Finding - and buying - a wardrobe of basic clothes does not come naturally to Jane and Beryl, who prefer instead a manic, magpie approach. But in the interests of their long-suffering readers they have bitten the bullet this week and are searching for those staples which every WOACA wants and/or needs. To keep everyone happy, they have done it at three price points: The White Company; M&S and Primark. Which came out top? Jane and Beryl rated them not only on fabric, fit and all-round liveability but also price. Read on for a few surprises...


1. The White Shirt

Shirt £79, cargo pants £98, leather plimsolls £75 all The White Company


Shirt £27.50, trousers £19.50, shoes £49.50 all M&S
Shirt £10, jeans £13, plimsoles £8 all Primark











Jane has a collection of white shirts to rival Gieves and Hawkes, and so believes herself to be something of a connoisseur. The White Company's offering stole the show on comfort, cut and fabric. However, at £79, she would think twice about purchasing. She was attracted to this M&S shirt due to its charming frilled sleeves, but it was way too long in the body and Jane is no shorty-pants. Our fashionistas could not find an equivalent in Primark, but this pretty blue and white version is a great value buy at £10.

Winner: The White Company


2. The White Tee


White tee with boat neck £45, jeans £89, Superga pumps £65 
Beneath the forced smile, Beryl isn't exactly enjoying herself. Someone once asked her if she had any sensible clothes? To which she replied, 'Don't be ridiculous, whatever would I want those for?' And this is rather her bother with the basic clothing item, she just can't quite bring herself to actively want them. 


White tee Primark £3
White tee M&S 

 Jane and Beryl are very aware, that the whole shopping experience in The White Company store, is literally snake-charming the money out of their pockets, (gorgeous changing rooms, beautifully displayed product) M&S with its Grace Brother's bust, could take note. Even Primark with its black curtaining and spot lights managed to make Jane and Beryl feel as if they were on stage at the National.

Winner: Primark

3. The Navy Vest

Navy tee £5 M&S, other clothes as before



Navy tee £20, The White Company
Navy tee £2.50, grey jogging bottoms £8 both Primark

Jane has been searching for a navy vest for some time and was thwarted in purchasing one at Christmas in Jigsaw as they didn't have her size, so was keen to hook one on this trip. These three were very similar in shape, but the M&S version scored on price and fabric: although cheap, the Primark vest was so thin you could practically see Jane's cellulite through it. 

Winner: M&S






4. The Charcoal Hoodie



Cashmere rib hoodie £89 The White Company


M&S velour hoodie £25
Charcoal hoodie £7, jeans £13, sneakers £8 all Primark


Umm... Beryl would rather be in the nuddy, than own a hoody.  Even rendered 
in cashmere it isn't raising her pulse,
and in the Primark version she looks like an extra from a 1980s soap. 'Anyone seen Phil Mitchell, is he up the apples and pears?'  

Winner: The White Company


5. The Grey Jumper

Grey silk and cotton jumper £98, The White Company other clothes as before,
scarf from a charity shop

Grey polo neck £13 Primark 
Grey jumper £12.50  M&S

















Jane is not a lover of the grey jumper and does not own one - grey drains her of all colour and she looks...well, grey and therefore rather poorly. She could only bear to put one on if combined with a colourful scarf (above). While the White Company's offering was a lovely shape and consistency (silk and cotton), she certainly would not be spending £98 on it as she finds that expensive knitwear pills just as quickly as its less fancy cousins. 

Winner: The White Company 



M&S
The White Company
Primark














6. The Camel Trench


Trench £198, jeans £89, plimsolls as before, all The White Company



When it comes to a trench coat Beryl is hoping the effect will be  Lauren Bacall in The Big Sleep.



Short trench M&S £45
Trench Primark £15

 The Primark offering in contrast is coming up more like The Small Snooze, and the M&S trench is having a total identity crisis. As these are neither warm nor waterproof, Beryl is struggling to see under what weather conditions such an item would be worn? Her ire however is reserved for the length. Jane and Beryl suggest that most WOACAS would prefer the elegant longer length, rather than cutting a gal off just above a chubby knee. Can she have the rest of the coat please? 


Winner: The White Company




7. The Dark Tee


Black tee £6, black casual trousers £13, plimsoles £8, all Primark

Tee shirt £32 The White Company
Tee with chiffon hem and neck insert £15 M&S

















Another no, no in Jane's wardrobe is the black tee: too much black too near her face throwing dark unattractive shadows onto her visage. She knows, however, that most of you quite frankly, Do Not Agree and love a black tee, so here they are. 

Winner: Primark

8. The Navy Cardi


Navy cardi £6 Primark

Navy cardi £17.50 M&S


A short navy cardi is always a boon in the WOACA's life and can be brought in to play with so many outfits be they fine and fancy or lowly and lovely.  And Jane defies anyone on the planet to turn up their noses at the Primark 100% pure cotton cardi  which at £6 must be the bargain of the week. Naturally, though, Jane does rather worry about what poor soul made it and in what conditions?


Winner: Primark










P.S The reason there is no offering from The White Company is that they do not do a navy version: the black one (right) is the nearest, at £89 (nice neckline though).










9. The Jean

Surprisingly, Beryl rated the stretchy £13 jeans, from the House of Primark. Not designer wear admittedly, but marvellous for mucking out the rabbit or her daughter's bedroom. The White Company ones were a slightly fuddy-duddy shape, and half-way price wise to a super-duper branded pair. M&S jeans have never fitted Beryl well, too hip wingy, and this particular pair were so rigid that Beryl could not get the button done up with her arthritic fingers. Jane tried to help in what developed into an unseemly tussle, Jane emerging with a blood blister, and Beryl finally... with the button done up. 

Winner: Primark

10. The White Plimsoll

Regular readers will know that Jane and Beryl refuse to pay huge sums for a plain white plimsoll on the grounds that they just get filthy in five minutes and no-one can tell where they are from under the dirt. This stands today as the Primark ones at £8 were an absolute steal and not substantially different from any others. 

 Winner: Primark 

Next Week, The Dating Game, Jane and Beryl consider romantic dressing  




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