I could never afford a full-price Badgley Mischka pink calfskin tote, but Winners makes dreams come true. I got such a $498 (that's USD, my friends) tote for a mere 248 CAD! It seems stores are only selling shorts that barely cover your lady parts, but I can get Calvin Klein shorts that have an adjustable length (too cute!) and a 50%-off price marker ($29.99). I saw a girl drooling over a pair of flats in the window at the Rideau Centre's Nine West store; I found them for almost half their current retail value -- and that model only just showed up in Canadian stores.
I'm not saying it's always a walk in the park; have you seen some of the women in a Winners store? They're ready to stab you with a snapped hanger to get the last pair of size 9 Coach flats (despite the fact that you cry "They're a size 6! The tag is upside-down! Look at my childsized feet as proof!"). Plus, Winners puts their magnetic tags in backwards in the jeans and you are guaranteed to leave the store bruised and battered after trying them on (but $40 for a $200 pair of jeans is worth a few broken blood vessels).
Here are some tips to snagging deals and steals like you never knew existed.
✓ Visit Winners (and not just one location) often and be prepared to browse EVERYTHING
✓ Always check one size up and one size down
✓ If you have a single-digit size, check (your size plus 10) for misplaced items
✓ Scan the racks for fabrics and colours that attract you instead of wasting time checking every item
✓ Find out which Winners stores have the Runway labels -- the high fashion names you usually only find at Holt Renfrew -- because there is usually only one per city (in Ottawa, it's the Merivale location)
✓ Try everything on since you don't know why the piece is at Winners: mistagged? Badly made? Snagged stiching? Or just your luck?!
Without Winners, my overstuffed closets would be lacking, and my wardrobe threadbare. When I walk into one of its stores, the world makes sense -- or at least the price tags do. It's like a little taste of heaven in a strip mall, a shopping plaza, a box store or an outlet centre.
My friends ask how I can afford these great Kensie dresses, Via Spiga heels, Guess jeans, and Diane Von Furstenberg carry-ons. "Easy," I reply. "I shop at Winners. You can be a winner, too!"