Tag Archives: clothing

Too late to give J.C. Penney a second chance?

J.C. Penney logo

Courtesy: jcpenney

When was the last time you visited the J.C. Penney Company? I couldn’t even remember the last time until I stumbled in recently for my own research purposes. The department store has topped the headlines recently for its changes and lackluster performance.  If you’re like me and thought the store didn’t sell clothing you’d like, I encourage you to think again. I was shocked at the money-saving offers inside.

The news hasn’t been good for the struggling retailer for quite some time. The company’s adjusted net loss for the fourth quarter was $427 million or $1.95 per share. Those are far better numbers than the dismal year end statistics. For the year, jcpenney reported an adjusted net loss of $766 million or $3.49 per share.

Ron Johnson, chief executive officer of jcpenney said, “Sales and customer traffic were below our expectations in 2012, but as we execute our ambitious transformation plan, we are pleased with the great strides we made to improve jcpenney’s cost structure, technology platforms and the overall customer experience.”

He went on to talk about the changes for 2013.

“Combining a new marketing campaign focused on style and value, incredible new brands and updated merchandise, with continued enhancements to the customer experience both in our stores and on jcp.com, we are working towards reconnecting with our core customer while attracting new customers to jcpenney.”

Joe Fresh

Courtesy: jcpenney

The company’s marquee fashion line this spring includes Joe Fresh. The store touts it as “highly anticipated.”

Whether you know the Canadian apparel brand or not, you should give the store a fresh look. I was shocked by the low prices on a recent visit. I wasn’t there to browse the racks for clothing for myself, but I couldn’t help but take a second look because of the low prices. I bought a long sleeve workout shirt for less than $10. These shirts typically retail for $20-30. Even at Marshalls or T.J.Maxx you’ll pay $20.

The store has a unique approach to checking out with centralized registers in a kiosk in the middle of several sections and near the doors. It’s easy to find, and not hidden in a department like many department stores. The cashiers scan your item and payment method on a mobile device.

More changes are expected throughout this year, with The Associated Press reporting changes to some home departments as early as this Friday. The article said half the stores will have several boutiques within the home department that will feature an array of products. This will create a store within a store shopping experience.

The last straw for some shoppers was the flip flopping on sales and coupons. While all the changes have turned many customers away including loyal shoppers, it may be worth giving the store a second chance. Ok, maybe it’s a third and a fourth chance when you consider all the changes.

No doubt consistency is important to shoppers. People want to know what to expect every time they walk into a store. I don’t like surprises in store policy or procedure. Consistency keeps me coming back. I think it will take a long time for jcpenney to regain customer trust and confidence due to all the changes, and it may never happen.

While it may take some time before the store is back on solid ground,  I suggest you give the store another chance if your bottom line is important to you. Go in knowing your prices so you’re not caught up in the ever-changing pricing and sale structure. Just browse around. You may be surprised at the low prices you find especially at this time of year when the clearance racks are full.

Until a few weeks ago, the store wasn’t even on my radar. It hadn’t been in at least a decade. I always drove past it at the mall. I never thought about it. I don’t think I’ll shop there for all my clothing, but I might just add it to my list of places to check for cheap workout clothes especially if I’m in a bargain hunting kind of mood. You might want to act fast, because it’s unclear if the store and these bargains will survive. To do that, many opinions needs to change.  

Fashion trend: rent a dress for a wedding or event

little borrowed dressHow many times have you gone shopping when you had an event or wedding to attend? The damage is often $75-100+ just for that one event. You might wear that dress a few more times, but not too much fearing someone will see you in the same dress at a future event. For men who are shaking their heads, let me introduce you to how women think. Next time they want to spend money for a new outfit, how about suggesting that they rent? It’s been a trend for men for quite some time with tuxedo rentals, and now it’s hitting women’s fashion.

I considered renting bridesmaid dresses for my wedding, but I was running out of time so I decided against it. If you have time, it may be a money-saving option to try. The site, Little Borrowed Dress, rents and sells bridesmaid dresses for $50-75. There are just a few styles to choose from, but dozens of colors. The styles are designed to fit and flatter a variety of shapes and sizes without alternations.

If you are nervous about the sizing, you can visit the showroom in New York City. For all the other bridesmaids who don’t live in NYC, a second rental is sent for free with every dress just in case the first one doesn’t fit.

I think it’s still a little risky if you don’t always wear the same sized dress.  The dresses are shipped two weeks before the wedding which is very last minute if the dresses don’t fit. The company promises to make it right if the dresses don’t fit, but as a bride that’s one element of surprise I don’t need. I was already worried with dresses that I knew were sized for the women. 

Rent the Runway is another option if you’re in the market for an evening gown. My friend used this site, and loved her dress. She had some problems with sizing, but got the company to overnight her a new dress just in time for the big event. It was a little  nerve wracking as it was down to the wire, but she got the dress of her dreams.

Finally, consider shopping a friend’s closet. Chances are you can find a new outfit for free for your next event.

What do you think of this trend? Would you rent a dress? Join the conversation by clicking comment below.

Finding the right bridesmaid dress on a budget

bridesmaidsLooking for bridesmaid dresses was one of the more challenging tasks of planning my wedding. All my bridesmaids live out of town and I wanted a dress that would fit everyone’s body style. I had to accomplish that without ever seeing the dress on them prior to my wedding day. I wanted a light dress because the wedding was on the beach in August and one friend was 9 months pregnant. I also wanted something reasonably priced because as much as we all think we’ll re-wear a bridesmaid dress, it rarely happens. There are ways to accomplish all of these tasks without wasting a lot of time. I’m sharing  my mis-steps to help you check this task off your checklist faster than I did.

