Sartorial Stars – Grace

Grace H.
Madison, WI
Junior, University of Wisconsin
Digital Studies & Communication Arts

How would you describe your style in a few words?

“My style ranges from bohemian to chic. I like simple pieces that create a clean, minimalistic outfit.”

Who is your fashion icon? Is there anyone you try to emulate when getting dressed?

“My fashion icon is Gigi Hadid. her street style is effortlessly chic.”

What is your favorite trend to wear?

“My favorite trend right now is t-shirt dresses. Although it is difficult for me to find one that isn’t to boxy on me because I’m petite, the tight dress can be thrown on for a quick errand or paired with a necklace and sandals for a classier look.”

And what’s your least favorite trend right now?

“My least favorite trend right now is overalls. Unless you are a painter, under five years old, or at a Wisco game day, they have no place in your closet.”

What’s your favorite piece of clothing in your closet?

“My favorite thing in my closet is a pair of short, black leather boots with cut out stripes on the sides from Urban Outfitters. They were on sale for $30 and they are a versatile staple in my closet.”

When you don’t know what to wear, what’s your go-to outfit?

“My go-to outfit is my grey t-shirt dress, black boots, and leather jacket.”

What are some of your favorite stores to shop at?

“My favorite stores to shop at are Urban Outfitters, Revolve, Forever21, and Asos.”

Fast Fashion

The crutch of all frugal Millennials, fast fashion has dominated the retail space. If you need a new dress for a night out or a new top for a date, Forever21 and Zara will always have something waiting for you at a cheap price. This low price, however, comes with low-quality fabric and (moreso for F21) unoriginal designs. Why buy a $200 versatile silk blouse when you could buy ten cheaper tops for the same price?

Sometimes at these stores, you can find a nice-looking piece that will last you ages. I have a shirt from Forever21 that I bought at least 5 years ago, but it’s not a nice top. I’ve been trying to invest in nicer, higher-quality pieces so that I can stop cluttering my closet with “trendy” fad clothing that is made of scratchy fabrics and may fall apart after a handful of washes. I cannot tell you how many peplum tops I bought from Forever21 in high school….and I never wear any of them anymore.

The main take away from all this is that fast fashion, although fun and affordable, is wasteful. It fits in perfectly with the consumerism and materialism Americans are known for. We buy what we want when we want it and just throw it out when we move on. This just seems ridiculous to me. Why not buy things that we will love and use for a longer time? You may like that polyester shirt from Zara this month, but when the trend passes, will you still want to wear it?

The answer is no, you won’t. And the stores know it so they refresh the merhcandise on the sales floor. Their businesses are built on our incessant appetite for new trends.

No need to run to your closet and toss out all of your shirts from F21 this second; they’re still useful shirts. Sometimes, Forever21 is the perfect place to get a going out blouse (one that you don’t mind getting drinks spilled on) when you’re in a time crunch. That’s what it’s there for. be careful not to grow dependent on these stores and waste your money each season stocking your closet with soon-to-be-irrelevant fads.

Back to School Shopping. New York Style.

DSC06671What would a new school year be without some new outfits to freshen up your wardrobe? And while online shopping is good fun, why spend your time hunched over your laptop when you could go out in the fashion capital of the world?

Since we arrived a few days early, I dragged my friends out with me to enjoy the nice weather. We went up Fifth Ave because I am still holding a grudge against SoHo after some unfortunate events last year. Near us, Fifth Ave has a lot of chain retailers so we took a peek around there before heading down some smaller side streets. One of my favorite stores, PinkyOtto, is near the Flatiron so we headed over there next.

I’ve been dying to try wearing hats so with the encouragement of my friends, I finally bought one. We’ll see if I actually end up wearing it though. I also bought a simple, striped t-shirt dress. There is an adorable triangle cutout on the back though, making it more fun than a plain shirt dress.

Indulging in Americana

BrandyMWhile here, I’ve been trying to stay away from the Zaras and H&Ms: places I can shop at in the US (even though they are both European companies!). I always play devil’s advocate and argue that they have more stylish, more affordable options here, but nobody is willing to listen. When it comes down to it, it’s still H&M. I should be taking advantage of all the adorable and truly Parisian boutiques that are everywhere in the city. It’s one of the things I love most about Paris. Individual boutiques like that seem to be hard to come by in the US. All of our shopping areas, especially in New York, have been taken over by powerhouse chains like H&M and Zara.

The one American store that I couldn’t stay away from was Brandy Melville. I have very strong feelings about this store. I could rant forever about its cliché, want-to-be hip, suburban middle school ‘edgy’ look. But sometimes, just sometimes, the softness and crazy comfort of their fabrics makes me forget about all of that.

Of course, I bought two shirts in black haha. They are relatively cheap and a great place to buy basics that will last forever (if you don’t mind all the crop tops).

The Best Store in Paris

DSC06327These posts about colors are probably getting a little old so I will try to write about something new for tomorrow’s entry!

So it just so happens that my new purchase is in my favorite color, Cobalt! I stumbled upon this shop randomly while searching for falafel and I’m so glad I did! The address is below if you want to check it out. They’ve got great deals on clothes from three Parisian brands.

