Now that I have entered the Buy Better Years, I am much more careful about my style purchases. This doesn’t mean maxing out the plastic at Net-a-Porter, it means considerate consumption and not buying shit clothes. Fortunately, there are good quality basics to be had at affordable prices. If you like COS and Uniqlo, it’s worth checking out American e-tailer Everlane (shipping internationally for one week starting 10 April, fingers crossed for a more permanent arrangement). After a recent wearer trial (thank you for sending, Everlane) I can confirm that the silk shirts and flat shoes have been granted the That’s Not My Age seal of approval. Footwear is sturdy and made in Italy, the quality is good and products don’t cost a fortune. I’ve tried out the relaxed collarless silk shirt and the modern loafer and now have my eye on the Babouche-style slipper.

Fond of a nautical stripe? French Breton brand Saint James is now shipping to the UK. Woo hoo. And the other day I was flying through the M&S fashion department on my way to the food hall (like you do) and I spotted a fantastic pair of stretch cotton Capri pants. The ochre colourway caught my eye but this style is available in five different shades, including red (available HERE). M&S fabrics can be a bit hit and miss but I copped a feel and these pants pass the test, too.


Thank you so much for all the lovely comments about the That’s Not My Age: This Is My Style project. This is something I’ve been meaning to do for a long time and hopefully can turn into a regular-ish feature.  Budgets and subjects permitting.

39 thoughts on “Fashion that doesn’t cost a fortune

  1. I look at Tradesy and Thred Up on Line…found great stuff…for good prices. These are thrift shops on line. So much fun.

  2. Considerate consumption is the way forward; it is so nice to see bloggers like you promoting this. I wish Instagram and blogging in general didn’t favour fast fashion retailers like Zara and H&M on a daily basis. Like all cheap goods, someone SOMEWHERE is paying the price to make sure an item is manufactured cheaply. It means a worker not getting proper health care or being paid a decent wage so that we can save £10 on a garment… If I can’t guarantee I’ll wear it at least 30 times, I don’t buy it.

  3. Thank you for test-driving the pants and showing good-looking and inexpensive outfits. When you’re no longer working, it can be discouraging to look at some of the price tags on fashion blogs.

  4. I have a number of pieces from Everlane. The quality is excellent, but I’ve found the fit in their pants to be hit and miss––I’ve heard the company is working on making their pants sizing more consistent. Also, their shoes don’t fit me. I love them, but they simply don’t fit my foot––too narrow right where it hits my little toe and the heel is too wide. No doubt it is my foot, but just thought I should pass that info along.

    Loved the styling you did––showing three different looks on one person––I find that very helpful.

    1. I too have several pieces from Everlane, but only tops. Love their silk blouses and I find their linen jersey pieces excellent for summer and for travel.

  5. I hadn’t heard of Saint James & I love the red, white & blue nautical look for Summer, will defo check ’em out!
    Conscious shopping has been high on my agenda for a couple of decades & now that we have the internet it’s wonderful to see the word is spreading so quickly. I don’t think you need to be a certain age to make thoughtful choices as a consumer. As more young women see us older ones looking chic in outfits we’ve re-styled many times after purchase they too are buying less & choosing well. Thanks VW 😉
    Thanks Alyson x

  6. I love the look of Everland, but am endlessly frustrated that they (like many of the new sustainable, ethical clothiers) offer such limited sizing.

  7. In addition to Cos and Uniqlo where I do shop, I’ve bought some good affordable clothes from & Other Stories near Oxford Circus in Central London, excellent silk shirts, knitwear and t-shirts especially. This year I’ve taken advantage of early spring promotions at Gap to buy two pairs of high waisted, wide legged jeans, either to be worn as is or shortened to culotte length. An inexpensive way to try a new trend and silhouette. I also got a discounted big blue striped multi striped shirt to try the new big shirt style for relatively little expenditure. I used to buy linen t-shirts from Zara which I still wear. Quality in decline there to keep prices down. Newest buy from there an oriental flower print cotton dress, inspired by Dries Van Noten, which I plan to convert to a skirt. Sales especially when prices are cut by 50 percent always a good way of picking up quality basics if one plans ahead. With regards good quality French matelot tops an excellent brand is Armorlux. Available in England and maybe by internet. They fade a bit, don’t shrink and still look authentic. My thoughts on a More Dash than Cash approach to clothes shopping.

  8. Lovely classic styles, thank you
    Please tell me that the Italian shoes from Everlane are not shipped to America first for delivery then to the UK?
    Many thanks Alison

  9. If cost per wear is a consideration my award goes to a pair of black jersey trousers from M and S. They are indestructable, have kept their colour and shape and at the last count are believed to be fifteen years old. I must have worn them twice a week every winter so by my reckoning they have been worn about five hundred times!
    I can’t remember how much they cost…about average for Marks and Spencer I guess, but I should be very surprised if I could find anything to compare now. Any nod at quality in cheaper clothing seems to have disappeared.

  10. YAAAAY – back in the loop again. Thanks Alyson for fixing the glitch. Now I can read back through all those lovely posts and comment. Happy Days! Have a good weekend!!

