Sunday, July 22, 2012

Review: My experience shopping Dorothy Perkins Petites

Update - I do not recommend shopping at DP, unless you are okay with having nonexistent customer service. Their customer service is the worst I have ever experienced out of any retailer in my years of shopping. After sending back my returns according to their instructions, it took over 35 emails from me over a span of 3 months to receive any sort of assistance from them. Their customer service is outsourced and only reply about once a week, often with one-sentence, automated messages stating that they cannot help (or accusations that I did not return items I claimed I did). Since this post, I have also received numerous emails from readers sharing DP customer service horror stories covering a wide variety of issues. I apologize to anyone who may have ordered from DP based on this post of mine, and experienced the same issues.

After reading Sydney's post about the UK retailer Dorothy Perkins, I was very intrigued by their petite offerings in size 0P-14P. I signed up for emails to get a 15% coupon code, then ordered a small assortment of items (blouse, blazer, dress, and pants) to try on for quality and fit.
Before I delve into details, some overarching notes: sizing and quality is similar to other UK fast-fashion retailers Asos and Topshop (but lower prices than the latter). The Petite 0's I've tried from all three brands fit similar to H&M sz 2, and feel smaller on me than American size 00Ps. Thus, I would suggest sizing up from your usual American clothing size. Shipping to the US and return shipping are not free (when I ordered, they were having a free ship over $75 promo). We are spoiled by ASOS's policy - which I now realize is very generous and convenient for an international retailer.
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Petite Chain Link Sheer Blouse - Now $27 from $49 plus get extra 15% off from emails

Thoughts: I am a sucker for chain print and really liked the easy-to-wear cut of this blouse. The yellow and blush pink colors were soft and feminine. I was slightly surprised by how sheer it was but that can be addressed with a skin-colored bra (which I have on in the photos) or under tank. My favorite details were the double-placket buttons down the front and small collar, which adds a pop of print when layered. Fit was "casual" (but not oversized), and the length worked well even un-tucked.
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Measurements: My 0P measured 16" across throughout, 22" front length, 23" back length.
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Verdict: I liked many things about this top and debated over keeping. However, with my slowly-but-surely-growing wardrobe, I couldn't see myself getting enough wears in to justify the price I paid ($41.65). I just went back online and saw that the price was cut to $27 (and eligible for the 15% off newsletter coupon). I would have kept it for that price.

Next up, my favorite item from my order was this white linen blazer, but it was not perfect as-is.
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Thoughts: I've been looking for a new white, classic, single-button blazer. I couldn't have asked for a better fit in the torso - this blazer was slim cut and contoured to my upper body, but not so tight that it was pulling across the back...

Even without a vent, the back view was flattering on me. The quality was good for the price with lightly textured linen fabric and was fully lined in 100% cotton. The sleeves were slightly wide (but that's something I've gotten used to taking in), and were also ruched up with additional button detailing in the back. They would only be 3/4 length even if I let down the ruching, and I had my heart set on full-length sleeves.
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Measurements: My 0P measured 13" across shoulders when using just the seams, but 14" with light shoulder pads included. 20" length down back, 16" sleeve length, 16" across armpits, 13.25" across waist when buttoned up, and 5.25" across sleeves.
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Verdict: I hemmed and hawed over keeping this jacket as it was the best white summer blazer candidate I found so far. I had tried on others and didn't love either the roomy fit, quality, or price points. In the end I couldn't look past the sleeves, thus returned.

I also ordered two items which I didn't bother take clear photos in:
dperkins6
Petite Floral Pocket Dress - was $69 now $39

This dress called out to me online, but when I saw the print in person it was drab and mediocre on me. The quality was good at 100% cotton and fit me very similar to how ASOS petite tulip dresses fit (except my chest wasn't compressed here). The torso area worked well on me all-around, but the hips have a few inches of extra room due to the pleats and tulip silhouette. Even though this dress was a quick return decision for me, I am glad to now have some gauge on how their petite-sized dresses fit, for future reference.

Dress in 0P measured 15" across the armpit, 12" across the waist, 13" torso length, 19.5" skirt length, and 17-18" across tulip hips.
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Petite Cotton Sateen Capri Pants (comes in 4 colors), now $27

Lastly...these pants which looked unspeakably bad on me. The waist and hips were slim, but the legs were also narrow - I believe the snugness of the calf area contributed to the pants constantly bunching up on me with every step. I also didn't like the slight sheen of cotton sateen. These were a definite return.

Pants in 0P measured 13" across waist, 8" rise, 16.5" across hips, and 23" inseam.

