Loehmann's Hits a High Note

South Coast Plaza might be the third largest mall in America. And it might boast the second highest sales volume in California at $800 per square foot. But it’s not the easiest place to shop at for normal schmoes like me and you.

Just down the street from South Coast Plaza lies another shopping center we’ve all seen: Metro Pointe at South Coast is also full of designer goods, but at slashed prices. With wallet-friendly storefronts like DSW and Nordstrom Rack (and, okay, even Marshall’s), it’s been a long-standing favorite if you’re willing to spend the time sifting through piles and piles of clothing.

With the recent grand opening of Loehmann’s, though, Metro Pointe has secured its title as the top bargain-shopping spot in Orange County. I’ll admit I totally ignored the news of the opening (I’ve never had much luck at these types of bargain stores, especially Loehmann’s), and all the excavating for my size wasn’t much fun either.

But this Loehmann’s? It’s like none you’ve ever seen.

While there are existing locations in Long Beach, Irvine, Huntington Beach and Laguna Niguel, this brand-new Costa Mesa location stands out. It’s larger, much larger, than most. At 40,000 square feet, it’s only 4,000 square feet shy of the massive two-story Beverly Hills store. While the aesthetic of the pre-existing Loehmann’s locations is somewhat reminiscent of bargain basement-type stores or uh, Sears, this Loehmann’s strays from that with its shiny, white-and-silver interior and large displays. This place looks more boutique than discount outlet.

But what’s really important here? The clothing selection is amazing. When you first enter the storefront, you’re greeted by the largest Back Room (Loehmann’s name for their high-end department) selection ever. D&G, Alexander Wang, Phillip Lim, Prada, Vera Wang, Miu Miu, Max Mara, Valentino galore. And all for 30 to 65 percent less than what you would pay across the street (albeit a season or two later). I picked up a Rag & Bone blazer (pictured) for $130—original price, $450.

While most of the real estate is occupied by women’s wear, the smaller men’s selection is just as substantial: I spotted some John Varvatos digs for more than 60 percent off their original retail price. The store also features a children’s department and sections for handbags, accessories and swimwear. The shoe selection is the only somewhat snoozy part of the store, with a limited selection that Nordstrom Rack definitely beats.

Loehmann’s, South Coast Metro Pointe, 901 South Coast Dr., Costa Mesa, (714) 549-2263; www.loehmanns.com.


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