Quality not quantity clothes

(36 Posts)
sugar4eva Fri 27-Dec-13 22:33:50

Saw this referred to on a s b thread. Please advise on line quality clothes source? Also is it possible to get quality stuff on high street at cheaper places if clever ? If so how can one tell what is and what isn't? For example , on one thread I read that primark spray t shirts with something to make them sit nice on hanger but after a was they are dishrag s!yet
Another report in a mag said that their t shirts beat other s , even £ 3o t shirts. I don't believe in throw away fashion so want to choose wisely but in that study an expensive t shirt was poorer quality ; they tested by 30 washes, so the expensive one was actually poor quality and throw away and all a customer must have been doing is lining pocket of the more expensive retailer! It so confusing!

sugar4eva Sat 28-Dec-13 14:04:02

bump ...

vitaminC Tue 31-Dec-13 09:59:33

I see no-one has replied to this yet. For me, buying quality involves looking at 3 aspects:

Fabric: I try to buy mainly natural fibres - cotton, silk, cashmere or merino wool, or mixed fibres involving the above. I also look at how thin or thick the fabric is, as that will affect both how the item hangs and how it quickly it wears out.

Workmanship: Quality items tend to last longer, as they are put together better. Check how the hem and waistband are stiched, as well as the side seams. Is the item lined? Lined items tend to hang better and are more flattering.

Cut: A quality item is cut well, to flatter your shape, not just to use as little fabric as possible, to save costs and increase profit. The higher-end brands are generally better for this than, say, Zara, where every item is just straight up-and-downs, which is only flattering for young teenagers IMO. In the case of t-shirts, even some more expensive ones are badly cut - you should make sure the fabric is cut to follow the weft or the knit of the fabric, otherwise it will warp and twist when you wash it!
It's not easy to find good quality t-shirts anywhere these days!

Volume121 Tue 31-Dec-13 10:33:38

I am also trying to buy quality not quantity now. It's hard as spending a lot doesn't always mean you are getting quality ..... I have several items from Reiss none of which have lasted well and all were expensive (jumpers which wore through at the elbows, blouse which ripped at the seems.....)

Perhaps we could list some places where the clothes are good quality?

newtonupontheheath Tue 31-Dec-13 10:42:34

I'm hoping to do this this year. I'm not buying anything from primark as it's all crap, goes out of shape and looks tatty after a couple of washes.

I have a top from Zara, just plain black, it's two years old and still looks fab. Vests a couple of months old from primark look awful.

I have just had some pyjama bottoms from fat face for Christmas as always used to buy matalan or primark and went on self imposed pj-ban for two years. Now allowed naice ones grin

I'd love to know the best shops for basics... Vests, tshirts, leggings/jeans and cardigans that will last. I agree with pp that natural fabrics are better.

higgle Tue 31-Dec-13 10:44:18

I don't think that any one make ( with the exception of maybe Brora) can be said to be excellent on quality al round.

M&S lined skirts seem to be good quality if you approve the fabric.
Coast are generally good
Woolovers knitwear - I have nor bought anything from them that was not 100%
As for Primark, I love their stretchy tops and they are much cheaper than Boden (whose quality is very variable)

lurkingaround Tue 31-Dec-13 10:47:59

VitaminC it is soo hard to find good quality t shirts!! Thanks for explains about the cut.

FrugalFashionista Tue 31-Dec-13 10:50:56

It's getting harder and harder on the high street. Zara used to be great (I still have pure silk dresses from there) but the quality of raw materials and workmanship have gone downhill.

Shop by the finger feel. Consignment and vintage shopping offer the best return for my money right now. Avoid synthetics, go for pure natural fibers. Viscose is semi natural but can be difficult to maintain as it requires frequent ironing.

FrugalFashionista Tue 31-Dec-13 10:53:35

I've had some luck at COS for basics, found a great pure silk navy tricot t shirt there for example. They excel in cut, but you have to feel the garments instore as some are some are made from really awful materials.

Merino is still consistently the easiest to find decent quality natural fiber out there. Much better than low-quality cashmere.

Volume121 Tue 31-Dec-13 10:58:33

I have only had one dress from COS - dreadful quality and cut!

The last few things I have had from M&S didn't last well at all (jeggings, lined skirt, shoes).

I have just splashed out in the sales - a few Whistles casual tops, Fatface jeggings, Phase 8 jersey dresses. Let's hope they last!

