A great find

As I've mentioned numerous times, one of the reasons I've started this blog was to hunt down (which is code for having a legitimate excuse to spend hours browsing online for gorgeous things...) new and "different" brands and websites. 


Is it the Aquarian in me or is it just the bolshy 40(something)yr old something that loves the unique.  I was talking to a friend the other day and I think it can be summed up as:- "You get to an age when you don't want to look the same as everyone else, but you don't want to look too different". 

Clear as mud no?  But nail on head at the same time.  The trying to create your own "look" that isn't entirely eclectic but just has a slight twist to the mainstream. 

Which is really quite difficult to do when you buy purely from the High Street.  Or, for that matter, if you are able to buy purely designer.  If you look at the big high end fashion websites - the Matches, the Net a Porters, the My Theresas of this world (even The Outnet) - they still all pretty much showcase the same designers.  Especially when we're talking "reasonable" (which are relative) prices, as opposed to items £500 plus (of which there are many - the majority in fact).

The High Street itself seems to be getting smaller.  There really aren't that many brands out there that are easy for us to shop at when you get to a certain age.  Especially when we're so time poor.   The odd item from the odd shop yes.  But the core shops that we shop in - well I think that circle is shrinking.  Warehouse, French Connection, H&M (which I genuinely now think stands for Hit & Miss), Topshop, Mango, M&S and Zara.

Which is why I tend often to turn to online.  I have made no secret of my love for a fair few of the growing online retailers as they're far less ubiquitous than their HS counterparts.

And when it comes to writing the blog - I am very aware that I do reach out to the same retailers and websites - as we all do when we shop.  We tend to head to the same places - as does everyone else...

So I was pretty giddy when last week, on heading over to Notting Hill I found what I thought was a small, interesting boutique.  Tried on lots of stuff (particularly as they had my current new favourite brand I have been stalking and seeing everywhere), had a lovely chat with Robert the manager and discovered they had an online site as well.  

Am I the last person to discover Wolf & Badger?.  You know on Facebook it "magically" brings up pages you may like which clearly correspond to sites you've looked at?  Well about 10 of my friends *like* the W&B page, so clearly I'm pretty late to the party.

In a nutshell, I've found out they have two boutiques - one in Mayfair on Dover Street and one in Notting Hill and LOADS loads more online.  All independent brands.  Differing price brackets and I can guarantee something for everyone.  That you won't find everywhere else.  And that's the key for me.  I've found out (from the lovely Robert) that they're not necessarily unique to Wolf & Badger but they are all independent brands, so you definitely won't find them on every high street or on every big fashion website.  From what I can work out - the majority of them are British too.

So as well as finding something less ubiquitous, I love the idea of being able to support an emerging brand as opposed to a hugh fashion powerhouse. 

Now the other thing I can guarantee is that you will spend ages online browsing.  For this I apologise.  Ish.  You can then thank me when you find that perfect dress, bag (I still have to check out the bags.. I got distracted), top, shoes that you've been looking for but couldn't find elsewhere. 

First up a dress brand which I am so so pleased I tried on as it looks great in the pics but you really can't appreciate the quality for the price from the photos.  These go in the washing machine and need no ironing.  Come to Mama.





So I tried it on in the white - this is the 8.  And actually it fits pretty well.


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They didn't instore have it in the black which would probably be a lot more practical. 









And I tried it on in the 12 which was very oversized so would need the 10.



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Tanya Elizabeth Ashley £100  Didn't see this one instore but Perfection in a dress.



However I did mention my favourite brand at the moment - only to be found in small boutiques and online - the rather wonderful Rixo.  (and of course it's more expensive - arrrggghhh).

Keep seeing this dress on some of my favourite boutiques on Instagram as well as their own Insta account and it's this that I saw in the window of the Notting Hill Wolf & Badger which made me go in.  I LOVE this dress.  Seriously seriously love it.  The perfect Summer dress that would take you to a wedding and then on the school run the following week. 



I just need to look like this.  I'm not going to lie... I might be *slightly* bummed that I bought the Self Portrait dress for the 7yr old's First Holy Communion and am desperately trying to find an excuse to get this too.. (failing).

Here I am in the darker version which suited me better but appears to be sold out now (BOOOOO - I might see if I can track it down elsewhere as I absolutely love it.  I also need to find out about the neck tie thingie as I think that makes it too and I can't find that...)

