Bargain Hunter

Las Vegas’ outlets are filled with deals, scoops and hidden treasures

The retail opportunities in Las Vegas are vast and varied, ranging from the most posh shops in the world to small chain stores at strip malls. In these trying times, we must re-evaluate how we approach an afternoon of shopping. How much is too much to spend on a particular item? Will this sweater work next season? Are those gladiator sandals still going to look cool in five years? The best advice in a city overrun with great shopping: Wake up early, armed with a very strong coffee, and hit one of our three outlet centers, which are brimming with smokin’ hot deals.

The Fashion Outlets of Las Vegas in Primm as well as the Las Vegas Outlet Center (7400 Las Vegas Blvd. South) and the Las Vegas Premium Outlets (875 S. Grand Central Parkway) have been handing out deals for years. Once thought of as scary places with no dressing rooms and clothes piled into bins, outlets have come a long way in the last decade. Outlet centers across the United States have seen a radical increase in sales, with shoppers spending 39 percent more of their time there than at traditional malls. The goal: Score an inexpensive look, well-made by a reputable designer or brand, at a fraction of the retail price.

Vegas Seven recently spent the day in three stores at Premium Outlets in search of the perfect deal. The results were surprising and exciting.

Catherine Malandrino

The sophistication and energy of the big city is what Catherine Malandrino’s silky, uber-flattering cocktail dresses are all about. The Malandrino store, with its lime-green, light and airy feeling, makes buyers feel sophisticated and smart. Malandrino discounts everything 50 percent when it hits the outlet, and most of the items get a 30 percent reduction after a week on the floor. It’s Parisian chic at a fraction of the price. After trying several of Malandrino’s signature prints, we decided on a simple peach silk dress. Catherine Malandrino got her start in New York as Diane von Furstenberg’s head designer, and the draping and prints found within her collections echo her days at DVF. Malandrino’s dresses are elegant and flattering (see the faux wrap of this dress) to a multitude of body types and ages. This dress has pockets and can be accessorized for a formal affair. It is also simple enough for a date night. At $350 for an all-silk designer piece, it’s a true bargain.

Miss Sixty

For a dash of Italian spunk, Miss Sixty, which produces brands such as Energie, Murphy & Nye and Richlu, is known for its brightly colored separates, knits and super fun denim. Miss Sixty is a small boutique that packs a big punch. Its location is a bit hidden (on the far west corridor between the Mountain and Tree courts), but it’s worth the trip. The offerings range from neon pink PVC handbags to separates. This is the place to grab interesting spring and summer pieces. Check out the super-soft leggings in neon leopard print and hot-pink T-shirts. Miss Sixty seems to be the perfect spot for loud standout pieces with a bit of Euro flavor, and they do double duty as good wardrobe choices for the many summer music festivals, such as Coachella or Bonnaroo. From Miss Sixty, we chose a printed tank ($26), a paper-thin knit top ($89) and jeans that are about as comfortable as sweatpants ($108).

2B Bebe

The most interesting stop on our outlet shopping tour was 2b Bebe. The store is filled to the brim with satin dresses and the other brightly colored items you would expect from the retailer, but we were pleasantly surprised upon digging a bit deeper. The jewelry selection is absolute heaven. Chunky statement necklaces in silver and gold were plentiful, as well as great bracelets in a plethora of styles. With seven locations across Las Vegas, you can’t swing a Fendi baguette bag without knocking over a group of girls in Bebe dresses. Outside of its typical apparel, 2b Bebe has great staple pieces and fun accents. We put together an outfit for spring that included some denim shorts ($28), a silky, peachy camisole ($24) and a military-inspired three-quarter jacket ($39). At 2b Bebe, they sell not only Bebe Logo merchandise but also a small selection of the regular collection, including accessories. Finding great prices on Bebe items, and maybe searching for a look that isn’t in the current ad campaign, is easily done here.