…or maybe you’re not a snob about mass market retail and it’s just me. In any event, I’ve always felt that, when it comes retail, you get what you pay for. I prefer to have a small, timeless wardrobe and an uncluttered, elegant home than a life packed to the gills with trendy, disposable crap.
But having children has given me somewhat of an attitude adjustment. Other than for special occasions, small children SHOULDN’T be attired in expensive classics because they are invariably going to outgrow, destroy, or refuse to wear them. (Same goes for the people who care for them. I don’t want to put myself or my children in a position to destroy anything I really treasure.) Children also shouldn’t live in a home that is too precious to play in comfortably. (I’d rather give them life-changing vacations than a $20,000 sofa to sit on.)
Embracing less costly alternatives isn’t so much a surrender as it is giving yourself (and your kids) the permission to live with ease. Here are some of Priss & Vinegar’s latest mass market finds:
1. My absolute favorite source for casual children’s clothing? Mini Boden. Their pieces are cheerful, comfortable, and sold at a price point where I won’t have an aneurism if they get trashed at preschool. Boden also does a bang-up job of making children’s clothing fun without plastering Dora the Explorer graphics and glitter all over it. Priss & Vinegar’s favorite pieces include the bateau marinere-inspired tops, jersey skorts (perfect for active girly-girls like my daughter) and five-packs of bright, supersoft onesies for babes.
2. Hi, my name is Heather, and I recently shopped at Ann Taylor without being embarrassed. There, I said it. I decided to give Ann another try after noticing that some of my favorite fashion bloggers had (gulp) sourced some dynamite pieces there. On a recent visit I found nude patent d’orsay flats and a perforated faux leather top that are very on-trend and sold at an utterly commitment-free price point.
3. I have a major problem with very cheap furniture that I might never get over (PTSD from post-collegiate IKEA living, perhaps?) but the decor from Target‘s “Threshold” line is pretty rad. I’ve sourced some fantastic frames there in the past, and just recently picked up a classic rope doorstop (that would have been three times the price at Ballard Designs) and a striking copper fruit bowl.
4. It’s easy to discount stores like Pier One when West Elm is killing it so hard right now. But if your style is more traditional, then you’ll dig on the preserved boxwood topiary (at a fraction of what they cost elsewhere), octagonal framed mirror, and knotted jute rug I recently spotted at Pier One. Think Pottery Barn on the cheap.
5. I’d always thought of Madewell as J.Crew’s thrifty hipster cousin: cute, but not really my style. But on a recent visit I found some sweet, summery pieces like this effortless paisley print tunic and a surprisingly preppy gingham blouse. It’s a refreshing, minimalist foil to the layered, luxurious excess of J.Crew.