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Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Call Me Picky ....



.... I don't mind. Or you could just call me a seasoned shopper. And having done many years of shopping, you learn a little (or a lot) along the way. Maybe you already do some of these things and then again, you might not but hey ho, for the record, this is what I look for when I'm looking at a potential new addition to the wardrobe. Oh yes and a warning. This is a rather long & rambly read. You can switch off now if you like and come back another day.


Pattern Matching.

* Checks.  

Let's start with checks. This might not bug some people but if I wore this and stood in front of the mirror and the middle stripe was not running central - it would irritate the hell out of me. It's not out by much but honestly, I couldn't wear it and keep a sane head. This is one of those tops that I couldn't buy online if I liked it because I would need to see first hand how the checks marry up. Anal. I know.

Photo Credit : Zara


* Stripes. 

What about stripes? Like many of you out there, I'm a stripy top kind of girl. Before buying anything stripy, I painstakingly look for pattern matches along the seams. Stripes which do not match say cheap. End of. Here's my CDG Play tee - expensive for a cotton jersey tee but I feel justified when I look at details such as how the centre of the neckline hits the blue stripe on the tee and is perfectly symmetrical on both sides. 

How pristine is the sewing on the neckline?


See the perfectly matched side seams? 

Side seams all neat and aligned.


See how both cuffs end on the white stripe perfectly? I have seen stripy sleeves where one sleeve finishes on say a blue stripe and one finishes on a white stripe. Bad. Very bad. And you don't always have to pay a lot to get a garment with perfect stripe alignment. You can pay under £10 and still get perfect stripes. I have garments from H&M and Primark with perfect stripe matching. The ones that don't - I simply didn't buy.

Perfectly matched stripes on the cuff finish.


* Shoes. 

Shoe Patterns. This bit is something you might not have noticed before. If you look at any pair of Zara shoes on their website - you will notice that the right shoe is the mirror image of the left.

Photo Credit : Zara


This is what should really happen. The flowers on the front panel are all positioned identical but is not a mirror image.

Photo Credit : GravityPope.Com


The same piece of fabric is cut at the same point and the flowers are all positioned in the same place on the front of the Opening Ceremony loafers. It's very rare to find print shoes which are an exact mirror image - normally only the really expensive designers can afford to do that . I have put many shoes back because of the inconsistencies in the prints between the left and right shoes. Sometimes, the differences are too great to ignore (big leopard print spots on one shoe and virtually no spots on the other). Or different colours in the leather between right and left. You have been duly warned and I need to get a life.


Complimentary Stitching.

And I mean complimentary. Not contrasting. There is nothing I dislike more than manufacturers who do not take care over this particular detail. You have a black and white stripy top in front of you. The last stripe on the hem is black. What do you see? A white thread running right across the black stripe. And not only that but a wonkily stitched white thread running through. Booo. Get your act together and change the cotton reel. I know there is the argument that it will add to the manufacturing costs and takes time and effort to change over the cotton and that's how they keep costs down but hey you lose sales from people like me who do look at small details like this. 

For example, I saw a grey & black stripy dress recently and I even went so far as to try it on.  However having given it another check over, I spotted the offending grey contrast thread running across the black stripe and it didn't look very good. Back it went. Instead I went to H&M and bought another one of those trusted little cotton dresses. In black and cream. And look for £7.99, you can get pattern match along the seams and black cotton stitching where it's meant to be. 

Complimentary stitching

Matching side seams.


And I checked all the size smalls available for the most perfect one I could find too. Hard core.


Fabric Content.

