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Where d'you shop ....

(94 Posts)
HauntedArmchairOfDoom Sat 11-May-13 19:40:32

... when you're not old, but not young?
Not poor, but not rich?
Not thin, but not all that fat?


After a period of enormous frugality I have some money with which to revitalise my rather sad old wardrobe. I do some dress-making and really love vintage stuff, so that side is kind of covered.

But I still need some of the basics - jersey tops to wear with skirts, knitwear, jackets, shirts - and don't know where to go!

I'm mid-30s but feel about 50, and I'm not big enough to need a Specialist Shop but my days of Topshop and River Island are long gone.

I need things that are really good quality so they'll last and last (the period of enormous frugality is likely to return very swiftly!), but I had a look at The Outnet and £70 for a T shirt seems a bit steep.

Any recommendations gratefully received!

ExcuseTypos Sun 12-May-13 08:08:55

Glad you like them haunted

Enjoy your shopping- I'm excited for you!!

HauntedArmchairOfDoom Sun 12-May-13 08:09:34

Bertrude that's REALLY helpful, thanks! Monsoon is quite big on me (oh the excitement when I bought a size 14 dress :D) so Phase 8 for jersey tops should be OK in a 16 ... I might order 'pairs' of sizes and send back the non-fitters.

Never heard of Atterleyroad - I'll have a search!

Have you chaps heard of Pure Collection? It's a bit pricey but I'm investing in some pure cashmere (never thought I'd say those words) - I want some 'lifetime pieces' if you see what I mean.

I am just SO fed up of having a huge wardrobe of crap stuff that doesn't quite fit and is not very good quality. It makes getting a dressed a bleeding nightmare. I'd rather have say 4 dresses, 4 skirts, and a range of tops and knitwear, and all of it really, really good stuff.

I was having a chat with my Gran a while back and she said when she was my age, clothes were expensive - hand-made, tailored, one-offs or saved for - and so you cared for them, and it was easy to look good in a dress that someone had fitted for you and that didn't get left on the bathroom floor. That's kind of how I'd like to be.

Plus - I have always tried never to shop in sweatshop places, and the awful, awful events in Bangladesh have made me determined not to sad

HauntedArmchairOfDoom Sun 12-May-13 08:11:06

Thanks Excuse smile

I'll report back!

My DH is going to find this hilarious. For weeks I've been saying 'when my ship comes in' and he said, 'You're actually going to wade out to meet the ship and push it straight back out again, aren't you?'

Yes, DH. Yes, I am.

Disclaimer: I am also doing some Sensible Stuff <checks mother cannot see thread>

preggersbycheggers Sun 12-May-13 08:20:39

We have a local shop here with lots of lovely clothes.

They stock the following brands. Might be worth looking at as you are same age and size as me although right now I'm heavily pregnant and also haven't bought clothes for ages!

Great Plains
White stuff
Nice things
Mudd and water.

duende Sun 12-May-13 08:29:25

Uniqlo is also good for basic tops I think.

Rattitude Sun 12-May-13 15:26:18

Yes, yes, yes to Pure Collection. I have bought cashmere jumpers and cardigans from them. The choice of colours is usually good (or suits me anyway) and the quality for the price is excellent!

homebythesea Sun 12-May-13 15:31:24

I think Lands End make quite the best T's long and short sleeves. They are crap for sleeveless- I prefer Primark for vest tops (but size up at least one size) and they wash really well- some f mine are at least 4 years old smile

HauntedArmchairOfDoom Sun 12-May-13 16:29:01

Ooo Rattitude - what the PUre Collection sizing like??? I have a couple of old cashmere cardis from John Lewis and the sizing is a bit mean...

Off to look at Lands End!

Rattitude Sun 12-May-13 16:40:05

I think the sizing is good. I am normally a 12 for jumpers, and a Pure Collection size 12 is right for me (generally fairly fitted jumpers though). I would recommend checking their sizing page though, just to be on the safe side.

They typically have offers where you can get 15% off (minimum). I would recommend register with them somehow so that you don't place an order without getting a discount. If you struggle to find a discount code, let me know as I will try to dig one up for you.

JazzDalek Sun 12-May-13 17:12:36

Seasalt and Boden for basics. I'm 34 and although definitely not rich or even well-off, I can't do cheap high-street stuff any more. And really, with a discount code, Boden is not expensive. A lot of their stuff I do not like (lots of empire-line, some bafflingly awful prints etc), but for basic tops I don't look anywhere else now. The essential long-sleeve tops they have in at the moment are really great and only £12 each with a code (try SIZE for 20% off). I also like that I never pay for delivery or returns.

JazzDalek Sun 12-May-13 17:15:00

Oh yes, Pure Collection are pretty decent.

Also worth signing up to BrandAlley - I have just bought a beautiful Toast summer coat for £69, reduced from £250. It looks exactly what I was after, can't wait to get it.

HauntedArmchairOfDoom Sun 12-May-13 17:35:37

Never heard of Seasalt - I'll have a look. And thanks for the advice on codes, this is great!

Jazz one of my favourite sayings is 'Only the rich can afford cheap shoes'.

I've followed this advice for years and my shoes are 90% Clark's <old gimmer> or Kurt Geiger.

Time for me to apply the same wisdom to the rest of me wardrobe...

shockers Sun 12-May-13 18:05:16

I like Seasalt for tops and leggings (I find some of their tunics too long though), White Stuff for dresses, cardigans and blouses, Joules for tops and tunics, Great Plains for going out/ nicer work dresses and tunics and Monsoon for trousers and jeans, with White Company for vests (I buy those once a year in the sale).

