Right, please re-educate me. Which shops are stylish?

(39 Posts)
INeedThatForkOff Tue 05-Feb-13 22:19:48

I've been reading the love to hate White Stuff thread in amusement and embarrassmemt, because although I always look shit in their stuff I do tend to keep looking at it and thinking maybe I'll get this or that while I lose a bit of baby weight. It inexplicably holds its value on eBay too, so I've been kind of lulled into thinking it's stylish.

So. I'm currently a size 16 but in the process of shifting 3st accumulated over two babies and three years. I look dreadful at the moment, wearing a limited mix of horrible Frugi breastfeeding stuff, a couple of maternity dresses blush and a pair of vile Next stretchy bootcuts (yeah, I know) with BFing tops. I absolutely hate what I'm wearing but there seems no point in spending good money when I have every intention if being a size ten by the end of the year.

But it begs the question, how did I end up with such an awful postnatal wardrobe in the first place? Well I shop online, buying whatever's cheap and will do.

I'm sending back the latest ill-judged order of half price Amari stuff tomorrow, and earlier I thought, well I might as well jut order a few things from Next. Then I got a fucking grip on myself.

Which shops tend to be stylish and a bit fashionable without being too expensive? I'm 35 and dumpy, and want to stop looking like crap all the time.

Uniqlo great for jeans, Breton tops and cashmere
Cos is good, but really helps if you can get to a store as trying on is key
Gap have the odd really nice thing, they do a great denim shirt and some nice Merino knits.

MimikosPanda Tue 05-Feb-13 23:32:38

I personally think of White Stuff as being older in style, I'm 32 and think its way too old for me (disclaimer: I know it is each to their own though!)

If you want to try some new styles without spending too much I'd have a rummage around in Zara or Dorothy Perkins, you can't go too far wrong in those shops at the moment. Then, once you have found your way a bit again with your own style you can move up to more expensive brands if you wanted to knowing that you have a better idea of your own style and your money isn't going to be wasted on stuff that won't get worn.

Most importantly, don't beat yourself up about weight gain or loss of style whilst you have been busy having babies. It isn't forever and you will find your mojo again, I think the same thing has happened to a lot of us to a greater or lesser degree in the 'baby years'.

MimikosPanda Tue 05-Feb-13 23:34:58

Amber Is Uniqlo only online? I've heard it mentioned on S&B but have never seen one or bought from there. Is it pricey?

INeedThatForkOff Wed 06-Feb-13 06:37:08

Gah, I need to go on an actual shopping trip don't I? Apart from Dorothy Perkins, there are none of those in our town. Probably why White Stuff is the fallback option.

Nah there are stores, but I think mainly London-centric. Not terribly pricey, jean c. £30, so more expensive than New Look/Primark, less than TS/Oasis etc. One of the best things about buying in store from Uniqlo is the free alterations service on jeans.

MimikosPanda Wed 06-Feb-13 06:52:20

"One of the best
things about buying in store
from Uniqlo is the free
alterations service on jeans."

A free alteration service?! Need to find my nearest store! Thanks Amber.

MimikosPanda Wed 06-Feb-13 06:55:00

Humpf. No Uniqlo anywhere near me. Gah.

peggyblackett Wed 06-Feb-13 06:56:04

Do take a look at Next. I have been all pooh poohy about Next in the past BUT I think they may have had a change in buyer. I am in a similar position to you (1.5 stone overweight post babies) and Next has been good for buying cheap work dresses. You may be surprised!

herbaceous Wed 06-Feb-13 09:27:58

A warning about Uniqlo if is in possession of arse and tits - a lot of it is pretty boxy. I love the stretchy things, but anything loose cut or straight is not flattering to the curvier figure.

madammecholet Wed 06-Feb-13 09:29:18

I mostly shop online:

Zara (blouses/jackets)
H&M (T's, skinnies, basics)
Great Plains (the odd top)
GAP (jeans)
Banana Republic (the odd top)
Massimo Dutti (lovely stuff but comes up small)
Uniglo (jeans/ thermals / cashmere)
NotOnTheHighStreet (have independent labels)
ASOS (good for dresses, shirts)
The Pretty Dress Co (the odd wiggle dress ;)
EBAY (scarves - I have an addiction to vintage and oversize prints)
Mint Velvet
Fashion Union (never bought but a friend has, cheap fashion)

I also love net a porter and the outnet for designer bargains, but they're still £££...

I find LK Bennett, Whistles, French Connection, Reiss, etc all fine if I am having a thin month, otherwise they all come up teeny...