They also come up large.  This is a medium which I would usually be in a size but I could probably go a small.  And there is also ample room around the bust area (hence I could probably go smaller seeing as I am severely lacking in the breast department.  That would be an XXXS).


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Moss blouse in Bohemian Black Floral £165  This is the above print in a blouse.









Speaking of seeing things on Instagram and then managing to find them in a shop - oh hello Pamplone... Now I didn't see this in store actually (duh) but I have found them online and have always wanted to try them.  The maxi dress in particular.  The reason I've held off is that we aren't Ibiza goers - or any jolly Mediterranean or Caribbean resort for that matter and as much as I would LOVE to swan around in Aldeburgh in this, frankly, that wouldn't really work.  I'm not even going to mention Ireland.  Anyone who's ever been to Tipperary Town - yes I can hear you laughing from here.

However can I please live my holidays vicariously through someone else and can you buy it? 

Grimaud Maxi Dress from Pamplone £99




Another amazing print designer is Louise Coleman from London.  These are stunning.  The colours, the detailing, the fabrics.  They're not cheap for sure but there are some in the sale which it are definitely worth looking at. 



However my personal choice would be the Eyes one... oh I adore this.  The perfect throw on holiday dress (and yes it's silk but life's too short to keep things for best.  I handwash all this sort of silk and it comes out fine - she says glibly.. don't quote me on that). 




Super useful for a Summer wardrobe is also a camisole and the perfect throw in your suitcase addition for your holiday.  Fling on with any old jeans and heels for an instant night out outfit. 


But if you think print clothing isn't your thing - then a skinny scarf is the ideal alternative.  This will take go with a t-shirt now with jeans to wearing with a suit to work, all year round. 


However for statement dressing - this blouse you would have in your wardrobe forever.  With jeans for the pub, with black trousers for black tie.  The perfect party piece.  Christmas sorted already.






Unique is definitely the name of the game and one of my most exciting discoveries recently are the new cashmere jumper companies that are popping up.  No longer need we be slaves to Chinti & Parker prices (not that I ever did indulge - just drooled and thought - am not paying that for a jumper). However you can now get exceptionally similar for a lot less (this is another hot topic that I have up my sleeve for another day) and I've discovered Orwell & Austen. 

Other thing about online at W&B that I've found, is that they have all the information about the individual brands so you can really know the heritage of what you're buying.  Which I have to say, appeals to a, clearly getting sentimental in her old age, bird like me.

Stars & Stripes Rainbow Cashmere Sweater £125



Now I'm not to going to get into a discussion about who nabbed the phrase first but suffice to say, this one costs significantly less than the Bella Freud one...  They also do seem to usually have this in other colours but alas, are sold out.  However there does seem to be one of those "notify me when back in stock" jobbies which I have to say I LOVE and wish all websites did (thank you Matches and looking at you ASOS....)

Je Ne Regrette Sweater £125.  Also just going to point out that this one is a cashmere and silk mix which the BF ones (whilst I love them) most certainly certainly are not.  Ok so you can get cashmere ones.. for three times as much.  As opposed to merely over double!


I have to then finish with the jewellery (but please please do go and have a look at the bags... I always have bags on the blog but now I have somewhere else other than the high street faithfuls to explore more options) as these bracelets are just genius. 

Especially if you've ever lived in London.  In fact they are a MUST if you have ever lived or worked there.  Collect your postcodes.  How has no one thought of this before?

Whistle and Bango 

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SE1 Bracelet £35



And you can also get bracelets and necklaces with initials in case London just isn't your thing!  (and let's face for it - for a lot of people, it's not..) 

Alphabet Necklace £99 (sorry - don't know where to order the name bracelet though.. although I reckon if you got in touch with their customer services - they were so so lovely in the store, I can't imagine they would be anything less on the phone so reckon they would be able to help).



Yesterday it was pouring with rain - I had a meeting in London so thought I'd just pop into the Dover Street store.  It's so so SO different.  Sandwiched between Victoria Beckham and Golden Goose Deluxe Brand, it's much more hmmm Mayfair than the Notting Hill shop in both price and product.  If you were looking for a one off piece for a super special occasion then it's definitely worth a look.  For me though - Notting Hill was where I managed to spend longer than I should (as you can see....). 