StuckOnARollercoaster Tue 31-Dec-13 11:10:19

Unfortunately I don't think there is a brand that is consistently good - some will do 1 item very well but another item can be rubbish, or even the same item but next season can be sourced from a different factory.
E.g. Someone up thread mentioned bad quality primark vests yet I have been wearing 4 on almost permanent rotation every day since June because of breastfeeding and they are still looking lovely despite the constant stretching and washing.
I have decided that basic jersey items I will buy cheap and be prepared to replace, but spend time and money trying to find well cut tailored items. My biggest concerns is woollens - not sure how to identify if they are going to wash well...

teta Tue 31-Dec-13 11:19:12

Newton upon the heath my best quality pj,'s come from Matalan and they do great long sleeved t shirts(far better than M&S which is the only other choice in my small town).I buy good quality items at Tk Maxx.Cashmere jumpers by Stefanel and a down coat have been my autumnal purchases.I have also just bought some Whistles cashmere jumpers at less than half price.The cashmere is from China ( generally considered poorer quality).I expect Tescos cashmere to come from China not a very expensive jumper ( at full price).It seems if you pay more you don't necessarily get better quality.

ZaraW Tue 31-Dec-13 12:02:45

I have always been impressed by Izzy Lane they have a 50% sale at the moment. I have a couple of coats, scarves and their cashmere is from British goats. It's ethical and fantastic quality. Expensive so I tend to buy in the sale.

littleredsquirrel Tue 31-Dec-13 12:08:14

I agree with others in that the quality is variable in most places. I find Phase Eight quite good (although some of the stuff in there is very frumpy). Keep in mind that a lot of the more expensive but very trendy stuff will be lower quality than the more expensive but classic style stuff.

I generally tend to go for quality in classic style pieces which I want to last and cheap for fashion pieces working on the basis that I might only get 6-8 decent wears out of them.

WhereIsMyHat Tue 31-Dec-13 12:21:15

I think buying quality stuff over quantity is going to be my New Years resolution.
Interested in suggestions for where to buy basic t-shirts.

vitaminC Tue 31-Dec-13 14:49:53

The last decent t-shirts I've bought were from Esprit and Ralph Lauren, if that's any help...

chanie44 Tue 31-Dec-13 15:13:56

I get all of my basics from uniqlo as pretty much everything i have from there seems to have lasted.

Likewise, I have bout two coats from Zara and both feel apart really quickly

SwedishEdith Tue 31-Dec-13 15:24:22

I've found Uniqlo and DP to be good for vest tops and knitted dresses. I've just given up on wearing t shirts now and just buy short-sleeved cotton or linen tops in summer. One of the reasons I hate warm weather is that dressing for it is difficult. Spent £22 on a Fat Face t shirt - quite a lot, I thought - and it shrank so much as to be unwearable after the first wash.

I think that recently it's become really hard to say that one high street retailer is consistently good quality - many of them seem to have gone downhill confused

Zara is so full of polyester that it's a fire hazard.

M&S is hit and miss.

I haven't been in Next for ages.

Uniqlo is pretty good.

Jaeger is always good quality IMO.

H&M has some really good quality things but you have to search for them.

DameEdnasBridesmaid Tue 31-Dec-13 15:35:08

wherismyhat I am always promising myself that I will only buy quality. Then I go and buy tatconfused

I've had a few really good things from Cos this year.
Hobbs is reliable for jackets, accessories and t-shirts.
M&S still good for knickers, v occasional tops in the Autograph range and pencil skirts.
Whistles for jackets and jersey skirts.
Converse.

SwedishEdith Tue 31-Dec-13 15:43:59

Yes, the problem with just waiting for quality is what to wear in the meantime. So you fill the gap with crap again.

vitaminC Tue 31-Dec-13 16:09:29

I live in France and don't have access to all the UK brands, as some don't ship here. I tend to buy most of my clothes from the French brand Caroll, which is a higher-end high street chain here. The quality is pretty consistent and the sizing is reliable.

I also buy quite a lot from Esprit, Hobbs, LKBennett and have had a few nice items from Phase Eight (good for hourglass figures). I shop quite a bit online, usually from department stores such as John Lewis or House of Fraser. When I shop in town here, I tend to go to the department store Galeries Lafayette, as they have lots of brands under one roof.

I buy quite a few basics from www.cyrillus.com, which is fairly expensive, but great value as their stuff is fantastic quality. I've had kids' clothes from there which all 3 of my girls have worn, and I've then sold for a good price on e-bay as still in excellent condition!!!

And 99.9% of my shoes come from www.minelli.fr - a well-known chain over here, selling all-leather, Italian-made shoes, which are fantastic quality. I still regularly wear pairs I've had over 10 years and which still look new and fashionable.

I love Esprit I think the quality is good but steer clear of their EDC because it feels like acrylic.

