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Hi there, My name is Chloe and I am a Next-a-Holic...
I love Next. I wont deny it and I will happily shout it from the rooftops! I can not praise the brand enough, particularly the childrenswear, which although is not for me personally (obviously) is still my biggest buzz when it comes to Next. The home department is show-home perfect and the womens clothing is always bang on trend and for the most part it's reasonably priced too!
Being an odd size where my top half is more like a 6 and my bottom half more like a 10, I struggle to find clothes and am therefore fiercely loyal to brands that cater for me. Most people would say I'm lucky with my figure-well they should try finding dresses that suit greenhopper length legs and a torso so narrow you could fit a spaghetti hoop around it. It's no mean feat! That is one of the reasons I enjoy shopping for clothing at Next. I remember the days when my mum used to shop in Next when I was a teenager, I always associated the brand with 'mumsy' clothing. Nothing that would ever be classed as fashionable could come from such a store for myself or for my mum and I never expected to shop there myself 10 years later. BUT in that 10 years Next has developed at an increadable pace, it's rebranded, it's re-trained it's eye for fashion and although the prices have risen the quality of the clothing justifies this. Now when I go to Next, I don't associate it with 'mumsy' types at all but more with Mummies who want to look fashionable and trendy and still look appealing and dare I say it sexy! I don't very often see those 'mumsy' types in the stores anymore-thats not to say there is anything wrong with them, just that I don't think they are the target market Next now aim for.
The clothes in the womens wear section are always wearable versions of what the likes of Vogue and Elle show every issue. I love fashion but the catwalk stuff?! Oh yes, I'm just going to pop to Tesco for some milk wearing something which would stop traffic-for all the wrong reasons. Next however take these trends and transform them in to key items for my wardrobe-no matter what the season. Chiffon tunics for example-previously chiffon would only be worn in a business style blouse. Next have currently got so many variations of chiffon tunics, dresses and casual shirts that my bank card did a swift dive to the back of my purse with fear! Shoes-another thing Next have not only improved upon, but rocketed in to a hugely competative market place. I'm a shoe girl at heart. Where I struggle with clothes, I make up with shoes. My partner can not begin to understand my passion for these beautiful creations-especially when they take up an entire cupboard space and then are found stored in numerous other places! But wow, the shoes in Next are little gems! I recently purchased a pair of patent peep toe nude coloured heels for a friends wedding (ok so I didn't actually wear them to the wedding but hey, these are an investment because Nude coloured shoes will go with ANY outfit, that why they are Nude). They were very well priced at £38 and I can guarantee they will last and last. The prices compared to other fashion footwear shops is very pleasing to me, especially with my little 'shoe habbit'. I used to average £80 on a pair from other brands but since becoming a mummy this has had to reduce! Next is justifiable in price, style and most important-sizing. They are one of very few brands to provide half sizes for adult women-you can not go wrong and no women will find a pair that wont fit in Next. I would say that the only downsize is that Next don't cater enough for smaller sized women, I have as yet been unable to find many items I feel fit me perfectly and make me feel like I'm using my features to the best of their abilities. I do see an improvement though as I regularly see size 6's now in most items in the store-rather than having to order them and then try them for size, I can now try before I buy-like the rest of the planet!
Like I initially said though, my biggest Next passion is the childrenswear. I get positively excited about shopping for my son in there! I also regularly buy for friends and family members which means I often shop the little girls ranges too which does nothing to help my burning desire for a daughter even though my son is only 11 months old and not quite ready to share the limelight wiht a sibling just yet! The childrenswear is un-matched in my opinion. No other brand offers such fashion and style while matching quality and price. Almost every item my son wears comes from Next. When he was a newborn he wore the baby boy clothing, rompers, cute doggy motifs etc but as soon as he began to transform from a newborn to a toddler that was was my cue-he's a big boy now mummy, time to dress this way. And of course my partner was thrilled because he now wears mini-me clothing! Next means I can kit my son out in cardigan and top 2 piece sets that look like the sort of thing my partner would wear from Big name brands like All Saints etc-it's that particular style that Next match but put there own stamp on that I can't praise them enough for. Jeans tucked in to worn leather look boots-men everywhere have been sporting this look for months and now Next have provided the trend for the little men of the country and I for one am totally excited! The jeans can cost from £9 upwards and a matching hooded top again from £9 up. Ok so the boots a little more expensive at £26 a pair but lets put that in perspective shall we? Clarks charge £30 and upwards for there shoes, so really I'm not grumbling! The matching cardigan and top sets usually cost between £15 and £19 which is a little more than it used to be, but while no where else offers this styling for my son I am happy to pay it. I think their childrenswear department is booming because their prices seem to be reflecting this which is disappointing but being a realist if they now they can charge it-they will. The business way of the world! Anyhoo, back to the clothing! The girls ranges make me a big broody mess everytime I go in! Pretty, fashionable and different. If I had a little girl she too would be kitted out in 99% Next clothing like my son is. They sell 3 piece dress, top and tights sets for usually around £18 which is actually quiet well priced considering each item can be teamed with other clothing to create new outfits too. Again though the recent price increases have been noted but as long as it doesn't jump again I still stand and adore the little pink cardigans with theme trim, the strawberry range which I've recently purchased for my friends daughter, the statement bow tops to match Mummies-the list is endless!
Then there is the home department which is actually the easiest to sum up. If I won the lottery my entire house would be furnished in Next and adorned with Next decorations, artwork, bed linen etc and my kitchen cupboards would be filled with crockery to match the statement wallpaper...I literally do have to pinch myself when I go through the home book! A little on the pricey side but nothing more than other middle to up market stores on the high street and this seems to be a trend with Next at the moment. They know their popularity is soraing and they want to increase their target market so their prices reflect this. Not complaining though because they are unparralelled in my eyes.
Then we have the sales. Oh the sales. I live surrounded by Next stores but the biggest is an hours drive so I religiously get up at 4am to be there at 5am on sale days-I have no shame in admitting that! The most recent was this weekend just passed and what a fabulous sale it was. I bought 3 cardigan and top sets, 4 pairs of jeans, 7 tops, 2 polo tops, 2 whole outfits and some sleepwear for my son and saved myself well over £100! The joy of the Next sale is the fact everything is 50% off or more-EVERYTHING! It is by far the best sale I go to and whats more they have 3 a year! Polo tops for £2, 3 pack of tops for £4.50...it's easy to see why the women in there fill 5 bags within a nano second at 5.01 am because everyone loves a bargain and that sale day provides nothing if not the biggest and best bargains. (Take a hard hat though, people are prepared to full on square up to you if you pick up the last pair of strawberry themed jeans in age 2-3 years for £7 instead of £16). Obviously I prepare for the sales by saving like a mad women and having a clear out of all of our stuff, I'm not a Next hoarder you know! But it's always worth it because we are always kitted out in the latest fashions and that makes me feel proud because I take pride in what my son wears and I like to feel good about myself too and this is reflected in what I wear. Courtesy of Next I never fail to dress my little boy like he's graced the cover of the catalogue and for that I get a lovely warm glow (ok so maybe that a bit extreme, I'm not THAT shallow, but I do like him to look good).
Anyway like I said...I'm Chloe and I'm a Next-A-Holic. It's been.....48 hours or so since I went to Next last and I'm not going to lie here, I will be back by the weekend, just for a little mooch around. But hey, where's the harm?!