I am often asked where I’ve found something I’m wearing. The answer is almost always UAL (United Apparel Liquidators). “What the heck is U. A. L?” Everyone always says it very slowly. I’m still shocked that eight years after opening on West End Avenue, so many people don’t know about this treasure of a store that just opened their second location in Hillsboro Village.
UAL is my go-to shopping spot. I am thrilled, and also little scared for my bank account, that the new store is walking distance from my house. As a liquidator UAL works with high-end boutiques and department stores to take leftover pieces at the end of their seasons. What that means is we get to shop an incredible mix of everything from high-end designer to sportswear for at least 50-75% off retail price. Shipments arrive daily so there is always something new on the floor no matter what day you shop. This week I found a Gucci sweater for $400 (retail price $1350) next to a Drifter sweatshirt for $50 (retail price $182). Some of my best finds include a $100 Kamali Kulture jersey dress for $5 (I bought two), a $250 Current/Elliott military jacket for $10, and twice I scored $750 Stella McCartney pants for $45 each. And the shoes! If you go to UAL for nothing else, go for the shoes. You will not be disappointed.
No matter what your style, size or budget is, you will find something there. The trick is to know how to look. Here I give you my five tips to shop UAL like a pro.
Make sure you have time.
This is a marathon not a sprint. UAL is not a store you just pop by on your lunch break. Make sure you have time to take it all in rack by rack. For a less crowded experience, visit on a weekday after work or early on the weekends.
Go with a purpose.
Go to UAL with the intent of finding a new pair of jeans, a new dress for work or a killer pair of shoes. Having at least one item in mind will help you focus on certain sections of the store first. From there, you can branch out and start looking at other things, like the shoes…
Ask for help.
The UAL staff is super friendly and they’re there to help. I spoke with Tori Parsons, vice president of UAL and she said, “If someone says they feel overwhelmed, I say ‘LET ME HELP!’ We want to get to know our customers and their lifestyle.” The staff knows the store inside and out. They can save you a lot of time if you’re having trouble finding something.
Try everything on.
This gets back to taking your time. Sizes are all over the board from American sizes to European sizes. Cuts and fits are different for every brand. Don’t even take a t-shirt for granted. Try it on. You’ll be happier knowing everything fits properly before you leave the store. And make sure you check the entire rack. Your perfect size Medium could be mixed in with the X-Larges.
Know your limit.
Go to UAL with a rough idea of what you want to spend. Some days the deals are so good, things can get out of hand quickly. There should never be buyer’s remorse here! I set pricing thresholds for items, especially basics. If I won’t normally spend more than $30 on a t-shirt, finding that $90 Nation LTD tee for $15 is a win.
Most importantly, have fun. If you don’t find anything, go back another day or try the other location. You will hit the mother load on one of those trips and that’s all it takes to get hooked. I love knowing about the incredible deals people find, so tweet me about your UAL loot at @StellaShops.
Article originally published on 12th & Broad.