During the cooler months long sleeved shirts don’t only give a polished look to the office outfit, but also helps keep me warm. With premium office clothing retailer Rhodes and Beckett on the (accelerated) path to closing down, this may be a good time to browse thru the aisles of heavily discounted garment to add to the office wardrobe. Discount aside, how do their shirts fit? Are they well made? Are they comfortable? In the interest of public service, I have decided to take on the timely task of comparing the Rhodes and Beckett white shirt with one from my favourite label: CUE.
‘Why compare the two?’ You may ask. Well for a start both seem to have a line that is catered towards the office wardrobe of the corporate woman. Both make similar looking white shirts. And both also seem to target the premium end of the market, matching each other’s prices (I recently paid full price for a new Rhodes and Beckett long sleeved white shirt is $159 and within the same season bought at full priced a CUE white shirt at $159, I didn’t realise before that they were matched for price until I pulled out the old tabs as I write this).
Followers of my blog will know I am a big fan of CUE (and not, I am not paid by CUE to say this, although I probably should – hint, hint). CUE’s skirts and dresses, like their shirts and blouses (which is the subject of this post), are well fitted and flattering. Their fabric are quality fabric, and some items are made in Australia (although not all). Their workmanship is also towards the better end of the spectrum (so definitely no H&M quality here). But mostly, I am a big fan of CUE because of how their garments fit me and flatter my body shape- I never cease to feel good wearing their dresses, shirts, blouses, skirts, jumpsuits…
Despite their strengths, the one annoying thing about CUE is that they don’t actually have an enduring line of classic wardrobe essentials that spans the seasons for the corporate woman. The long sleeved with shirt (and the pencil skirt too) that has become my favourite abruptly ended many seasons ago. Searching high and low for a new one as my current ones start to head towards replacement age is a futile attempt: such wardrobe classics are simply discontinued after each season.
So of course in my search to replace classic wardrobe essentials I started to stray. White Rhodes and Beckett coming onto the horizon, I decided to give it a try.
The product comparison:
Appearance and finish:
Rhodes and Beckett white shirt is made in China. The description of the shirt as ‘white satin stretch’ is truly only for the ‘stretch’ and the ‘white’; it is cotton and certainly doesn’t look satin. The material looks very thin, but putting on the shirt it is surprisingly not ‘see through’ (which plaques many a cheap white shirt). Quality appears mediocre, definitely not up to the standard as CUE.
CUE’s shirt is made in China too. The material looks as though it is of a better quality than the similarly priced like-for-like comparison product from Rhodes and Beckett. It feels thicker and finished better.
Cut and design:
Rhodes and Beckett’s shirt has a masculine feel to it: the lack of ‘fitting’ in its fitted shirt (see below), the awkward button positions… there is definitely a suggestion that their women’s shirts are nothing more than men’s shirts made a few sizes smaller.
CUE’s design definitely shows that their shirts are sewn as women’s shirts right from the start.
Rhodes and Beckett’s sleeve length is awkward, and so is button position. Leave one button unbuttoned and it reveals too much cleavage; close it up and it looks overdone. More annoyingly, Rhodes and Beckett definition of ‘fitted’ is definitely not what I expect of a fitted shirt. While the shoulders are exact, the garment sits on the rest of my body like a poorly defined shirt (i.e. too loose), necessitating some alterations on the weekend to make it more ‘fitted’ (thank to mom on her trusty sewing machine!) to my body shape. The point is I don’t expect to have to do some sewing after having paid $159 for a shirt.
CUE, on the other hand, fit my body perfectly. There is little loose material over the bust and waist. Sleeve length is near-perfect, and button placement position is spot-on.
Both Rhodes and Beckett and CUE shirts feel alright when worn. There is enough stretch in the fabric to allow movements and both feel comfortable enough in an air-conditioned/ heated office.
Premium office clothing retailer Rhodes and Beckett is on the (accelerated) path to closing down, and one can see why. Their shirt are overpriced, poorly designed, fit poorly, and definitely doesn’t flatter. Premium boutique fit out and oversized check-out carry bags cannot save it from its critical flaw: poorly designed and finished clothing that is priced way above what it is worth. Its no wonder they are going bust. I’d pick it up if it were on sale and heavily discounted (but probably not online, in case it doesn’t ship now that is is closing down), but I’d still go to CUE any day for office fitted shirts.