by Nancy Hogan Neill, DRES System wordsmith & marketing assistant

“Good, fast, cheap–pick two,” I often hear from my significant other. It doesn’t matter if we’re going out for dinner or shopping for a new appliance.

Last week I shared a sensible strategy to use when hunting for fashionable clothing, accessories and shoes that balances good + fast + cheap. Who wouldn’t want to do that?

It’s just like shopping for groceries: Using a big-box or membership store for most items, a second place for fruits and vegetables (organic market in winter, farmers’ market in summer), and one or two specialty stores for family favorites or holiday foods.

Apply this same idea to shop for everything from formal to work wear: Pick three or four places that offer you the most fashion benefits for your time and money–and forget about the rest.

Need special-occasion wear? Nordstrom is my resource. It was born and raised here, my money stays here, their sales staff is knowledgeable. This dress would work well for more than one DRES System body shape, is both Classy and Chic, and could be dressed up or down.

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Ted Baker London / Nordstrom.com

If time allows or I want something “just different,” there is always Nordstrom Rack. And the Rack’s shoe selection can be awesome!

For more casual or everyday wear plus fun, tasteful accessories my go-to sources are Loft (or its sister store Ann Taylor), Lands End, and Levis for jeans. Their 501 button-fly jeans are incredibly chic *victoria beckham halle berry*, fit beautifully, and can be worn in endless ways via cuffing, uncuffing, stuffing the hems into boots, and so on!

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501 Jeans / Levis.com

There are multiple unspoken benefits in using the grocery-shopping method for what to wear:

The temptation to shop randomly has vanished. This. Is. Huge. Since I only use three or four retailers, I’m more familiar with their merchandise, designer lines they may carry, and their sales cycle. So the things I buy are more likely bought on sale, often with a double discount of some kind. Also big!

Targeted shopping like this means coming home with better-quality items that are likely to spend a longer time in use. And those items are usually more versatile because their colors, fits and styles will work well on their own or combined with other pieces from the same stores. Shopping online becomes easier too, since there’s less guessing on fit and quality.

This strategy saves time and effort, whether one’s preferred shopping sources are Neiman Marcus or JC Penney–unless one has unlimited time and energy to shop, I guess. Do you know anyone like that?

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