Progress is the most marvellous thing!
Take womenswear. We now have a proliferation of technical fabrics, which provide stretch, swing, lift, wick, heft and can all still be chucked in the washing machine.
Then we have a whole load of women designers, like Phoebe Philo and Jane Shepherdson, who go “We’re all wearing trousers and trainers now, okay? And also maybe some loose, floor-length all-you-can-eat maxi dresses. ”
SORRY WHAT DID YOU SAY?
I CAN PUT AWAY THESE STILETTOS? AND THE BODYCON DRESS?
And then there’s the internet, which cuts out the middleman of shops and overheads, allowing us access to design and quality that would otherwise be unaffordable; allowing us to shop quietly and calmly at 9pm, after we have spent a day just doing shit for other people.
It’s all a bit of a perfect storm at the moment and two of the whirlwinds are ME + EM and the new line from Samantha Cameron, Cefinn.
I can’t think of better friends to the working woman than these young brands, both run by hard-working, multi-tasking women.*
When I look at their clothes, with their perfect fit, modernist style and elegant colours I find myself almost wanting to be a slightly harassed female executive, who nevertheless does the school run and goes for drinks after work, so that I could justify filling my wardrobe with this.
I am often asked about good workwear, so in the name of journalism I went to see some of the current Cefinn stock, including their now slightly culty Dipped Hem Midi Dress and fell in love with one or two other things, which I post for you below to have a look at.
None of this is cheap but the thing is, to design and manufacture clothes responsibly in quality fabric isn’t cheap. No new, independent brand wants to price themselves out of the market, it costs what it costs.
The good news is that this is all worth the cash. This is not an ad, by the way, and I was not gifted a dress.
I did pre-order a dress for SS19 and chose one in a mad turquoise animal print, which is so not the sort of thing I normally wear that I feel I bit sick, but also excited and quite modern.
That’s progress for you.
And also in a very jaunty, zesty lemon.
Which brings me to talk about colours; I occasionally get emails from other redheads saying that they’ve never worn certain colours because they’ve been led to believe that they shouldn’t, to which I say what utter utter utter crazy bullshit.
And why is it only ever redheads who are given rules about what colours to wear?
You know, it feels faintly racist, like what you’re saying is that we should all just be locked up in a Scottish castle somewhere playing a harp in a green velvet tunic. I know we only make up 2% of the population, but it doesn’t mean we’re dangerous mutants. (I fucking wish. KABOOOOOM!!!)
Everyone ought to wear the colours they fancy – go and get your colours done if you must – but it can also be trial and error. No, not all colours will suit you, but the idea that someone ought to unilaterally decide for you like some creepy style ubermensch isn’t okay.
*first person to say “Brexit” or “Tories” loses.
Sarah Robson says
I’ve yet to try on/buy anything from Cefinn but really admire the cut & wearability and as for Me+Em she’s nailed it for me. I know the models have ironing board chests but the clothes still work for me & I’m old enough to be their granny. Fabric & cut: nail those & it’s sorted. In one. (Or maybe two…)
I know I don’t understand why they use such thin models
That red dress looks gorgeous on you. Hate to say it as i know it drives you bonkers but when you do have slender, toned and young (ish) arms you should make the most of them. The clothes are a bit conservative for me (please note l/c c) and a bit too corporate as I work in the creative industries but I think it’s a fabulous collection for women who need to battle in the boardroom but who want to demonstrate flair and style.
Sarah Robson says
Btw the yellow is fab with your colouring 💛.
Sasha B says
Literally lol @ “should be locked up in a Scottish castle somewhere playing a harp in a green velvet tunic.” Totally agree on Cefinn and Me & Em. Gorgeous stuff, great cut and flattering as hell – I have several Me & Em’s in my wardrobe but have yet to indulge in Cefinn but those dresses are gorge. And that yellow dress looks fabulous on you Esther! I hope you bought it x
Sasha I didn’t! I simply can’t justify it. But I did splash out on a pre-ordered crazy printed dress which will arrive in time for Christmas parties. xxx
Can I ask about Me&Em -would their designs work on a 5ft 4 size 12? All their models look so tall that I’m worried it is pitched at the long and lean. I work in PR in Financial Services so this kind of look is perfect for me – now just to save up a bit !
