Take notes, bookmark this page. Do whatever you have to do to, but this is your ultimate cheat sheet to shopping in New York in just one day.
First off, let’s lay down a few simple ground rules. Hydration is key, but not too much – you don’t want to waste precious shopping time queuing for the bathrooms.
Bring snacks. Energy balls are a good shout.
And thirdly, choose who you travel with wisely. Are you going over with a mate who will only want to look in sports shops? Is your boyfriend good fun but won’t be any use when it comes to making the vital decision between the black dress or the nude dress or BOTH?! (Always have a friend who says both.)
Surround yourself with people who won’t complain that their feet are sore, please.
1. Prep for your trip on the flight over from Dublin and the shuttle bus
A few simple but important tips: Woodbury Common will ALWAYS be less stressful on a weekday, so try head over on a Monday or Tuesday if you can.
Sign up for the free VIP Shopper Club and you’ll receive coupons for extra discounts and check the Sales and Events webpage on the Woodbury Common Premium Outlets website for stores that are having special sales.
This may sound obvious, but wear comfy runners and maybe leggings so you can just slip in and out off things when trying them on and be aware that the outlet centre is outdoors so bring a little nifty umbrella and a light jacket for layering.
Oh, and don’t forget your whopper empty suitcase on wheels. You’ll need it.
2. Head straight to the information desk
Check the info desk and see if there’s any flash sales or extra coupons you can get and be sure to either grab a copy of the map or have it saved on your phone.
Woodbury Common is more like a mini town rather than a shopping centre and there’s five main ‘districts’. You will get lost. Enjoy the ride.
Don’t want to blow all your money? Take out cash at an ATM at the start of the day and set yourself a budget. Once it’s gone, it’s gone.
3. Don’t be fooled by ‘outlet exclusive’ prices
Quite a lot of the stock in outlet stores has been made specifically for outlet retail, ie. it will never and has never been sold in a main high street store. Nike, for example, will have completely different stock for outlets.
Look out for signs that say “outlet exclusive,” “compare at,” “retail value,” or any words except “original price”; this is the only one that denotes a price that has actually been charged for that item.
It’s tough but try to remember it’s only a bargain if you would have paid full price for it. Clearance racks are usually at the back of the shop so head straight towards them first.
4. Best stores to go to?
As we said before, there’s 220 stores to choose from here. Don’t get waylaid by any old place… Here’s the creme de la creme of Woodbury Common:
SPORTSWEAR: Start with Nike before queues get too insane and then move on to: Under Armour, Adidas, Adidas Clearance, Lululemon Athletics, PUMA Outlet, Reebok and Footlocker.
JEANS: 7 for All Mankind, Abercrombie & Fitch Outlet, Acne Studios, Guess Factory, AllSaints, Armani Exchange, Joe’s Jeans, Levi’s Outlet Store.
BAGS: Steve Madden, Stuart Weitzman, Fendi, Michael Kors, Coach Outlet, Maje, DKNY, Kate Spade, Club Monaco, BCBG Outlet, Handbags and More, Longchamp.
SKINCARE & BEAUTY: Molton Brown, The Body Shop, Crabtree & Evelyn, Elizabeth Arden Company Store, L’Occitaine, Avon, Bath & Body Works.
DESIGNER: Alice + Olivia, Alexander McQueen, Prada, Gucci, Givenchy, Balenciaga, Karl Lagerfeld Paris, Burberry, Zadig and Voltaire, Marc Jacobs, Versace, YSL.
ELECTRONICS: Bose, Gadget Station, i-Tech and Repair, GameStop.
5. Know when all the major sales are on
Woodbury Common will be craaaaaazy busy during these weekends but you will get some incredible extra discounts…
Memorial Day Weekend Sale: Weekend of May 28th
July 4th Summer Sale: July 4th (duh)
Labor Day Weekend Sale: Weekend of September 3rd
Columbus Day Sale: Weekend of October 8th
Thanksgiving Eve Sale: Wednesday 21st November
Post-Thanksgiving Black Friday Weekend Sale: Weekend of 23rd November
Post-Holidays Sale: 27th December
6. Take lunch! Refuel at the Market Hall
There’s more than 20 restaurants at Woodbury Common and your best bet is the charming Market Hall, which has plenty of seats and lifesaving phone charging outlets.
Choose from Chipotle Mexican Grill, Kung Pao Wok, Pret A Manger, Umi Teriyaki, Cinnabon or the celeb famous Magnolia Bakery. The Market Hall has indoor and outdoor seating and even has a cocktail bar if you’re feeling boozy. You’ll also find American classics like IHOP, The Cheesecake Factory and Applebees.
Want a real pick-me-up? Get a grilled cheese from Melt Shop. And tater tots. And milkshakes.
7. Deposit your morning shopping bags by renting a locker for $10 a day
It’s handy having a giant wheelie suitcase to pop all your stuff into (plus you can have an idea of how much you’ll actually be able to fit in on the way back!) but if you want to shop with both hands free then rent a locker.
Drop your bags off before lunch and then start fresh for your second round of shopping.
8. Afternoon plan: round up any bits you still need to get
Chances are you got distracted in the morning. And look, that’s okay. Woodbury Common is like a real-life Willy Wonka factory for grown-ups.
Get focused after lunch to tick off any remaining “must have” bits and bobs from your list. (ALWAYS make a list.) Shopping for shoes in the afternoon is also a good shout as your feet will be a bit swollen and you’ll be able to see what shoes feel like after a full day.
9. Buy off-season for the best bargains
Not the most instantly satisfying methods but by far the best for getting great value. Heading over to Woodbury in summertime? Pick up a big heavy winter coat and cashmere jumpers.
Vice versa with winter: now’s your time to get cute summer bikinis and light clothes.
10. Dedicate an hour to wandering – you never know what you may come across
Once you’ve gotten everything you came for, make sure you leave time to wander in and out of stores that catch your eye.
Sure jaysus haven’t you come all the way over from Dublin?! Woodbury Common has heaps of stores that stock brands you can’t get in Ireland so make the most of the one day opportunity to browse around for a little bit. Just don’t get tempted by something absolutely massive that won’t fit in your suitcase…
You’ll K.O on the plane home, that’s for sure…