Clothing quality aside, some other notes from my first shopping experience with DP:
Processing & Shipping: I placed my order 6/25 evening. It shipped on 6/27 and I received it 6 business days later. Even though there was free tracking, it was very inconvenient to dig around for the tracking # link. Packaging was a large plastic mailer bag like ASOS, but all items arrived on hangers.

Customer Service: Literally one day after I placed my order using a 15% coupon code for signing up for emails, I received a new promo via email for 20% off. I immediately contacted customer service asking if they could make an adjustment. After writing a few more times (first got a generic automated response that didn't resolve a thing, then some long delays before real human responses in strange English), no one ever resolved my inquiry.

Returns: Returns are accepted within 14 days of package receipt. You need to go online and obtain an RMA returns number to write on your order slip. Cost is out-of-pocket, and for me it was over $16 to return four items to the UK via untracked, uninsured airmail. I absolutely dread waiting in line at the post office on a Saturday, but I chalked that time and cost up to "experimentation."

All in all, I'm pleased to know that the sizing of DP petites has potential. The quality in my opinion was fair for the price, but it may differ based on the fabric. I would order from this store again if I were really in love with the design of an item and fairly sure it would work out (to avoid the cost and hassle of returns), but I would not pay retail because they have a promo going on every other week.

On a last note - if you can wear regular sizing (2-18, which again I suspect run a little smaller than typical American sizes), the selection is much more extensive. Here are some dresses in reg sizing only that I was eying - would have ordered the ivory sheath if sizes weren't sold out.

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Readers - Have you ever shopped this brand? If so, please share your experiences or tips!

61 comments:

  1. If you do lots of shipping and returns, if you purchase your shipping and materials (free!) on the USPS website - you can avoid the wait at the post office!

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    Replies
    1. I did used to enjoy that service for some domestic shipping, however I asked and they don't allow that for international packages due to custom forms.

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    2. If you know someone with a stamps.com account, the custom forms are built into the stamps.com postal label. I don't know if Endicia has that feature but I would assume so since both companies pretty much mirror in features.

      Helen

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    3. But you can! You just have to get those clear international sleeves - you can either ask nicely at a post office or order them through the website. I've been able to ship internationally successfully without waiting in line!

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    4. "Unknown" is correct. If you print the customs forms online using paypal or stamps.com, then you can schedule a USPS pickup at your house or drop it in any blue mailbox. (I've done it a zillion times in Brookline -- it does work!)

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    5. p.s. The link to print with PayPal is below. You don't even need for it to be part of a purchase to print postage.

      https://www.paypal.com/us/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_ship-now

      Delete
  2. I have heard of Dorothy Perkins, and I have noticed many bloggers modeling really cute clothing from that particular retailer. I have not shopped due to mainly convenience.

    Shipping things back are exactly what I dread. Getting refunds + cost of time in transit, you could look at a month until you get your refund.

    For international brands, I like to watch Ebay for deals. It's pretty much hit or miss if you want the style you're looking for though.

    Helen

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  3. Ooh, a brand I know! I live in England!
    DP has some gems for workwear occasionally, but the quality is not that great - slightly better than H&M with decent seams usually, but they sometimes take lazy shortcuts like not lining dresses or skirts which renders a light and breezy summer fabric see-through and unwearable.

    I liked the blazer a lot, but the 3/4 sleeves can be limiting if you have long sleeve tops.

    Also, on English sizing, I think you may have missed the correct 'translation'. English sizes are 2 smaller, so a UK 10 = US 6. I'm sure that at the smaller end the sizes get a bit more random, but in principle if you are in US 00, that would be a UK 2. Maybe that explains why you feel a UK 0 comes up smaller than expected - it's a US 000!

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    Replies
    1. Hi lululocket! Thanks for sharing your insight as a UK native : )

      I just went to the site again, and there is a disclaimer saying all the sizes listed on the US site (and thus, the sizes listed in my post) have already been translated into US sizing. So even after their conversion from UK to US sizing, a US 0P / UK 4 from DP still fits smaller than 00P from a US brand like LOFT.

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  4. I had a similar experience to yours with Dorothy Perkins. I ordered quite a few items at acceptable prices, but I found the sizing to be inconsistent with different items. A cardigan, which I kept, fit well in a 2, but a blouse in the same size was uncomfortably small. I too ordered and returned the chain print blouse. Because of the unwieldy and expensive return process and an issue with customer service I doubt I will order from them again.

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  5. Cute clothes, but given the inconvenience, I wouldn't go to the trouble.

