Out Of The Blue!

It is usually my job to pick out clothing for others’ on personal shopping trips around Munich. It’s nice for a change when the tables are turned. This usually happens when I go shopping with my Mum. We were walking around the beautiful seaside town of Sidmouth in Devon, England when we decided to take a look inside M&Co.

M&Co (formely Mackays) was established in Scotland fifty years ago and has grown to become one of the largest privately owned fashion clothing retailers in the UK and has over 300 stores including franchises in Dubai, Bulgaria and Malta.

When you walk into the store, it is easy to understand the success of this family fashion empire.The layout is generous and you can actually move clothing to look at it, rather than it being jammed in so tight, you feel like a wrestler (trying not to wrestle) Lighting is ambient but you can still see the colours for what they really are. The music is neither too loud or  piped elevator music (as my Dad liked to call it) and the staff are great. BUT the best thing about M&Co is their pricing. It’s brilliantly budget or (in a French accent) budget!

M&Co3

Take this dress. It already has (as they say in the business) hanger appeal, which makes it easier to imagine how it might look on and a quick turnaround for the retailer. Scouting around shops before personal shopping trips, It was clear to see how the store mixed good basics with embellished pieces perfectly.The website is really good for this too.

Mum took one look at the dress and said ‘It’s Christian Dior’s New Look dress of the 1950’s. It’s charming Rache’ With that, I had to try it on!

The dress feels light on and does have a designer feel about it. I thought It might feel a bit too girly with all the lace, but it doesn’t due to the midnight blue and the elegant cut. There is just enough netting underneath the dress to push it out without making me feel like a music box dancer. The hint of lilac lining beneath the bodice gives it something extra and even the grosgrain belt (which I normally discard) adds to the look. The price of the dress was 59 (GBP) but was reduced further to 40. Of course, I had to get it!

Fashion doesn’t need to be expensive to be beautiful!

 

Take a look at M&Co here.

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From Italy With Love

It may seem counterintuitive to go into a knitwear shop when it is close to 30 degrees outside, but it is exactly what I did when I saw the shop window of La Luna Nuova in the beautiful town of Montalcino in Italy on a recent break with my husband.

Since I was in holiday mode and switched-off, I didn’t think to take a photo of weaver, Chiara Franceschetti working at her beautiful wooden loom in the shop. She does not seem to have a website and the only link I found on her work was on facebook (see above)

knitwear

Initially, I only intended to look around and was more than happy to take in all the colours and styles on offer. After some thought (and a little encouragement from my husband!) I found myself being dressed and pinned into various butter soft knitwear. After some deliberating, I decided on this vibrant pink wrap top.

Chiara informed us that she uses mainly alpaca and cashmere or a mix of both. The colours were gorgeous and the shop was bursting with pistachio, red, cornflower blue, yellows, black and purple. From wraps, coats, shawls and capes.

What made the visit to this shop truly unique, was to see stunning artisan craftsmanship at work, with the products being made right in front of you. Something rare and special in these days of mass production.

If you are visiting Montalcino, pop into La Luna Nuova to see an artist at work:

La Luna Nuova. Chiara Franceschetti, Viale Mazzini 31, 53024 Montalcino (Siena) Italy.

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French Fancy

The month of May in Munich didn’t get me dancing around in dresses yet, and we are already into June- What is going on people!

It’s been pretty cold and windy here, so I have kept things colourful but warm and have been spotted wearing a coat I bought in the lovely market town of Tavistock, Devon in England. Daretobdifferent is a friendly family run boutique buzzing with atomsphere (and customers) and stocked with some known, and not so known labels.(check out their website for updates) Eva Tralala (yes, really) is a French label specializing in quirky but very wearable pieces.

evatralala

In Munich this coat seems to have the power to stop ladies in the street. They ask me where I got it from and if they can touch it!  As I am talking, I realize I am fiddling with the wool bobbles inside the pockets. It came with two huge safety pins, so I can wrap the coat as I see fit.

It is very often the smaller towns that hold the greatest gems. Next time you are shopping, think of going off the main street and away from the mass produced fashion, and start exploring independent shops. At the same time you are supporting local and often family run business. A big plus in my book!

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