I know – I’m baffled as to why they use such giraffes… yes it would work but you might have to get some of the trousers taken up. Fran who is on IG at TheFashionLift is a big fan of ME+Em and gets trousers taken up as she is I think 5ft4. The sizes are very generous but like all these things sometimes you have to just take a chance and order a whole load of stuff and see what works xx
Thank you! Luckily I have found a local sewing lady who can take stuff up so I’ll take the plunge.
Do! Report back. I’m pretty sure they have free returns if not free delivery x
I unexpectedly gave birth to a red head and what amazes me is just how amazing she looks in ALL colours! It’s almost as though red hair is a neutral and goes with everything, I find it astounding.
Clothes look fab, I gave up the harried corporate role but still hanker after the clothes…
Different colours just change what red hair looks like – so in citrus colours it looks more blonde and in fucking GREEN you just look like something from the Dublin Castle gift shop scowl
The blue dress is particularly stunning! (they all look great).
Louise K says
Oh my god I would never even have looked at Cefinn until I read this. Now I’ve trawled the site and I want everything. Gah!
The red dress is great!!!!
Nothing to do with CeFinn, which looks excellent & beautifully cut, but you’re passing comment on hair colour has opened the box! I fall under the redhead banner, albeit a strawberry-blonde, marmalade-in-some-lights melange of frizz, cowlicks and curls. I highlight the shit out of it to give it a lift but it’s blondy-red. One of my daughters has exactly the same hair and I’m on WATCH for any fuckers at her school who are thinking about pulling the ‘ging’ / ‘ginga’ nickname. It massively pisses me off that redheads are seen as fair game for teasing; the worse hair colour. What people fervently pray they don’t get when they’re pregnant. It’s so offensive. When my twins were born I had doctors and nurses queueing up to joke with me about the milkman because one of them was a redhead. Fuck. Off.
And yes to the green velvet. The assumption that all redheads look best cavorting in shades of green in County Kerry is just bonkers. My view is what colours suit you has nowt to do with hair colour and everything to do with your skin tone. Simple put, you need to match the colour to your skin. For example, I’ve got cold-tone or blue/tone skin so I’d never wear a colour that has a warm tone to it. Some colours are always warm (I’ve never found a cold peach colour) but I’ve got an acid yellow mini in cold tones that looks cracking next to my skin. Trial and error, and a good A Level art teacher who used to bang on endlessly about tone and would never let us use black & white.
To this end I’m wary of beauty counters who take one look at my hair and try to put me in brown eyeshadows and bronze lipsticks to ‘complement it’.
This was highly cathartic. Redheads are awesome but not all of us suit bronze lipstick.
Simply put, not simple. Jesus! This was an incoherent mess. I blame the sun.
It gave me a good laugh tho
Sarah Robson says
Ok I’m diving headlong into the what suits a redhead discussion. I have a cool skin toned, blue-grey eyed bright redheaded 21-year old daughter and two middle-aged red-headed nieces (generation-slip family) & due to them all having different skin, eye & hair tones & quality, they can’t all wear the same clothing colours. So it’s just like any other colouring. It’s just that redheads are only 2% of the population. Age makes a huge difference too to the individual of any hue: what I wore in my 20s I can’t wear now. I had my colours ‘done’ again recently & it was liberating & a bit expensive…. but it’ll stop me wasting money on the wrong clothes. Forgive me if I’m stating the obvious!
Jacqui shaw says
I don’t normally respond to items I browse on the net ( in fact never ) , but I just had to let you know , in my opinion the yellow mid ribbon dress looks fab on you , and again it’s not a colour I would associate with redheads ….. but it just ….. goes …. beautifully .
Thanks Jacqui, I simply don’t have anywhere smart enough to wear it x
Thanks Jacqui! If only I had somewhere smart enough to wear it! xx
Sarah Robson says
Btw when I used the words ‘cool’ and ‘bright’ I was referring to skin tone & hair colour!