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Coming soon! One full week of cheap and chic

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And I’m taking requests. What do you both really want to buy, but really need to cost a lot less? Share in the comments below, and don’t be afraid to get specific.

Posted on August 29th, 2013 101 Comments

101 Responses

  1. Carrie says:

    A leather-ish jacket for fall (I’m open to non-leather alternatives).

  2. @sarahspy says:

    chic suiting for the workplace… laptop bag… luggage ?

  3. Sheri says:

    Shoes will good arch support or shoes that have room for orthotics. Boots too!

  4. Elena says:

    Boots please! I’d love to find a polished yet casual low heeled boot that doesn’t cost $!,000.

  5. camille says:

    Work dresses for mid-40ish lady.

  6. laura says:

    fall/winter city friendly coat
    carry-all type handbag for work

  7. Nethea says:

    Moncler puffer coat with fur trim! How can a puffer cost so much? Is fabulosity really that much of a premium?

    • Christine says:

      Sorry if you can’t use this advice, but in New York City there’s a store called Fopp’s on Lexington Ave. near 69th St. that’s useful for gently priced Moncler and Sonia Rukiel knock offs. The saleslady there is a bit aggressive, but check it out later in the fall if you’re still interested in a puffy coat with faux fur trim.

  8. Andrea says:

    Jeans in general, but since I’m a size 12, I’d love jeans that are for women who wear size 10 and up.

  9. Meegan says:

    Coats. Functional and interesting and stylish. Shoes. Well made, decent for walkimg in and elegant.

  10. a.d.s. says:

    Clothes that are classic and will last, but are affordable: the perfect white shirt, cool jackets to wear with said shirt, classic slim pants, and kitten heels (I need to be able to walk). Plus, a leather jacket (vegan options are good too!). Thanks Kim!

    • Rae says:


    • Jenny says:

      Yes, yes, yes, yes. And slouchy pants. Mainly, I’m looking for sources — where is the one place or what is the one brand that I can go to for Celine/Rick Owens/Helmut Lang fabulous-ness with Eileen Fisher price point and other qualities (some concern for labor stds, professional looking, occasionally washable, widely available). Who has figured out that this is an incredibly underserved and potentially lucrative niche? Also, please find me a unicorn.

    • auntjone says:


  11. mims says:

    another vote for large, gorgeous bag/purse/carry-all

  12. Kim says:

    Love that you’re doing this! My requests: clogs, animal print handbags, gold bracelets, army green cigarette pants, black blazers.

  13. lindanyc says:

    Thanks so much for taking requests! I can’t stand that these cost so much 🙁

  14. Jenna says:

    My vote is for stacked heeled black leather boots (3-4 inches). I know booties are all the rage now, but a pair of black leather boots are always classic and there don’t seem to be any affordable options out there right now.

    • Christine says:

      The Freelance brand was reliable for boots with a stacked heel but that label seems to have disappeared.

      In the past decade, I bought two pairs of knee high black leather boots at the Barneys Warehouse sale (one from their private label, the other is Robert Clergerie), but with their online “sale” site, it’s slimmer pickings.

      Looking forward to hearing what our host recommends.

    • Jill says:

      Agreed on the black leather boots. Also, would be nice if there were some that actually FIT my calves (and I don’t have especially slim calves). Everything out there seems to be HUGE on the calf and ankle. I miss the days when boots fit the leg and had zippers…

  15. Kate says:

    Underwear. Preferably nicely made, in an actual matching set, somewhat useful for everyday (I can wear them with things other than my heaviest sweaters), but with a little interesting detail. You know, like Stella McCartney, but not.

  16. Kara says:

    black or navy leather motorcycle jacket or something similarly edgy! also gold rings/bracelets…

  17. Ranch says:

    Alternative affordable wedding dresses. I know this is not a wedding site, but I’d love to see your take on a casual party friendly alternative gown (colors ok too). Also I’d love a good list of quality true vintage online retailers.

  18. farha bano says:

    Must-haves for fall/back to school:

    1) Fall dresses that look can go from work to weekend (shirt dresses/cord dresses).
    2) Pants/cords that can go from work to weekend (no khaki pants or “slacks” but skinnies or cords that can go from work to weekend).
    3) And the perfect leather work tote..I am still wondering if the Claire Vivier totes can really hold a laptop?

    • Debra says:

      I second this but with an additional request for skinny cords with a mid or high rise.

    • Jenny says:

      I have a Clare Vivier messenger bag, and it’s lovely but it has no lining or interior structure, so carrying a laptop might be awkward and heavy, as if you were carrying it in a (particularly chic) plastic grocery bag. Others may have a different experience.

