Just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so is a bargain. Here, fashion insiders share their definition of cheap.


This story first appeared in the August 16, 2010 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

“Anything my husband won’t yell at me for.” — Rachel Zoe

“New Balance sneaker — chic, practical and timeless. It’s my regular go-to sneaker.
— Michael Kors

See more coverage of WWD’s Cheap Week here >>


“‘Cheap’ doesn’t have to live up to the expectations that ‘expensive’ has. Therefore cheap can be many things. Cheap can be bad but it can also be surprisingly good. Cheap can be cheerful, cheap can be chic. I recently bought a pair of ninja pants, in a martial arts store in Chinatown, that were drop crotch and in raw silk for only $35. They were cheap compared to the designer ones you can get, but they exceeded my expectations for that price. They were chic, and that made me cheer!” — Phillip Lim

“Some of the best food is unvalued in its price. Usually the harder it is to find, the better.” — Alexander Wang

“I eat at a diner on Madison Avenue and I find it as incredible as some of the swankiest restaurants in New York.” — Tommy Hilfiger

“‘Cheap thrills’ — it’s not just an overused expression! It’s that satisfying feeling you get when you happily part with a little bit of cash for things which have disproportionately more value than price, like summertime mussels, Havaianas and drug-store self-tanner.” — Linda Fargo, senior vice president fashion office and store presentation, Bergdorf Goodman

“My dad buys all of his clothes from Costco and the way he wears them makes you think he’s in head-to-toe Margiela. Army green military button-ups and black jeans can look designer and can be bought at a grocery store. It’s all about what you pick and how you wear it. True basics always look classier than overadorned, expensive things.” — Sophie Buhai, Vena Cava

“My favorite cheap thrill has to be the 99 Cent Store. It always has the most satisfying assortment of weird candy, mismatched socks, Eighties makeup and bizarre crap I don’t need but I buy anyway. It’s the only place that I can get almost everything that catches my eye and not feel guilty about it afterward.” — Lisa Mayock, Vena Cava

“At Neiman Marcus we have Fab Finds, which are great deals! Great design, amazing quality, at a price that puts a smile on the customer’s face. My favorites this season: Lanvin leopard jersey dress, $990, and from Narciso Rodriguez, olive knit silk and Lycra dress, $850.” — Ken Downing, senior vice president, fashion director, Neiman Marcus

“Cheap for me is that great feeling when you look at something, expect it to be four times the price, then look at the price tag and find it’s a third of what you were expecting. That’s the definition of value to me.” — Patrick Robinson, executive vice president of global design, Gap

“I always design with affordable luxury in mind, so that’s how I define ‘cheap.’ Whether it’s cashmere socks or buying a Porsche on sale, my mantra is luxury at an affordable price.” — Simon Kneen, Banana Republic executive vice president design and creative director

“Every year in May, a whole group of us treks up to Brimfield Antiques Fair — the place for the ultimate bargain. Over the years, I have outfitted my home, studio and first retail shop (the Crangi Family Project) with amazing Brimfield finds. There is literally something for everyone there, whether you’re into WWII military paraphernalia, Victorian children’s clothing, taxidermy or midcentury modern furniture. And the best part about it is the bargains. It’s such a good deal it feels like it’s free.” — Philip Crangi

“Cheap is something that after six months if you broke down the price dollar-wise by the amount of times you wore it, it would come close to a cup of tea. I bought a pair of Rick Owens boots last year whose price stretched my imagination, but I got such great use out of them that it was the equivalent of a cappuccino a day.” — Roxanne Assoulin

“Michael Stars’ black ribbed tank tops. Perfect shape and weight. I buy them in bulk from Bloomies and wear them (until threadbare) with all my clothing day and night. Perfect workaday summer top and sexy for evening, too.”— Lyn Devon

“iTunes can be very affordable and satisfying.” — Gary Graham


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