Unimpressed With The High Street

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

I'm not sure what's going on with the shops at the moment. I've been down at Char's for the past couple of days, attempting to tackle her wardrobe room. I'm thinking of hiring myself out for life laundry work - we were super productive and got absolutely loads done! It meant we had yesterday to spend in the shops and even though I'm not usually a big shopper, I was quite looking forward to it. However there was only ONE High Street store that I actually made a purchase in and Char didn't buy anything at all! It wasn't as if we weren't putting the effort in either; we went into loads of places and tried quite a lot on.

Trusty old Dorothy Perkins is letting me down badly at the moment. The jeans are still very good (£10 a pair for their basic range till the end of the month, hurrah!) but everything else is just so shoddy. I liked this dress but the material is so thin and cheap looking. I was majorly lusting after this top on the website but not only was the fit awful in real life, the material was already all bobbly and nasty.

Everywhere else is similar. I don't think I'm majorly fussy but there were an awful lot of things that I touched and immediately discarded on the grounds of cheap/shiny/see-through fabric, poor construction or general tattiness. Prices everywhere have gone up and quality has really gone down. I know raw materials are more expensive now and I honestly don't have a problem with paying more for a better quality product, but I do strongly object to being ripped off in terms of both increased price AND reduced quality. Looks like I'll just have to make do with what's already in my wardrobe and try and hunt down decently made things second-hand instead.

And on that point, I found a delicious vintage frock in a charity shop (as well as many, many books) so that ensured I didn't go home entirely empty handed. Then we gave H&M another try. The first look round was unsuccessful - why do they have such a mania for things that make your hips look huge? - but one little stand that I hadn't noticed first time round produced a couple of cute stripy 3/4 sleeved tops and two versions of the same pair of shorts (one navy, one completely-in-your-face red) in very nice, "proper" fabric. I've said it before and I'll say it again - I love shorts. Such a change from this time last year when I was loudly bemoaning the fact that I would never look good in them. And the best part is that the total H&M bill was pretty much the same price as that DP dress I mentioned above.

And just to squeeze in a quick outfit photo or two, because I'm going on holiday on Friday and consequently will be wearing the dregs of my wardrobe all this week:

Cardi - Gap sale Top - George @ Asda Skirt - vintage Tights - M&S Brogues - River Island sale Ring - Stolen Thunder Oddsocks necklace - Tatty Devine, Christmas present. Wish I'd taken a close up - it's amazing!

I'm dreadful at having my photo taken by an actual person! I'm either scowling or hopping around in most of them.


  1. Argh! I love that poppy dress too! I was looking at it in red. But no way am I paying £40 for it.

    There's some really nice stuff in DP at the moment I thought but just nothing that's persuaded me it's worth saving up for - for the same reasons as you - everything looks flimsy or see-through!

  2. At the moment, I find supermarkets and department stores more than the 'high street' at the moment. Everything I vaguely like there, I already have!

  3. There is nothing quite worse than bad quality clothes. But you did well to spot the poor quality in the shop, because imagine how they would be after a few washes and little way of getting a refund.

    Yet more proof why second-hand shopping is a lot more economically friendly x

  4. I totally agree. I've been so unimpressed with the high street for the past year or so that for this and other (ethical/sustainability) reasons, I now only shop in chrity shops! Occasionally I'll buy new but only if it's REALLY nice, and it's so rare! Primark has some lovely prints, but the actual fabrics are just awful.

    Love the colours in your outfit post xx

    Narrowboat Lucky Duck

  5. I can't believe you teased us with mention of a "delicious vintage frock" and "in-your-face red shorts" and then didn't show us!

  6. Well done on sorting out Char's room, it certainly looked like a challenge. Love the outfit you're wearing but, like Lucy, think you are very naughty teasing us with your purchases and keeping them hidden.
    The high street goes from bad to worse, if they are skimping on quality to keep the prices down I dread to think how they are paying the poor workers.
    Second-hand shopping rules! xxx

  7. I know what you mean! I'm inspired by flea markets, eBay and people tree sales for the very occasional sartorial splurge(when clothes get very worn in and holey).

  8. LOVE the colours in your outfit. I find that prices just seem to shoot up so high that I never buy anything unless it's in the sale anyway! Can't wait to see your purchases though :)

    Maria xxx

  9. Hello *waves* I just found your blog through Penny Dreadful, it's great! I completely agree about Dorothy Perkins - I have stopped going in there because I got fed up with having to put hems back up after they fell down after a couple of wears, or developed holes. Then I had a really bad allergic reaction to the pink dye in one of their shirts, and that was the final straw - my top half was covered in a rash for a couple of days :-/ xx

  10. I have to agree, everything on the high street is dire at the moment, I haven't bought a thing since last year (from the high street like, not in general). Vintage and TK Maxx have been my go to places lately. Have a fab time on holiday x

  11. looking wonderful querida. I hate that the quality of highstreet clothes has deteriorated so much, would love to go back to making more of my own, it's just a time issue.

