Monthly Archives: September 2015

Why I love pre-loved

I realised this week that some of the things in my wardrobe I wear the most, cost the least. Not all (take my eye-wateringly expensive Louis Vuitton heels, the price of a small car), but a lot. And these items weren’t cheap because they’re cheaply made or mass-produced – far from it. They were cheap because (while I’m on the car theme) they’d had one or more previous owners.

As a stylist I am always on the job – in constant scanning mode – hunting out interesting, cool pieces for my clients and occasionally for myself. I’ve bought some absolute gems from Buy My Wardrobe over the years, with such success that the cost per wear of these items is now in the pennies rather than the pounds.

Buy My Wardrobe is a friendly London boutique where fashion lovers sell and buy designer clothing. Some of the items have never been worn – and those that have are immaculate (they won’t sell anything tarnished or dated). They currently have a cute, corner pop-up site in Notting Hill’s Portobello Road, where I picked out my favourite pieces and took to the streets.

Here’s what I found and loved…

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Valentino Red black prom dress, £160. (Pictured above and below, with Alaia wool biker jacket, £495). An evening dress where your armpits can breathe is so useful. Plus it will last longer, since dry cleaning doesn’t always remove odour or deodorant marks. These things are important! This cute lbd feels so free & easy. It gives good shape. The taffeta is swishy and fun. At 40 plus, it’s sometimes nice to feel girly again.

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Valentino Red dress, Alaia biker jacket (over arm), from Buy My Wardrobe. Rupert Sanderson heels and Celine sunglasses, my own.

Chanel scallop-edge cardigan, £650. (Pictured below, with Sophie Hulme nude oversized clutch, £195). One hundred percent delicious, luxury cashmere, with a scooped hem, like a tail coat. This is my definition of lounge-luxury. Crawl out of bed, add any jeans, any t-shirt, any shoes – and this. A sumptuous, easy throwover piece that you will never want to take off.

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Both pictures: Chanel cardi-coat, Sophie Hulme clutch, from Buy My Wardrobe. Uniqlo jeans, Rupert Sanderson shoes and Celine sunglasses, my own.

Alaia knitted top and skirt set, £400. Acne silver shoes, £150. Saint Laurent jacket, £895. Chanel bag, £690. (Pictured below). First time around this outfit would have cost just shy of £5k. Each piece is as good as new – and can be styled individually as well as worn together. Wear the silver shoes with jeans, the lace jacket with smart crepe evening trousers, and of course the Chanel bag with everything.

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Saint Laurent jacket, Alaia skirt and top, Acne shoes, Chanel bag, all from Buy My Wardrobe. Celine sunglasses, my own.

Valentino dress, £1495. (Pictured below). More Valentino, this time from the mainline collection. What a dress this is. If I owned it I would be going out all the time. It ticks all my boxes – it shows just the right amount of flesh, it’s classic but unusual, looks elegant and sophisticated and feels AMAZING to wear. Most of the photos are of this dress because I didn’t want to take it off. Who cares if it’s not my size?

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Chanel jacket, £1150. (Pictured below). I sometimes wonder how people buy Chanel first time around when you can go on an exotic holiday for the price of a jacket. (But that’s only my current mood. Usually I’d go for the jacket). This one has the soft, relaxed feel of slipping on an old cardigan with the structure of something more serious. I love the cut of this. It has removable sleeves so can be worn as a gilet too, though I’m not sure I ever would. But if you would, you’re getting two jackets in one. With almost enough left over for a holiday.

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Chanel jacket, from Buy My Wardrobe. Uniqlo jeans and Celine sunglasses, my own.

Ralph Lauren silk chiffon blouse, £60. Celine bag, £550. Chanel jacket, £895. (Pictured below). More Chanel. A cute and easy black jacket with nude-pink fringe detail. A really good, simple piece with just enough detail. I’ve put it with a silk chiffon blouse here, a bargain by Ralph Lauren at £60 (with a camisole to go underneath), but I’d also wear it with an plain white t-shirt, jeans and sneakers.

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Both pictures: Chanel jacket, Ralph Lauren blouse, Celine bag, all from Buy My Wardrobe. Uniqlo jeans, Rupert Sanderson shoes and Celine sunglasses, my own.

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Be quick – the Buy My Wardrobe pop-up store is at 199 Portobello Road until Saturday 4th October 2015. After that you can visit them at their usual residence on Seymour Place, W1.

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You’ll also find find them – and me (selling my wares) – at the Roof Gardens designer sale on 17 October 2015. It’s a ticket-only event. I’ll post more info next week. Hope to see you there!

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Inside the Buy My Wardrobe pop-up shop, 199 Portobello Rd

Buy My Wardrobe, 17 Seymour Place, London W1H 5BF. Tel: +44 (0)20 7258 7548

www.buymywardrobe.com

 

Photography: All photographs by Catherine Naylor-Leyland unless stated otherwise.

Please note: I take no responsibility for availability of any of the items featured or the prices quoted. I am always interested to hear your views on my selections and suggestions. If you like what you see here, please feel free to share it and credit me as the source. Thank you!

Love thy neighbourhood – PRESS of Primrose Hill

There is much to love about Primrose Hill. It has exquisite, battenberg coloured houses, beautiful green spaces and endless street cafés – plus it’s a cheap cab ride into town if you can’t be bothered to walk across the magnificent Regent’s Park to get there. But what I love most is the fact that the high street doesn’t (yet) look like every other high street in the country. Here you can find some genuinely independent, interesting boutiques with passionate owners who remain at the heart of this rather special neighbourhood.