Try using ShopStyle.co.uk. You can put in 'Black Straight Leg Jeans' and it comes up with loads of options..

pootlebug Wed 06-Feb-13 10:46:14

I shop in a variety of places and don't think myself especially stylish...but wanted to suggest buying cheapish few bits from Dorothy Perkins, H&M, Ebay etc so that you can feel better about yourself and your clothes from NOW, rather than feeling that you're just waiting to lose the weight. That positivity is more likely to help with the weight loss, I think. And if the weight falls off so fast that none of it fits in 6 months I think you'll be happy enough with your achievement to get over the fact you spent a bit of money on clothes that no longer fit.

fromparistoberlin Wed 06-Feb-13 10:51:34

I agree treat yourself to a capsule wardrobe now to make you feel better, ideas?

GOOD QUALITY skinnies, high waisted. these can be the basis
COS I agree had loads of simple and stylish tops that are v flattering
I love Zara but the sizing can be evil, even XXL is only a 14 sometimes
M&S, but only the big ones can have nuggets
Zara and hace COS have really nice jackets
ASOS is also worth a trawl as has funky/on trend stuff
Whistles sizing can be kind, try sales


I 100% agree that you need to spend some £££ to make yourself feel better, and then if you lose weight, some u can still wear and some you ebay

and if you only have White puke and DP, maybe you need to treat yourself to a day trip !!

INeedThatForkOff Wed 06-Feb-13 12:05:52

I agree. I think I need tp buy a few bits now. I fancy some of the Next body shaping slim jeans, and maybe a trip to Warehouse, Oasis, French Connection etc. I need to step away from Monsoon too!

INeedThatForkOff Wed 06-Feb-13 12:07:06

I agree. I think I need tp buy a few bits now. I fancy some of the Next body shaping slim jeans, and maybe a trip to Warehouse, Oasis, French Connection etc. I need to step away from Monsoon too!

carmenelectra Wed 06-Feb-13 12:15:04

Well OP I am older than you but being a frump is my worst nightmare.

H and M is my fave price wise.I love it.

Zara is lovely

Oasis too, but more expensive.

Think it nice to mix and match. Don't rule out any shops. As well as the above I like Republic, new look, dorothy perkinS River Island. Any High st.

Ashoething Wed 06-Feb-13 12:35:55

Stop beating yourself up and dressing down until you lose the weight-size 16 is NOT huge.

I am a 14/16 and I also try to dress nicely. I have finally managed to stop trying to dress in the latest fashion and stick to what I know suits me.

I wear dresses every day-either with tights,black,coloured or fancy or if it is too cold then with leggings.

I like a vintage look so wear a lot of 40's style tea dresses with stockings/hold-ups. Little cardigans from primark that nip the waist are great.

Get out there and get to the shops. Try stuff on that you wouldnt normally.

Good luck!

fromparistoberlin Wed 06-Feb-13 12:44:22

OH and before you shop....

wear a good bra
wear spanx (primarks are great)
wear easy heels
wear slip dress and black opaques
do hair and make up

Its makes SUCH a difference!!!!!

Trazzletoes Wed 06-Feb-13 12:51:24

Ooh I am SO shamelessly making my place!

OP I sound in EXACTLY the same position as you... Except I still dress like a student. <wanders off to put some make up on at, er, 12.51...>

CabbageLooking Wed 06-Feb-13 12:56:17

I'm with you Trazzletoes only I only have one child and I've been mainly shopping at Sainsburys for the last few years. blush

Startail Wed 06-Feb-13 13:05:52

Yes yes to shopping in a decent bra and tights, leggings, neutral coloured layering top.

No good trying on a dress or tunic with hairy pale winter legs sticking out the bottom or deciding if you like a cardigan over a wild flowery top.

Try and wear the rest of the outfit you are going shopping to complete.

Or cheat and take heels and a plain top into the changing room even though your not buying.

Stokey38 Wed 06-Feb-13 13:09:52

Cos is great and sizing for normal people too. I also really like Zara but can be a bit on the small side.

Trazzletoes Wed 06-Feb-13 13:10:32

Sorry, I'm also a size 16 but dress like a size 10 student blush

QueenBOObread Wed 06-Feb-13 13:13:38

I think there are stylish and minging clothes in every shop, so am not loyal to any particular brand.

I find it really helps to look at Net-A-Porter or Matches websites to get ideas as their models are so well styled. I flick through page after page of whole outfits and things will just jump out at me as being fabulous. I then try to imagine my head stuck at the top of the outfit and quite often it'll be obvious that I would look ridiculous because I'm not a 5'11 model it won't work on me.

I then set about trying to recreate for less ££ the ones that are (a) fabulous and (b) not ridiculous. It is so much easier to go shopping when you have something in mind.

MorrisZapp Wed 06-Feb-13 13:15:24

White Stuff is as easily lampooned as Boden etc, but at the end of the day they just sell jeans, tops, jumpers etc, many of which are perfectly fine, and some of which are fab.

