Thursday, 24 April 2014

Holiday capsule for petites - Marks & Spencer

Marks & Spencer went through a phase of being very dreary and old-fashioned, however recently they have featured in many fashion magazines, including some here in Spain. They are in danger of becoming trendy!

M&S have a reasonable collection of petite clothes and I have bought their petite trousers in the past, however when I looked on-line for this capsule I was a bit disappointed by the lack of choice, especially when it came to colours.

Let's start with the trousers.  A pair of denims is always useful, unless you are going on holiday to somewhere that is guaranteed to be hot, plus it is good to have a second pair of trousers in a different colour. I initially chose the white linen trousers, but then hesitated as they have wide legs. Is this advisable for petites? I have shown another pair with slim legs, which are more flattering for those of us who are vertically challenged. Wide legs don't look good when worn with loose tops, but if the tops are fitted then you can get away with it.  I've found that most linen trousers for petites are either wide-legged or cropped, which is ridiculous considering that most petite women are trying to look taller and slimmer and these styles don't help us to achieve our aim!

Believe it or not, I only had fourteen tops to choose from, including blouses and jumpers. I guess that I could have selected short-sleeved tops from the main collection but I am specifically looking at petite sizes for these holiday capsules. I was particularly disappointed by the lack of bright colours: no blues and reds to be found here. I would definitely need to include some colourful jewellery and accessories if I was packing this for my holiday! I would also add in the bright blue top from my earlier blue and grey holiday capsule from M&S.

Incidentally, while browsing the M&S website for this post, I was asked to complete an on-line survey about my experience. I made it very clear that the one way to improve their website from my point of view was to increase their range of petite clothing!

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Holiday capsule for petites: Lands End

As you can see, I'm gradually weaning myself off the blue and grey capsules, with far more red (and even a splash of pink) in this holiday capsule for petites, based around Lands End clothes. After I temporarily abandoned my favourite petite supplier Wallis, I was delighted to discover that Lands End have a petite range as well and many of their trousers can be hemmed to suit the individual. Their prices are very reasonable too: the most expensive item in the capsule below is the blazer, which cost €150 originally but has been reduced to €76 at Debenhams.

I must admit that I check out reviews when buying on-line, especially when I know I'm going to have to pay postage if I return items. My favourite comment is: "this top is a bit too short" - as that usually means it will be perfect for me! Incidentally, the trousers on the left in the picture above are cropped, but they are a regular size rather than petite so the length would be just right. I'm wary of cropped trousers because, as with turn-ups and roll-ups, they can make petite ladies look even shorter.

So far, I haven't had any problems with purchases from Lands End and I love the fact that I can choose the perfect length  for me when I order trousers. I like their website as they give you lots of information about fit, fabrics, whether the clothes can be machine washed etc.

The top shown in the bottom right hand corner is art inspired therefore right on trend at the moment. As it only costs €14, it won't exactly break the bank if you decide that you want to look trendy. On the whole though Lands End are best for classic styles that won't date.

Like the previous capsules that I have created, the seven tops can be matched with both pairs of trousers giving you enough outfits for a two week holiday. You might want to include a skirt that will go with the tops or a dress for any evenings out.  If I was packing this capsule for a holiday, I would add a couple of scarves and necklaces to ring the changes, but you already knew that didn't you?

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Holiday capsule for petites: Wallis

I've had enough of blue and grey capsules (though admittedly I'm wearing grey trousers today plus a red sleeveless top and navy cascade cardigan) and I have decided to move on to create some holiday capsules for petites. No doubt you are as relieved as I am!

My first holiday wardrobe is from Wallis, who were one of my favourite brands for petite clothing when I lived in the UK. After moving to Spain, I continued shopping with Wallis through their website and only really stopped when suddenly their petite trousers grew longer - sadly my legs remained as short as ever. In honour of our previous good relationship, my first petite capsule is from Wallis.

I've realised that there is still some blue and grey in the above picture - maybe I'm becoming slightly addicted to it? - though some touches of red too. There are several patterned tops here, which petites have to take care with: if a pattern is too bold and large, the top will wear us rather than the other way round.

I'm a bit unsure about the white cotton roll-up trousers as I think that, like turn-ups, they could make my legs look even shorter. What do you think?

Monday, 21 April 2014

Blue and grey capsule (with colour pop!)