Yes I've gone on and on but it was so refreshing to discover another shopping avenue that offers so many different brands and styles and price points.  For me - it is the perfect research tool for the blog, to work alongside all the other retailers I usually favour.   And yes, the sentimental (or as I say, it might just be the chippy Aquarian) love the idea of the more unique.  As I do believe we all want to look the same but different.

And here I am today - living the Stella jeans dream as I said I would yesterday.  It did confirm that it's a total pain in the behind wearing heels on a daily basis.  Even though I did spend two hours - yes folks that's TWO hours of my day (which isn't that long after you've dropped the kids at school, come home to do some work, walked the dog.. in fact nope - it was pretty much the rest of my day) in both Apple & Vodafone sorting my phone.  But at least it's fixed.  Oh actually that will be in my dreams.  Of course it's not fixed.  I have been given what is apparently a "new" iphone even though the battery is draining at three times the speed of my old one and access to data is still sketchy.  By sketchy I mean simply not working. *weeps*.

But I loved the jeans...  and will definitely be wearing my new ones from New York with flats.  Can't be doing with heels during the day.  They're simply not practical and I have these old Stellas for when I want to wear heels.  These are a stiffer denim that doesn't "pool" on the floor like the vintage style denim of the others do so absolutely have to be worn with heels.

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Navy jumper - Topshop
Cardigan - Zara
Flared jeans - Stella McCartney
Saxon peep toe chestnut shoe boots - Kurt Geiger
Whisky medium Marcie satchel - Chloe

So guess where I'm going tomorrow.. oh yes, that will be back to the Apple Shop.  One question which occurred to me today.. if Apple products are so amazing, why is the Genius bar permanently busy....

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CONVERSATION

22 comentarios:

  1. I agree, it's is lovely to find something new and different. However I beg to differ with these - some look like ME&EM, others like Warehouse. Can't really see anything particularly 'different' here and MUCH more expensive than the High Street.

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    1. Each to their own! I will say if you see the things in the flesh, they are very different... And Me+Em isn't high street anyway! One of the reasons I love it so much!

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  2. I love the Issy dress on you!
    Have you heard of Olive? They keep coming up on Facebook so decided to have a look and quite like their clothes but there aren't any pictures of them on models so difficult to know how they'll fit. Interested to know if anyone has tried them - thanks.

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    1. I do follow them on Instagram but haven't seen anything in the flesh actually... I thought it was a shop - is it a brand as well? (as in I just assumed they sold other people's brands but maybe not!)

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  3. So nice to be guided to new places, thank you! Love the Tanya E Philippa dress on you - would you recommend size down and do you think the black would be suitable / low key enough for daytime events? I'm thinking AW with opaques, cardigan (or polo neck under) - slightly Audrey 60s look? xx
    PS Hope you find the Rixo dress, it looked great and something different too!

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    1. Either of the black ones would be ideal for daytime events. So so easy to dress down. And yes, would also be perfect in the AW with opaques, for sure. You could easily size down but I have to say I think I would probably have preferred the 10.. the 8 was fine but ever so slightly snug under the arms. BUT I do have a broad back for a size 10 being 5ft10 if you see what I mean...

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  4. You look stunning in the Issy dress (and yes, def in black floral)!! I love that Wolf & Badger offers free international shipping AND free into returns! That alone makes me want to buy from them! But I do find their site quite hard to navigate and their product range is so diverse, it's hard to know where to look.

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    1. A good place to start I found was with New In and then list it by most popular... Or it's easiest to look through the individual categories. I always head to shoes, dresses and knitwear!

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  5. I like the Tanya Elizabeth dresses, great name too ;). The feather print tunic dress and bohemian floral blouse are very gorgeous too.

