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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!

SlinkyB Tue 14-May-13 08:26:04

That's great advice, thanks thanks

Don't own a tumble dryer, so ok on that front, and will pick up some non-bio washing liquid (so used to using bio to get stains out).

I've been so used to having neither the time nor the money since having ds 2.5 years ago, that I just grab stuff at the supermarket. If it fits and doesn't look too bad, I keep it. I think the fact it's cheap means I don't put much thought or time into it.

Had forgotten about Levi's; had a pair in my early twenties and loved them. It's going to be difficult to get my head around spending so much on clothes (had a quick look on some of the links above last night; don't think I could ever justify £70+ on a simple t-shirt!). Guess it's all relative though.

I've been "bra intervened" on the bra thread, and am looking forward to going to Bravissimo soon to get some decent underwear. Anyone here got experience of Pepperberry clothes? Am hoping to get some stuff from there, if I LOVE it of course wink As have gone from a 36D toa 32FF/G.

DewDr0p Tue 14-May-13 09:34:43

Pepperberry is a bit hit and miss ime. I got a couple of lovely summer dresses there last year but some of their fabrics are a bit synthetic-y and weird. It was a bit of a revelation having a sleeveless dress that didn't gape round the armholes though! I've not seen much to tempt me from this summer's range tbh - but it's worth a look!

HauntedArmchairOfDoom Tue 14-May-13 09:54:22

Chandon that explains why I couldn't get onto the Toast website!!

Ooooo Slinky SO SO exciting. Mine should come in in the next couple of days (though still convinced something will go wrong and I'll get a letter telling me it's all been a dreadful mistake).

I prefer shopping online. I just can't stand being out in the crowds. I'm fairly big (size 16/18) and get hot and flustered. I'd rather try on a pretty dress and discover it doesn't fit in the comfort of my own home than in a changing room where the tiny little salesperson is waiting to sneer at me on the way out with a "no good then?" etc. etc.

But I think I'm going to do at least some of my shopping out and about - I need new shoes, and new bras, so I'll try those on. I will OF COURSE be going to Bravissimo!! Until I went there I was wearing 42DD, and they put me in a 34FF grin

HauntedArmchairOfDoom Tue 14-May-13 09:57:05

Oh and I'm with you Slinky - to me a T shirt is £4.99. The idea of spending £30 on one is insane. But it's all cost per wear, right? I'm currently wearing a cashmere sweater that I paid £60 for (down from £199), and at the time £60 for a jumper seemed wicked. But I reckon I've worn it at least twice and often three times a week for about a year, so that's probably about 20p a wear and I plan on wearing it until I ACTUALLY die.

Also. I earned this. By years and years of slog and toil. And I'll probably never be able to do it again. So there <starts getting angry for no reason> grin

flipchart Tue 14-May-13 10:02:36

I'm 48. I shop at
River Island
Top Shop
Banana Republic
Yoox. ( on line)
Karen Millen
Nicole Fahri
Debenhams. (Red Herring, jasper conran ranges.)

I just usually buy something anywhere if I'm passing and see something I like.

Chandon Tue 14-May-13 11:08:16

it can be worth checking ebay for quality seconds.

I just bought a lovely dress BNWT, RRP299 for £55. A lot to spend on an ebay item, but it is a designer who is not that famous (yet ;) ) and I have another dress of hers that is wonderful quality. It is 100% silk jersey.

I also bought an amazing tweed coat on e bay.

Some designers are way too popular (like Boden, Coast, Brora, Burberry, Mulberry etc.) to get a good deal on ebay, but some lesser know designers go for relatively little money. Or you could search for fabrics (silk, cashmere, merino) and quality items by the lesser knowns will pop up. (I really should not be sharing my secrets!!!)

HauntedArmchairOfDoom Tue 14-May-13 11:28:28

Chandon you are a gem. Start a blog immediately :D

I've just been looking at the Cambridge Satchel Company and they sell good quality seconds half price - I did not know this.

I hope I don't sound massively grabby and spendy and greedy and WRONG <wrings hands>

It's just. Look. I am going grey. I have lines. Surely there are some compensations for not being 25 any more?!

issimma Tue 14-May-13 12:00:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SlinkyB Tue 14-May-13 19:17:52

YY Haunted, I too am hoping that more expensive = better quality = longer lasting. Your maths is waaaay better than mine though grin

Your last line made me laugh! And glad we are in the same boat, as also worry about sounding full of it when I tell my friends I'm off on a big spending spree (think they forgive me; the money is from my Mum, who recently passed away).

