The time to buy is now. Just before the leaves turn, student shoppers flock to clothing stores in search of the perfect fall and winter wardrobes.
But just how do Pittsburgh’s clothing stores approach the fall season?
It takes a lot of preparation. The process of acquiring fall inventory is an extensive one. Generally, boutiques purchase their inventory six to eight months in advance. A trip to New York to view showrooms usually suffices. Occasionally, two or more trips are required.
After shops have decided what to inventory, the clothing arrives midsummer, and the merchandising begins. By September, summer merchandise is on sale, and fall fills the stores. For any fashion enthusiast, it’s an enticing sight.
Dina Ellen, a boutique on Walnut Street, is an ideal place to experience this abundance. Baggy cashmere sweaters, distressed “boyfriend” denim and a full collection of cozy coats line the walls.
Cherie Sanders, manager of Dina Ellen, advises students to have a plan to fully capitalize on fall fashion. Students should educate themselves and know what they like, and also decide what type of clothing items they are looking for.
“Purchase a few nice pieces and interchange them. But, if you want to buy the current trends that will last six months: Think cost. Buy cheap,” Sanders said.
When looking for high-quality pieces, Pittsburgh’s boutiques are a great place to start. Many of the city’s most popular boutiques have been in business for decades and exclusively carry tried-and-true brands. Purchasing from these stores essentially guarantees that your just-purchased item won’t fall apart within five washes. These pieces, while initially expensive, can save money in the long run, because you probably won’t have to replace them anytime soon.
That being said, many college students — considering today’s college price tag — cannot justify the hefty boutique prices. Sarah Dalo, a senior at Pitt, tries to seek out more budget-friendly options.
“While I have not gone shopping yet, when I do, good prices will be [an] important factor. I often shop at Plato’s Closet and TJ Maxx,” Dalo said.
A low clothing budget allows students to explore and have fun with clothes. So, if you’re looking to rock this season’s fast fashion on a budget, you may be better off heading to the high street. Forever 21, Zara and H&M provide affordable trendy pieces.
Regardless of the budget, every student should base his or her wardrobe on a simple platform: Make yourself presentable. It’s a fairly attainable goal. Cara Moody, co-owner of Lawrenceville’s Jupe Boutique, advises shoppers to prepare their dress for any type of encounter.
“Be presentable wherever you are. It is easy to become lazy when it comes to your appearance, but you never know who you will run into,” Moody said.