My quest for quality clothing.... at high street prices? Should I just give up now?(61 Posts)
I have just bought yet another item from H&M which has, after two wears, come apart at the seams. And before you say "oh, poor woman must be deluding herself she is three dress sizes smaller than she actually is" - it's an oversized jumper and wasn't even vaguely tight... so it's just crap quality. End of.
I am fed up with buying large quantities of cheap, poor quality stuff. So ....where on earth do you buy good quality clothes at reasonable prices? I suppose what I am really looking for is good value....
On my wish list is a slouchy jumper/jumper dress (to replace tattered old H&M one), a coat and possibly a day dress. But just your general opinions on where to get some decent quality garments for under £100 (or even £50) would make me eternally grateful.
Absolutely right, if you have the skills to make your own, that would be a great way to go. I find these days that i just buy a few less items, but of better quality. I like Adini, I got this the other day and it is really nice quality. ooh, they have a sale on!
I have the same philosophy with clothes for the kiddies. I like to buy nice quality items e.g. Toby Tiger, Kite, Hooligans and Frugi. It is a bit more expensive, but at least it looks smart for a bit longer. I got a really nice hoody for my little chap the other day. He loves it! only problem is he is currently refusing to wear anything else!.
harbinger You took the words right out of mouth.
Aquelven I'd be very interested in a list of the mills that have factory shops (I only know the John Smedley at New Mills, Derbyshire).
Also, as I'm getting better at dressmaking, the fabric mill/sale. I would love to get my hands on some wool/tweed at a reasonable price
Ebay, I have just realised that 50% of my clothes are from there. You will be amazed at the number of people who buy things wear once and then sell.
Woolovers sizing...do what they tell you to in their catalogue. Find a favourite jumper you own & love the fit of, lay it on a flat surface & measure it with a tape measure across the back, just under the arm holes. For all their stock they give you this exact measurement, in inches, so you just need to buy the size that measures the same as your favourite. Fail safe
Another source of great stuff is factory outlets. Depending on where you live, I live in the north where there are amazing outlet shops attached to the actual mills that sell things they manufacture at a fraction of retail cost. I've bought cashmere jumpers for under £30, woollen jackets, raincoats, allsorts. Best buy ever was a pure cashmere, full length cashmere coat, with a silk lining that had "Harrods" embroidered repeatedly in the design of the lining. That was from a factory that produced garments for top department stores. Another near us sells, just twice a year, fabric by the yard that they make for the top designers, but if course you have to make the clothes yourself.
I have got some lovely things (including cashmere jumpers) from flashsale sites like Vente Privee.
I have recently rediscovered Benetton. I hadn't been in there is years but they had some lovely jumpers for good prices (they have a website if there isn't one near you - lots seem to have closed).
Happy to be of service. If you find anything nice on eBay do please say. I have kept a cowardly distance so far....
In the meantime you might have fun taking a look :
Don't be alarmed! These are places where it really, truly is worth waiting for their pretty damned amazing sales. And, honestly, if you take to this way of life (...) you will never look at your high Street in the same way again. And you won't care what your friends, or school mums, or your colleagues are wearing - because you'll be in your own little wardrobe bubble. (It does help if you don't mind other people occasionally looking at you funny....)
Edinburgh Woollen Mill is great for cashmere. They wash beautifully.
Also, forgot to say, I found a Uniqlo t-shirt in my wardrobe which I worked out I've had for five years....... I've been wearing it constantly for the last half decade and totally forgotten how old it was. It has outlived literally every other item of clothing I have ever owned. So might start going there again for my basics.
It is clear I have been living under a rock for the last five years.... or possibly even longer. Had no idea Woolovers, Brora or Outnet existed. And as for Edinburgh Woollen Mill, I thought it was all tartan blankets and shortbread.
As for Sthing you are my new style crush.... loving the sound of Scarecrow Chic. My farmer would, sadly, be more futile than fastidious.
What are Woolovers sizes like? I am tempted by their cashmere/merino long V jumper and wondered if I should size up to get a bit of 'slouchiness'?
