Coveted Review: Charlotte Russe: Mixing In Fast Fashion

by jennine on August 24, 2009

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I’ve pretty much taken a break from fast fashion for the last few years, for a few reasons, part economical and part being annoyed at the clothes that fell apart. However, like having a steady diet of fast food is bad for you, the occasional stop at Mac Donald’s can be quite fun, the same goes for fast fashion. Over the last few years, I’ve stopped in H&M and Zara, and nothing’s quite moved me to buy, I haven’t physically been anywhere near a Forever21, and I’ve dabbled with COS. When Crosby approached me about doing a review on Charlotte Russe, I decided to give it a shot. One of those brands I remember from high school, back in the days of Contempo Casuals, Charlotte Russe was one of the go-to shops at the mall.  Recently they’ve gone over a branding makeover including a partnership with Gossip Girl stylist Eric Daman. Well, that sold me! After visiting the site and seeming some things I liked, with the gift card she gave me, I bought a few items.

The Web Experience:

All in all, the experience was great, the website has variety, and unlike some fast fashion shops I was able to find some clothes suitable for my style, and felt comfortable wearing. They have search terms in casual or dressy, and they have a few ’styles’ like rock fest, rebel, back to school, which is cute, but I’m not sure how much it helped me figure out my own style. The sizes were pretty standard, and though I hadn’t been to a Charlotte Russe store for years, I was able to order sizes that fit without trying them on. A big plus over Forever21 and H&M where you basically have to try on everything before you buy it because some of it fits funky, I didn’t have that problem with most the pieces I bought on Charlotte Russe.

After ordering, it took about a day or two for the package to arrive, I was really shocked because I ordered the cheapest shipping!

Wearing the clothes:

I haven’t really had so many new clothes for ages, so I was thrilled to try them all on… and for the last week I’ve been wearing them and seeing how they held up in regular life, and how I was able to integrate them into my wardrobe. For the most part, I have my favorites, the linen biker jacket that I wore a few times, the short sleeve cardigan I threw on throughout the week, the zipper leggings (they’re in the wash now) were all comfortable, easy to wear, and flattering. The only sad point was a darling satin dress, that it’s hem fell out about half way through the day, luckily they have a good return policy. So while, I do like the clothes, it was a reminder that it’s still fast fashion and not the solution to my hungry fashion appetite, but the experience was good enough to keep an open mind in filling in some of the gaps in my wardrobe.

Mixing it in:

I wouldn’t suggest that anyone wear head to toe one designer, it always ends up looking a little strange, or feeling strange. So I’ve mixed in the Charlotte Russe pieces in with my wardrobe, and this is what I got…

Drapey: The Solid Open Top $19.99 is sheer and soft. I found it to be one of my favorite pieces this week to add  little something to an outfit. Here I’m wearing it with an Inhabit v-neck sweater, G-Star jeans and Pour La Victoire shoes.

cardigan

Slouchy: The Solid Slouchy Sweater $24.99 is super sheer, I would wear with only a nude bra or a tank underneath, but I love the way it hangs on my body, it’s very flattering, and I love the open neck which I can wear off shoulder or not… and it’s the perfect color that goes with most of my wardrobe. Here it’s paired with some thrifted harem pants, Marc Jacobs shoes and bendy necklaces from Australia (thanks Imelda Matt).

greyshirt

Vested: Denim Star Vest $19.99 I don’t know what happened to all my vests.. they disappeared somehow.. and I was missing them. I had bought this COS dress over the summer, but it didn’t quite hang right, so somehow the two together makes the perfect combination. Worn with We Love Colors tights and Pour La Victoire shoes.

Lacey: Lace Inset Top $19.99, I’m not sure why I picked this out… black and white is a difficult combination to wear. But when I tried this on, it soon became clear that it was no ordinary tunic. I really love the gathering in the back and the lace detail. It’s really flattering and cosy. Wearing with Era of Chaos jeans, Stewart Weitzman shoe booties, and my grandma’s necklace.

laceback

Bubbly: The Crinkle Bubble Dress $28.99. I love this dress, but I’m not sure how I feel about how it looks on my body. I love the bustier effect, and the sheer elements… along with an exposed zipper back. The bubble skirt is cute… but I feel the waist sits too high for my figure. But I’m remedying it, because I think it’s worth showing, by layering the dress with a Calvin Klein blazer, H&M organic long sleeve shirt, ruched leggings from eBay and my trusty Pour La Victoire shoes.

bubbledress

Finally the top image, I’m wearing the Linen Motorcycle jacket with a Jennifer Gilpin dress and vintage shoes.

{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

birdie August 24, 2009 at 8:01 am

I’ve gotten a few items recently and they do seem hit-or-miss: on one hand, most of the stuff I own from there has held up really well and I’ve been able to work it into what I already wear.

