I know I am preaching to the converted on this, but I recommend the styling service at the new John Lewis to you HIGHLY.
It’s free, no obligation to buy (though you WILL) and they are quiet at the moment so book yourself in!
If you are not within reach of the new Westfield John Lewis, the service is available at other branches – there is a branch finder here.
But at Westfield they not only have brand new, massive swankhole changing rooms with loads of space to put bags and shoes and racks and racks of clothes, there are chairs and a 3-sided mirror. They’ll even get you a drink! I had a Diet Coke.
AND at the Westfield they have a section called “Loved&Found” which is where they put all the small, independent labels that they can’t roll out en masse throughout the rest of the store, but they nevertheless want to promote.
My brief to the stylist was: non-awful summer event dressing. Also my new-obsession: CO-ORDS.
If you don’t know what that is, I mean wearing a matching skirt and top, or trousers and a top.
Stay with me. I know it sounds a bit mad but actually it’s the very most modern and new and original way to dress.
There aren’t very many around at the moment that are actually wearable (they mostly come in the form of a bandeau top and a high-waisted bottom-half… not for us, eh?)
My stylist, Lucy, who had the most wonderful bedside manner and was calm and helpful found me a couple of likely-looking co-ords and also went slightly off-piste with a navy jumpsuit, that I never would have picked out for myself, but it was terrific!
My winning outfit, at the top, which I am massively and utterly obsessed by is this skirt-and-shirt from French brand Swildens.
I am so crackersly in love with this, it’s like something my mother might have worn in the 70s and I am now actually EXCITED about maybe doing something in the summer because it means that I can wear this.
The skirt is here:
And the top:
I wear the shirt sluttishly tied at the waist and the sleeves rolled up to beyond the elbow with massive earrings and wedge heels. It can also be worn in a more covered-up Ossie Clark way.
The fabric is beautiful and has a subtle shimmery gold thread running through it. I’m dead. DEAD! I love this so much.
Yes, there is additional financial outlay for both pieces, but they can then be worn separately, too giving you not one outfit but THREE! I am so all over this trend.
I am a standard size 10 and got this in a 36 and it is true to size.
A very close runner-up is this navy jumpsuit from Modern Rarity. It is made out of a crepe with a lovely weight to it and made me feel very businesslike and ready for anything, which as you can imagine is not a totally familiar sensation to me. Far nicer than it has been styled on this model.
If the day of your event dawns and it looks chilly you could add any cropped jacket that you already own – or I like these.
One from Oasis:
Or this from Hush would be pretty:
I also tried on a co ord from Jigsaw, these “mini-splash” trousers
and matching top, which will be online from Saturday – just search “Jigsaw Mini Splash” and it will come up.
This looks like a jumpsuit but isn’t – for any fellow jumpsuit phobes. It is light and airy, not twee but also not madly formal, it would be just the ticket for a smart/casual event like end-of-term speech day things.
With a smart pair of sandals or wedges, your best earrings and your hair done you would look terrific.
I rather love these wedge heels from Boden if you are heading for uneven terrain:
Or these shades-of-Rockstuds, also from Boden were really surprisingly comfy and walkable-in, if the venue is somewhere with more institutional flooring. In fact John Lewis offered to give me a pair and I said no and now I’m kicking myself:
John Lewis have about a million pairs of gold hoops to choose from – I like these:
If you, like me, ever feel slightly allergic to being too formal, offset any uptightness with a crazy bag like this one from Whistles:
… or this one…
But don’t take it all from me! Get yourself down to a John Lewis styling session! Make them work for it.