I, personally, am not much of a bargain shopper. I do not have patience to dig through racks to find a diamond in the rough (though I do sometimes have the patience to wait for a sale before pulling the trigger). I know this means I'm missing out on some deals, but it wasn't until Ricae Walker, Houstonia's (former) marketing and events manager, mentioned to me over happy hour that her entire (very cute) outfit was from Kohl's that I really pondered what I'm missing.
So obviously I had to ask Ricae, now also known as Houstonia's bargain shopping expert, for her tips on what to look for and what to skip when hitting the big box retailers. Below, her suggestions:
Best clothing lines to look for:
The first thing on Ricae's list is everything in the LC by Lauren Conrad line—particularly the boho-inspired tops (starting under $25) and shoes, although the reality-star-turned designer also makes other clothing, jewelry, handbags and bedding for the retailer. Bonus tip: there are additional LC by Lauren Conrad pieces they are only available online, so don't forget to look there too.
Vera Wang also has a small kingdom at Kohl's for those who like something a little more minimalist—think flowy neutral tees with asymmetric details, Jennifer Lopez's line is surprisingly sophisticated, and Elle is good for wear-to-work pieces. In the shoe section, Apt. 9 has a big selection of on-trend shoes for under $50. Finally, Ricae says not to miss the diffusion line by denim brand Rock & Republic, especially if you like skinny jeans with a lot of stretch for under $60.
Best time to shop:
"Saturday mornings, because there's no one there, or super late at night—they are open until 9 p.m. or later," says Walker. Unlike some other bargain retailers, Kohl's doesn't get major amounts of new merchandise every week, so popping in every six weeks or so means you can still find a lot of the best pieces (unless you have Kohl's cash to spend—see below).
What to skip:
Walker says not to waste money on the handbags—if you want a bag made of faux leather, there are better places to find one. She's also not a fan of the junior's department but admits that might just be part of growing up.
How to play the sales:
Okay, this one is complicated, because Kohl's likes to do sales on sales on sales. First of all, there is no regular price. If you are seeing a discount on your price tag, that's the starting price unless it's listed as clearance. They are additional daily deals, if you're shopping for something in particular, but what Kohl's is known for is their Kohl's Cash, basically gift certificates you get for spending over a certain amount (usually $10 for every $50 spent).
So if you have the time, or are on the fence about something, spend just over the threshold and then come back within a few days and get your discount on whatever you left behind. Or don't—it's not like you need extra markdowns when the deals are this good.