Jane and Beryl, 
In The Charge of The Brocade Brigade

Brocade is the fabric of fabulous eighteenth century dandies, sumptuous curtains in dusty mansions and something the Queen has in abundance. And despite the fact that brocade is one of those fabrics that has something of the dowager duchess about it,( a bit like too much black lace),  Jane and Beryl love it, and want to introduce you to its charms.
 In fact, you probably own some brocade without even having contemplated its inherent loveliness in any way. Broadly speaking, brocade is a shuttle woven fabric with a raised or embossed surface effect. Jane, Beryl fears, will start being very pedantic about what is and is not brocade, shouting things like, "don't be ridiculous that's damask." However, for the rest of us,  just imagine George of Poldark on a big night out and you are in the zone, and this year it is spookily fashionable to boot. 

Ah, the brocade coat, beloved of the Scarlet Pimpernel, Adam Ant and Jane and Beryl.
Our Bezzer adores this Edina Ronay Coat, which traveled with her to the Venice Biennale. It cost £169, but was a 'bargain' (promise) as it was reduced from £695. It has a half belt, vent, and glass buttons. Jane and Beryl go all misty eyed about glass buttons and no-one lets face it is ever going to go all unnecessary for a black puffer jacket.

Beryl has added a frilly shirt, £29 from Zara, and her latest purchase, embroidered jeans from Top Shop £59. Oh, the comfort of this flat- booted stretchy-jeaned, not-too-hot coated combo.  

While charging around the Great British high-street looking for brocade items, of which there were very few few despite the fashion mags heralding it as this season's must-have, Jane and Beryl found this coat in dear old Debenhams. At £95, they thought that it was a bit of a steal with its removable fake fur collar, and just the right length for hopping in and out of vehicles (oh, no, it's a car coat!).

Jane and Beryl are however less enamoured with the brocade dress. Jane made Beryl try on several in Debenhams, the effect of which on a middle aged woman was frankly 'gopping'. Indeed this Monsoon dress £120 from Beryl's own collection has several features that Beryl does not now like. Beryl, of-course, was blinded by 'fabric love' and her penchant for anything with a 1950s shape. This dress sadly has that stiff prom-like skirt, that might look charming on our daughters but just looks a little odd on a fifty something, like a very old little girl. The high neckline was also a faux-pas, as Beryl and Jane are normally trying to distract people from looking at their necks by displaying a bit of ample tittage.

Another successful vehicle for brocade is definitely the trouser. Jane bought these from Zara last year for £29.99, and has had huge joy of them. They are just the thing to bung on in a rush for a whole myriad of occasions from Sunday lunches to theatre visits. Jane has shoved them on with as many textures and colours as she could: apparently that's the way to do it this year!

.Jane and Beryl are, however, dreaming of the full brocade top to toe trouser suit. Monsoon (left) has this glorious item and River Island also have a fine specimen (below, £38 trousers, £70 jacket). Sadly, the intrepid duo have not been able to track either down as many are already sold out in any sensible sizes on the world wide web, so cannot vouch for their efficacy. They suspect that the total effect will be de trop and it will be better to split the two up and wear them
separately. How lovely would either of those pairs of trousers be worn with a plain floppy shirt, Christmas dressing all sewn up.

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