I have Valentino taste, but a Zara budget.
Seriously. I regularly find myself strolling through Saks Fifth Avenue, hoping there's a secret sale on shoes where everything is 98 percent off.
Seeing as my daddy isn't a Vanderbilt, nor do I work at a hedge fund, I've been relegated to shopping H&M.
You know what sucks about shopping there, though? The fact that everyone else has the exact same idea.
The likelihood of someone showing up to the same party as me wearing an identical sequin skirt from Forever 21 is through the roof.
Needless to say, I'm always on the hunt for under-the-radar alternatives for my cult favorite stores.
Want to ensure no one will ever show up in the same dress as you? Keep reading.
If you're into & Other Stories, try Anomie.
& Other Stories, also known as H&M's hip little sister, is the go-to for chic, slouchy pieces.
Anomie is the brainchild of a YouTube maven-turned-shop owner. The store is full of, well, things we actually want to wear.
It has a similar cool-girl aesthetic and minimalist options, but you're way less likely to spot anyone wearing that same bangle you snagged for under $100.
Pro tip: Anomie stocks plenty of hard-to-find beauty brands, like Midnight Collective and YOKE.
If you're into Zara, try Modern Citizen.
Oh, Zara. How we hate to love you, the Mecca of fashionistas on a budget.
It's also a mall store, which means that anything cute has already been snapped up by thousands.
Modern Citizen sells the same fashion-forward clothing in under-the-radar variations, stocking everything from party dresses to loungewear perfect for coping with a hungover.
Pro tip: Check out Modern Citizen's home section. You (and your apartment) won't be sorry.
If you're into J. Crew, try Kisua.
The J.Crew of our mothers' day is all but a memory.
The store totally reinvented itself to appeal to the modern crowd, largely due in part to the influence of Jenna Lyons.
Kisua keeps the modest silhouettes that gave J.Crew its starter fanbase, but mixes in much-needed prints.
Better yet? The African brand works in collaboration with designers from its home continent. Kisua means “well-dressed person” in Swahili!
Pro tip: Try to resist the shoes. I dare you.
If you're into Madewell, try Black Lamb.
Madewell is about as American as apple pie.
Its mix of chambray button-downs and wooly turtlenecks is just the thing to get us through Monday blahs.
Online boutique Black Lamb does just that, but on lowkey level.
They also have an uncanny way of spotting exciting designers way before everyone in Brooklyn is wearing them. That's a skill I refuse to ignore.
Pro tip: They even have a dude section.
If you're into Antropologie, try Koshka.
I get irrationally excited every time I talk about Anthropologie.
Walking inside the store just reminds me of being in a log cabin, except it smells way nicer and there's a sh*t-ton of glitter.
Koshka, which means “cat” in Russian, is that same clusterf*ck of awesomeness you find in Anthropologie.
It's a fringy, knit party. Plus, the prints! Oh, the prints!
Pro tip: They have a sock boutique. You're welcome.