Shopping in England provides unique challenges, to put it mildly.
To be sure, there are gems to be found, like the fab Dolce & Gabbana culottes I found at a few weeks back at my favourite vintage shop, Corina Corina in Warwick; or the blissful retail therapy that is Oxfam online.
But, overall, I find "high street shopping" here very disappointing. Shops, like the ever-classic Laura Ashley and fun 'n funky White Stuff, with their exorbitant prices and ridiculously miniscule dress sizes - that offer no allowances for the female form - have left me lamenting the loss of my favourite Manhattan shops: J.Crew and Anthropologie.
That is until now!
The DEB and I have been invited to a wedding for one of his work colleagues. It's a big 'do' and everyone is getting "glammed up." There was talk of us girls hiring sarees, but that plan was very short-lived. For weeks, no months, I have been fretting about what to wear, wanting to make a suitable splash. Indian weddings are very colorful affairs. And so, I was determined to branch out, and not resort to wearing my bog standard black!
I search hopelessly to find the perfect dress, and quite by accident, I stumbled across the perfect solution. I discovered the British fashion solution that is Monsoon.
Monsoon is an odd hybrid: part J.Crew, part Anthropologie. Passing their shop in the Stratford-upon-Avon high street, initially, I'd thought, "No way their stuff will work for me."
Being a shapely petite, I had previously been put off by some of their wares, which seem to lean toward a sort of "ethno-tribal" aesthetic. (That's fashion code for "large prints and crazy colours.")
But, quite by chance, I stumbled across "the perfect dress" by Monsoon. A seller on eBay UK who goes by the moniker "HiYouTart" caught my eye. She seems to have been peddling
Monsoon gear on eBay for donkey's years.
On offer recently, was a "silver-grey, silk linen, pencil shift dress" with my name on it!
Not a colour or shape I'd go for normally, but something about it said, "Yes, please!" Without hesitation, I bought it. I waited with bated breath until it arrived.
When it arrived, everything about it was right: the cut, the colour, the fabric, the empire waist, the cleavage-friendly ruched detailing at the wide neck-line...and, it fit like a dream
Trinny and Susannah would be proud!
Success at last!
That settled, the quest for bag and shoes begun. To my surprise, lightening struck twice, and I had immediate success after perusing the website of another popular British fashion retailer, Boden.
Boden's website was breath of fresh air, their look is very J.Crew. And I found the most delightful shoes.
Boden seem to speak my language, here's the description of their cute Embellished Heels:
There’s more than a touch of Marilyn Monroe to this desirable pair, and the kitten heel means you can run for a taxi and still pull off a glamorously dignified look. The single strap fitting across the toe will make your legs look even longer, and the wink of diamante clinches the film-star appeal. Kittenish.
Well, meow, indeed!
And of course, gorgeous matching bag...Hubba, hubba!
In Hamlet, Polonius advises his son Laertes to shop wisely as "apparel oft proclaims the man". Apparel always proclaims the woman, or so we are lead to believe.
I think the one of the greatest gifts of aging/growing up is that you stop caring about tren
ds and what others think. You discover your own style, what works, what doesn't; what suits you and what you like.
So, let's just hope that our recent revelries at The Boar's Head pub for "National Cask Ale Week" haven't taken it much of a toll!
It will be just my luck not to fit in the "perfect dress".
Trust me, it has happened before!
Beers be damned!