Clockwise: Seamstress of Bloomsbury 'Brenda' dress; Tara Starlet wool mini skirt; Clarks outlet 'Kaz Blues' boots, British Retro gingham dress; Miss L Fire for What Katie Did boudoir slippers; Boden 'Arianna' trousers.
The Seamstress of Bloomsbury 'Brenda' dress (£79) looked perfect, but I was disappointed to find it had an elasticated waist (I can't abide them), and was too short in the body for me anyway. There was also something odd going on with the neckline, that I'm not sure a press would have fixed. Such a shame, because those sleeves are glorious.
I tried the Tara Starlet wool mini skirt (£10 down from £60) which after careful measurement proved to be a whole dress size smaller than the size chart stated. Too tight to tuck jumpers in. Back it went, and they'd sold out in the next size up.
Clarks Outlet reduced their oxblood boots from £99 to £25, but they came up at least a half size small. And they also were very dark in real life, they looked black, which defeated the object of buying red boots. Again there wasn't an alternative size available.
The wiggle dress from British Retro (I think £50ish) wasn't on sale but they had a discount offer. It was the first dress I'd tried from them and I was curious as to the fit. It turned out that it fit snugly around my bust but was too loose around the tummy and hips. The dress would probably work better on pear shapes, but if you're hourglass like me then you might struggle. Back it went!
I was a bit frustrated at all of these attempts to spend money, so I ordered something that's been on my wish list for an age - the boudoir slippers by Miss L Fire for What Katie Did (£79.50). I was aware of how narrow Miss L Fire are and put off a purchase until one of the WKD staff helpfully measured the width of the front of the shoe for me. I was able to get my feet in their size 8s, but a few other things weren't at all right. Firstly, the back of the shoe was extremely narrow in width, and I would say the shoes run half a size small in terms of length. It felt like the whole shoe hadn't been scaled up properly for larger sizes. Secondly, the quality wasn't as expected - there were visible wrinkles in the satin covering. The diamond stitched lining, whilst looking pretty, wasn't actually quilted. A bit of padding in 'slippers' would have been nice. If you have petite feet these slippers might work for you, but I would not recommend these for Amazonian ladies.
In a final insult, the Ariadne trousers from Boden (£39.50 down from £89) were a spray-on fit, and in the red I looked like an elf!!
This isn't everything. There were also the ill-advised skinny jeans from Boden (too long?! and not high-waisted enough), the velvet headband from Monsoon (looked ridiculous), and the Dolly and Dotty jacket (ran a size small and too short).
Overall, this is not very successful shopping, is it? However, I can only get these brands online, and I like to try things out at home. In the end, the odds were such that even after all of this fandango I did make two excellent online purchases that were worth the struggle, from House of Foxy, and Betty Blue's Loungerie. You'll have to wait and see! I haven't worn either of them yet.
How do you all shop? Online or in real bricks and mortar stores? And what are your shopping frustrations?