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Concession recession style this Christmas

In the last few years, words have been emerging in connection with the economic slump. Expressions we have become accustomed to hearing on a daily basis are downturn; doom and gloom; cutbacks; tighten our belts. The only belts we’re used to tightening are our trendy leather obi ones purchased in Massimo Dutti; they will now be purchased in less upmarket stores. No, you don’t have to look unfashionable in these ominous times; we just need to go back to looking for bargain clothes at bargain prices. Can you get a Christmas night rig-out for €20? The answer is yes, and you will be surprised at what’s on offer. Disposable clothing is the new black.

On a quest to find a recession outfit, there was plenty to choose from. First stop was Zara, where no design stays on the floor for more than four weeks. This encourages shoppers to return again and again; a huge reason for Zara’s success. Shops like Zara are always abuzz with customers of all ages. Size does matter and trying on clothes, especially in Zara, is a must. When the sales are in full flow here, purchases will be plentiful. Very trendy, harem style pants were on the sale rack for €5.95 and sizes were spot on. Beautiful, black camisole style tops were €9.95. An outfit for under €20 with €4 for accessories? Purchase number one.

The next shop on my list was H&M, a firm favourite for the twenty-somethings although thirty-somethings venture in here too. There are bargains galore when mid season sales are on and strong arms are necessary for scouring the many fluorescent rails. Along with the clothes are fantastic accessories and a range of bags to suit every shopper. H&M or Hennes & Mauritz, originated in Denmark, and soon established its trademark for ‘fast clothing’. It has built up its empire and attracted many celebrities happy to promote clothing lines along the way. Kylie, Madonna, Karl Lagerfeld and Stella McCartney have all promoted the brand.   Back to our €20 outfit – it was very easy to find: a black wrap dress with frill detail on the shoulders for €10, paisley scarf for €3 and grey leggings for €7. Purchase number two.

The shop that beats them all for recession prices is Penneys and their motto is ‘Uptown clothes at downright prices.’ In the last two years, fashion buyers for Penneys have hit the fashion nail right on the head. Nobody can argue with the prices here as the most expensive item is around €50. They source cheap, basic printed designed clothes only in the most popular sizes and their target customers are ‘young fashion-conscious under 35s.’ New products are in the shops every few weeks and in big capacities to deal with the demand for these popular recession priced clothes.

Because of celebrity shoppers like Colleen McLoughlin saying she bought pyjamas in Penneys, sales soared and Primark was nicknamed ‘Pradamark’. It prides itself on being the cheapest retailer, beating Tesco and it doesn’t use celebrity endorsement, as there is no need.   You can easily spot a bargain or three in Penneys – getting an outfit for €20 in here: no problem, with maybe shoes and a bag to match and a necklac…pushing it now, but managed them all in the end. By far the best value for €20 and purchase number three.

These are just three shops with fantastic offers and great disposable clothing to go with our disposable culture. Throwaway clothes are part of our lifestyle now and the value of long lasting, quality clothes has faded along with the economy. The competition for bargain clothes has given shoppers more choice and versatility.

If you’re able to withstand musty, second hand shops, they can have genuine designer clothes and bags unrecognised by the purple-rinse brigade. Many a bargain has been purchased in Oxfam, Irish Cancer Society, Gorta and Mrs. Quinn’s charity shops. The best ones are on Capel Street in Dublin’s city centre and Wexford Street and offer a smorgasbord of chic and trendy items. So, new expressions and words we want to hear are charity shops; give-away prices; affordable clothes and so on. Having retrieved Nine West, Boxfresh, Firetrap and other designer brands from charity shops, recession can only mean expression.

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