|Earrings at NYC’s favorite drug store|
Do you love fashion but think you can’t afford to shop, especially in New York City? Good news, ladies— even if you’re on a tight budget, you can find affordable style in the city that never sleeps.
At the recommendation of style maven Jess Zaino, I decided to give her philosophy a shot: “Buy it cheap and make it chic.” But only with her help, of course.
This might sound simple enough, but having an eye to spot a great piece of clothing for the right person is in no way easy. Add a tight budget to the mix and it can be downright challenging for most. But for an expert like Jess, it’s second nature.
As the style producer for ABC’s The Chew and owner of Cheap Chic Shopping Tours, Jess pulls looks together for people on an almost daily basis. Her fashion credentials are a mile long –– she’s dressed some of the most beautiful women in the world including Marla Maples for the Oscars, and CSI: Miami star Eva La Rue for a cover story editorial. Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas, Ashlee Simpson, Ashley Tisdale, Jennifer Tilly, and Kelly Osbourne are at the top of her client list.
Recently, I had the pleasure of hanging with Jess and her crew for a Saturday morning during which they focused their undivided attention on me alone.
Today, I’ll share some of the best spots on Cheap Chic’s bargain-hunting map. But for the full experience, I recommend hitting the streets of downtown NYC with Jess or one of the members of her amazing team and taking a Cheap Chic Shopping Tour yourself. Tours are based in the SoHo neighborhood of Manhattan.
Duane Reade-multiple locations
Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. What could possibly be worth mentioning at Duane Reade?
Besides certain make-up items (which I already buy there), Duane Reade has jewelry (with quite the selection of earrings), hosiery, and wardrobe staples like white tees and tanks. Why spend $25 or $30 on a tank or tee from Banana? On my next tank top shopping expedition, I’ll be hitting DR for sure.
Mystique Boutique-547 Broadway
Since I live in leggings in the winter (they’re warm, comfy, and go with anything!), the Cheap Chic team selected a variety of pieces to accompany them. One by one, I made my way through the pile, from a sheer tunic, to a sweater vest, to rubber boots. Carly Pisano, my personal stylist for the day, gave her opinion and encouraged me to think outside the box, trying items that I normally wouldn’t. Besides her style direction, she was also a dynamite listener.
After about 45 minutes, I checked out with a handful of bargains like my $38 army green jacket with red trim and other must-haves that will be great additions to my closet.
Uniqlo– 546 Broadway
I purchased a pair of Uniqlo skinny jeans last year at a pop-up shop, but I must confess this was my first full-on Uniqlo experience. The store is a necessity for any fashionista’s basics such as leggings, sweaters, and winter jackets.
|I need this color in my wardrobe–-photo courtesy of Uniqlo|
Jess insisted that I try a pair of black leg warmers, which I did, thinking I’d probably never wear them. But I’m glad I listened. I’ve been wearing my new black leg warmers almost every day. They are perfect over top of my leggings and with ankle booties, and when I get warm, I just push them down or take them off. I want to go back to Uniqlo and grab another pair in a different color or a pattern. These were only $12.90.
|Uniqlo is a shopping destination for everyone.|
So Good Jewelry–448 Broadway
I have to admit; this store scared me from the outside. Large, bright, and pink isn’t exactly my style. But Carly escorted me to the right sections and somehow knew what I’d like and what would like me in the way of jewelry.
I ended up with a few dainty necklaces with different colored stones on gold chains at $5 a pop, and one slightly chunky statement piece. Much of the jewelry here resembles that of the overpriced-yet-we-shop-there-anyway chain, also known as Anthropologie. It’s just not merchandised the same, so it took me a second to make the connection where I’ve seen these faux gems before. But then I got it, and I couldn’t believe the similarities.
|My jewelry finds at So Good in SoHo|
Street Vendor-Anywhere in NYC
Jess swears the best sunglass bargains are on the streets of Manhattan. We stopped by a table on Broadway near Spring for a new pair of shades, but I didn’t spot quite the right look. That’s okay, if the streets of Manhattan are still in business, so are the vendors, and I’ll catch them on my next spree.
|Carly helps carry my bags at the end of the Cheap Chic tour.|