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Buying sensibly, shrewdly and fashionably in the downturn

THE shortened May Day holiday kept most of us in town where shopping is always a favorite urban pursuit.

People flooded shopping malls where fashion shows showcased the latest trends, or rather, the shrewdest buys, especially during the economic downturn.

At Plaza 66 last Friday, local stylists suggested investment in classic, valuable pieces, such as high-end watches and haute jewelry, mostly sold at attractive prices nowadays.

There is no point splurging on luxury brands' seasonal collections. Instead, there are more reasonably priced, stylish options to be spotted at branded stores on the second, third and fourth floors of the prestigious shopping complex, says Ye Zi, a fashion editor from Elle magazine.

According to her, the key words are stripes, Chanel-style black and white and eye-catching and statement accessories.

A Diane von Furstenberg wrap dress featuring stripe patterns in black and white is a good investment, which can be worn either to a cocktail party or to work, simply by adding a fitted jacket.

High-waisted skirts are everywhere this season, but the one from Jean Paul Gautier in striking color combinations of red and green will easily make you stand out - simply wear it with a white tank top.

Last but not least, remember to find yourself a big, beautiful clutch bag, such as the one featuring layers of "petals" from Anteprima, and put on strings of bling bling to finish the look.

At the Grand Gateway Mall in Xujiahui, two popular American fashion brands, DKNY and Marc by Marc Jacobs, presented their latest collections during the holiday.

The quintessential New Yorker Donna Karen has created a collection of modern, eclectic pieces to celebrate the brand's 20th anniversary this year.

As is always the case, the basic tone is black, along with neutrals of ash and indigo, intertwined with neon and electric brights in color blocks or prints.

Essential items include the boyfriend jacket, the tulip dress, the biker vest, the utilitarian denim jumpsuit and the python jacquard suits.

For the evening, there are the wrap-and-bond dresses in the combinations of peach, green, royal blue and black, to be matched with a pair of sneaker boots or slick patent wrap platforms.

While at Marc by Marc Jacobs, the designer has created heavy, layer-on-layer silhouettes for his little-sister line this spring/summer. Those baby doll dresses, seersucker silk plaid dresses, patchwork denim and splashy prints will win the hearts of young ladies.

The designer has also added a lot of his signature, coveted girly details, including vintage lines, puff sleeves and quirky, oversized buttons. Most important, compared with Marc Jacobs, the diffusion line is equally chic yet much less pricey.


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