Are these clothes from H&M -- or Ross? (PHOTOS)
J. Wohletz

Are these clothes from H&M -- or Ross? (PHOTOS)

It's the season of shopping, and the jing-a-ling of purses and wallets can be heard all over the 16th Street Mall -- all the way into the Denver Pavilions, our convenient downtown mid-priced clothing mecca. And just in time for the 2011 holiday shopping season, the newly opened H&M store is peddling its brand of "cheap chic" wearables.

But up the block is my favorite Ross store, home of "in-season, brand name apparel" -- or as I label it, "go-ghetto!" I decided to stop in both stores for some comparison shopping, and the findings of this foray into investigative journalism were something shocking, scandalous and almost unbelievable: I seriously could not see any major differences in style or quality between the women's clothing at Ross and at H&M.

The only real difference was price-related, and although H&M is relatively inexpensive, Ross's prices are about half the cost of similar items at H&M. Admittedly, I'm a fan of Ross -- because where else am I gonna score my no-longer-cool Harajuku Lovers fragrances and sought-after-a-decade-ago Betsey Johnson handbags? But with all the fuss about H&M lately, my inner--and outer -- cheapskate is scandalized to discover that maybe shopping at Ross isn't nearly as ghetto as I previously thought.

Here are photos of clothes at both stores. Can you pick out which items are from H&M, and which are from Ross?

Slutty bras.

Are these clothes from H&M -- or Ross? (PHOTOS)
J. Wohletz
Are these clothes from H&M -- or Ross? (PHOTOS)
J. Wohletz

Granted, awesome whore-licious underwear is ubiquitous, but why pay more? Especially if it's gonna end up on the floor. (The first one is H&M, the second is Ross.)

Goofy shirtdresses.

Are these clothes from H&M -- or Ross? (PHOTOS)
J. Wohletz
Are these clothes from H&M -- or Ross? (PHOTOS)
J. Wohletz

Add a belt and you get a dress. Or be daring and wear one as-is with opaque tights. (The first one is H&M, the second is Ross.)

Ruffled shirts never seem to go away.

Are these clothes from H&M -- or Ross? (PHOTOS)
J. Wohletz
Are these clothes from H&M -- or Ross? (PHOTOS)
J. Wohletz

I think they stopped being club-worthy when women started sporting them at Costco. (The first one is Ross, the second is H&M.)

Grape drapes.

Are these clothes from H&M -- or Ross? (PHOTOS)
J. Wohletz
Are these clothes from H&M -- or Ross? (PHOTOS)
J. Wohletz

There are like a dozen women in the city of Denver who look fantastic in purple, and sadly enough, they never seem to be the ones wearing it. (The first one is H&M, the second is Ross.)

Fabulous faux fur.

Are these clothes from H&M -- or Ross? (PHOTOS)
J. Wohletz
Are these clothes from H&M -- or Ross? (PHOTOS)
J. Wohletz

One of these is okay, but the other one looks like a trip to the ice planet Hoth. (The first one is Ross, the second is H&M.)

Classy -- and assy.

Are these clothes from H&M -- or Ross? (PHOTOS)
J. Wohletz
Are these clothes from H&M -- or Ross? (PHOTOS)
J. Wohletz

Even semi-formal evening dresses should have standards -- some lower than others. (The first one is H&M, the second is Ross, and it's worth noting that the green monstrosity is actually a "Versace for H&M." But it's really okay to call it "Vur-sais" in this instance.)

Shiny!

Are these clothes from H&M -- or Ross? (PHOTOS)
J. Wohletz
Are these clothes from H&M -- or Ross? (PHOTOS)
J. Wohletz

Metallics seem to be popular with both stores, so who here does it better? (The first one is Ross, the second is H&M.)

Turn it down -- it's too loud!

Are these clothes from H&M -- or Ross? (PHOTOS)
J. Wohletz
Are these clothes from H&M -- or Ross? (PHOTOS)
J. Wohletz

Screamy bright colors and abnormally large floral prints apparently did not bow out gracefully after 1987, and roses can either mean love or retinal discomfort. (The first one is H&M, the second is Ross, and again with the H&M "Vur-sais.")

All laced up.

Are these clothes from H&M -- or Ross? (PHOTOS)
J. Wohletz
Are these clothes from H&M -- or Ross? (PHOTOS)
J. Wohletz

Lacy dresses will always be around, but so will terrible taste in clothing. (The first one is Ross, the second is H&M.)

Nighttime is the right time...

Are these clothes from H&M -- or Ross? (PHOTOS)
J. Wohletz
Are these clothes from H&M -- or Ross? (PHOTOS)
J. Wohletz

...for deciding what direction to take your date: to the opera, or to Sam's Club. (The first one is Ross, the second is H&M.)

Going tubing.

Are these clothes from H&M -- or Ross? (PHOTOS)
J. Wohletz
Are these clothes from H&M -- or Ross? (PHOTOS)
J. Wohletz

Which one of these tops would you wear to church? (The first one is H&M, the second is Ross.)

For dancing, but not the ballet.

Are these clothes from H&M -- or Ross? (PHOTOS)
J. Wohletz
Are these clothes from H&M -- or Ross? (PHOTOS)
J. Wohletz

Both of these fine choices would fit in nicely in Vegas -- or at La Boheme. (The first one is H&M, the second is Ross.)

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