Where can I buy good quality, good value women's basics online?
January 3, 2009 6:07 PM   Subscribe

FashionFilter: I wish to shop online for women's clothing of decent quality, classic fit, available in a large range of colours, and reasonably priced... let's say a la Gap or Banana Republic. Can anyone suggest online shops of this type in Australia, where I can avoid getting stung by the exchange rate? Or perhaps a cheaper global alternative to the labels mentioned?

I know that Gap may not be many people's idea of fashion, quality or whatever. And I'm not sure I actually know what 'classic fit' means. But I like my clothes basic, comfortable and worn layered in a range of colours, using a flattering cut and nice quality fabrics. I checked out previous posts and saw recommendations such as forever21.com, which I consider to be a bit too "trendy" for me (sad, I know!)... Although I would hesitate to say I have a style of any sort, if I did, I suppose it would be some variation of natural, classic or casual. Anyway, with the current value of the Australian dollar, it is making shops like Gap on the pricey side to order from. (Am also unsure about the ethics of production for these giant international labels.)

So, can anyone recommend some good online retailers of quality basics that might appeal to me? Cheaper than American Apparel (yep, I have a pretty low budget) and bonus points if made ethically? I'm 25 y.o. & Australian size 8-10, if it helps.

[There is probably some special meaning of "basics" in a fashiony-type context, but what I mean is simply items like the following: stretchy cotton tops that are well-made enough (i.e. not see-through) to dress up for work; cardigans and fine woollen sweaters in pastel or earthy tones; well-tailored pants in neutral colours, not just black; collared or ruffled cotton shirts; tank tops that don't fall apart in the wash; lined skirts of suit and non-suit variety in a range of cuts, etc. Maybe some denim. Basically, being an impoverished student, very versatile items that I can dress up or down infinitely as the situation requires it!]

posted by Weng to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (6 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Have a look at www.ezibuy.co.nz. I've got a few pieces, like capri pants in various neutral colours and some cute tops, and I rave about the quality. I've had them for ages, have worn them frequently, and they still look like new.

I bought my stuff from an Ezibuy store during a trip to New Zealand, and when I got home I found the Aussie site to buy online, but the Oz site directs international customers to the NZ site.

The postage charges appear steep, but it is calculated on the amount you spend on the clothing, so you can stock up with a few pieces and not pay any more postage than if you were only buying one piece (although there are conditions).

This is the delivery info page: http://www.ezibuy.co.nz/Information/5010

And they are very good quality, well-made articles. Worth saving for, I reckon, because they are easy-care and last forever, while still looking brand new.
posted by malibustacey9999 at 6:52 PM on January 3, 2009

I've bought things from Ezibuy and have had very mixed results. I've returned a lot of stuff, but on the other hand, a few of my *favourite* things are from there too. So I'd say it's worth a go. I've always ordered by phone from within Australia...

I really like the clothes from boden.co.uk. They might be a bit out of your price range (yuck, pounds), but they're exceptionally nice quality and well cut, and if you can organise yourself to shop at sale time (like now, for example...which works well since our seasons are opposite) you can get some fabulous bargains. I'm pretty sure the shipping charge is per shipment, not per item as well.
posted by Emilyisnow at 10:34 PM on January 3, 2009

Boden's quality is really good, particularly for basics. Their sizing is also fairly consistent.

I'd also recommend Fenn Wright Manson. They have a flat £20 overseas shipping fee, as does M&S. Per Una is a M&S mark that offers trendier, slightly funkier clothes if you want to add in a touch of something different with your solid, comfy, untrendy M&S standards.

Phase Eight and Monsoon don't ship outside the UK, but you can find lots of new or almost new Phase Eight & Monsoon on ebay.

I swear by all of the above for work clothes that don't feel like corporate drag, but can convincingly take you from work to your life beyond.
posted by Grrlscout at 3:50 AM on January 4, 2009

As much as I love Fenn Wright Manson, I think it's fairly expensive and may be more than you want to spend.

I think Marks & Spencer is a great suggestion. It's where I go to buy all my basics from suits and sweaters and work shirts and undergarments. I think they're well made and very reasonably priced. Per Una is mentioned above as one fo their lines, but they also have Autograph and Limited which are their slightly more expensive and fashionable, and the Classic line, which are their basics. Plus, they are more ethical than the average retailer, which you can read about here. I love M & S!
posted by triggerfinger at 4:25 AM on January 4, 2009

As most Australian retail stores are lagging when it comes to online sales, the best place I've found to buy clothing is eBay. There's a surprising number of new items there (search for "NWT" or "NWOT"), and you'll often pay well under retail. Most sellers will also provide you with an item's bust/hip/waist measurements, if you ask them. Measure a similar piece of clothing you already own for best fit.

Downsides: few sellers accept returns, so you'll probably end up re-eBaying the odd item you buy and decide you don't like. You may also have to wait a few weeks to find the good stuff as the site tends to go dead in January.

Otherwise, if you can get to a major city -- and I appreciate this may not be an option -- David Jones and Myer sound right up your style alley. They're known for their high-end brands, but they also sell separates by Australian designers that are fairly reasonably priced. Their quality is typically a step up from what I remember the Gap being, too.
posted by Georgina at 8:36 AM on January 4, 2009

Thanks all for the suggestions. Ezibuy seems to be good value, but I absolutely love the clothes on Boden . It's pricey but it's exactly the look I'm after - I will be browsing the sale catalogue very thoroughly, come pay-day :-)
posted by Weng at 1:02 PM on January 4, 2009

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