By Cindy Weber-Cleary
Updated Oct 25, 2015 @ 7:30 pm
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Back in the days before you could shop from home, my friend Kim and I used to have a lot of fun hitting the designer outlets and discount stores such as Loehmann’s and Daffy’s. We’d make a day of it—and, yes, it could get competitive!

Our adrenaline would get going as soon as we parked the car. Once in the store, we would head off in opposite directions. Since both of us worked in the fashion industry, we could spot a fine designer garment in racks full of schmattas (garment center Yiddish lingo, which means “rags”) from afar. We weren’t actually shopping together; we we were shopping against each other! And, boy, did we love it!

At the end of the day, we liked to spread out our finds and tally how little we had spent. I guess the experience was somewhat similar to the young women who post “haul videos” online after shopping today. It was a thrill!

Now, with services such as, you can get a ping in your inbox any time a designer you like has something on sale. But, it’s not the same. So, occasionally, I make up challenges for myself, just for fun. Today, I was clicking around online and I decided to see what great things I could find for myself for under $200 per item in less than an hour. Even at that modest price, I could only justify buying a few—but I had a blast! I found this great Zara bag (above, $159,, plus some other scores.

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Shop: 1. Uniqlo coat, $190; 2. Zara jacket, $199; 3. Topshop sleeveless jacket, $95; 4. Adam Lippes coat, $70;



Shop: 1.Zara pants, $100; 2. Gap sweater, $50; 3. Iris and Ink skirt, $175; 4. H&M shirt, $30;



Shop: 1. Banana Republic booties, $168; 2. Old Navy sneakers, $25; 3. Banana Republic bag, $150; 4. Nine West flats, $89;