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BARGAINS / GERI COOK

Cutting Costs on Cotton : Factory outlet store slashes prices, sometimes beyond wholesale. Parking-lot sales may offer even better deals.

March 24, 1995|Geri Cook

WOODLAND HILLS — For all who wonder how to make it through an other summer with out the New Hero label that vanished two years ago, try turning to the Cotton USA Outlet.

Dresses, pants, shirts, tops, jackets and shorts in 100% American cotton are sold by this manufacturer directly to the public at wholesale and below. At the outlet, the prices are always 50% to 80% off retail.

This label is often seen in department and specialty stores across the nation, although it appears in some stores under private labels. Great cotton lace dresses that retail for $110 are $43, and plain long-sleeve tunics are $17 (retail $35 to $40).

I love the heavyweight cotton quilted coat with a Mandarin collar that comes in several earthy colors for $55 (retail $120).

Women's pants with an elastic waist are $13 and $15, in either a heavy or lightweight cotton. The embroidered tops for $21 are an excellent buy.

Wonderful drawstring pants for men are $19, and the long-sleeved shirts with Mandarin collars, also $19, are as popular with women as men.

All garments are preshrunk and come in an assortment of colors. Sizes run from extra small to extra large or are marked "one size fits all."

The garments in the outlet store are top quality and represent this L.A.-based manufacturer's overruns or canceled orders. New stock comes in every week, so if your first visit doesn't uncover something that tickles your fancy, try again the next week.

You also might discover something totally different from this manufacturer's usual output, like a shipment of sueded rayon separates that arrived recently in the subtle, muted shades that that fabric yields. The pants and top with either long or short sleeves, a buyout from another company, retailed for $125 but are sold at the Cotton USA Outlet for $34 for the pair, or $17 apiece.

Classic dresses that you may have seen at major department stores for $120 are priced way below wholesale ($48) at $28.

The only way to beat these prices is to attend one of the parking lot sales on the first and third Sunday of the month. That's when seconds are put on racks and marked to move fast, from $5 to $15.

The flaws are usually a "slub," or slight twisting of the threads, that forms a slight nub or bump in the fabric.

Other reasons garments are marked seconds might include a tiny hole in a lace garment (that looks for all the world like part of the pattern) or a dye lot may not be exactly what the retail store ordered.

This is a true factory store and a great place to lay the foundation for a classic, comfortable and casual California cotton wardrobe.

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WHERE TO SHOP

What: Cotton USA Outlet.

Location: 22559 Ventura Blvd., Woodland Hills.

Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Saturday, noon to 4 p.m. the first and third Sunday of the month.

Cards: MasterCard, Visa.

Call: (818) 225-8725.

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