That pretty much sums up my buying habits!

JazzDalek Sun 12-May-13 18:05:25

Thought of another - Howies is very good, quality-wise. Too pricey for me at full price, but they have a sale section, called "last in the box", that is worth a look.

HauntedArmchairOfDoom Sun 12-May-13 18:08:53

Thanks so much everyone - it really is hugely appreciated


There is one really, really nice thing about being in your mid-30s (and older) - just massively, massively not giving a shit about what's 'trendy', or what everyone else is wearing, or what anyone thinks of your clothes. I know what suits me and I'm going to wear it thanks. I used to feel so mizz that I was always too tall and big for River Island or Miss Selfridge or whatever it is was my school mates wore, and feel free now! FREE!! <mad laughter>

Sorry, went off one one there hmm

shockers Sun 12-May-13 18:09:37

Sorry, I'm 46, size 12 on a good day and comfortable, but not wealthy. I don't buy clothes every month and I do keep my clothes a long time compared to other folk I know.

HauntedArmchairOfDoom Sun 12-May-13 18:18:37

See that's the thing Shocker - before I changed jobs, and when I had a BIT more disposable income (but not much!) I seemed to be buying clothes ALL the time, and they were never that nice, or looked after. I wish to emulate your way of shopping please grin

SlinkyB Sun 12-May-13 18:43:33

Ooh, watching with interest as am in a similar position to you Haunted (recently inherited some money and am planning to squander some of it on decent clothes that will last).

I'm 32 and a generous size 14, but constantly trying to get to a comfortable 14/big 12.

My wardrobe is full of stuff that doesn't fit, or look good, and I too end up taking ages to get ready because of it. I'm soooo looking forward to clearing it all out and passing my old stuff down to my niece (who loves getting my hand-me-downs).

I'll have a look at some of the companies already mentioned later <flexes debit card, despite the big cheque not having cleared yet> grin

It's been years since I've looked forward to putting an outfit on!

WildThongsHeartString Sun 12-May-13 20:03:08

I have a few Phase Eight but I find them a bit short in the body. I have bought a couple of gems recently from Principles/Ben DeLisi at Debenhams.
here. I know that the Designers stuff can be hit or miss but the black spotty tiered top on the 3rd row is lovely on, very flattering.

AlwaysReadyForABlether Sun 12-May-13 21:31:31

Haunted I am so with you. I am 43 and have been trying to cling on to buying things from River Island, Primark etc. But I just get fed up when things don't suit me, don't fit properly or look awful after a few washes.
I'm going to stop thinking about being trendy and just go with what I like and if that means paying more for less then so be it.

Chandon Mon 13-May-13 07:31:55

I buy things in the sale from Brora and Toast, and imo it is unbeatable in quality. Just saw a picture of myself in my favourite short sleave Brora top, in my mind it is still my " new" top, but the picture was from 2010.

Pure and john lewis are o.k. For cashmere, but nowhere near as good. Cheap cashmere of good quality can be. Found at, but they o not always have every size. I have a faithful fitted black cardie from there which I bought 11 years ago, and it is still my best black cardigan.

The ENglish climate ( am not from here) has made me appreciate good cashmere!!!

HauntedArmchairOfDoom Mon 13-May-13 08:02:41

Oh I haven't look at Brora yet - thanks Chandon, I'll have a peek. And off to look at!

I bought a Jeager cashmere sweater down from £199 to £60 a couple of years ago and have been obsessed with cashmere ever since. It's literally the only time that I have had a luxury item and been able to see what the fuss is all abou.

I have to be REALLY careful not spend my money before it actually hits my bank account hmm - if I'm not careful I'll end up spending this month's rent instead and getting in a right old pickle.

Slinky we are so in the same boat!! I am so sick of taking ages to get ready because i have piles of ill-fitting clothes I don't particularly like - and way too much stuff, so I can't even SEE the nice things. It's time to cull cull cull, and replace with things I'll wear for ten years.

Chandon Mon 13-May-13 18:47:15

Do wait for the sale.

High class brands do good mark downs, worth the wait.

Toast started an archive sale today, selling things at 80% off..... but site crashed, so prob too late now.

SlinkyB Mon 13-May-13 20:49:15

Do you know what my fear is, though? Is that I will fork out for these more expensive clothes and:

1) shrink/ruin them in the wash
2) Go off them quickly and regret my purchase
3) Still choose badly and end up with ill-fitting clothes, that happen to be more posh

sad confused

My cheque went in the bank today, and I'm off to Reading with my sister and best friend in a couple of weeks, so hoping they'll be able to advise me. Think I just choose unflattering styles because they're 'safe' and what I'm used to.

Are you planning on doing most of your spending online Haunted? I don't like shopping online as like to feel the clothes and try them on first.

Brandnewbrighttomorrow Mon 13-May-13 23:59:01

Very jealous about your impending splurge! i went on a similar mission about two years ago and decided to smarten up my look after years of pregnancy/breastfeeding and general scruffiness. I have found some fab fine knitwear in Gap and good jeans from Levi's, also quirky tops from cos - now the only problem is i'm even less likely to do any housework because I'm overdressed [big grin]

Don't buy anything simply 'because it fits' or 'might be useful' or worse 'will fit once i've lost a bit of weight' - only buy if you absolutely love it. It'll take longer but then you will eventually end up with a wardrobe of wearable gorgeous clothes you feel great in.

Don't tumble dry your new clothes and use non-bio on knitwear and silks - method do a fantastic non-bio detergent. It makes so much difference to how your clothes look and how long they last.

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