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JCPenney's own Fashionista

Alyssa Lutchen, Fashion Merchandising Graduate
Alyssa Lutchen, Fashion Merchandising Graduate
(Photo: Alyssa Lutchen)

by: Nicole Pratl, Chicago Style and Fashion Examiner

Who says you have to buy the latest Chanel to be in style with this season's fashion trends? Although high class name brands are royalty to most fashionistas out there, in the real world, regular people cannot afford a closet full of what you see on the Paris runways.

Alyssa Lutchen, a 23-year-old fashion merchandising expert, says you can get a designer look for an affordable price at your local JCPenney. The department store, founded by James Cash Penney Jr., first opened in 1902 and ever since then has been one of America's most popular retail chains.

Lutchen first started working for JCPenney in the fall of 2012 as a visual specialist and fashion expert. She earned her bachelors degree at Southern Illinois University Carbondale majoring in fashion merchandising. Working with fashion has always been her dream.

"My whole life I've always loved fashion. I always went shopping. I was more of a tomboy so I bought outfits that I liked and that were cost effective rather than what society had to say. I remember I wrote a paper in school where we had to pick a career and I picked fashion designer. Researching about it, I realized there was more to fashion than just sewing and I loved sewing."

Lutchen said her inspiration for working with fashion was simple: the lifestyle of being a young woman. "I don't focus on one role model but I focus on who I would be if I were another person and how would I dress as that person." She went onto say, "I do have to say thought that I adore Kelly Osbourne from E! Fashion Police. She always has good opinion on style and fashion."

The JCP employee had a lot of great tips for people who want a great look for a low budget. She stated that not only is the store cost-friendly but the designer brand names (such as Nicole Miller, Worthington etc.) are in style with the season.

"I really like JCPenney's designers. They are in trend. We're featured in fashion magazines. There's a Worthington top in People Style Watch for March. We also carry relevant brands like Joe Fresh which is international."

Lutchen stated with enthusiasm that her favorite brand at the company is Mango which is European-style fashion and has a sheik flair for the young urban woman. She loves to work with whatever colors are in trend because it gives one the chance to try palette's one doesn't normally wear. The biggest colors coming up for spring are yellow, orange, orchid and dazzling blue. These color's add a great splash to the popular black and white trend. When asked how she determine's what style is right for a person she said that, "It's important to go with your gut. Try things you really like and not be worried about if others are going to judge you. Just go a little out of your comfort zone."

But too much out of a person's comfort zone can be "fashion suicide." Lutchen said the trend in fashion she would like to see most disappear are the wedge sneakers. "They are too urban and people are mixing and matching them with the wrong things. Drives me up a wall." Her own signature look now-a-days includes tapered pants and a voluminous top with a stretchered jacket. "Any outfit should have a vest, blazer or a shawl. Layering completes a look."

Her most memorable experience as a stylist was a live chat with Nina Garcia. Garcia is not only the style voice for JCPenney but she was editor and chief of Marie Claire Magazine, was creative director of The L Magazine, was a judge for Project Runway and has also been a guest on E! Fashion Police.

"JCPenney should be your go-to for trendy pieces because it's affordable, on trend, offers well name brands and what do you have to lose to just walk through and see what we have to offer? JCP does it right."

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