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  6. That was quite a thought provoking post! I have a major problem with shopping on the High Street, which I just refuse to do! And before anyone yells 'stuck up bitch' at their screen the reason is this. I am what I consider a young 50 year old. I probably don't dress like the majority of 50 years old might (feel free to check out my instagram feed @tracy7366 ). I have a 26 year old daughter and she shops on the High Street, particularly the likes of Zara and Topshop. I do not want to be wearing clothes from the same shop my daughter buys her clothes from! It just seems wrong! (Even though she pinches my clothes on a regular basis as we're both a size 8). And I find M&S just so frumpy! I'm not sure what all that Alexa Chung excitement was recently, nothing there I would have worn! So I do shop at NAP and Matches, mostly I buy Marant, both mainline and Etoile but even then, and from writing this blog you'll understand, I don't like to buy the really stand out pieces as I feel they have a short shelf life, but items that you know you'll wear over and over, like her boucle jackets and skinny linen pants. The thing I find with Marant is that her clothes usually suit me but it's not just her stuff I buy. I love The Great and several other american brands with a carefree California vibe. I love skinny jeans and have a penchant for leather biker jackets and cool tees. Zadig & Voltaire sometimes have some beautiful dresses and lacey tops. R13 do amazing denim. I guess the point I'm making is that you are completely right. The High Street just doesn't seem to cater for any women past their 30's who still have some crazy spirit in them but don't want to look like all the teenagers and 20 odd year olds. Anything aimed at older women, in my mind, isn't worth a cursory glance! Now I do appreciate that not everyone can afford Marant and the likes and sometimes I can't, but I'd rather have a brilliantly edited wardrobe of items I adore than what the High Street offers en mass. I would be delighted to find some smaller designers which appeal to me that are between the High Street and big designers prices but unfortunately I haven't yet (except I have bought a black Cecile Copenhagen dress from Matches which I thought a very reasonable price and looks fab with ankle boots). I tried a few things from Me & Em but it's really not for me. So yes, it's a tricky one. Anyway, you aren't alone in having not heard of Wolf & Badger, despite having been to Nottinghill numerous times, so I'll go take a peek!

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    1. You have hit the nail on the head. We need places to shop that mean we're not dressing in the same clothes as our children. As they are definitely more into disposable fashion and quantity rather than quality, whereas even with an on trend item - chances are we will wear it a lot in the season whereas they will have 10 versions of it!! We'll have the one that we want to wear again and again.

      It's one of the reasons I think it's such a shame My Wardrobe failed as it was such an excellent showcase for the more reasonably priced designer. When you look now at what sells out on Matches, NAP and My Theresa, it's always the cheaper end! We need MORE. As the Telegraph have called us - The Diamond Generation. We should not be ignored!!! We have money and want to spend it!

      This is one of the challenges I'm looking into - there definitely are more and more out there.... I will hunt them down for you!

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    2. I'm glad I got my point across in a way that didn't seem snobby! My Wardrobe were very good. Having thought more about this I think Joseph also used to be a very good 'in betweener' but they have creeped into the higher end interms of cost although their items are usually investment buys and usually of excellent quality. I had thought Maje and Sandro were contenders and although they do have a few gems now and then they seem to do an awful lot of flesh bareing mini things and I don't think the quality is consistent. Yes, we do need to spend more on our clothes, that does give an element of exclusivity in that the kids (most anyway) can't afford them. There definitely needs to be a good 'inbetween' though for everyday running around! That's a big challenge Kat and I look forward to the fruits of your labour! X

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    3. I as well love a few well made pieces mixed with some high street for everyday. My children are a touch younger so I will once the sticky hands phase has passed! I recently came across this lovely brand from the US so not sure if they ship to the UK but worth a peek!

      http://raquelallegra.com/collections/bottoms

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    4. I will check them out thank you xx

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  7. Lovely post. Really enjoy your blog. I love the shop Wolf and Badger. Tracy7366 I agree with you! i will be 50 this year and I mix high street with more expensive purchases. I work and I save up so yes I know the value of my money and I am not stuck up or rich. I have spent a lifetime since I became an 'adult' building my wardrobe. I too don't want to dress like my daughter but neither am I in my dotage, although when I am I will be dressing like Iris Apfel I am sure, she's great. I have no idea who buys M&S stuff now? so much man made fibre stuff, I prefer cotton. I am also finding that with H&M now, too much viscose..... Hard to find stuff thats nice and it is actually expensive for what it is. I have bought a Cecile Copenhagen top and also that new brand Do Do Bar Ro Da or something. Lovely...why doesn't the high street copy that? I mix and match it with tshirts from Uniqlo and Mens Gap (always better than the ladies).

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    1. Nail. Head. WIth me, it's not just necessarily all man made fibres, as I think there is polyester and polyester. But it's also the cut. The cheaper fabrics that isn't cut well won't hang properly on someone who isn't a size 8 18 yr old who hasn't had three kids and does have a penchant for wine!

      And I would say it's only a matter of time before the HS is flooded with Middle Eastern Summer Chic!

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  8. i would like to try always something new and i am speechless to see the outstanding makeover of yours. your wonderful briefing like as a fashion icon. that is why i would be your fan.

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