Still, part of the sleeve lining on my new boyfriend blazer came out and needed repair, and the cut was boxy enough that I had to dart the blazer myself.

Mostly the sentiment is good, but with any fast fashion, I do expect to have to do minor alterations.
birdie´s last blog ..Wholeness My ComLuv Profile

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Leia August 24, 2009 at 8:19 am

These pieces are gorgeous and really suit you! I wish there was a Charlotte Russe in London :)
Leia´s last blog ..New ring My ComLuv Profile

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WendyB August 24, 2009 at 9:26 am

I can’t even concentrate on the clothes because you look so beautiful over all!
WendyB´s last blog ..Have Fun! My ComLuv Profile

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K-Line August 24, 2009 at 10:06 am

You look amazing in all of this stuff! Especially love the top photo. I’ve never heard of the brand (we don’t have it in Canada - or I am totally out to lunch!)
K-Line´s last blog ..In Case You Happen to Be Pregnant… My ComLuv Profile

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jennine August 24, 2009 at 10:49 am

❤ birdie… i would say that experience was pretty much the same with me… most of the pieces are good, but it is what it is…
❤ leia…oh you have so many other great shops in london! i’m jealous!
❤ aww wendy… thanks. *blush*
❤ kline… i think the stores are pretty much located in southern california, but i hear they’re in the US.. i’ve never seen on in SF, so for a long time i thought they went under…but they didn’t!

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grechen August 24, 2009 at 11:11 am

you know, i’ve been obsessed with that motorcycle jacket since you wore it a week or so ago in an outfit pic…is the sizing more “juniors” though? that’s what i’m afraid of - that everything would be too small for me. i love the way you’ve styled your outfits though - fabulous! (as usual)

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ambika August 24, 2009 at 11:35 am

I’d never heard of Charlotte Russe until a few years ago-I think they must not have any locations in the northwest and their online presence has passed me by.

& despite having two H&Ms open in the area recently, I just haven’t wanted to buy anything from there-feeling the fabric alone is enough to turn me off.

You style these things so wonderfully tho, I’m definitely feeling the urge to browse!
ambika´s last blog ..Furball My ComLuv Profile

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Sal August 24, 2009 at 12:09 pm

What a great, frank, thorough review. I’ve only ever bought a single item from Charlotte Russe, and it was a hat, so I’m glad to have this info in my back pocket in case I ever decide to try out some actual clothes.
Sal´s last blog ..Showstopping Style on a Pauper’s Budget My ComLuv Profile

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Shay August 24, 2009 at 3:22 pm

awesome photos, well done!!
Shay´s last blog ..Henry Holland for Pretty Polly Graduated Tights My ComLuv Profile

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Kelly August 24, 2009 at 3:51 pm

Great review, Jennine.

You’ve styled all of these pieces into your existing wardrobe so beautifully- I will definitely have to check out Charlotte Russe.
*)
Kelly´s last blog ..la la la monday. My ComLuv Profile

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Clare August 24, 2009 at 4:00 pm

My dear, these are gorgeous photos! (are they near the site of the shaving kit incident? ;)

You picked beautiful pieces, and can I just say how badly I want your shoe collection??!!
Clare´s last blog ..Wake Up to Your Window My ComLuv Profile

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jennine August 24, 2009 at 4:09 pm

❤ grechen..oh thank you! this is probably one of my favorites of the lot… it may be ‘juniors’ i got a small, and it’s snug, yet i normally need at least 36-38in in the bustline to feel comfortable if that gives you any idea of the sizing.
❤ ambika… i know what you mean, it’s hard with fast fashion because you know they wont last…
❤ sal… thank you! yeah, it’s good to know about the online shops to browse around when you want something cheap and easy.
❤ kelly and shay thank you!
❤ clare..oh thank you! it’s actually in the same house… kind of crazy huh? my shoe collection… oh dear!

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Prêt-à-Porter P August 24, 2009 at 5:44 pm

contempo casual LOL! i dont think i ever bought anything from CR before in my middle school/high school days. but they were very popular. i think like wet seal many of their stores closed. but i still have a CR by me.

i like how you really elevate these pieces. and i think that is really a testament to your creativity and style. :) i dont recognize them from the online pics at all! i think that biker jacket is a gem! and i love the way that grey sweater top looks on you.

the true test is how these turn out after a washing.

