For weeks the Advice Sisters have plastered our “pages” with gift ideas, things to buy for yourself, or for others. Mostly, we suggest online web links for purchase –the official web page cited. There are many reasons, but mostly I want to avoid issues with retailers that intentionally or unintentionally purchase grey market goods, or undercut authorized dealers of products. Also, it would be unwise of me to select one store or retailer over another, implying that they are superior to a gazillion other retailers or web sites that can offer the same item. Finally, many people, myself included, really don’t find it pleasant to shop in a crowded mall at holiday time, so I am not suggesting these venues, either.
Today, however, I am suggesting specific retailers that may have bricks and mortar stores in your area, but also have online web sites (many also have free downloadable apps), where you can find items that are either unique, or true bargains. Sometimes, a big department store or online retailer, or outlet, will produce the types of shopping (or bargains) you just can’t find anywhere else. Some have easy to download free apps that make it easy to shop any time, anywhere (e.g. when you’re stuck at the doctor’s office or waiting to pick up your child from dance class). I’m not endorsing any specific item, nor am I getting compensated by these retailers for the post. The opinions expressed here are simply my own based on my own experiences and often obsessive-like tendencies to check the apps and see what is new. The retailers are not listed in any order, they are just posted as I found items I wanted to share.
Let this feature help inspire you if shopping is starting to wear you down, you don’t know where to start, or you just love to find new things (window shopping is a good past-time as long as you keep those credit cards in your wallet most of the time).
Kohls: Kohls operates1,158 stores in 49 states making it the largest U.S. department store company by retail sales. They operate both retail stores and a user-friendly web site and they have a downloadable app for IOS and Android. My experience with the Kohls customer service online was excellent, but a number of the items I attempted to purchase were sold out and unavailable at check-out, even though they were shown as available when I clicked to order them. Still, the site is huge, the prices reasonable and the items, varied and attractive.
I particularly liked this KOHLS Elle graphic crop pullover $50 in pink or grey in sizes XS to XL which is not your ordinary same old same old sweater gift. And for men, this Wembly Overtime Flask for just $40.00 was the hit of the holiday display at the Kohls editor’s preview. This 60 oz flask is HUGE! It’s fun, and unique. Here are some other photos I took at the Kohls preview, to give you an idea of the types of things you can purchase at the stores, or online. For a list of store locations and online, visit www.Kohls.com
Burlington Coat Factory: Burlington Coat Factory Warehouse Corporation (now commonly referred to simply as Burlington Stores, Inc.) is an American national off price retailer, with 523 stores in 44 states and Puerto Rico. Apart from the bricks and mortar stores, they have online shopping. The company claims that consumers can save up to 65% off department store prices every day. As an off-price retailer, the company buys the same items the department stores do as “overage” and can pass along savings to the consumer. Whenever you visit one of their stores, no matter what time or in what town you go, you’ll see different merchandise that reflects what’s trendy and current. If you like to shop, the idea that you can get true bargains every single time you visit, is exciting. However, if you are looking for something specific or you are the “I just want to get what I need and leave” type of shopper, you may find the experience kind of frustrating. But if you like to save money stores like Burlington Coat Factory can be a treasure-trove.
There is always something new at Burlington Coat Factory. Although the stock is constantly changing, you are bound to find wonderful thing. Here are some of the things I spied at the Editor’s preview that caught my eye. They’re the sorts of items that everyone wants to get for a holiday gift! For more information visit the Burlington Coat Factory web site.
HSN: Who hasn’t spend time watching HSN? It’s addictive! HSN (the name was originally an initialism for Home Shopping Network) is an American broadcast, basic cable and satellite television network that broacasts out of St. Petersburg, Florida and has former and current sister channels in several other countries. HSN also has online shopping and a downloadable app for IOS and android. The web site is very user friendly, including consumer reviews and lots of videos. It’s an easy and fun way to shop, and the shipping charges are included up front with every article so you can really see what an item is going to cost you without any surprises at check out (I wish more online retailers would do this).