Although I am trying to stick to my theme of blue and grey capsules from ethical companies, this time I gave into temptation. Funnily enough I had decided to wear my new bright blue top today with grey trousers and a silver necklace, adding a grey flecked jacket when I went outside, as although it was sunny it was also very breezy. My Outfit of the Day therefore was very much in keeping with my recent posts! However look what happened when I created today's holiday wardrobe in Polyvore:

This capsule was selected from Marks & Spencer using Polyvore rather than the M&S website, and I must admit that it didn't have a wide selection of blue and grey clothes to choose from. When I finished the original capsule of seven tops, two pairs of trousers and a jacket, I wasn't feeling very enthusiastic, so I decided it needed brightening up. The three scarves that I chose were from East, not M&S, and any one of them would go well with the clothes shown above. If you're not a scarf person, you could go for a colourful necklace or accessories instead to add a pop of colour.

Marks & Spencer are on the list of Fair Trade companies in the UK, which is why I chose them for this capsule.  If any of you know of other ethical fashion companies, please let me know.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Blue and grey capsule from Monsoon

My third example of a holiday capsule from an ethical company is - surprise! surprise! - also in blue and grey. This time the capsule is from Monsoon, a company which started life as a small, independent store in London in 1973. Although it is now a global company, Monsoon still remains true to its roots.

Again I have selected seven tops and two pairs of trousers, which gives you fourteen different outfits to last you on a fortnight's holiday. Remember you can add a pop of colour with scarves, jewellery or other accessories if you are becoming bored with all the blues and greys.

You won't need to break the budget if you purchase any of these items. The jacket is €76, both pairs of trousers cost €57 and the tops cost between €10 and €69. I've bought clothes from Monsoon in the past and they have lasted well. The styles are fairly classic so they shouldn't date and they will mix and match with the rest of your wardrobe. You may be able to buy clothes cheaper, but is that the most important issue, even for those of us who have retired and don't have unlimited funds?

Have you had enough of blue and grey? I may choose a different colour scheme for my next post - though I'm not making any promises.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Blue and grey capsule from East

I couldn't decide whether to choose different colours for this Polyvore set or bore you with another blue and grey capsule for the purposes of comparison.  Sorry if you wanted something different: as you can see from the picture below, I decided to be boring! This collection is all from East, though if you click on the link to Polyvore above to check prices, you will be directed to two department stores that sell East clothes.

Like the capsule from People Tree, there are seven different tops that will go with both pairs of trousers to give you enough outfits to last for a fortnight's holiday. East clothes are all reasonably priced too.  The jacket costs £71, the tops vary between £16 and £55 while the light grey trousers cost £63 and the navy pair has been reduced to £25. It is reassuring to know that buying clothes ethically doesn't mean having to spend a fortune.

My recent purchase of a deep blue dress from the East website to wear to John's 70th birthday party impressed me. The service was efficient and the dress arrived on time, which was a good start. The dress wasn't expensive, but it looked good and I received loads of compliments, which is always great. Even better, it is washable and keeps its shape after washing. I will definitely be buying from East again!

Friday, 18 April 2014

Blue and grey capsule from People Tree

When I first started buying my own clothes - many, many years ago! - life was simple. I went to the local shops and bought what I liked, so long as it fit me and was within my budget. Being petite, I was very grateful when mini-skirts were fashionable though obviously mine didn't look quite as short as those of my taller friends.

Nowadays life isn't so straightforward. Ideally I would like to support local businesses, especially as times are hard here in Spain, however all too often I return from a shopping trip empty-handed. For a start, my local shops don't stock petite sizes. Admittedly many of them have short skirts on display, but they are aimed at the young "chicas" and, even though older Spanish women do wear shorter skirts, I would feel uncomfortable wearing one that is thigh-high. Shops in my local town either cater for the younger woman or are aimed at elderly women.  I may be over 60 but I still enjoy wearing stylish clothes and don't want to appear older than I am.

If I can't find suitable clothes locally, then my best option is to buy on-line. This though is where I face a dilemma: should I buy cheaper clothes, which may have been made under unsafe conditions, or more expensive clothes that are a bit over my budget and which haven't necessarily been made ethically anyway?

Luckily for me there are more and more sustainable, fair trade companies trading on-line. I thought it would be interesting to create a few capsule wardrobes from some of these companies. The first one is People Tree.

Using the capsule above you can create two weeks' worth of different outfits, as all of the tops can be worn with either pair of trousers. I would add more interest with some brightly coloured scarves, necklaces or other accessories, but that's just my style. It's not essential.

I have to admit that I was very tempted to order a couple of these tops, however I'll wait until I've looked at some other websites before I flex my credit card! For those of you on a budget, I would like to point out that the tops shown above cost between 12€ and 51€, the trousers cost 91€ and the jacket costs 145€. Fair trade, fair prices.