    Sounds like a good weekend never the less, ands holidays soon- where are you off to?

  12. Alex, I'm agreeing with VV and Lucy. I want to see this vintage frock and the shorts!!

    I haven't been high street shopping for clothes for aaages. Mind you, I'm not seeing anything decent in our local charity shops either. Oh well, will just have to spend my money on more holidays. Sigh....

  13. Alex you get more and more gorgeous by the post x

  14. I have been really disappointed with the high street of late. Some stuff looks like it will be so beautiful but then it is so flimsy and 'cheap' close up.

    I got my recent clothing fix spending £5 in my local charity shop - I think it will be choice again in future

  15. Like you I went high street shopping at the weekend and ended up with very little. DP is such a let down lately I am in the huff with them and bypass them most of the time now.
    Kandi x

  16. Don't diss the photos Hun cause you look lovely.

    I had a decent shop th other day ith many things I liked bu I do agree that prices are stupid! I hate giving up my hard earned cash.

    X x

  17. The colours in your outfit clash so gorgeously.
    I'm really with you on the shops at the minute. I went to a big shopping centre today and came back with barely anything, shops i usually like were just blah. I think it may have something to do with it being an inbetweeny time, not hot enough for summer dresses but too warm for winter woolies x

  18. more books eh haha you're just like my friend georgie with her ever expanding book collection!! we actually went to a second hand book fair the other day and i picked up the coma by alex garland which is a really good read. i find the high street can be quite hit and miss come summer time with a lot of cheap crap everywhere. love your outfit though, the colours are lovely

    Bow Dream Nation xx

  19. Things aren't all that inspiring on the high street at the moment. They must know that as they all have sales on! I saw a lovely jumper in one store at the weekend and all of the ones that were out, in all sizes, were badly snagged. I pointed it out to the assistant (angling for a discount) but she was having none of it. Seemed to think it was acceptable to sell a damaged jumper for £38!! I walked away...xx

  20. OOh close up request of the TD necklace please :)

    I love H&M for those random shopping times when all else on the high street fails. I find it a bit jumble saley at times in there though.

  21. love the colours in your outfit. I am fed up with buying see through thin high street pieces, I definately agree, quality is going down!

  22. I saw that dress online too, and was similarly disappointed with it irl. (The real tragedy was the red poppy one, though...) I'm feeling really frustrated with the highstreet at the moment! Quality is down, prices are up and style's gone out the window! (That may just be my taste, but looking for useful workwear among this season's stock gives me a headache!) And all this when I'm finally feeling flush enough to splurge!

    Sorry for the rant, but I think you're very right!

    K xx

  23. Dear Alex, the green poppy dress is nice and the fabric's interesting. I am super fussy about fabric.

    Well done for helping Char and I love the smiley picture of you. Where are you going on holiday? xx

  24. Agreed! I did a bit of shopping the other day, and had seen a top in DP's, in reality it was such a cheap feeling horrible top, so glad I didn't order online.
    The prices are high but the quality not so, can't imagine anyone buying anything vintage in years to come that is knocking about in the shops.
    Having said that, I got a pair of trousers from New Look and was really impressed with the quality, and fit. H&M is a bit hit and miss due to the sizing being very random but I always find something after hunting there.

    p.s hope you got my email ok?

  25. Whenever I see something I like in the shops I have to feel it. If it feels cheap, thin, scratchy, or in anyway horrible it doesn't even get tried on. If it doesn't pass the touch test it goes no further. Where are you off to?

  26. Thank you for your help this weekend, I am thrilled to have discovered that there is a floor, and now everything has it's place things are a lot more manageable! :)
    I love the shorts you got, can't wait for an outfit post to feature them..but you know i agree on the quality rant !!

  27. I almost bought that dress (in red) and top but I'm glad I didn't now! It's also annoying that shops are so mixed, you can't trust them to have always good or bad material meaning you have to search through every time. Annoying! x

  28. I love those photos of you. I have similar troubles high street shopping, though sometimes (when I have no money) everything seems wonderful and I want it all, and at others it all seemes such utter rubbish! xx

  29. love your blog - its so much fun. I love looking at all your clothes combinations. Just learning to sew my own as I'm not a big high street fan and have found your blog inspiring especially the posts on altering clothes. xx

  30. I'm so happy that I found your blog) I absolutely love the colors on this outfit - so pretty and interesting)
    I'm your newest follower)


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