Sunday, March 18, 2012

The People Have Spoken, and the People Like Kohl's

Yesterday I was on, my default homepage, when I was distracted by an article called "America's Favorite Fashion Retailers."  I read on and learned that Americans spend an average of $1700 a year on clothes, and that the place where they prefer to spend it is Kohl's.  The department store's main draw was reported to be, of course, its low prices.  According to Steve Pruitt, senior consultant at Blacks Retail Analysis, "Kohl's is a discount operation.  Many of the brands it carries aren't the most up-to-the-minute, on-trend ones, but those that are a bit dated.  So they're going to be cheaper than, say, Macy's, which is much more designer-conscious."  Reading that burst my bubble a little.  Sure, Kohl's has some frumpy stuff.  I won't deny it.  But it also offers plenty of trendy pieces that just happen to be affordable, especially via the vehicles of the Candie's, Elle, Simply Vera, and Lauren Conrad lines. 

Now to be honest, I wasn't always such a Kohl's advocate.  I think that my mallrat teenage self thought it was junky or something, so stopping there wasn't on my strict Macy's-Wet Seal-J. C. Penney's loop.  It wasn't until after college, when I'd landed my first job, that I first properly explored the place.  The company where I worked was in the middle of nowhere, and the only promising lunchtime shopping destination was a Kohl's about ten minutes away.  From the first time I crossed its threshold into a world of poly print color, I wondered why I'd dismissed it as subpar in the past. (Just to be clear, the poly print bit wasn't meant to be derisive; there are few fabrics I love more than a vibrant and wrinkle-free synthetic.) Come noon I could be found combing its considerable clearance racks, more often than not emerging with a bagful of bargains.  Although I've since moved on from that job, Kohl's remains a favorite of mine, having recently edged out my former front-runner, J. C. Penney's.

Okay, so everyone (with the possible exception of that Pruitt guy) loves Kohl's.  But what other stores get our hearts pumping?  The rest of the article went on to list America's remaining four retail rendezvous-spots-of-choice, namely Nordstrom, Macy's, Dillard's, and J. C. Penney's, respectively.  I've been to Nordstrom once or twice when traveling, although I've never bought anything.  Going to a store like that is kind of like visiting a fashion museum; everything is lovely to look at, but reaching out to check a price tag sends you recoiling as if you'd left your oily fingerprints on a priceless Monet.  Macy's is more accessible and, during a one-day sale, a mecca for otherwise out-of-your-league finds.  I've never been to a Dillard's. And you know all about my romantic roller coaster-like feelings for J. C. Penney's.  I should add that I'm a big believer in Marshalls and Target, neither of which made the list, probably because their inventories are kind of small, and in the case of Marshalls, unpredictable.  

So what about you?  Where do you like to shop?

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