A Review of the New Fashion Outlets of Chicago

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Fashion Outlets of Chicago

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Welcome, one and all, to the new Fashion Outlets of Chicago! Right next to O’Hare Airport and an easy Blue Line train ride from downtown here is a mall that brings all of Michigan Avenue under one roof. With some extra discounts.

The Fashion Outlets of Chicago opened on Thursday, August 1st and I took a trip out there (with my mom) on Saturday, August 3rd. We arrived at 10:30 AM, about 30 minutes after the mall opened, and the crowds weren’t crazy….yet.

Fashion Outlets of Chicago inside

After grabbing a map and perusing the store listing I was most excited to check out The Limited Outlet, the J. Crew Factory Store, and the Banana Republic Factory store. Of course, a long the way I saw many others I just HAD to duck into. I mean, with a store list like this, what more could I want?

As it turned out, of the three stores I was looking forward to the most, I only left one with a bag in my hand. And it wasn’t The Limited! In fact, The Limited Outlet store didn’t seem all that different from a regular store and the prices weren’t significantly different. Bummer! Similar with J. Crew. The online selection at the J. Crew Factory website was much better than in the store. There was only one dress I saw in the store that I can’t find online and it was still over $100.

But the Banana Republic Factory store stayed true to being one of my favorite outlet stores. Great prices, fun selection, lots of sizes. I left with a short sleeved lace top just like I’ve been wanting and an emerald green sweater that caught my eye.

I also stopped in White House Black Market where I found a skirt I’d been eying on ebay after it sold out in the regular stores and online and got my watch battery changed at the Fossil store ($10 total. Yes!). And, of course, because I was with my mom we tried on shoes, shoes and more shoes. We like shoes. The best shoe find of the day? Some beautiful Vince Camuto wedge sandals for under $60. So comfy, so cute.

fashion_outlets_chicago_stores

The Neiman Marcus Last Call was a new store for me and I admit I was sticker shocked at some of the prices. Still, I found an adorable black cap sleeved sheath dress with faux leather accents that I immediately wore out to dinner on Saturday night. All dresses were 40% off so it was a pretty good deal.

If you like high end designers, you can find Armani, Coach, Gucci, Prada, Tory Burch, Tahari, Allsaints and others. Just be aware that for many of these stores they only let a few people in the store at a time so you may have to wait in a LONG line to get in. Instead, why not head over to the anchor stores of Bloomingdale’s Outlet or Saks Off 5th and find your designer duds there?

The only store I would have wanted to see that wasn’t there was Ann Taylor otherwise all the places I like to shop and then some were represented. Note that this mall is almost entirely clothes and shoes with very few accessory or home goods stores. Food-wise there is a food court on the first floor that has some nice options, including Freshii and Chicago Burger in addition to the usual Sbarro pizza and generic Asian selections.  There is also a food area on the second floor with two sit-down restaurants including Prasino, although Prasino didn’t seem to be open just yet.

Food court at Fashion Outlets of Chicago

Towards the afternoon the outlets got significantly more crowded so I would definitely suggest getting there as close to opening time (10:00 AM) as you can. Plus, then you have a better view of the fun art they have hanging from the ceiling.

fashion_outlets_chicago_art

If you go from downtown Chicago, you have several options:

 

1. Drive and park in the attached parking structure. Parking fees are reasonable:

  • First 2 hours – FREE
  • 2-3 hours – $3.00 *
  • 3-4 hours – $6.00 *
  • 4-5 hours – $9.00*
  • 5-8 hours – $15.00
  • 8+ hours – $20.00

Please note that parking for up to 5 hours will also be free from Aug 5th – Aug 17th.

Note that traffic in that area can get backed up so check traffic reports or Google maps ahead of time.