This is rich coming from the girl who recently brought home a 100% acrylic jumper. I'm not a qualified fabric nerd and have no qualitifications whatsoever textile based but this is what I know and might help you decide on how a garment will wear. It's also literally one of the first things I do when I pick up a garment - I look at the fabric composition. 
  • Polyester is virtually crease resistant and stain resistant. Grumps threw a glass of red over me for because I said he had weird taste in music (just joking) but you get the picture ... a glass of red ended up over a polyester crepe blouse I had. It basically rejected the wine. Little droplets of wine hung on desperately but failed miserably. The blouse was saved and so was the Grumps. And it looked as good at the beginning of the night as it did by the end of it. It does not crease. How often do you put on a skirt or a pair of trousers, bend down to pick up something and stand up to find you've got whiskering across the crotch. Hmm. So polyester is okay - sometimes.
  • Acrylic is an arsonist's dream. Put an iron anywhere near and it will melt. Or do so with great caution and a protective cloth at the very least. Don't you just hate it when you get that burning smell and sticky stuff on your iron? I make mistakes too. Or how else can I pass on this info. When it is not melting, it might be pilling. On a smooth garment, this is most noticeable. I picked up a school jumper for Ben in a rush thinking it was one of his usual red cotton jumpers. It wasn't - it was a red acrylic number. He wore it for two days and this is the result. Actually it looked worse than that - I've actually ironed that and flattened some of the pilling down. I don't even want to put him in it such is my aversion to pilling. The other thing to note about acrylic is it's very light so it is often used for heavy knit jumpers because the garment doesn't drag.
Hummph. Pilling makes me bad tempered.
  • Viscose - hmm. Difficult one this. Sometimes it creases like a concertina and sometimes, it behaves itself. I have a dress which is made of viscose. It's very light as the fabric is thin but it is also very nice to wear especially on hot days and it doesn't actually crease that much. Put it this way, if I were to put it on a hanger at the end of the day and pick it up again the next day, I could wear it without running the iron over it again. However, I know that Helen from The Flaky Fashionista has an ivory blouse which she likes the style of but says creases terribly after a few hours. I asked her if it was viscose and she said yes. She said I was a clever clogs or words to that effect. 
  • Cotton. This seems to be the holy grail of fabrics and what most people look for in their day to day garments which they want to throw on and then throw in the washing machine. Cotton allows skin to breathe. It tends to wash well but can be prone to shrinkage. I personally am rather fond of cotton knitwear because it removes the pilling problem. Hoorah! This means one less jumper to de-pill. However, if it's a close knit chunky jumper - it's likely to lose it's shape and  can drag down due to the overall weight of the garment. This is probably one of those instances where manufacturers might prefer to use an acrylic so the garment is lighter and doesn't just "hang". 
  • Linen. Want to look like an expensive dish rag? Buy linen. Linen is not good for the office where you need to look smart and crease free. That's polyester's job. That's probably why so many suits have an amount of polyester woven in to help minimise the creasing. Linen is good for hot summer days as it helps keep you cool and fresh. I forget this sometimes but was reminded recently when I chose to wear a pair of old black linen trousers. Comfy or what? And linen kind of relaxes with your body heat so it "stretches" a little.  Basically you have to get over the fact that you look creased and once you can reconcile yourself with that, you will be fine. Besides, I like to think that creased linen looks a little "expensive". Oh yes - I also like linen tee shirts more than cotton ones - just a nicer looser weave and good drape.
  • Silk. There is good silk and bad. You can get tissue thin silk which is of no use to man or mouse and will not conceal your bra. They feel flimsy and crease a little more. A sightly thicker silk tends to "spring back" a little. And hides your bra. I hear Uniqlo do a good line in silk shirts. One thing to note, I have silk shirts which are more than 10 years old from Jigsaw. They have washed well but on my navy shirt, there is a kind of patina on it. I don't mind it but just making you aware that this can happen on darker silks (especially if you shove them in the washing machine). 
Shirt is much darker in real life. See the patina?

  • Wool - Cashmere. Lovely stuff to wear and a personal favourite. But I don't wear expensive cashmere. I just wear regular supermarket cashmere or Uniqlo cashmere and that's good enough for me. I treat supermarket cashmere as I would expensive lambswool. I would rather buy cheap cashmere which usually feels ten times better than comparably priced lambswool which can be rather itchy. However let me tell you now, I have expensive cashmere which pills and I have cheap cashmere which pills. You can't tell what's going to happen. It's a bit of a lottery.
  • Wool - Lambswool. My experience is that it can be a little rough and scratchy. The Grumps used to complain about it, stating a preference for something "nicer and softer". I totally get it now - sometimes he does know what he's on about. I just thought he was being a wussy fusspot. You can always wear a top underneath to alleviate any possible roughness or like me. you can just move on.
  • Wool - Angora. Very soft but I find it tickles my nose when I put it on and for that reason, I don't buy it. Also it looks dreadful once it does it's funny version of wavy pilling.
  • Wool - Merino. A smoother finer wool usually. My preference for a smarter jumper. My Aubin & Wills merino wool jumpers are a little thicker than what I would imagine merino to be but have worn well. I didn't like the Uniqlo merino wool jumpers I saw last winter when I was able to see some first hand in store as I found them almost a little too thin but the Gap ones this year look good (but don't slap me if they don't work out for you as I haven't actually tried any for wear and fit) but at first glance, they look great for anyone who wants smart plain knitwear.
  • Wool in general. I steer clear of cable knits. They add chunk to my frame and have you ever tried de-pilling a lumpy bumpy jumper? Not possible. So I buy plain stocking stitch jumpers. Which I de-pill with a razor.
I've had enough now of that and might have missed a few others but that's what's lodged and spewed forth from my brain at the moment. Getting back on track again. 

