Back in the heady days of Fast Fashion, the approach of Fashion Week triggered my seasonal visit to Topshop. As a fashion insider, we got to know exactly when to rock up to the Oxford Street store to grab the hottest styles, scheduled to arrive to accommodate the waves of desperate-to-buy fashion peeps visiting from New York, Paris and Milan. Too early and deliveries wouldn’t have arrived (the Oxford Circus branch gets multiple deliveries per day), too late and all the good stuff would be on someone else’s back during Fashion Week. Every visiting hack and model would find time in a back-to-back schedule to shop, not going was just not an option.
How things have changed. Now we’re all about ‘buying less, buying better’ and Topshop can be found all over the globe. That electric excitement of it genuinely feeling like the centre of the world, in turns of affordable fashion trends, disappeared with the ‘everywhere availability’ and our change of buying direction.
Last week I returned for the first time in ages and picked my way through the printed lycra leggings (which made me feel like I’d fallen into an 80s time-warped black hole) to the Boutique space (the only section that I think 40 plussers should bother with) to discover this deliciously soft suede two-piece. The Harrington style jacket and pencil skirt were SO soft and buttery to the touch I had a hard time letting go. The suede was so silky it practically draped and the whole thing wouldn’t look out of place coming down the Ralph Lauren catwalk.
Very grown up and stylish, it looked a little bit Jackie Onassis/ a little bit 70s in its casual elegance and insouciant smartness. The idea of wearing a two-piece in suede feels ridiculously indulgent and rather glamourous. The colour- Ochre? Turmeric? Mustard? – is everywhere in stores this spring, but it is a hard shade to pull off unless it’s in a softening fabric like, well, meltingly-soft suede. It just looked fabulous.
You’d hardly buy it because it was practical, but the jacket has efficiently large pockets an easy fit that would suit most shapes, imagine it adding a sense of West Coast 70s – think Joni Mitchell- style worn over a simple T shirt, perhaps with a scarf tied at the neck. I’d be tempted to wear it as a shirt due to its perfect, not-tucked-in length, over jeans or wide leg, high-tide-length trousers. It’s £190.00 and is available up to a size 16.
The skirt is also fabulous, a good length, sitting just above the knee and with a walkable vent in the back, and with more pockets. Worn together they are a cracking statement outfit that (I think) looks a whole lot better on a grown up than anyone under 25. The skirt is £140.00. I am VERY tempted indeed. What do you think?