Conspiracy Theories

Lately I've been noticing a lot of duplicates for Express products in other stores, and I can't help but wonder how they all decided to make the same things at the same time. Sometimes I feel like there's a Secret Fashion Society that calls all the shots and tells all the stores what to carry. I'm sure it's always been this way, but since starting this blog I notice the overlap in similar items more frequently, especially when it comes to Express.

Take for instance this Polka Dot Blazer. I snapped a photo of it because I thought it looked cute when I saw it in store at Express and intended to try it on at some point:

Express polka dot blazer, Jacket

A few days later I was in Target and I saw its almost-twin, the Merona Oxford Blazer:

Target Merona Polka Dot Blazer, Jacket

White blazer, black polka dots, black contrast trim....coincidence or Secret Fashion Society decision? I'm also amused that they styled them in a very similar manner on their websites:

Polka dot blazer Target vs Express

Next set of dopplegangers: this Xhiliration Striped Blouse and Merona White Blazer:

Target Xhiliration Striped Shirt, White Tuxedo Blazer with color block

These instantly reminded me of the Striped  Portofino Shirt and White Tuxedo Jacket at Express:

Express Striped shirt + Tuxedo Jacket

And it's not just Target that carries similar items. J Crew has a Toothpick Jean in Railroad Stripe which is very similar to the Stella Faded Railroad Stripe Ankle Jean Legging:

J Crew vs Express railroad stripe jeans

During the last 40% off sale I ordered the Express version above. I ended up returning them mainly because they ran a little big and the store didn't carry these in a smaller size so it wouldn't be an easy exchange. Second, I already have and love the original Railroad Stripe Ankle Jean Legging (see detail photos from the fitting room here). I may re-visit the faded version in the spring if there's a great sale, but for now I'm just sticking with these:

Right: Seamed Twill Jacket / Railroad Stripe Jeans / Bracelet / Booties

And basically every retailer from Wal-Mart to Neiman Marcus (for only $840!) has some sort of olive green jackety-coat these days. Here's the Cotton Anorak from Express:

Express Cotton Anorak Jacket, Sexy Stretch Leggings, Chevron Necklace, Boots
Left: Anorak Jacket / Bracelet / Leggings / Tunic Cami / Watch / Boots
Right: Anorak Jacket / Chevron Necklace / Bracelet / Leggings / Tunic Cami / Watch / Boots

I originally purchased this one in Gray because I thought it would go better with my wardrobe. When I got it, I was just "meh" on it altogether. The color just looked drab on me and with everything I owned. I took it in to return it and they happened to have the Olive version in store, so I tried it on. It looked so much better on me. I think the Gray option just wasn't right for my coloring, but I do think it's a great neutral that may work on some people. It's a relaxed fit jacket but not oversized, so it's great for layering. Here's how Gray (on the left) vs. Olive looked in the fitting room, and I'm wearing an XS in both of these photos:

Express cotton anorak jacket, Gray, Olive

So I don't know who's behind the Secret Fashion Conspiracy that manages to get all these pieces into stores at the same time, but if someone could nominate me to join it I'd really appreciate it. I have plenty of opinions to share, and I'm willing to learn secret handshakes and fly to fabulous places for top secret meetings if needed!

And speaking of nominations, Mary of Eat Drink & Be Mary (creator of delicious recipes and excellent Super Bowl fan outfits!) was kind enough to nominate me for a Liebster award. She gave me 11 questions to answer, so if for some reason you're interested in learning some random facts about the author here you can peek in on my otherwise dull About page.

Linking up for the weekend with Weekend Wind Down and TGIF Blog Hop

Linking up on Wednesday:
Random Wednesday / I Feel Pretty / What I Wore Wednesday  / Fave Winter Trend

Linking up on Thursday:
Bethany & Meghan for Three-fer Thursday / The Fashion Informant / Spotlight Weekly with Elle



  1. I see it everywhere too. When I stopped working at Express, I would find a lot of similar items at Forever 21. Now everyone is doing it. We used to call Express the trendsetter because it just seemed that everyone was imitating the next season's fashion. IDK, I would love to know how it all goes down in the buyer's meeting. It's nice to know that you are the company that other's want to be like.


  2. I agree there is a conspiracy! It think one group tells the stores what is big and then each store carries a version. The main reason I pre-shop the high end stores then check for a cheaper version. Great post!
    xo, Lee

  3. This is so true. I've found that GAP and Banana are totally copying J. Crew lately. And every store has: a leopard flat, a black/white striped t shirt, a chambray shirt, a polka dot sweater in gray and white or black, a beaded sweater or sweatshirt, and crystal necklaces. I see a conference room, dimly lit, with a password entrance, in a bad part of town where fashion executives get together and come up with "the list"

  4. That is just so true! I never know which store comes out with it first, but I feel like you can get so many similar items at each store. I like it because if one store is out I have another option, or if I don't like the fit at one store I can try another. But at the same time, it kind of annoys me! I don't want to wear the exact same thing as everyone else!

  5. Visiting from the Random Wednesday Link-up! Of course there's a group of people who determine what is cool, it's the editors at Vogue and those elites that go to fashion week! Then all the knock offs come rolling off the factory floors!

