Monday, April 3, 2017

Tips for the 2017 Vera Bradley Annual Outlet Sale

The Vera Bradley event of the year is in 2 weeks and I cannot wait! The Vera Bradley Annual Outlet sale is held every year in Fort Wayne, Indiana. It's an arena full of handbags and accessories all at a discount price. For me, it's just as good as Christmas!

Basically, once you enter, you grab a big plastic bag and a map and then it's time to shop! My plan is to grab anything I think I might want and stuff it in my bag. Then, when I've browsed everything, I find a spot and sort through what's in my bag. Rejected items are placed in nearby boxes and carts to be restocked by Vera workers.

A post shared by Jenn K (@argylelove) on

After making my decisions and any final sweeps around the arena, it's time to pay! There are always tons of registers and the lines move pretty quickly.

To prepare for the sale, I try to make a list of styles I want to look at the most. These are the items that I will head to first before taking some time to mosey through the rest of the sale. I'll share my wishlist for the sale soon, so come back to check it out!

Just about every current and retired style of bags and accessories will be at the sale. What's unknown is exactly which patterns will be available. Based on what I've seen at previous years' sales, I can usually make a pretty good prediction of what I'll see. I try to identify which patterns I would most like prior to the sale. This is especially helpful if you are attending the sale with a group. Your friends can help by grabbing things in the pattern you want if you want to split up to shop and then meet back up to sort. (Of course, you'll help out your friends by grabbing what they want.)

I've found that the patterns are mostly ones that have been retired since the previous year's sale as well as some that are going to be retired after the sale. These are often the colors listed as "sale" on the Vera Bradley website The past few years, I have also seen outlet exclusive patterns and QVC exclusive patterns at the sale.

So, what colors do I expect to see at the Sale? I usually say it's a good bet we'll see plenty of the patterns that have been retired since the last sale, but at the 2013 sale, there were lots of new patterns available, so it's really anyone's guess. However, I would not set my hopes on a getting a new pattern and instead be pleasantly surprised if they're available this year.  I believe that most of the available patterns will be retired patterns.

Starting with the colors most recently retired and their coordinating patterns...

Java Floral
Northern Lights
Northern Stripes
Painted Feathers
Then, those retired last December and November...

Art Poppies
Nomadic Floral
Nomadic Blossoms

Blush Pink

Pop Art
Scottie Dogs
 And, the patterns that retired last August...

Cobalt Tile

Paisley in Paradise
 And finally, the patterns that were retired just after last year's sale...

Alpine Floral
Alpine Check
Mini Concerto
Impressionista Stripe
Parisian Paisley
Parisian Pom Poms
And since I saw all of the patterns that they retired after the sale last year at the 2016 sale, I'm predicting that we'll also see these patterns at this year's sale...

Bohemian Blooms
Bohemian Chevron

Imperial Rose
Imperial Tile
Kiev Paisley
Kiev Swirls
Lilac Tapestry

As in previous years, there will also be older patterns available in select styles, but it's tough to predict just what exactly will be available. For example, I've been seeing Night Owl just about every year since 2010. Your best bet is to look over the Sale section of the Vera Bradley website to get an idea.

Retired styles are usually available in all patterns that they were made. Theoretically, you could find a bag in a Spring 2017 or Summer 2017 pattern, but I've found that anything that new tends to disappear fast. Your best bet of scoring those will happen in the first few sessions on Wednesday.

What about prices? Exact prices won't be known until the sale opens, but looking at previous years' prices can give you an idea of what to expect. Keep in mind, that beginning the second day of the sale, prices may start dropping. Just a few on the second day, then more as the sale goes on. Just keep in mind, the later in the sale you go, the less selection you may have to choose from. I value selection over price, so the second day works well for me.

To help give an idea of prices, I made a chart comparing the prices I could find from sales over the past few years. I'll be updating this as I find out prices from this year's sale. Keep in mind, the prices on the chart are the starting price; I did not include any markdowns that occurred as the sale went on.

