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For many years I avoided Next, thinking that the clothes were all too expensive and out of my price bracket. Then I had children. Funny how your priorities change isn’t it?
Somebody bought my daughter some clothes from Next when she was first born and I thought they were rather sweet. They also washed up really well – highly important with children!
Anyway, after that initial encounter with Next clothing, I decided to take a look for myself. Oh, what I had been missing!
My first purchase for myself was a white blouse for work. Cost was £19.99. This purchase was made 5 years ago and I still wear the blouse (hey, don’t say I don’t keep up with fashion!!). It washes wonderfully and still looks (almost) as good as new.
Since that first purchase, I have become a regular in Next. My daughters are regularly dressed in clothes from Next. They may be slightly more expensive than other children’s clothes shops, but the quality more than makes up for it. The clothes last and last. My 2-year-old is wearing Next clothes that I bought for her 5-year-old sister and that have been through everything a child’s clothes go through, yet they still wash up really well and look great.
I have made several purchases for myself, again based on the quality of the products. They are well cut and fit in all the right places. The majority of clothes can be thrown in the wash, although a few items are dry clean or hand wash – these are all labelled very clearly. Washing instructions on Next clothes are very clear and easy to follow.
My husband has also become a convert to Next. Again, he frowned a bit at the price of some things, but when he tried on items I had bought for him and seen how good they looked after washing, he was convinced. I was sent out once with instructions to buy a shirt that would look good on television – nothing too bright, wouldn’t crease, fits well. So off I went to Next. Found an ideal shirt for £19.99 and he was impressed. He wore it all day at the Motor Show and it still looked good at the end of the day. It is supposed to be non-iron, but I have found I need to iron it, as I don’t have a tumble drier.
Another thing I like about Next is the range of fittings available – they have a great range of petite clothing. (Not for me I hasten to add, but my mum is tiny so I have to buy petite things for her!). Trousers and skirts often come with the option of regular or long lengths.
I am basing this opinion on the Norwich stores, as these are my local ones so things will vary around the country.
I say stores, because up until June this year, Norwich had 2 Next stores. One stocked ladieswear, childrenswear and home furnishings, the other stocked ladieswear and menswear. However, in June of this year a brand spanking new Next store was opened with all the products under one roof. And what a wonderful store!
On the ground floor are all the ladies clothes, shoes and accessories. Well laid out with plenty of space for you to wander and peruse the stock. I also like the fact that they now stock maternity clothes in store – previously I could only purchase these through mail order (not that I need them at the minute before you all rush to conclusions!)
Up to the next floor where you will find menswear and children’s clothes. Again, well laid out and easy to find things. However, as with the majority of stores, why do they insist on putting children’s clothes on the first floor so that you have to manoeuvre the pushchair into and out of the lift? Having said that, at least the lift in Next is big enough to fit several pushchairs at once meaning you don’t have to wait all day to get upstairs! The top floor is for home furnishings and they stock a great range of items for the home, from bed linens to kitchen accessories, bathroom fittings to pictures and everything in between.
The whole store is brightly lit and there is plenty of space. One of the problems with the old stores was that there was not a lot of space for browsing.
Well, I am a convert to Next and regularly look there first if I need a new outfit. Some of their clothes may be a bit more expensive than in other stores, but in my opinion you get what you pay for. The quality of the products means that they last longer and wash better than cheaper alternatives. Also, Next stock a lot of what I would call ‘classic’ clothes – they do not date and therefore can be worn year after year. (Ok, I know some people might call them boring, but if you have no desire to change your wardrobe year after year you need things that will not look too out of date!)
Returns are not a problem with Next – if you don’t like something you can take it back for a refund. I have always found the staff to be helpful – if you are in the changing rooms and need a different size, they will go and get it for you.
There are also the famous Next sales - items at half the normal price. However, be prepared to get up early to get the bargains and it may be a bit of a fight in store - you have been warned! However, if you don't mind a bit of a scrum, there are some great bargains to be had.
There is also the mail order arm of Next – the Next Directory – but I will not go into that in detail here as I can get another opinion out of that!
For further information the website is www.next.co.uk
(BTW I have put this in the women’s shop category for no reason other than I shop there and I’m a woman! Could equally have gone in men’s shop or children’s shop – not sure why there are 3 categories anyway!!)
I buy loads from next for my little one too... hopefully i'm going to have another boy so i can salvage all the money i spent in next on him..... I'll find out in a few days. Happy shopping!
ammortiser 29.12.2001 03:15
You write so well! If I were not so odd I might give the place another try.
There is always a "but" and here it comes. The trouble is I am disabled and their stores are a nightmare for me. You mention the lifts and are so, so, right.
I could go on, but as my insight into them is very minority interest I will leave it there.
litebite 25.10.2001 20:19
stuff, not stiff, that makes the comment completely different ;)