fashionHannah MacLeod

Olive & Straw

fashionHannah MacLeod
Olive & Straw

So I went into John Lewis the other day.  I hadn't been in for a while.  I was bowled over by how great the womenswear is looking.  There was such a fantastic selection of well curated brands mixed in with John Lewis' own labels.  With so many of the high street stalwarts reportedly doing so badly at the moment, it is so exciting to see John Lewis keeping up with the times and offering a brilliant in-store experience.  It is obvious that they know who their customer is - they're not trying to be super fashion-forward but equally they are not patronising their customers with dowdy , directionless clothes.  

In-amongst some of my favorites - Toast, Weekend MaxMara, Whistles - I came across one of JL's own labels, Kin.  I am SO impressed.  I would pitch it as the love-child of COS and Toast.  It reminds me of the sort of clothes that a well dressed art teacher might wear.  It's a collection designed to be layered in my opinion.  Well tailored trousers with over-sized cotton shirts and A-line jumpers.  They've interjected a simple colour palette with some big bold prints which is a clever way to help their customer build a capsule wardrobe.        

Here we have layered this white shirt with this smock top in a pale blue and white stripe.  Of course both items could easily be worn separately but I like the effect of the two together - to me it looks more contemporary and the colours of the two pieces are so complimentary.  We have paired these two tops with high waisted, pleat fronted trousers from Toast.  The olive green, pale blue and white are such a lovely colour combination. The boxy shape of the tops coupled with the wide-leg, cropped trousers is a silhouette that I always love.  It's such a perfect style across all ages - effortlessly cool.     

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In the picture above, you can see that the shirt has buttons on the side of the neck.  They go all the way down to the top of the shoulder.  This is an elegant design detail and one that means the shirt would look equally good worn on its own, maybe with a pair of straight leg cut off jeans (example) and a pair of bold earrings (example). 

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Straw bags are HUGE for this Summer, so if you want to stay on top of the trends, then go and buy yourself one!  There are so many inexpensive versions out there too.  Zara (this is gorgeous) and Mango (another goodie here) would be a great place to start, but of course, most Mediterranean holiday destinations are selling them at a fraction of the price - with the added bonus of being on holiday.

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This wide ribbed jumper by Toast is such a winner because you can wear it all year round.  As we all know, packing away jumpers for Summer is not something that we do here in England.  Any self-respecting Englishman/woman will have one or two knitted garments to hand - this is the one I suggest you reach for.  The shorter body length is a nod to the current trends and the tone works with everything.  For a pop of colour around my face, I've tucked in my silk neck scarf.  I've also had quite a lot of women say to me that as they get older, they like to cover their necks so there you go, it works for that too! 

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Now can we just talk about these delicious shoes.  They're actually not that cheap for Zara (£49.99) but oh my goodness, I think that they're great.  They're a smarter alternative to an espadrille and neutral in colour so they go with everything. But more than that, for a flat shoe I think that they are super elegant.  To me, they look like a shoe with a story...perhaps rather than pulled off the shelves of a hectic high-street store, they were given as a gift during one long Summer spent in India...I have a young child so excuse the day dreaming, currently my only form of long haul travel. 

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I've added this top into the mix. Besides being beautiful and good quality, it would look great with the olive trousers.  The boxy shape with the wide-leg cut-off trousers combine for an effortlessly modern look.  Obviously I realise that such an over-sized, loose fitting outfit isn't for everyone.  If you prefer more body definition then this smock top with a pair of fitted jeans would also look lovely. Try these from Topshop (here).  They're a good quality denim and the high waist is not only flattering, but is perfect for this A-line top.  The Ecru (cream) colour is more forgiving than a bright white jean but would serve the same purpose in your wardrobe.  Cream and white is an incredibly chic colour combination, one I think lots of people over-look. Imagine - these jeans, a white shirt, tan shoes and a cream jumper slung around your shoulders - et voila!  An outfit to make any Parisian proud. 

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SUE

White shirt, Kin by John Lewis (very sadly sold out, but this would work too).  Smock top, Kin by John Lewis . Trousers, Toast .

Bag, Hush . Trainers, Superga (these would also look fab) . 

HANNAH

Jumper, Toast . Neck scarf, old (but this would also work) . Trousers, Toast . Bag, Hush .

Shoes, Zara

PHOTOGRAPHY AND ARTWORK by Alexandra Mooney