A Tale Of Two (Pairs Of) Jeans - Full Price vs. Outlet
February 9, 2018 1:08 PM   Subscribe

OutletFilter: I bought a pair of NYDJ jeans at full price at Nordstrom. Then I bought the same pair of jeans - brand, model, size - from Nordstrom Rack for 50% less. After wearing the Rack jeans for a day, they stretched out so much as to be unwearable. I just looked at the website listings for the two stores and the two *identically named* jeans have different fiber content, inseam, etc. -- even though they were advertised as the same jeans. What gives, and how can I avoid this in the future?

Here are the Nordstrom jeans, and the Nordstrom Rack jeans.

Both are "Barbara" model, but Rack's (bad fit) is: 59% cotton, 20% viscose, 13% modal, 8% polyester and Nordstrom's (good fit) is: 70% cotton, 13% polyester, 10% lyocell, 5% elastomultiester (elasterell-p), 2% elastane.

They looked and felt the same when I first got them which is why I cut the tags off the Nordstrom Rack kind. But I just looked, and the Rack jeans also have a slightly different-looking label than the Nordstrom jeans, even though they're both "NYDJ".

I am well aware that brands like J. Crew, Gap, etc. make cut-rate versions of their clothes that never go to the retail stores and are specifically for outlets.

But are brands making clothes that have the same cut and style name, but higher/lower quality, depending on whether it's at a Nordstrom or a Nordstrom Rack? Is this legal? Is there any way to know when you're shopping at a discount/outlet store whether it is truly "overstock" or if you're buying a cheap product?

And also, side question, is there any way to know when trying on a pair of jeans whether it's the kind that will stretch out beyond recognition throughout the day?
posted by rogerrogerwhatsyourrvectorvicto to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (13 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
More cotton, less stretch.
posted by aniola at 1:18 PM on February 9, 2018 [1 favorite]


Actually, you didn't buy the same pair of jeans at both places. I recently read (to my dismay) that the clothes sold in outlets are inferior in quality and made for the outlets to sell under the brand name for less money. I'm sorry I don't remember where I read it, but it was a reputable source.
posted by KleenexMakesaVeryGoodHat at 1:26 PM on February 9, 2018 [7 favorites]


I've been burned by name-brand jeans from Nordstrom Rack too. Paige jeans that fit like dream... until I washed them and the stretchy material sagged and they looked awful. Here's a reddit discussion of the issue. The top comment has good advice but I haven't personally shopped enough at these types of places to verify that this is always true.

"And also, side question, is there any way to know when trying on a pair of jeans whether it's the kind that will stretch out beyond recognition throughout the day?"
I would like to second this question! I can tell you that most Abercrombie and Fitch stretchy "denim" jeans are terrible for this, though.
posted by Oliva Porphyria at 1:28 PM on February 9, 2018 [1 favorite]


According to this between 0 to 20% of stuff sold at Nordstorm Rack etc. is from the main store. But, I actually think you are misunderstanding what happened. According to the NYDJ site the "Barbara" comes in a range of fabrics including "SureStretch", "Premium", "Lightweight Premium" and just plain denim. It looks like the Rack pair was "SureStretch" and the Nordstrom pair was "Premium" which is actually a bit cheaper originally (although that shade of SureStretch is now on sale). Now maybe they always mark down the SureStretch stuff and send it to Rack, who knows. But they're fairly upfront about the fact that they're different fabrics.
posted by acidic at 1:32 PM on February 9, 2018 [14 favorites]


I've long known that outlet stores carry cheaper product but it was only recently that I learned about how far channel differentiation for brands can go, so don't blame yourself for not knowing. The brand product (Nike, for example) that you purchase at a lower end retailer will have been manufactured to meet the price point needed at that retail level, so it's not going to be the same product that they would make for a different retail space.

It sounds like that's going to be true for at least some of Nordstrom Rack's product now, too. If they're going to have store displays and a website with advertised product, then the store needs to know they'll have product to fill those displays, which means being able to order product specifically for the Rack.
posted by redsparkler at 1:33 PM on February 9, 2018 [1 favorite]


Another possibility is that the ones at Nordstrom Rack are last season's, and they've changed the style for this year's version which are in the regular stores.
posted by something something at 1:36 PM on February 9, 2018


But are brands making clothes that have the same cut and style name, but higher/lower quality, depending on whether it's at a Nordstrom or a Nordstrom Rack?

Yes.

Is this legal?

I guess so.

Is there any way to know when you're shopping at a discount/outlet store whether it is truly "overstock" or if you're buying a cheap product?

If you're at an outlet, it's 90%+ likely to be a cheaper outlet-specific product. There are too many outlet store to stock with overstock.
posted by GuyZero at 1:55 PM on February 9, 2018


One way to distinguish when buying online is to always buy the same colorway name. As far as I can tell, different fabrics always get different color names, even if they're both dark-wash denim or whatever.

In the case of NYDJ, you probably *are* buying the same cut/style of jean--but it's made from a cheaper fabric.

Of course, that means you can't easily duplicate this season's good full-price fit at the outlet; but you were unlikely to do that anyway, as you've discovered.
posted by serelliya at 1:55 PM on February 9, 2018


Great answers so far -- thanks, especially the tip on the colorway names.

I was raised to believe "paying full price means you're being ripped off" but apparently paying discount prices are also a route to sucker-dom, at least in Nordstrom Rack's case. Argh.
posted by rogerrogerwhatsyourrvectorvicto at 2:17 PM on February 9, 2018


It's not always a case of outlet vs. full-price store: I have two pairs of Gap jeans in the exact same style, same fabric content but different colors, bought a few weeks apart. One pair fits perfectly and the other starts to slide off my butt after a few hours.
posted by Metroid Baby at 2:41 PM on February 9, 2018


I would be curious to learn if there are brands that produce 1 version for Nordstrom and one for NR. There are definitely brands that are 'rack' brands, but my experience with NYDJ, and other brands I know are at Nordstrom was that I've watched those styles go on sale at Nordies and then move over to the outlet. I try not to buy things at the rack that I wasn't already familiar with for this reason, it would be disappointing if NYDJ turns out to be a brand you couldn't trust at the rack. My guess is that these are just 2 versions of the same style and differ based on the attributes mentioned above, plus the posibilities being manufactured at different times with a different vendor, etc.
posted by littlerockgetaway at 5:28 PM on February 9, 2018


Legal or not, I would politely ask for a refund, since you had researched carefully. They are likely to give you a refund, tags or not, due to a reasonable misunderstanding.
posted by theora55 at 5:36 PM on February 9, 2018 [1 favorite]


theora55, I did ask for a refund, but I was told that because the tags had been removed, they would not accept it, despite my telling them that they were low quality. This was online via their customer service chat; I have to figure out whether it's worth it to make the trek to a Nordstrom Rack brick and mortar store to see what they say.
posted by rogerrogerwhatsyourrvectorvicto at 6:09 PM on February 9, 2018 [1 favorite]


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