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Better to buy lots of cheaper stuff or one or two more exspensive things ??

(19 Posts)
nutcracker Thu 21-Jul-05 12:25:49

Due to us not having much money, each month at the beginning of the month, I root through the sales racks of Mark One and New Look to get myself a few tops or something.

Only thing is though is that they are all usually very similar, plain boring short sleeved tops, and I get sick of the sight of them, and plus they don't last very long or wash very well.

Would it be better to perhaps just buy one or 2 more exspensive things each month that are better quality and I like more ?? Am only talking Next or somewhere like that, no where really pricy.

Have just been looking at Next stuff online and there is lots of things I like, but would usually think 'no can't get that, else i can't buy anything else'.

Anyone get what i mean or am i waffling?

expatinscotland Thu 21-Jul-05 12:27:33

1 or 2 more expensive things are hte way to go.

nutcracker Thu 21-Jul-05 12:29:30

Was secretly hoping someone would say that

Am just so sick of the same cheap boring t'shirts and jeans.

SoupDragon Thu 21-Jul-05 12:30:12

You need a balance of both I think. Otherwise you'll end up with 2 expensive items that you have to wear all the time and get sick of...

snafu Thu 21-Jul-05 12:31:49

Agree with expat (says she, just back from TKMaxx ) I think cheap and cheerful is great but it can all be a bit same-y and not v. good quality. It is a bit of a false economy to buy cheapo as you usually end up buying loads.

mancmum Thu 21-Jul-05 13:01:49

think it is best to spend money on good shoes, jackets and trousers... then have a mixture of cheaper tops and accessories to make the changes.. get a capsule wardbrobe and then expand from there...

teeavee Thu 21-Jul-05 13:01:59

I am now concentrating all my limited clothes-spending power on the sales, and buying some really nice half-price things that won't date too quickly. Am avoiding clothes shops entirely the rest of the time! Cheap T shirts are ok, but it's true, you do get sick of them, no-one will comment on how nice they are, so for self-esteem's sake, get one or two nice things each season and you will not regret it!

Also remeber you can get really nice brand new 'label' stuff on ebay for next to nothing.

Lucycat Thu 21-Jul-05 13:27:26

and the Next sale does start on Saturday - if you can face it!

Smurfgirl Thu 21-Jul-05 18:59:30

I think one or two medium priced stuff for more classic stuff or stuff you wear loads is better.

Shops like Topshop, Miss Selfridge and Dorothy Perkins do quite cheap basics that wash very well and last, like their vests are £6. I rarely shop in New Look or M1 now because its not good value for money because the clothes don't last(and I am on a budget!). Also if you go to college and have an NUS card you get 10% off in Topshop etc.

IMO Next is quite expensive compared to what you can get in DPs.

vickiyumyum Thu 21-Jul-05 19:23:24

i always used to buy lots and cheap, but now am leaning towards little and more costly. i still love new look and mkone for very trendy stuff that is going to be out of fashion within a month or two, but now like to buy from monsoon, boden, hobbs etc for nicer bits and the shoes in hobbs are fantastic.

lunavix Thu 21-Jul-05 19:47:33

stuck on a tight budget atm and my one or two nice bits are from New Look!

Having said that.. you need bulk in your wardrobe, AND one or two nice bits. Wear your nice bits too often and they won't stay nice.

GetOrlaithOut Thu 21-Jul-05 19:50:26

Def. go for a few key things that cost a bit more and then mix them with things that are not so.

Easy to get away with cheaper jeans I think and then nicer tops. Cheap tops generally look cheap (but for plain daytime t-shirts that all you need anyway).

I'd get decent shoes too.

And the way to make things look better I think is to accessorise with nice bangles, necklaces and belts and you can get those cheaply in Asda etc.

MrsGordonRamsay Thu 21-Jul-05 19:56:18

I bought a pair of black trousers/jeans in Jaegar they cost me £100...............I want my money back, they still look good, so I can't justify a new pair............If I had only known all this 4 years ago

4 years ...............£100 ..........bargain

sorrel Thu 21-Jul-05 19:56:55

according to the sunday times last week Primark is the new Prada.

Xena Thu 21-Jul-05 20:01:11

I don't buy next tops as I find they shrink to much. I got lots of tops in gap (the sale ones were bargins at £4 each) they wash well and last ages.

spidermama Thu 21-Jul-05 20:01:40

The cheap stuff looks cheap, falls apart, loses colour and loses shape.

