Thursday, April 4, 2019

Tips for the 2019 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 reusable mesh tote (new this year!) 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 bag 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 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.

Here are the patterns I'm sure we'll see at the sale this year. Starting with 4 patterns we saw at last year's sale, but since they didn't officially retire until after last year's sale, I'm sure we'll see them again at this year's sale. It's not unusual to see patterns at the sale for several years. 

Hearts Pink

Paisley Stripes
Berry Burst

Winter Berry
We'll also see...
Lilac Medallion
Lilac Medallion was only recently retired and I don't remember seeing it at last year's sale, so I'm sure we'll see it this year. 

Coral Floral

Coral Meadow

Midnight Floral (Midtown styles)

Bright Serape Stripe

Desert Floral

Go Fish Teal

Go Fish

Hacienda Diamonds

Superbloom Sketch


Vines Floral

Wildflower Paisley
Splash Dot
Patchwork Bouquet
Dream Diamonds
Dream Tapestry
Holiday Owls
Airy Floral
Petite Vines
Petite Paisley
Romantic Paisley

Vera Bradley hasn't officially retired these patterns from last summer, fall, or winter, but I think it's a good bet we'll see most if not all of these patterns at this year's sale. It's pretty standard for the sale to be mostly patterns that came out the year before.

Bordeaux Blooms

Bramble Vines


Butterfly Flutter

Charcoal Medallion

Cut Vines

Daisy Dot Paisley

Daisy Paisley

Lei Flowers (Midtown Styles)

Scattered Superbloom

Stitched Flowers

Stitched Garden

Stitched Heart Vines

Water Bouquet

Water Geo

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 2017 sale. Your best bet is to look at 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 2019 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 12th Vera Bradley Outlet Sale and I've picked up a few tips along the way.
  • Parking is $6 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 of 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. This year, Vera Bradley is using reusable mesh totes instead of plastic bags. Depending on the size of these bags, you may not need to use a tote to hold your shopping after all. If you do use a tote and 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. I recommend the Grand Tote 2.0. It's big and a great deal! 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! Two years ago, 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. I've also found some good deals at those tables. 
  • 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. 
  • If you have a ticket, you already have a coupon this year. You just need to show your ticket at the checkout. Early bird tickets get $25 off a $100 purchase. Non-early bird tickets have $10 off $50.
  • Do your sorting before you get to the checkout. Last year I had to wait in line for a long time to check out because a woman in front of us had to examine every single thing in her bag and decide if she wanted it or not. 
  • 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.
  • This year, Vera Bradley released the floor plan map early! Be sure to check it out and make a plan for where you will head first. The sale can be overwhelming, so having an idea of where you're heading can help you keep focused.

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 about 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. Thanks for the informative post. This will be my first VB Sale! What is meant by the “Last Chance Color Table” tables on the floor plan map? How are they different from the other Last Chance tables? Thanks!

    1. I'm actually not sure! They've never had tables labeled like that before. Maybe it's the monogrammed stuff they offer for a discount? It will be interesting to find out!

  2. There was a coupon in the gazette newspaper yesterday... I live hours away... wonder how we could get ahold of one of those coupons!

  3. This will be our first year at a ticket session, about how many people go to the ticket sessions? Will it be way less crowded than the free sessions? And also, love your blog for Vera things! Glad you're back.

    1. There are 3,500 tickets for each session, so depending how many tickets were sold for that session, up to 3,500 people will be in there. I've never been to a free session, so I'm not sure how the crowds compare. I've never felt that the ticketed sessions were too crowded though. You just have to be aware that there are other people around and you might have to wait to something on a table, but it's never been a problem for me. People eventually start clearing out and towards the end of the session it can get pretty empty.