Last month I thought I'd try something I'd not tried before - have you seen these crazy-discounted online fashion sites where everything is one fixed price?I was intrigued to read about Everything5pounds.com which - you guessed it - sells everything at the one single price point of £5. Sounds too good to be true? Sounds like it could be a pile of poo? Maybe, and maybe. But I thought for the purposes of this blog I'd give the website a whirl... What could possibly go wrong?!
(This is not a sponsored post, by the way)
How it worksFirst of all: How can they sell everything for just £5? They describe what they sell as "high street fashion", and from what I can tell (this info isn't easy to find), they sell excess or unsold stock from various different retailers - I assume they bulk-buy to keep their own costs down. So I don't think they're seconds or rejects per se, but let's face it... you're NOT going to find a Jaeger or LK Bennett gem in there.
With this site it's no different to shopping on any other site to be honest, you just don't have to worry about what anything costs as literally every single item is £5 - no exceptions. They sell everything from shoes to clothes to accessories to menswear to kids clothes, and a few (not worth it) homewares. Generally there is a lot of tat, but it's reasonably stylish and occasionally you'll come across a complete gem that you love.
However, unlike a lot of good retailers (the ones I like shopping from most), you DO have to pay for postage and you DO have to pay for returns. So although each item is £5, you have to factor in those costs, and overall it'll make each item cost more than a fiver.
I set myself a budget of £50 (10 items!) and got shopping. I've got a summary of what I bought below - I just thought I'd start with the positive and show you the outfit I did end up keeping.
Just as a guideline, as postage is based on weight, the pieces I bought would have cost me £8 in delivery charges, but I had a discount code for free delivery. Ordinarily, had I paid for delivery, the (spoiler alert!) three pieces I kept would effectively have cost me £7.66 each. NOT including return postage price, but that's just getting complicated if I start trying to work that out.
Starting with the good - what I keptThe images here show two items I did end up keeping - a red sweater and leopard print joggers. The shoes, bag and necklace are pieces I already own.
Surprisingly, the leopard joggers were the item I loved the most. Granted, they're polyester, but that means they hang quite heavy which is perfect for joggers because you don't want them to look pouffy and bulky. I love the harem trousers-style (hiding all manner of cake-eating sins) and those elasticated hems which are always flattering with a super high heel.
And secondly the sweater... I didn't fall in love with the sweater quite as much as the joggers - I would have liked a bit of extra length in the arms - but I was after a red sweater anyway and I liked it with the leopard. It's not amazing quality (acrylic), but it doesn't look cheap and nasty. I have yet to see how it washes, however...!
Styling the two pieces I added some bling in the shape of a black and gold pendant and then went against the (black) grain and added a tan tote bag, not black. It absolutely needed high black heels - the combination of a pointed d'Orsay shoe (love these) and those hems is soooo flattering in my book.
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For warmth I had to keep a long-sleeved t-shirt on underneath - I rolled up the sleeves just to keep the overall look a little casual. And that's pretty much it - the main part of an outfit for £10. (And I LOVE the outfit BTW, in case you were wondering.) Though as mentioned you have to take the costs of delivery and returns into account, so the question is, Was it worth it?
I'll show you the rest of the outfit first then give you my thoughts on the other items and the whole process!
What I actually bought
So you've seen two pieces I kept - here are all the pieces I bought (with reviews for each) and then my shots of them laid flat at home. I thought that would be better than showing them on because the quality is the main thing for me here. Clothes look different on everyone: What looks awful on me might look good on you, and vice versa. This is everything I bought...
Top row, L-R: Espadrilles | Red sweater | Cream joggers | Leopard joggers | Watch
Bottom right, L-R: Sheer black top | Sheer white top | Heart necklace | Maxi dress | Velvet dress
As you can see the pieces are pretty stylish, but you have to search hard for them. My usual trick of sorting search results by price doesn't apply here of course, so you have to wade through pages of goods until something catches your eye (even with filtering by style, size and colour).
As you know I kept the red sweater and leopard joggers, but here are the other pieces as they arrived, not ironed or anything... You see them as I found them straight out the parcel.
Espadrilles: In theory these would have been a success if they weren't too small for me. I always, always take a size 7 in shoes and these fit more like a 6... much too short at the toe. The problem with sending them back? They come in a box so not only does that make your return parcel heavier but larger too which all add up to make the parcel more costly.
Verdict: I've kept them to see if I can resell them and break even.
Necklace and watch: Both were okay. As you see the necklace turned to be by Lipsy, but I didn't like it enough to warrant spending £5 on it. Now the watch I really liked - I like a bit of antique-style when it comes to watches - but unfortunately the clasp (which they didn't show on the website) was links. I have incredibly tiny wrists so I nearly always have to pay for links to be taken out, and in this case that would cost as much as the watch itself.
Verdict: Both returned.
Sheer white top: The problem was the neckline - it was far, far too low. I'm not one for showing a lot of cleavage so this didn't appeal. I might have kept it if it wasn't for that, however.
Cream joggers: I've shown a close-up of these simply because it was the poor quality that put me off. As well as being very thin fabric, the elastic of the waistband was nasty and had imperfections all over it.
Verdict: Not impressed at all - returned.
Velvet dress: I took a bit of a chance with this one, thinking that you never know, it could be fabulous. Nope. The buttons were plastic and cheap-looking, threads were hanging off and the crushed velvet was just horrible.
Verdict: Couldn't get it off quick enough - returned.
Maxi dress: This was probably the biggest disappointment of all... I absolutely loved this dress in the picture. So much so that I thought if it turned out to be fabulous on, I'd wear it to the UK Blog Awards in April. Whilst the dress itself wasn't too bad, it just didn't wow me as much as I thought it would. And then there was the belt. Oh GOD, the belt!! The picture here just doesn't do its utter gruesomeness justice at all - it was sewn onto the dress (not easy to get off without leaving a hole) and the part that looks like metal was probably cardboard covered in plastic. If you look closely you can see a crease in the bottom strip. Enough said.
Verdict: Most definitely returned.
Sheer black top: At last, something good! I was after something sheer to wear a pretty bra underneath, so I went for a white top and a black top. The white was fine but too low cut - this one was great. The bobbled texture stopped it being too sheer-looking and the quality isn't bad. This will be worn in a blog post in the near future for sure.
Do I think it's worth buying from a £5 website?Hmmm... that's actually quite tough to answer. It's most definitely hit-and-miss, and you have to take into account the postage you pay and the return postage you may have to pay. Here's a summary of my thoughts:
- DON'T buy shoes - they may well not fit and they're expensive to return being large and heavy.
- DON'T buy bulky coats for the same reason.
- DON'T buy anything for a special occasion (wedding, party etc.) - the quality is just not good enough for somewhere smart or classy.
- DO buy basics for everyday occasions: Walking the dog, lounging about at home, workwear (if you don't need to be super smart or work somewhere corporate) - or for layering.
- DO take a chance on small items like tops and accessories as they're cheaper to return if needs be.
- DO buy knitwear if you live somewhere cold and warmth is more important than quality or style - you may get lucky.
So I hope this has helped - I'm not saying Everything5pounds is the only site out there, but I can imagine it's a typical example of what these sorts of discount sites are like.
HAVE YOU SHOPPED FROM THIS OR SIMILAR SITES BEFORE? WHAT WAS THE OUTCOME? DO PLEASE SHARE YOUR EXPERIENCES IN THE COMMENTS OR TWEET ME @NOTLAMB!
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Disclosure: This post wasn't sponsored by or in collaboration with everything5pounds.com in any way.