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Question: Are outlet stores totally worth it? How do they compare to the real thing?

Answer: My answer is yes, yes, and yes! Outlet shopping is totally worth it. Let me tell you why.

Outlet stores are popping up more and more. From shopping mall favorites like Gap and Forever 21, to high-end department stores like Neiman Marcus and Barneys New York, there are so many to choose from. If you’re a stylish girl on a budget, outlets are the perfect place to get your fashion fix for a lot less.

It’s true that outlet stores are not exactly the same as their pricier counterparts. This is because outlets typically include off-season or “damaged” stock.

But, there’s a silver lining. Items in outlet stores are drastically reduced. Think discounts of up to 75% off!

So, what about that damaged stock? Usually, “damaged” does not actually mean damaged. Though outlet shopping requires an eye for detail—you’ve got to be extra vigilant to make sure you’re getting quality items—most damages are really just small imperfections.

Anything from a loose seam to a sizing error can be classified as damaged goods. If this makes outlet shopping sound too risky, fear not! Items will have a “DAMAGED” or “IRREGULAR” tag on them, and in some cases, the item will be reduced even more!

Though outlets aren’t exactly the real thing, they’re pretty darn close! Outlets can save you hundreds of dollars on expensive brands—so it’s definitely worth the shop.