I’m often asked which are my favourite clothing brands for fashion and style. I usually stumble and mumble a bit and don’t ever really come up with a good answer. So, the aim of this post is to rectify that.
Now I shop all over the High Street and for me it’s not so much about targeting brands “for the over 40s” but mixing your brands when you’re over 40, so that you end up with a great balance of pieces that will stand the test of time, mixed with fun, light hearted, dare I say it “on trend” pieces, to keep it interesting.
There are so many great brands out there that this is going to be a 2, or a 3, part post. Many of the brands I have worked with, some brands are online only, some are fledgling and some are well established – but to me they all offer something fabulous.
- Best for a buzz in your tummy – Topshop
It’s no coincidence that this is my first category. Buying clothes really should give you a buzz in your tummy!
For some reason, when women get to a certain age, they stop going into Topshop. They feel intimidated, as though it’s not a place that they belong anymore. Well I would just like to say, WE WERE THERE FIRST! It’s everyone else who is on our patch, not the other way round.
Our Selfridges (Birmingham) has a Topshop concession and the buyers buy “for the Selfridges customer” – so that’s a good tip if you’re feeling out of place in a stand alone store. I love the stand alone stores too, for the energy, the fashion, the accessories (especially the shoes) and the fact that there’s a good selection of sizes, colour, print and trends. If you’re after something that makes your heart skip a beat (even if it’s only a pair of sparkly Star Wars socks), Topshop is the place.
I have to say that Zara comes a very close second but the state that the shop gets in, plus the queues, really puts me off. When you find a gem though – oh the joy! And I also love & Other Stories but there isn’t one near us and I’ve never really got to grips with the website (is there actually a search function there? If so, I can’t find it!)
Bardot dress Topshop (£65)
2. Best for quality staples that never go out of fashion – Jigsaw
Jigsaw has been one of my favourite shops since I discovered it when I was at Law School in Chester, way back in 1991. It’s had its various ups and downs but it is really strong at the moment. The price point is better than it was (I found that it became hugely expensive) and they really put a lot of effort in producing clothes in great fabrics, which stand the test of time. Their lacy camis are fabulous as well as their jeans (good rise, not embellished etc) and I always love their winter coats. I like how they tap into trends but in a way that works for their customer – and they have some really fabulous pieces, which I wrote about here
Silk front batwing top Jigsaw (£75) – Jigsaw repeat this style every season and it’s one of the best tops there is!
3.Best for quirky tailoring – Cos
I love a good mooch around Cos and even more so, I love finding those pieces that I can’t quite work out which way up or which way round they go. Cos clothes have that cool, scandi vibe about them. You will find lots of cotton pieces which are simply cut. Whilst there is print and colour – now even more so – you won’t find a lot of frou frou going on. Don’t let the website put you off – the styling is very strong but not necessarily to everyone’s taste – but they do have some fab clothes. I love their quirky knitwear too.
Cos colour block jumper (£69)
4. Best newcomer on the block – Sosandar
Sosandar is a brand which is going from strength to strength. It was established by Ali and Julie, who had spent 20 years working in fashion magazines. They create “buy now wear now” fashion at great prices and they put a huge amount of thought into their designs. You will often find a sleeve, a good length, poppers that don’t “un-pop”, a lining where you might not expect one and the shoes are made of the best leather. Each piece is created in Sosandar’s in house design studio and is made in limited runs.
White and navy Bardot top Sosandar (£45)
5. Best for everyday, stylish basics – Baukjen
Baukjen is brilliant for simple, stylish pieces which are made in great quality fabrics. It’s the place for an off the shoulder top (with a good length); a simple T (with an interesting back detail) a halter neck dress (in a floaty fabric that’s not too tight) or a stylish 50’s shaped shirt dress. I love their use of stripes, spots, subtle slogans and metallics. And they produce fabulous smart/casual work wear which is so appropriate for the office these days. Oh and their leather leggings always receive rave reviews.
The relationships that brands have with their factories and their workers, and where their clothing is produced, is of more significance than ever. Baukjen has a whole page devoted to those issues on their website, which you can read here
Marley shirt dress Baukjen (£129)