Fashion is a big deal in the UK, contributing around £28 billion every year to the nation’s economy and providing employment for over half a million people. The UK is truly a nation of fashion obsessives, with millions of women (and men) who follow designers and retail brands with the same attention and passion as football fans.
Whether you are an ardent fashionista or you just need a new dress for a christening, finding the right clothes at the right price can be a real challenge. However, there are plenty of ways to make huge savings when buying women’s clothes, as this hotukdeals buyer’s guide explains.
Fashion for Every Lady
For centuries, British women have loved to show off their style, beauty and grace by the way they dress. From society ladies of the Regency period, through to pre-Raphaelite maidens, Edwardian liberated women, flappers in the 1920s and the colours and cuts of swinging 1960s London, women in the UK have seen styles and looks constantly come and go.
The way women’s clothes have been sold has changed in step with fashion. Before the 20th century, women with a passion for fashion had to visit tailors and boutiques to purchase their outfits. Many had personal tailors who would create dresses, corsets or coats to measure.
Naturally, not everyone in society could enjoy such luxury, even though the demand for high-quality clothing was rising. The solution was mass production and the rise of the department store. Names like Liberty and Marks and Spencer emerged, selling fashion to the rising middle classes. Soon, almost every woman had the resources and ability to create a style and most embraced the opportunity.
In the late 20th century, the dominance of larger shops was eroded as globalisation deepened, bringing international brands like Louis Vuitton, Monsoon and Forever 21. Boutiques turned from being utterly exclusive places to high street shops, as the range of women’s clothing on offer expanded.
Then online shopping arrived, challenging even these upstart brands. These days, large shops, global brands, and online retailers jostle for market dominance, providing plenty of room for women’s fashion fans to snag great bargains. It’s a fantastic time to be assembling a wardrobe.
Where Can You Buy Women’s Clothes?
These days, women’s fashion buyers are spoiled for choice. No long do you have to rely on your local branch of M&S or Fenwicks. Now, you can shop around, searching for exactly the right colour, style and cut of jacket or jeans (and a price that makes sense too). Here are just some of the retail options on offer:
Online fashion stores – Every year, UK shoppers spend around £19 billion online on clothes, and women’s fashion is the major part of that sum. Online stores like boohoo, Asos, Pretty Little Thing, Missguided and Forever 21 have risen to prominence, offering everything from unique printed t-shirts to vintage shoes, dresses, jackets and accessories. They are a great place to hunt for bargains (especially in their sale and clearance sections), and have a wide range. The only drawback is not having garments actually physically in your hand so that you can try them on or feel their quality.
Department stores – Shops like M&S, Vero Moda, John Lewis, Debenhams and Selfridges might not be the all-powerful retailers they once were, but they are still extremely handy and popular places to find fashion bargains. They tend to be the kind of place to hunt for stand-bys and everyday items like vests, jeans and cardigans, rather than designer outfits, competing well on price and quality (and offering fitting rooms as well, which is a major plus). Check out store locators from big brands to find your nearest outlets.
Smaller global women’s fashion brands – Every high street has them: Smaller stores that are run by global brands like Next, River Island, French Connection and Monsoon. Often attracting loyal fans, these stores are reliable and you can expect a regular stream of new designs along predictable lines every season, making them a good place to head on a regular basis. Be sure to take advantage of store cards and loyalty schemes as well, if they are available. Most places tend to offer them in some form.
Cheaper retail options – Slightly below the global brands in terms of price, but not always inferior in quality, lie places like Primark and H&M. These famous names are present in most major UK cities and offer a blend of good quality, attractive designs with very attractive prices. Shopping in Primark can be a little frantic at times due to the crowds, so head in early to avoid missing out on any deals.
Boutiques – Boutiques remain the place to go for discerning women’s fashion fans. If you need a designer suit to compete at work, a beautiful formal dress for balls or weddings, a chic blazer to hit the town or a pair of custom-fitted jeans, these smaller, up-scale shops are definitely not to be missed. Most cities have an area with a few boutiques, while some, like London’s Mayfair seem to be filled with them. You may not be able to afford to shop at them every week, but with hotukdeals offers, you’ll be surprised by how affordable these top-of-the-line retailers can be.
