Saturday, September 10, 2016

How Much Was That Outfit?

I am a perpetual bargain hunter, especially when it comes to clothes. So I tend to shop at places like TJ Maxx and Marshalls rather than Neiman Marcus and Lord & Taylor. Every now and then, I wonder what the real price difference is between the bargain stores and the high-end stores. I started wondering, could I buy a similar outfit at several stores and see how the prices match up? Let's find out together if we can get the same thing for less at some stores, shall we? I shopped online at a number of the stores in my area, using similar descriptions and choosing items I like that seem relatively similar in style (and in some cases, absolutely identical!).

Let's start with a basic, casual outfit: jeans, a cute sweater, a pair of shoes, some earrings, and a bag. To be a bit more specific, let's find a pair of dark wash skinny jeans, a black V-neck sweater, black ankle boots, silver hoop earrings, and a basic black satchel.

Here's what I'd put together if I were shopping at Kohls:
Sonoma Goods for Life skinny jeans, $25
Apt. 9 Shark Bite V-neck sweater, $30
Croft & Barrow comfort buckle ankle boots, $50
Napier hoop earrings, $10
Croft & Barrow satchel, $35

Kohls grand total: $150


Here's what I'd put together if I were shopping at Dress Barn:
Westport 1962 signature fit skinny jeans, $30
V-neck sweater, $30
Emmy ankle booties, $50
Roz&ALI hoop earrings, $10
Chain handle satchel, $45

Dress Barn Grand Total: $165


Here's what I'd put together if I were shopping at JC Penney:
Wallflower ultra-skinny jeans, $58

Worthington long-sleeve essential v-neck sweater, $30
a.n.a. Canoga booties, $48

Sterling silver hoop earrings, $45

Liz Claiborne "Julie" zip-top satchel, $33

JC Penney Grand Total: $214


Here's what I'd put together if I were shopping at Nordstroms:

NYDJ 'Ami" colored stretch super skinny jeans, $114

Halogen oversize V-neck sweater, $30
BP 'Tandem' booties, $72

BP oversize hoop earrings, $14
Kate Spade New York "cedar street - malaise" satchel, $298

Nordstrom Grand Total: $528


Let's try again, with a more office-appropriate outfit: a pantsuit, blouse, and dress shoes. Specifically, a neutral pantsuit (or trousers and matching jacket), a white cotton blouse, and black pumps.

At Kohls:
 Le Suit herringbone suit jacket and pants set, $120
Dana Buchman button-down sateen shirt, $25
Lauren Conrad dress heels, $35

Kohls Grand Total: $180


At Dress Barn:
 
Jones Studio stretch crepe 1-button blazer and classic trouser pants, $119
Button-down pocket shirt, $16
Tiana peep-toe heels, $45

Dress Barn Grand Total: $180


At JC Penney:
Le Suit long-sleeve textured weave pantsuit, $90
Liz Claiborne long-sleeve wrinkle-free shirt, $25
Clarks Arista Abe leather pumps, $70

JC Penney Grand Total: $185


At Nordstrom:
Halogen herringbone stretch 1-button suit jacket and straight leg suit pants, $118
Foxcroft non-iron fitted shirt, $76
Cole Haan "Juliana" pointy toe pump, $100

Nordstrom Grand Total: $294


And finally, let's plan for a night on the town with a cocktail dress, and shoes, and an evening bag. Specifically, a sheath-style "little black dress" (I actually found the exact same dress in three of the four stores), strappy heels, and a black satin clutch.

At Kohls:

Scarlett mesh yoke sheath dress, $70
Chelsea & Zoe Cachete high heel sandals, $55
Gunne Sax by Jessica McClintock pleated satin convertible clutch, $26

Kohls Grand Total: $119


At Dress Barn:
Lattice-top sheath dress, $56
Luxe by Carmen Marc Valvo Kylie heels, $25
Satin pleated clutch, $15

Dress Barn Grand Total: $96


At JC Penney:

Scarlett short-sleeve illusion sheath dress, $60
I. Miller Valrie crystal ankle-strap sandals, $55
Gunne Sax by Jessica McClintock pleated clutch evening bag, $21

JC Penney Grand Total: 136


At Nordstrom:

Maggy London illusion yoke crepe sheath dress, $148
Vince Camuto "Court" ankle strap sandals, $60
Sondra Roberts chain tassel woven satin box clutch, $88

Nordstrom Grand Total: $296


So the bottom line seems to be that if you hit the sales right, you can do very well at Kohls and Dress Barn, and nearly as well at JC Penney. But don't go to Nordstrom unless you can't get exactly what you want anywhere else!


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