I went to the huge King of Prussia mall today with a few friends. (It has literally every store I'm interested in, except for Anthro, sadly.) These are not Anthro/J.Crew-type friends; we spent long periods of time in H&M and Forever 21, and I ended up just buying a few cheap accessories from Wet Seal and New York & Company. A nice black belt to replace an Urban Outfitters belt that recently broke--I returned it for a merchandise credit, using a year-old receipt--and two clearance scarves, for a total of $11.

EDIT: Also a <$2 nail file from the Sanrio store, haha.

In fact, the belt (on sale for $5 at NY&Co) is pretty much a knock-off of Anthropologie's Looping Lanes Belt, which I've loved on several bloggers. The scarves are just so-so, but I needed to buy one for the Scarf Swap and it was a buy-one-get-one sale on top of clearance prices. I tried on a bunch of other stuff and some of it looked OK, but the fit wasn't perfect or the quality was discouraging.

F21 had a really cute blue tank top with a white dove print, but the armholes were huge and taking up the straps would have left me with a bizarrely prudish neckline given the skimpiness of the tank top. The Banana Republic also had a ton of tuxedo-bib button-down shirts on clearance, some in pink and a bunch in off-white, for just $11 plus 40% off. However, my shopping companions were universally against the shirt--they called it prudish--and the body was very wide, so I passed. I have NEVER seen a BR-quality button-down priced that low with multiples in stock, and it wasn't even final sale... but, of course, the fit is way off.

And now I finally get to the original point of this post: the magic price point. I realized that I will buy something on impulse if it is 1) a piece of clothing or shoes (excludes scarves, belts, costume jewelry, etc.) and 2) priced below $10. This is definitely lower than my price point a year ago, which was more like $20; but then, I have also raised my maximum price point quite a bit to include first-cut Anthro. I ended up returning the Eyeleted Corset Top because the colors were too hard to work with, but I'm still somewhat willing to pay $100 for a "perfect" piece of high-quality clothing. And if that top goes on sale for $50, I may be calling CS to repurchase it...

O anonymous reader: what is your magic price point? Do you have fine-print exceptions to the rule?
One trick I've found that works pretty well with clothes is to compare with Anthropologie: would I rather pass on this $30 trendy sundress and put it toward an $80 sale Anthro dress, or a $30 top at first cut? Usually, YES. I already have plenty of cheap sundresses in my closet, and I love the quirky, quality aesthetic of Anthro pieces. I don't see a ton of Anthro at my college, either, although I might just be hanging with the wrong crowd.

The challenge is only buying Anthro pieces that are appropriate for my lifestyle. For example, I adore the Overwhelmed Aster Dress, but the poofy crinoline makes it only appropriate for parties. I have way too many semi-formal dresses already in my closet. I keep going back and forth on the Verdant Slip Dress, which will certainly not make sale and comes in my favorite seafoam green color... I think it's a pass, pending try-on for amazing fit. The straight slip cut will fit but not flatter me, and I'm tired of dresses that require a strapless bra. (My strapless is far from my most flattering push-up, and it tends to slip down throughout the day.) The Eyeleted Corset Top is work-appropriate with a cardigan, but the colors are all brand-new to my wardrobe so I'd need to buy MORE pieces (like the lovely Anadyomene/Seashell Cardigan that the Anthro SA brought me to try on with the top) in order to make it work.

Recently, I've been thinking and comparing to the Anthro skirts that I ordered from the tag sale. $30 for an Anthro skirt or $30 for a sundress from Kohls (or H&M or F21)? I have a few H&M pieces that I love and are well-made, but in general, the quality difference is obvious. I also need to stay away from stores with a style that doesn't fit me and/or high prices for the quality: i.e. Express (except for their jeans, which I love), Forever 21, Urban Outfitters (returned a cardigan once for ridiculous stretching in the sleeves after just one wear), and others. Aeropostale clothes too, nowadays, though they still have good basics and I may pick up another sturdy fabric tote on sale. I can never resist wandering through F21 and UO, even though the clothes are always way too short and too tight at the waist. I've found that my "trend" price point is somewhere around $10-15, such as for a maxi dress; that means I'm limited to H&M and F21, which is fine. It will be a fun hunt!

Shoes are also on my purge-and-invest list. I've been searching forever for a pair of mid-heel black leather pumps. Being a size 5 makes it more difficult than usual. I have a ton of shoes stored away in boxes, but only wear the ones that are out on the floor at a given time. For Prom, I bought a pair of 4-inch silver heels, which I wore only once more at a photo shoot. However, the shoes look smashing in those photos, so they were worth it despite being horribly uncomfortable. Everyone needs one pair of impractical high heels.

Random sidebar: I can never remember the brands of my shoes. Clothes and bags are easy, most of my jewelry is non-branded, I don't own enough belts to make it difficult... but shoes, packed away in boxes, and in the downstairs coat closet instead of my own? They're tough. For example, I think those 4-inch heels were by Chinese Laundry because of the gorgeous box, but I'm not really sure.

August 2011

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About

Seeing personal style through K's eyes.

I'll be chronicling my quest for personal style on a frugally-raised college student's budget. Fitting room reviews, style inspirations, musings/rants about dressing a petite, size-2 apple figure--just whatever is on my mind. I adore the Anthro aesthetic, but rarely pull it off in real life. Same goes for heels and make-up...

SIZING REFERENCE:

Height: 5'2"
Measurements: 31-28-33
Bust: 32A (or 32AA without padding)
Shoes: 5 women's/3 kids, also 5.5 if open-back
True size: 2 with consideration for my waist
Shape: "crabapple"
Ethnicity: Asian = straight black hair (now waist-length for the second time!), boring brown eyes and nonexistent lashes, medium yellow-toned skin

SPECIFIC BRANDS:
Anthropologie: 2/S dresses (0/XS fits tight), 2/XS tops, 4-6 skirts
J.Crew: XS/0 tops and dresses, 4 skirts
Banana Republic: 2 tops, 4P Sloan bottoms (sometimes 2/2P in other cuts)
H&M: 4/XS tops, 4/S dresses, 6 (sometimes 8) skirts
Forever 21: S tops and dresses, 26 jeans

Resident of the teensy state of Delaware, whose greatest virtue is 0% sales tax!

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