    <3 Vicki

  6. That is crazy that everything is so similar! In a way I like it because it means I can usually find something really affordable at my favorite stores. It's crazy how similarly things are styled on the websites though!

  7. Seriously I love that anorak jacket on you!
    But focusing on the conspiracy theory - dang, you are a good sleuth! Maybe there are spies! Like in 13 going on 30 and someone is spilling all the secrets! I honestly wasn't a fan of the Merona dot blazer, but I like the Express one. not sure how that works!

  8. I feel like the trends filter down from the super high-end designers and then get altered for the more mainstream. And then they start popping up everywhere at various price points. Which is probably why sometimes we see the same things over and over again on blogs!

  9. I looked for a jacket like this for a while and I finally found one. I like gray better but I totally agree that the green looks better! That's the color I ended up getting as well.


  10. Oh my, some of these are truly identical! And what a shame it is, This happened to me once with a pair of earrings I'd bought for about £15 and a few weeks later, I found the same thing for £7. And it was on sale for £4.50. T'was not a pleasant experience!


  11. I saw the polka-dot blazer at Target yesterday. It was on major sale for like $10. The smallest size was a 4. Sadly, it was a bit big on me. Otherwise, I would have taken it home with me. Great finds, Gina!

  12. love the blazers <3 <3
    what about follow each other?
    let me know :)
    have a nice day! <3

  13. great pieces here! we love the jean leggings and the polka dot blazer, so chic!
    xoxo Vera & Rony

  14. I think it works in a lot of ways when they "conspire" ..... at least we have the option to buy the steal or the splurge version haha. The trick is really to go to shopping haunts that carry affordable but one of a kind pieces.....love the cropped polka dot blazer so much! Have a great weekend Gina!


  15. Target has some awesome blazers. I almost bought the tuxedo one. Really love that olive anorak!

  16. I've noticed Target does that a lot! Maybe they have secret undercover people working for different companies that report back to them? Haha no idea
    Exploring My Style

  17. I have wondered about this, too- and I love that you photo-documented it! Ha!

    Happy Thursday!


  18. Well, it's obvious that the conspiracy was planned by the government...probably the same people who faked the moon landing, but you saw the light! You outsmarted them and called out their nefarious schemes. (Now you just need to figure out why they did it...) I love the Express polka dot blazer...BTW...think you should get it. :)

  19. (I had no idea you were new enough to qualify for the Liebster award. I got awarded it a month ago, but I haven't announced it bc I haven't found 11 other newbie blogs to nominate..and here I've been chatting with one every week. :) Guess you and More POM just seem so together to be new.)

  20. Cute blazer!
    Thanks for linking back to us at the Weekend wind-down party!

  21. Really....$850 for a jacket....puhleeze! I love your research, you definitely would be a great buyer or secret shopper. Thanks for coming back this week and sharing these great finds at the #WWDParty - have a wonderful weekend.

  22. Funny how that happens! Thanks for joining the WWDParty and linking to us!

  23. Love your style!


  24. Ha, I loved this;) THIS is why I mainly shop at Target, they have all the "popular" looks for less. Winning for ME!

  25. Hi! I love your blog and I'm sorry if you already answered this question, but does the portofino shirt require an undershirt/cami underneath to avoid sheerness? I just love the way you look in these portofino shirts, but I worry that I will look too bulky with an undershirt due to my slight holiday muffin top :)

    1. Hi there! Thanks so much for reading and commenting! Hopefully you'll see this message. To answer your question, a lot of the white & very light colored Portofinos are somewhat sheer. In my pictures, I am not wearing a camisole (except when I wear the sheer chiffon ones, like the bird print or polka dot one I've shown, then I'm wearing a cami). I just wear a nude bra and call it a day, but I am wearing them for casual wear. In a professional setting you might feel they are too sheer. In this post:
      You can scroll down to see Noelle of BeautyGirl24 wearing a white portofino and she said she IS wearing a cami with hers as she feels more comfortable that way. With my darker colors it's not really an issue, but with the white & light one it probably comes down to personal preference and where you plan to wear it/how modest you need it to be. Hopefully that helps a little and let me know if you have any more questions. :)

    2. Thank you, thank you so much for replying. It is so nice of you to go out of your way to answer my question. You're AWESOME!! :)

    3. You are TOO kind! :) Thank you for the sweet compliments and glad you saw my reply. :)

  26. Congrats on being chosen as a Featured Post from #WWDParty #5 - see ya tomorrow at Party #6.

  27. Do you know where else I could find an olive anorak jacket with around the same fit as the one shown? I've been looking everywhere for one, but I can't find any in store or online that aren't filled with fur or really long...

    1. Hi Alyssa, have you looked at this jacket from Express? I haven't tried it in person but it might be a good option. Also, another way I often find similar pieces is by going toShopstyle.com and searching there. I just tried typing in Anorak Jacket (and you can filter your results by price) and there were some possible options from places I don't usually think to shop. They pull results from a huge range of retailers but it seems to work better for me than just google. Hope that helps and good luck!

    2. No I haven't yet, but I will! Thank you so much for your help!


Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment! I sincerely appreciate each and every one and always do my best to answer questions promptly!