Paris is one of the best cities in the world for fabulous, of-the-moment clothes shopping, but unfortunately you can empty your entire wallet after one stop on the rue du Faubourg St.-Honoré. What’s a cash-strapped fashionista to do while trying to go shopping in Paris? With a bit of perseverance and a lot of rack research, you can stay in the glamour game and start buying your favorite labels for less.
Some stores have destockage, or overstock, locations where they send last year’s fashions for sale at a reduced price. A large collection of these stores are on the rue d’Alésia, in the 14th Arrondissement. My last visit there, I left with a headache after looking at all the multicolored sequins and glittery garments, but my advice is to target your store list and hit Sonia Rykiel on the right day, and you may be wearing a three-month-old blouse for half the original price. Cop-Copine, Zapa and Alain Weiz are worth a look, as are a few shoe stores scattered in between.
There are other more central destockage locations, which might even be right around the corner from your regular full-price stores. Zadig et Voltaire has a location in the heart of the Marais, with decent finds and prices. Kookaï, APC and Sandro have stores in the 2nd and 4th Arrondissements, with good markdowns and selections. It can definitely be hit or miss, but once you know where they are, a quick pass through will keep you in the know and in the green.
There are also special private events that happen all over the city, with designers unloading their past season’s line at more affordable prices. Adèle Sand and NGR are both popular locations with a revolving door of designers coming in and out every few days. You can become a member of each location to get the first look at all the finds, or you can luck into an invite sometimes posted online for a specific designer, like Maje, ba&sh or Tara Jarmon. Check the private sales invitations page on Facebook (see link below) for more information.
I went to opening day of the vente privée, or private sale, for Maje held at Adèle Sand. The doors opened at 10 a.m., and many ladies were already queued up well before 9:30 in an orderly, single-file line that ran nearly the length of the street. It was almost like trying to get into a club, with a well-suited bouncer managing the crowd and letting people in one at a time after checking their passes.
Once in, I had to relinquish not only my purse but also my sweater and jacket. You’re given a small plastic bag in which to put your wallet and cell phone, but otherwise you’re fully transparent, so the staff can make sure their merchandise doesn’t leave without passing through the register. Racks of recent and last season’s shirts, dresses, pants, skirts and jackets lined the walls in two large rooms. I found a cute, trendy pair of black skinny pants, with matching zippers up each side, for 50 euros—the regular price was three times that—and for 60 euros I walked away with a silky, short-sleeved top that was normally 139 euros. There were good deals on fairly current clothes, and the only cons were that there were no dressing rooms and you weren’t even allowed to throw something on top of what you were wearing, so know thyself and choose wisely!
If your taste is more couture but less cost, then check out the Reciproque stores on the rue de la Pompe. These are consignment shops where you’ll find only high-fashion designers, like Chanel, Hermès and Dior. You’ll see a range of jackets, clothes, shoes, bags and jewelry. You won’t be paying destockage prices, but you will be stylin’ in some vintage clothes and accessories direct from your Paris shopping trip.
Paris is a city of high fashion and haute couture, but that doesn’t mean you have to pay full price for everything. Don’t be shy about asking your go-to boutique if they have a destockage shop, and if you’re not afraid of doing a little work, you will be rewarded with top style while staying on budget.
64, rue d’Alésia, in the 14th.
118, rue d’Alésia, in the 14th.
139, rue d’Alésia, in the 14th.
91 bis, rue d’Alésia, in the 14th.
Zadig et Voltaire
22, rue du Bourg Tibourg, in the 4th.
82, rue Réaumur, in the 2nd.
32, rue Cassette, in the 6th.
26, rue de Sévigné, in the 4th.
13, rue Jean Beausire, in the 4th.
40 bis, rue Boulainvilliers, in the 16th.
89–101, rue de la Pompe, in the 16th.
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