Along with M&S, Next dresses the nation but it’s a shame its clothes aren’t made where they’re worn.
Slowly but surely the Next man is getting up to speed, and a little smarter: if Lord Wolfson can produce a decent-looking suit in his Chinese factories for as little as £79 then he’s going to shout about it. In truth the better options are the separate and more casual blazers complete with elbow patches in some cases. A speckled T-shirt here and a strong chino offer (lots of colours, competitive price) there, as well as a basic attempt at an Oxford shirt just about balance out the terrible yet ever-present cargo shorts and checked shirts.
The slim chinos aside, it’s a case of you get what you pay for. At £20 the chinos are a steal while the £32 to £55 denim would be in the same boat were it not for some over-fussy styling. Sometimes it’s essential to know when to stop designing. The £8 basic cotton T-shirt is at a staple price point while the suiting is better value towards the middle of the £79 to £230 range - the cheaper end is a little shiny in places.
If you’ve not been in Next for a while you’re in for a surprise on your next visit. Where once were threadbare carpets and tired chipboard shelving, now you’ll find more modern laminate, metal and glass, and even if it does seem a little estate agenty, it’s still clean and bright. The call buttons in the changing rooms are a nice touch and the staff friendly and laidback while still attentive. The shop floor is tightly packed but well stocked while the window is a little safe.