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  6. i've been wondering about this brand after seeing it all over the internet the past few weeks. thanks for the review!

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  7. I really like how the outfit looks overall... But what are your thoughts on dips in the back? Is it ok to be worn untucked? There's so much tops I like with that dip in the back and haven't bought because I don't know how to wear it. LOL

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  8. I've never ordered from DP online, but when I was at Oxford last year, I popped into their store every now and then. I was never impressed enough with the quality to buy much, but I did buy a black pencil skirt for my matriculation that fit me requiring alterations--something I'd never experienced with my 23" waist. (That said, it was sort of trashy looking. I think it was the kind of thing you wear with a tube top for clubbing but I wore it under sub-fusc robes so hopefully it was okay?) Thank you for posting about your experience!

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  9. I had been eyeing that purplish dress! I'm a bit bigger on the bottom than you, so I might get it! Can you share the 20% code or is it a personal code? If you can, please share! I'll order today...

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  10. I've been wondering about this brand. Seen them a lot lately. Really cute stuff. Sorry to hear about the disappointing shipping fees/customer service.

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  11. i love the shorts you're wearing in the first few pictures! where did you get it from? and as usual, i love your thorough reviews of these new brands--i always check your posts for sizing suggestions and special deals!

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  12. i discovered dorothy perkins in april 2012 and since then i have purchased about 15 dresses. i absolutely love this brand. it's not always Really Well Made but I tend to get tired of close or wear them out in 6 months to a year so the construction is fine for me. Every single dress has fit my body type to a perfect T. I actually have the a-line version of the dress you have posted here. i ADORE the print and get tons of compliments. i like how long it is (since it's not the petite version and i'm 5'4 it's almost tea length but not quite. i'm a bit bigger and so their dresses work GREAT for curves (no idea about pants, i wouldn't order those online :( )

    so glad you've discovered this brand and i hope you shop with them again and hopefully are a bit happier the next time around with the pieces! here's a secret (or not so secret) about DP - you should NEVER buy anything full price. they have a sale every 4 days or so. sometimes it's on just dresses, sometimes it's one day, sometimes it's two weeks. and if you aren't worried about missing out on your size, you can just wait as everything seems to go on sale :)

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  13. ug "clothes" not "close" - silly habit!

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  14. love the sunglasses. Who makes them?

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  15. What happened to the giveaway?

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    Replies
    1. the giveaway winners were on the previous post.

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  16. I shopped at Dorothy Perkins several times ago but I did not satisfy with the items I bought. The shoe size were larger than I thought even I already convert it to my US size, still it was too large. I end up giving it to my sister since it fits her very well. I prefer US online shopping like tobi.com or sugarlips.com and such simply because it is easy to return.

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  17. thanks for the thorough reviews. you are always so informative and detailed. too bad the blazer didn't work out. it looked great on you!

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  18. jean, you looks so cool in those aviators! aubs told me about dorothy perkins too. i need to check them out when i have a moment. i do agree i am spoiled by companies like asos and nordie with their free shipping. i hate buying stuff that requires me to pay for shipping especially if i end up not keeping the item and have to pay extra to return.

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  19. Thanks for the detailed review. I haven't heard of DP before but will probably check it out since I like those 3 sheath dresses that you showed that weren't in your size. From afar, the floral dress looks like a cute print, but that hapens to me too sometimes when something looked better in a picture than in person.

    xoxo,
    Suzie Q
    www.StyleCueBySuzieQ.com

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  20. You have the BEST reviews! I have been eyeing (and pinning) items from Dorothy Perkins for months, but as with the other UK trendy retailers, I was unsure about whether the quality/fit would warrant the hassle about overseas shipping and returns. I might have to take the plunge and experiment with those chic sheath dresses!
    xx
    Here&Now

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  21. Dismal customer service, mediocre quality clothes...my order took 3 months to shp, and my inquiries were never answered by CS. ASOS and J Crew on sale are better options, IMO. Warehouse UK & Boden are two other good alternatives as well.

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  22. On your white linen blazer. I just brought one from a Michael Kors Outlet for $19.99, transfers from the retail store (originally like $140 or $160). I don't know if you live near one, but you can always call around, and they do ship for a $15 charge (it'd still be cheaper and probably better quality than the DP one since you'd have to alter that one anyway). I like how mine fits I'm 5'2" and wear a size six. It's a bit oversize but still cuts nicely (it's longer like at the butt area). I don't know if all MK outlets got them as transfers, but I know the one near me (the Philadelphia Premium Outlets) maybe one or two left in a 0.

