Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014
by Katelyn Trela
I recently took a trip to Chicago, a land of many things, as all lands are wont to be. Before exploring any of that land, I ventured (at a friend’s high recommendation) to the Urban Outfitters Surplus store.
It’s disguised to look like all other Urban Outfitters’ stores, inside and out. While I was expecting an abandoned warehouse, half-hazardly filled with boxes and boxes of sample sizes and last season’s clothes (which is the look of every other surplus store/sale I’ve ever conquered), the typical super-too-cool look made me feel like I was in on some incredible orange-tag secret.
Inside is a respectably-sized selection of men’s and women’s clothes, shoes, lots of fashion and home accessories. I didn’t find much in the store that was over $50. There were skirts for $5, dresses from $10-$40, shorts and jeans for under $30, and shoes (from platform jellies to killer black pumps) from $40-$50.
It is a surplus store in the truest sense, like if Urban Outfitters had a really big closet that they decided to clean out. One part samples, one part remains from a season ago, one part well overstocked goods that no one would/should ever want.
I made a count of at least 10 outfits that probably peaked when Rachel wore them on “Friends” 15 years ago, and a few floral jumpers that I definitely owned in second grade. That being said, Urban is a purveyor of that new-retro style, so those picks were probably leftovers from spring clearance sales at regular UO stores.
The gems were tucked away among sheer tops and cheetah-print Rayon slips, but I snagged a few.
My favorite find, a salmon-pink petal skirt dress with off-white embroidery, seemed like the find of a century for $5. But it rang up at $39.99 and I wiped away tears as I told the cashier to strike it from my purchase.
I ended up with a royal blue party-time dress (sorry, no side boob here) that was $9.99 (marked down from $89.99) and some opaque gray perfect-for-fall tights for $5 (originally $12).
If you’re in Chicago (or in Sherman Oaks, Calif., where there’s another surplus store) go for the adventure. You’ll see some weird shit, find some gems, and probably put on a pair of denim shorts that are way too small.