I wish I could sit here and write about the awesome closet I have jam packed with nothing but designer labels. But the truth is, like most of us, I shop plenty of mall stores.
As loyal readers know, I am a big fan of affordable, accessible stores like the Gap, H & M, Zara, Anthropologie and Forever 21. Those are my staples…to pick up staples, as well as trendier things.
Shoes and bags though are a whole other ball game. While I am pretty democratic when it comes to ballet flats that I will wear to death, I am mostly a shoe snob. And a purse snob. I would rather have one really nice bag or pair of shoes than a bunch of cheap, trendy ones. Yes, I will re-dye my classic years-old black Prada bag AGAIN, rather than purchase super trendy purses made out of god knows what. Bags and shoes are two things I always think are about quality over quantity and can make or break an outfit.
But my shopping budget has changed. So that means my shopping habits and haunts are changing. So I hit Aldo the other day at the mall. I know Aldo has good on-trend shoes worn by plenty of celebs, who could afford much more expensive shoes. But I rarely even go in there because most of the shoes are way too high for me. So I was pleasantly surprised to find a couple of pairs of shoes there the other day.
I bought a fancy pair that I could actually walk in! And stand in for hours at an award show if I needed to. Now mind you…I don’t have anywhere to wear them yet, but last year I was scrambling to buy shoes for the Oscars and ended up doing a last minute Jimmy Choo splurge. Not gonna be a problem this year- I’m set and all for $80!
I also brought a pair of super shiny, pointy-toed black patent flats. They were on sale for $55. They are really stiff though and I’ve been wearing thick athletic socks in them around the house to try and stretch them out! That’s why I generally stay away from cheap shoes. I don’t end up wearing them because they hurt, so in the end they aren’t always worth it for me.
I also took the first to really look at their purses, which I had never considered before. They were very on-trend, but while the design of the studded one I was considering was good, the bag wasn’t made of leather and I just couldn’t go there because I felt it looked too cheap. But, hey, what do I want for such an inexpensive price?!
So, the bottom line is, I think stores like this are great to get in on trends affordably, especially for short-lived trends you don’t want to invest too much in, like neon, for example. I just have to make sure the shoes also feel comfortable. Otherwise, a few pairs of unworn $50 and $100 shoes add up and for that same money I may as well save up for a pair of classic Lanvin ballet flats!
-- Ryan Patterson