Fashion and the Cult of Youth are fast friends. Dressing to suit your age once you're past your mid 20's can often be a tricky thing to do - especially on a budget. Being "trendy" or "stylish" in your 30's and 40's can sometimes feel like a mine field with near disasters at practically every turn. Case in point - the seemingly endless stream of ladies who provide series after series of cringe worthy entertainment on the BBC 3 show "Hotter Than My Daughter".
I believe style is like a fine wine. By that, I mean it should get better (though unavoidably, more expensive) with age. There are a few High Street stores that I find help make stylish dressing beyond your 20's less of a mine field and more of a sun kissed, sepia toned frolic in the park (without breaking the bank)... ♫ La la la la la ♫ ...
1. TOAST: Beautiful, timeless yet up-to-date, well made, ethical clothing made from natural fibres (you know you're getting older when you start checking out the fibre content of clothes before you buy them...) No frills (except the AMAZING catalogues they produce season after season) - the secret is in the impeccable cut of the clothes and the little details that make them slightly different from the norm. Trying on IS believing. 'Nuff said.
If I were an item of clothing, I would want to be a Toast coat (or dress, or skirt or shirt...)
2. JIGSAW: Lovely, lovely clothes which are vintage inspired but always, somehow, bang on trend. Their fine knits should be the 8th wonder of the world. I don't know how such lightweight, totally non bulky knits can be so incredibly warm. (I'm pretty sure I heard that they're handmade by a team of artisan fairies who work from a secret location somewhere in rural Italy). Their tee shirts are what I call "hard working" - the sort of tees that make an outfit look like you put a lot of thought into it when really, you just rolled out of bed straight into a pair of skinny jeans and one of these beauties.
If I were a leather good, I would want to be a Jigsaw Bag.
3. WHISTLES: Slightly edgier clothes than the previous 2 labels, but with some great pieces to jazz up your wardrobe.
4. MASSIMO DUTTI: Pretty, stylish clothes with oodles of European flair. I haven't quite made up my mind about the quality of the clothes but I'm happy to shop there in the sale.
And so the boys don't feel left out, Massimo Dutti and Toast both have great Menswear ranges.
Oh, by the way, I now offer a shopping service for overseas readers. You don't have to just look and drool, you can shop - through me! Hurrah!