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Fresh Juice

November 19, 2011

Have you heard about Joe Fresh‘s new store on 5th Avenue? Some of my favorite sources for fashion news have been excitedly promoting the brand’s arrival stateside, and I was intrigued at another option opening up in my price bracket, but I’ve been skeptical. Joe Fresh originated in supermarkets across Canada, and while I don’t consider myself too much of a fashion snob (what up $5 pack of underwear from Target), I still couldn’t quite wrap my mind around clothes that were once stocked next to bags of milk actually being something I would want to wear. But their forays into New York, with a permanent location in the Hamptons and two temporary pop-ups in the city, were apparently successful enough to give them confidence to launch a location in Chelsea. They opened three weeks ago, and as I was wandering around Union Square today, I kept seeing their bright orange bags everywhere. So, I decided to check it out for myself.

I was really surprised. The store was mostly filled with basics, but there were a few trendier pieces and statement pieces throughout. What I was truly impressed with was their quality for the price points. I decided to test them out by trying on one of their many options for sweaters, in a wide array of colors and cuts. The one I picked was a nice plum color with highlights of grape woven throughout, creating a much richer color than I would find at, say, Old Navy. It was really soft – there’s nothing I hate more than an itchy sweater – but I was doubting the fit. I know I can’t be the only one that has a tremendous amount of trouble finding sweaters that fit well; they either make me look lumpy or swallow me whole in their shapelessness. But this one fit me perfectly. And the price? $19.

I immediately headed back out into the store to take a closer look. With roughly 80% of my wardrobe coming from H&M these days, and getting to the point where I’m starting to feel too old for Forever 21, it was so refreshing to have another option at hand that I could afford. While it does focus on the basics, like I said, it doesn’t bore me to death like Uniqlo. (I don’t get Uniqlo. Can someone explain why people love them?) When it came to selection, it was similar to Old Navy, but for a more sophisticated and grownup audience. I couldn’t find any fun party dresses (there were, in fact, three options for dresses – all shifts in thick cotton, but well-made and in fun colors), although they did have some festive skirts. Their strength definitely was in their separates, although their accessories went beyond my expectations as well. I’m still thinking about a pair of coral pointed toe flats with a bow on the outside of the toe, or those camel wedges. I headed back to the fitting room with another problem item – jeans. These were really the only thing that didn’t wow me at Joe Fresh. Their fit was okay, but wasn’t impressive enough to inspire a purchase, and their washes – especially as they got darker – were the main thing that looked as cheap as they were.

All in all, Joe Fresh will definitely be making it onto my rounds from now on. They seem to have great sales (when I went today at least one style of jean, a silk button-down, and corduroys were marked down to $19), and their range is definitely within my reach. The most expensive thing I found was a cashmere sweater at $69, which is still a deal for cashmere. If I’m looking for solid pieces to expand my wardrobe, I’ll be checking here first.

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