Buying clothes from dept store web sites

dawn_59February 26, 2006

I would like to avoid driving to malls and am constantly looking at websites from well-known - mid-priced dept stores. The clothes are so different and not as nice (cheap feeling) or have as many sizes as the in store clothes. I am wondering why. Have any of you bee frustrated by this. I have learned that catalogues are the same way. And if you do find something they are usually out of stock in your size. Is there a marketing philosophy I am missing?

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Can you give an example of a "well known, mid-priced dept store"? Do you mean Pennies or Sears? Except for sales, price will affect the quality of the fabrics.

I do a lot of clothes shopping online. I've found that I had to learn which stores met all my requirements: acceptable price, acceptable quality, consistant fit, style.

I did quite a bit of return shipping in the beginning and that hurts! But it taught me which places just don't work for me. Some places simply do not use the generally accepted sizes. Victoria's Secret for example, generally runs large, J Crew runs small.

It's really the same for brick and mortar stores - you find which stores carry what you like and want. Unfortunately too many cater to teenagers. I think that is extremely short-sighted, given the larger Baby Boomer group who are now middle-aged.

In the end, I settled for higher prices to get quality and fit over bargain prices. Lately, I've been trying to use some newly opened brick and mortar versions of the same online stores (like J Jill or Talbots) to save on shipping costs. I notice that these stores have *less* selection than their online versions.

The only time I notice sizes lacking for online clothes is if I wait too long to order. Catalog stores definitely carry a lot less inventory than they used to. Some, like Soft Surroundings, seem to have everything on back order. I wonder if they wait until there are enough orders for something before they have it made?!

Since I buy higher priced materials, I can't buy as much so I make sure I get classic separates that can work together. Better fabrics last longer too. I do still shop locally for bargains. Some shops not inside malls will offer lower prices to get customers. See if there is a Cato store near you. The clothing styles are rather youthful but they have nice accessories and the prices a great.

In addition, check out consignment stores. I found a local second hand clothing store where a lot of well to do women drop off their used clothing. I've gotten some real bargains there of good name brands.

In the end, you have to determine your personal clothing priorities. If lower cost is first on your list, you will probably have to compromise on other issues.

I have a friend who is on a budget, but still manages to always be amazingly put together in a seemingly endless variety of outfits, from shoes to ear rings to lipstick color! She does no online shopping but spends most of her free time bargain hunting; haunting TJ Maxx, Marshalls and sales, sales, sales. For myself, I have better things to do than spend all my free time in stores. ;)

I don't know about marketing strategies, but I often wonder about retailers in particular. I've been in so many stores with racks too full of clothes, poorly lighted dressing rooms, dressing room hooks full of rejected clothing (even piled on the floor), no clerks, clerks who were slooooowww or rude, etc., etc. And I do understand hating malls. It's like shopping at the zoo sometimes. ;) No wonder people prefer to shop online.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2006 at 1:35PM
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Wow, Elizabeth you have said everything I have been thinking.

I am middle aged "Baby Boomer and shop at the better stores for "investment" pieces. I like to stay well-dressed without looking silly. I live in Alexandria, Virginia and Nordstroms is a mid-range store with a little bit better fitting clothes for my size 10 sometimes 12 body. Saks and Neimans I use less and less because I have gone from a required dresses and suit job to wearing slacks and sweaters as a counselor. But their catalogues show either way over the top clothes - $1,200 shirts or clothes for spoiled teenagers. I used to be a buyer for a good dept. store years ago and know value and want nice things at the same time.
I, too use high-end consignment stores in a posh area of Washington, DC. My leather purses come from there and are beautiful. I also end up buying shoes each time I go.
Regretfully,my new approach to catalogues from the above mentioned stores is "what is so wrong with it that they are passing it off in this catalogue." Never buy from Bloomingdale's Dept store catalogue. Their stuff is junk and like you said about Victoria Secret everything seems to be on back order and they hardly ever can fill the order.
Although I never heard of Cato I will look for it. As I travel to see friends and shop in different parts of the country all malls seem to have the same stuff. Boring and hard work.
If you cross the boarder into Canada the stores are filled with European clothing and if the exchange rate is right you can make out very well. Your support was great and I hope others will join in. After all we babyboomers have ruled the world since we popped out. I think we can take on the shabby clothing industry just as we have every other important event. And win too!! So good to talk with you.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2006 at 10:44PM
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