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Is Primark worth all the hype?

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Primark Plush Velvet Leggings

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Face it, Fashionistas. We all love a fashion bargain. We fought tooth and nail for the perfect Michael Kors boot of the moment at the Intermix sample sale. We woke up at the crack of dawn to celebrate the Outnet $1 Anniversary Sale. We stood in the rain for the Louboutin “private” sale. So, what’s the next fashion conquest on the bucket list? We decided to take a stab at entering a Primark while on a little vacay across the pond. Our thoughts are…..mixed.

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This store is supposedly on it’s way to the US and is known to rival the likes of Topshop and Zara. Picture it – Oxford Circus, London, a swarm of avid shoppers that rivals the tourist-y chaos of Time Square, albeit with relatively polite people that say “sorry” as they smash into you on the sidewalk. Here, one of the most iconic Primark stands. The gargantuan crowd that is entering this locale has a very “black Friday/rugby scrum/someone screamed, ‘fire’” characteristic, causing sheer panic and mild fear. (Is this clearly the best idea?) We trudge on and allow the momentum of the people pack push us into the store. Inside, we see what one would expect from a fashionable bargain chain, a plethora of packed racks and hundreds of frenzied people grabbing, pushing, looking and in that “zone.” You know the zone – the kind that is half hypnosis, half hysteria.

For a store that is known to be the cheap alternative to stylish wear, the goods are disappointing. Many things look great from afar, but once you get up close, you see the shoddy make-up and sub-tier workmanship (as the internal reminder of sweatshop pops into our heads). The studded purses feel like plastic imposters and the shiny, jeweled necklaces resemble gumball prizes. The attempt to copy Vogue-like trends is there, but the project was apparently completed by preschoolers with a $2 budget. Amongst the trend pieces, we see (GASP) holiday wear that (OMG) are Yuletide onesies – Santa, reindeer and the like.

"I don't think we're in Kansas anymore, Toto."

After all the poking, prodding, touching and hours of letdown, we settle on a pair plush black leggings and a cute Harlequin-esque Circus t-shirt (that apparently is marked-down sleepwear) for a grand total of 11 British pounds or $18. I mean, seriously, can they possibly ruin leggings? Not so fast…

At first glance, these “made for comfort and warmth” leggings look fab. They are soft and appear to be “up to par” to ward off the winter wind. The size small is unusually LONG. At a soild 5’2”, we scoff at this detail considering the price. (And let’s face it, petite leggings cost more even though there is less fabric!) We hold our breath at how they might look on as “added warmth” usually means “added pounds,” also known as “sausage casing” pants. But, alas, no added size. SCORE! And are they warm? Heck, yes, they are and comfortable to boot. We feel accomplished after all that bargain hunting. They are SO comfortable they are worn more than once in a week. But, before we go patting ourselves on the back, there is a downfall. For starters, after two times, it’s pill city. The fabric pills so easily, you’d think you rubbed your behind on a brick wall. No worries, it came off with a razor. Secondly, after further inspection, we discovered the dye from the pants transferred onto our new white Gap tank top. #%&! Not cool, Primark, not cool!

As far as the shirt goes, it lies neatly in a folded state, unused. But, somehow, we think it will be washed separately.

Our conclusion? These pants are clearly worth the converted $14 we paid – maybe even less…and only wear with black. Pretty sure it won’t last past this winter. The high of what could have been the “best bargain ever” has worn off.

Fashionistas, you have been forewarned!

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