Being a fashion stylist and personal shopper is certainly not as glamorous as they make it look on reality TV. Although I am blessed to have a job I love and in a city I am equally passionate about, I can promise you that I am not carrying around vintage Chanel or dressing the celebrities that flock to this sultry place. Most days I am holding it together with smoke and mirrors, impaling myself with wire hangers, and picking dust bunnies out my nose that were acquired from the inner sanctums of a client’s closet. However, every now and then, an opportunity strikes that has me doing back flips in my four inch fancy heels; downtown shopping just received a shot of steroids. We welcome Outlet Collection at the Riverwalk.
The Riverwalk opened in late Spring and I have made three trips during the first four days of its grand opening. I believed I have scoured the place enough to now give a full report of the absolute “must do” stores to get you through these summer months. I, being a momma of two little summer campers, a stylist who lives in her car, and a girl who is perpetually hungry will give you the low down to shopping on a budget, shopping while actually having fun, and shopping on a full, but not bloated, belly… one cannot have a pooch while trying on swim wear. We need to be built for speed!
So here's a guide to the perfect Riverwalk experience. Our task is to outfit a mother/stylist with twins for the humid summer here in NoLa.
- Park in the Whale Lot and save your receipt for validation. It is $2.00 if you spent over $20.00 at the Outlet.
- Enter, turn left and go directly to Café du Monde for an ice coffee, it is imperative to be fully caffeinated.
- Keep traveling down river until and go down the escalator until you see Neiman Marcus’ Last Call. This is a treasure trove of serious designer goods and should be your starting point for every trip. I found a white leather Thysken’s Theory mini dress for under $300.00 that was originally $889.00.
- Head back up river to pick up some brightly hued pouchettes at the Coach Outlet perfect for gifts and chicly storing your jewelry or to use as a wallet for your summer vacations..
- Continue up stream to Gymboree to find great looks head to toe for kids up to size 12. They have a terrific return policy and amazing deals.
- After your big kids are outfitted for camp and the beach, go buy yourself a super stylish bathing suit from Swim n’ Sport with a matching cover-up or palazzo pants by Trina Turk. FYI - your ice coffee acted as a diuretic so your tummy should be nice and flat and prepared for the horror of trying on swimsuits.
- You might need to self-medicate after the swimwear debacle so head to NOLA Tropical Winery, nearby, for a crisp glass of Prosecco or a frozen, yes frozen, glass of wine.
- The required accessory for every summer, and will always fit, are fabulous sunnies! With your wine in hand, invest in great shades at the Sunglass Hut Outlet.
- Before heading up the escalator, there is a beautifully laid out and super organized Forever 21. This is a stylist’s secret to looking on trend while on a photo shoot and sweating/glistening in the July heat. Stock up on sundresses, t-shirts, and shorts that you will not feel guilty getting dirty and stinky. Breeze through Gap Factory to pick up a few more shorts and tees for your swiftly growing children.
- Upstairs and up river, I also found it obligatory to stop at Carter’s Outlet for the babies in my family. The Crocs Store has brightly hued indestructible footwear ideal for the pool, beach and the park for both little ones and adults. I being the shoe snob will save my crocs for the garden.
- At this point you may be in need of some sustenance; the food court has a few healthy options and also the ever-present mall Chinese Food staple. I prefer the hummus and tabouleh at Mona’s Café or a festive salad bowl from Izzo’s Illegal Burrito. Let me warn you…there is a Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers. Severe willpower is necessary to pass on the Cane’s sauce and large lemonade, to defer temptation keep in mind you there is a new swim suit in your shopping bags.
Have a happy guilt free shopping trip and a cool stylish summer, thank you Riverwalk!