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Bowdoin Style Beyond the Bean Boots: How to Get the High Fashion Look for Less

Dressing in your favorite celeb and high-fashion inspired styles without spending a fortune is easier than ever these days – you just have to know where to look and be willing to spend some serious time digging (being a good shopper – like my good friend, Lauren - is an art form)! In today’s economy everyone is struggling, even high end designers, which is why so many of them have collaborated with discount stores like Kohl’s, Target, H&M and even Wal-mart. Such collaborations are a win-win situation for us, as consumers, and the designers as producers – we have access to our favorite styles at reasonable prices and the designers are able to promote their brand and make a little extra cash.

Mulberry recently did a bag collection for Target this past fall.
The bag pictured was only $49.99 and is probably on sale now in some stores.

The list of high-end designer collaborations with reasonably priced stores is incredibly long – you just need to keep an eye out for when and where such partnerships take place! At the end of this article I have included a number of stores and the designers that they are currently collaborating with and also those they’ve worked with in the past to give you an idea of how popular this trend is becoming.

My best advice is to skim your favorite fashion magazines and study the outfits of your celebrity style muses. Figure out what you like best and what makes the particular outfits stand out – doing this will help you get through overwhelming stores, like Forever 21, much faster because you will know what you’re looking for. Furthermore, examine your wardrobe before heading out on a shopping spree—notice what colors and styles are most predominant and keep your eye out for items that will coordinate. Otherwise you will be stuck with things you’ll never wear or that require spending more money on matching apparel or accessories. Also, keep in mind that accessories can make an outfit!

Flats from Christian Siriano’s (Project Runway) collection for Payless on sale for $24.99

Luxury shoe designer, Pierre Hardy, collaborated with Gap this past fall,
to create fabulous shoes at reasonable prices. The wedges above are on sale now on gap.com for $130!

Finding stores participating in collaborations with luxury brands is not the only way to look fashionable while on a budget. Stores such as Marshalls, Loehmann’s or T.J. Maxx are great options too. And don’t forget about the outlets! Outlet stores are fantastic for finding designer labels for less. Many would argue that these options only offer past styles, but how often do you see styles recurring from season to season? Additionally, outlets oftentimes will have current season items that are slightly damaged, but for half of the original price who cares if the item is sized incorrectly or has a small stain that can be easily fixed by your local dry cleaners.

On a similar note I have to say that stores such as Zara, Topshop, DSW and Asos.com always have great imitation designs for fairly reasonable prices. Forever 21, having been subject to over 50 copyright infringements by designers such as Anna Sui and Diane von Furstenburg, is another chain that tends to copy high-end designs.

Finally, GET CREATIVE! Go to vintage shops and even stores like Goodwill; you never know what you’ll find and you can always alter items to your liking (I know alterations can be expensive, so find a friend or relative who can sew and politely ask them to help you out!). I personally love finding stylish apparel at vintage shops, it takes a lot of time and patience, but it is definitely worth it. Recently, I found an amazing rabbit fur coat at a vintage shop in Paris (Freep Star) for only 30 Euros!


Click the image above to get links and prices for all the pieces pictured - Happy shopping!

Below is a list of  both current and past collaborations between reasonably priced stores and luxury designers or celebrities (with past collaborations bulleted):

Target  - Calypso (SS 2011)

  • Isaac Mizrahi
  • Converse (shoes)
  • Alexander McQueen
  • Jean Paul Gaultier
  • Erikson Beamon (jewelry)
  • Tucker
  • Zac Posen
  • William Rast
  • Mulberry (bags)

Wal-mart  - Norma Kamali (Current)

K-Mart  -  Lifestyle collection by (Modern Family’s)

  • Sofia Vergara (FW 2011)

Kohl’s  -  Vera Wang (Current)

  • J.Lo and Mark Anthony (2011/2012)
  • Estee Lauder

J.C. Penney  -  (Charlotte Ronson) I ‘Heart’ Ronson (Current)

Top Shop  - Kate Moss (Current)

H&M   -  Swedish Hasbeens (Shoes – SS 2011) / Lanvin (Current)

  • Commes De Garcons
  • Prada

Payless  -  Lela Rose (Current) / Christian Siriano (Project Runway) (Current)

  • Alice and Olivia
  • Patricia Field
  • Abaete

Gap  -  Pierre Hardy (shoes) (Current)

  • Alexander Wang

J. Crew   -   Fenton/Fallon (jewelry)

  • Authier
  • Belstaff
  • Barbour
  • Mackintosh
  • Thomas Mason
  • Saint James
  • MiH Jeans
  • Lulu Frost
  • Connor Stationery
  • Jean Shop
  • Cosabella
  • Quoddy
  • Gloverall
  • Sperry Top-Sider
  • Tretorn
  • Minnetonka
  • Timex
  • Selima Optique for J.Crew
  • Ray-Ban
  • Jack Purcell
  • Aigle
  • The Laundress New York for J.Crew
  • Essie
  • Superior Labor
  • A.R. Trapp
  • Globe-Trotter
  • Bobbi Brown
  • Tweezerman
  • Angela Adams for Jcrew
  • Lemlem®
  • Cutler and Gross
  • G.H. Bass & Company
  • Panama Hat
  • Spanx

QVC  -  Rachel Zoe (Current)

Bloomingdales  - Vena Cava (Current)

Juicy Couture  - Erin Fetherson

Madewell  - Alexa Chung (Current)

Nine West -  emerging fashion designers Sophie Theallet and Giles Deacon (2011)

Sources:
Polyvore Image by Kelly Kopchik
 

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