One Store One Outfit: Marshalls

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Marshalls, TJ Maxx, and Ross all fall under the category of “off-price” department stores.  All of the goods are new and plenty of the brands are recognizable, but this is the last, cheapest stop for these items.  And that means the stock has been thinned out quite a bit by the time they reach the end of this line.

When it comes to men’s items, the stock is especially thin.  The women’s section dominates the floor space, and screaming toddlers dominate the audible atmosphere (doesn’t matter if it’s Dad or Mom holding Jr., there will be babies crying).  But if you’re on a serious budget, it’s worth dropping in every once in awhile to see what’s drifted in.  This was all found in one stop with about 20 minutes being spent poking through the sometimes-chaotic racks:

  • Polo RL Utility Bomber – $129.99 ($245)  Still well north of $100, but really well made from a natural fiber (cotton), and warm.  Insulated and legitimate looking. 
  • Levi’s 505 Straight Fit – $24.99 ($37)  These felt looser than a 501, so those that like their jeans real slim would pass.  But the price is hard to beat.  Denim feels solid, color is a nice deep blue.
  • Polo RL Custom Fit Button Down Poplin – $39.99 ($89.50)  Holy crap.  A “custom” fit.  That’s as slim as RL gets and surprising to see here.  Box pleat on the back means it fits decently.  Good feel to it.  Nice basic check.
  • Polo RL Lambswool Sweater – $49.99 ($98)  Noticing a brand pattern here?  Must have been a fresh shipment of Ralph Lauren stuff that just came in.  Brands will vary by store.  Other brands like Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, & Kenneth Cole were in stock, but what was in stock wasns’t all that impressive.  This sweater on the other hand, really was.  Had to size down to a small, but the Lambswool was incredibly soft.  The true color is better represented here.  And yes, it has that damn logo.
  • Polo RL Lambswool Scarf – $19.99 ($49.50)  The steal of the trip.  Twenty bucks, perfect light grey color, a good width and surprisingly soft for 100% lamswool.  Feels like there’s some cashmere mixed in there even though there’s not.
  • (pictured here) Clark’s Waterproof Chukka – $45.00 ($110)  Nubuck exterior and a basic shape.  Very light.  That claim of waterproof might be worthwhile if you live in a wet climate.

All together now

Breaking it all down

Even if it’s half off, you’re still paying $50 for a sweater.  Despite these things showing up at Marshalls, you still will end up paying for  a name or a logo.  So the sweater is a pass.  Same goes for the shirt, but keep in mind both of those items felt great and fit reasonably well.  The jacket is a win at $130 (again, check your surplus store first) and the scarf is outstanding.  Jeans could have a better fit, but under $30 is tough to find with cotton prices being what they are.  The Clarks are nicely down to Target prices.
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What else to look for:  Workout gear, Glasswear, and Underwear

Marshalls and other off-price department stores aren’t always a home-run in the wardrobe department, but they can be a consistent place to find basics like workout clothes, good underwear and even glasses for your bar at home.

Three items that when used in conjunction, would make for a fine Saturday.

Compression t-shirts are expensive, and they can often be found for more than half off.  That box of six burgundy-style wine glasses were going for $15.  The three pack of CK low-rise briefs, in exact sizes mind you, were $12.99.

It sounds odd, since none of this is obviously used, but shopping at places like Marshalls requires a somewhat similar mindset to what hitting a thrift store takes.  You’re not always going to find something.  More often than not, you won’t.  But when you do?  It usually makes up for all those times you left empty handed.

Other thoughts or tips for shopping at Marshalls, TJ Maxx, Ross, and stores like them?  Leave it all below.