Right, had a quick look at Boden last night, what do you think of these for starters:

wrap top

everyday vest


Typical that the 15% off Boden code has now expired!

SlinkyB Tue 14-May-13 19:25:26

Ah, it's ok, just found another link for the 15% off sale smile

SlinkyB Tue 14-May-13 19:29:19

Just checked out the shopping centre I'm hitting up soon, and they have the following stores:

Debenhams, House of Fraser, Reiss, Hobbs, H&M, Zara, Gap, Crew and Fat Face, amongst others. I've got to find some nice stuff somewhere in that lot, right?! Actually, think I'll need more than one day there!

I've never been to a Bravissimo before (country bumpkin) so am very excited!

HauntedArmchairOfDoom Tue 14-May-13 21:13:00

Oh gosh Slinky I'm so sorry, and I hope this doesn't sound flippant but I bet she'd be bloody pleased at your enjoying a wee spree. My MIL died recently and DH got a little bit of money that helped us to move. I was so upset when we got the cheque but one of the last things she'd asked us was whether we were going to move somewhere quieter, and it really helped that she would've been thrilled with how she helped us <shy hug> thanks

Off to look at your links! Can I recommend that you go to Bravissimo first and wear your new bra(s!) when you try on stuff - you won't believe the difference those people make to your figure. And don't worry about the bra feeling too tight - it will just fit the way bras are supposed to!

HauntedArmchairOfDoom Tue 14-May-13 21:19:32

Really look all those Boden ones. You can kind of tell the jersey is good quality by the thickness of the hemming <scientific>

What colour/print would you get for the wrap top?

I totally forgotten about Reiss. Don't think I've ever looked there - I'll investigate!

Of the shops you mention - I personally would avoid H&M (not very good quality), Zara (I associate Zara with size 10 23 year olds, but might be wrong!) and Fat Face (isn't that for surfers who live in Cornwall?!). However, I don;t know what I'm talking about. Hence this thread grin

Incidentally if you are worried about ethical working practices (esp. after the Bangladesh tragedy can I recommend this - helps you see who's got it right and who hasn't. H&M used to be well dodge but are getting better (although they still don't guarantee to terminate contracts with unethical suppliers).

Sorry to get all worthy all of a sudden!

HauntedArmchairOfDoom Tue 14-May-13 21:19:52



novelsituation Tue 14-May-13 22:19:06

Slinky I managed to get 20% off this evening at Boden with the code "SIZE"

SlinkyB Tue 14-May-13 22:24:09

Bless ya, fanks for the hug; I loves them, me! You are absolutely right about my Mother, she would never in a million years want me to do anything sensible with the money grin She was wild, fun and frivolous and would totally approve of my impending splurge.

When I told close friends & family I had a bit of unexpected money coming my way from her, if they asked "what are you going to spend it on?" I've replied "I'm doing what Mum would've wanted - squandering most of it on fun times!!" Which made them smile.

So sorry to hear of your MIL, I'm very close to mine. That's so lovely that she helped you move <sneaky hug back>.

Sorry to go completely off-topic there!

Thanks so much for that link regarding ethical clothes; it is definitely something I will be considering with future purchases. The Bangladesh tragedy was horrific, and I hope it's opened people's eyes to what really goes on. We're so fortunate to live where we do, and I'd never put fashion before another human being's safety. Let's hope the manufacturers have all started making major steps to avoid another tragedy.  

SlinkyB Tue 14-May-13 22:26:16

P.s thanks for the tip about going to Bravissimo first; do you think I'd need to make a fitting appt in advance? Have high hopes of them magically making me lose half a stone !

SlinkyB Tue 14-May-13 22:48:14

Thanks very much novelsituation - that code worked, and saved me another few quid. Bought all three things linked above (wrap top in navy; not sure about Boden prints, don't they get slated on here?!).

By the way, does anyone ever pay full-price or for p&p with Boden?! grin

I've just had a quick look at the Reiss site and like the look of this (and it's in the sale)

nice jumper

Think I need to write a list of exactly what I need to revamp my wardrobe, so I stay focused.

Everyday t-shirts/vests
Decent jeans (Levi's - need to check their ethical-ness though)
Cardigans/sweaters I can dress up or down
A lovely evening outfit for special occasions
Summer dresses (and leggings to go underneath?)

Anything else? I have a really dull pt job, as a civil servant, in a back office function, with really un-fashionable colleagues (not being mean, honest, they'd agree with me!) so not bothered about work clothes too much. I'll probably still grab stuff at the supermarket for that.