Jeans Fading/Distressing.

So they look great on and you're admiring yourself in the mirror and then you turn round and you see the equivalent of this.

Photo Credit : H&M


Not so good eh? Very patchy.

Doesn't matter about the fit to me anymore, it's about the finish and this distressing looks far too manufactured. The white bits across your bum draws attention to the area that most people don't want attention drawing to. And as for the rest of the distressed/faded bits? Dreadful and too obvious. Let's just put them back eh?

General Finish. 

* Shoes

On shoes, if they are synthetic - you should be able to tell the difference between good synthetics and bad. I can't do with extremely plasticy looking shoes but that doesn't mean I only buy leather shoes. This patent pair looks just a little too plastic to me. There are good synthetic shoes and bad.

Photo Credit : Zara


And though these real leather boots below are lovely in styling, the finish isn't there. The buckles look a little too cheap - they need to look a little more aged and the leather looks smooth and hard. This is the kind of leather I expect to find on shoes and boots half the price of this pair. If this had been finished in a pebbled leather and the buckles were better, we might have been talking. See, you can also get good leather shoes and bad.


Photo Credit : Zara


However, these boots look much better. The grain on the leather is less smooth and definitely of a softer variety. This helps with the creasing you can get on overly smooth leather garments. I like to buy leather shoes where you can bend your your toes and the leather relaxes back without showing the creases.

Photo Credit : Zara


* Details.

I also look for even stitching and good finishing on hems for garments. I don't like tacky details like fake suede elbow patches which have been shoddily bunged on. I can ignore loose threads - you can trim those off yourself but you cannot correct wonky stitching. Pick your battles. 

Maybe I have a slightly trained eye (years of practice) but I think I know what to steer clear of in general but I also know what I can get away with in terms of how something looks. The two tone Zara jumper I featured recently is 100% acrylic but on looks and feel, you'd never know.


Affordability.

On the high street, I try to go for the best of the cheap. Even with places like H&M, you can find some good well made pieces. I particularly like their premium Trend range. The clothes cost a fraction more (we are talking H&M here so it's still peanuts in Whistles world) but the finish is a little more spot on, the fabrics tend to be a touch better and you get some nice designs which are not so mainstream. I picked up a lovely black crepe blazer from there some time back and I can't fault it on finish for the price.

When the sales come along, it's my turn to hit the biggies. I like to have a look on Net a Porter, Matches and all the places I steer away from for the rest of the year. That's when you can pick up a top or a pair of shoes for the same price as a full price regular high street item.

Anyway, I've waffled on enough now and I've bored you all to tears. Have you any tips to pass on that I haven't mentioned or might not be aware of? Or have you been caught out by any of the above?


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Last Note :

  • By the way, I'm not trying to pick on Zara - its easier to illustrate with Zara images because they do lovely crisp clear images which is more than can be said for M&S whose images I don't even bother to put on here. M&S do not seem to do good quality downloadable pictures so I don't use their pics. Anybody reading from M&S - can you pass that on - it really doesn't do you any credit when anyone tries to feature one of your fuzzy pictures online and it's always prefaced with "excuse the rubbish pics but this is actually really nice in real life ....". Like I just did.
  • You may have noticed that I have a bit of a bee in my bonnet about pilling. Actually, make that a whole hive.
  • With respect to fabric content or anything - if you love the garment - just go for it. Rules? Like they say, they are there to be "bent" a little or broken outright. Now let's go and have a look at that lovely graphic quilted 100% polyester sweatshirt from Whistles :o)




47 comments:

  1. Sue - you do make me laugh! I got half way through (I would have read to the end honest) but I need to know where the stripy dress if - is this the £7.99 H&M one you mention?! I need one in my life!

