‘One of my biggest concerns is just how cheap we expect everything to be’ – Lily Cole
I remember when Primark first appeared on Northumberland street in 2001 and it almost had a Bon Marche feel to it, it was all very basic and dowdy and all I ever bought form there was a few basic t-shirts for my holiday in Australia that year. Back then I was a worshiper at the church of New Look and Dorothy Perkins because they were the only 2 decent clothes shops in Cramlington. Slowly over time though Primark started to get it’s act together and stocked more trendy stuff. Now it’s the go to places for fast fashion.
There seemed to be a sweet spot right around 2009-2012 when everything I bought from there was a winner; everything seemed to fit well, be reasonably well made and last for yonks. Some of my favourite items of clothes I’ve got are from Primark and have washed well:
Apart from the shoes in the first picture I’m H2T in Primark but all this stuff was bought at least 2 years ago
So here’s my beef. I was after some black and white vests to wear on holiday this year so went straight to Primark as they were only £2.50 each. I have 4 vests from there already (2 black and 2 white) which feels like I bought a lifetime ago and the elastic in them is so good in them they practically act as shapewear. The vest I bought this time round were absolutely abysmal. The white in particular were practically transparent. I bought my normal size and they were skin tight and way too short, and the elastic was like an invisibobble; once it was stretched it wouldn’t stretch back rendering it utterly shapeless after one wear. In the end I got some fantastic vest from H&M down the road for £3.99.
It’s not only the quality of their clothes that has gone down either. I have always bought make up brushes from them as well, the hairs never stayed on for any great length of time, but at £1.99 for a pack you could afford to replace them every couple of months and they worked great. Now they’ve obviously used cheaper materials because the ‘hairs’ now feel like they’re made out of barbie hair and just kind of smear the foundation over my face rather than blends it in.
They’ve changed their sizes in the underwear section. Sizes used to go 8-10 (small) 12-14 (medium) and 16-18 (large) and their medium knickers and pyjamas used to fit me perfectly. Now, all of a sudden a medium is a 10-12 yet a large is still 14-16. IT MAKES NO SENSE! And now their medium knickers give me a massive muffin top because they’re too tight. They’ve done the same to their bikinis. I always went for a size bigger in swimwear to fit over my massive badonkadonk and now I’ve had to go two sizes bigger because they come up too small all of a sudden. The sizes of their trousers are also particularly all over the place. It’s not really doing much for my body confidence I must admit.
Now I know what you’re thinking; ‘what do you expect for a couple of pounds you rhino arsed tightwad’? But therein lies my third and final issue. I’ve said many a time that I’m a quantity over quality girl, I get bored easily so I like choice and options. I’m not entirely convinced Primark are as cheap as they used to be to enable me to keep up that attitude. A few years ago I got a winter coat with faux fur collar for £15 (and that was expensive for Primark back then) now you’d pay £25 or £30 which I know doesn’t break the bank but with online brands like Boohoo and Pretty Little Thing hot on their heals competition wise, they’re not the cheapest option any more. Not only are their prices steadily on the increase but their pricing structure doesn’t seem to make any sense. Some standard basic shell blouses (or ‘pub tops’ as I call them) are a fiver, yet what looks like almost the same top but with a few extra buttons is £12. It makes no logical sense and it makes all the hairs on my blonde head hurt. Problem is, I wouldn’t mind paying a little more if the quality was better, or even remained the same, I understand cost of living increases 100% but they’ve hiked their prices up and are using cheaper tatty material. Boo.
I’m not saying I’ve written them off completely, I must have one of their cotton pencil skirts in every colour; they’re so comfy and only a fiver. All I’m saying is, I can see what you’re up to Primark, I can see your prices slowly going up and your quality slowly going down, and I’m keeping a very close eye on you. Sleep with one eye open….