Although there are no true discount stores in Palo Alto, one can occasionally find a steal or sale going on at the many shops spread out at the very well appointed Stanford Shopping Center (yes there is a mall on the Stanford campus), downtown Palo Alto, in the vicinity of University Avenue or Town and Country Shopping Center. Venturing out into neighboring towns like Mountain View, Redwood City, San Carlos, Santa Clara or Sunnyvale to chain designer discount stores can often give that instant frugalistic relief of finding designer dabs at a fraction of their usual price. I am the self-appointed queen of bargain shopping and I wear my crown with pride. I am super proud of my ability to spot the right piece for any occasion and snag it at the prices that will make my purse proud. Here is the Frugal fashionistas guide to shopping in Palo Alto :
Nordstrom Rack: the closest one to Palo Alto is located in East Palo Alto next to IKEA and Home Depot. It is my current go to store for any occasion, as it is close enough that I can get there in less than 10 minutes and the selections are great. I often leave the store with more than what I walked in for. They boast of tons of designer jeans like Hudson, Paige, J Brand, which come in very handy in the Bay Area. There are also runway collections, shoes galore, coats, fab sweates and more. You truly can’t go wrong with a visit to Nordstrom Rack.
Off 5th and Neiman Marcus Last Call: Both of these stores are located in the Great Mall at Milpitas, and a bit far from Palo Alto – 20-30 minutes, but it is worth the trip. They are also very similar to Nordstrom, but with a wider selection of high end, top designers and runway collections. And if you don’t find what you are looking for, there are quite a few other factory outlet stores in the same mall.
Ross Dress for Less: If you have time and patience then Ross will work for you. It is a bit of everything for everyone with the same intensity. The prices are extremely low, and you may just find that perfect dress for your upcoming date night or girls’ night out in the City. They carry mid level and unknown designers. However, the styles are trendy and cater to a wide range of tastes. You will be more shocked at the price tag than anything else. Let’s just say, they are truly priced to move merchandise. There are 3 Ross stores in the area – one in Mountain View, San Carlos and the other in Sunnyvale. They all have similar products, but I find that the one in Sunnyvale has a wider selection. There is a new Ross opening on Rengstorff Avenue close to the Google campus. I guess the selection in that store will be more oriented to luxury designers.
T.J.Maxx and Marshall’s: Although T.J.Maxx and Marshall’s have the same products, as they are owned by the same parent company (TJX stores), here in Silicon Valley, I find that if I have an hour to spend at either, my best bet would be Marshall’s. They have a huge shoe selection, great designer collections and an affinity for Micheal Kors, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, and Gucci, among others. The designers and offerings vary and you will be very tempted to grab their stunning accessories and something for the home. There are three main Marshall’s close to Palo Alto: at Grant Road in Mountain View, on El Camino in Redwood City, Milpitas at Great Mall and in Cupertino on Stevens Creek Boulevard. T.J.Maxx is very similar to Marshall’s, however, there is not a huge shoe collection. They also share a space with HomeGoods and that may in fact limit the size of their offerings.
DSW: This is another great discount store to add to the list, as you can find the widest and most fashionable selection of shoes and a few accessories as well. The closest one is at the Hillsdale Mall in Hillsdale. This location is a two story shoe paradise. From brand name designers to a variety of styles and prices, you are sure to find the perfect pair to make your feet very happy. If none of these stores work for you, there are quite a few more around the Bay Area, and of course Gilroy Premium Outlets is an oasis of designers. One can easily get to Gilroy in 45 minutes in minimal traffic, and carve out at least 3 hours of fashion fun time to get a full dose of fashiontastic shopping. All in all, there is a lot to choose from for the frugal fashionista as well as the shopper who just loves a good bargain (don’t we all?!). Happy shopping!