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International clothing sourcing

In the last week, I discovered that my two favorite clothing companies have moved into online ordering in a realistic way, at long, long last.

One of the problems with moving around is that I keep discovering more places to buy particular products. Alas, I don't always find a store as good as one I've previously found, and thus my favorite sources of clothing in particular are scattered far and wide. The more I am able to mail order, the more of these stores I will be able to continue to patronize, especially since I am likely to be moving a few more times before settling down.

Socks, for example. I've been buying most of my socks in the past number of years from BHS, an all-purpose British department store. I know I can reliably find socks I like there. You would think socks should be easy to buy anyways, but a few weeks ago, before I went to Atlanta, I discovered that it can be extraordinarily difficult to buy nice socks. My problem, you see, is that I wanted socks which felt pleasing to my fingers, soft and cottony. Most of the cottony socks I felt in the store felt rough, and so I didn't particularly want them. In the end, I bought socks anyways, but I still prefer the BHS socks.

Ever since Kuomori introduced me to Gypsy Moon, it has been my favorite source of clothing, hands down. Not only is the clothing lovely and elegant, but it's all machine washable, and decadently tactile. Their clothing is made by people who probably appreciate nice, soft, touchable socks. Except, last I knew, they don't make socks. They make dresses and shirts and skirts and pants. When I heard that the store is only open by appointment now, it caused me a fair amount of panic. It didn't bode well for the continued existence of my favorite source of clothing! Their website, however, makes me feel a bit better - they've clearly put a great deal of effort and expense into it, and recently. They've added in a wholesale category. I'm willing for them to largely move out of retail, so long as they don't go under.

Lambertrand was an Ottawa-trip discovery. I stopped by their store in Montreal, and one year they showed up at the One of a Kind Show. (The One of a Kind show happens twice a year in Toronto, and is full of hundreds of craft, arts, and small-scale manufacturers. Indeed, it's coming up next week. We've gone for several years running now, but Lambertrand was only there the first year.) Lambertrand products have two major drawbacks: they're handwash or dry-clean only, and they are not made by people who appreciate good, tactile fabrics. On the bright side, all their mediums fit me perfectly, and look lovely. Their website now - finally - has a full-fledged webstore, which is a major improvement from the times I've had to call them up to try ordering over the phone and not had a language fully in common with the woman on the other end of the phoneline.

All of this, you see, is why I don't like going clothing shopping too often. It's a challenge to find appealing sources of clothing, much of the clothing which appeals to me isn't made machine washable, and much of it is expensive. I'd rather only buy expensive clothing if it's extremely well made, easy to care for, and will have a long and enjoyable shelf-life. Now if only I could mail-order socks...

Update: Looking through my closet this morning reminded me that I should mention Anne LaRochelle and Excalibor as well for nice clothing sources. Both of them do at least a few machine-washable items. Excalibor's things usually fit me strangely, but, thanks to yearly One of a Kind Show trips, I've been doing better with Anne LaRochelle's things. Interestingly, Lambertrand, Excalibor, and Anne LaRochelle are all Quebec-based company. Perhaps I would buy more clothes if I lived in Quebec, which in itself is a good reason not to move there.

All of these clothing lines are historically or fantasy inspired. Except for BHS and the socks.