Wednesday, October 2, 2013

What to Look for at Century 21

Since Century 21's expansion, it's hard to justify traveling to the financial district to shop. The Upper West Side may not be entirely convenient but is much closer to our core neighborhood. Today, we took a fresh look at what the discounter has in stock for the winter season. While we found a lot of mediocre merchandise there were several items that deserve fashion attention and a good home. You can click here to browse a catalogue of photos from our shopping trip.



The serious "designer" section seems to be getting smaller every year but loyal customers can still count on finding a good selection of Lanvin, Valentio, Rochas, Martin Margiela and Victor & Rolf. The best and largest selection is Lanvin-- it's hard not to fall in love with at least one item. To name a few, we found a tweed Lanvin shift dress for $700 from $2350, a coat with an oversize safety pin closure is $1000 from $3740 and fitted cocktail dress with a ruffled collar and sleeves for $1436 from $4000.

Other standout designer pieces include a Margiela coat with a fur body and knit sleeves for $2000 from $5500 and a Victor & Rolf coat with a collar beaded in such a way that it looks like shimmering porcupine needles for $2700 from $7300. A long Galliano puffer coat is $460 from $1030 and a satin and jeweled Valentino skirt is $1300 from $3800.

If you're looking to shop trends in from the more "contemporary" designers you might find satisfaction. For instance, a Marc by Marc Jacobs leather mini-skirt is priced at just $280 from $500. You will also be able to find a lot of denim fashion lines that have taken inspiration from high fashion runway pieces. We actually lost count of all the oversized Kenzo-type animal prints we spotted.

Over in the accessories department Missoni scarves are priced at $80 from a "value" of $200. The best find, however, was a small display of ornate Missoni belts. The prices of the belts range  from about $100 to $190 but the retail values were up near a $1000 on the larger styles. Any of these styles are a really great value as they are all outfit makers.

We headed down to the shoe department but were really disappointed by the designer options. DSW provides a much better selection and value. We found stylish Gucci shoes for $449 from $650 and three year old Manolos for $400 from $1400. The discount on the Manolos wasn't necessarily bad but we happen to have purchased the same pair at the 2011 sample sale for $250.

Those who are ultra petite or shopping for children might be pleasantly surprised by the variety of D&G and Marni for kids. A great geometric print Marni blouse is $67 from $150 and an over sized knit sweater was the same price.

The main floor bag selection was generally lackluster and expensive. The best item was a phantom-like red Mulberry for $1000 from $1700. There were also some Alexander Wang bags but none of the iconic styles and lots of Fendi print bags too.

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