There are 138 million people who buy from Wal-Mart every week. L.A.-based blogger Shauna Miller is making it her mission to empower women who shop there by "putting Wal-Mart on a fashion pedestal" through her site, PennyChic. But, we ask you, is it right to support a company that's been repeatedly charged with mistreating its female employees?
It's no wonder that Shauna Miller's fashion blog, PennyChic, is gaining widespread popularity. Her posts are cleverly written and creatively styled, her "models"-Shauna's friends-are real-life gorgeous, and her clothes are both super chic and super cheap. But most intriguing to readers may be her backstory: Miller's a born-and-bred L.A. fashionista, NYU grad, and Emanuel Ungaro alum who gave up haute-couture aspirations for the world's largest and most notoriously dowdy discount department store: Wal-Mart.
"138 Million people shop at Wal-Mart every week and I was never one of them (until now)," Miller writes on PennyChic. "Do I prefer Wal-Mart to Neiman Marcus? Of course not … but looking stylish and effortless is not hard when you're wearing a $5k outfit. What's more intriguing to me is the challenge of looking chic at a time when this season's must-have Little Black Dress is no longer an option."
You can find every single item featured on PennyChic-from jumpsuits to lingerie to fedoras-in Wal-Mart stores or online at Wal-Mart.com. Who needs a pricey LBD when you can buy Furstenberg-esque printed wrap dresses ($12), on-trend boho headbands ($12), and classic Norma Kamali for Wal-Mart trenches ($35), all without maxing out your credit card? Not Miller, who says that even when she's not styling "Gallery Owner Chic," "Faux Versace Chic," and "Fireman's Daughter Chic" spreads for her blog, she wears pieces from Wal-Mart about 50% of the time.
"This isn't some gimmick," Miller told me. "I wasn't planning for this to happen-to actually like clothing from Wal-Mart-but I do. I believe in this stuff. You have to walk the walk if you're gonna talk the talk."
Wal-Mart carries collections designed by brands like Kamali, Miss Tina, OP. and L.E.I., but doesn't receive as much attention as other mega-stores like K-Mart, which recently launched a "Fashion Forward" campaign, or Target, the store credited for starting the celebrity designer/mass-retailer trend with Issac Mizrahi way back in 2002. Miller points to a Women's Wear Daily article that made public Wal-Mart's dismal 4th quarter results and blames the results on the fact that Wal-Mart "hasn't come up with a compelling brand proposition in apparel in some time." Miller said she didn't want to sound "too presumptuous," but wondered if PennyChic could be the answer to Wal-Mart's financial woes.
"Wal-Mart is the last standing taboo in fashion," Miller said. "A girl from Arkansas, where Wal-Mart's headquarters are, watches The Hills and then drives 5 minutes to Wal-Mart to go shopping. It's ignorant to think she doesn't care about looking chic."
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