I did mention this a couple of seasons back - a shop that over the years I have had a love hate relationship with. When I was at Uni and in my first couple of years of work (mid/late 90's..) my go to shop for a splurge was Karen Millen. Seriously I loved it. I can still remember most of the dresses I bought from there for parties, suits for work, jackets, even bags and shoes (green croc stiletto knee high boots were my prize possession at one time - believe me, they were amazing. Ok at the time... Oh and they had a matching bag to go with them.)
Looking back, when I was in my 20s, Karen Millen could do no wrong in my eyes.
And then the Footballers' Wives came to town and suddenly it went a bit downhill. Maybe it was a case of, it's not you, it's me..... But I have to say, I'm not sure I could forgive the excess lace that started to appear on things. Or the cut out panels..... occasionally filled with something sheer..... Just. Too. Much.
Then there's the price. Well that has just soared. To be fair to them, maybe that's because I hadn't gone in there for ages, then went in and suddenly it was so much more than I'd remembered. And they've probably still in line with their High Street counterparts, I would say cost wise, the likes of Whistles and Reiss.
But when you don't particularly like the direction a brand has taken AND it seems more expensive, your inclination to carry on persuing the dream wains somewhat.
Then something changed. Suddenly there were less rhinestones, less lace in lieu of fabric and there less backless sheer panels (apologies if none of those things have ever appeared on a KM garment - I just seem to be have been assaulted by those images whenever I went in)
But no more. (I'm sure there is the odd Footballers' Wives gem lurking somewhere) but the majority of the store and the garments have, in my mind, come full circle. Back to having that slight quirky edge which just sets it slightly apart from the rest of the High Street.
Alas it doesn't seem to be any more reasonable - I will say that I do think it still expensive. But are we getting what we pay for with regards to quality? I would like to think so and am definitely going to explore in more detail (puppy and half term have stopped any shopping play this week). I will say, having been in occasionally over the past year or two, their stores are gorgeous. Their changing rooms are as good as you get on Bond Street and there is a distinct feeling of luxury in their retail outlets.
However speaking of price, on starting this blog earlier in the week, since then, John Lewis have a Price Match thingy going, following House of Fraser and there's a fair bit of Karen Millen included. Which makes it a tad easier on the pocket.
And I've just gone online and have noticed that you can also get 20% off online at Karen Millen where they have a larger selection (funny that.. ie all their stock. Who'd have thought?) using the code SS1520
So what would I recommend and what do I have on my "to check out" list.
Well, whilst we're on the theme, let's look at dresses. At the moment, all I am asked about is dresses. Ones for every day, ones for weddings, ones for nights out. It seems as soon as it looks like Summer is about to stay, we whip out the fake tan and go a dress hunting.
Karen Millen has some lovely options.
Zig-zag print dress £190 But only £152 at HofF This I think is very Missoni. Now this says dry clean but it's 100% polyester so I would absolutely hand wash it. The same fabric as Whistles dresses which wash like a dream.
Another print dress which I can't work out if I love or don't like. I think I do, I really think I do. I'm not going to lie, if I squint I see stonewash which is the one thing that seems to have stayed dead and buried in the 80s. (mind you, let's not discuss my feelings last year on dungarees. Fickle. moi? Check me out in my stone wash onesie next year - you just wait)
But then I see a lovely soft feathery print in gorgeous shades of blue. I love this style and I love the length. I think the fact they call it a denim print (and it's not even denim - it's just denim colours I guess...) is maybe my issue. Ignore that and call it a blue print dress and I'm sold.
Denim Print Sleeveless Dress £170 but currently on offer at House of Fraser for £136 till Sunday I think I'd like to see it with dressier shoes than this. The shoes aren't working for me. Or for dress down with white sliders or Stans.
Continuing with my new found love of all things midi - a couple of gems from Karen Millen, all with money off.
This one is pretty much the perfect occasion dress.
Karen Millen Pleated Print Dress in pale pink £144 with reduction. I would also wear this out to lunch.
Another super flattering style for anyone who suffers from a lack of waist (or to be honest, this would also be as amazing if you already had one, you lucky duck)
Dot Print Pleated Dress £180 Now £144 at John Lewis. This reminds me ever so slightly of the dress Julia Roberts wore in Pretty Women to the races (hers was a brown spotty one). And as that film always has a special place in my heart (and that is one of the only outfits you could ever really wear in real life, assuming you're not a hooker..) it gets a tick in my book.
Red shades again with orange thrown in for good measure in another midi number. Stripes as well. Super unusual this.
Drape Bold Stripe Dress was £199 now £159.20
And in the black and white also £159.20 This is actually very limited stock at John Lewis but they have lots more stock actually at Karen Millen (use your code above for the 20% off)
More casual now and one thing I do rate is their denim. When I was on the look out for skinny jeans and tried loads on, theirs were great. Excellent quality, great fit (not too low rise) and really not a bad price point, especially when you consider the discount.
One thing I am absolutely in the market for is a new pair of coated skinnies - that I won't keep for best (and ones that don't need dry cleaning - yes, I didn't do that yes, the coating all came off.....)
Karen Millen Crackle Print Biker Jean was £99 now £79.20 This looks like cracked leather. Adore. (but do go in the machine)
More biker jeans that would certainly see you through to the A/W and beyond. I have my By Malene Birger khaki biker jeans that are now five, maybe six years old. They need the zip replacing and I need to do some sit ups to make them slightly more flattering but style wise, I would wear them most days (and out at night) if I could.
Skinny Biker jeans in khaki were £99 now £79.20
More relaxed now but for every day in the Summer, these would be ideal. I (as you can see below) have fallen in love all over again with my loose, faded jeans from last year. Perfect for this time of the season when it's not warm warm but you can wear a tee and a little jacket without boiling or being too chilly. They also look amazing with sandals. Which is handy.
Patchwork faded jeans were £99 now £79.20
More patchwork but this time a skirt. I love this, absolutely love it but I'm slightly unsure of the length. I would hope that it's slightly shorter on me being tall whereas on most it would look fine on the knee. Somehow, being tall, on the knee just doesn't work.... But shape and style wise, it's the denim skirt of the season for me.
Patchwork Denim A Line Skirt was £80 now £64
And the culottes are also on offer ... was £90 now £72
Still haven't managed to find the perfect denim dress - they're all so short! But this one does look like a more decent length. Can also see it working in the A/W with tights and boots. Oh yes.....
Karen Millen Shirt Dress was £130 now £104
And finishing with some jackets. These I think you need to see as an investment in your wardrobe. They will be hardworking little things, going with jeans as well as seeing you to work or to a wedding. One of the reasons they caught my eye is because they are just that little bit different from elsewhere.
Navy and White Striped Jersey Jacket was £199 now £159.20
I have statement jackets in my wardrobes from years ago. In an ideal world I think everyone should add one a year to build up a collection. My oldest is 10 years old and it comes out every year.
Single Breasted Jacket was £199 now £159.20
Haven't even touched the tip of the iceberg with regards to accessories so I think I'll have to explore those maybe tomorrow.
But from what we've got here, thoughts on Karen Millen? Have you always been a dyed in the wool fan or was it never up your street? Or, like me, have you strayed for a few years but contemplating coming back to the fold...?