Uniqlo and Behold

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Blouse: Dorothy Perkins

Top: Uniqlo

Skirt: Ivanka Trump

Tights: Sonsee

Shoes: Chie Mihara

In recent years we’ve been seeing a lot of the big international fashion companies finally opening shopfronts here in Australia. TopShop, Zara, Gap, and most recently H&M are some of the big names giving our homegrown stores a run for their money.

I’ve seen the opening week queues out the fronts of doors, security guards and roped-off waiting areas and I have to admit that I don’t really “get” it. Especially as most of these stores have a big online presence, so I’m don’t really see the point of queuing for two hours to see a product that I can dial up on my mobile phone whenever I want to. H&M’s been open for a few weeks now here in Melbourne, and I still haven’t been (though to be honest I found their range underwhelming when I visited in New York. It might have been a different story if it was Old Navy or Anthropologie).

One store that I was excited to hear would be coming Down Under was Uniqlo.

Launched in Tokyo in 1984, and now with over 1300 stores globally, Uniqlo is kind of like the Ikea of the fashion world. Their clothing is predominately staples: Sweaters, jeans, cardigans. Socks and jocks. Collared shirts, and slacks. They use clean lines and classic styles, and what they lack in varying ranges, they make up for in colour choice.

They have a typically Japanese obsession with quality and control. So they design everything in-house, and also maintain a department that researches and develops new materials and technologies.

They source raw materials directly from chosen manufacturers, then spin, dye and weave their own fabrics in-house. This gives them ultimate control over everything like quality, weight and hue, but also allows them to keep prices low.

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I love the deep berry colour of this cashmere blend sweater, and it was cheap enough to be an impulse buy when I headed into Melbourne’s new Emporium shopping centre to check out Uniqlo’s first Antipodean store.

It’s thin, but warm, and has satisfyingly long arms (yay!). I bought the medium, and there are two sizes above that, so if you’re on the smaller side of plus then don’t underestimate Uniqlo – especially their knitwear.

It was a regular shopping location for me each time I visited New York last year, and I can tell that the Australian branch will be an essential go-to destination when my pay check is burning a hole in my pocket too.

A good news for Sydney-siders: you’ve got a Uniqlo heading your way, too. A pop-up store just opened in Pitt St Mall, and nearly 1,500 metres of real-estate has been put aside in the new Mid-City Mall for a store scheduled to open in the spring.

 

 

Be-Jouled

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Sweater: Joules

Top: Dorothy Perkins

Jeans: Old Navy

Shoes: Seychelles via DSW

I can’t decide if Pinterest is the best, or the absolute worst.

On the one hand it’s a spectacular way to learn about new brands and a good sourcebook for looks. There’s some great craft projects that I’ve spotted on there, hair tutorials, recipes…

But on the other hand, for a shopaholic like myself it’s an absolutely deadly site. Not only do I see new things to lust after every single day, but it provides me with a constant, convenient place to bookmark things that I discover when I’m virtually window-shopping.

In the past I’d be like “hey, nice dress!” then I’d go onto the next site, and then the next, and then the next, and that first dress would fade from my memory. Now I go “hey, nice dress. PINNED!” and then I can go back and revisit it again and again until it reaches epic proportions of desirability, and then I buy it.

I was looking through my pins earlier today, and frankly I should be ashamed at how many of them I now own. Leona Edmiston Poppy dress? BOUGHT. Melissa Heart toe shoes? BOUGHT. Onyx and Brass necklace? BOUGHT.

Sometimes I hold out longer than others. It took me nearly three months before I finally caved and bought this intarsia sweater from Joules.

Truthfully, I probably could have kept resisting, but my gorgeous housemate bought the fox version, and oh my God, it’s just delicious. So soft, and surprisingly warm, and I love the mismatched cuffs, and wide envelope neckline.

I bought this stripy version just a few days later.

Shipping from the UK was terrifyingly quick – just a few day’s turnaround – which meant I had the sweater in my hot little hands in time for last week’s cold snap. It’s just as lovely in person as Kate’s foxy sweater. Just as snuggly, with satisfyingly long arms, and lovely colours (including elements of my current pet trend of mustard yellow). The length is perfect, and though the hem loses a little shape after repeated wears the rest of the sweater stays as fresh looking as it did fresh out of the bag. And so far, no pilling.

The little bird (a “blue tit” hur hur hur) is woven into the sweater – intarsia style – which means it doesn’t stretch out of shape, flake off, or look tacked on.

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I sized down to a 16, but probably could have actually bought the 14 in the end, as I quite like a fitted sweater. And, look, I’m pretty tempted to go back for more. The french hens maybe?