In another post after the MADS 2010, 20somethingmum gives her view of shopping online with retail giant Next.
I am an old fashioned girl- nothing gives me more of a boost than strolling round the stores and looking at all the new season stock, or even nosing through the sale rails at the end of a season. I have never shopped online for clothing for myself, as I've always worried, as most women probably do, that we will splash the cash, wait for a few days for the item to turn up, and then find it doesn't fit. Then we either have to send it back and try again, or rush out to find something else for an event or party.
The great thing about Next being online, is that I know what size I am in their clothes as I've long been a fan of their High Street stores (trust me, if you've ever queued outside a Next at 5am when the sale starts, I think you too can class yourself as a fan). My sisters in law are also devotees, and the Tots are always bought Next clothing as gifts.
I love the classic meets high fashion mix of the stores, where you can invest in a good quality, but easy to wear classic wool coat, and in the same store can then buy the latest style of denim, or the vintage inspired tops and smocks which surely must have been designed by a Mum who knows that a top doesn't need to end at the belly button! There is also smart tailoring for the office, shoes, bots and accessories. It really is a one stop shop.
So, what of the website?
Well, everything you'll find in store is here, with the same quality and eye for design and detail, with styles to suit the young and old. In fact, there are extras that you may not find in your smaller High Street store.
As in store, the whole family is catered for, as is the home itself- I love that with just a few clicks you can be buying a new handbag for work, and the next be buying a smart sofa!
Unlike some High Street chains who also sell online, Next having just stuck at one key trend- I seem to be overwhelmed with 80s jumpsuits and the like in certain stores, which may be great if you are a teen, but not quite so good if you are old enough to remember the styles from the first time around!
In contrast, whilst there are some younger shopper friendly 80s styles and prints evident, there are also looks influenced by the 60s, and beyond, and timeless pieces such as belted a-line macs which just scream elegence and will be a wardrobe staple.
I tried a Black sixties inspired Short Sleeve dress, which I teamed with leggings. The dress itself has a simple white collar, very much in keeping with the style of the dress itself, and the fabric has a slight sheen to it. It doesn't cling like a glove, and the shape is very flattering (well it hid my Mummy tummy very well!). You could just as easily wear the dress, which comes to the knee, with opaque tights and boots, or funk it up with a dash of leather jacket (which you'll find plenty of on site too) and knee socks. I can see this being a dress I wear again and again as it was so flattering to my shape. Better still is the dress is machine washable, so I can literally wear it and wash it without factoring in expensive dry cleaning costs. At just 25.00, its a reasonably priced gem of an outfit.
I also wore leggings from on the site too. Now, I usually have trouble buying leggings, simply because I have a size 14/16 waist, but my calves are quite skinny, and my legs are long. So, they usually fit me on the top and are flapping around my ankles, or too short, or too tight on the waist.
Next have thought of us tall ladies too, and all their items are available in generous sizes, but also in petite or tall versions too, so my legging woes were gone when I tried them on. They fit in all the right places, and were comfy- no hard seams or too tight elastic, and were soft to wear. And at 8.00 they're a bargain that can be worn with anything.
The site is easy to navigate, and I love that the not so clued up on fashion can find it easy to pull an outfit together, as each item page includes handy tips on what else you may wish to buy.
As for the models on site, well well done to Next for not just using stick thin girls as the models on site may be beautiful but they are real women with curves (yes, curves!) and I find that I feel more able to consider an item and what I might look like in it due to this.
The quality across the ranges is evident, with the same gorgeous girls wear, and tough and durable boys wear too, an array of stylish things for the home (much more than my local store and with the added bonus of someone else lugging it to my door!), and even gifts and flowers too- not something even available in my local branch.
I really was spoilt for choice with Next, and loved the shopping with confidence buying from a trusted brand brought me.
Definitely worth book marking.