    PS I am 100% with you on pattern matching, I've had to (reluctantly) reject many skirts over the years due to wonky matching.

    And I will come back and read to the end tomorrow I promise ;-)

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    1. Argh - typos (due to chortling!) Hopefully you get the idea.

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    2. Hi Anna. The stripy dress is a H&M £7.99 special. They never seem to have them online but they do have them instore. And if you feel brave and colourful, Eve from Allwornout Blog has the fluro coloured one. http://www.allwornoutblog.com/?p=9753

      And this pattern matching thing will be the death of me!

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    3. Great - thanks, so pleased it's current. Not sure I could do fluoro, but do like the black and white. Will investigate and rummage (hopefully) to find neatly matched example tomorrow. :-)

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  2. LOL! I've laughed my way through this entire post. BRILLIANT!!! And this is why you always look so incredibly well 'pulled together' .. I'm forever saying that you can 'do casual' better than anyone else. It's your attention to detail. Clearly we should all take a lesson from you. Although can you imagine you and I shopping together? Me vetoing everything on the grounds of not being suitable for psoriasis, and you vetoing everything on the grounds of shoddy stitching! We'd end up hitting a wine bar without a shopping bag between us!!!

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    1. It's probably why I never shop with people or I never buy anything when I go shopping with anyone. We should just miss the shopping out altogether and just hit the bar!

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  4. Okay really enjoyed this post - it's funny what little idiosynchracies you have when it comes to the clothing that you buy. I don't often pay too much attention to the small details, I'm more concerned if the garment is slightly damaged, like a pull or something along those lines. I am a bit of a stickler for fabrics though - I abhor cheaply made polyesters (I have a really nice A Wang poly top, but it feels so silky) so I find it's seldom I will buy something of a low quality as I can't stand the feel of it against my skin!

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    1. Most of it is ingrained in to my subconscious now so I don't even think about it when I'm out and I'm browsing. But I am great at just "scanning" rails. And although I am really conscious about fabric compositions, I can be rather forgiving if I truly love something. And some polyester tops - they are really soft on the skin. Polyester isn't what it was in the sixties and seventies - it's come on such a long way.

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  5. Thanks for this post, it was actually very instructive and fun. Sometimes I put a garment back because "something feels wrong", but it's probably one of the things you mention above - lack of symmetry in the patterns, bad seam finish... Anyway, thanks for sharing your experience ;)

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    1. Oh I do that all the time - you can pick up things that look good but ultimately, there is a niggle for some reason or another. I did that with a Gap jumper recently. Loved the colour, shape and fit but the hem just wasn't working for me and I put it back. I did try it on 3 times though just to make really sure and I knew I wouldn't be able to live with it so I had to leave. Lack of symmetry also really gets me - it gets me even more if I missed it in the shop and I spot it when I get it home. Then I feel like I've failed!

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  6. That is so funny! I do think I have some OCD tendencies but this s another level. I'm totally with you on the stitching and the fabrics and I cannot bear synthetic shoes - the devil's work! Great post, Sue! Lynne x

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    1. Who you calling OCD??? :o)

      I don't mind synthetic shoes - there are some which are really good but the bad ones are truly bad. Buy the best you can afford - you can't say fairer than that.

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  7. Yeah you got the stripy black H&M like the one I have...... You finally got one you were happy with......I not as fussy as you, but think I will be from now on. Never really look at labels..... When you asked me about the content of the AA grey tshirts ..... the poly content / pilling ...... Ding dong..... The JCrew one is 100% cotton that I have just got & so much better. Another brilliant post Sue x

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    1. The polyester in tee shirts is a big bugbear. I think it's there to help with the grey "marl" effect as it seems to be prevalent in most garments which have this look. My H&M blue sweatshirt which I had to ditch had polyester in it, I picked up another sweatshirt recently which was a marl effect, again it had polyester and the Whistles sweatshirt is really killing me because it's 100% but the fit is fab. You know when you put something on and you smile? I did that with that sweatshirt. I knew it was 100% polyester when I took it in to try but it was too nice. I'm still holding off though.

      The Gap sweatshirts and an APC one I have are 100% cotton. They just hang differently and they don't have that soft fleecy feel which comes with the polyester mix garments. I have to say, the poly mix ones are actually comfier.

