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I’m an American shopaholic let loose in Cork City

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Hannah styling in Irish buys
Read more columns from the Gaelic Girls here

I may have mentioned that I love shopping in last week’s article, but I will say it again: I LOVE SHOPPING!!

This is almost to a fault, that said I am an extremely budget conscious shopper who will search and search for good deals and regularly frequents the sale racks. The only clothing items I will buy at regular price are usually jeans (on the rare occasion that the store has my size in the correct length), swimsuits, and the occasional sweater - everything else is usually used in conjunction with a coupon or “Buy one-get one” deal, or comes from the clearance rack.

These habits were thrown right out the window the second I stepped into Penney’s. I had heard from dance friends who go there every time they are overseas that the prices are really affordable, I just didn’t know how affordable they really meant. A couple of pairs of €9 ‘jeggings’ and €11 skinny jeans later, I found my friends were right, it is affordable and the clothes are pretty cute. I also found a few long sleeved shirts and sweaters along with a pair of slippers there for under €25 total as well. I can tell this store is going to be the death of me. It has everything a fashion lover on a budget could want; nice jeans, adorable shoes/heels/boots, and a killer accessories department that has everything from socks, bags, and scarves to row upon row of jewelry.

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Every time I am in Penney’s it seems like most of Cork City is there too. The location in the City Centre is usually very crowded (I have yet to see it on a “low-traffic” hour), which must mean that it is a pretty good store if it always has a lot of people going in and out. In the US, we really do not have stores like Penney’s that attract a broad range of clients. In Penney’s one will see women with designer handbags shopping next to young-looking teenage mom types. The US really does not have stores with such a broad clientele range (Target may be the one exception to this). There, “budget-friendly” stores usually attract an odd stigma such as an “oh you shop there” mentality (“there” meaning Walmart, Sears, and sometimes Ross and Kohl’s), but not at Penney’s.

They have the latest styles, and according to my roommates spending anything upwards of €40 there is almost unheard of (one of them knew someone who had spent €70 there and stated that they must have gotten a new wardrobe or a new bed and bathroom set in order to spend that much at Penney’s). In short, one can buy a lot of things at Penney’s. Right now, flowy, sheer blouses are quite the rage and can be paired with almost anything for a day or night look. For day, these blouses (with a lighter colored cami underneath) can be paired with skinny jeans or pants or shorts or a skirt with tights and a pair of boots. I’d recommend the chunkier, ankle boots that have recently come into style as they sort of “toughen” up the delicate look of the blouse, especially when paired with a skirt. One can also throw a blazer or nice jacket on top and add nice flats or brogues for a more polished, feminine look. For nighttime, the sheer blouse can be “jazzed” up with a bandage or “body-con” skirt as they are called in the states, a darker tank or bandeau underneath, and a pair of really snazzy heels. All of the above mentioned items can be purchased at Penney’s. It is a one-stop shop for a night out or when one needs an outfit in a pinch.

Penney’s also sells other things in addition to clothing, bedding, and bathroom accessories. One can also purchase shampoo, toothpaste, dry shampoo, deodorant, and self-tanner. As an Irish-dancer, I was a bit excited at the self-tanner since Penney’s sells the brand I like (Rimmel Sun-Shimmer) in bulk. Their prices are cheaper than Boots Pharmacy, and there is also a tanning wipe variety so an experimental purchase may have to be made in the future.

For a college student on a budget, American or Irish, Penney’s is a college student’s dream. They have prices that will not break the bank and can help one stay within budget (provided a limit is set for oneself). For me, as a study abroad student, the tricky part is going to be figuring out how to get everything home with out having an overweight suitcase; if I stop thinking up excuses in which a trip to Penney’s is “necessary”, that should help too. Budget shopping is popular everywhere, but in the US, other than Target, there really isn’t a cheap fashion/department store that attracts all sorts of people from all different backgrounds.

Read more columns from the Gaelic Girls here 

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