It’s called Suite 341. I went to the location in the Marais, but they have another store in Paris. They sell Sandro as well as Maje and Claudie Pierlot! And if you join their free membership program, you can get larger discounts off the tag price!

3 ter, rue des Rosiers 75004 Paris, FR

Fashion Finds

ASeeUSoonbsolutely in love with this top I got at the Galeries Lafayette on Blvd Haussmann! It’s from this Parisian brand called SeeUSoon. It’s amazing what a range of vendors they have within the Galeries Lafayette. From Topshop to Sandro to LV, they’ve got it all (and at every price range). I could spend days and days wandering around inside and never get bored.

If you make it out there, be sure to look up! The stained-glass ceiling will make you feel like you’re inside a gorgeous jewelry box.

The World’s Classiest Abercrombie

AbercrombieAt the far end of the Champs Élysées, there is a gate with ornate, gold embellishments which leads to an unknown building. Behind them sits an elegantly groomed pathway which looks like it was lifted straight from the Gardens of Versailles. Is it Burberry? It it Dior? Nope, it’s the once reigning suburban American retailer, Abercrombie & Fitch (the buff guys outside were a dead giveaway).

We figured if their entrance was this beautiful, the inside had to be spectacular so we decided to take a peek. And we was right. There were four of five floors of dark, strongly-scented clothing and an overwhelming amount of shrubbery blocking the passageways. So it was essentially the same as an American A&F.

There is a huge square opening in the center of the building where we could see the grand decor. I think it must have been a luxury hotel at some point before Abercrombie moved in. The detailing throughout the building was very ornate and French (like a mini Versailles).

Abercrombie isn’t the only American retailer moving into Paris. I have yet to see a physical store, but I see girls everywhere wandering around with Forever21 bags! With so many other affordable clothing stores around, I don’t see F21 really thriving here. But who knows? Maybe Europeans like the idea of shopping at American stores. Other American brands I’ve spotted include Claire’s, J.Crew, and Brandy Melville….

These Boots Weren’t Made for Walking

bootsEven though I’m almost 5’9″, I love wearing heels.

I chose not to pack any on this trip though because (1) they’re heavy and (2) they just aren’t practical for walking all over the city. One week in, I began to miss being a few inches taller and so (as most of my stories end), I went shopping.

I ended up buying these interesting heels from Promod by the Opera for only 20 euros! The tag said they were real leather, but I highly doubt it.
In New York, I always find myself wishing that there were more cheap-y shoe stores. And there are some, but the shoes you find there are not even worth mentioning. In Paris, there are tons places to buy cheap (and somewhat sturdy) shoes and unlike the US, the cheap shoes can actually be really cute!

It felt good to be back up at my preferred height, but I was definitely right in not packing any heels. The little cobblestone streets by our residence are not high-heel friendly.

What You Can Buy for 1 €

It Pastadoesn’t sound like a lot, but 1 euro can get you a long way in Paris!

You just have to know where to look. My favorite grocery store, Monoprix, is like a smaller version of Target. There’s a clothing department as well as kitchen ware, household products, and food. They’ve got everything from Oreos to hiking boots! Unfortunately there isn’t one near the dorms so I have to take a 10 minute metro ride to get to the closest location. Everyone thinks I’m nuts for going so far out of the way for this one store. There are grocery stores much closer to home, but for some reason I’m very attached to the Monoprix at Temple.

I have to cook some meals for myself in my little kitchenette while I’m here so keeping grocery costs low is a priority (more money for shopping!) Luckily, Monoprix’s prices do not disappoint. Each tBreadime the price comes up at the register, I’m shocked. Both this huge bag of pasta and this fresh loaf of bread were only one euro each. That bag of pasta is going to feed me for the rest of the month! For only one euro! You can get a box of cookies for 70 cents, a liter of milk for 90 cents or a one euro bottle of champagne! Maybe I’m getting a little too excited by groceries, but I think it’s incredible that (some) food is priced so cheaply!

My absolute favorite one euro purchase, however, can be found at a chain of thrift stores in le Marais called Free’P’Star. Last time I was in Paris, my friend dragged me there and I fell in love…but not immediately. The stores are dark and a little dingy with overflowing bins and racks of clothing filled to the max. It’s chaotic. Like worse than the Union Square Forever21 chaotic.. and that’s saying something.

Their draw-in factor is their infamous one euro bins. Shoppers go crazy digging through the huge tangles of old, slightly smelly clothes. There are a lot of horrible things in those bins. Stained shorts, old jerseys, ratty t-shirts *yuck*. But when you do find one great thing, it’s such a great feeling. You just have to find it before the crazy woman next to you does. Recently, I tossed a lot of the one euro clothes I previously purchased (the low price encourages you to just buy things, even if you’ll never wear them). My personal best Free’P’Star find was a denim jacket that I still wear to this day. I actually brought it back to Paris with me and it’s hanging in my closet right now!

I’m definitely going to head back there this trip and hopefully I’ll find some actually decent one euro clothes.