The Advice Sisters usually showcase HSN’s holiday ornaments that support St. Judes Childrens Hospital(and those are available in new versions for 2014), However, this year I am showing you a few types of different things that HSN has to offer. What I love about HSN is that you can buy everything from a small gift such as these adorable fox head key chains, or a practical (but fun) gift for the home, all the way to designer clothing and these amazing modern art deco items that are truly fine jewelry: Rarities: Fine Jewelry with Carol Brodie Ruby, White Zircon and Black Spinel Sterling Silver “Art Deco” Ring Appraised value: $599.00 HSN price: $229.90 S&H: $6.21 There are so many other stunning designs in costume and in fine jewelry at HSN along with so many other “wish list” items in all price points that you just have to go to the HSN web site and see for yourself what your heart might desire, or watch HSN on TV!
QVC: I am including QVC without photos or gift suggestions in this review, because QVC generously sent actual samples and we are featuring them in a number of our gift guides throughout the holiday season. Please go to to the top right hand side of this page to the Search Box, type in “QVC” and you will see everything QVC has to offer including all the fabulous beauty items we have reviewed in the past (many of those are still drool-worthy and available for purchase, too)! They have SO MANY gorgeous, glamorous and “wish list” items at amazingly affordable prices, and you really need to just go to the QVC web site and check out everything they have to offer, or watch the TV show. QVC has a downloadable app for Android and IOS.
Lands End: Lands’ End is an American clothing retailer based in Dodgeville, Wisconsin, that specializes in casual clothing, luggage, and home furnishings. The majority of Lands’ End’s business is conducted through mail order and Internet sales, but the company also runs more than a dozen retail operations, primarily in the Upper Midwest, along with international shops in the UK, Germany, Japan, France and Austria. The customer service is knowledgeable and friendly, responsive and amazing. One quick example: When my husband’s Lands End briefcase ended up in the rubble of 9-11 at the World Trade Center (he is alive, thank you), Lands End replaced the bag immediately with no hassle and no charge. The products are as described and of good quality, and if something doesn’t meet your expectations, yo wont’ get a hard time returning it. Lands End tends towards classic fashion, but they have stepped it up recently, and also have a nice range of shoes and jewelry, along with swimwear and a nice selection for plus size women, plus nice clothes for men and kids. Lands End has an IPad App but not for Android (that I can find, anyway). It is one of my favorite places to shop both online and by catalog. *check our my recent get the look Lands End Fashion Feature for Fall/Winter feature on advicesisters.com
One of my favorite catalogue and online shopping resources is Lands End. They have a wide range of clothing and holiday gift-ables of high quality, many that can be personalized. I am just showing some accessories and cookies (delicious minty ones) but Lands End clothing is always a welcome gift. Check out the Lands End Get The Look feature that I did recently. Any piece of that look would make a wonderful gift, especially the luxurious pea coat or the CashTouch Plaid Scarf (just $29) which would please just about everyone. Visit the Lands End Web Site to learn more
Nordstrom: I’m not a big fan of big department stores, but I’ll make one exception: Nordstrom! This American upscale fashion retailer began as a shoe retailer (and their shoe selection is still exceptional), but over the years has expanded into a full service department store with inventory that includes clothing, accessories, handbags, jewelry, cosmetics, and fragrances. Select Nordstrom stores also have wedding and home furnishing departments. There are 271 stores operating in 36 states, which includes 117 Full-Line stores and 151 Nordstrom Racks. Nordstrom also serves customers through Nordstrom.com, the newly developed e-commerce site nordstromrack.com, and its online private sale site, HauteLook. In addition, Nordstrom operates one clearance store, along with two Jeffrey boutiques. Nordstrom is known for customer service, and goes that extra mile to provide value added and a great shopping experience for the customer. The personal shoppers at Nordstrom, from my personal experience, have been not just helpful, but life-saving at times (e.g. I needed a dress for a particular occasion, had shopped for literally months, couldn’t find a thing, and a personal shopper yanked the one dress from the one rack in the one size I needed, had it altered and sent to me in time..problem solved). In addition, the Advice Sisters have reviewed (and raved) about Nordstrom’s beauty department (use our search box and type in “Nordstrom beauty” to find those articles) every season. Although Nordstrom is not a bargain shop nor an off-price retailer, they have sales and exclusives that are simply killer!! You can shop Nordstrom online or use their downloadable apps for Nordstrom and Haute Look for IOS and Android.
