In the spirit of the Holiday season, a starving student's budget, and my general cheapness, I offer my evaluations of some cheap mass retailers.
Kohl's- Cheap on sale and cheap in quality. Their button up shirts do that annoying thing where the buttons gap open (the even had a picture in one of their adds with an ill-made sweater doing just that) and is torn soon. Don't buy anything you plan to need for a while from here. Their shoes, however get a thumbs up. $5 shoes on clearance! Hold up nicely and look good! I;m typically gentle to my shoes though. (Just note what I wear each day!)
JC Penny- They get points for quality and price. Good sales and good pieces. I use to shop almost exclusively there. (The shop of choice changes with the fashion seasons and what shop carries what I like.) I don't shop their juniors department so much anymore, but I do like their misses collection, particularly their Bisou Bisou line. (Love my high waisted pencil skirt!)
Target- Target's usually good. Plus, their return policy rocks! 90 Days! If your stuff doesn't last at least that long, take it back. No questions asked. They also know what a clearance is versus sale, and have some rocken shoe clearances. $8 boots! $4.98 pumps! And their stuff looks good too. On the negatove, I hate the fit of their screen tees and long sleeve tees. Too wide in the shoulders for me. If you have wide shoulders, that may be good. Oh, and I'm not too impressed with their online service either...
Walmart- If you can brave this store (the one near my house is staffed mostly by immigrants who don't speak English very well and don't know anything about the store) then their are some good buys to be had. They are the monarch's of clearance with $1, $2, $3, and $5 racks. I have a few pieces from there that are still going strong a few years later. I do have to say that they lack a few things design-wise, but obviously nothing too bad or I wouldn't have bought much less worn the pieces as much as I have. Their shoes have also looked cuter lately, but don't fit my feet. Admittedly I have narrow feet, but in the shoes I tried on even a 7.5, which usually fits me right width-wise but is a bit tighter than I like length and toe room wise, was WAY to wide for my feet.
Payless- Cute shoes and quality and design has online gone up through the years. They also have great sales, and you can cheat by switching shoe boxes if you can avoid the eyes of staff...
Forever 21- Yes, I even count them as expensive. I can't resist buying a piece from here every now and then. They've set themselves up as THE spot for dresses. In fact, I bought my prom dress there.
Click for larger pic. I like my fancy dresses simple, without cheap looking glitter, colors that look like rainbow brite puked on it, and other cheap embellishments. I like design using the fabric of the dress, and doesn't look trashy. This refers to the stuff they usually toss at you around prom season. Also, several of my favorite pieces hail from this store. Their sales rock in terms of prices! Usually, the really good stuff never make sit their though. Their quality is also often not the best. Some pieces are good, others, not so much. I advise to always check seams and such at this store.
Wet Seal- Somewhat better though still wavering on expensive for me. They have awesome sales though! So tempting... I also like their jeans. Good stuff. (Designer jeans are a waste for me, since as you see, I rarly wear jeans and usually wear them to just fool around in.)
Charlotte Russe- Cute stuff, cruddy website, and check quality here too. Their shoes are great though and often on sale. Got my trusty cowboy boots are there and their still going strong, despite the abuse I heap on them. I wear them as rain boots, since rain boots are too heavy for my liking and also tend to slide off my narrow feet and tiny ankles/calves. Wore them all through last year's rainy season and they're still going strong. Only problem is they slip. Ugh. Lucky I have good balance though...
Rave/Lola- I like them too. Decent quality, though again I say check the seams. Decent prices, though yet again wavering on expensive. AWESOME sales though, and the cute stuff goes on sale.
Hot Topic- Way overpriced, but they've had some good sales lately--including 50% off boots!--and I'd speak well of their quality. Plus, the people are ALWAYS friendly, so they get love from me. (Unlike American Eagle et al.) I also love their accessories. I so wanted a couple of their guitarr pick necklaces! But, I'm a starving college student who needs to buy Christmas presents.
Oh, and by the way, exhausted this week (trouble sleeping on hard dorm bed from my nice, soft bed at home) so excuse my typos and lazy spelling.
Outfit from Nov. 14th: long sleeve tee and brown wrap boots- JC Penny, blue tank- Ross, jeans- Wet Seal, vest- mom (from 70s. I luve it!), red feather fascinator- Taissa Lada Designs (ebay)