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Marshall’s (and TJMaxx and Home Goods and that whole family of don’t-throw-it-away-we’ll-take-it stores) is a treasure trove of designer goods but for some reason no one believes me. According to their corporate site, Marshall’s is the largest “off-price” retailer in the US and according to me “off-price” means cheap, y’all.

I get that they’re not the loveliest stores on earth and I get that they’re not really organized and I get that 80% of their stock is straight up garbage, but I personally also get a whole of awesome stuff in there. You just have to dig.

I have picked up Coach purses, Gucci sunglasses, Seven jeans, killer shoes, expensive department store face creams and most recently this adorable little Kate Spade Saturday dress. (Unrelated to fashion but worthy of note, I also love picking up discounted “gourmet” food here. Things like chia seed bars and kale chips and assorted other overpriced things that didn’t sell in other stores find their way here with a cheaper price tag and eventually straight into my face. The home decor stuff is also so awesome.)

I can’t find the dress online, but I think it retailed around $200. I spent $50.

The thing about shopping these off-price stores is you can’t go in looking for a particular item; you’ll never find it. You just have to pop in with an open mind and see what you find. Here are some other tips:

  • Ignore sizes and try on everything. Since they carry hundreds of different brands, there is no consistency to the sizing. You might be in the Juniors section. You might be in the Maternity section. You don’t care; you’re just here for a deal. Try it on.
  • Get a cart. Odds are you’ll find lots of “maybe” stuff and then slowly whittle it down to the final purchase. You will need backup for this. The cart is your friend. (PS – Be nice to the fitting room attendant and they’ll let you take in more than 10 items.)
  • Go for quality. The cheap clothes at these stores are CHEAP and they will fall apart after one wash. Don’t do it. Look for labels you recognize that represent quality.
  • Unless of course you’re going cheap… When I want to try a trend I’m not willing to commit serious funds to, I head straight to the TJX stores. Overalls, big ugly sweater capes, crop tops… experiment on the cheap here so you don’t regret your purchase when the fad comes and goes.
  • Find out when the shipments come in. I think my stores get them on Wednesdays but just ask the manager. They’ll hook you up.
  • Don’t forget the snacks. Seriously the food aisle is great fun.
  • The designer stuff is in the front. Or on a special rack. Or otherwise labeled. UNLESS, of course, it’s on clearance. Never skip the clearance rack. Those items are basically free.
  • Never skip the clearance rack. Just reiterating.
  • Workout clothes! They’ve got all the big guys–Nike, Adidas, Columbia, North Face, etc.–along with a whole lot of knockoff lululemon. If you’ve got a sports brand you like, you’ll probably find it on the cheap here. If not, you probably need some socks and they have plenty. I like Puma. (I’d steer clear of any off brand spandex. Just saying.)
  • The men’s section is garbage. Move along. You will never find anything for your boyfriend. I already checked for all of us and it is a mess.
  • When all else fails… HOME SECTION. At a minimum you will leave the store with a mug or an inspirational notebook or a new bed for your cat. YOU CANNOT LOSE.

Anybody else love TJX and/or Kate Spade, and if you love Kate Spade so much why won’t you believe me that you can buy it super cheap at the TJX stores?


  1. kaitlin kaitlin

    love it. I’ll add a northerner’s opinion and say you cannot go wrong with the cold weather section. Name brand ski coats, snowpants, Smartwool socks, snowboarding gloves, all far cheaper than anywhere else and well-stocked.

    • Katie Katie

      Yes! I’ve gotten some great coats too. I doubt we’ll ever see snowpants down here though…

  2. Kay Kay

    Their home goods are amazing, but I haven’t had much luck with their clothes, so I’m super jealous. Now that I’m in the city it’s harder to get out to one. But I love the dress you’re wearing.

    • Katie Katie

      Yeah, the clothes are like a treasure hunt. Definitely hit or miss.

  3. I love this! It’s almost embarrassing how many times I answer “TJ Maxx” to the ” so cute, where’d you get that?”

  4. Janice Janice

    Marshall’s is the only place I look for shoes that will last. BCBG, Steve Madden, Guess, Franco Sarto – you really can’t go wrong.

    Ever since my niece was born 2 years ago, I’d always make a visit to the baby section. Because how can you resist that $7 baby dress?

    • Katie Katie

      Yes! I forgot about the baby stuff. Now that I have a niece I’ve started paying attention. So cheap.

  5. Amanda Bee Amanda Bee

    I love that dress. I have a Marshalls and a TJ Maxx within a mile of each other, and both near my house. I always strike out at one and hit gold at the other, but there’s no telling which’ll be great and which will suck that day so I go to both.

    Totally true about the food section and the workout clothes. I basically never leave without impulse purchasing some fancypants food and some socks or a sports bra.

  6. kate kate

    i finally rediscovered the marshalls in costwold. they have been absolutely killing it with Joie and Equipment tops, paige and jbrand demin (seriously!?) and kate spade tops! i never find kate spade dresses though, i will have to go this week to look around again…
    totally agree on dudes stuff. so terrible! my boyfriend has found some UA cleats there, but that’s it. and who wears cleats anyway?
    i’m obsessed with making sure i pay less than 50% of full price on 90% of what i buy. how can you not! dork central right here.

    • Katie Katie

      YES. Marshall’s Cotswold is my jam. That’s exactly where I got this dress, actually. So keep digging.

      PS – You could write a book on “less than 50% of full price on 90% of what I buy.” The world needs it.

  7. Joy Joy

    I’m obsessed with tj Maxx but but every time I go in it costs me $150…

    • Katie Katie

      Haha this is a fact for me too. But I always consider how much I’m getting in that haul. It’s usually a whole lot.

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