Shopping with expert: Wallis for sun dresses

001 wallis lead
We went to see Wallis close up last week. Wallis is the Arcadia Group's brand aimed sorta loosely at us, ie women (rather than teenagers) and older than 25. Obviously, they don't use big numbers at Arcadia (heaven forbid they talk about being 35 or even 45plus…too scary!) but this range does think about providing clothes you could wear to work without everyone laughing or redirecting you to the nearest night club.

Two of my favourite (now practically vintage) wardrobe staples come from Wallis -from the Limited Collection. One is an elbow length black roll neck sweater with a touch of lycra in it that looks like it's jumped out of the wardrobe of a really chic New Yorker. It has turn back ribbed cuffs at the elbow and it's this little detail that makes it look expensive. The second is a plum coloured princess sleeved blouse that gets me compliments every time I wear it. Both are over five years old and are in nice fabrications that have lasted well. 

Summer dresses have been selling incredibly well at Wallis according to Hayley, Wallis's head of press, and if you look at the website you can see there are loads of colourful ones at really good prices. I'm never sure if it's worth spending shed loads of money on a summer dress that you are probably not going to get much wear out of with our usually dismal summers. This year however, things have been really HOT so we've had to re assess and something around £45 sounds about perfect. We've picked out our favourites here, most of them are not too short, but if you are worried they'd look good over slim white trousers, or cycling short length leggings.

We like the Boutique collection (only available on line) which has slightly more fashion forward styles that the brand test the water with, a bit like a fashion lab. Good sellers might get re scheduled and put into all stores. On line is good for our out-of-town and overseas readers, as Wallis deliver anywhere and I've never been a big fan of the Wallis in-store experience (the Oxford Street store is my local, which has crowded rails and is a bit over lit for me).

We hope to chat to Wallis in a bit more detail at the launch of AW 2010 as it has a lovely range of vintage inspired coats coming out (titled 1923, which is when Wallis was born, making it a grand old lady of 87) so watch out for this. Jane reminded me that Wallis used to be renowned for its brilliant coats when we were youngsters due to its great coat designer. Anyone have an old Wallis coat?

02 wallis black large floral dress  
01 wallis dress japanese brder 

Large floral  £45 Japanese border print £45
06 wallis japanese kimono dress 
Wallis replace
Japanese kimono dress £45  Paisley tunic £45

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