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  8. Oh you sound soooo much like me! I am so fussy! One of my biggest bugbears is shoulder seams - one always seems to be longer than the other! And shoe symmetry - especially with toecaps - they HAVE to be the same size!

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    1. Just knew it. I am not one of a kind!

      I've not had too much bad luck with shoulder seams but I can imagine how annoying those would be. And you can feel the difference too can't you? I have returned things for that kind of reason before and told the SA's but they don't seem too fussed.

      And shoe symmetry. Depending on the shops but if you get somewhere like M&S which stock multiple pairs of the same size and style of shoe - I line them all up and try them all. I now take two pairs of the same size jeans in to try as well - the difference can be astonishing sometimes. Obviously I always go for the bigger pair :o)

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    2. I have taken to ordering 2 pairs each time I order shoes online. Then I can match up the best pair!! My husband despairs!!

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  9. What Helen said basically - you are brilliant. I have learned so much from this post and found myself nodding and agreeing with so much. x

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    1. Avril - I would have you down as knowing most of that already. You're a seasoned shopper too!

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  10. Hi Sue!! A really fabulous post and I am with you on so many of these points- I can't abide acrylic jumpers, it would have to be a right special one for me to nab one! I really try to keep merino or lambswool as my main winter jumpers, that's why I love knits from the 80s and 90s when wool was standard issue, unlike today. I also have to have striped tops aligned too, hehe!! xxx

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    1. You have a point there Sharon. A lot of my older clothes are more "natural" fibres but I hadn't realised. I just thought I chose well. I don't mind some acrylic but most of the regular £10 basic acrylic jumpers, I cannot go near. They have a slight "furriness" over the surface of the fabric which looks wholly unnatural. I also don't think they wear as well. It's one thing to buy £5 white tee shirts and replace these often as you can never get back the original whiteness rather than paying over the odds for a designer white one, but the I'd prefer to pay double/triple for a merino wool jumper which should feel better and wear better. They also de-pill better.

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  11. You are super anal. I love it! Seriously, I mean that in a loving and positive way. It's good. I agree with you on most of these things. Bad stitching and stripes that don't match up just kill me. And crappy quality fabrics can ruin a perfectly good cut and design. And pilling is horrible. Pilling on ribbed or cable-knit? The worst. I'd also like to add that the grain of the fabric needs to be straight. That's my big beef with H&M t-shirts: half the time the grain of the knit goes at a diagonal to the cut of the shirt. A total no-no in my book. The plaid not being centered though I don't think would bother me all that much, I think I could rationalize it as a design feature. Maybe ;) As for de-pilling, I do the razor trick too, but I have one of those little combs, and those things are magic! Oh and that weird fake super processed factory-made looking distressing on the jeans? Totally disgusting in my opinion. Yup, I knew there was a reason we got along so well... :)

    www.nomadicd.com

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    1. Guilty as charged. Super anal about details. Sometimes I even scare myself.

      Pilling is the major biggy for me - if I see someone with a badly pilled jumper, honestly it takes me all my will power not to jump on them and attack their knitwear with a razor, funny comb thing or the Remington Fuzzaway - yup - I have one of those little gadgets too. And you're right about fabric quality - the styling on some things is so spot on but the fabric can be such a let down. They get the cut just right and make it out of polyester and you think but it would have worked so much better in wool or something like that. I'm even prepared to pay the bit extra for the good fabrics rather than deal with something rubbish. And as for the diagonal cut (bias I believe) I don't mind that too much as my H&M tees haven't actually stretched out of shape but the slightly off check - nah - can't go there. But yep - I could imagine we could spend a happy afternoon just discussing all these little narks.

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    2. Oh I bet we could pass a great deal of time clucking and complaining about these things! It would be so fun :) As for the fabric grain issue, when it's cut on the bias I'm all for it, it makes for a great drape, but it has to actually be diagonal then, at a purposeful 45° angle, not just slightly off horizontal. Slightly off horizontal might be one of the worst sins in my eyes as far as fabrication goes. *shudder*

      As much as I hate pilling, I am so guilty of not de-pillifying my sweaters on a timely basis. i think I need to just pile them up in front of the tv so when I sit down for my night-time tv dose I have something productive to do with my hands.

      www.nomadicd.com

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  12. Sue! You had me dashing to my wardrobe to check all my stripe seams were all perfectly matched!! Phew, happy to report all were present and correct!

