First week has kicked in with a solemn and resounding groan. The weather can’t seem to make up its mind, there are even more road works on Magdalen Road and – worse still – the libraries are starting to become even busier with finalists taking up their hibernation posts. But here at the Fashion Team we are always looking on the bright -and stylish – side of life and with Whistles new collection, we can’t wait to spend numerous hours walking up and down the aisles of the Bod, swishing our dresses as we go.
As a fifteen year old, you wouldn’t have caught me walking into Whistles with my mum, let alone by myself. But over the last couple of years Whistles has gone through a reinvention and has found its own niche in the High Street hub of shops. Its entire brand was overhauled in 2008 by Jane Sheperdson, who was previously Brand Director at Topshop, with the aim to create clothes for “a woman who loves great design, isn’t scared of a little edginess, who wants to reference trends but doesn’t want to slavishly follow them.” The resulting collections and the resounding success (at least amongst my housemates!) has left Whistles with an indispensable role in the fashion contingent, Yes, whilst Topshop offers the trends of the moment at acceptable prices and Primark provides us with cheap throwaway fashions, Whistles gives us lasting style, all with the three c’s.
It is classic. With dresses costing in the range between £60 and £200, every purchase in Whistles is an investment. Each dress is distinct: whilst influenced from trends, they are plain enough to mix up in different ways. Our favourite is the racer-back body con double layer dress (it’s now £50 in the sale!). It’s the perfect LBD that will go from day to night. Team with pumps, patterned tights, fitted blazer and satchel – voila, the perfect outfit to wear whilst for pondering life in the RadCam. Switch into bright heels and grab an oversize clutch and it’s instantly updated for a night in Kukui. It’s all about the accessorizing.
It is cut. Spending £60 on a dress that you may end up wearing on a casual basis might seem a bit too much of a stretch, especially with our sale splurges still hanging over our heads. But whilst switching up the accessories and colours can take the dress from season to season, day to night, the quality and structure of Whistles clothes proves that it may be the best £60 you’ve ever spent (or as we like to say, invested). Their Piano Playsuit might be double that of a Topshop outfit (at £110 it certainly is an ‘overdraft expense’) but the cut and every detail hints at real quality. The playsuits gold buttons and dropped waist gives it a style without need for much alteration. Keep the outfit simple: blazer, opaque tights and brogues for winter pub sessions and wedges and a flimsy cardigan for summer punting.
It is clean. Although the suggestion of ‘clean’ clothing may sound a bit odd a first, but the point of Whistles clothes and its collections is that they are never too fussy. It’s structured and cut well, but the lines created are also crisp and flattering. There are no loud colours or brash patterns, no bow is out of place and there certainly is not an overload of zips, glitter or sequins. The designs are thus not overcomplicated; whilst the clothing may not be unique or stand-out in an obvious way, each item has a crucial factor: it will last season after season and never look outdated. Our favourite for this season is the casual zip front dress and at £65, the dress is certainly cheaper than many of the more formal dresses currently in the collection. Made from jersey, well cut with handy pockets the dress won’t look out of place in a tute, lecture or out on a walk through the meadows. Leggings or tights, boots or heels, leather jacket or soft zip-up hoody, it is a truly versatile dress.
For more casual wear inspiration, sign up to their newsletter – from the looks of it, the nudes and pales of this season are only are few weeks away from arriving in-store. If that doesn’t distract you enough from your reading, check out the advert of the moment and Audrey Tautou, queen of casual glamour channeling the Parisian trends of the Spring.
And if that wasn’t enough for you or your need for distraction – for all those who appreciate good-looking men in attractive ski-wear, get onto vogue.co.uk and search for the Dolce & Gabbanna Autumn/Winter 2010-2011 male catwalk. Not to be disappointed.
All photos obtained from the Whistles website, www.whistles.co.uk .