How to Shop at Century 21

Century 21 is perhaps the most challenging bargain shopping spot there is but you know me – I’m always up for a challenge!

You see, each and every time I visit New York City I have to stop by Century 21. I blame it on my first high (shopping high of course). I mean I scored big time during that shopping trip. In fact, the experience was so magnificent that I am constantly trying to relive that magical moment. I will suffer through the crowds, the pandemonium, the mess, and the tourists to score a designer deal.

I will warn you, this store is not for the faint of heart! But if you think you’re tough enough and are still itching to shop at Century 21 please follow my tips to make your shopping trip a little more manageable.

1.) Timing is everything. I don’t know that there is a perfect time to shop at Century 21 but I can tell you one thing, the weekends isn’t the perfect time at all. Century 21 opens EARLY so my suggestion is to get up and get in when the doors open. I’ve also had pretty good luck going in the evening too. The only risk is being kicked out of the store due to closing time.  Another suggestion is to avoid leaving the store during cab changeover time. I always get stuck in that part of town during the shift change. Not cool.

2.) Dress appropriately. Wear sample sale attire when shopping at this store. If you are unclear on what that is, let me enlighten you … Black leggings, a tank top, and a ballet flats. The lines for the fitting rooms are no joke, so trying things on top of your clothing is ideal.

3.) Pack lightly. This is not the store to wear a big heavy jacket or to carry a massive purse. Pair down as much as possible.

4.) Hit the sale. Twice a year Century 21 has a massive sale and it is no coincidence that I plan my trips to New York around the sale. Call and find out when they mark things an extra 75% off the lowest price. That is the time to strike. The selection is typically pretty good  but don’t wait until the 90% off markdowns – the only items left are severely damaged.

5.) Check the basement. This store is big and if you don’t know what you are doing you can miss a department. Go all the way to the bottom to check out the women’s designer shoes. I have purchased many a shoe in that sad little basement.

6.) Get a basket. If you don’t get a basket you will inevitably find a bunch of stuff you want. Just grab a dorky red basket – it will make your shopping trip a lot easier.

7.) Don’t wait. Just buy. This principle holds true for pretty much all discount stores but it’s mission critical at Century. You can’t even set a piece down for a second to think about it without someone else snatching it up. If you like something, put it in your basket and decide later.

Happy shopping!

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