-ps. wherever you are, it looks so chic and beautiful!
Prêt-à-Porter P´s last blog ..New Site of the Moment (8.24) My ComLuv Profile

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Ashe Mischief August 24, 2009 at 6:39 pm

Oddly enough, Bloomington doesn’t have an H&M or a F21, but we DO have a Charlotte Russe…

I’ve only ever bought accessories there (recently indulging in some fancy girl headbands & a scarf), and their quality seems decent for what it is… fast fashion at that, but sometimes what your soul & pocketbook need…

Everyone’s right.. you DO look great. Is this the new apt?? I love the staircase/window area, wherever it is…
Ashe Mischief´s last blog ..Etsy/Indie Designers: Claire la Faye My ComLuv Profile

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Nubiasnonsense August 24, 2009 at 7:09 pm

I really like Charlotte Russe I think they have gotten better with time. I didnt know they teamed up with Eric Damen Thanks for sharing I have to check there site now. BTW you look amazing in all these outfits. I really like the second one, Those 2 necklaces stand out so much. Lovely

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Anna August 24, 2009 at 9:23 pm

I like Charlotte Russe, but their clothes have a tendancy to fall apart after few washes. They’re good to buy trends from though, because they’re so cheap you can just throw them out once you have that experience of, “wow, what were we all thinking?” a year later.
Anna´s last blog ..I love my Dweeb tote. My ComLuv Profile

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lisa August 24, 2009 at 9:43 pm

I’ve never bought anything from Charlotte Russe, but I’ll be sure to keep this review in mind if I do.
lisa´s last blog ..Barbarella Salon Party My ComLuv Profile

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Chelsea August 25, 2009 at 9:02 am

Thanks- I would have never thought to go into Charlotte Russe… but you’re absolutely right, mixed with other stuff, the pieces are stylish and look great. Thanks!

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Sheena August 25, 2009 at 10:22 am

You pair everything together so wonderfully! I remember I used to shop faithfully at Charlotte Russe as a pre-teen/teen with my allowance and mix it in with my Forever 21 and Contempo Casual duds. It’s been years since I’ve gone in the store, but maybe I’ll peak my head in to see what they might have in store.
Sheena´s last blog ..Chicago Style: MidWasteland Interview My ComLuv Profile

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Fabulous Finds Gal August 26, 2009 at 10:59 am

Great review and pics! You look adorable.

xo,
Fabulous Finds Gal
Fabulous Finds Gal´s last blog ..Finding Inspiration Behind the Scenes at Chase Cohl’s SoHo Loft~ the Designer of Littledoe Neohippie Headbands My ComLuv Profile

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Grace August 26, 2009 at 12:21 pm

You did a fantastic job styling this low-end pieces into your existing wardrobe!

Love Grace.
Grace´s last blog ..I Love the 90’s: Episode 3 My ComLuv Profile

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adahpotato August 26, 2009 at 8:00 pm

you look so amazing in these pictures….I think Chicago must suit you. p.s. my favorite is the very last one. I disagree with you. I think the layered pouf skirt dress is really flattering. And I like it better w/o the jacket over the top.

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Market Publique August 27, 2009 at 6:11 am

All the outfits look fabulous!

I’ve never owned anything from Charlotte Ruse, but my little sisters have. I think buying trendy pieces like the vest and zipper leggings in a classic black color was exactly the right move for fast fashion. Great picks Jennine!

It’s also a great review, because you not only pointed out the great things you found, but the shortcomings of some of the other pieces like the satin dress. As a reader, I really appreciate the honest review.

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Julia August 27, 2009 at 11:58 am

jennine- loved this post! Really, really great styling and photos as well! I am a closted Charlotte Russe lover (only purchasing online), so I’m glad to see you checking out the duds!

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LadyLUX August 28, 2009 at 1:23 pm

You look gorgeous! I haven’t shopped at Charlotte Russe in ages, although I still do frequent Forever21 from time to time.

I love the slouchy sweater - it looks incredibly comfortable. The solid open top is probably my favorite too; it can add an extra pizzazz to an ordinary outfit It’s perfect for nighttime, paired with a perfect clutch and jewelry, as well as for the office during the day. Great writeup! Thanks!
LadyLUX´s last blog ..Loving Your Body and Embracing Yourself My ComLuv Profile

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Sandra August 28, 2009 at 11:28 pm

Oh god I remember Charlotte Russe from high school as well. I haven’t purchased much from there recently other than cute Tees, but maybe it’s time to give it another try. I do like to mix vintage with modern, so some inexpensive trendy pieces from here might do the job.
Sandra´s last blog ..Q&A with Vintage Fashion Historian Heather Vaughan My ComLuv Profile

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Emem N. September 4, 2009 at 1:50 pm

I love the way that you paired the We Love Colors tights with the vest. I have not tried the pair of tights that you have on yet and it is great to see them on someone. They look great!

We Love Colors

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Sergio October 5, 2009 at 1:56 am

А если посмотреть на это с другой точки зрения то не все так гладко получается

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Macala Wright November 20, 2009 at 4:38 pm

I’m in love with your photography. Jennine - you’re amazing!
Macala Wright´s last blog ..Fashion Industry Website,TheLookbook.com, Launches Beauty Directory My ComLuv Profile

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