Thank you for the suggestion of charity shops.... sadly, I am one of those people who not only lives in a crap area (under said rock) but also has no luck when it comes to bargain-finding. So even when I cross the border to the posh areas to have a charity shop rummage, I always seem to miss the treasures. On the plus side, I have seen a few things (top quality, designer) on eBay that might fit the bill so fingers crossed......
I wish we had a Uniqlo. I have ordered from them online but I prefer to see and feel clothes and try them on before I buy. I probably wouldn't have bought the Uniqlo tops I have if I had looked at them in a shop.
I love Uniqlo. I'm sitting at my desk in a £19.99 men's XS crew neck merino sweater (they don't do proper crew necks for ladies, just stupid scoop neck imposters).
Agree also with TK Maxx, my lovely Calvin Klein wool/cashmere coat was less than £100, and my beautiful navy Vivienne Westwood skirt was sub £30!
If you're after designer jeans, do the Selfridges sale about 5-7 days after it starts. They will be £30-50 by then.
Yay! Potty, I rate woolovers too. Wade past the granny styles and there is some fab knitwear in a huge range of colours. I have the merino wrap cardi in 5 colours now and they are machine-washable.
White stuff and wrap do interesting tunics/dresses and have decent sales.
I live in an affluent area but have yet to find a real bargain in a charity shop. I buy most of my stuff from TK Maxx (the trick is to go in often as they have a very high stock turnover; get something when you see it (it won't be there next time); have a mental list of things you are looking out for; don't always believe the size labels; don't be afraid to leave empty handed). They have much more in store than online, particularly the red sticker reductions.
Gap, Zara, Uniqlo do good basics. John Lewis does a "proper" sale (I hate those £10 off a £200 dress type reductions).
"Jasper Conran jeans that had never been worn (quality control sticker still in leg) for £2.50 was one of my best. Or the Jaeger skirt for £4 was quite nice."
It depends on where you live. We have loads of charity shops in our nearest town, and I go in them regularly. It isn't an affluent area so there are never designer bargains in these shops. You are lucky if you find something from Next.
Hmmm "Thoughtful scarecrow" is probably the look closest to what I achieve... About as far from "off duty model" as it's possible to be. I adore the things people generally give to scarecrows; frayed Harris tweed jackets, slightly shredded velvet; much prefer rough merino and alpaca to smooth cashmere. I barely look at shoes, other than wellies and mules, unless they've been artfully and expensively aged..... Worst of all while I'm totally, fatally obsessed with individual items of clothing I don't seem to care much about outfits. So I always leave the house looking a bit accidental. Pristine but unplanned. A scarecrow in the field of a very fastidious farmer.
To be honest the labels I recommend here are rarely the one's I actually wear. (Apart from Cos.) Because it's all too haphazard and would never stand up to explanation. But I desperately want other people - even invisible strangers - to be able to enjoy getting dressed as much as I do.
Charity shops - pick your town right and there are real bargains to be had.
Jasper Conran jeans that had never been worn (quality control sticker still in leg) for £2.50 was one of my best. Or the Jaeger skirt for £4 was quite nice.
TK Maxx - can be tiresome, but again pick your shop as they vary massively.
Ebay - but if the pictures and description are not clear walk away
www.woolovers.com you cant beat them for price and their choice of products is fantastic.
I have a few cashmere jumpers and lambswool jumpers all were priced under £50 each and on occasions they do 2 items for under £50 too.
They are machine washable (yes, even the cashmere is machine wasable) and after having them for over 3 years in some cases they still look new. The colour choices are fab, I really cant rate them highly enough.
I am <smirking> at "country weekends", I'm not a Zone1 Londoner swanning about in McQueen
Toast is all so flappy and earnest. I need tailored stuff anything boho or unstructured looks a mess on me. I look like a scarecrow in it.
Yup. Karen Millen is a bit bad. And not in a good way. Astonishing prices.
You're buying the Toast in the wrong size. But frankly, if your're hanging out on the Matches and Flannels sites you're never going to be happy in Toast - except perhaps on country weekends.....
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