I started my search online, but that turned out to be a futile task because the majority of the dresses I liked were not in the store. I tried several stores looking for the dress I wanted, but I never found it other than on the Internet. Save yourself some time, and visit a few retail stores rather than online stores.

Expand your horizons and consider a department store as well as a bridal store to find the style you want. 

If you have a pregnant woman in your bridal party, you don’t necessarily need a maternity line of dresses. By the way, there are very few. My friend just ordered a size she knew would fit with her belly, and I made sure I picked out a dress that would give her room in the belly for her cute baby bump. Just talk to your friend who is pregnant and find out what type of dress will feel most comfortable. If you pick a flattering style for a belly, you don’t have to limit yourself to the few companies that have maternity size.

I had a big problem finding just the right color. I knew I wanted something bright and in the fuchsia/bright pink shade. The colors I liked were not in the store, so I often had to rely on a swatch. The swatches are so small and so difficult to tell the true color.  In this case, it helped to have bridesmaids all across the country because one of my brides was able to try on the dress in one of the targeted colors.

bridesmaidsAfter many stressful weeks, I finally decided on a color and dress style. I was so nervous because a cell phone photos was the closest I got to seeing the dress in the right color and on one of my bridesmaids. I was very relieved when I finally saw the dresses in person.

Once you decide on your dress, look for ways to cut the cost. If you know a good seamstress, you might consider ordering it online. There are many discount sites that sell some of the styles online. Get measured in store, and then order online. Just choose a reliable retailer. Check reviews before ordering because this can be risky if you don’t know anything about the company.

Sometimes the bridal store will sell the dress at a discount online. My friend ordered hers from R.K. Bridal in New York City, and then ordered it for a cheaper price from their website. She had to pay $20 for shipping, but she still saved money off the store retail price.  The order is shipped to your home, and you have to find your own seamstress. 

Even better – how about just renting the dress? I’ll discuss that option in tomorrow’s post.

Related links you may like:
Creating a wedding website
Planning a wedding on a budget
Airport parking that won’t break the bank
Wedding decorations on a budget
Picture perfect honeymoon – best research sites
Do it yourself invitations 


PajamaJeans put to the test

Have you ever walked into the grocery store in your pajamas? Now, you don’t need to be embarrassed. PajamaJeans are advertised as a hot new fashion sensation, but do they really do that?

We had a Northeast Ohio moms group test PajamaJeans. The mothers were different sizes, but they both came out with with a good fit. The jeans are sized small, medium, and large rather than size 6, 8, or 10. Still, they fit a mom who was 5 foot 9 inches. Usually she needs long jeans.

The women liked the length and the fit around the waist. But, getting them over their waist took some tugging.

One woman wore her jeans for a week, and had to tell friends she had them on.

PajamaJeans only comes in one color and cost around $40. They’re sold in stores like Walmart and Bed Bath & Beyond.

Buy / resell kids clothes without leaving home

Do you like to online shop? There’s a way to get gently used children’s clothes without leaving the couch. For $20, you can get several outfits for your child or send your gently used clothes to another family for free.

The site, thredUP, connects parents across the country looking to buy and sell clothes. The big catch — you don’t make money even when you sell.

You list clothes for $5 plus $10.95 shipping.  The money the buyer pays goes to thredUP to handle operational costs. The seller doesn’t pay a dime.

“If you go to a normal store you might spend $15 or even more on an outfit and you’re getting a whole box of clothes for 16 bucks,” Shannan Pritts, a thredUP user, told us for a NewsChannel 5 story.

You can fill the boxes with an array of things, or you can pack it with a specific size, or a boy or girl in mind.

So, are users a little nervous to buy boxes of clothes without seeing them? Pritts says she’s never had a problem. thredUP randomly buys boxes to check for quality, and there’s a star system to rate users.  If someone gets multiple bad marks, they’re banned from shipping


Going back to school in style without breaking the bank

Ask a child what kind of pants they like, and they’ll list off brand names and not a style. It’s all about the label for children as they try to be hip. So, how can a parent dress their kid in these high-end labels without breaking the bank? Parents are turning to resale and consignment shops to meet their kids label frenzy without spending a ton of money.

We visited Once Upon a Child in Stow, Ohio, for a NewsChannel 5 story. They had all sorts of brand names. The clothes were in great shape, and the kids I shopped with had no problem finding trendy clothes that were truly bargains. How about gently used name brand clothes for $10 or less?

Plus, you can earn money by selling gently used clothes, toys, or accessories that your kids may not fit into anymore. Some stores pay right on the spot.

Akron Ohio Moms put together a great list of consignment shops so you can find one in your neighborhood.

Consumer Roundup: An item that will cost you more, and how to save more

Have you noticed your mailbox filling up with credit card offers again? If you need one, and can’t figure out which one is best you may want to look beyond your mailbox. Sometimes, the best ones are the ones that don’t land in your mail. CBS MoneyWatch put together its top picks, including one that offers 0% APR on balance transfer fees. Unlike most, this one does not have a transfer fee. That’s huge, as those fees add up.

Clothing is one item you’re going to want to add to your credit card now, rather than waiting for spring. Forbes reports clothing will increase 10% this spring.  Click here to read about some of the price increases that have already hit the market, and why we’re seeing all these changes.