I am on my usual autumn/winter search for new tops as this tends to be the season for black but I am having an even worse time than usual because I simply cannot find anything in 100% good quality cotton. It’s driving me insane!
My go-to for a basic black cotton top has been the US site of Lands End. In their A/W range’s, they have always done tops in black, cotton, 30in length, 3x, henley/slash/round neck at about $50 – $85; with custom and import taxes, this equates to the same in £ value approximately. I buy, perhaps, six-to-ten per annum in one or two orders – they’ve been my equivalent of the Steve Jobs roll-neck for over a decade.
I have struggled a little with Lands End in recent years because, in the summer months, they have gradually eliminated black for dark navy and, overall, they have taken to adding annoying style details – like ruffles, button and bows – and a synthetic mix to the fabrics of some of their product but this year … I am at a loss – there is not a single black 100% cotton tunic in the A/W range. WTF?
i have read that cotton is in short supply for some weather reason so, I imagine, its’ price has been hiked. I guess most retailers have a price point that they know their customers flinch at. Presumably, Lands End have chosen, in these austere times, to reduce the cotton content of their product rather than keep the same quality and raise prices but, hell, where does that leave those of us for whom quality rather than price is paramount?
I need cotton. I sit all day (in my wheelchair) and cotton is the only fabric that feels good. Cotton knits are the most forgiving in terms of stretch and handling – carers have no regard for precious fabrics or styling so simplicity and give are essential. Cotton washes well and needs no ironing. To date, simply styled cotton jersey clothing has been the most reasonably priced product able to withstand the rigour of my daily living activities. No manufactured fabric is its’ equal. And now, I cannot even get a basic top in it, in my size, in black.
Of course, I have looked elsewhere in previous years and this but with no reliable success. I have tried the cotton blend tops but found the fabric quality unpleasant and the fit variable at best. I’ve seen great design but in all synthetic fabrics. I have occasionally seen good design and fabric but at a much higher price and so much better in quality and design that I baulk at the thought of the havoc to be wreaked upon such a garment in my day-to-day life.
I’ve gone so far as to try a few things: I recently ordered a top that seemed like a possibility – 95% cotton, black, right size – but when it came, D’s first question was ‘what fabric is this?’ It had a horrible shiny synthetic feel and when we put it on the sizing was … just wrong. When designers just add width to make a garment plus size rather than re-sizing the shoulder and arm measurements, it just does not make for a good look. In addition to this, as D slid it over my head, my hand got stuck in the sleeve. He tugged it and we both heard the stitching break. It makes me want to weep. £100 for poor quality, poor design and a poor fit. How many times can I keep doing this?
So, I am back to the drawing board, frantically hunting for something, in a black 100% cotton knit, that I am able to wear which looks good, is comfortable and not so expensive that I am afraid to put it on. Given that I am looking for a designer to help me with +Black, this might be ideal opportunity to go bespoke. If I am able to source what I want, I really will be doing a Steve Jobs and buying 500 (well, maybe 50). I am so fed up at how difficult this is. Anyone else had, and solved, this problem?
Oh, the image at the top here is from Daphne’s Larger Sizes, based in New York, selling online. They have some things I like and I’ve bought from them before … maybe I’ll see if they are able to do bespoke.