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Where do college students shop? According to an informal poll conducted by WWD in 2003, Gap is the number one spot. Here, we sent six young women shopping with $200 and minimal instruction: Spend $150 at Gap, and $50 anywhere else. Each came away with lots of merch perfectly suited to her distinctive sense of style.
TAM TREN, ’06
UCLA, Los Angeles, American literature
Her Style: “Moody. What I wear reflects how I feel that day. One day it may be a little punk rock, and the next, more of a relaxed bohemian vibe.”
Favorite Labels: Express, Lux from Urban Outfitters, vintage.
Gap Picks: Dip-dyed sweater ($38), distressed jeans ($58), khaki cuffed pants ($49.50). “I chose things that are a little different from what I already have, but still with hints of my own style.”
Next Stop: Urban Outfitters. “You can find things that fit whatever look you want,” says Tren, who buys a two-toned halter top ($38).
Final Tally: $157.51 at Gap; $41.14 at Urban Outfitters. She also spends her own money on a pair of $4 earrings at Urban.
SAMUNA THOMPSON, ’05
Purdue, West Lafayette, Ind., hotel and tourism management
Her Style: “Accessories, accessories, accessories! You can wear flip-flops, a
T-shirt and shorts and still look heavenly with the right trinkets.”
Favorite Labels: Gap, H&M, Benetton, Ralph Lauren.
In the Dressing Room: Thompson spends a long time trying to make a pair of khaki trousers and white trench coat work, but finally gives up.
Gap Picks: A floral print circle skirt ($64), chartreuse ribbed tank ($9.99), white cotton blazer ($49.99, on sale).
Next Stop: Hot Line, an accessories store in the local Tippecanoe Mall, where she picks out an eight-pack of gold bangles ($8), gold drop earrings ($8), strappy nude heels ($49.99).
Final Tally: $131.42 at Gap; $69.91 at Hot Line. Thompson’s accessories addiction caused her to to go a tad over budget at Hot Line.
KRISTINE JOY JOURDAN, ’08
Michigan State, East Lansing, journalism
Her Style: “Relaxed with a bit of athleticism.”
Side Note: Her high school was located in a former orchard — with cows on one side and horses on the other.
Gap Picks: Ultra-low jeans ($29.99); boot-cut corduroys ($39.99, on sale); blue rubber flip-flops ($10.50); striped button-down ($39.50); aqua T-shirt ($14.50); two tubes of lip balm, in tangerine sorbet and island punch
Next Stop: American Eagle, where she snags a brown T-shirt ($12.50), fuchsia polo shirt ($24.50), striped ribbon belt ($9.95). “I love American Eagle because you can purchase something that doesn’t have the name plastered all over it.”
Final Tally: $149.97 at Gap; $49.77 at American Eagle. “I’m not surprised. I’m a college student, so trying to budget is what I do.”
LAUREN REMINGTON PLATT, ’06
Columbia, New York, English
Her Style: “Classic chic with a splash of youth — I love a St. John blazer with a white T-shirt, jeans and high heels.”
Side Note: She’s also a model at Women Management.
Favorite Labels: Salvatore Ferragamo, Chanel, Proenza Schouler.
In the Dressing Room: Platt tries on more than 30 pieces, most of which are too short for her. “Gap isn’t made for tall people,” she says. (She’s
5 feet 11 inches tall.)
Gap Picks: Pinstriped Bermudas ($19.99, on sale); off-the-shoulder top ($6.99, on sale); extra-long white jeans ($39.99, on sale); men’s checkered button-down ($29.99, on sale). “I’m envisioning preppy but unpredictable outfits — predictable is maybe worse than being trendy.”
Next Stop: H&M. “The key is to not go overboard, because then you start looking like the $9.99 shirt you just bought,” says Platt, who buys a lime green tank ($19.90), turquoise cotton jersey dress with gold embroidery ($34.99), lace shirt with cap sleeves ($24.90).
Final Tally: $105.32 at Gap; $86.58 at H&M. “I know I cheated, but it’s hard finding things that fit at Gap and everything just worked at H&M.”
SARAH JANE LAUE, ’06
Iowa, Iowa City, printmaking
Her Style: “Laid-back, punky, personal.” (She went DIY on her Gap haul.)
Side Note: She has her own reworked vintage line, Copycat Couture.
In the Dressing Room: Lots of on-sale merch.
Gap Picks: Green cotton A-line skirt ($17.99, on sale); green cotton pleated skirt ($36.99); striped denim mini ($17.99, on sale); denim mini ($17.99, on sale); orange sequined shrug ($19.99, on sale); star-print cotton T-shirt ($6.99, on sale); black cotton puff-sleeved top ($6.99, on sale); black cotton cami ($16.50).
Next Stop: The vintage store Artifacts in Iowa City. Laue scores a denim jacket, circa 1983 ($9.50); postcard-print silk scarf ($4); cherry red vinyl bag ($8.50); black cotton top ($8.50); Ziploc bag of black lace remnants ($6); a jewelry grab bag ($8.50).
Final Tally: $148.51 at Gap; $47.78 at Artifacts. “Wow, I really scored,” she says.
BRITTANY MORAN, ’05
Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, speech communications
Her Style: “Romantic, classy looks for day and salsa-influenced ones for evening.”
Fashion Pet Peeve: “Those sayings on Ts are sometimes a little too provocative, like ‘Brunettes do it better…on the floor.’”
Favorite Labels: She’s not one to name brands, but does have a penchant for H&M.
In the Dressing Room: She tries diverse pieces, but decides earthy browns don’t work with her coloring.
Gap Picks: A ribbed tank ($9.99); sateen blazer ($49.99); V-neck T-shirt ($16.50); linen peasant skirt ($49.50); green khakis ($16.99); sheer linen scarf ($16.99); crystal-lizard pin ($16.99).
Next Stop: American Eagle, where Morán picks up a pair of dangling silver earrings ($16.50).
Final Tally: $201.33 at Gap; $17.78 at American Eagle. Morán went over budget at Gap, thanks to the lizard pin she couldn’t live without.
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