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I need to wear something on the first day of school.
August 1, 2014 10:45 AM   Subscribe

I am very sensitive to fabrics, and I need to basically buy a whole new wardrobe. Please help!

I tend to be quite sensitive to the way fabric feels. If it's scratchy or feels too synthetic, I don't like wearing it. I'm ok with one polyester dress from Old Navy, but it was really soft and didn't bother me as much as a blouse made of polyester usually would. Blouses from Banana Republic, for example, especially the clingy ones, gross me out.

I am looking for specific blouse recommendations, as well as stores to visit, for a business casual environment. I have a pretty classic, minimalist look, with fitted shirts and pencil skirts. I have plenty of pencil skirts, but all of my shirts are either cheap cotton that shrunk or some synthetic material that I can't bear to wear anymore. I tend not to wear button downs because they gap, but I would maybe be willing to look at some if they don't gap or get wrinkled.

Additional difficulty: I am on a teacher's salary, so I have a very tight budget to buy work-appropriate clothes for the new school year.
posted by kingfishers catch fire to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (13 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
Uniqlo tends to have nice 100% cotton stuff and is about to open up a bunch of new US stores. J. Crew and Madewell are also pretty reliably decent if pricey; you can get some nice pieces in the sales they always have going on.
posted by oinopaponton at 10:51 AM on August 1 [3 favorites]


In a bit of a rush, so I don't have specific recs at hand, but once you get more recs from people, it's worth googling for the name of the store plus "teacher discount" or "educator discount." Both J. Crew and Madewell have 15% teacher discounts as long as you buy in-store, and many other stores have similar. (Uniqlo does not, but their price points generally fall below the Madewells and BRs of the world.)
posted by Pandora Kouti at 11:00 AM on August 1 [1 favorite]


J. Crew is currently running a 40% off promo on their sale items. They have a lot of 100% cotton things that I bought and found really comfortable.
posted by krakus at 11:00 AM on August 1


Must all your current shirts be trashed? Would a few high quality tee or v neck shirts worn as visible or not undershirts be a barrier and make fashion sense?
posted by Buttons Bellbottom at 11:03 AM on August 1


Yes, I forgot about the education discount! Especially if you can catch one of J.Crew or Madewell's 50% off sale items promotions (one just ended sadly), you can get things really cheap. Worth noting that the 15% discount works at J. Crew factory locations as well, if you're near an outlet mall.
posted by oinopaponton at 11:03 AM on August 1


The way I shop at Goodwill is pretty much determined by feel. I walk to the section I need (short sleeved shirts, or whatever) and I touch almost every piece in the colors that I like, and I let my "hands" shop for things that feel good. Usually these are cotton (sometimes cotton with a touch of spandex), linen, merino or cashmere, or silk. I've been amazed at some of the lovely things I've gotten that didn't stick out from the .5" I saw on a hangar but which my fingers found unerringly.

Would that be an option for you? Plus, since things at Goodwill are often (but not always! I just bought a pair of jeans with the tags still on) pre-worn, that might help soften some of the scratchiness of the borderline fabrics up for you. Try Goodwills or thrift stores in the nicer parts of town, and on a good day you will have no trouble finding things by J. Crew, Ann Taylor Loft, and other no-frills, classic-focused designers. Plus, everything should be fairly affordable.
posted by WidgetAlley at 11:04 AM on August 1 [2 favorites]


Yeah, seconding thrift stores, particularly in richer neighborhoods. Thrift store shopping (particularly over repeat visits, to take advantage of changing inventory) is GREAT for people who have a fairly uniform look-- you'll be able to brush right past most of the stuff to zero in on the few pieces that are in your style wheelhouse. IME, at least, a lot of the standard brands (Banana Republic, etc.) have gotten shoddier, particularly w/r/t materials, in the few years, so thrift shopping also has the benefit of giving you access to clothes made in a time of slightly higher-quality manufacturing.
posted by Bardolph at 11:13 AM on August 1


If you shop new, and can find something you like, go back to the store and buy that item in all of the colors(that you like). Im a picky shopper, and if i can find a shirt that i like, having it in multiple colors helps out a lot, and is much easier than finding different shirts.
posted by TheAdamist at 11:29 AM on August 1


eShatki cotton shirts.

I haven't ordered shirts there, but they do seem to get dresses correct.
posted by 26.2 at 11:54 AM on August 1


How do you feel about cotton jersey knit clothes? I am also over sensitive to fabric and my wardrobe is almost exclusively jersey knit dresses and skirts from Target now.
posted by Hermione Granger at 12:03 PM on August 1


Thirding thrifting, and also once you've acquired you new clothes DO NOT put them in the dryer. Line dry EVERYTHING (the only things I tumble dry anymore are sheets, towels, socks and underpants) and it will last much, much longer.

If line-dried things feel too stiff or scratchy, once they are completely dry you can put them in the tumble dryer for five minutes to soften them up before you wear them.
posted by nonasuch at 2:43 PM on August 1 [1 favorite]


Kohls has soft knit shirts that feel almost like t-shirts, but are nice enough to wear to work. They come in solids and a few patterns, and are often on sale. I wear them with black slacks for regular classroom stuff, and throw on a blazer or cardigan if I need to look more formal.
posted by rakaidan at 3:33 PM on August 1 [1 favorite]


H&M pima cotton tops (I think they are just called superior cotton now) are fantastic: higher quality cotton than average, can take a lot of abuse, and super comfy. I absolutely love mine. And they are very affordable. And many H&M tops are 95% and above cotton.

Marks and Spencer (free shipping to the US) lets you search by material. I quite like modal products, which feel super, super soft, even on my sensitive skin.

You could also try to buy a silk or other comfortable material top to wear under more scratchy clothes. (I do this for wool dresses).
posted by troytroy at 12:07 PM on August 2


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