Visiting a Nordstrom store or shopping online, especially the beauty department, is really like a huge “candy store” for adults. There are so many beauty goodies and things of “comfort and joy” to give everyone throughout the store that the only problem you might have it deciding what to give, what you just have to have for yourself. Some of the items are quite high end, but Nordstrom also has some nice exclusives such as a sparkling red mini zippered bag with two mini sized Deborah Lippman nail polishes one glittery ruby and one a shimmery merlot, for just $19.00 (the Deborah Lippmann Holiday Gifting Duet: Glam Rock in Ruby Red Slippers Glitter Bag) and the Diptyque Mini Candle Set: Nordstrom Beauty Exclusive for just $130.00 featuring 10 luxe, mini candles, impressively boxed that, if pressed, you could break up and gift to several friends.
Zulily: Zulily is an off-price online outlet that (according to Zulily) features more than 100 new sales events a day and over 9,000 new product styles. As an off-price retailer, almost everything on the site is just super-affordable. The web site and the downloadable apps (both IOS and Android) are enjoyable and easy to use. The downside is a no return policy and a shipping time that can be fairly fast, or crushingly slow .Zulily’s target audience is mothers who are on the lookout for unique brands and products for their children. Sales can last from one day to 72 hours. Zulily says 49% of their orders come from mobile devices!
Above are just a few things I saw at a holiday preview for Zulily. As with some of the other off-price retailers and online retailers, the stock changes so quickly, I can’t suggest individual items to you today that will be there tomorrow. But Zulily has become one of those online shopping sites that I admit has become a daily habit for me. If you want to purchase items from Zulily it’s best to graze the site often, buy what you like, and put them away for the future due to slow delivery times in some cases, but the deals are so good it’s worth grabbing the them. Another nice thing about Zulily is that there are separate sales for plus and maternity, and also for kids, men, outdoors, kitchen, home decor, holiday, tech, and tons of things for women, it’s worth downloading the app or going online to look when you need a break from work or something else. With 4.1 millions active customers you know Zulily has a lot of fans who think they’re doing something good visit http://www.zulily.com
Eddie Bauer: Eddie Bauer was was an sportsman, merchant, and inventor whose knack for design produced some of the twentieth century’s most useful outerwear and recreational equipment. He was among the first to use goose down to line and insulate jackets, and created the flight parka that came to be known as the “Bomber Jacket” worn by thousands of American World War II pilots. When I think of Eddie Bauer, I think travel, sports, great casual clothing, and plenty of items for outdoorsmen and women. The company has retail stores that sell “premium” Eddie Bauer merchandise, Outlet Stores that sell Eddie Bauer merchandise and inventory overstocks at cheaper prices (and I’ve found some real sales in these places) and of course, there are catalogues and the website (EddieBauer.com). There is a an Eddie Bauer Mobile App for IOS but it’s more an “adventure app” which acts as a companion for outdoor exploration and surprisingly has no support for ecommerce activity.
When it comes to shopping however, the stores, the web site and the catalogues make shopping a fun experience. At a recent preview, just perusing the store, I found beautiful, colorful jackets and vests of all types for men, women and children. If you are shopping for a man or a women who really likes sports, adventure travel,and the like, you can’t do better than a gift from Eddie Bauer.
One of my favorite ski jackets of all time was purchased at Eddie Bauer, and I wore it for literally decades. The salespeople in the stores are also quite knowledgeable. While the focus is on clothing and especially high performance outerwear, there are luxury items such as these beautiful genuine shearling slippers (the ones shown are for women sizes 6-11M but there are several types of shearling slippers for men, too) for just $79.00. For more information visit the Eddie Bauer Web Site.
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In disclosure, some of these companies may have offered me a gift bag with some small item or items in it, so long ago I couldn’t even remember what, when, or who and I have not been paid to endorse anyone. The opinions are my own. #Kohls, #Nordstrom, #Zulily, #BurlingtonCoatFactory, #EddieBauer, #QVC, #HSN, #landsEnd