Retail Stores that Won’t Push You to be Trendy

BY: JULIE CHUNG

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High-low skirts, Mini crop tops, Jeffrey Campbell booties, Wedge sneakers, Animal print leggings, High-waisted denim shorts. The list of today’s fashion trends goes on and on and on… I walked into the Topshop store at The Grove the other day and no, I did not go in to shop. I simply went in to see what today’sfashionistas were buying. As I glanced at the checkout line to see some of the popular purchases, I spotted a high school girl buying the exact same sweater as a woman in her 70s. Here’s the picture of the sweater on the right.

Photo courtesy of Topshop The sweater from Topshop
Photo courtesy of Topshop The sweater from Topshop

With all these trends, especially vintage, coming in, what is considered too much? Where is the line drawn? Is there even a line? If you haven’t already noticed, the picture on the bottom right shows what people are dressing like today, and over-the-top fashion trends will only get worse from here.

So what’s left for the rest of us who want to look good and still look like a normal person from the 21st century?

I consider myself to be fashion-forward, but I am in no way trendy at all. If you’re like me, then maybe I can help.

Once I realized it was getting harder and harder to find basic, fashionable clothes, I went on a search to find the stores that offered good quality, long-lasting and stylish clothes (which is why I didn’t include stores like Forever XXI on my list). Here are a few stores that I found:

Club Monaco – for someone with a simple, classic taste

Club Monaco is a retail store owned by Ralph Lauren, but it is extremely underrated. Not many have heard of it, and those who have assume it’s a club somewhere in Hollywood…

Let me start off by saying that Club Monaco is not cheap. Their basic sweaters cost anywhere from $100 to $170, and the same costs apply to all their other garments. However, you get what you pay for; their quality is top notch.

Don’t let the prices scare you away though! Because Club Monaco’s merchandise is so expensive, their products don’t run out fast enough. And as a result, that $170 sweater you’ve been eyeing has a very good chance of going on sale by the end of the month.

Also, don’t forget to bring your student ID. You can receive 20 percent off full-price and sale items if you provide proof that you are a student.

Armani Exchange – for someone with an edgier, sleeker style

For people looking for well-made, good quality clothes and willing to spend a bit of money, Armani Exchangeoffers great prices, ranging from $70 to $200. Most of their garments are a bit cheaper than Club Monaco and they have decent deals year-round.

Unlike many stores where only the hideous clothes go on sale, Armani Exchange offers good finds in their sales section. However, because their sales section is not very big their sizes tend to be limited. One way you can avoid this problem is to call in advance and see when their sales start, so that you can be the first to grab your size.

Also, keep up with their website because they offer a special “Deal of the Week” that changes well…every week. Their website also offers free shipping if you spend more than $100.

Express  –  for people who want simple, casual clothes

Express is one of those good-quality, clothing stores that are not too cheap, not too expensive, but just right for the casual shopper looking for simple clothes. Their clothes usually range from $50 to $200, depending on how detailed the garment is.

Although they currently have their big semi-annual sale like most retail stores, Express is one of the stores that have all the unwanted, neglected clothes in their sales section. Nevertheless, Express always has something in everyone’s price range.

Express tends to be pushed out of the picture because they rarely carry trendy pieces and their designs seem very bland. But keep in mind that Express carries quality, basic pieces that will last you a very long time.

Here’s a list of other great, underrated clothing stores:

  • INTERMIX (only carries womenswear)
  • Banana Republic
  • ZARA
  • Ben Sherman (only carries menswear)
  • J.Crew
  • Superdry
  • True Religion
  • TRAFFIC LA
  • Theory