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Operation Girl Shop

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...

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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
($3.50 each).
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.


Other WWD THE COLLEGE ISSUE articles
Students of Style
Beauty Trial
Going Underground
Runway 101
Math Course
From the Heartland
Students of Style: Extreme Makeover … Women’s Studies … Rushin’ Dressing
Closet Cases

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