Vintage clothing shops and charity shops – Recent years have seen numerous trends to resurrect and reinterpret historical styles, whether that’s the dresses of the 20s or the colours of the 60s. If you want to step back in time and add a bit of glamour to your outfits, try vintage stores like Beyond Retro, or head to clothing specific charity shops which can often feature cut-price, authentic garments from the past.
Clothing markets – Many cities also have clothing markets, whether they are regularly scheduled or pop-up events. London is the epicentre of this kind of market but there are others. For example, you’ll always find clothing bargains at Leicester Market, while car boot sales can also be excellent places to find discounted designer outfits.
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Key Things to Remember When Buying Women’s Clothes
Whenever you buy women’s outfits, it’s vital to a) ensure that you buy the right item in the right size and b) get the best possible price. These are two separate issues, so let’s briefly look at them separately. Firstly, finding the right items:
Materials – Make sure you are buying clothing made from high quality materials. Look at the mix of natural fibres and synthetics. Anything under 100% silk or cotton may be slightly inferior (although a little lycra is needed for stretchy garments like jeans or sports clothing). Try to feel the clothing if you are in-store. Scrunch it up between your fingers. If it immediately returns to its original shape with no folds, you’ve probably found a high-quality garment.
Washing labels – Always ensure that you buy clothing that you know how to take care of. It’s annoying to get attached to a favourite jacket, only to make an error by washing it at too high a temperature. Similarly, if a label says ‘Dry clean only’, be prepared to take your clothing to a specialist. Designer clothes are often slightly higher maintenance. That’s the price you pay for their superior qualities.
Measurements – Always buy clothing that fits. This seems really obvious, but surprisingly few women actually know their measurements accurately, or accept a little imprecision in the interests of finding a great deal. Take your chest, waist and leg measurements (be honest!) and apply them to your searches. Better fitting garments will look better, feel better and last longer, so it’s worth the effort.
Be aware of brand differences – Don’t assume that every brand will measure up in the same way. Do a little research to find out, for example whether H&M jeans come up a little tighter than Next, and adapt your purchases accordingly.
Check second hand clothing carefully – When you find a gorgeous vintage dress, it’s hard to resist the urge to slap it down on the shop counter straight away. However, that wouldn’t be wise. Before you buy, check the dress for any stains, tears or smells (like cigarette smoke), and do a thorough audit for mothballs and evidence of moth damage. The last thing you want is for a vintage purchase to cause an infestation among your other clothing.
Use conversion charts to buy foreign clothing – One of the problems fashion fans often encounter is handling the difference between US and European clothing sizes. If you are in doubt about foreign clothes, use online or smartphone size converters to decode the data instead of ending up with shoes or jeans that don’t fit correctly.
Those ideas should be a good basis for your next clothing purchase, but it’s also important to shop cleverly to find the best prices of women’s clothing. Here are some basic tips to keep in mind:
Be aware of capsule collections – If you love a particular designer (say, Michael Kors) but can’t afford their premium range, that doesn’t mean you need to miss out on their designs. Most design houses will offer capsule collections at a price level below their premium outfits. They are often just as accomplished (and could be their flagship designs), so look out for them when you shop.
Shopping clubs and flash sales – Sites like Zalando have come along and offered another string to the women’s fashion buyer’s bow. These sites are essentially shopping clubs. You sign up for regular updates, and the Zalando Lounge will supply news about very short-term, limited stock sales on high-quality items. Stocks run out fast (that’s the point!), but if you are sharp, they can be great ways to save money.
Make purchases in the off-season – This is a crucial strategy for girls who want designer clothing but can’t afford to shop at peak periods. Don’t wait until summer to buy that gorgeous floral print dress. Instead, take advantage of far lower off-season prices to stock up in winter (or vice versa in the case of warm coats or jumpers).
Don’t neglect second hand retailers – Sometimes, the only way to afford a stunning designer dress is to shop at vintage or second hand retailers. Don’t be too proud to browse these places. They can be fascinating and wonderful places to shop. Just be aware of fake brands and damaged goods, and don’t be afraid to haggle if you see any flaws.
Use loyalty schemes, cashback sites and discount codes – online and in-store shoppers have an arsenal of ways to save money on women’s clothes, so use them as much as possible. Your favourite shops will probably run loyalty cards, cashback sites like Quidco offer regular money off deals, while major retailers are always offering promotional codes and vouchers at the hotukdeals women’s clothing listings.