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  23. I haven't shopped this brand before.
    But I love its outfits.
    Beautiful and my daily style.

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  24. Thank you for being very informative. The floral dress looks beautiful.

    octoberchic.com

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  25. Have you tried Miss Selfridge?? Much better clothes and quality in comparison to DP in my opinion

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    Replies
    1. Miss Selfridge prices are closer to Topshop's level, but in my opinion, the quality often doesn't justify the price.

      Delete
  26. thank you for this review Jean! i once ordered a dress from DP, and it was too small. the return was a stressful bit, as the shipping cost to return the dress was almost as much as the dress itself and it took an eternity to get to the UK. i wouldn't be able to do that kind of shopping again unless i was absolutely sure about the sizing. but since i don't, i will admire it on other bloggers like you! xox P

    phiphisblog.com

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  27. i like your outfit, so simple and casual. great inspiration!

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  28. i haven't been back to the site in a few wks bc when i checked out their petite dresses, there were such limited variety. it seems the regular sz ppl have the best selection.

    great review though on a new petite brand.

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    Replies
    1. I agree - Dorothy Perkins can have some great stuff, but the petite range is often quite limited compared to the regular range. They also tend to bring out the same items in 4-5 colours instead of having a wider range of different items to choose from.

      Delete
  29. love the white dress...all the pieces are amazing!

    xoxo
    Mady

    thegirlfromthemirror.blogspot.com

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  30. Try out miss Selfridge. Its more fitted for petites compared to DP.

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  31. Those aviators don't flatter your face, I think u look much better in your other sunglasses!

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  32. love these outfits.
    a bit different from the rest of your outfits.

    - fan girl :D

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  33. I LOVE LOVE Dorothy Perkins - recently discovered them and have already placed several orders. I wear a US size 00P and so far, everything I've gotten from DP either in a UK size 2 and a few size 0's has worked perfect!! I love how unique and different the styles are. I adore all their dresses. For the record I typically get 95% of my wardrobe from Banana Republic, so DP is a different more fun look for me.

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  34. Good post. thanks for sharing! It is so hard for adults to find extra petite clothes! I am a 00 and experience alot of frustration as well.

    I have found the European sites to carry smaller sizes.

    As I reference in my daily style journal:

    http://whatiworetolife.blogspot.com

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  35. I really like that blouse. That was the one item that really stood out to me. However, I hate having to deal with shipping so I most likely would pass on this brand; especially when I tend to be between sizes.

    <3 Maggie
    http://lovestylehappiness.blogspot.com/

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  36. Never shopped there but did see that she had some cute items to offer. Thanks for takin' one for the blog team and ordering (and returning) for experimentation purposes. I may have done the same. :)

    kat
    aneyeforfashion.blogspot.com

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  37. hi there, love your look. Would you let me know the lip stick you are using for this photo? Thanks! Ang

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  38. You're beautiful!!

    And Love your clean style!

    Follow?

    Love,

    Nadia

    http://ethereallycrisp.blogspot.com/

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  39. LOVE the Chain Link blouse - so chic!

    xoxo
    Cassidy

    http://norebeccaforayear.blogspot.com/

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  40. http://miladyfairy.blogspot.com
    BLOG. RUSSIA.

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  41. You rocked this blouse! It goes so well with the cuffed shorts. I doubt I could pull this off. I don't wear shorts/skirts/dresses i.e. leg-baring clothes as often as I'd like due to my infamous toothpick-thin legs. My legs are naturally skinny, been like that all my life, and still I feel self-conscious when I show them. I love the feel and look of skirts/dresses but I can't pin down what silhouette would work best for petite storks like myself. Any pointers, anyone? Thank you :)

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  42. I like the chain blouse (especially with the yellow - don't see too many chain print yellow items), but $41 is steep for something so simple. I also really liked the floral dress on you (though I prefer more of a boatneck look than v-neck). The tulip shape is darling on your figure! The front and back view look flattering, though the side seems to puff out too much for the rear. Thanks for the detailed review! I don't think DP is for me - I'm too cheap!

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  43. As someone from the UK who now lives in the US - don't bother with Dorothy Perkins. Their sizing is odd...and quality is terrible for the price. I find the fit of their clothing to be 'frumpy' and most often very boxy. I have been disappointed with everything I ever bought from them, despite it looking great on their websites.

    Instead, you might try TopShop, Oasis or Warehouse (though I don't know if they do 'Petites' or not). The smallest they offer is a UK 6 which according to size comparisons would be a US 2 but really I find it closer to a US 0 and possibly 00. American brands and vanity sizing is out of control!

