Pink to Make the Boys Wink ...

Sunday, 5 August 2012
Another lovely Sunday morning.  The sun is shining yet again this year and the Grumps is smiling and the boys are not killing each other.  I was toying with another tee shirt combo as I seem to be living in them this week but thought I really should get some wear out of some of the other clothes festering in the wardrobe (I'm sure I heard whispers in there of decamping to more appreciative owners).  So today is a bright pink check Hollister shirt, some old jeans and the white Converse.

Hollister Pink Check Shirt (old)
New Look Straight Jeans
White Converse

Lovely soft cotton shirt

Knackered old jeans

Far too clean white Converse

Tatty hems

The white Converse are still white and not grub coloured due to lack of wear.  I seem to have adopted my original taupe pair as the go to pair of Converse and the white ones have been sidelined somewhat but today, it's their turn for an outing.  The shirt itself is just a very soft cotton - almost linen like in texture but just wears lovely.  I picked it out as I was thinking about my holiday wardrobe and when I went to Portugal last year with a friend, this was my flight outfit along with my Uniqlo grey cashmere cardigan.  Who knows, it might be the same again this year. 

We went to the York Outlet today to do some returns and to find some holiday clothes for the Grumps.  Whilst there, I had a look in the Kooples outlet shop which again had big mirrors on the shop floor but probably none in the changing room.  Is this the same for all Kooples shops?  Do I need to write in and complain?  Now that's an idea or am I just old and cantankerous?  Does it cost that much to put a mirror in the changing rooms? Anyway, nothing in there and .... no customers either.  Sorry - just going off on one.

The best shop in the Outlet today was the Margaret Howell shop.  So calm and serene. They had such a lovely simple display in the windows which just drew me in.  It was very quintessentially English in a 40's kind of way - think Anna Friel in Land Girls (not that I've watched the film).

Apologies for the quality - taken with camera phone

Look closely - that's me reflected in the picture!

I went in there to look for a little blue cotton/silk blouse with a black neck tie and a checked top I had seen the week previously.  I found my blue blouse which I went to try on and promptly fell in love with.  I came out of the changing room and asked the lady outside if this was new stock as I was going on holiday and was it likely to be still around and she seemed unsure.  Then I wandered around again looking for the check top and when I couldn't find it, I said to the same lady if they still had any of the check tops left. She looked kind of puzzled and then said in the nicest way "I don't work here".  "Oh!". We laughed and she said she would take it as a compliment that I thought she did work there. And I insisted that she should as she looked lovely and she blushed and said "and I look such a mess today".  She really did look the epitome of the elegant English woman in her white linen Howell'esque top.  She did also say she spent a lot of time in there. I wonder if I were to spend a lot of time in there would I start to look that well groomed and lovely and quintessentially English. No. In a word.

The lovely thing about this shop and this brand is the simple design formula it has - for well cut, classic clothing.  Nothing particularly fashion led but always in fashion.  No neons, no mini skirts, no studs, no tat.  Instead, just lovely suede brogues, solid looking leather sandals, linen, silk, cotton clothes all in soft muted shades.  Unfortunately for me, a lot of the clothes are cut for someone much much taller.  That dress in the window? It almost comes down to my ankles and I'm pretty positive that it's not how it's meant to look.  Trousers?  I would need to chop about 10 inches off the length.  

But still I think its all just simply lovely. 

And I just wish I could afford more of it.

And they have proper changing rooms.  End of.


  1. I love Margaret Howell - a nice selection in that window display. Changing rooms with no mirrors are so very annoying!

    1. Yes I've always loved her clothes but not suited for shorties like me. I think I can get away with the odd top but nothing like a dress or skirt or trousers. Way long! Yes, the Kooples have some nice clothes but I cannot bring myself to go in and try something in a cubicle and then subject myself to the analytical eyes of the Kooples public on the shop floor to use their mirrors. It's just wrong.

  2. I love your casual look...I wish I could wear cons but they do nothing for me! Sorry the tunic I posted wasn't available in your size,if I come across similar I will let you know:)

    1. Anne, I probably do casual best - I'm a bit of a scruff muppet. When I dress up, I always feel a bit fake which makes it a nightmare for me to dress up when going out. Whereas you always looks groomed.

  3. I'm drawn to her aesthetic, but a little wary of the fit - but I haven't actually sampled any of the garments in real life. The measurement charts were enough to steer me off, especially the skirt and dress lengths. I tend to stick to the accessories, for I can't go wring there, and just keep hoping that one day I shall get to try on one of those perfect shirts.

    And it hasn't been converse weather has it??!! Mine are pristine also, sitting forlornly on the stair. White might just be an unwise colour choice for the typical British I chose it, too! Love the shirt, I quite love bright pink, especially in checks. My fave is from Abercrombie....crazy price though.

    1. Yes, I love the Margaret Howell outlet - I tend to go in, touch and feel the clothes and then leave because it's rare to find something to fit. The blouse I tried on was true to size and didn't overwhelm. I'm a size 10 and it fitted nicely as a size 10. I tried on a grey chambray top and that was in a size XS and that fitted like the size 10 blouse so I imagine it would swamp yourself. I only picked up the two tops because they were "small" blouses rather than oversized or loose fitting which a lot of her clothes tend to be. The prices are still not cheap even at outlet prices - the two tops I tried on were £95 each and the chambray one was a MHL one which is from the cheaper range. Though I loved the chambray one as well, I had visions of looking like an escapee from Mao's Red Army. Not good.

