Bargain shoppers like you and me can get trapped by low-priced back to school clothes that appear to be a great value, but are cheaply made. The September issue of ShopSmart, published by Consumer Reports, says here is what to avoid.
Dresses and skirts – Elastic waistbands, no lining, sloppy stitching, crooked seams, and visible hems (they should be rolled).
Jackets – Big, cheap buttons, buttonholes with loose threads or raw edges, no lining (which helps the jacket fit better and keep its shape), labels sewed on sloppily, flimsy
sticky zippers. As my Mom always told me, if the zipper doesn’t work in the store, it’s not going to work at home.
Blouses and tops – Prints or stripes that do not line up at the buttons, gaps at the bust (or maybe you need a bigger size), tacky buttons, loose threads, cuffs that pucker.
Pants – No lining, mis-sewn pockets, pockets that show through the fabric, pucking around the waist or zipper, no hook-and-eye closure (which keeps the zipper from opening).
Jewelry – Overly shiny or fake jewels or “gold-coating” that will chip on first wearing. Instead, buy gunmetal and matte finishes.
Handbags – Cheap hardware like zippers, nailheads, and closures, stitching that does not match the color of the bag, gaudy charms and fringes.
Shoes – Fake leather looks better on a handbag, mismatched shoe and heel colors, cheap details like bows and straps.
Tips from celebrity stylist Karen Kleber, who was tasked with putting together a fabulous outfit for $100 or less, surprised me. She could only shop at JC Penney, Kohl’s, Target, Marshalls, Sears, T.J. Maxx, and Walmart.
Kleber found T.J. Maxx had the best shoes, the most stylish clothes were at JC Penney, and the turnover at H&M was so fast there was no time to come back after thinking about a piece of clothing. Check out the fashion trends we spotted for back to school 2011!