Where’s a girl to go to shop for clothes like a grown up these days? If you don’t want to drown in 80s references (studded jersey batwing mini dress anyone?) but want to stay modern and not spend a fortune, inspiration is thin on the ground.
The Women’s Room suggests you try Whistles, where Jane Shepherdson, who turned Topshop into the coolest brand on the planet when she was there, is busy designing clothes for women who have moved on from the high street’s youth obsessed, throw-away fashion offer.
Jane spoke to us at her St Christopher’s Place store this week (she’s a keen Women’s Room reader) where we asked her what she did to keep modern and relevant when getting dressed. She always looks terrific and after decades in the fashion business, she must have a few answers.
She told us “My style is very simple and my ideal outfit is a pair of trousers and a great top. I rarely accessories and don’t like fussy styling, I basically like a clean look as it makes it so much easier to get dressed, so I don’t overcomplicate. With Whistles it’s all about effortless, laid back cool dressing and It is important to keep experimenting as there’s a danger that you can get stuck in a rut and you’ve got to keep trying new ideas and new silhouettes.”
Whistles clothes totally reflect Jane’s principles and we asked her to pick out four items that she would recommend for Women’s Room readers.
“I think the pink silk Chrysanthemum print dress (£135) is brilliant because it is really easy and suits everyone, you can wear it as a dress or over a pair of jeans. The Stingray dress (£125) is the same, really easy and a gorgeous shape that doesn’t need a super skinny body in it to look good.”
We all stroked the velvet-soft washed leather biker jacket (£250) and mentally added it to our wish list (we challenge anyone to stroke it and say ‘no thanks I don’t want to try that on)’. Jane recommend the soft cotton twill shirt with pintucks (£75), as a classic workhorse shirt and then she picked the silk playsuit.
“Oh no” said The Women’s Room team, looking slightly horrified, “we don’t do playsuits, our readers don’t wear all-in-ones”.
“Why not?” said Jane, “of course they can, this looks fantastic worn with a white T shirt underneath and loosely gathered at the waist, I think they should try this”.
She is backed up by one of the sales staff, who explained she has just persuaded a customer into the suit, she looked amazing in it and promptly bought it. So there you have it, the Be Brave choice, which totally backs up Jane’s general advice of experimenting with new silhouettes, is the super comfortable, very modern silk indigo silk play suit (£195).
Chrysanthemum Dress Playsuit