I haven't wearing this coat much this year since the cut doesn't mesh very well with skirts and dresses. The year I bought it I was all about the skinny jeans, which go really great with the swingier style of the coat, but it looks nice with these trouser cut jeans as well. The secret of this coat (secret as in, I tell everyone who compliments me on it) is that I bought it at Hot Topic. I spotted it one day and fell in love right away. I think it might have been the first houndstooth thing I've ever purchased. They didn't have it in my size, but they were super helpful in the store and ordered it from another location. One thing I've noticed about Hot Topic, their customer service is always top notch. Their employees are pretty much the most consistently friendly of any store I've been in.
One of my shopping guidelines is that I almost never give up on a store, no matter how rarely it comes through with something I want to buy. As a result, I pop into Hot Topic every once in awhile, just to check out what they have. Other stores I keep on my radar include JC Penny, where I once got a ninety-seven cent scoop neck white t-shirt; Kohl's, where I've gotten flats on clearance for ten bucks, and Pacsun, which has been shedding its preteen skater only image and putting out some great, chic stuff this season. You just never know where you're going to find a killer deal. Not that you should go into every store all the time. But be willing to take the same risks and chances when you go shopping as you do in your wardrobe choices. Part of having style is being able figure out what you like and what works for you no matter what the brand or source. Too many people end up "buying style" (instead of having style) by going to the same couple of stores all the time. It's not personal taste if you wear only a few labels over and over again. One of the joys of fashion is the discovery of something wonderful, and the joy is always greater when what you discover is unexpected (or on major clearance). Next time you go shopping, try a store you've never been in or that you're skeptical of. And if you don't find anything, don't be discouraged. There's always next time.