Sunday, 21 October 2012

Alice, Barbour and lots of wishing

In the good old days, Husband used to have vouchers for Selfridges that he had been given by a vodka company (as a thank you for stocking their product in the bar he ran) - and he used to generously give them to me. So, once in a very blue moon, he would mind the sprogs and I would head into the Big Smoke and ohhh and ahhh in one of my favourite shops.

The only problem is that £250 doesn't go very far in a shop where folk like Will Young talk about dropping 5K in a matter of minutes; but still, there is much joy in grabbing item and after item and trying them all on. That's how I roll in clothes shops - I run around, grab as much as I like and then do one enormous try on session - unlike Husband who has no idea how to shop - and queues for an hour with one shirt and then says 'I needed a bigger size' after leaving the fitting room.... We no longer shop together - after the time on my 30th birthday that we had a row on Selfridges escalators and he went all the way home to discover I had the keys... and he didn't have a mobile phone. Fun times.

Anyway, last winter I was wandering around being sprayed with new fragrances, and then I headed up to the jeans department. I just don't get spending £300 + on a pair on jeans.. no matter how amazing they make your butt look. So I headed back down the escalator and arrived at the Barbour section. I'd always liked the look of the 'country walks on a wintery day' coats so I proceeded to try a couple on. A mother and her daughter were shopping near me and the mum liked the coat I was trying on so much on me - she lifted one and made her daughter try it on. Then we got into a discussion and her daughter preferred one with a hood - whereas I liked the Barbour International Biker jacket. It turned into a group shopping experience that usually happens when I am in the fitting rooms. If I see another woman try on something and loook amazing I always tell her. You can't trust a sales assistnat to be honest - they are always pushing you to buy - but you can trust a fellow shopper - so I frequently as other women if the item I have on screams 'mutton' or 'everything is too big in that.'

So that rainy day, I used the rest of my vouchers, bought the barbour coat and have never looked back. I've had more compliments in that coat than any other item I've ever bought. I'd a private fear that it was a bit Berkhamsted yummy mummy look (as I want to remove myself from that bracket even though that is where I live and yes, I am a mummy) but with a bit of baby snot on the shoulder and pockets stuffed with keys and tissues and toys - the coat is a bit more crummymummy look instead and I'm happy with that.

So imagine my joy when advertiser folk asked me to mention this! Alice Temperley, a fabulous slightly eccentric British designer who dresses the stars : from K-Middleton, to Florence Welsh, J-Lo, Katy Perry etc - joined forces with Barbour to produce The Barbour Gold collection. My favourite piece has to be the Gold label leather biker one - which is just stunning:

Pieces like this (which I know are expensive) are timeless keepers - you can wear this again in 10 years time - so think of it as an investment. If something is great quality you can have it for years. I own one item by Vivienne Westwood - a black pencil skirt bought in 2000 - and 12 years on I am still wearing it - to weddings, funerals, meetings, etc. It hasn't dated and still fits like a glove. So - sometimes, if is a classic piece - I genuinely think it is worth the splurge.

I've always liked Alice Temperley - ever since I saw a photo of her shop:

Her label has run for ten years - and in 2010 Alice by Temperley was launched; a contemporary sister line. I think the whole idea was to have a less expensive, more wearable range of clothes - as pretty frocks are all well and good - but you can't do the weekly shop in them. My fav item in this lot?

This mini black caberet dress. I think it's the pockets that do it for me. Sadly, I don't have any vouchers left, nor am I likely to afford some new threads for a long while - but if I could buy this dress - I would. I'd be hoiking it out of my wardrobe for the next ten years - to dress up for a party, or wear with leggings for a lunch with my mates. So check out the range - maybe write a nice begging letter to Santa. Failing that, there's overdraft, credit cards, or lottery tickets. I'm maxed out on all 3.

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