June 26, 2014 at 2:12 PM ET
Between Kohl’s Cash and constant sales, the retail giant is a great place to score deals. But it’s not the best destination for everything. We asked a few experts which aisles yield the best savings — and when you should keep on strolling in search of a better deal.
Buy: Women’s designer clothing
All our experts raved about the quality and selection of the big-name lines you can buy at Kohl’s. “The seasonal designer collaborations are always great, with Peter Som debuting most recently,” says Michelle Madhok, founder of savvy-shopping website SHEfinds. “The permanent designer collections are also pretty standout. We love LC Lauren Conrad, Jennifer Lopez and Rock & Republic. Not only are the clothes on-trend, well made and stylish, but obviously the prices are stellar.”
The Vera Wang collection is a gold mine for investment pieces for work or a night out, says Dawn Del Russo, a shopping guru and style expert. “To be able to say that you’re wearing Vera Wang is great, especially with prices around or below $100,” she says.
The juniors department is perfect for trendy items like neon jeans. “They have a wider selection of sizes than you’d think and if you want to try the trend, it’s a great way to score an inexpensive piece that you can work in with your existing wardrobe of regular, dependable items,” adds Dianna Baros, founder and editor of The Budget Babe.
Skip: Women’s shoes
“Truthfully, the only thing we're iffy on is women's shoes." shares SHEFinds editor-in-chief Jeannine Edwards. "Our experience has been that the quality isn't always consistent and we'd rather not take a chance on our feet." Our pick: Marshalls or DSW, where you can find close-outs on designer footwear at a fraction of the original cost.
Buy: Men’s accessories
Kohl’s is a gold mine of men’s essentials, including some pretty dashing embellishments. “You can pick up great men’s accessories that are both classic and on-trend, like boat shoes, fedoras," says Kimmie Smith, stylist and founder of Accessories Expert. "It’s a great way for men to try the trend without spending unnecessarily.”
Skip: Women’s handbags
“I’m not a big fan of their handbags,” says Baros. She says the styles and materials don’t necessarily hold up to offerings from other stores like Zara or H&M.
Buy: Kitchen items
There are plenty of steals and deals cooking when it comes to kitchen-related goods, particularly products from the Food Network. “It’s amazing for home entertaining, particularly now in the summer with the vast offering of outdoor items, like shatterproof plates and grilling items.” says Madhok. “Because they have sales so often, you can pretty much always get any kitchen gadget or essential for cheaper than most other places.”
Skip: Home decor and bedding
“I know a lot of people are fans of the home goods at Kohl’s, but I would say you’ll want to head to Target for their Threshold items, which give you a better selection and price. I think Kohl’s home goods are overpriced, even though they go on sale,” Baros explains.
“Flirt! Cosmetics are so much fun. I love the lipstick, and the mascara is absolutely amazing,” says Del Russo, who also recommends the soothing line theBalm. “The makeup brushes and tools from Real Techniques are absolutely amazing. They used to be exclusive to the UK, but now they’re available in the US. They’re super-soft, durable and they come in travel sets or individual brushes. They’re a great price for the quality.” LORAC, EOS and Essie? ”You don’t expect to find these items at Kohl’s, but they do have a surprisingly good selection of makeup.”
Skip: Fine jewelry
If you’re looking to invest money in precious stones and metals, shop elsewhere. “I’m not really a fan of the fine jewelry there,” says Del Russo. “Go to a jeweler to buy fine jewelry so you know what you’re purchasing. You’ll want to ask questions about the origin of the jewelry, the source and quality of the stone, and that’s better accomplished at a jewelry store.”
Buy: Kids’ stuff
Trying to shop for fast-growing tykes? “The kids’ clothing can't be beat,” says Edwards. “Kohl's carries iconic brands like Carter's and OshKosh, so you know you're getting quality without spending a ton. I also like to get birthday gifts here because the sales are great.”
Got a new bundle of joy? “Kohl’s is an amazing place to score new furniture for your baby,” according to Baros, who purchased her new son’s Hudson Babyletto Danish modern design crib on the Kohl's website at a better price than any of the competitors, thanks to some clever combining of online coupons and Kohl’s Cash.
Two more smart Kohl's shopping strategies before you head out:
“You'll pretty much always find items on sale at Kohl's, but it's been rumored their largest markdowns occur on the second and fourth Saturdays of the month. If you're shopping in store, weekend mornings are usually your best bet because the racks won't have been picked over and the good weekend sales are just getting started,” says Edwards.
Finally, when shopping at your local Kohl's, always start your bargain hunt in the Gold Star Clearance areas. “You’ll know it when you see it: There will be gold tags on red-lined items that will have their prices slashed," says Baros. "It’s usually toward the back of the store.” We’re talking name-brand items at a crazy-low price, so hydrate and be prepared to dig through the items for a huge score.