I like gorgeous, well-made clothes but I can't afford to buy them new so I get them on eBay and I still get them for less.

I have 3 boys and the really good clothes will last for all of them and continue to look fantastic.

I particlularly rate companies like Oilily, Toff Togs, Catimini, Balu, Boden and Miniman. Have a look on ebay. I've had some really gorgeous bundles from there.

MaloryTowers Thu 21-Jul-05 20:02:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

sorrel Thu 21-Jul-05 20:05:42

Sunday times:Absolutely fabulously cheap
Forget Prada, fashionistas have discovered Primark, a cut-price chain leading a new consumer trend – the rise of cheapskate Britain, writes Deirdre Fernand

Matilda, 18, has her holiday wardrobe sorted. It’s all been done in a one-stop retail hit. Bikini, beach cover-up, cotton kaftan and a little black dress. It’s a capsule wardrobe, as fashion editors love to say. The whole lot cost her less than £35 in Primark and she is thrilled.

“It’s funky and cheap,” she says. “I love it.” She particularly loves a bargain because she babysits for a tight-fisted family in Hammersmith and she’s desperate to save up for her gap year.

I know because I am that stingy Hammersmith mother. For the past few months I have been astounded as Matilda has arrived on my doorstep looking chic and up-to-the-minute. First it was a furry gilet, then a military-style jacket followed by a gypsy skirt. Meanwhile I am getting last year’s summer clothes out of the attic. How does she do it? She’s only just left school, for heaven’s sake.

The answer for her, as it is for thousands of shoppers across the country, is Primark. Once a little-known discount retailer, the clothing chain is fast becoming a high street phenomenon. It is the first stop for those with an eye for under-a-fiver bargains — and a pair of pointy elbows to shove other shoppers aside. Not only does it pile it high and sell it cheap, it can change its fashion looks daily.

Primark is the high street’s flirty little secret no more. Last week its owner, Associated British Foods, announced that it had bought 120 Littlewoods stores for £409m. Of those, 30 will become Primarks and it plans to increase its presence in the high street by 50% over the next two years. Operating profits have risen by 18% to £59m in the first half of this year.

At a time when the middle market, led by Marks & Spencer and Monsoon, is feeling the squeeze, the low-cost sector is booming. Worth an estimated £6.4 billion a year, it accounts for nearly 20% of the total clothing market, compared with 11.9% five years ago. In terms of the value retailers, Asda leads the way with its George brand, followed by Matalan, Primark, New Look, TK Maxx, the Peacock group and Tesco’s Florence + Fred, Cherokee and Value. Two years ago only one in 10 customers patronised such shops, now it is one in eight.

It has become quite the thing for the middle classes to share their giddy, guilt-free Primark moments. Snaffling a Chloe lookalike handbag, for example, for only £4 when the real thing costs a hundred times more. This strikes something of a blow for marital harmony. Arrive home after a day’s shopping with bags from Jimmy Choo and you may meet resistance. But come back with Primark carrier bags and you can say: “Look, darling I saved you at least £1,000 today.”

It’s tempting to say that the clothes are as cheap as chips, except that would be unfair to the potato. Considering how far some of the £1 and £3 items have flown (from India, Mauritius or China), a bag of chips works out much more expensive.

“I go there for regular retail therapy,” says Lucy Peck, a 43-year-old mother of three, whose regular visits to Primark after dropping her children at school threaten to become an addiction, though one that is hardly going to break the bank. “The stock changes all the time, you zip down there and buy it. And if you make a mistake, who cares about a tenner? I take my daughters there all the time for treats.”

It is clear for fashion sophisticates such as Peck, who lives in a leafy west London suburb, that shopping in the value sector no longer holds any stigma. After Vogue featured a £12 jacket in its May issue, the scene was set for fashion meltdown. The jacket flew out of the shops as did sequined shrugs for £10 and camisoles for £2. Who cared if the shrug was worn once and then, er, shrugged off? This is disposable fashion at painless prices.