Vera Bradley Outlet Sale Price Comparison

This will be my 10th Vera Bradley Outlet Sale and I've picked up a few tips along the way.
  • Parking is $5 and it's cash only, so be sure to have some cash set aside for that.
  • Use a crossbody handbag or a smaller purse. It gets crowded in the arena as you can see from the pictures and believe me, you'll want your hands free to shop!
  • Wear comfortable clothing and shoes. You're going to be on your feet the whole time. Don't wear flip flops or you risk having your foot stepped on.
  • Bring a snack just in case. Last year, due to computer issues, we ended up waiting to check out for over 2 hours. I was dying for something to eat since we'd planned to do lunch right after our session. Luckily, Trish being the awesome mom she is, had some fruit snacks in her bag. This year, I'll be prepared!
  • A couple years ago, several readers suggested using a tote or larger bag to hold their shopping. I was buying a tote for my mother-in-law, so I stuffed my other shopping in it and it was awesome. It was much easier to carry than the plastic bag you are given. If you are not going to purchase the tote you use, I would suggest making sure you use one that is well stocked so that you don't take away somebody else's chance at getting that bag.  There are boxes at the registers to put back items you do not want to purchase.
  • Check the inside of the items you are purchasing. Now that Vera Bradley is making outlet versions of items, some items will have a satin lining instead of a quilted cotton inside. If it's important to you that you get the classic quilted cotton, I highly recommend you open up items and check them prior to putting them in your shopping bag. Last year, these were all mixed together, so I checked everything I was looking at.
  • Bring your registration and your ID. There are usually computers set up to print off your registration, but you'll have to wait in line. Save time and do it before you arrive. You will not be able to purchase anything without your ID, so make sure you have it!
  • Please don't bring young children! There is no way I'd bring a small child to the sale. It's crowded and you won't enjoy yourself if you have to worry about keeping your child with you at all times. I'm going with my best friend, Tricia, and she is leaving her adorable toddler at home. He's a great shopper, but she knows that the Outlet Sale is no place for a child that young. I'm so glad I have responsible friends who value the safety of their children.

Don't forget to like the Argyle Love Facebook page and follow me on Twitter and Instagram. I will try to post some Instagram Stories of the experience. I'm also on Snapchat. My username is ArgyleLove. I don't use it a lot, but I'll try to snap during the sale. (It'll be crazy in there, so no promises!)  I'll try to tweet from the sale and hopefully share some pictures too. Also, follow my friend Trish on her Twitter and Instagram. We're shopping together and I'm sure she'll have things to share too!

And finally, remember to have fun! Score some great deals and enjoy being in the company of other Vera Bradley lovers.

Any questions? Leave them in a comment below and I'll try to answer them!


  1. Hi! This is my first time attending the sale. I know that you mentioned they give out the pink bags for your selections. But is it better to bring your own tote bag with some kind of straps? I'm thinking of those oversides bags like they have at kohls or even IKEA. What are your thoughts?

    1. Unfortunately, Vera Bradley does not allow you to bring in any kind of shopping bag. The pink bag does get uncomfortable to hold for long periods of time, but it does hold quite a bit. I do suggest grabbing a tote of some sort to hold your items if you don't like the pink bag. There are boxes at the checkouts for items you don't want to buy if you don't want to buy the tote when you're done.

  2. How are the items put out? Are the items sold by pattern, or by type of time. For instance I am only shopping for one pattern and I want to get as many things in that pattern as possible and not have to go all over looking for all the stuff I want.

    1. The sale is laid out by item type and then specific items in that category. For example, all the wallets will be in an area together and then all the turnlock wallets will be together stacked by pattern.

  3. Any clue where we can get the $25 off $100 coupons? I think some people found it in the Indy Star Sunday? Will they accept copies of it?

    1. It was in the Indy Star last week, the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette this past Sunday and Thursday. You can order a copy of the Fort Wayne paper by calling 1-800-324-0505. I'm not sure about the price or how long it would take to get it though. They will not take copies, you must have the actual ad from the paper.