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Blog: Dressed for success?

Between the office Christmas party, the Drapers Awards and a winter wedding, I've actually had several good, valid reasons to invest in dresses this year. The high street has certainly lived up to my expectations, but it seems that the retailers themselves haven't had as much festive fun.

If you're a shopper who loves party dresses, you really had your pick of the bunch this winter. Personally, I thought most high street retailers had a great offer. I could have bought at least three dresses from Warehouse, which made good use of this season's purple. I tried to buy one from Oasis but thanks to Grazia's endorsement it kept selling out every day. Ted Baker had pretty, girly options, while French Connection's more classic and less dressy collections could easily be glammed up with a chunky belt and heels.

As well as great product, what made my shopping experience more pleasureable was the lack of shoppers inside the shops. I went to Oxford Street in London last Thursday, arriving about 11am and shopping until 6pm, and while the streets themselves were busy, the shops were bizarrely empty. No waiting for a changing room, no queues at the checkouts. So were people merely window shopping?

As far as partywear is concerned, it may be so. The chief executive of one high street multiple said party dresses were not selling well and warned retailers that they would be left with a lot of stock if they had bought heavily into the category. Another retail director said she had deliberately bought less partywear this season.

So it seems that in these tough times, it takes more than great product to entice customers to part with their cash.

Readers' comments (2)

  • Abercrombie+Fitch was heaving last Monday...took my 13 yr old up there who was totally ga -ga and receptive to the store and it's subliminal marketing. I (painfully, it must be said) let her purchase ONE thing. Eventually she selected a l /slv tee with gigantic branding up the arm, hideous! but that's the point. She loved it because I hated it. Made in Vietnam! @ 40 quid...AAAGH! We queued for 15 mins alongside city types (who, lacking their own sense of style, believe that they are purchasing a "little bit of cooool". Some baskets held a good grands worth of stuff!!

    I left feeling (as a retailer/ designer) jealous and inadequate but hopped it to a deserted Mishiko Koshino and felt better

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  • hehehe!!!!glad to hear Im not the only one who (although I was well impressed with the shop) felt the A+F experience made me feel a bit small, love the bit about the city types, hilarious, I saw loads too, its the same old thing I always rattle on about........they are a bunch of sheep who follow the herds......selling out of a dress because Grazia says you have to buy it?????????? come on public, show some individuality please!!!!

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