Fashion

Is the High Street in decline?

Online Shopping

Early reports are suggesting that in the run up to Christmas, the Post Office, a company thought to have been in decline, is now doing better than ever. This is attributed, in the most part, to the boom in online Christmas shopping. It would seem that searching the web for good deals and cheaper presents is more popular than trawling up and down rainy streets in search of that perfect gift, which always seems to elude you.

There is, undoubtedly, more choice on the internet with regards to clothes than any shop could ever hope to offer but surely, when it comes to fashion, the decision to progress from browsing to buying is based on trying the outfit on, making sure it fits, perhaps even finding a matching pair of shoes while you’re there. What we wear says so much about us, it can make or break an event, party and is highly influential on other people’s first impressions. Which is why I am constantly baffled by why so many of us are turning to the internet to source out the next wedding outfit or power suit.

Online Shopping

However, recent perusals of big high street shops is an indication of the move from the real to the virtual shopping experience. New Look, a popular and relatively inexpensive clothes retailer is now stocking up on its autumn/winter collection. It is, to say the least, incredibly disappointing. In an effort to maintain low prices, quality has been severely compromised and (though never the most durable of clothes anyway) the design has suffered. From fabrics to fastenings, it seems all corners have been proverbially cut to save money. While this is encouraging as less people can afford to splash out, in the long term, poor quality fashion will wear out quicker. The undeniable fact is that if you want quality, you have to pay for it.

Yet that’s not the only problem, the current displays both New Look and Topshop are dull and dark; colour, it would seem has alson had to be compromised this season. Both shops promote student discount and so were the go-to for any emergency party outfit or fancy dress costume, whereas now, there is little to entice young people to part with their student loans.

A stark contrast to this is the world of online shopping, where there is a plethora of websites creating a simulacrum of the high street in an easy to navigate space, allowing you to pick and choose what you browse from item (skirt, dress etc.) to the colours that it is available in. It is no wonder, with the ease of access and bright, alluring webpages that many people are choosing to stay indoors and shop, sometimes for hours determined to fing the perfect version of what they are after.

It is a difficult balance to get right. I, like thousands of others, have bought clothes online and mostly, they fit well. But the other day, I ordered a playsuit and it was too big. If I was in a shop, this would be of little consequence, I would simply find the right size and buy that. Whereas now, I have to go through the laborious task of sending it back, getting a refund and then reordering it. There’s a reason retail therapy is so effective on stressful days and the internet just doesn’t quite provide the same cure as standing in a changing room with six dresses on hangers. The High Street is in desperate need of a makeover, I, for one, can’t wait for spring if, at least, for the colours that will return!

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