My five and dime’s worth of experience is that many great finds can be discovered at all retail price points. Some of the more economical shops carry pieces that rival the garments sold in much higher end stores. Not only do some look almost identical, but at a fraction of a the cost, but in some cases they are indeed the same item with different brand name tags sewn in the label. This makes me ask myself “who’s the fool?” And not to say that you can’t find very special items in high end boutiques and stores that are of a wonderful quality and worth every penny, or that some of the lower end shops carry things that are designed to fall apart after approximately seven washes (it’s true, a former top executive of a well known label admitted it), but let’s just say it’s worth a look at all price points.
I am a fan of the high end-low end mix. I think you can look really classy with a variety of price point pieces incorporated in a single outfit. A beautiful designer purse or piece of jewelry can instantly up the look of an affordable blazer, jeans and t-shirt bought at an inexpensive shop. Or you can add a piece of costume jewelry over top of the most luxurious of cashmere sweaters. The one exception that I wouldn’t skimp on is footware. A cheap shoe or boot always looks cheap. There’s something just a touch off about the material, cut and fit, not to mention there is little effort factored in to arch support – am I seriously talking about arch support and fashion in the same post? What have I come to, but I digress. I suggest outside of the footware no-no, mix away.
One of the things I enjoy seeing in magazine articles are intepretations of designer pieces worn by celebrities and the available equivalents that we regular folk can afford – the lust vs the must. It goes to show that you can take your inspiration from something and find a version or equivalent and make it look just as good. And I do love seeing fashionistas put their own spin on it.
Many of the less expensive department and chain stores have worked with top end designers to put out a seasonal collection at a very reasonable price. It seems like every major designer is trying their hand at a lower-priced collaboration available to the mass market. H&M has worked with some of the best in the business over the years, including Karl Lagerfeld, Stella McCartney, Viktor & Rolph, Versace, Isabel Marant and the most recent is Alexander Wang. Target has worked with lead designers including Isaac Mizrahi (who is the pioneer of the mass market collaboration), Philip Lim, Missoni, Jason Woo, and for fall 2014, Joseph Altuzarra. This is a great opportunity for fashion enthusiasts that cannot afford the real deal (and let’s be honest, most of us are not part of the 1% of the population that can), to own a little piece of something wonderful and otherwise not obtainable. When the designers do come out with their line for the discount stores, do not delay because these coveted items fly off the shelves. You’ve got to get up pretty early in the morning, and be one of the first in line because so often it is a case of if you snooze you loose. So don’t hit that snooze button twice.
An example of what I consider to be one of the best examples of designer-store collaborator success would be the Marimekko collection offered at Banana Republic. The bulk of the line sold out within 3 hours of hitting the market. Other Banana Republic design curator success stories include Roland Mouret, Trina Turk and Milly. In addition, Cynthia Rowley did a lovely line for J.Crew and Kate Moss lent her name to TOPSHOP for a capsule collection.
There are also many wonderful finds at stores like Winners, TJ Maxx and Marshalls that carry designer brands at half the cost of the original. Recently, I went to The Bay’s liquidation store and I hit the jackpot. Most everything was 50% off the original price and then they applied an additional 20% – 70% further discount. It felt like a shopping coup. My husband got a $200 sport blazer for $29, Score one for the man!
So remember that great taste does not mean you have to spend your last red cent, nor does it have to put you in the poor house. Look around, look for sales, look for inspiration, pull photos out of magazines of styles that speak to you. Check out the discount stores and enjoy the hunt of finding something special for less because there is no better feeling than when you get something you love and feel fabulous in for less.
Alexander Wang Jacquard Dress and Suede Boots – http://www.hm.com/ca/wangxhm
Joseph Altuzarra Fall 2014 collection – http://www.target.com/c/altuzarra-for-target-brand-shop/-/N-556tx
Joe Fresh (feature image) – https://www.joefresh.com/ca/