How to Buy Cheap Ladies Dresses
Every girl needs a few beautiful dresses in her collection, right? The question is, which shops offer the best selection of dresses and what should you look for when making a purchase?
Obviously the style of dress you go for will be different and depend on your personal taste, so there’s no ranking of the best dress manufacturers in the UK. However, it’s fair to say that there are some go-to designers for premium outfits.
If you need a stunning gown or dress, have a look at Monsoon, Next or Rare London, or head to sites like Net a Porter. These sites bring together deals on luxury fashion items from leading brands like Burberry, Alexander McQueen and Chanel, making it easy to choose between exceptional dress designs.
Choose the right style of dress for the occasion as well. If you are attending summer garden parties or heading on holiday, lightweight maxi or midi dresses could be ideal. Pencil dresses could suit cocktail party hostesses, corset dresses offer something for balls and dances, while tunic dresses are great for everyday wear, with their loose fit.
Try to find a design that flatters your figure. If you have a large bust, something that drapes more loosely and isn’t tight around the chest would probably be better. If you have a smaller bust, avoid plunging necklines and go for dresses with cowls instead. If you are plus sized, try to avoid tighter designs and find a look that follows your figure, instead of accentuating it.
Whatever style you choose, spend a little time thinking about how it will look. If you get the chance – try it on. If not, order well in advance of the event you are attending and be clear about the retailer’s returns policy. There’s nothing wrong with returning items that don’t fit properly and exchanging them. After all, dresses are usually major purchases and it’s essential that they fit properly.
Tips for Guys Who Want to Surprise their Partner with a Clothing Purchase
What about guys who are shopping for women’s clothes? It shouldn’t be that complicated, but men often struggle to purchase clothing gifts – even though they can be some of the most thoughtful around. It doesn’t have to be like that, though. Here are some tips to help guys make the ideal women’s clothing purchase:
Buying lingerie - If you are buying lingerie, the first thing to is to establish the correct bra size. Check her bra and note down the information on the label (don’t just try to remember it – you need to be precise). Then, relax. You won’t be the only guy visiting the local branch of Ann Summers hunting for a romantic gift. Just pick a design that looks good, fits your partner’s style and - more importantly - physically fits her body. Don’t panic, it’s really very simple.
Think about her favourite brands – Most women have brand loyalty to certain stores or designers. They know they can rely on those places to supply clothes that fit and tick their aesthetic boxes. So check her wardrobe for her own personal favourites, and start your gift hunting there. If they have new collections coming out, that could be the place to look. She’s probably already looked at last year’s outfits and bought ones that excited her. This year’s designs could be an unknown quantity and may be worth the risk.
Vouchers are almost as good as clothes – Sometimes, it’s best to admit defeat. Some women are just hard to buy gifts for. If that sounds like your situation, why not just purchase a gift card at stores like Monsoon or Next, and allow your partner to choose an outfit or two that they love? It may be unimaginative, but it’s the safest option.
Finding the Best Discount on Women's Clothing
Hopefully this buyer’s guide will have cleared up a few issues regarding buying women’s clothes and pointed you towards some of the best places to make a clothing purchase. However, now comes the crucial stage: finding the best possible deal among all of the thousands of offers for exactly the right item of clothing.
Firstly, be clear about what you are looking for and have a shortlist of alternatives. Be specific – noting down the brand name, the designer, the name of the design and the size.
Now, search on hotukdeals for the items you have listed. You’ll probably find a range of options, from specific clothing bargains for individual items to generalised clothes deals online or money-off delivery.
Many of the deals will take you to clearance sections that are hard to search otherwise. By using hotukdeals, you’ll find out what these sections have to offer without having to laboriously visit every single website one after the other. It’s fashion shopping made really simple.
Try to time your purchases to take advantage of sales as well. Aside from shopping out of season for certain items, look for swimwear sales in spring and flash sales of coats in autumn. Check the January Sales for post-Christmas bargains, and be sure to keep an eye on the Black Friday selections as well.
With a little shopping savvy and the help of hotukdeals, you can shop for your favourite designers at lower prices than ever before.
Cheap Ladies Clothes: Look Good with hotukdeals
Keeping up with women’s fashion can be an exhausting and expensive activity. If you love to purchase the latest designs from boohoo, Next or Chanel, you can drive down the price of women’s clothes by regularly checking the hotukdeals listings and stay informed about cheap womens clothes UK.