Corvallis is notorious for its lack of new, price-conscious, women’s clothing options. While it’s true that we don’t have a mid-range clothing store for one-stop shopping like Albany’s Kohls or Target, it is possible to fill out your wardrobe—without emptying your bank account—while staying right here in town. The shops all have their strengths and weaknesses, so here’s a primer on what to get where.
Ross and TJ Maxx
Not actually second-hand stores, although they’re organized like it: by garment type (jeans, knit tops, swimwear, sweaters, dresses, etc.) and by size. This place is great for athletic wear, random handbags, sophisticated tops, jeans, and really sweet dresses, which are especially well-priced. The plus-size section is decently represented. Quality totally varies—everything from Calvin Klein to bargain basement juniors’ wear is here—but the prices are pretty much rock bottom. Just be ready to fill a cart and spend 40 minutes in the dressing room. Oh yeah—be sure to cruise the shoe aisle. On a good day, you can find everything from killer Steve Madden heels to Clarks.
A mysterious collection of gorgeous retro-styled dresses at steep prices, bohemian garb, fancy corsets, low-cost tank tops, cute hats, unique hosiery, and a huge back sales room filled with anything and everything. Some great finds to be had, but browse with caution—regular-priced clothes may have a higher price tag than expected.
Irenes’ (sales rack)
Specializing in American-made fashion, Irenes’ carries insanely cute, unique casual dresses and tops ranging in size from XS-XL; items are typically very high quality but spendy, so check out the outdoor sales rack for wallet-friendly discounts. Some jewelry is surprisingly well-priced, especially the adorable earrings by local designer Liz Grant.
Their slogan is “Hot Affordable Fashion”; this is where you go for bejeweled daisy dukes, shimmery club shirts for under $20, and a surprisingly functional—albeit small—plus-size collection. They carry a nice array of colorful, spaghetti-strap tank tops in all sizes, perfect for layering. Check out new weekly inventory that they post to their Facebook page, theblvdfashion.
Kmart is the place to go for basics like tights, leggings, tanks, and Ts, but also check out their Juniors department for crazy tops, and the Intimates section for all of your neon-hued panty desires, as well as shapewear. This is also the place to get that Beavers-themed cutout swimsuit you’ve never/always wanted. The quality isn’t the best, but thankfully the price point reflects that. Bonus: anything from XS to 3X can be found here.
A list of clothing hotspots in town wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Fred Meyer, the closest thing to a superstore we have in Corvallis. A place to get decent athletic wear, outdoors wear, and undergarments—but prices do not reflect quality, and expect to shop the sales rack to pay an affordable price. However, if you’re looking to splurge on a brand name like Columbia Sportswear or Under Armour, Freddie’s is the place.
Many Hands Trading
Their specialty is a giant fashion jewelry selection at prices that rival those of mall hotspots like Claire’s. In addition to straight-from-Bali batik clothing, they also carry some solid basics that trend conservative, like scoop-neck tops and long skirts; you might want to stick to the sales rack for those.
Make a stop here to fill out your casual business wear—they have trousers, cute blouses, and all kinds of accessories. The trendy stuff in the window belies the amount of functional pieces they have on hand. Bonus: the plus size selection makes up almost half of the store, and is just as style conscious as the straight-size stuff. There’s a lot of variety, so use a keen eye to weed out the trendy from the professional.
You can’t talk about women’s fashion in Corvallis without mentioning the many secondhand options in town.
Re*volve, Second Glance: Sophisticated and upscale, with atmospheres that make shopping a pleasure. Second Glance is great for jeans; check out the cute shoes at Re*volve.
The Annex: Fun party-girl attire, including accessories.
Cosmic Chameleon: Quirky bohemian boutique—shop here for feathered fascinators, vintage anything, and surreal, eye-catching attire.
OSU Folk Club Thrift Shop, ARC, The Cat’s Meow.
Missed a few great options? Let us know in the comments section below!
By Mica Habarad