    For higher quality garments I like Reiss, Whistles and Karen Millen.

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    Replies
    1. Oasis and Warehouse don't have petite ranges, but their clothing is generally higher quality than the DP/H&M level (with price tags to match). I'm 5ft/UK size 6-8 and have often struggled to get Oasis and Warehouse clothes to fit well - waist too low, shoulders too wide, sleeves too long etc.; their size 6 also comes up very loose in tops on me. If you want alteration projects, then they might still be worth a punt. However, I personally wouldn't order from Warehouse again after the long delay I had in getting a refund for returned goods - and I live in the UK!

      Delete
  44. Hi Jean!

    I saw a similar chain link print blouse from Nordstrom and thought I'd let you know!

    http://shop.nordstrom.com/S/lush-sleeveless-chiffon-blouse-juniors/3338125?origin=category&fashionColor=TURQUOISE+PRINT&resultback=2960

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  45. Hi!

    I'm from UK and DP is one of my main & favorite brands to buy (Love ASOS and H&M aswell). I am a rather weird shape (Uk Size 10/12), narrow shoulders big bust, no hips and really long legs (30% body/torso and 70% all legs) however I find these 3 brands fit me really well. I agree with the above fellow UK reader, that DP quality isnt as great as H&M or ASOS, however I find that they are improving every year. Over the years DP was a 'granny' brand and has slowly updated its range to reach the younger audience. I have a few shoes mainly pumps from DP as well and find they do really nice nude heeled pumps that are not too high! They are fab for work trousers though!

    Great Blog Jean, even though I'm not a petite (and really quite the opposite) I love catching up on your blog because of the style tips!

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  46. This is a such a gorgeous look, Jean! Funny, I recently purchased a Dorothy Perkins blouse in yellow too. Just about to blog about it :)

    xo,

    Carolina

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  47. I've gotten several great dresses from DP - BUT the first time I ordered, I ordered over $350 worth of clothes. I had to opay $150 in customs fees that I was not expecting. While I love all of the dresses and shorts I received from DP, the inconvenience of shipping and the customes fees will hold me back from ordering online there again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Same here! I ordered $135 worth of items after hearing about it from this site. Three days later, I get a bill for $50 in customs fees. This is despite USPS rules that clearly state that packages under $200 are not subject to customs fees. But the fees are handled by a third party contractor, so I have no recourse against DP (who says they shipped it so it's out of their hands). It's absolutely absurd that they do not make it clear that as a US resident you may be hit with these charges (it is in tiny type in their policy page) AND even if you were willing to accept custom fees, you would never think that they were almost half the cost of your purchase!! I'm furious and no matter how well these items fit I will never, ever purchase from DP again. Absolutely shady practice all around.

      Delete
  48. Jean, you're always such a great resource! I just ordered a couple pieces from DP, but nothing petite. I kinda ordered on a whim... hopefully everything fits. I used a 20% off full price promo and free shipping over $75. So not too bad. We'll see...

    Funny story about the stripe J.Crew blazer. I called so many stores (the one you had mentioned too) looking for an XS with no success. I decided to wait until the additional 30% off sale praying they'd still have my size. No joke, 5 days later, sale! So glad it fit. Oh the life of tracking down the pieces we love, ha!

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  49. Your blog is amazing! You make a great model, great pictures! Already a follower =)

    <3 Kelly
    SavvySelections.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  50. I am a Brit/American who recently moved from London to New York and I also had a terrible experience with Dorothy Perkins. I wanted to replace my jeans and ordered exactly as the label read without checking the size chart (I didn't think I needed to). They ordered a 10 and they sent a 14. I thought they made a mistake, but apparently when shipping to the US they automatically convert the sizing. There's nothing I can do except pay $50+ to return ship or keep the merchandise I cannot wear. I was intending to re-order the correct size, but now I don't want to deal with them at all.

    What further angered me was that they are not running a proper US operation, but rather some confused mix. They don't have US customer service (but rather the typical rude UK call line), don't exchange and won't subsidize international shipping costs. Their operator asked me if I was 4 hours behind (what? no one in the US is 4 hours behind the UK) and when they said a supervisor was not available but could call me later, they called me at 5:30am the next morning.

    I don't see why anyone in the US would ever shop with Dorothy Perkins. They don't permit exchanges and require you to return to the UK at your own expense. There are so many great competitor options domestically, I would strongly advise not to shop with them.

    ReplyDelete

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