Where do you shop for clothes? (and where should I shop for clothes?)

(29 Posts)
MrsD28 Mon 13-Mar-17 10:12:42

Help! Where do you shop for clothes? And where should a (moderately stylish, average-sized, comfortable but not wealthy) woman in her mid-thirties (me) shop for clothes?

On Saturday, I spent a very dispiriting morning walking around Westfield in London, going into just about every women's clothing shop, and not finding a single item of clothing that I liked. I was trying to find a new work-suitable outfit (I have a final job interview next week and DH kindly offered to buy me something new as a treat - we don't usually buy clothes for each other!). But I feel as if none of the shops cater to me:

Primark, H&M, New Look: These were my old staples, when I was younger (and poorer), but though I still like them for casual clothes, I feel as if their work stuff looks and feels cheap, and I am bit too old for it.

Zara, Topshop, River Island, All Saints: Scarily trendy... I actually backed out of All Saints in fear (plus everything is tiny in Zara).

Hobbs, Jaeger, Gant, Karen Millen, Reiss etc: Too formal (I work in a moderately creative industry, so want to be smart but not look as if I work in a bank or law firm).

Uniqlo, Next: Too dull.

Warehouse, Oasis, Dorothy Perkins: Some nice things, but everything seems to be designed for apple shapes (tight trousers and floaty tops) whereas I am definitely a pear.

M&S: Some decent things but lots of frumpy tat (I'm looking at you, Per Una)

Monsoon, Desidual etc: Too detailed / fussy

COS: Shapeless sacks

Brands that I do like / have had some success with in the past:
Boden (their smart-ish solid colours - no hodgepodge prints!), Banana Republic (very pricey), Gap (though most of their stuff seems to be shapeless linen sacks now).

My style (if I have one) is quite clean / preppy / pretty - think off-duty Jessica Alba or Reese Witherspoon. I am a pear shape, so have good collarbones and shoulders (I look great in a scoop neck vest) but chunky thighs and a fat arse, so skinny / slim trousers, pencil skirts and shorts are all awful on me. I look best in wide-legged trousers, slightly flared skirts, dresses, and relatively fitted tops, jackets and cardigans.

Does anyone have any suggestions of where I can look for clothes? Where do you buy good quality, relatively stylish clothes (that are not too pricey)?

PNGirl Mon 13-Mar-17 10:40:01

I think you've exhausted the whole high street there really - I think many would have said Uniqlo but you've said that's too dull.

Whistles maybe? &OtherStories?

Otherwise I buy a lot of ASOS own brand, GAP (plenty of decent stuff in there that's not shapeless - they still do their usual cardigans/tops)

JoJoSM2 Mon 13-Mar-17 11:10:26

Are you sure you've had a proper look in Zara (Woman, not the teenager collection) and Reiss? I thought they could be perfect for the preppy look. You could also try Massimo Dutti? Some nice staples can be bought from the Pure Collection as well. I'm not pear shaped so not sure about which collections might fit you best. However, it could be an idea to shop with a personal shopper in somewhere like Fenwicks or House of Fraser. They are likely to be familiar with cuts and able to advise. A great way to save time.

JedBartlet Mon 13-Mar-17 12:11:50

Urban Outfitters? Oliver Bonas?

JedBartlet Mon 13-Mar-17 12:12:14

Oasis also sometimes has some decent stuff

LadyOfTheCanyon Mon 13-Mar-17 12:19:37

Go to the Boden store at Park Royal if you're a Londoner. At least that way you can try stuff on.
And Other Stories, Massimo Dutti, Jigsaw, Whistles, Phase Eight, Coast? Mango?

BounceBounceSplishSplash Mon 13-Mar-17 12:21:52

I do most of my shopping online as think there is a better range in a shops online site than their high-street shop. Plus there are lots of things that look nice when modelled on a person that I wouldn't have looked twice at if I'd just seen it on a hanger (with the exclusion of M&S - then it's the reverse)

Am late 30s and my high street online go-to's are:

Zara
H&M
Warehouse
Asos
Topshop (hate the shop but like stuff online)
House of Fraser
Hush (some of it is shite quality)
Mango

Other Stories have nice stuff at the mo but have never ordered from them yet.