  19. Liz says:

    Leather pants.

  20. Maria says:

    You are constantly showing us the most fabulous little dresses that are (1) expensive! and (2) only available up to a size 10 at most.

    If you can find some less expensive, but still cool and interesting dresses that are available in a 12 or 14, I will give you my firstborn. Well, not really, but I will love you forever.

    • Anne says:

      Amen to that! 🙂

      • Kiki says:

        In the same vein, how about some cool tops and dresses that work for those of us on the chesty side? I’m a 34D and as much as I love Helmut Lang, he just doesn’t cut for a curvier body.

  21. joannawnyc says:

    I can’t think of any clothing-related things right now, but I need the following for my house:

    1. A new kitchen (are there any alternatives to Ikea?)
    2. Ceiling fans that look cool, include lighting and cost less than $1000
    3. Floor mats or indoor/outdoor type rugs that don’t look like they came from a Chinese street market.

  22. Shannon says:

    I’m obsessed with the Chanel J12 Chromatic Black and Diamond Dial Watch, but at $13,000 it’s not going to happen. At least not this year :). I’d LOVE to see you cheap and chic options.

  23. Jen says:

    I’ll be starting school to become an esthetician in October and am required to wear a wardrobe of all black. I would love it if you could do a post based on your recent all black round up of more affordable, but still stylish black options.

  24. dawn says:

    The perfect black leather clutch under 300. All black, no gold or silver hardware so its truly versatile.

  25. Laurel says:

    Something like the Isabel Marant Crisi boot? But like a tenth of the price.

  26. Snufkin says:

    WARM tights. I’ve spent $$$ on nice Italian wool tights, but they’re spendy plus the toes always seem to start unraveling right away. Same goes for the Uniqlo ones, which I discovered melt if you get too close to a bonfire (long story).

  27. cs says:

    Sweaters! Good quality sweaters. Not 100% cotton.

  28. A different Laurel says:

    Great red dresses with some sleeve and a bit forgiving in the tummy area – two things I need at my “certain age”. Saw a beauty in the window in Neiman Marcus, but couldn’t bring myself to go in and look at the price tag.

  29. Caroline says:

    So much good stuff has already been mentioned…
    However a soft stylish leather blazer (emanuelle alt style)
    Some waxed black skinny chino things..
    A great black pea coat ( not too old lady) love the Zara coat you posted the other day!
    Those great drapey tops you go for….
    I could go on…..

  30. Meghan says:

    Fall staples that are not affordable!

  31. Kimberly says:

    Directional, midi dresses in interesting patterns (made of non-yuck fabric)–OK–solids too.

  32. Debra says:

    some sort of drapey top or simply draped dress that is Helmut Lang-y for us gals with D-cups. It is so hard to find a shirt that fits when you have big boobs and a size 8 frame but the really well tailored stuff is so expensive. I gave up on shirts with buttons years ago.

    • viajera says:

      Do large chests go well with drapey tops? I’m not trying to get smart, I would really like to know. All I’ve ever been able to figure out is v-neck knits. Something drapey might be a fun change.

  33. jen says:

    how about anything cheap and chic and not made by slave labor? challenging, i admit, but of so much easier to enjoy.

  34. Linda Kenyon says:

    Tee shirts, not too boxy, not too tight, non-flimsy cotton,close-fitting, mid-hip length. I’m 36-DD so V and scoop-necks are kindest to me…come the cold weather (not a day too soon, may I add!), I’m going to layer like there’s no tomorrow!

  35. katrina says:

    OMG cardigans. Not too thin, not too thick, and DOESN’T pill after 3 wears. Range of colors, range of sizes. There must be something I can go bury in the front yard to make this wish come true.

  36. lizzie says:

    simple, well tailored dresses that are fabulously draped and not too short and you can eat a big meal and not feel uncomfortable. i second the ceiling fans.

  37. Christine says:

    clothes made out of the good stuff! good wools/non-hate-making wool blends, silks, cashmere alternatives, etc. – so often “cheap chic” means the most awful textures.
    (and if you can find a canvas bag that’s not a basic tote or a giant firewood/beach bag [or the fake brown-paper-bag], I would be endlessly, endlessly grateful. faux leathers crack and fade – canvas, esp. oiled canvas, ages beautifully.) canna wait!

  38. yvonneS says:

    Rachel Comey-like med height ankle boot please.

  39. Margo says:

    Acme Pistol boot. On the cheap.

