Filene's Basement - CLOSED, Boston
I love Filene's. I have never actually been in the REAL store, but I love the basement. It's always one of my highlights of going to Boston because I do love to shop. It's not for the faint of heart, though-it gets kind of crazy in there. Not very organized and hordes of people. And if you're not into sales (I have friends that refuse to shop sales because it's somehow demeaning of them) then it probably won't be for you. BUT, if you like heavily discounted clothes, jewlry, and chocolate then you should check it out.
What to pay: They're supposed to mark down things every week but I think they sneak by on it and don't. For every week it's supposed to be marked down by 25%.
Who can describe Filene's...the word MECCA comes to mind. I can imagine if you live in Boston, this place is a 'regular" stop. The appeal for the uninitiated lies in their system of automatic price reductions. I'd schedule my "date nights" around their markdown calendar!!!!!!!!!!!
What to buy: Everything's in the basement!!!!!!! Bring a big empty box and visit the linen department!!!!!!!
What to pay: Blow the whole budget and eat at McDonald's for the remainder of your stay!
Filene's Basement is Filene's answer to an outlet. What it really is, is a store loaded with last seasons fashions for men, women and children. You can get name brand clothing for a fraction of it's retail price. The clothes are organized by gender, age (adult, child), type (shirts, pants, intimate wear, swim wear etc.) and by size. I have gotten some fantastic pieces for my wardrobe that have stood the test of time. My favorite piece is a wrap denim skirt that hits my leg mid thigh.
While you are here look for the store manger, Andrew McGinnis, tell him you know me and you'll get a discount.
What to buy: Name Brand Fashions
What to pay: $1 to what ever you can afford.
This is the outlet store that everyone living in Boston (or who has visited it) recommends. It is right in downtown so pretty easy to reach while touring the city, and there are many other shops around in case you want to take advantage of the shopping trip and check out a bunch of stuff in different places.
Watch out when entering this outlet: there's this big department store called FILENE'S which will catch your attention, but the prices here are very high just like in any other department store (JC Penny, Bloomingdale's, etc.). You want to go to Filene's Basement, so you have to find the entrance to the basement level: take the stairs or escalator towards the metro station, there's a little door leading to the shop before you enter the station itself.
You will find designer clothing, accesories (even some perfumes) and houseware at very good prices. I found some great deals here and a lot of beautiful clothes & lingerie. As for clothing shopping, check this out: the fitting rooms are usually packed, so be patient if you want to try things on. Also, this is not a place for you if you're too shy, as there is not privacy inside the fitting rooms: they are only large empty rooms with mirrors where you have to get undressed and try the stuff on in front of the rest of the girls that are doing the same. No one cares about you, but if you're too self conscious it might be uncomfortable to try things on this way. The cashiers are usually fast despite the fact there is always a lot of people inside the store.
What to buy: Clothes, souvenirs, accesories, houseware.
The only problem with this store is that everything is quite messy: you have to spend a good deal of time trying to find a garment you like, then trying to find your size, etc. Everything is rather mingled, although there are specific sections according to the type of clothes and the prices are visible. This is the same system other outlets usually use, so you just have to deal with it..... it's the price to pay for getting cool bargains ;)
Besides the low prices in the tags, they have additional discounts depending on how long a certain garment/item has been on sale at the store: if it's a "new" item (newly arrived) you will only get the regular discount, but as weeks go by they decrease the price even more (20%, 30%, 50% ,etc.) if the same item has not been purchased, so you can end up paying 40% of its original price or even less if no one has been interested in it before you. I had never seen this kind of system before but it's cool.
Filene`s is a department store in the New England area. They also have a discount store named Filene`s Basement. The most famous one is the one in Downtown Boston where there are additional markdowns. After a month on the floor, the merchandise is given to charity. Every week after the merchandise is on the floor (the tags are dated), an additional 25% off is taken off the markdown price (up to 75% extra off).
There is also a travel agency here & you can get great packages for cheap!!
What to buy: Clothing for men, women, & young adults. Furs. Designer merchandise from Gucci, Fendi, Armani, Calvin Klein, Escada, etc. Dresses (wedding, prom, casual, seasonal, etc). Sport/swim wear. Lingerie. Suits. Shoes. Accessories (watches, jewelry, scarves, sunglasses, handbags, luggage, etc). Makeup. Fragrances. Shampoo.
