This weekend, my bestie Alissa and I went on a field trip to Deer Park, New York, where together with other influencers we took part in a fun shopping challenge. Organized by StyleWatch magazine and Tanger Outlets, our fashion quest was all about creating an Insta-friendly look for under $250 in under two hours. Alissa and I are all about cool challenges, especially if they’re related to style and fashion, so we gladly jumped on this opportunity. Check out all the details below about our day at Tanger and let us know if you have any tips on how to score the best deals at outlet stores.
11:30 am: Alissa and I arrived at the dedicated meeting place early and had a quick chat about what was happening in our lives since we last met. I updated her on my gluten-free lifestyle and new haircut. She told me that her online store is about to launch.
12:00 pm: In StyleWatch’s lobby, we met some other influencers participating in the challenge: Angela Ricardo Bethea, Megan Zietz, Carla Kokoszka, Katie McBroom, Michelle Paige Orsi, Emily & Abigail, Nadia, Peggy, Tineey Tsang, Jackie Giardina, Maria Gonzalez, Yinka, Courtney, Donah, Johnnybell, Christian Blanchet, Sarah O’Brien, Jami Jaye, Danielle Gray, Eileen, Beck Spencer, and Jen Dang (I hope I didn’t miss anyone). Together, we jumped on a bus and went on a “field trip” to Tanger, surrounded by StyleWatch editors and a social media team.
12:30 pm: On our way to Tanger we decided that since the time was limited, we needed to be strategic about which stores to hit first. To do so, we downloaded a Tanger Outlets app where we bookmarked some of the stores that we wanted to visit first. I noted Kate Spade, BCBGMaxAzria, Last Call by Neiman Marcus, J.Crew, Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5th, and Ann Taylor, to name a few.
1:00 pm: After reviewing our challenge participant’s kit, which included a few yummy snack options, water, a Starbucks card, and an issue of StyleWatch magazine where I was featured, we had a few ideas about the types of outfits we were looking for. I figured that I wanted to create a look that features a combination of polka dots and stripes. Alissa picked an orange and fuchsia combo option.
2:00 pm: We arrived at Tanger Outlets and our challenge began. The first store we hit was Kate Spade, as both Alissa and I enjoy quirky and girly pieces by the brand. I immediately spotted a red glasses stripe bag that I fell in love with. It was so summery and it perfectly matched my sunnies by Ditto that I was wearing that day. The bag was 40% off and it was the biggest discount I could ever score on Kate Spade items (the website goes 25% off at most, and only during their Black Friday sale). Inspired by the affordability of my purchase, I also picked a cute key chain (I needed to update mine for a while, but was never able to find the right one). Meanwhile, Alissa purchased cute round sunnies that look so pretty on her.
The next spot we hit was Charlotte Russe where Alissa found a statement piece for her orange-fuchsia look: a pair of gorgeous (and very affordable!) sandals that she later matched with a lace J. Crew top and skort by Express. I picked a simple white tee and a red nail polish: there’s no such thing as having too many nail polishes.
Halfway through our challenge, we stopped by at one of my favorite stores of all time: BCBGMaxAzria. If you follow Alissa on Periscope, you know that trying on dresses by BCBG is one of our favorite things to do during our meetings. Somehow, there’s always a dress or a romper in their store that I unavoidably get attracted to! While Alissa explored the dress section, I went all the way to the shoe department and found these gorgeous suede sandals that reminded me of Stuart Weitzman’s Nearly Nude Sandal. The only difference is that my BCBG sandals were only $60 as opposed to $398 for these by Stuart Weitzman.
Our time started to run out and I hadn’t found my statement polka dot piece yet… Alissa and I decided to stop by at J. Crew as it was close to where our team meeting would be. The moment I got into the store, I spotted the polka dot section and in a few seconds I had a perfect pair of shorts! I shop at J. Crew so often that I didn’t even need try them on — I knew that the size was just perfect! While I was hunting for my polka dot bottom, Alissa also found a perfect match for her fuchsia skirt — a gorgeous lace top that comes in a soft shade of orange.
4:00 pm: Our dedicated shopping time was almost over, and we still hadn’t had a chance to photograph our Tanger Outlets finds. To make the best of our time and take different photos, we decided to split up and look for the perfect background. I felt like a real TV quest participant running from one store to another and trying to find a perfect white floor or a shelf for my IG shot. Finally, I spotted the desired spot and snapped my Insta-friendly flatlay.
4:15 pm: Getting back to the bus, we were somewhat tired, but so excited. I’ll be honest with you: shopping gives me an even bigger dose of adrenaline than working out! I couldn’t stop talking about all the amazing deals that Alissa and I found at Tanger and I had a feeling the rest of the girls felt the same. In fact, most of the girls decided to wear their new purchases right away!
4:45 pm: There was a random moment of silence on the way back to the city as influencers were editing and posting their photos from the day of shopping at Tanger. This social media game got even more exciting as the winner of the contest should have received her $5,000 shopping credit to spend at Tanger. Considering how affordable the prices are, it’s easily a yearlong shopping experience!
Around 5:30 pm: We arrived at one of New York’s hot spots, a rooftop bar with an amazing view called Mr. Purple. Discussing our day of shopping and fun over drinks, I was excited to catch up with some of my favorite bloggers whom I’ve been following for a while. I chatted with Kimberly from Penny Pitcher Fashion whom I’ve been following since the recession in my search for expensive-looking affordable pieces. I also caught up with Megan Zeitz whom I constantly bump into on all sorts of blogger events. Megan writes a fashion and lifestyle blog called TFDiaries where she features affordable pieces in her signature bohemian chic style.
6:15 pm: After a set of drinks and appetizers (Alissa and I are both gluten-free so we stocked up on French fries), the winner of the contest was announced. The prize went to Courtney of Color me Courtney who put together this minimalistic chic look that incorporates a splash of color. Isn’t this clutch that Courtney found at Tanger adorable?
7:30 pm: After watching a mind-blowing sunset from New York’s coolest rooftops, we said our goodbyes and went for a vegan, gluten-free snack at a local Thai restaurant, followed by drinks at a nearby bar.
Coming back home from the exciting day that Alissa and I spent at Tanger Outlets, I decided to repeat my exciting shopping experience sometime soon so I can upgrade my summer wardrobe collection without spending too much cash. I did shop at a Tanger location on the way to the Hamptons last year, and I believe this season will be no exception. I haven’t decided whether it’s going to be a couple shopping therapy trip or a girls-only adventure, but outlet shopping is definitely something that’s on my summer to-do list.
Shop my look:
Shop Alissa’s look: