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We can hear the collective groan from all of the fashionistas who turn up their noses at shopping the aisles of the local WalMart. We realize that shopping for workwear just yards from the frozen food aisle might not make for the most aesthetically appealing shopping experience, but bear with us.
Know Your Lines. Not all products at Walmart are created equal. We have a couple of lines we really like—George, Metro7, and currently Norma Kamali (primarly available online). Look to the George collection for on-trend workwear (check out this charmuese Kimono blouse, just 10 bucks), and Metro7 is our pick for slightly more casual (but stylish) apparel (example: this short sleeve cowl neck sweater, $12). We’ve given lots of press to Norma Kamali’s line and with good reason—it’s versatile, stylish, and super inexpensive—in a word, a winner. And for the juniors, we’d recommend the new L.e.i. collection for teen-centric denim and tops.
Know When to Shop. Obviously, avoid weekends and evenings wherever possible. However, there’s more to it than that—Walmart stores generally get shipments and restock nightly, so for the best selection, you should arrive early in the a.m. (stop on the way to work), and for markdowns and clearance? Walmart’s mark down schedules differ from store to store, so don’t be afraid to ask your local store manager for their particular markdown/clearance schedule.
Take Advantage of Site to Store Shipping. If you can’t find what you want in your local store but see it online, Wal-Mart offers FREE site to store shipping—meaning you can go online, order items with the Site to Store logo, select site to store under your shipping options, pick your location, and wait for an email telling you it’s arrived. All you have to do is head to the store to pick it up and pay the regular retail price—no shipping charges.
Shoes, Shoes, Shoes. Our experience is this: while some of the shoes you’ll find at Wal-Mart are less than couture, others—and we always find at least a few pairs—are totally cute, affordable, and durable. Angela’s current favorite pair is from Wal-Mart , for example—George purple patent slingbacks, picked up at regular price for $13, and worn with everything from jeans to dress pants to pencil skirts and more, with multiple compliments every time (and no one can believe they only cost 13 bucks). Kathryn is in love with the cushiony house slippers she purchased for just $5. Again, brand is key—we again would recommend you stick with George, Norma Kamali, and No Boundaries for the best (and most stylish) bets.
Try It On. When you’re shopping at a discount store like Wal-Mart, you will have to understand that certain elements are just not going to be perfect. Fit is one of them. While that’s not to say you can’t get a great-fitting garment there—we certainly have—the fit and construction are not necessarily going to be ideal or consistent, even if you ALWAYS wear a size 9. Unless you enjoy making return trips to the Walmart Customer Service Desk (and if you’ve not done this before, trust us—the lines usually ain’t pretty) take a few moments to hit the dressing rooms and save yourself some grief.
Organic Clothing. Walmart, like many other retailers, is attempting (slowly) to get on the organic clothing bandwagon—and while the offerings are slim, if buying organic is important to you, Walmart stocks a range of apparel items for women, men, kids and babies made with organic cotton (or, interestingly, things like this t-shirt made from cotton and polyester made from recycled Coca Cola bottles—really.).