A trip to Boston is not complete without going to Filene's. Shop one of the basement levels and find a discount on every item. The longer the item stays on Filene's shelf, the greater the discount. Play close attention to the dated price tags, it determines your discount.
What to buy: At FIlene's you will find a department store filled with a wide selection and variety of merchandise. I have purchased shirts, ties and sometimes Hummels from Filene's Basement.
Hours: Open Weekdays 9:30am-8pm; Sat 9am-8pm; Sun 11am-7pm
What to pay: The longer you shop at Filene's the more you will spend. You can easily spend a couple of hours shopping just exploring.
The "world-famous bargain basement" got its start here in Downtown Crossing. The area is a lively mix of department stores and small boutiques. Fifth Avenue this ain't, but you don't have to look hard to find good bargains here.
If you are interested in buying brands for less, some people advice you to the discount stores in the city centres. Filene's Basement, located in the neighbourhood of Boston financial district, is one of these chain stores.
You could find some real bargains from that place, but they are far and between. Most of the stuff is junk; old and ugly. The place has a peculiar fragnance, either from the items or the customers, but it is a telltale sign that the store is not worth of visit.
This store is at Downtown Crossing, which I consider the center of Boston (intersection of SUmmer/WInter Street and Washington St. Tons of stores and food around here ranging from Chilean food to Bath and Body Works. Great for people watching or grabbing a bite to eat. Pretty seedy later on though...especially Winter Street. I would recommend staying away from there after 10pm.
What to buy: There's lots of little huts that sell stuff that says "Harvard" or "Boston" on it. Filenes BASEMENT (not upstairs), H&M, Borders, and Payless shoes are where I shop.
It's almost like a treasure hunt. Allow at least one hour to go around the whole store searching for good values. Of course, there's plenty of tasteless clothes for sale there, but there's also a lot of very good looking ones, at very low cost. Just scavenge a bit and you'll get your great values at this bargain paradise!
What to buy: Clothes!
What to pay: Less or much less than in other stores (yet, there's also a lot of things at Filene's Basement that have regular prices)
It seems that most Bostonians go to this place to shop. They have mostly marked-down items and it is in the heart of Downtown Crossing, beside Macy's.
What to buy: Men and Women clothings and accessories.
What to pay: marked-down prices
Bargain shoppers haven at Filene's Basement. My daughter was there for three months during the show she was performing. She said she was there almost every day. I was there for a long weekend and I was there almost every day and could have related to my daughter. Great bargains to be had if you can wade through all the merchandise and dodge all the people.
Filene's basement has a huge selection of discounted items for men, women and children. It's a little unorganized so be prepare to search for sizes etc. A note for western americans and European travelers- the dressing room is completely communal meaning everyone has to change in front of each other. Don't be shy though it was actually sort of fun as women all around were complimenting each other on their outfits.
What to buy: Look for italian leather handbags marked down to half price, the mens shirts especially seemed to be good deals with polo ralpg lauren and michael kors shirts for 20 bucks. Another good deal seemed to be the large selection of semiformal dresses which were abut 40 dollars.This place has everything.
What to pay: fro 2.99 for underwear to 150 for a purse or more for select designer items, shirts started at 6.99 up to 40 and cute dresses were as low as 16.99 up to 60 dollars.
The concept of Filene's basement is to sell the goods that don't sell in the regular Filene's department store at a reduced price, and the longer that item is left at Filene's basement, the more the price is marked down.
Filene's Basement has more than one location, but until you vist the Filene's Basement in Boston, you ain't seen nothing yet! No longer related to the regular Filene's stores (which is a relief as they are all closing since being bought by Macy's), the basement is quite an experience. As you step literally into the basement, you will be surrounded by discount merchandise. You will see everything from shoes to dishes, lingerie to men's suits, clothing to handbags, wedding dresses to active wear, and much more.
Just a warning, the yard sale type feel isn't for everyone and the wide open changing rooms aren't much fun for the modest.
What to buy: It is important to go into Filene's Basement with an open mind. You never know what will be be especially cheap from visit to visit.
What to pay: Not much, especially if you keep an eye on the date posted on the back of the price tag. The longer an item has been in the store, the greater the discount. Big signs throughout the store will tell you exactly what you will save.