      And the Converse - yes - let's blame it on the weather. I did really enjoy wearing them yesterday but even with socks and tied loosely, they still nip my little toe for no good reason which is also probably another reaon why I don't wear them as often as I should or could.

      I've never had an Abercrombie shirt but their prices have put me off - if I see somehing I like in Abercrombie, I always look for a similar in Hollister which they usually do for £30 less. But the Hollister shop in the Trafford centre which I went to with my God daughter - I had to walk out. I couldn't stand the dreadful lighting - I love the airiness of the Jack Wills shops I've been to but Hollister was dreadful - you just want to find the light switch and whack it on. I'm old aren't I?

  4. That was funny. It's good that the lady took it as a compliment :)
    I don't own anything by Margaret Howell but I always hear people praising her clothes. I should pop by her store here in London to see them from close.

    Regarding the lack of mirrors in the changing rooms at the Kooples store, it is the same thing at Comptoir des Cotonniers. It annoys me that you've to come outside, to middle of the store, to see yourself in a mirror. It makes me feel a bit of a show-off, parading my new clothes among all the other customers. Thinking of it, it is also like that at Sandro. Maybe it is a French thing? I don't like it.

    Love your look in these pictures yesterday. Pink check shirt + jeans + white converse = perfect weekend outfit.

    1. I'd certainly take it as a compliment if someone thought I looked good enough to work in the Margaret Howell store. And luckily she did see the positive side to it.

      The lack of mirrors bugs me because not all of us look like models and some clothes need a bit of work and a bit of adjustment and I haven't the confidence to waltz out infront of everyone to let them all watch me at work hoiking and tweaking things in to place. Maybe it is a French thing going by the shops you have just mentioned in which case I need to shop online.

      Thank you for the compliment - I think I am best at casual wear - it suits my lifestyle these days. I rock in joggy bots ;o)

  5. My Converse are so dirty, that seeing yours was a shock. I need to give mine a light scrubbing I think...I like them worn in but now they're just disgusting (there is an little oily stain from cheese that dripped from someone's sandwich!).

    I was in Berlin last month and I was so annoyed that almost every boutique I tried something in didn't have mirrors in the room! I don't see the point really, other than to give the sales assistant a chance to talk to you and perhaps suggest more things for you to try or even nudge you towards buying the item. I left thinking maybe it was a Berlin thing. Clearly it's a little more universal than that!

    I really like the stolid-ness of MH's clothes, even though the styles don't always suit me. I would love to shop in her shops physically rather than online...the environment makes me want to move in and I loved the homeware selection I saw in London.

    1. My Converse are too clean! I'm trying to get them to that lovely worn in old friend stage but the summer has not been obliging and being rained on and puddle splashing was not my intended way to go about it. (Nor cheese drips :o))

      I just don't understand the mentality of these supposedly fashion forward shops which are so fashion backwards when it comes to understanding their customers - I haven't experienced communal changing rooms since I was a teenager on a Saturday afternoon in Miss Selfridge huddled in a corner trying desperately to wangle my way into a selection of clothes under my current selection of clothes as I was so shy - reminds me of school changing rooms and P.E. Infact the Kooples was the first time I had experienced this changing room horror since I can't remember. I didn't know anyone did this practice anymore.

      MH's clothes are always lovely but so not designed for me. But I can still appreciate how nice they are. Every now and then, there is the odd item which looks like it might possibly fit. I haven't been to any of her "proper" shops but I can imagine they are calm, clean and pared down. Lovely. The only MHL item I tried to buy on NAP fitted okay and true to size but just wasn't nice in reality - the hem was off on this jumper but it was just designed this way and I didn't like it. So it went back.

  6. Never heard of this shop! Will check if there is any in sheffield?
    Changing rooms without any mirrors? Jesus, it's even worse than lifts without mirrors!

    1. I don't think there will be any in Sheffield - think it's a more London based shop though I imagine she might carry the odd concession in a Selfridges or something like that but I haven't checked that out. The outlet store I go to has been around for the last 8 years or so ... somehow it survives .... because it has changing rooms!!!!

      Lifts without mirrors - surely that is a blessing?

  7. I know what you mean about the Kooples. There's one awesome SA in the Kings Rd store (London) and the rest are idiots. I had one of the worst experience ever. I think I spat out the words...well...along the lines of "you need to up your level of service if you want to expand globally". I still don't understand the concept of having a fitting room without a mirror. I dislike parading half undressed without my shoes in front of other people.

    BTW, although I don't own anything from MH, her designs are clean, classy and so practical.

    1. I'm with you all the way about the mirrorless changing rooms. Maybe we should start some kind of petition thing going and send it to all the culprits out there ... starting with the Kooples, then Comptoir ... then Sandro .... and so on and so forth. It's also the reason why I don't buy many clothes in Hong Kong - so many little stalls don't have changing facilities as they don't really like you trying clothes on unless its a major dept store where they have to cater for more western tastes.

      I like MH too. I only have one jumper from about 8-9 years ago - the sad thing is I even have the paper shopping bag it came in. That's such a sad teenager thing to do isn't it?


Susie So So