Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Tips for the 2018 Vera Bradley Annual Outlet Sale

The Vera Bradley event of the year is in 1 week 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.

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 usually 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...
Heirloom Paisley
Painted Medallions
Mini Medallions

Those retired last December and November...

Playful Penguins Gray
Playful Penguins Red
Modern Medley
Falling Flowers Neutral

Falling Flowers
Falling Dots
Ditsy Dot
Houndstooth Tweed
Rumba Grid
Havana Rose
Havana Dots

The patterns that retired last August...

Rain Forest
Cuban Tiles
Cuban Stamps
Imperial Rose
Imperial Tile

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

Kiev Paisley
Bohemian Blooms
Bohemian Chevron
Kiev Swirls
Lilac Tapestry

And since I saw all of the patterns that they retired after the sale last year at the 2017 sale, I'm predicting that we'll also see these patterns at this year's sale...
Winter Berry
Berry Burst
Lilac Medallion
Snow Lotus
Lotus Chevron
Hearts Pink

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. Last year I still saw patterns that had been retired before the 2016 sale. Your best bet is to look at the Sale section of the Vera Bradley website to get an idea.
As this is the 35th anniversary of the sale, Vera Bradley has stated that this will be the best year ever for the sale with 300 patterns and colors available. They will also be debuting a new outlet store exclusive pattern at the sale, Vintage Floral. I have a feeling we'll be seen a wide variety of patterns this year!

Retired styles are usually available in all patterns that they were made. Theoretically, you could find a bag in a Spring 2018 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.

This will be my 11th 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. In 2016, 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.
  • Don't ignore the Last Chance tables. They will be crowded when the sessions open because a lot of people head there first. Give it some time and they'll clear out. Believe me, they keep those tables well stocked! Last year, Trish found an awesome backpack for a good deal on one of the last chance tables while we were doing our last sweep of the floor before checking out. 
  • Make sure you register for the sale and bring your ID. There are usually computers set up to register if you haven't already, 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! At the checkout, you will either give them the phone number that you registered with or the printed email you receive after registering. 
  • 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 child 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 don't use it a lot, but I'll try to do some stories during the sale. (It'll be crazy in there, so no promises!) 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. What is this registration and how do I get it printed off?

    1. If you are going to purchase anything, you need to register at You can either print the email you recieve or just give your phone number at checkout. You cannot purchase anything unless you have registered for the sale.

  2. Please share the shopping guide and list please:)

  3. Do you know if they have Disney patterns?

    1. This year they do! It's the Alice in Wonderland collection and it's 50% off regular prices.