    I have to admit I'm a little bit the same with the clothing bug bears!! Quite recently I had my eye on a patterned bag on eBay, there were 2 the same for sale at the same time, on one the symmetry was better than the other so I held out and luckily won the auction for the one I wanted even though I had to wait longer and pay more for it, I wouldn't have been happy with the first one. Just yesterday I went into Zara to buy a coat but left without it as the lining in the hem meant the coat hitched up on both sides.....tried on a few that were all the same so obviously a design fault. You'll be happy to hear I've now turned my attentions to another coat.

    Love this post as it has totally bought lots of things I should be looking for in garments to my attention, many thanks to you x

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  13. Sue you would make a fantastic buyer - no compromise on quality at all. Love it. I am super picky and meticulous over garments I think due to my job and agree with all of your points, and I will return garments that I feel not up to scratch at a drop of a hat. I have had a few arguments with Reiss over the poor quality of some of their knitwear vs high price - it's not on! its amazing what consumers pick up on when shopping for clothing. I really think stores such as Primark, H&M & Zara have really opened peoples minds and generated high expectations of quality / price in clothing. Love this post, really enjoyed reading x

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    1. I would love to be a buyer! That would be a dream job! Only problem - I have no qualifications other than I am a picky so and so.

      And the higher a garment is priced, the more I demand. I've only just ordered something from J Crew and it's the perfect fit and the perfect colours but the finish is off. I have to return it. It bugs me too much and it wasn't cheap enough for me to let it go. Glad you enjoyed the post - it's just interesting when you start analysing what you do when you shop.

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  14. I'm with you on this one Sue! I have a stripe matching obsession and the checks - I can't even look at that first picture without feeling a little seasick . I want to grab the top and give it a tug to the left to see if I can realign it! Oh dear. I've not gone as far as the pattern on shoes though , but I don't have any patterned shoes so that may be why? The fabric run down is really helpful - going to bookmark that for future reference!

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    1. Oh the slightly off check is annoying isn't it? You've put your finger on it, I'd be forever trying to pull it over to the middle as well.

      And I don't have many patterned shoes but that's probably because most of them I haven't found many good pairs out there. Or then again, I like plain shoes.

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  15. Sue u make me laugh!! I'm probably not very anal at all when it comes to shopping. When it comes to higher end items they have to be perfect but with the likes of H&M I know you get what u pay for a lot of the time. Picked up some great wee tips here, and your always the person I think if when it comes to the small details. To answer your ash boot question on my blog, I went for the spiral because apparently they come up a bit higher so will hopefully work a bit better with jeans, and the less cold ankles the better in my book! X

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    1. Thanks Trea. Good to know that about the Ash Spirals vs the Jalouse. I knew about the more pointy toe on the Jalouse which I don't suit and seems to shorten my legs but the rounded toe on the Spirals just looked right somehow. Do like the fact that they come up higher on the leg/ankle.



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  16. Having been shopping with you I can vouch that you are indeed , quite rightly, particular ......I remember your rant about contrasting stitching in H and M (hear hear) and agree with pattern matching. I love merino wool...love it!
    A great and very funny post, Sue.

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    1. Oh dear - did I go off on one Claire? But it didn't put you off did it?

      Check out the merino wool offerings in Gap - looks good. But if you're anywhere down near a Uniqlo in London - tell me what theirs is like in comparison this year. I don't want to do them a disservice unnecessarily.

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  17. Hey Sue - really enjoyed reading this post. Pretty much echoed my sentiments about shopping in general. I like major quality for minor prices, I guess the hunt make it fun. Things that don't line up definitely a big no-no for me. Also, prints and stuff that are only on the front (unless it's a special texture thing).. often some across a lot of detail on the front and a plain back.. like HI people need to look great from behind too!

    Re: Zara shoes, they are actually reflected over and the tag photoshopped back on to read correctly. I notice a lot of retailers do this to things that come in pairs. Earrings especially.

    steph / absolutely-fuzzy.com

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    1. You're right about the fun of the hunt and getting something really good and well finished for a little price. It does make it that much sweeter doesn't it? I have to say that I don't mind there being no print on the back of an item sometimes - it can get a bit too much for me sometimes.

