Monday, March 23, 2009

Designer Digs at Minimum Wage Prices

photo by Mike Yoder

I am a college student stuck in the mindset of a middle-class woman (who may occasionally hide the credit card bills from her husband because of a few minor—but necessary—dents at Barney’s New York). As my father would say, “Caitlin, you have to live within your means. Don’t be such a yuppie-swine.”

While I wait around for my money-tree to bloom, nation-wide outlets provide some relief for my fashion woes:
High-end design teams are being commissioned to create store-specific lines at affordable prices. If you can’t afford Harrod’s—let alone the high-speed internet required to look at their web-page—perhaps a $30 skirt will suffice.
Check out some of my favorite cheap-chic, go-to spots—meanwhile, if anyone knows a premium fertilizer that promotes green-growth (preferably Benjamins), do clue me in a-sap!

Target’s Design For-All line-up has always impressed me, and recently even their clothing section has turned heads and made pages of major fashion magazines. Go International’s spring collection features funky zippered dresses and minis. Soon, a London-born designer whose collections I have lusted over for ages—Alexander McQueen—will invade the aisles with his trendy jumpsuits and slinky skinny jeans. And—keep it on the DL ladies—later on Tracy Feith’s vintage-inspired, California-girl dresses, blouses, and bloomer shorts will be available on the cheap at Tar-je. Trust me, you don’t want to miss the easy, surfer attitude these frocks bring out.

Payless has always been near and dear to my heart. This I attribute to countless summer shoes and the employment of several close friends. And Lela-Rose, one of several designers with new footwear out at Payless (whose high-end designs were featured front and center at Bryant Park during Fashion Week). Lela-Rose has cute clutches, pumps, and platforms at Payless this spring.

Kohl’s and Vera Wang has done wonders for America’s workplace—and evening place, and dinner place and such-and-such place for that matter. Simply Vera is Vera Wang’s ever-expanding collection sold at Kohl’s stores nationwide. Vera Wang works to flatter the female form, and her classic black chiffon fabrics, wrap dresses, and loose brushstroke tops offer instant sophistication. Both the price and the style are no-brainers.

Urban Outfitters:
Urban Outfitters has a plethora of pieces—mostly lines by more funky, youthful designers who also have high-end fashion lines. A few of my current favs:
Charlotte Ronson’s party-girl dresses and tulip-shaped minis, Paul and Joe Sister’s all-over ruffles and never-ending plaid, Betsey Johnson’s floral bikinis and flouncy dresses, and always Miss Sixty’s jeans and pumps.

The Gap:
The Gap always has a hard-working design team, but furthermore, I love that they seek out up-and-coming, fresh design students for inspiration and ideas that truly speak for my generation. For example, The Gap employed Rhode Island School of Design students to embellish their colorful, everyday cardigans for the spring. Beads, lace, ruffles, prints, patterns—each wearable cardi is unique, and who knows…in the future, you could have an old sweater of a famous designer right in your closet!

Designer clothing can also be found off-chance at vintage boutiques and online. Frequently, vintage designer clothing can be bought at splurge-worthy costs—just watch out for internet deals and knock-offs!

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