>> Psst. Come closer. I have a secret to tell you about Houston. Everyone will tell you to go shopping at the Galleria, which is fine and dandy if you want the big dogs like Chanel, Dior, and YSL, but the real bargain deals are on Harwin Drive between Fondren and Gessner, an area known as "Bargain Mile" or to people like me, just plain "Harwin." I'm not gonna lie...you will have to dig through tons of what looks like cheap knockoffs of the Paris Hilton Collection -- we're talking grotesquely tacky here -- but if you have a discerning eye, you will find the good stuff, trust me on this one.
And for you label whores out there, don't you worry your pretty little faces -- there's plenty of designer handbag knockoffs to satiate your every desire, you just have to ask. The ones out on display are not very good, but if you ask the shopowner, they'll usually point you in the right direction. They're just wary and like to gage interest first, since they do occasionally get raided for selling designer knock-offs. And just in case you were wondering, I don't approve of the whole knock-off thing, but to each his own.
In any case, the store I suggest starting at is called "Unnecessary Objects," I believe -- it's on the north side of Harwin Drive. They have some of the best selection for the best prices -- I found some bamboo bangles there for only $1 apiece and a pair of big green sunglasses at the top left for $4.99, for example. All the pictures throughout this post are items I bought yesterday, so you can see the good stuff that is out there to be found. I think I spent ~$60 total for about 20 different things, none of them over $5. Not too bad for such cute stuff. And with that, I recant (somewhat) -- while normally I would say, "Houston, I have a problem (with you)," I have found that even here, deep in the heart of Texas and all that other good stuff, there are treasures waiting to be found.