Don't be hidebound by the idea that some shops are bad and some shops are good. This is nonsense. There's cool stuff and horrible stuff in most high street shops.

Ignore the catalogues and branding, think of what clothes you want. I got the worlds best jumper in White Stuff this year and I bloody love it. Boden skinnies are getting good wom on the blogs too. They're just clothes - nobody needs to know where they came from or how cheesy the catalogue was.

LifeofPo Wed 06-Feb-13 13:19:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LifeofPo Wed 06-Feb-13 13:20:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

fromparistoberlin Wed 06-Feb-13 14:54:49

i am a 14 and have re-engaged with Zara

but its borderline!!!!

I love buying stuff that says XXXXXXL, LOVE IT

Ashoething Wed 06-Feb-13 16:58:56

Sorry I forgot to add the shops I like!-

new look-beware of things being v short though
zara-cant fit into their teeny tiny clothes but excellent for leather handbags,shoes and lovely scarves
monsoon-not any of the hippy shite but had nice dresses from them-always get them 70% off too.
Warehouse-again I only buy in sales as think the quality is a rip off

INeedThatForkOff Wed 06-Feb-13 22:47:36

Well I've looked and looked and looked (online) - Warehouse, Oasis, French Connection (sale) - I just can't see anything I think I'd look ok in. There is a lot of loose-fitting knitwear around that I don't think would do me any favours. A lot of metallic stuff that just seems a bit much for toddler sessions. I can't seem to visualise anything as it might look on me. I'm shit at clothes sad

Sulawesi Wed 06-Feb-13 23:00:27

Going back a bit - they aren't 'just' clothes though as sadly or happily a brand does say a lot about the wearer and with Boden or White Stuff it is very easy to identify that brand. Not that I think that's necessarily bad.

I like the odd thing from both as it happens but top to toe anything can look a bit peculiar. I actually think it's ok that people can identify what you are wearing as long as you wear it with confidence.

I agree scarves scarves and more scarves can really make an outfit!

I love French Connection, All Saints, bit of Top Shop, bit of Oasis and maybe even the odd bit of plain Boden - trouble is you do have to keep trawling and some days you won't find a thing especially when you are trying!

Sulawesi Wed 06-Feb-13 23:02:30

OP - sometimes I find trawling on-line soul destroying as there is too much choice and you can't get a real feel for what you are looking at. Nothing beats a good shopping session and some lunch! Disclaimer - I know it can be depressing coming back with nothing but there will always be new stuff the following week smile.

fromparistoberlin Wed 06-Feb-13 23:32:35

OP you need to go shopping, to real shops!

INeedThatForkOff Thu 07-Feb-13 07:45:34

I will then, at some point. This is going to mean confronting myself in the mirror <steels self>

AgathaF Thu 07-Feb-13 08:28:47

OP - what about having a personal shopper session in somewhere like John Lewis. I haven't tried that myself, but people I know that have have been quite impressed. I think they bring you stuff that you wouldn't consider yourself, which is a good idea as we can all get stuck in a bit of a rut sometimes.

CareerGirl01 Thu 07-Feb-13 09:32:49

Dress agencies are great for finding designer stuff at cheap prices - if (like me) you enjoy trying them on. I bought an LK Bennett wrap dress and kitten heel boots for £20 and £25 respectively. All Saints open toed boots I wouldn't normally buy were on eBay for £15 and I love them. I'm not a real L K Bennett fan btw - but it's good for when I go and meet editors and contacts (work from home). Managed to find a Hobbs suit in our local charity shop - normally retails at £300 for the shift and jacket together - for £30. John Lewis personal shopping is a great idea as it will give you the bug for experimenting

fromparistoberlin Thu 07-Feb-13 13:25:09

This is going to mean confronting myself in the mirror <steels self>

come on! hair, make up, spanx , black tights and heels

Its MUST be done and size 16 aint huge

mail order wont cut it sista

Charity shops and ebay are your friends...

a) You won't splurge lots of money on clothes that won't fit forever
b) A lot of highstreet shops only stock "seasonal" pieces that don't suit everyone (high necks, I'm looking at you. Weep). I could walk into M&S right now and just cringe, but turns out M&S circa five years or so ago suits me fabulously (is good quality, too). You can update looks with seasonal accessories, remember.

Like you, I'm a 16 and I'm still losing weight. I have all sorts of labels in my wardrobe--from LK Bennett to Peacocks--I bought them because they suit me, and I learned by trying a heap of different "seasons" on in charity shops. Only about 10% of my wardrobe these days is brand new.

DewDr0p Thu 07-Feb-13 15:32:33

Second the personal shopper idea - House of Fraser and John Lewis both offer a fab (free) service.

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