Next to Macy’s, Dillard’s is the go-to department store for mid-priced brands. The budget-friendly store carries top designer brands, including Calvin Klein, BCBG, Michael Kors, and Ralph Lauren. You can even shop Dillard’s for some older school brands that used to be hot back in the day, like Perry Ellis.
The thing is, Dillard’s is huge and can be overwhelming to shop. If you’re anything like me, walking into a big store always puts me at risk of over-spending. I see too many garments I like, I can’t decide, I feel rushed, and then — boom — I’m standing at the register with five pieces I’ll probably never wear. But that’s not going to happen to you, because this handy Dillard’s shopping guide will help you stay focused and on point.
How to Shop Dillard’s
1. Know the Dillard’s brands
Dillard’s doesn’t necessarily carry the major luxe brands — which is a good thing for a budget shopper. There’s a nice mix of down-to-earth designers and a more robust selection of low- to mid-priced designers. Here are some labels you can look for at Dillard’s:
Anne Klein — Shop Anne Klein for mid-priced, work-appropriate separates that have clean lines and classic silhouettes.
Badgley Mischka — Dillard’s carries Badgley Mischka dresses and swimwear, at prices ranging from $200 to $500.
Betsey Johnson — The beloved maker of quirky handbags produces dresses, too! Look to Betsey Johnson at Dillard’s for brunch dresses, priced $150 or less.
Calvin Klein — Dillard’s carries a fairly sizeable selection of Calvin Klein pieces, including plus-size options. I personally love the brand’s work tops, but you can also pick up blazers, sheath dresses, and pencil skirts, too.
Free People — Show off your youthful, Bohemian side with Free People casual wear. That is, if you can afford it. This stuff doesn’t come cheap — a perfectly cut t-shirt might set you back $40.
Jessica Simpson — For some reason, I own more than one pair of Jessica Simpson shoes. So I’ll go out on a limb here and recommend the Newlyweds star’s brand for affordable and sexy shoes.
kate spade new york — Sure, the whole kate spade bag thing is cliché, but that’s because the brand’s designs are classic and timeless.
Levi’s — Nobody does jeans better…
NYDJ — Unless you want a different kind of jean, then NYDJ may be a better choice. You’ll find colored capris, classic denim skirts, and printed ankle jeans, plus sizes for petite and curvy shapes.
Tahari ASL — Take a peek at Tahari ASL for quality, grown-up dresses and separates. You may luck upon some fabulous sale prices, too.
Vince Camuto — Vince Camuto is one of those reliable labels that produces lots of cute stuff. But it’s also a label that often ends up in discount shops like TJ Maxx. If you see a Vince Camuto piece at Dillard’s that you love, do some quick online shopping to price compare — especially if Dillard’s doesn’t have it marked down.
Dillard’s has an enormous selection of dresses, from casual shift dresses to structured work dresses to floaty summer pieces. You can even find more elegant choices that are wedding-guest-appropriate. If you have a special occasion on the calendar and you want maximum exposure to your dress options, try Dillard’s, in store or online.
3. Shop Dillard’s wedding dresses
Dillard’s bridal shop has something for everyone in your wedding party, with collections specifically for brides, mothers of the bride, and bridesmaids. You can even shop bridal shoes, flower girl dresses, jewelry, bridal handbags, and, yes, even bridal party gifts! Dillard’s Wedding Shop is set up to be a single source for all your bridal fashion needs.
4. Shopping online
Your first click on the Dillard’s website should be on the red letters in the upper right corner: Sale and Clearance. At the time I’m writing this, there are 11,733 women’s garments on sale. Did your eyes just get bigger? Yeah, mine too. You can narrow down your options by type of garment or brand. You can also view discounted handbags, beauty products, shoes, or accessories.
5. Visit Dillard’s outlets
Dillard’s has more than two dozen clearance centers around the country, located in 14 states. Specifically:
Who doesn’t love outlet shopping? Hit up a Dillard’s clearance center near you to receive more savings on everyday items from clothes to housewares. These outlets discount products up to 75% off the original prices.
6. Shop the style guides
Dillard’s maintains a rotating selection of style guides that you can browse for inspiration. While these collections come and go, I’m loving the denim and chambray looks and the activewear collection.
7. Dillard’s specialty shops
Online, you can narrow your search by size or occasion with Dillard’s specialty shops. They include:
The Wedding Shop
8. Shop Dillard’s shoes for big or wide feet
For those who wear a shoe size above a 10, Dillard’s offers extended sizes by showcasing the brands that go up to sizes 11-14. You can find narrow and wide widths, too.
9. Take a trip to the Aveda spa
Indulge at Dillard’s is an Aveda spa that offers the usual treatments: waxing, facials, body treatments, and massages. You can get your eyebrows waxed for $18 or splurge on a 60-minute anti-aging facial for $75.
10. Dillard’s home
Dillard’s has a pretty extensive home department. You can find everything from cookware to bedding at great prices. You will also find special collections like pet products — Fido has to look great, too — and outdoor speakers and patio furniture.
11. About the Dillard’s mailing list
Way back when we weren’t all getting 1,000 emails a day, I used to recommend signing up for Dillard’s emails. But you know, there’s only so many store emails I can swim through before I’m just done. These days, I spend my time unsubscribing from all those lists because I rarely open them. And when I do open one, well, it’s just more pressure to buy something I probably don’t need.
Subscribing will get you updates on sales and promotions, but you’ll see those same updates on the website, too. If you have limited room in your life for more emails, I’d say go and visit the Dillard’s website when you need something to see what’s on sale.
12. Oh, and Dillard’s rewards
The current iteration of Dillard’s rewards requires you to use the store credit card to earn rewards points. You earn 2 points for every $1 you spend on your Dillard’s card. After 1,500 points, you get a $10 reward certificate or a 10% off coupon.
I love rewards programs, but I avoid store credit cards like the plague. There’s only one limited scenario where a store-specific card is a good idea. If you have a monthly budget of $50 or $100 for clothes and Dillard’s is the only place you shop for clothes, then the store card can help you track your spending. But who shops that way? Not me and, probably, not you. Skip Dillard’s rewards program. The $10 you earn here and there isn’t worth the risk of having a store card that you can run up by accident.
13. Know about returns
Dillard’s return policy is not the most customer-friendly approach you’ve ever seen. Make sure you know the details before you buy, just in case you change your mind.
Shop Dillard’s like a Budget Fashionista
You can navigate Dillard’s robust collection of amazing stuff by shopping with a list. Get as clear as you can about what you want, before you set foot in the store. You can visit the website style guides for inspiration when you’re undecided — but then walk away from the screen for a while to decide what you want. Otherwise, you might find yourself buying too much stuff.
As a Southern California transplant now living in the Midwest, Catherine has turned layering into an art form and accepted that UGGs actually do have a place in the stylish lady's wardrobe. She's been featured in Woman's World Magazine, DrLaura.com, Refinery29, Wellness.com and has made appearances on ABC7 Chicago, FOX2News St. Louis, KCAL9 Los Angeles, Fox19 Cincinnati, WGN TV Chicago and WCPO TV Cincinnati.
Thanks for stopping by! I'm Catherine, your Budget Fashionista style editor. I'm a bargain shopper at heart, as I love nice things but hate paying for them! I'm also a personal finance writer who's been featured on USA Today and MSN Money.