2. Take the Blue Line towards O’Hare from downtown Chicago.

The Fashion Outlets of Chicago are located about a 10-15 minute walk south along River Road from the Rosemont Blue Line stop.  Exit the train station and turn left onto River Road. The directions on the website say to turn right onto Technology Boulevard but I suggest you turn right onto Balmoral. Right now the pedestrian access is not very well marked and crosswalks are limited so pay attention and be safe! You can also take buses to and from the outlets at the Rosemont station if you buy so much you don’t want to walk back.

3. Take Metra

The Fashion Outlets of Chicago are a 5 minute walk east on Balmoral Avenue from the Rosemont Station on the North Central line that leaves out of Union Station. However, the North Central Line only runs on weekdays so keep that in mind.

Overall this was a fun day trip if you like to shop. I can’t declare that the prices were significantly cheaper than at regular stores but having everything under one roof was nice and it was a fun change of pace from Water Tower or 900 N Michigan. Also, in the winter I suspect this will be a go-to place when it’s too cold to deal with Old Orchard or Oakbrook Mall. Plus, it is accessible via CTA which is a benefit over somewhere else indoors such as Woodfield Mall.

What do you think? Will you be checking out the new Fashion Outlets of Chicago?

Note: I was not paid to write this post. I just thought it would nice to tell my fellow Chicagoans about this new mall!

22 replies on “A Review of the New Fashion Outlets of Chicago

  1. Amber

    Thanks for the review! My husband works near there and said it was opening last weekend! I really want to check it out for the fall!

    1. Erin @ Loop Looks Post author

      I know, right? J. Crew Factory does such good online sales so I was bummed that the in-person one was rather disappointing. Especially for the mall’s opening weekend.

  2. Anne

    Ooh, I’m more excited about Prasino being there! I’ve been to the one in La Grange several times, they have such yummy brunch 🙂

    I’ll definitely check the outlets out, it beats having to drive to Aurora or Pleasant Prairie! Though I’m bummed that there’s no AT or Loft there, those are my favorites.

    1. Erin @ Loop Looks Post author

      Much, much better than driving all the way to Aurora or Pleasant Prairie. But, you’re right, if they would just add an Ann Taylor it would be just about perfect.

  3. Sydney

    Thanks for the review. I have to check this place out the next time I am in Chicago. Also, thanks for stopping by and commenting on my blog.

  4. Trina @ Let's Just Build a House

    I’m surprised this is the first time I’m hearing about this. Although I live downstate now, most of my gf’s still live in and around the city…I wonder if they even know! thanks, worth checking out next time i’m up that way!

  5. Bethany @ Accidental Intentions

    Sounds like a cool place! I really like Banana Republic, but I’m not wild about Banana Republic’s normal prices (please. I’m not even wild about Gap’s prices. I’m pretty much an exclusive Old Navy shopper in that family of stores), so the Factory store sounds like a place I’d like! And A+ to the mall for being more or less CTA friendly. Definitely not something you can always say about suburban locations!

  6. Maggie

    Thanks for the review! I am not much of an outlet mall shopper – they are always so far away. I think the Aurora Premium Outlets is the only one I’ve been to.

  7. kilax

    You are such a tease not showing us what you got! I know we will see it, but I am impatient.

    I didn’t realize this place was all fashion stuff. Perfect for you and your mom! I love that you two went together and had a fun time 🙂

    1. Erin @ Loop Looks Post author

      I think I’ll be wearing my new shoes tomorrow 🙂

      Yes, my mom and I were a bit surprised that there weren’t many accessory or home goods stores, but I guess it IS the Fashion Outlets after all.

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  9. Katie of Alaskan Weredork

    Okay, I love NM Last call, the prices seem steep but it’s for really nice clothes that are normally pricey, so it’s worth it to me. I am a little jealous at the awesome shopping you have in Chicago, you have access to so many amazing stores! (And real malls, our mall is a hallway with ten stores. It’s TINY.)

    1. Erin @ Loop Looks Post author

      I always see awesome stuff on the NM Last Call website so I was excited to check out the store. I think it’s one of the places I would love to spend a ton of time in if there weren’t so many people in the store!

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