I have been in two minds about shopping this Autumn. On the one hand I feel in need of some of that corduroy, wool, tweed (now called “heritage”) and knee high action going on in the high street. On the other, there is that little matter of those colder weather clothes I actually own, forming a moth-fluttering Everest in my spare room.
With the image of that vertiginous pile in my mind’s eye, I’ve been trying to curb my enthusiasm for all the new stuff that’s in. But you know how it goes. A glass of wine; a boring TV programme that the other half is really into; a wifi link and a couple of days later, items I half-admired on shopping sites turn up on the doorstep like uninvited pen pals. I’ve become really, really good at sending things back.
But I haven’t sent them all back. Here’s what didn’t make it back via Collect +.
Easily my favourite thing so far is this Chinti and Parker Moomin jumper. If, like me, you are a little bored of the ubiquitous Bella Freud sweater with “1970” written on it – a date that means nothing other than the 11+ to me – there is another way. Chinti and Parker have a whole range of sweaters for Moomin lovers, cashmere, merino or cotton in the Moomin range. It is NOT CHEAP. But, if the moths spare it, I see myself wearing this under my light grey Paul Smith trouser suit and some gold shoes all Autumn. Plus. I should be able to get Gift Aid on this sweater, the number of people who stop me and tell me how much it cheers them up.
Chinti & Parker Moomin Collection, £350, BUY ME HERE
I have tried, oh how I’ve tried, to cut down on the number of shoes I buy. Then I saw these beauties. They are super comfortable, good with both trousers and skirts, neither too Wintery nor too Summery and if I don’t trash them should be an interesting feature piece for the foreseeable few years.
& Other Stories, ankle strap court shoes, £79, BUY ME HERE
An earlier extravagance is this Paul Smith skirt, which is actually, touchably, indisputably furry (for those of us for whom Wilma Flintstone is a style icon). I’ve fallen back in love with Paul Smith again. I find the women’s styles a little too serious, but now and then, they want to play. Plus, this is the season of the trouser suit, and if you want that, you can’t do better than Mr Smith and his team. (Keep a keen eye out for the sales.)
When I went to collect this skirt in the Floral Street store, the sales assistant lifted it out of the box and commented, “Ah! Another quiet piece!” He knows me so well. I do love leopard print and since it never really seems to go out of vogue, I reckoned this is worth the investment. My love for this skirt is dented only because it rides up under a coat, revealing bits of the Mutton physique that no passer-by wants to see. I need to work round that.
Paul Smith leopard print fur skirt, £220, BUY ME HERE
If the leopard print isn’t quiet then this sequinned skirt is a complete scream. True, I picked it up for $9 (which even with the current exchange rate is virtually nothing) in a shop in Chicago, so it is both cheap AND cheerful. But worn with a black t-shirt and those classic black vans, it works.
Strange one off but you can find something similar but in black, £29, HERE
And now the “The Loves I Lost” section. So many of them I was so close to keeping, but even a terrible old retail reprobate like me has to exercise restraint every now and again – unless I am prepared to set up house actually inside a wardrobe.
I loved the colour and texture of this Mango fur coat, but back it went, because it turns out you can have too many furry coats.
Mango, red fur coat, £119.99, BUY ME HERE
Trouser suits and stripes are two of the big high street trends around at the moment. Ms Lamb and I had a flirtation with this striped combo from Zara. We wanted something more tailored than the pyjama style pants.
Zara blazer, £89.99 and pyjama pants, £39.99, BUY ME HERE
My finally “almost buy” is so nice that I can barely write this without regret. It was ready; it was available; but it was me.The timings wasn’t right. I just couldn’t commit.
I could cheerfully wear this print head to toe without getting bored. Or thinking it strange. It comes in shirts, a (slightly frumpy to my mind) shirt dress (a ‘quiet’ piece, perhaps?), wallets, a rather snazzy rucksack, scarves…. you name it. Some how I think that one day, that monkey and I will get it together.
Paul Smith, various items, BUY ME HERE