Thursday, September 27, 2012
A Senior in the Juniors Department ... Gasp!
A stock piece of advice that we've all heard from style gurus is that old ladies should stay far away from the Juniors department. They're afraid that we'll buy and wear something tasteless and embarrassing. And, to be completely fair, we've all seen that older woman in too short a skirt or tattered, tiny cutoffs, and bare midriffed in the top half of a skimpy graphic tee. Nor is she spied in some private venue. She's at the grocery store or strolling the mall with her grand kids. Dressed like them. Ew.
It's easy to pose for the "don't" camera in response to the social pressure we all feel about hanging on to our youth. Sometimes it's a matter of personal taste, and that's hard to change. Or, it could just be that is how one dresses in one's social sphere. Ahem. But, sometimes it's about having limited choices about where it is possible to shop, due to location or income. And that leads to one of the most seductive reasons that pulls some of us into Junior or youth-driven departments or stores. Price.
This market is almost always priced lower than those focused on more grown up fashion. Either that, or what is offered at an attractive price to us old ladies is so dowdy and awful that we turn naturally to that shiny object that is the Junior department. In this economy, and for that long-term down-turn that many of us will experience in retirement, price is important. Certainly the quality is not high in all of these lines and you do get what you pay for.
And that might be just what you need.
I'm not advising that you run amok in the nearest "tween" store, but you can find both basic and trendy items that can work. Please, just let discernment be your guide.
Body Central (Central Mall)
The name is off-putting for me, and the shop is unabashedly Junior sized and focused on those young ones who dress for clubbing even if they are too young to get in. (Do we have clubs here?) But they do have a huge selection of inexpensive and trendy accessories to try, and I found some very pretty and fashion forward blouses that matched my definition of tasteful.
Buckle (Central Mall)
There really is a lot here, especially tops and scarves.
(These were all lace tees. How great over a cami and under a blazer?)
Maurices (Central Mall)
Unlike some of the Junior stores, this one also has some trendy items in plus sizes ... some of the jeans looked pretty sleek. Shoes here are limited in choice, but have a more multi-age appeal without sacrificing forward style.
Charlotte Russe (Central Mall)
If there is a trend that you can't find anywhere else, look here. Their blouses and shirts are always worth looking at here, and they use Small, Medium and Large sizing. The shoes and boots are on the far reaches of fashion forward, but look anyway. You may find just the right boot for the few months of a season that we can actually wear them, or bright colored pump to go with a specific outfit that's been perplexing you. And I am collecting inexpensive camisoles to layer with loose-knit sweaters and georgette shirts this winter. They have lots, and in many colors. The price is right.
Old Navy ( Fort Smith Pavilion)
Bless their hearts. Even though they market heavily to the young, they've always been handy for the denim and tee staples. They've FINALLY brought out colored denim in a MID-rise! The only problem is that while there are still stacks of the very low- rise colored skinnies left, they're pitifully low on their Sweetheart style mid-rise in colors. They've just been cleaned out, so help me pester them to restock. You can find longer rises in higher end stores but they cost a lot more than Old Navy's substantial product.
Remember, it took a couple of years for colored and patterned jeans to filter down to the stores in Middle America, and odds are that in no more than a season or two they'll be as outre as scrunchies and leg warmers. Save on all these trendies in Juniors, use them sparingly like salt and pepper for your wardrobe, and have more to spend on the classics that you'll wear longer. An affordable guilty pleasure.