I follow quite a few fashion blogs so get a lot of ideas from there.

Judydreamsofhorses Mon 13-Mar-17 12:51:46

I am a similar shape to you, but not particularly preppy in style - I also work in a creative-ish field. I don't have "a shop" that I like, I cherry-pick bits from lots of different ones. I find that shops which are good for things I like and suit my shape are:

Topshop - blouses, non-skinny jeans - mom, straight etc
All Saints - high waisted skinny jeans
&otherstories - jumpers and blouses
Whistles - jumpers
Urban Outfitters - jersey tops, Breton type stuff
Oasis - skirts (I like a-line, above the knee)
Warehouse - dresses
ASOS - good for all of the above, with the proviso that it's easy to buy/return as the sizes can be variable

I occasionally pick up bits from other places if I am browsing and know I have time to try on - Zara, H&M, New Look - but in terms of grab and go, the places above are pretty easy wins for me.

Oh, and despite being pear shaped I LOVE my Hush ruched skirt, which was entirely unexpected. I have actually ordered a second black one as I've worn mine so much it's starting to look a bit washed out.

Nelllo Mon 13-Mar-17 12:53:37

I hate shopping. I really do. So, I just don't do it any more.

If I really need something I buy it online (ASOS, Amazon, John Lewis, usually). Then, I leave the rest to chance and buy things as I come across them in the shops. If I see something I like I buy it there and then, even if it's out of season or whatever. That way I avoid the frustration of having to traipse about looking for something when I do need it.

MrsD28 Mon 13-Mar-17 13:23:50

Thank you so much for your replies - some great suggestions! Some of these (Hush, And Other Stories) I have never heard of or seen and others (Jigsaw, Whistles, Phase Eight, Massimo Dutti) I have never been into so I will definitely check them out.

Good point about looking online at places like Topshop - I find their shops a bit terrifying so might find it easier online.

thedevilinablackdress Mon 13-Mar-17 13:29:40

Give COS another go would be my suggestion. Stuff often (not always) looks better than on the hanger. As a fellow pear I find tbe shapes good. They usually have wide leg trousers and flared skirts in. And deffo good for a creative type workplace. Other suggestion would be John Lewis. They've usually got a good range of brands and some you might not see elsewhere, including their own ranges.

ExConstance Mon 13-Mar-17 13:32:36

Has no one mentioned Whistles? I have to be a bit careful shopping there as it is at the top end of my price range but I have never made a bad purchase from Whistles. Could you stretch to Cefin? Sam Cam's midi dress with flared skirt and zip up the front is wonderful. Also, on line, Baukjen and Diva Catwalk (the less sexy styles).

Truckingalong Mon 13-Mar-17 13:35:44

Oliver Bonas.

Floisme Mon 13-Mar-17 13:37:47

I'm way older than that and there isn't a shop on the planet that caters for me. I find things I like because I look everywhere, rummage, try on lots of things on and watch people.

I don't think pear shapes have been well served lately but I've recently tried on wide leg trousers in Whistles, M&S and H&M and seen them on the Uniqlo and Cos websites.
If you suit A line skirts then Hobbs often do them and - at the risk of being escorted off Style and Beauty - so do White Stuff. They're not all cutesy patterns - it's just a case of being selective and not wearing any look head to toe.

I'm a big believer in good underwear - makes even cheap fabrics hang better.

I won't shop at Top Shop for different reasons but I used to find it was mostly full of over 30s and mums with daughters! No-one's looking at you. I find places like Jaegar and LK Bennett far more intimidating.

I don't think any shop is consistently good and you have to keep moving. But for what it's worth (different body / generation and I don't often need to look smart for work) my current top 10 goes something like:
H&M
Whistles
Cos
TK Maxx
M&S - so what if some of it's tat - just get the decent stuff! (Autograph)
Vintage - tailored jackets / coats, silk shirts
Toast
Boden
Uniqlo
Pure Collection

Underparmummy Mon 13-Mar-17 14:24:17

Currently (because things change all the time):

Oasis
La redoute
M and S (but you do have to sort, gems among shite essentially!)
Mango

Hush and jigsaw for 'treats'!

