Dallying at Debenhams

Jane and Beryl have long had a soft spot for Debenhams and their brave attempt to include designers in their repertoire, so decided it was high time they high tailed it to the last remaining department store on the high street. They chose the Basingstoke branch as the people's popular choice on the grounds that it has a bigger fashion offering. Apparently, Jane and Beryl are much too old for their 'fashionability' which is aimed at the 25-34 year old market: who knew? And after their afternoon there, Jane and Beryl fail to see how they would lure in any 25-34 year olds, as the store lacks much to be desired in terms of layout, glamour and allure as it is a sea of nylon or nylonesque fabrics and sale rails discounting all sorts of old toot. From this lacklustre field, this is what they found... 

First up is The Frock (how often do you see Jane running for the dress? answer, never). However, this is the sort she much favours: stretchy, comfortable, neck to ankle... (much like a burkka, says Beryl). It's a Sophie Maxi dress from Phase Eight in Cobalt and comes in at £120. The only trouble with sort of garment, is that Jane is not quite sure when she would actually wear it as it's too posh for the beach and yet somehow not quite posh enough for a party (unless it was a barbecue, maybe). Indeed, it's neither Arthur nor Martha.

The difficulty in chain store clothing lies in trying to make manmade fibre look expensive and produce a garment that makes Josephine public want to part with her cash. This basic conundrum is sometimes more successful than others.  Jasper Conran's orange top for example is, at £29, well priced and an intense rich colour which makes it look expensive. The only reason Beryl did not buy this, is because she has a similar Top Shop version. Jasper Conran really came up with the goods in this outfit as the trousers were his, at £40 and a good fit. Likewise, the bag by the good Jasper, was £55 (Jane and Beryl have found cheaper and just as good looking versions at Sainsburys). 

Our faithful followers will know of Jane's quest for the ultimate jumpsuit: could this be it? It is a Penn jumpsuit by Phase Eight at £99. Jane hummed and haa-ed, but did not buy as it was too short in the body. She is wearing it with one of her bete noires, the peep toe shoe, but Phase Eight do nothing else apparently: this one is called Eva and cost £89. (Toes of the Woman of a Certain Age don't need to be peeping at anyone, quite frankly). She also has on a Valetta white jacket at £99 by, you've guessed it, Phase Eight. The bag is by Star at Julien MacDonald. 

Beryl did not purchase this outfit as a whole because the combination of a square top with her little legs poking out has the effect of a walking teabag. Both items were nice enough individually, the top is Phase Eight and £55 and the trousers £38, again Jasper. Phase Eight is probably one of Debenhams premium brands, and by paying more you are probably getting more bang for your buck. Dear reader Beryl did buy the trousers which she is planning to wear with a colour pop top. 

Jane now looks like she is going to the office: strange as she hasn't seen the inside of one of those for many years, unemployable as she is. Given that we are into Spring now, this is a very dour outfit, she feels. Having said that, Beryl declares the trousers a hit: Pin Dot Wide Leg Trousers by Principles at Ben de Lisi for £35. The blouse has interesting sleeves, which sadly, our dotty duo failed to photograph and comes again from Star at £35, as did the black textured biker jacket at £60.

Desperation had now set in. Jane was cross, declaring that she could not understand how Beryl had failed to find a dress to her liking. She then insisted that Beryl try on this dress from Debut that cost £130, the bottom of which resembled a 1950's boarding house counterpane. This was in fact a huge shame as the top half with its boatneck was really flattering.  

Jane was rather attracted to the cut out shoulder on this blouse - as she is rather attracted to any cut out shoulder on any garment, tart that she is. This one is £40 by Star worn with a Tab Waist Trouser (what on earth is this?) at £35.

Oh dear, by this point the idea that Beryl and Jane were going to find a store full of pretty, sassy fun clothes was receding into the middle, if not the middle-aged, distance. This dress is actually a good fit. It has a forties housewife vibe, of which Beryl is a fan. The addition of the jacket however was a step too far, as Beryl suddenly looks as if she should be boarding a coach to Bournemouth for the day.

1 comment




© What We Wear at FiftyThe Basic Page