* Kate Spade logo at the front
* Zip pocket on the back
* 13 Credit card slots
* Measures: 6.75"(W) x 3.5"(H) x 0.85"(D)
be can expect to look good for less "Not to be immodest, but there was nothing out there when I started,'' the 36 year old says.
By nothing, the New York based where to buy kate spade designer means pitifully little in maternity stores that was chic yet comfy, that could accommodate a growing belly and a sense of style. So Lange began tailoring her own clothes first for pregnant friends, soon after for celebrity moms to be. Early on, supermodel Cindy Crawford came calling for boot cut jeans and sexy, body hugging sweaters. Uma Thurman, Kelly Ripa, and Julianne Moore were right on her stiletto heels. Once other designers saw that many young, fashionable career women not to mention red carpet denizens were willing to pay good money for maternity wardrobes, they jumped into the biz, too. Now the high end maternity market is awash in familiar names, all vying to attire the well dressed "bump,'' or pregnant belly. Among them: designers Diane von Furstenberg, Chaiken, Tahari, and red hot Juicy Couture. But the maternity fashion rush left one segment behind. Sure, women who could afford to pay $150 for a cashmere blend sweater had a profusion of shopping options. But what about everybody else? Lange thinks for a moment. "I don't know why, but for whatever reason, the low end hadn't been affected by what we were doing.'' In recent months, that's begun to change. Lange herself has teamed up with Target stores to sell hip, reasonably priced (translation: nothing over $25) maternity wear nationwide. The Gap, purveyors of maternity clothes online for a couple of years, has opened maternity departments inside Baby Gap stores, with racks of flirty blouses, snug fitting stretch jeans, and office ready dresses and slacks. Old Navy, the Gap's lower priced sister chain, is doing the same, offering low priced, casual basics and activewear. When Old Navy opened 53 maternity departments in February, the response was so positive, the chain opened an additional 30 just last month. Reasons for the sudden proliferation vary. A soft economy has cheap kate spade watches even fashionable moms to be holding onto their Kate Spade wallets more tightly, especially when spending on clothes that will only fit temporarily. Also contributing: a celebrity fixated media happily splashing pics of pregnant stars all over their pages. When Us magazine readers, for example, see Sarah Jessica Parker, Reese Witherspoon, and Kate Hudson in fabulous gowns showing off their curvy bellies to the paparazzi, they see no reason why they shouldn't look terrific during pregnancy, too. Susan Rolenz, executive vice president of fashion industry publication the Tobe Report, thinks the number of young female executives in companies kate of spade outlet such as the Gap may also be raising awareness about maternity fashion among retailers. "The realization finally came,'' Rolenz says. "The people who work for [Gap, Old Navy, and Target] are below 40, and they're getting pregnant in the throes of the upward mobility of their careers. They want good looking clothes that aren't expensive.'' The same holds true for women in every industry, kate spade crossbody clearance most of whom are working late into their pregnancies and need smart, tailored clothes for the duration not the ruffled, girly ensembles of days past. "The fact is, you don't want to spend a huge amount of money,'' Lee Murphy, 27, said as she scanned the Gap maternity racks at the South Shore Mall on a recent weekend. A stock trader in Boston, Murphy is pregnant with her first baby. She says she's been to more expensive maternity retailers such as A Pea in the Pod but can't fathom spending more than she absolutely has to, unless it's for a special occasion. She admits she has allowed herself one splurge, though: a pair of super cool Seven jeans for $175. "That was my one selfish buy. Other than that, this is going to be my fall wardrobe,'' Murphy says, holding a stack of Gap maternity separates. Whether more retailers will get into the burgeoning maternity market remains anyone's guess. Industry watcher Rolenz says she has not heard that other chains are planning to follow in the footsteps of the Gap and Target. Still, she thinks they might be foolish not to.
"Let's say you have two children and you're in maternity clothes for five months each time,'' Rolenz says. "It weds you to the store for 10 months,'' after which customers may start shopping there for infant and children's clothing. And when the new moms are ready finally to shop for nonmaternity clothing, they might just shop there, too.
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