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Chalcot Square, NW1. Image courtesy of relocatemagazine.com

One such place is PRESS, a small but perfectly formed womenswear store run by Melanie Press, who cleverly combines ultra-wearable basics with new designers and vintage finds. It was here, 8 years ago, that I bought my first high-waisted jeans (by Nobody…I have yet to find a pair I like better), here that I discovered R13 (the most I have ever spent on a t-shirt…and the most-worn item in my wardrobe) and where I recently stumbled across NLST (more about that later).

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Melanie Press outside her Primrose Hill boutique

This lady has her eye on the ball and her team are great (don’t let the buzzer at the door put you off – just ring the bell and a friendly face will let you in). Melanie, Amelia, Charlie and Laura all have their own distinct style which means they can all give you a different intepretation on a piece. The people I shop for are all different, but I can find something for each of them here.

This week I went to PRESS to see their autumn-winter collections. Here’s what I found…

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Wearing R13 wax joggers, Mr Start shirt and vintage bag, all from PRESS. Nike trainers, my own.

R13 skinny boy jogger. £319 (above and below). I’ve always loved the R13 brand for its lived-in, cool vibe and these luxury joggers do not disappoint. They’re subtly waxed to look a little bit like an old pair of leather trousers, they’re warm, slouchy and narrow on the leg so the shape is refined enough to wear with heels. They have a non-bulky drawstring waist, great for hiding winter comfort food. And since I have yet to find any interesting jeans this season, these will be a great substitute.

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R13 wax joggers, Mr Start shirt and vintage bag, all at PRESS. Nike trainers, my own.

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Mr Start belle pique shirt. £149. (Above). A terrific cut. Oversized but flattering, in crisp,  white poplin. The most perfect white shirt.

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Gat Rimon navy sweater. £120. (Above and below). Unless you want to spend a small fortune on a Proenza or Barrie knit, winter woollies are usually pretty dull. So I was thrilled to find this chic sweater which happens to be a great basic with a bit of detail. It’s 100% merino wool (the soft type, not the itchy type), it’s washable (by hand) and the sleeves are lovely and long to cover part of the hand when you’re hugging that hot mug of tea. It’s fitted enough to tuck into a midi-skirt, loose enough to wear over jeans. Also available in grey and black.

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NLST sleeveless coat and navy Gat Rimon sweater at PRESS. Golden Goose jeans and white Gianvito Rossi stilettos, my own.

NLST sleeveless peacoat. £989. (Above and below). I can already hear you saying ‘I’d at least want sleeves for that price’, but the beauty of this is that you can throw it on over anything in your wardrobe and feel instantly cool. The heavy Japanese wool makes it warm (honestly) and snug, it has muff-type pockets lined in ultra soft corduroy and it’s got slits at the side so you can get in and out of the car without it all bunching up. I never want to see a cardigan again.

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NLST sleeveless coat and Gat Rimon navy sweater at PRESS.

NLST stripy T-shirt. £140. (Below). My NLST obsession continues with this t-shirt. It’s relaxed and oversized but you still wear it rather than it wearing you. It feels light and soft (the fabric is a cashmere blend, hence the hefty price tag) and it’s just so easy.

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NLST stripy t-shirt and Vanessa Bruno leather skirt, both at PRESS. Worn with Louis Vuitton shoes, my own.

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Vanessa Bruno danaid black leather skirt. £380. (Above). Squidgy-soft leather, with pockets (another obsession of mine) and endless possibilities for styling: A chunky aran sweater, tights and ankle boots – a sexy silk blouse, bare legs and heels – or a simple vest and flip flops in summer. Plus, the elasticated waist means it can be worn on the waist or the hips, depending on how much leg you want to reveal.

Speaking of revealing a bit of leg…

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Gat Rimon kimono and vintage leather belt at PRESS. Balenciaga shoes, my own.

Gat Rimon Ruth kimono. £195. (Above). Sex this up by turning it into a dress (belt at the waist, add heels and you have the quickest, easiest evening outfit of all time). It’s short but the fringing adds just enough length and stops it looking like a dressing-gown. It could also be worn dressed-down, to liven up a pair of skinny jeans and a simple white t-shirt, with scruffy old Converse or some cute flats. Christmas party? Summer festival? A year-round, throw-on party piece that comes in solid colours too, if the print is a bit much for you.

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Citizens of Humanity jumpsuit at PRESS. Saint Laurent shoes, my own.

Citizens of Humanity stereo jumpsuit. £365. (Above and below). I am still not bored of onesies and boiler suits. This one is soft, slouchy and feminine. It has buttons at the back so you can adjust the boy-fit and the fabric is lovely and light with just the right amount of distressing. I like that it can be worn with sandals in summer or layered over a polo-neck for warmth in winter. Another year-round piece. If you’re indecisive, this is your outfit. One cool item, add shoes. You’re done.

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Citizens of Humanity jumpsuit at PRESS. Saint Laurent shoes, my own.

A final word about neighbourhood shopping in general. Remember these are smaller stores that don’t carry vast amounts of stock, so if you find your size in something you like you gotta be quick!

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Image courtesy of modemusthaves.com

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Sweet things at PRESS. 3 Erskine Road, London NW3 3AG.

+44 (0)20 7449 0081

www.pressprimrosehill.com

 

 

Photography: All photographs by Catherine Naylor-Leyland unless stated otherwise.

Please note: I take no responsibility for availability of any of the items featured or the prices quoted. I am always interested to hear your views on my selections and suggestions. If you like what you see here, please feel free to share it and credit me as the source. Thank you!