  40. Alison says:

    One other request. really, truly great t-shirts (obviously white is preferred) a la alexander wang, that don’t cost $100 each. Sommething that is not 100% cotton, with some synthetic material, so the drape is nice. please oh please

  41. KathiB says:

    Affordable items to dress like an editor or supernova– I so love the simple, clean style of you (followed you since Lucky) Emmanuelle Alt and Garance Dore. Loved your recent article about being pulled back in – – take me with you!

  42. Holly says:

    Cashmere v-necks. Somewhere between Uniqlo and Bompard. Thank you. You’ve already helped me spend so much money (and improved my style!!).

    • Sara says:

      Now you’ve got me wondering about Bompard, I’d never heard of them, but just looked at their website.

  43. Ann says:

    Black blazers to wear with jeans, t-shirt and boots (I wear cowboy boots every day).

  44. Abby says:

    Cool idea! Thank you.

    Hip, comfortable, backpacks.

    Clothing for petites who are otherwise of average size (ie I’m short and short-limbed, and always have issues with shoulders, but I am not size 000000).

  45. Nancy says:

    I want stylish shoes and boots that have a heel of no more than2-2/1/2 inches.

  46. Debra says:

    Anticipation, Anticipa-yay-tion!! Can’t wait for this! Below the knee dresses, please. Thanks so much from a state employee on a limited clothes budget!

  47. Kim says:

    I love Zero Maria Cornejo but it wrecks my budget. Any suggestions for similar styles, especially separates? Thanks.

  48. jacqueline says:

    Seconding everyone that has asked for interesting dresses. Also, drapey tops that good for forgiving a tummy.

  49. AK says:

    A simple, non-patterned work dress with sleeves. Preferably washable.

    And overall, please limit the selections from Zara – I know they’re a good option for knock-offs, but the quality is really all over the place and simply by virtue of fit, it’s not a store that works for everyone.

  50. Beth says:

    A good everyday bag, jeans, and flattering sweaters. Thanks!

  51. Tucson Diva says:

    Black leather pants that a woman over 45 can wear (a) without emptying her retirement account, and (b) don’t look silly (“mutton dressed as lamb” — oh no). Thanks!

  52. Rcb.shops says:

    I loved the chic black dresses from last week (or earlier this week), and would love a cheap post with similar alternatives. I think it’s hard to find the cool minimalist looks that have nice cuts.

  53. JenM says:

    A great watch. I love a good simple Cartier watch but this publishing girl of a certain age stayed in books and forgot to marry a banker. So….it’s been Timex here. Which is ok but I have tiny wrists and the style I truly live only comes in BIG. Alternatives that are not over a thousand are hard to find.

  54. Sara says:

    Someone mentioned slouchy pants above- I would love a pair of black, skinny-slouchy “sweat” pants, for lack of a better word… not as skinny as leggings, not as sloppy as sweats. Something you could wear with boots to walk the dog, heels to go out, and slippers to lounge around at home.

  55. Corinne says:

    Yes to a navy leather jacket. 2 helmut Lang items, the red t shirt only not $90.00 and the fracture print sweatshirt.

  56. tamara says:

    been looking for the perfect motorcycle jacket for over a decade. my husband has a business trip to argentina this week so he is armed with my pinterest board and on the search…now how about some gorgeous leather pants at human prices? also, puffer jackets that are a little less disgusting than…all the other puffer jackets…pocketbooks priced for humans who pay mortgages and college tuitions…

    on the “home” front, i would love to find interesting plates, flatware, and glasses/barware. placemats and tablecloths and serving pieces. yes, i’m of that rather rare and bizarre breed that still entertains at home…

  57. Sarah says:

    Hi Kim – I’d really appreciate a cheap and chic version of your recent “just when I thought I was out…they pull me back in. Every single one of those architecturally interesting black pieces rang my bell, but they’re not in my price range. Thanks for asking for input, really looking forward to the series!



  58. Alison says:

    Good brown boots…with / without heel. Thanks, Kim!

  59. Jen says:

    A perfect, classic trench made for short/petite people.

  60. Sara says:

    Floral print cotton or silk blouses/shirts. Most cheap ones seem to be made of that poly crepe stuff. Not overly peasant blousey in design. More Marc Jacobs or Steve Alan-ish than Isabel Marant.

  61. ljchicago says:

    Transition shoes — by this I mean shoes that can be worn once the winter boots and booties come off but before the ballet flats come on. Then again after summer sandals. I want something like a loafer or oxford (something I can wear socks with) but so much of the stuff out there (including shoes you show) are too traditionally menswear for me.

  62. SuzInDC says:

    A trenchcoat with an edge for transitional weather. Something well-fitting and wearable that is not just another beige, double-breasted, belted snooze.

    Loafers that are on-trend but that are not metallic.