Asos a good one stop shop

sanitygirl Mon 13-Mar-17 14:29:01

Have a look at Comptoir des Cotonniers - classic but with an edge, well made, last for ages. I love their clothes. They have two stores on the Kings Road, one on South Molton Street, also online

WavingNotDrowning Mon 13-Mar-17 14:35:07

I haven't bought much recently (apart from cycling clothes) but I do buy most of my casual/work clothes from Whistles at the moment. Also like Baukjen and Topshop.

silkpyjamasallday Mon 13-Mar-17 16:34:53

Have a look at the Premium ranges as H&M, Mango and Zara online, often full of less trendy and more classic garments and usually in nicer natural materials, lots of silk, merino and organic cotton. This stuff isn't usually in the actual shops unless you're in central London. And although a bit more expensive than their mainline stuff, it's still cheaper than say whistles or all saints.

Truckingalong Mon 13-Mar-17 17:05:49

Am chucking in sainsburies too. Some excellent stuff in there at the minute.

SesameSparkle Mon 13-Mar-17 17:18:34

I second the posters suggesting a root through the brands with more of a pear shaped offering, until you find something that suits you. I find this is the case for British high street, where target appears to be women in 30s/40s and upwards. So whistles, jigsaw, hobbs, Jaeger, white stuff, phase 8, Boden, great plains, m&s, hush, joules all fall into this category. Brands like warehouse, oasis and topshop are much more apple shaped/straight up and down. European brands in general I find more balanced shape wise, albeit with a more defined waist (although is very much a generalisation). Also if you are in a more creative industry, you can often add an edge to your look with interesting accessories, particularly if you opt for 'craft' to select some more original pieces.

AFierceBadRabbit Mon 13-Mar-17 19:42:08

I am 43 now.
In my mid-thirties I suddenly got caught up in all of the blog related whaa-whaa regarding capsule wardrobes. I thought that as I was growing older, I ought to change my style, spend more money, basically throw everything away then start all over again.

I needn't have bothered.

I found that buying much, much more expensive items did not make me any more attractive, nor did it earn me bucketload of respect, and much of it didn't even suit me (jaeger!) because whilst my mind was getting older, my face and body hadn't really altered.

So now I just go with the flow. I try to consider quality, but occasionally allow myself to buy a fast fashion item if it really suits me.

I currently like :
COS
&OtherStories
H&M
Weekday
ACNE
Sometimes Topshop and M&S.
Sainsbury's.

I do not get along with:
Boden
White Company
Hush
Toast
Next
Warehouse
Oasis
Monsoon
Asda
Tesco

Kennington Mon 13-Mar-17 19:50:16

I love fashion although personally dress very plainly.
Other stories, cos and uniqlo for clothes with m and s for ankle boots
It is easier sticking to 3 shops. Occasionally I go to cos and whistles but can only find a small amount I like in both.

KanyesVest Mon 13-Mar-17 23:46:20

I'm like a one woman Benetton ad at the moment, but I randomly wandered in there last week (I haven't been in since I bought a signature wool scarf circa 1999) and I picked up some very well fitting trousers and a couple of t-shirts. If I had had more luggage space, a dress, shoes and a skirt would have been in there too.

Chaby Tue 14-Mar-17 06:28:04

I tend to order a load of stuff from John Lewis and then return it all. Hate shopping but love nice clothes

Lindorballs Tue 14-Mar-17 06:38:54

I am mid 30s and pear shaped. I pick and mix from different shops and buy a lot online as well. I like H&M for work basics - trousers skirts etc, Oliver bonas has nice tops and dresses, Great Plains and asos online, oasis for tops, uniqlo for knitwear and of the supermarket ranges Sainsbury's is my favourite. I find jeans esp tricky as a pear shape. I recently got a couple of pairs in m&s after following a thread about jeans for pear shapes on here and they look good but don't feel perfect to wear. I would agree everything else in m&s frumpy

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