Next pjs have really shrunk after one wash and they were £16 so im annoyed about that.

My gap pj bottoms are gorgeous and well worth the £25ish each.

I agree with always try and go for natural fibres as they tend to wash better.

BikeRunSki Tue 31-Dec-13 16:37:30

I have a few pairs of PJs from Hush which gave washed an worn really well over 2 .or 3 years and are v comfy, lovely soft cotton.

Boden tweed and cashmere is pretty decent I find.

I have had loads of quality issues with Woolovers! But love Gap and Lands End for knitwear.

newtonupontheheath Tue 31-Dec-13 16:41:26

I've had a little think and I think what I meant above was not that matalan, primark are especially bad, but that the fashion is so disposable, you buy and don't really think about cut, fabric, etc as it's only £3 or something ridiculous for a vest in primark. But who just buys one vest? It's a pair of shoes, a cardigan and several vests/tshirts and pjs then I've spent £20 and have nothing that's nice, or that lasts.

I'm not sure if that makes any sense confused but I've not tried a lot of these shops that have been mentioned so will formulate myself some rules before I spend any money and ensure I'm making the right purchases.

BikeRunSki Tue 31-Dec-13 16:42:22

M&S Limited Collection has dome decent stuff too.

how do I tell if they fabric is cut do as the seams won't twist this is a pet hate of mine, I find new look really bad with this.
I agree that my primark stretchy vests and tops are really good, I've been wearing and washing them constantly through out my pregnancy, I am about to pop and they are still in great condition.

vitaminC Tue 31-Dec-13 17:07:53

cartoon, hold the item in your hands and stretch it slightly to get a good look at the knit. If the rows are horizontal, it's fine, but if they are diagonal, or even just slightly out of line, the garment will twist!

aoife24 Tue 31-Dec-13 17:13:24

I really like Toast. I think their quality and fabrics are great but it is expensive so I wait for the sale. Coats will last you years.

carrie74 Tue 31-Dec-13 17:16:06

TBH, I find High st shopping pretty depressing these days: there seems to be little difference in quality and vast differences in price.

I do find Gap excellent for their cotton (after a blip of a few years where they must have been using inferior cotton), and have had a lot of success with their knitwear over the last few years: not very bobbly, good cut and designs and wash well.

I like Banana Republic for work trousers, and would buy more but find they're a little too conservative for my tastes. Some fantastic silk blouses and the like, and their sales are excellent.

I now find myself buying more and more from Me&Em online. Good sales, and excellent quality fabrics. Unfortunately (for me) their reputation seems to be gaining so much ground, often their stock sells out before I can get my grubby hands on it.

Denim I tend to favour premium: I wear my jeans a lot, so I pay more (although still look online and in sales as there are plenty of bargains to be had). This gives me a better cut (less hitching up through out the day, softer denim so no rubbing, better wash effects to flatter etc etc). On denim though I don't think there is a definitive best brand, it's all done to trying hundreds of pairs on until you find the right pair.

I'm still wearing Primark strappy vests from a couple of summers ago, and they have washed brilliantly. Nothing else from Primark has lasted. I have a few Baukjen long Ts for layering, and they have also been brilliant (buy in sales). I've yet to try much Hush stuff, but bought some cashmere last year that has worn very well, so I'll likely go back to them for more as and when I need it.

My biggest issue is footwear: I don't buy loads of shoes, so am happy to spend more on what I do buy, but demand comfort with style, and that's so so hard to find. Still on the hunt for the perfect pair of ankle boots...

M&S Limited was brilliant when it started. All polyester now though, except the occasional decent t-shirt.

Gap terrible now imho, except for socks and denim jackets.

I can usually get good boots in either Dune or Clarks.

thanks vitamin much simpler than I thought it would be!
I regularly look at the hush website after seeing it mentioned here so often but have never ordered, I think it looks a bit expensive for what it is. but worth it if the quality is really amazing, I may try when the sales are on.
I find river island high waisted leggings are the best and had some pairs for years only getting rid if them because I lost weight so they kept falling down!

Floisme Tue 31-Dec-13 19:05:24

VitaminC, that is a really helpful tip, thank you.

Another vote here for Me and Em. They are £££s but everything I have bought from them has worn and washed brilliantly. And their sales are great.

I think the problem is that it's different for every garment and you can't rely on a label.

I've got Boden jersey tops from 5 years ago that are still good but jersey dresses from this year that are like rags.

I am useless at sending stuff back that's crap so I can easily waste 60/80 quid on a dress and wash it and then just wear it for scruffy afterwards.

I hate the way you can never tell which items will go bobbly after a couple of washes

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