Category Archives: Fashion

Seduced by the Sales

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Don’t shop the sales! Is what I normally tell people. But every rule has its exception and here’s mine. Shopping online at the very end of the sales can work. Sure, there’s not a great deal left and sizes are few and far between but that just makes it quicker and easier to sift through the dregs. In my case it also happens to be a nice distraction from doing my tax return.

Pick your top 3 websites (I’ve given suggestions at the end of this post), sort by size and see what comes up – you might just find a gem.

Here’s what I’d buy:

Isabel Marant Elmira sequin wrap skirt, now £774 at Matches (was £1,290). If your legs are your best asset, this is a winner. Worn as shown here, or with stilettos and a simple oversized knit, it’s a head-turner, dressed up or down. Note: because the waist is a wrap, it’s adjustable and comes up quite big so you can opt for a size smaller.

Elmira skirt

Image courtesy of matchesfashion.com

Ann Demeulemeester Drawstring Top, from Browns, now £70 (was £170). I can’t resist a black basic. My spring uniform is black leggings, worn with Lanvin patent flats or Nicholas Kirkwood pointy ones, with a slouchy top. This one’s great – long enough to cover the essentials, with a drawstring to make it more than a t-shirt and a boat-neck that’s kinda sexy. Easy, chic comfort.

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Image courtesy of brownsfashion.com

Tabitha Simmons Byron suede ankle boots, now £372.50 at Net A Porter. I have these in black leather and hardly take them off. If I could justify having two pairs, I’d get these as well – in soft, grey suede, to wear in spring with a simple white t-shirt and old faded skinny jeans.

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Image courtesy of Styloko

Bizarrely, my accounts didn’t do themselves while I was browsing. So I have to sign off. But I’ll leave you with these websites. Go forth and conquer.

www.matchesfashion.com

www.brownsfashion.com

www.avenue32.com

www.farfetch.com

www.netaporter.com

How to shop at Topshop

I think I am having a fashion comedown.

This time last night I was still buzzing from an event I co-hosted earlier in the evening at Topshop’s Personal Shopping suite in the Oxford Circus store.

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I have to confess that until I met Melanie Moss (head of VIP relations at Arcadia) I had no idea that VIP/personal shopping in Topshop existed, let alone that there’s a dedicated space for it, inside the store but far from the madding crowds, with sofas for lounging and – last night – martinis for drinking.

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Rose van Cutsem, Melanie Moss and me at last night’s event

When I’m shopping for clients in London, I can usually be found at places like Matches and Liberty where I can find a varied selection of luxury brands. However, I’m a great believer in mixing things up and there are more than a few high-street gems in my closet, so when Mel invited me to do this event with her at Topshop I was excited to see what I’d find.

It was easy putting together my edit because there was so much that caught my eye (my favourite pieces being black sequin joggers, a long net skirt, the teal silk dress I am wearing in these shots and the aerosmith t-shirt in the background of this one).

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As our guests browsed the looks and tried things on, a never-ending stream of friendly, cool girls from the TS Personal Shopping team scurried around fetching sizes and helping Mel & me with styling.

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Another of our lovely guests – Patricia Potter

I owe the PS girls huge thanks for their help and unflagging good humour and I’d recommend them to anyone with a high street budget who needs help choosing cool pieces – or just for a hassle-free shopping experience in an otherwise crazy but rather fantastic store.

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Sequin joggers. Image courtesy of Topshop

Anyway I loved this event and I hope our guests agree that it was shopping at its best: High-octane girlie fun. No queues. And more bang for your buck.

www.topshop.com

Thanks to Catherine Naylor-Leyland for photographing the event.

For more info on Topshop’s complimentary personal shopping service click here

Or to book me for personal shopping and styling please contact me

 

 

 

 

 

Bigging up British basics

I’m in the more is more camp. So it may surprise you to find me posting a piece about a line of luxury basics.

Even the word – basics – brings me out in hives and reminds me of my seriously unfashionable pregnant days when the most adventurous I got was substituting a black stretch maternity dress for maternity-waistband leggings (except for my one ‘going out’ look, an oversized pinstripe Marni dress that…well, who knows where it is now…luckily no longer in my wardrobe).

So. To Sunspel. And the most wonderful basics that can be worn in the most wonderful way.

Here are my top 3:

1. The ‘loopback track pant’ – cinched at the ankle and slim in the leg. Great with sneakers or flip flops (if you live in hotter climes) and a scruffy T or a bit of slouchy cashmere.

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Loopback track pant. Image courtesy of Sunspel

2. A massive, chunky, ‘cellular knit’ navy blue scarf. 100% wool – and not itchy at all.

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Sunspel scarf & shirt, trousers by Folk. Stan Smith trainers

3. A crisp white oxford cotton grandad shirt, oversized but slim through the arms and shoulders. Céline for less anyone?

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Sunspel grandad shirt. Folk trousers. Stan Smith trainers

A few more things about Sunspel.

It’s been around since 1860. It’s a British brand. And it’s one for the boys too. A Sunspel gift voucher is just about the most useful thing you could get for a guy.

Their collection with JW Anderson (who used to consult for them) was wonderful and I’d love to see them collaborate with more/other interesting names in the future…Emilia Wickstead…Richard Nicoll…I can think of several…

If you are simply too much of a die-hard fashion fan to shop for ‘everyday clothing’ as Sunspel call it, you might be swayed by the fact that Dover Street Market saw fit to showcase the brand in New York last month.

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Sunspel installation at Dover Street Market NY, Nov 2014

I’m afraid I have yet to find out whether their sea island cotton briefs are £85-good but if I do you’ll be the first to know.

www.sunspel.com

 

 

 

 

 

No Ordinary Knit

 

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I don’t look forward to autumn or winter. I’m a cold person. I prefer summer clothes to winter clothes. I like bright mornings, long days and balmy evenings. You get the picture. So as the dark nights draw in I’m already dreaming up ways to get through winter. Up there with a trip to India is a huge desire to be cosseted by knitwear and blankets from The Elder Statesman.

Interesting, well made knitwear is hard to find. The first piece I ever saw by The Elder Statesman was in a different league from anything I’d seen before – a chunkier-than-chunky, softer-than-soft oversized men’s black knit with huge, pink flowers on it. Bold, beautiful and just the right amount of scruffy.

I love everything about this brand – the product (supreme cashmere), the ethos (made locally, in Los Angeles), the identity (a cool scrawl) and the man behind it: Greg Chait. (No brackets).

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A knit from The Elder Statesman archive. Image copyright Penelope Meredith

I got a bit over-excited when I was introduced to him at an Easter Egg Hunt in Santa Monica earlier this year. But in spite of my stalker smile, and unperturbed by the bunny ears I was sporting at the time, Greg invited me to the showroom to view the new collection and rummage through the archive of early pieces – all bursting with wonderful, eclectic colour.

I was also excited to hear that The Elder Statesman is opening it’s first store this week – in West Hollywood, LA – a light-filled spaced, stripped back, rightly allowing the product to speak for itself.  I hope this is the start of big things for the brand and that, in time, we may get one closer to home. Though of course it may not look so sunny.

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The Elder Statesman’s Los Angeles store. Image courtesy of The Elder Statesman

The one piece I have – a cobalt blue ‘thermal mom sweatshirt’ that I bought in LA – makes the rest of my sweater drawer look quite pathetic. This knitwear is the epitome of laid-back luxury, which comes at a price (£3000 for a blanket). I will have to work hard to fund my addiction, but each time I wear my cashmere sweatshirt I am transported back to a windy beach day in California. Which is priceless.

www.elder-statesman.com