      I knew the pics of the shoes had been photoshopped but didn't think about it applying to things like earrings. But it is annoying when you order something like shoes and the right pair looks so different from the second pair, you just think were they even made as part of the same production process. Or did the left shoe get made a day before the right shoe and from a totally separate textile piece. I should just google to see what the manufacturing process is like for some of these things - I find it oddly interesting.

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  18. Hi Sue, It's so funny the things that bug us on clothes! I am the same with anything I care about, clothes, interiors, garden have to be and feel right!.....But things I don't care about, my car for one, hasn't been washed for a year, and looks like the contents of the dustbin have been emptied in there!! (Only Joking, maybe half a dustbin!)My VHM is appalled....He would make me take my shoes off to get in!!! P.S. Its not just the cheaper brands that don't pattern match, or stitch well, Ive seen some very top notch stuff very badly made! xxx

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    1. Oh we were separated at birth - especially the bit about the car! Cars and technology are by the by for me. Pains the Grumps as he takes a look in the car after the boys have ben in it and I can see him twitch. But ... credit to me ... he said it wasn't as bad as some one else's car he'd been offered a lift in.

      And yes, expensive clothes which are far from top notch makes me wonder what's that all about then? Cheeky.

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  19. Great post - and many of these things I've never really thought about but someone in the back of my mind they might have been there, the non central plaid yes - would drive me crazy too. One of the most wearable things I've ever bought was a striped top from Hand M now I'm going upstairs to see if stripes match Also you are hilarious girl "Acrylic is an arsonist's dream. Put an iron anywhere near and it will melt." Classic!

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    1. There's nothing quite like the smell of burning acrylic to remind you never to do that again or not straight after putting the iron on a high setting for cottons! Do you know anyone who wants to employ a picky lady?

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  20. I totally get what you mean. Lately, I've decided to hit most of the big High St stores just to look at their clothes. Some were just plain awful even if they were made of 100% cotton. Some surprisingly looked and felt more expensive. I guess it's a matter of hit and miss. To be perfectly honest, I can't tell the difference between my Uniqlo and Equipment silk shirts. The Uniqlo shirt costs £39.99 and the Equipment....well.....a lot more. I prefer the fit of the Uniqlo and the quality is awesome.

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    1. I know you were impressed with the Uniqlo silk shirt. I have my niece on the hunt for one of the white spot ones at the moment as they are sold out online. I should have struck when I had the chance instead of buying down jackets but that's started coming in to it's own. Autumn has officially arrived and the heattech vest went on today.

      I have to say, if you look hard enough, there are some good offerings for the price on the high street and 100% cotton doesn't always guarantee a good garment - the cut, the stitching and every thing else can still be off. You just go with gut instincts.

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  21. Sue, I have been trying to comment on this post for days, but my phone has me signed in under a strange name [beyond confused], so have finally grabbed the laptop... Now, what a fantastic post! Amusing AND helpful - you take being picky to a new level. And I like it! I was saying to my sister today, actually, that many of my purchase mistakes would have been obvious to me if I had just slowed down and paid more attention. I think I will read this post again, as its seriously helpful. It does seem to me that you are careful with your purchases, so you look good in everything you buy (and keep), and every item is a quality item you will actually enjoy wearing for a long time. Careful, slow purchasing: I like.

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    1. Oh bless you and thank you for coming back to try and comment as well. I can't even begin to imagine trying to type any kind of comment using a mobile - I'm all fingers and thumbs. That's why I only update at certain times of the day when I'm with a lap top. I'm just old school - I need proper keys (goes back to when I was learning to touch type) and it's impossible to do that on a phone.

      I am careful only up to a point - if I really love something, I just go with the flow. I'm currently in the process of sending a top back to J Crew - they put fluoro pink contrast stitching across what was a lovely red/berry coloured Breton styled top and where they folded the fabric over, it was all wibbly wobbly. Oh I could cry. I thought I'd finally found the one! And careful, slow purchasing? Me? Nah ... I quite often grab something and then dissect it at home where I can take my time to make sure that I love it unconditionally. Hence all the returns.

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  22. Love this post - lots of tips, definitely things I would never thought of!! I'm dreading looking in my wardrobe now;)

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    1. If you love it, just go with it.

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