Tuesday, 30 September 2008

My New Winter Coat

So in the end instead of buying the Jaeger Coat I loved at £450 I plumped on impulse for a Black Pea coat from Principles for £79. Its a bit of an odd construction as it looks like a classic double breasted design but with an inner zipped liner with a funnel neck. Being optimistic I imagine this will encourage good posture as I have to hold my neck up when wearing it to avoid looking like a turtle. Because of this all the weight of the coat is in the front and may need constant adjustment to stop it riding up.
The store I visited was in Buchanan Galleries in Glasgow. About 1/3 of the display is given over to a Petite range. They seem to have the same styles in this range as the mainstream stock and I wonder why the segregation. Is it to make things easier for shoppers?
Having checked out their website plenty of the styles were available in a 20. In fact a well-edited selection. In the store however I could find very little to try on. This was compounded by the fact that sizes are not on the hangers and the clothes were not hung in the usual size order (8 at the front working up to the biggest at the back) The store seemed pretty tidy otherwise but there was no logic to the displays and I was starting to feel a bit awkward checking every label. An assistant did approach me to ask if I needed help and with the Jaeger debacle still fresh in my mind I asked if she new if they carried anything in a size 20. She replied that there may be some things but thought that most of stuff in this size was sold online cause people "prefer it that way".
Reader, I bit my tongue. Well actually I just grunted and continued searching coming up after about 30 mins with the coat and a green cardigan.

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Shopping at Jaeger-same old story

Went into the Glasgow Branch of Jaeger today and truly they have some lovely stuff. The store is beautifully laid out and the staff were friendly but not pushy. I liked a gorgeous grey cocoon coat and a sheer snake print blouse but none of the stock on display went above a size 16. I plucked up the courage to ask if they carried anything in an 18 and when the assistant on the front desk checked and said that yes in fact the blouse I liked was available in the storeroom. What I assumed to be the manageress then chipped in with the usual "we only have space to display so much" excuse. If this is the case why is it always the biggest size left behind? I interpret this as purely another way to humiliate larger customers by making them asking for assistance. Plus if noone knows the stuff is there it dosen't get sold so Jaeger can say in future there is no point selling it. This makes me soooo angry. I didn't try the blouse but I may go back for it. I think with a pair of heels and my Marina Rinaldi jeans this would be an excellent winter going out outfit. Grazia have a 20% off coupon for Jaeger in this week's edition which would make a good dent in the price. I'll think on it for a couple of days.
As a follow up I emailed Jaeger's customer service to ask if it was their policy not to display larger sizes and I tried to tell them why this is so discouraging. Their response was to tell me that they phoned the Glasgow store and spoke to the manageress about it. Crivens-now they will hate me in there. How can I possibly go back?

Wednesday, 17 September 2008


Its London Fashion Week and I've been following the excitement of most of the shows and the reception at No.10 hosted by Sarah Brown which seems to have been a success although I don't think Stella McCartney, Vivienne Westwood or Kate Moss were present and they are probably the three most influential people in British Fashion.
The show that has interested me most this week is that by Jaeger who have made a big impact in the fashion press over the last couple of seasons. There are some fantastic pieces most of which go up to a size 18 like a shaggy shearling coat or a techno dress that are on the very edge of my budget. Which is to say I could buy a coat or suit but then would have to just stay home and admire them for the next six months, still. But what really caught my eye was the designer Karen Boyd snapped on the catwalk at the end of the show. She looks a) fabulous and b) much the same shape as me. It shouldn't matter-only the clothes should matter, but my stars this gives me great comfort and hope. If a successful innovative designer can be a plus size then does that not mean that the high end of the fashion market can start making clothes for this market. Eh? Please.
I will fully investigate Jaeger in Glasgow and come back with a full wearability report.
Buying update-still no coat or boots for the winter as the red Wrap coat below is now out of stock and the Duo suede boots have not yet come into stock in black. However I have ordered the black and white ribbon tied duo shoes as I think they are reminscent of dancers shoes from 42nd street and it cheers me up to think of this.

Monday, 8 September 2008


Next is a source of never ending frustration for me. It is one of the most ubiquitous shops on the British High Street, and one of the most inviting looking. Better yet it claims to offer mainstream sizing up to 22 and most stores now have a least a small petite section. I think it is a shop that attracts tremendous loyalty from devotees. In a hangover from their 80's origins it offers a co-ordinated "lifestyle" in a way which no other mass market store can compete with. In their adverts often you find a male and female model literally matched up clotheswise which is something no other store does. I know of one person -married, with a small son who rarely buys clothes or homewares anywhere else. Commendably their "Directory" has always prominently featured models from a wide range of ethnic backgrounds, if not sizes.

However the designs it does sell are dreadfully pedestrian. Fashion led items are generally a season behind where everyone else has cottoned on to something. Witness this seasons emphasis on folky smocks. Next also has a touching devotion to cargo pants (they call them boarding trousers) which it features without fail year round. I think of these as their emblematic item these are essentially clothes made for wandering around shopping malls.

Where Next should score better is in office wear. They have the highest concentration of affordable business suits in the mass market. But for aliens like me there is a fundamental problem in their persistent failure to display any stock over a size 18. When you are an awkward size one of the last things you want to do is ask the (generally clueless) sales assistant for help checking the stock room and this has never gotten me anywhere in the past anyway and I'm told that I should just order from the catalogue. So much for impulse buying.

I do find this lip service to larger sizes really insulting. Next have recently introduced a small selection of clothes in a size 24-28 for sale only in their catalogue. But the items are not shown on a model and there is no business wear. Probably the best of the selection is a belted black jersey dress, but this is precisely the kind of thing that a buyer should try on before buying to get an idea of how it suits their body. (I tried on my first wrap dress in the wonderful Curvy Girl in Edinburgh after being persuaded by the assistant and immediately felt sexier)