Coach, you’ll find designer stores you won’t see anywhere else. Plus there are more than 8 HUGE anchor stores with a wide variety of deals in every price range.
Plus, Sawgrass Mills offers a fun, pretty atmosphere, so it’s a great place to spend a day. You’ll want to check out the cool alligators near the Colonnade mall entry, all painted by artists in funky Florida themes. I couldn’t resist this Wonder Woman one, made me feel like the Superhero of Shopping!
Make sure you’re getting a real deal by checking the retail price on everything you buy. 50% off retail is not a great deal. 75% to 90% off is what you’re looking to pay. To do this, look for stacked discounts, such as an EXTRA 50% off the lowest marked price. If you see a sign that says “UP TO 20% OFF” or something like that, don’t waste your time. It’s also a great idea to check out flat-priced racks. Many stores have $9.99 racks, and they sometimes hold items with very high values, so you can easily score a 90% off deal there. Here’s a guide to my favorite stores at Sawgrass Mills for finding the best markdowns.
This is a new addition to Sawgrass Mills, and the deals are smokin’ hot! They keep all of the clearance items together, which makes it really easy to shop the best markdowns. When I visited, they had a number of clearance racks with 40% to 60% off the lowest prices. I found cashmere cardigans for under $20, and high-end men’s leather boots for under $60. This is a REAL outlet store, with true designer merchandise, and it’s definitely worth a visit.
There are many great deals to be had at this store, which is in the new Oasis section of the mall. The clearance racks are always worth a look, since they just keep marking things down until they sell. Nordstrom Rack is an especially good place to shop for shoes, because they carry extended sizes (up to men’s 20 and women’s 13!) and they mark them down to ridiculously low prices. I found a pair of men’s leather boots on my most recent visit for $25, and the dress rack never disappoints, with a good mix of cocktail and work-ready designs.
OFF FIFTH SAKS FIFTH AVENUE
Just skip all of the displays in the front and head straight for the clearance racks, the best ones are straight back near the children’s section. There’s always a huge selection of women’s clothing, handbags, and shoes here, and all clearance is usually an extra 50% off. This is also one of the few stores where you can find plus size designer clothing on clearance, and the deals on swimwear are very good.
I love shopping at Marshalls all over Florida, and this is the best one of all. It’s the size of a Wal-Mart, about four times bigger than your usual Marshalls, so it has MORE of everything! The deals are great in every department, they have tons of shoes, handbags, menswear and ladies clothing. Look for the yellow clearance stickers for the best markdowns anywhere.
The sales here are hit-or-miss, but it can be a great bet for major designer pieces at decent discounts. Check out the racks with the dots on top, and look for stickered clearance items to find the best deals. Designer denim, evening gowns, and handbags are the departments where I’ve found the best markdowns at this location, so it’s always worth checking out to see what their current offers are.
COLONNADE DESIGNER STORES
There are some super-luxury stores at Sawgrass Mills in the new Colonnade section. This is where you’ll find the Prada outlet, Tory Burch, Giorgio Armani, Burberry, and the like. For designer jewelry, they have David Yurman, Damiani, Tag Heuer and Judith Ripka. The Judith Ripka store offers some stunning pieces at 75% off, and I’ve made some great buys there. This is a lovely open-air area to shop, but in my experience the markdowns are not all that great. If you’re a collector of one of these brands, you may find some pieces at about 50% off, but for regular bargain shoppers, it’s probably more of a window-shopping destination.
AMAZING DINING CHOICES!
Sawgrass Mills Outlet is worth a visit just for the food. In addition to the usual food-court fare, they have some beautiful restaurants serving gourmet meals. It’s so nice to take a break from a full day of shopping in a lovely place like Grand Lux Cafe. This is my favorite Sawgrass restaurant, they have an expansive menu and everything is just delicious. Make sure to save room for their custardy, sugar-dusted beignets with three dipping sauces. I do think that was the best dessert experience I’ve ever had!
YOUR BEST BET FOR FLORIDA SHOPPING DEALS
Tourists visiting from out of the country often shop Florida outlets to get the best bargains. If you only have time to shop one of Florida’s outlet centers, I recommend you choose this one. You’re guaranteed to find everything you’re looking for, and if you shop smart, you can load up your suitcases with designer bargains at a tiny fraction of retail prices. Just follow my shopping tips to bring home the best designer deals!