I’ve always been a huge fan of masstige. This is the trend in recent years of mass retailers like Target, Payless & Kohl’s having partnerships with high end designers to produce lines of clothing, furniture and accessories at low end prices. In theory, what you get is the high end designer’s point of view, interpreted in a more affordable way. I am also a huge fan of a bargain, and have been known to walk into stores I am far too old to walk into in search of some trendy item for less than $10, knowing full well it will be donated at the end of the season.
One can shop for bargains at any age, in any price range, a wide variety of styles, and with any body type — there is no shortage of fantastic fashions availalbe at literally every price. What you may need to endure to procure said fashions, is another story entirely. Loud thumping music and obnoxious sales staff (forever 21, charlotte russe, love culture, h&m), vs. inept older sales staff, quite possibly the most un-flattering fitting room lighting on the planet (hey, it can only look better at home), and racks and racks of messy, mixed-up and mis-marked clothing (marshall’s, loehmanns, daffys, century 21). This makes shopping at places like Target a pleasure in comparison. Cute sundress AND windex, all in the same place? What fun?
Regardless of WHERE find your bargain, the more important question at hand is whether or not you will actually wear the thing for more than once. The ugly truth about cheap fashions is this: The cheaper (made) the item is, the better your body needs to be to pull it off. Clothing is made cheap by using unforgivable, inexpensive fabric and notions, and by taking away construction details like flat or french seams, linings and facings that give a garment structure and longevity, glue instead of thread (I kid you not), and my favorite: elastic. Lots and lots of elastic. The problems is that without the seams and facings and boning and actual closures like zippers and plackets and buttons to coax mature flesh into place, you are left with something akin to pajamas with a shape (a pant shape, a dress shape, a blouse shape, what have you). If your BODY doesn’t have the musculature or internal foundation to hold itself in place (Jump up and down. When does the jiggling stop?), your clothing is a fantasatic way to give it that. The elastic at the waist of a dress will not give you a nipped-in waist, which in turn will not make your bustline look larger, and your hips curvaceous instead of wide. A pocket on a pant that pulls from cheap fabric will not give you the long, lean, leg line that a well made trouser will.
So if you are “of a certain age” or body type, tread lightly on these types of clothes. Investing in well made clothes will pay off by carving out a beautiful line for your figure no matter what your size.