Always interested in stylish duds at a bargain price, I thought I’d check out Simply Vera, celebrity designer Vera Wang’s new down-market line at Kohl’s. Because I live in the city of Atlanta and Kohl’s stores are in the suburbs, my bargain hunt was something of a drive. Still, with my best friend Caroline shotgun, I happily zipped on the Interstate and headed for Destination Stylish Clothes at a Good Price. Maybe the distance was a positive, I reasoned. Our friends weren’t likely to show up at parties in the same fabulous dresses.
Twenty miles later, we arrived at Major Disappointment.
There was a small selection of Vera items within the women’s department. A few things looked relatively cute on the rack, though we immediately commented on the cheap-looking fabrics. We got there on the day of the official Vera debut, but many items weren’t available in our sizes.
We each chose a handful of pieces to try on. I started with my favorite pick: a grey and black blousy peasant top. I figured it would look good with jeans or black pants. It looked ridiculous. There was enough fabric in that cheaply made shirt to cover a football team. Meanwhile, my shopping partner tried on an equally horrible black shirt that tied in the front. It was 100-percent polyester—and looked it. To make things worse, the clothes weren’t all that inexpensive. The grey-and-black shirt now on my dressing room floor was $58, and her polyester top was $48. Between the two of us, we also tried a long-sleeve silvery T-shirt, jeans, a dress, a skirt and another couple of tops—all with disastrous results.
As we left the dressing rooms, I asked two saleswomen what they’d been hearing about Simply Vera. They shrugged and said customers hadn’t commented much.
“I know what the people who work here think and I probably shouldn’t say it,” one saleswoman confided.
Caroline and I started blasting the clothes, and the saleswoman immediately agreed. She used the word frumpy.
Next, we checked out the purses, which frankly looked cheaper than they were. (Kind of the opposite of what we are after, Vera.) We found black heels with a metal ornamentation that we liked, but they were very uncomfortable and hardly worth the $69.99 price tag. Perhaps Vera needs to check out Target, where you can find pretty cute stuff at really good prices.
After a quick look at the Simply Vera bedding (ugh), Caroline and I agreed Simply Vera was simply awful—and it was simply time to leave. We got in our car and steered away from Kohl’s and toward You Should At Least Get What You Pay For.