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

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.)


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!

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.

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...

...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.

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.

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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