Have you had your wardrobe cull, cull, cull yet Haunted? Be ruthless!

Hedwig06 Wed 15-May-13 07:58:35

chandon could you let me know the designers you are looking at on Ebay please I am trying to spend more on quality clothes that will last, but have spectacularly fallen off the wagon this month.

I have had a quick look at Ebay for a cashmere cardigan, something like this cardigan

But I'm not sure if there are different quality of cashmere [thick]

Any helpful tips would be great, sorry for the hijack haunted

HauntedArmchairOfDoom Wed 15-May-13 08:01:17

I've not started the cull yet Slinky - I'm on hold until the money comes in - can you imagine if I started tossing things out and they didn't pay up grin

re Bravissimo - I don't think you'd need an appointment - I've never made one. But you might wait a little while on a sofa, so unless you're getting there really early you could maybe call up?

It absolutely will take half a stone off, you won't believe it. Can I recommend you get at least 2 - one T shirt type one, and one rocket-booster one. It's not until recently that I realised the difference bras make to certain outfits!

Definitely makes sense to make a list - and preferably I guess a wardrobe should be greater than the sum of its parts, so that for eg. all the tops go with all the bottoms, and the cardigans can be worth with dresses or jeans etc.

The one massive massive thing I'd say is GET CASHMERE!!! Honestly, I know I keep banging on about this, but if there is one thing that makes you feel like you're a Proper Lady wearing Proper Clothes it's the feel of cashmere. And it will last you 20 years if you look after it. Most of the big retailers have a cashmere collection.

Oh, and have you looked at Jaeger? They have an EXCELLENT outlet section and tend to be forgotten, but their knitwear in particular is second to none. For instance you might like these cashmere mix sweaters in lots of colours, and this is pure silk and down from £140 to £40!!!

I know what you mean re. work but if I were you I'd wear your lovely clobber there, as well. It makes you feel amazing.

I've decided to invest all my energies in your shopping until my money comes in, I hope that's ok grin

HauntedArmchairOfDoom Wed 15-May-13 08:01:57

Oh gosh that's not a hijack Hedwig, especially as I'm banging on about cashmere!!

Hedwig06 Wed 15-May-13 08:14:46

Thanks Haunted I'm off to my local shopping park to have mooch today, fingers crossed I can stay away from New Look grin

HauntedArmchairOfDoom Wed 15-May-13 08:17:44

If nothing else Hedwig remember that New Look were had up for using a UK sweatshop where workers were paid less than half the minimum wage - there you go, a clear conscience on spending your money :D

I think we all need to kind of re-think how we value clothes, in a way. For instance it's more than possible to burn fifty quid going out with your DH to the cinema, getting sweets and drinks, and having a pizza after...well, that fifty quid could have been a silk shirt or cashmere sweater that will make you feel amazing and last 20 years or even a lifetime.

It's all perspective ain't it?

<begins to think should be hired as marketing manager for Whistles>


Hedwig06 Wed 15-May-13 08:35:46

That's true Haunted, my DH has been the cinema twice in the last couple of weeks, buying VIP seats and treats, its cost around £89 and he's taking the DC again this weekend....

I didn't know that about New Look, but as my DD17 has a student card, I'm always buying bits and pieces from there, but I was bought up to buy as much as possible for my money, I'm finding it very hard to change the habit of a lifetime, I make a resolution to myself and then fall off the wagon a week later!

foxysocks Wed 15-May-13 09:36:24

i am 33, definitely not rich, but i am quite thin. am I allowed to post? wink

I am of the buy less buy better school of shopping. i also plan what I need carefully and don't buy anything unless I absolutely love love love it. i tend to buy 1-3 items a month.

I actually have a spreadsheet <geek> where I keep track of ALL my spending. one page for family/household budget, one for DCs, one for my personal spends. this helps make sure I know exactly what I've spent, how much I have left, and whether I can afford something

recent buys have been from the outnet, j crew, whistles, asos, cos, a french company called cashmere rainbow (excellent quality cashmere/silk mix scarves they might have clothes too), zalando, massimo dutti (hit and miss quality on the latter I find), the now defunct style passport

I don't pay full price for anything, I always go through quidco and google for codes pre purchase, I always send back if not perfect.

re: cashmere - I have two jumpers, both cost £20, one in outnet clearance sales and one in style passport sales. cashmere scarf was £23 from cashmere rainbow. you just need to shop clever to get great quality at high st prices. plan well, no panic buying!

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