I’ve been banging on about Big Stuff recently and, frankly, I’ve bored myself, so this a post about fashion and fripperies and fun.
Actually having a birthday and getting presents after months of being extremely frugal reawakened the old urge to treat myself. Seems like I’ve rediscovered my shopping shoes and they are planted firmly on my feet.
To be fair, (and just in case Mr M bothers to read this), I haven’t bought that much. I’m totally embracing thrift and (temporarily) eschewing the vulgar consumerism of contemporary culture (which I of course adore). Can’t say it’s been that difficult. This Summer the shops were full of the same stuff as last year, so not much to get excited about there. Also, two thirds of my progeny and three thirds of their possessions are now back at home and its impact on the clutter to cat-swinging ratio at home is causing me a mild aversion to Things.
But, like a fashion Mr Creosote, however stuffed my wardrobe feels, I can always make room for that wafer-thin something or other. So here are some brands, new to me, which have caught my eye recently
This is a brand that loves colour and patterns which since I do too, may well be love at first shop. They also use the same patterns across all their ranges, which means you can be as gloriously matchy matchy as you like. And I like. At the moment their floral patterns are like an explosion at the Chelsea Garden Show, so would be a great this season/next season buy in the sale. (My dears, it’s going to be floribunda all over the place this Autumn). I love their zebra print, and I don’t mean some common-or-garden striped print, but an actual print of zebras. (You may all need a moment to process this, in this world of ubiquitous furry animal prints.) Thankfully for the Mutton finances, these have all sold out, but the Essential Antwerp site is one I’m bookmarking. In the sale it’s top end high street price and their styling is pretty cool. PS The bright pink trousers are in my shopping bag right now.
Jupe by Jackie.
This find comes with a £££ warning, It is not cheap. But, my, if you’re the “I only buy a couple of wonderful pieces every year” type of person, rather than the “I go nuts in every & Other Stories Sale” type of person, then this could be for you. This brand makes very beautiful, interesting, faintly Cos-like pieces featuring Indian hand embroidery, and very lovely they are too. Their tops, shirts, skirts, trousers, cushions and homewares seem beautifully fashioned. They will also customise their pieces for you, so you can ask for more or less embroidery, different colours, you name it. But this kind of detail doesn’t come cheap. I see there is a sale on the site at the moment, which makes them a little less eye-wateringly pricy. But aggravatingly their pricing is all in euros, so their clothes are even more expensive at the moment. Here are a couple of the simpler pieces which might have migrated into my shopping basket once upon a time.
At the other end of the spending spectrum, this brand is fun. I love their dresses, their over-the-top shirts and their sassy little suits. Tbh some of them are just a leetle Bette Davis in “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane” for the more cautious Muttons, but with a little sifting, there are some wearable pieces for not a lot of pounds.
Wolf & Badger
I find Wolf & Badger a mystifying concept. I first came across them for amusing crockery and now they have so many brands that I can’t even be bothered to browse. But I have had my eye on these skirts by Marianne Déri, a German designer, who has a bit of a thing about Frida Kahlo
My final choice is a small Hackney brand which does a mean line in stripped down, simple natural fibre leisure wear, boiler suits, dungarees, loose dresses and very, very nice accessories. I wandered in after a delicious lunch (with half a carafe of something delicious and cold) and came out with a large carrier bag. How on earth did that happen?
Usually it is a fatal error to go shopping after a treat lunch. It has led me to many mistakes over the years, including spending a fortune on (literally) a bit of old (designer, darling) rope several years ago. Here it is again as a momento mori of the follies of shopping soused.
But LF Markey had some very nice things. Some lovely things. Not cheap, mind (they have rather nice fluffy sheepskin belts in orange and cobalt blue, but they are £100 even in the sale). Luckily for LF Markey, that large glass of something very cold and white had worked its witchcraft and as I walked into the shop, money felt like a mere bagatelle to me. I tried this lovely leprechaun green jumpsuit and I don’t quite know what happened, but before I knew it I was walking out with a large carrier bag. Mind you, I think it was £160 so probably cheaper than that bloody belt. And I completely love it.
I was also tempted by this lovely broderie anglais sun suit. It just screams “Drop chocolate ice-cream all down me”. It’s in the sale if you’re less clumsy than I am.
I did know of this brand, but not about them. Then one fine day (ok, yesterday) I wandered past a store window and saw this cute-as-a-button skirt. Reader, I married it. It’s a toile de jouy , very soft cotton, but done with prints of Paris. They also have it in navy in a pencil shape. I’m adore it.
One shocking thing to me, as I’ve been travelling to Paris regularly over the last few months, is how much cheaper fashion is there. Usually international shops offer items for the same price in euros as in pounds. But often, I’ve noticed, they are cheaper in euros. This skirt for example, is 97 euros on the Maje France site, £124 here. Annoying. The rest of the collection is nice too: good quality, interesting, sharp.
It turns out Maje is part of the same group (SMCP) as Claudie Pierlot and Sandro and they are all about affordable luxury. I would say Maje is like a cooler, edgier, more interesting version of Whistles. Definitely worth checking out.