Friday, June 3, 2011

The Friday 4: Amazing Stores

As an ode (lament?) to my shopping ban, I'm doing a Friday 4 on my favorites places to shop. Do note that only one of these is exclusively a clothing store (although even it sells shoes and bags, which are decidedly not part of the ban); I basically just love to shop in general. 

Anyway, the following are my fav-or-ites: 

4.  Pottery Barn 

I've only ever bought about 10 things from PB - 2 area rugs, some candles, a box/basket thingy - b/c they're horribly over-priced (and the furniture quality is not nearly what it should be for what you pay), but I can't tell you how much I LOVE looking through their catalogs (which I swear come in the mail every 2 weeks). Their room displays are totally inspiring, and I love trying to recreate aspects of their look for less. (Don't get me wrong, I would love to not include the "for less" part there, but c'est la vie.) 

Besides, one of my favorite parts of their catalog (and their website pics) is the incorporation of non-PB items - antiques, random wire baskets, old chairs, etc. - and this is the kind of stuff I love hunting for at thrift stores, on Ebay, and, yes, in people's cast-offs (i.e., their garbage. See picture below.) 

3.  Gap 

While Gap makes an endless number of ugly things that I simply can't understand, they are my go-to store and have been for years. I worked at the Gap my senior year of high school and was super-spoiled by the discount - who knows how much of my earnings I gave right back to that darn store . . . . 

Gap makes great jeans (got two pairs - black skinnies and white boot cut capris - for my birthday), lots of nice sweaters and cute skirts, and their in-store sale rack can't be beat as far as mall clothing stores go. It's gonna be tough to resist that sale rack for the next 345 days. 

$8 for this stellar lamp. Fully working, no 
scratches; would've been $25+ at Target  
2.  Red, White, and Blue Thrift Store 

This is the second-best thrift store I've ever shopped in - second only to its identically named sister store that was, one upon a time, a huge, glorious, obnoxiously lit place just up the street from Kennywood. (Which is an amusement park, for those of you who don't know. And for Shannon - Kennywood is awesome, so lock it up, b.) 

This RWB (which is located just outside of Pittsburgh, through the Liberty Tubes, on Rt. 51) is crowded with stuff and shoppers and workers and, 9 times out of 10, verging on the chaotic, but I've only ever walked away empty-handed once. From dishes, to furniture, to picture frames, to clothes, to shoes, to books, this place kicks booty - and you can come away with a lot of fab-o booty. (I had to, okay?) 

1.  Target

Matching vases, on sale for a total of $20 
Come on: who among you doesn't own a home good or piece
of clothing from Tarjay? Who among you doesn't love wandering around that store, perusing the many items? Even Brad loves going to Target - though he did attempt to ban it for the summer since we can't leave the store without spending $100+ (I guess we're big on bans this season). Said effort failed in no time, however, given that we just bought three throw pillows, an over-priced but lovely hand towel, party supplies, cat litter, and a bunch of food stuffs a week ago. 

We got 2 of these puppies about a month
ago - $12.99 a piece, orig. $49.99 each 
Target combines a variety of styles, a wide selection of products, and reasonable prices better than probably any store I remember shopping at. And there's new stuff practically every week, so you really can go back again and again and again and . . . . (It's like the TJ Maxx slogan from all those commercials in the early 2000s. You know, "Never, ever the same place twice." TJ Maxx is great, by the way. My mom, Brad, and I just enjoyed a little trip there on Monday. Not to be lame, but it really is considerably different every time you go.) 

Honorable Mention: Gabriel Brothers. A discount clothing, shoes, and housewares store my family has shopped at for longer than I've been around. Watch out for holes, snags, or seams that are a bit off. "Irregular" is not an uncommon word there. But man, can you find some cool stuff at great prices. They even have a website now (you know, in 2011), even though, from the looks of it, it's pretty useless. 

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