JUST AS I WAS leaving my exercise class last week, I noticed one of my fellow masochists wearing a colorful knit top with a geometric pattern that I thought I’d remembered seeing on a high-end fashion site or in a magazine. “Like your sweater,” I said. And then not so tactfully blurted out, “Is it a Marni?” A much-too-much New York kind of question for the zen-like atmosphere in this studio. “No,” she whispered. “It’s J. Crew. I thought it looked like one of those Italian designers, maybe Missoni or someone like that.”
It just happened that a few days later, I got an e-mail from Marni, announcing its final sale of the season. I don’t pay much attention to these notifications because even on sale these clothes are beyond expensive. But I usually glance at the sweaters, hoping there’s one that’s been ridiculously reduced. Never happens. However, I did notice a polo-style knit shirt that reminded me of the one my Pilates pal had been wearing that had been reduced from $990 to $396. Curious, I went to the J. Crew site looking for the top my friend was wearing. There it was:”Tippi sweater in festive Fair Isle,” now $69.99, originally $89.99.
On a roll, I did some more comparison shopping on these two sites. I immediately fell for Marni’s navy gabardine runway skirt with snap buttons and large pockets, but at $692 (even though it was down from a stratospheric $1,730), I wasn’t anxious to bite. But a skirt on J.Crew with a similar look and feel is selling for $298. It’s not on sale, but I’m tempted. And, apparently so are a lot of other people; it’s sold out.
The prices on luxe labels can be heart-stoppingly high. Are you willing to pay the asking price for better material and construction or do you shop around for knock-offs of the looks you like? Or do you have another shopping strategy? Tell us about it in comments below or post something on our Facebook page. We look forward to hearing from you.