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Published November 13th 2012
When the brand says Rivers and the store says clearance
Years ago I discovered Rivers on Collins Street. I found I liked their line of clothing and shoes. Their loose fit shirts and comfortable shoes were just right for plodding along on those warm summer days. What a pity their prices had to be that high was my lament. And then they opened a factory outlet right around the corner at Uni Hill Brand Junction, Bundoora. I can't quite say if I manifested a deep desire or happened to be at the right place at the right time. Suffice to say, I'm a frequent flyer where this shop is concerned.
The place is huge. To the left of the entrance is the men's section and to the right is the women's section. The children's section come somewhere beyond the middle. As far as organisation goes, that's the limit. But there's a method to this madness and you'll find your way around without too much trouble. Racks of shirts, tops, pullovers, cardigans, skirts, shorts, denim, summer jackets, as well as formal work wear follow one after the other. Then there are the scarves, caps, belts, and socks.
Material ranges from pure cotton to polyester/cotton mixes. The floral print seems to be quite ubiquitous in the women's section as if heralding the arrival of spring. Bright oranges vie for attention with spectacular pinks and bold prints where summer skirts are concerned.
Shirts come in close fit as well as loose fit and the latter are what I make a beeline for when I'm at this store. They are ever so comfortable in warm weather and convenient when you know you're going to pig out with friends. Full Length sleeves, quarter sleeves and sleeveless, they all fit well across the shoulders and have varying lengths from short to mid-thigh length. At a regular store I'd have got two and left with sad thoughts about the ones I'd been forced to leave behind. But here, I don't have that problem.
The men's section seems comparatively dark and sombre. No bright colours here; it was taken over by blacks and browns with a touch of maroon and the occasional red. Looks like Rivers don't believe in colour for men. But what they apparently lack in colour, they make up for in terms of quantity. Endless racks of shirts, t-shirts, and shorts of all sizes are lined up against the wall.
Rivers has suitcases and travel bags all lined up neatly like they're ready for action, or the immigration perhaps. There are also travel accessories and backpacks in funky colours made of leather as well as polyester material. I found a whole range of them with Australia emblazoned across in big letters. Not quite sure if it's a brand name or a reminder where to head back once you're all funned out.
Right at the back of the store are the shoe stands. The music here is normally Country & Western or old 90s hits and it compels you to slow down and try out a few pairs. Not that I need any prompting. What's different about the Rivers range are the unexpected colours their shoes come in. I found myself trying on pairs in bright reddish-orange, teal, yellowish-brown, and even green. They're attractive and sturdy but don't look for sexy, sophisticate types here; it's more about comfort and a down to earth style.
Rivers has online shopping for their entire range of men and women's wear and accessories. If your order is over $100, you get free shipping. You also need to have at least a $20 minimum worth of stuff in your shopping cart. The shopping routine is easy. You pick what you want from the category section, then pick your size, add to cart, and make your secure payment. And you're done shopping.