Discount malls, outlet stores and bargain basements scare me to death.

Century 21 is like hell on earth and the thought of having to dig through a pile of clothes in between five other hungry and possessed women makes me feel slightly ill.

So needless to say, although I love me a good bargain, there are lengths to which I will go and boundaries I will not cross.

Having said that, I have found a very manageable store that still allows you to score those discounts – just in a humane environment. Not exactly a secret, DSW is a national shoe store that claims to sell designer shoes at discount prices. “Cheaper than Zappos” is their claim to fame.

I am a female. And like most females, shoes run in our blood  just as much as we radiant estrogen. So the sweet smell of thousands of shoes in one place lured me into this normally uncharted territory.

Like most discount stores, the fluorescent lighting is always a killer. An immediate mood kill and you suddenly look slightly ill. DSW is no different. And although at first glance, it looks like it’s mainstream brothers and sisters, you begin to realize that the place is actually clean, organized and there are some ok things in between the rows of orthopedic sandals.

Catering for men and woman in everything from fitness, to evening to day wear, DSW has crossed every T and dotted every I.

Of course, there is going to be a hell of a lot of crap and for every great find, you will have 20 hideous platform thongs looking back at you – but it’s kind of worth it for a $200 discount and a cute pair of shoes, right?

They had everything from L.A.M.B to Converse (and not the shitty 1998 styles you clearly don’t want) to Steve Madden to Badgley Mischka and more. Some of the styles are discounted to ridiculous prices and you end up having a pair of shoes that everyone loves that you can claim are some fancy designer, even though you got them for $50 at DSW. Trust me, noone else will have the stuff you buy here, because if you are any self-respecting member of the New York community – you wouldn’t be caught dead in somewhere like DSW and therefore have never seen half the great stuff you find.

Not that hideous, right?

Like all good things – they come to those who wait, and it’s always a hit and miss. You could go in one day and find 6 pairs of awesome heels you love, and the next, be bombarded with nothing but pleather boots and leave feeling nauseous.

So far I have picked up a few pairs – my favourite being below, for a mere $50. (and 100% leather too)

My advice thought, stick it out.

Just like you would after a few drinks on a Saturday night – suck up that pride, lower those standards and give it go.

Icon image credited to Jakandjil.com


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