Claudia Croft, fashion editor of The Sunday Times Style magazine, believes Primark smashed through the class ceiling this year with three breakthrough garments. “They produced the now-famous military jacket, then the sequined shrug, followed by the gypsy skirt,” she says. “They are brilliant at fast fashion, copying looks off the catwalk and putting them in the stores quickly. They are roasting the competition.” Many people, she adds, make the pilgrimage to Primark stores, not always easy to find, several times a month. “I think its success lies in its ability to sell several things to one person, particularly accessories. It’s not about selling one garment to one person.”

So what is the experience like? Well it’s not like walking into Prada in Old Bond Street where a gentleman opens the door for you and bids you good morning, madam. Hit Primark at the wrong time (after 9am) and you are likely to find long queues for the changing room and till, and items strewn on the floor. Its store decor is basic and, dare I say it, the lighting in the Ritz restaurant is more flattering.

So what is happening in Britain’s high street? It’s a topsy-turvy world when your lunch from Pret A Manger (sushi, avocado salad wrap and carrot cake) can cost more than the staples of your holiday wardrobe. Competition among retailers and cheap imports from the Asian giants such as China and India have driven down profit margins and prices, but there is more afoot than the economics of scale. The nation’s sartorial and shopping habits are changing.

With the rise of discount chains comes the new trend of cheapskating — the art of blending luxury with low-cost items, or sometimes just low-end with yet more low-end. So it’s about wearing a plain T-shirt (£3) and carrying a calf leather handbag from Prada (£500 or more), or just teaming it with a £10 gypsy skirt. As Josephine Collins — the editor of Drapers Record, the newspaper for the clothing industry — says, the appeal of Primark lies in its “reverse cachet”. “There is a shift away from wearing head-to-toe designer,” she says. “After all, why buy a Marc Jacobs jacket if you can get a lookalike for less? It’s seen to be clever.”

And clever is what we all want to be. Richard Hyman, chairman of Verdict, the retail analyst, agrees that we are all increasingly cheapskate. His research shows that we are no longer shopping horizontally but vertically. In the past an affluent woman, for example, might have shopped at Versace, Armani and Prada. Now that same woman will continue to spend there but she will happily move down the scale, raiding Top Shop or New Look from time to time. “I think we are less precious than we were and much more pragmatic,” says Hyman. “Primark has encouraged shopping democracy. It’s become classless. It still has a bias towards lower economic groups but it also attracts ABC1 shoppers.”

Our shrewdness as consumers has reaped huge rewards as the price of many goods has fallen in real terms. The latest figures from the Consumer Price Index (CPI) reveal that clothing is 40% cheaper than it was in 1996. Over the past 10 years the number of items of clothing we have bought as a nation has doubled. Have we doubled our wardrobe space? No, we have just thrown unwanted items away. Not only clothing, but also household goods such as televisions, washing machines and dishwashers are cheaper.

“Consumers have taken their perception of good value with them as they shop around,” says Hyman. “People are much more demanding and confident than they used to be.”

This change in mentality means we are increasingly living in bargain-basement, throwaway Britain. With the advent of low-cost airlines, we clamour for easyJet flights at £1.99. When a new plasma TV becomes affordable we bin the wide-screen model we bought only last year. The trouble is, we don’t feel better off as a society.

As a proportion of our total spend, retail is falling. In 1980 it accounted for 50%, but last year it fell to 36.75%. “We are spending more on housing, second homes, more frequent holidays and private education,” says Hyman. As the CPI reveals, we are paying less for many goods but more for services. Our shirts may cost less but it costs more to visit the dentist or the hairdresser. Meanwhile we are paying more for eating out, healthcare and our utilities.

No wonder we need more retail therapy as we ponder our mortgage repayments and the projected paucity of our pensions. Of course, any woman who knows the first thing about the world knows that the only route to happiness lies in a new frock. And there’s an added frisson when it costs £10. If only the carrier bags looked a bit more Prada.

Branster Fri 22-Jul-05 22:21:47

i'd say get whatever you like and can afford. i don't think cheaper clothes do not keep that well. i posses a great deal of cheap clothes and have had them for a number of years. i do look after them though and hand wash most of my clothes anyway. as long as it fits perfectly, it is a nice non-uniform piece of clothing the cost shouldn't matter as long as you look after them.
i would say that with shoes, real leather does fit better, lasts longer and does not damage your feet in any way. so that's where the main expense should be.
as for Next, yes they do have some lovely things, but overpriced and everybody else is wearing them. i wouldn't bother if on a budget.

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