Sears Fall French Connection Line Signals Chain's Fashion Makeover

SearsStripes, neutral tones in camel and olive, lace, and menswear-inspired women's clothing were some of the trends that emerged during New York Fashion Week in February, peppering the runway looks from designers such as Tommy Hilfiger, Donna Karan and Jason Wu, who created Michelle Obama's inaugural gown.

And those high-end looks have already trickled down to the mass market, showing up in Sears'UK Style by French Connection fall line, which was unveiled at a press preview in New York this week.

Sears partnered with the British retailer to roll out UK Style boutiques in 500 of its stores this year. And the fall line marks its second French Connection collection, following the spring line earlier this year.The new collection includes a striped tunic sweater for $44; a sheath dress in olive with black lace for $88; hip-waisted wide leg trousers in camel for $68; and the menswear-inspried tweed black blazer for $88.

If you're surprised that these on-trend looks are turning up at Sears, you won't be the only one.

The retailer -- known more for its Kenmore washers and dryers and not necessarily for stylish clothing -- has set out to change that perception in the minds of consumers with the rollout of exclusive, fashion-forward clothing lines, such as UK Style as well as the Kardashian Kollection, which is set to hit Sears stores this fall.

The retailer is betting big on the line from Kim, Khloe and Kourtney -- which it's banking on to woo a new audience. The new line will "embrace Kim's glamorous red carpet looks, Kourtney's more Bohemian chic vibe and Khloe's rocker style," with both trendy pieces and tailored looks designed to appeal to all women who love fashion, according to a Sears press statement.

Indeed, John Goodman, executive vice president of apparel and home for Sears, has been on a mission to "up the style quotient" at the chain, which operates 929 full-line department stores, Colleen Cleary, a Sears spokeswoman, told WalletPop at the press preview.

Goodman's hope, says Cleary is "that shoppers will think of Sears a fashion destination."
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