  11. Thanks for doing the leg work for me – I have been looking for a red pair of straight leg bright red trousers for ages! I remember seeing a woman on holiday wearing red skinny chinos and a breton top with navy patent ballerinas and was struck how gorgeous she looked. As copying is the highest form of flattery (?!?) I can now experiment with this look for myself. Totally agree with Mrs Tonia on the more Dash Than Cash (showing my age, here) – charity shops, Uniqlo, bits of lovely Cos and decent shoes and bag mixed in with a bit of experimentation seems to work for me (and sometimes it doesn’t!).

  12. I’ve got a few pieces from Everlane that I absolutely love . Their shirt dresses are especially good – I could live in them alone.
    You said that they are now shipping to the UK but their website says they only ship to US, Canada and Australia – am I missing something?
    I really hope they are shipping here!

  13. I would love to see a more detailed review of the everlane pieces. I am very interested in ordering from them, but not sure on sizing. Also have you washed your silk shirt or did you stick to the dry clean only label advice?
    Thanks, Leanda

  14. I feel the need to weigh in on some other comments between cheap and irresponsibly-made garments. One word: research, research, research (well, that’s three but you see what I mean). If you want to know if a brand is responsible, or responsible by your lights – there’s a huge variation in approaches to ethical trade, sustainability, etc – then look them up. Some of the high street brands, including many name-checked in this post, do quite a bit for workers in their supply chains as well as the environment. And paying more, even masses, for a garment, does not guarantee it has been made with due care for the workers involved.

  15. Not yet tried anything from everlane due to the lack of Uk shipping but they definitely appealed til I read a piece about their ‘transparency’ being little more than a smoke screen and their practices not so different to Zara and H&M. Will see if I can find a link. I’ve often wondered why these two brands seem to take the flack when others cheap and cheerful outlets such as Shein seem to be favoured.

    I’m looking into Grana for decent basics but not found much about their production values yet. Gonna have to keep making my own where at least I know the sweat and tears are voluntary!

  16. Catbird Farm I agree about Eileen Fisher and her fabulous clothing – as you say – amazing quality, durable and ethical but short of having four pieces of clothing in one’s wardrobe it is unaffordable to most. I totally take on board a minimalistic wardrobe of key pieces but those prices are too steep.

  17. i wish saint james shipped to the USA….love your blog ! here alot, sorry, I haven’t commented much, but I am “here”
    oh la la ~ xo

    1. Saint James is available through a few retailers in the US. I think Halsbrook has a few of their pieces.
      J.Crew did a few items in collaboration with Saint James in a prior season. I don’t know if they still do, but it’s worth a google.
      Good luck!

    1. Hi Sinead, Everlane are shipping internationally for one week starting on 10 April. Apologies, I misread the information and will update this post. I think they’re testing the water and will be shipping soon. I’ll keep you posted. Best, Alyson

  18. Everlane’s sizes only go up to US 10 (about UK 14). I love Uniqlo, but their size ranges are inconsistent – some items to up to XL (which is more like UK 16) and some only go up to L, or 29 inch waist on trousers or skirts. Sometimes I find a perfect item on their web site, only to discover that they don’t make a size that fits me. I will, however, give them full marks for providing actual garment measurements. Seasalt, based in Cornwall, and which gives a pretty good account of itself on environmental and subcontracting matters, also gives actual garment measurements and many of their garments go up to size 20.

    By the way, on ethical matters, M&S did very well in a recent review of human rights practices by business. Here’s a summary of the report -

    1. Thanks for the Seasalt recommendation! Their stuff looks really nice, and it’s great to see an ethical manufacturer going above a size US10.

  19. I totally agree with you. I don´t buy at Zara since 2015. I wrote a post in my blog about it. I took my decision after “another shirt broken in two weeks after buying it”. I think in the near future a lot of people will consider better options than these shit retailers. I hope so, at least.
    Sorry for my English ( I´m Spanish)
    Love your blog!!!!

  20. You can buy Saint James in some UK shops and avoid the extra surcharge for delivery out of France. The quality is very good and very washable. Also agreeing with Holly that Seasalt is a good quality brand.

  21. I am also a fan of Seasalt, though a fairly new customer of theirs. I don,t think I have ever seen LandsEnd mentioned on here. some of their clothes do have a rather mumsy image, but they are good for basics, I have the Starfish trousers in two styles and I,ve worn them so much, also have several cashmere sweaters which are affordable and very good quality. In fact I have to say that there are days when I,m head-to-toe LandsEnd ! But I must have a closer look at their environmental credentials, I have a feeling they are pretty good on that score too.

  22. Massimo Dutti, Cos, & Other Stories, Uniqlo and Muji are my general head-to’s now – are any of these very unethical? Always find great footwear at Geox. The rest I enjoy foraging around charity shops/boot fairs and other cheap, fun sources of pleasure.

  23. I love H&M and Zara and buy most of my clothes there. Having said that, I seem to rarely buy clothes these days. My size remains pretty constant, I look after stuff and don’t need to have work clothes anymore so things last a long time. I get bored before they show signs of wear. I love, love, love Uniqlo ever since I found them one hot afternoon in Seoul but until they start moving north, I shall have to visit sporadically. Found Sheln recently via another blog. Ideas?

  24. This might be a ” only works for people in the US” solution, but I’m a longtime fan of Eileen Fisher, and yes, the prices are high. I usually wait for a flash sale and the most reliable site has been Nordstrom’s on-line outlet, Haute Look also carries Fisher occasionally.

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