If you’re a regular shopper you would have seen stores such as New Look and Primark taking inspiration from the designs of premium brands like Chanel and Valentino (to name a few). More often than not the difference is rather obvious, like the use of fake or real leather for example.
In London it’s easy to find some real bargains but it’s also easy to collate a large amount of substandard items that bubble shrink or lose their shape after a few wears.
But how do you know if an item of clothing is of good quality? Check the label, what is it made from? Is it pure cotton? Pure wool? Real leather? Genuine leather has a distinctive smell to it. What’s the finishing like on the item? If it’s a shirt check the cuffs and edges for a clean sew, try it on and check how well the collar sits. If it’s a pair of trousers check that the waist fits well, test the zip, does it have a good fastening such as a button or a hook? When a good pair of trousers are true to size they will usually feel snug with just a hidden zip and hook and eye. YKK make the best quality zips so check for their branding on zippers.
When it comes to deciding whether to buy a quality item or a cheap item, opting for the more quality item works out more cost effective in the long run. Why? Because it’s likely that the cheaper item will soon need replacing whereas the quality item may only need a much smaller investment such as the cost of dry-cleaning.
So what high street retailers do I trust when it comes to quality at a good price? First and foremost French Connection; they combine quality and value effortlessly. Next is Hobbs, yes I know what you’re thinking lol but these guys aren’t just for the over 40’s they have some great classic pieces. I do prefer their accessories and shirts but I bought a great pair of snake-skin white pumps from there in the summer and they are by far the most comfortable shoes I own. Gap, Banana Republic and Reiss also have my vote. When you’re out (and have the time) try the shops you wouldn’t usually enter. Marks and Spencer have some great gems in their Limited Collection and Autograph ranges.
But let me stress that I speak purely on experience, don’t rule out all the other stores to purchase your wardrobe essentials. Mixing and matching quality items with basics is great. You must always cut your coat according to your size; buy what you can afford and upgrade when it’s financially viable for you to do so.
Hope you’ve all had a fabulous weekend!