Fashionably saving pennies at JCPenney
'Tis the season. The touch of fall in the air begs for a wardrobe update, but I'm in no mood to blow money frivolously this year.
So I recently found myself in a store that I haven't given a serious look in years: JCPenney. I expected flashbacks to my school uniform days. I was delighted to find that it's not grandma's store anymore.
Designers like Nicole Miller and Ralph Lauren do lines for the store. Both are more expensive than your standard Penney's fare, but quite reasonable on sale. (Fortunately, that's just about every weekend now. Check the newspaper for coupons and the buy one, get one for 88-cents specials.)
The Ralph Lauren label, American Living, has some lovely fall pieces. I'm smitten with the preppy blazers and flirty-to-fancy dresses. All look like they cost a lot more than they do. The current season is a hint of good things to come from a line that underwhelmed me when it launched in the spring.
For the die-hard bargain shopper, the best deals are found in off-name brands, great for stocking up on basics. St. John's Bay makes cotton cable sweaters in every color of the rainbow. At $14.99, the price over the weekend, this is a perfect budget substitute for pricey JCrew sweaters.
There is an element of the scavenger hunt to a visit to Penney's. Don't be turned off by some truly frightening frump, which for some reason tends to be concentrated at the entrances. Do look for finds in unexpected places, such as the casual tops in the Decree line for juniors. You just never know.
~ Deal Diva Letitia
(Photos: American Living cuffed dress, $53.99; St. John's Bay crew neck cable sweater, $14.99 to $24.99)