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Not On The High Street

I don’t know about you but come the end of November, I am totally bored of all things High Street. What I mean is every single outlet seems to have a sparkle and dazzle mannequin in the doorway which continues right through the store. I’m talking party season! And I am b-o-r-e-d.

I’m probably feeling more fed up than normal because I’m not in the market for a party dress this year. There are more than a few of these taking up valuable space in my wardrobe. Some have been good friends and have had an airing at least once a year. Others, well lets just say they’ve missed the boat and really should be on the ‘no longer fashionable 99p starting price Ebay’ pile. I actually have a rather nice navy number from Baukjen still bearing tags which I really should debut soon.

Don’t get me wrong, there are still a few gems to be had but you have to search for them and quite frankly I really don’t have the time or inclination right now. So roll on Spring, that’s what I say.

In my despair to avoid anymore spangles and sequins, I have spent a delightful couple of hours surfing the web looking at the smaller independent retailers and have been VERY pleasantly surprised, not a single sparkle in sight. So here are my picks of what’s not on the High Street...

Starting with a favourite of mine, Bill Skinner. I had never heard of Bill until Kat at Does My Bum Look 40 In This featured him on her blog earlier in the year. To say I fell in love with his jewellery is an understatement and I’ve since bought (or had gifted by very kind family) several pieces. My current favourite is the Snow Leopard Running Bracelet. This stunning piece takes my breath away.

I also love the Art Deco range and particularly these earrings (don’t you think they look like mini skateboards?). Love ‘em

ASOS also stock some Bill Skinner pieces - I missed out on their vastly reduced Emperor Coin Necklace and I’m still kicking myself.

A great source for finding independent retailers is through Twitter. My next recommendations for my picks of what’s not on the High Street have all come from Twitter (either me following them or vice versa)

First up is Spinning Wardrobe, a London based pre-owned fashion site selling one off pieces at remarkably good prices. This Michael Kors gold/black jacket caught my eye and would look great teamed with pleather jeans and a plain black top (yes I do wear black sometimes) for a City Chic look - have a look at my previous blog post for the meaning of this.

Of course sods law, it will be sold before I publish this post but have a look at the website - it’s really well put together. The photography and blurb is excellent.

A larger company now but definitely different to the High Street, ME+EM. I think it was my mother-in-law who introduced me a couple of years ago - I use to steal her catalogues until doh! I figured I should get my own. Just look at this gorgeous Pocket Swing Dress.

So very, very cute. Obviously the model is much braver (and younger) than me and is able to wear it bare legged. Hmmmm I’m thinking more opaques and long boots with heels. Whichever way, it’s something that would be in my wardrobe for many years. And indeed in many of the Style Personalities that I talked about last time as you can make it your own.

Love how ME+EM actually clarify the measurements so we know that a Medium is a UK 10-12. Take note High Street, this is valuable customer service!

Moving on to a small online fashion company based in Scotland, Tallulah Belle Fashion stocking a small number of must have little numbers. I think this website is probably geared more to my daughter’s age but there are certainly a few items I would love to have in my wardrobe, particularly this nude faux fur coat,

Actually, if I hadn’t bought my John Rocha winter white coat last year, I would have given this a whirl and what’s not to like aobut it for £35.99. The simple style wouldn’t look out of place in Zara and I’m betting the quality is better too (don’t get me started on Zara’s workmanship).

A lovely little on-line shop now from Avril at School Gate Style. Avril stocks a small number of scarves and jewellery but these are regularly updated and chosen personally. The quality is excellent (I have two myself) and the prices very, very competitive. I'm particularly loving the Fabulous Harlequin Squares Scarf which comes in two different colourways.

You can see her styling the scarf here.

And finally, a shop that I’ve seen featured on a couple of other blogs, Gemini-Woman (sorry I can’t recall which blogs and in my haste to get this posted before that Michael Kors jacket goes, I don’t have the time to research).

Gemini stocks the likes of Sandwich Clothing, Great Plains, Hunkydory (check out their knits) and more. I discovered a brand they stock, A Post Card From Brighton last year and to say their long vests are a godsend is an understatement. I have several with and without sleeves which I use to layer up under jumpers.

The longer length is brilliant - it finishes at the bum and NOT AS IN THE SECOND PICTURE. I mean really we’re talking dress length here! Even if vertically challenged, you can hoick them up to perch on the buttocks! Just make sure the v-top is a snug fit or it will slip down and look like this....

Last year I bought several cropped jumpers that sat just below the waist, ok when wearing jeans but no good with leggings and jeggings (urgh). And given we’re all wearing pleather leggings this year, these may be a good investment. The vests cover my modesty and keep me toasty warm whilst the lace edge softens the look somewhat. I've only worn these tonally so far - grey v-top with grey jeans but I think the pink would work over a pair of jeans and my new pink fluffy jumper. Bit marmitey I know.

So that’s yer lot for now. I have really enjoyed taking a turn off the High Street, sometimes we forget there are more shops than Zara!!

Oh and this is me, I had according to Mr Sludge just 8 minutes to get ready for our first family Xmas get together earlier today. Nb. excuse the hat hair, we had just got back from our son's football and even Mr Babyliss Big Hair failed me today! More than thrilled with my Primark pink duster coat. I missed out on the M&S one but in hindsight, this is probably a one year wonder so happy to fork out thirty odd pound! An investment piece it ain't.

Until next time

Donna x
7 comments on "Not On The High Street"
  1. I just adore the me + em dress but I just can't stretch to the price especially as I would love the fur snood scarf too! I do love these little independent online stores and boutiques they really offer something different, some gorgeous ideas on your post.

  2. Thank you - I love it all especially the dress. Don't rule it out just yet, we do have the good old sales coming our way soon - you never know x

  3. Donna, I'm loving that outfit! Your coat is similar to my Warehouse one (though at a much better price) so you've given me more inspiration for wearing it a different way. Looks fab with the grey. And THANK YOU so much for the mention of my scarf shop. I really appreciate it x

  4. You look fab in the pink Primark coat! What a total bargain! I love your trousers too! Ax

  5. you look great, I could spend all day thinking and not put together like that!

  6. Am really enjoying your blog and your posts
    and also the fact that I wouldn't have to rob a bank
    to wear the clothes you feature.

    Keep it up
    great stuff.


    1. Thanks Fiona that's really kind. Perhaps you could point this out to my husband as he only seems to home in on my expensive purchases lol x