Over the last year, I have been trying to evolve my style a little, investing in pieces that are better quality and carry a timeless element of design with them, and which fit in with existing pieces that I own. I love adding in elements that are ‘of the moment’ and ASOS is my absolute go-to for a quick fix, but my aesthetic has been changing from the bright-and-garish of my 20s, to a more Scandinavian-influenced, monochrome look. As a tall woman I really feel that buying good quality trousers is almost impossible; far too often they’re overpriced, with underwhelming fabric, so I tend to stick to Next and ASOS’ tall ranges and then spend a bit more on tops and dresses from COS. My uniform is usually a boxy or oversized top, with skinny trousers or ASOS Ridley high-waisted super skinny jeans. In the winter I throw some Uniqlo heat-tech tops on underneath and a Whistles coat on top, in the spring it’ll be a military or Gap jacket and a voluminous scarf.
I think COS is well worth the money in most cases as the design element is just brilliant, the fabrics are lovely, and the only real downside is that you have to have a good knowledge of COS’s product to buy from their website as the plain nature of the clothes tends to make it a little bit tricky to know what you’re buying sometimes. I would also argue that the sizing is quite unforgiving- I’m eternally thrilled that their clothes go up to a size 18 but it’s not generous, and I couldn’t fit into certain styles in an 18 as a size 16, since the cut is very androgynous. That’s fine for my small chest, not so great for my womanly hips.
Anyway, I am utterly amazed that a range of clothes that evokes a similar reaction in me to that of COS, that I can see fitting in to my existing wardrobe, and that is affordable in a ‘considered purchase’ sort of a way, has escaped my attention for over a year. But googling leather backpacks today, I came across Kin by John Lewis and it’s magic. Fair warning: I haven’t bought anything yet so I will report back later on the quality, but it being John Lewis, I don’t foresee any issues. And I have high hopes for the John Lewis size 18.
One of my favourite things in the collection is this Reverse Seam Jumper, which I can really see with blue jeans or cigarette trousers. It’s effortless, tasteful, and at £49 it doesn’t break the bank for a beautiful bit of design. I don’t love it in black or green, but the charcoal looks great.
Two pieces I love that are currently in the sale are this neoprene bomber, which is £23.00! If I didn’t have a whole host of birthdays coming up and a nephew about to spring forth into the world, I would be buying it right now and frankly I still might.
This oversized textured jumper is also an ace piece on which to build, and is £48 from £69. It works in spring, autumn, and winter- which is exactly what I want if I’m spending fifty quid on one jumper.
A great all-rounder. Oversized Textured Jumper (£49 from £68)
I also like that Kin does splashes of colour to cut through the neutrals and darker winter palate. I don’t think this dress would suit me at all, but I like the fact that it nods to Whistles but would be double the price there. With a blazer and ankle boots you can go from meeting to drinks, and that’s another requirement for my purchases, when I’m not in Nike and a boyfriend-cut sweatshirt. The print is available in a top too, which is kind of cute.
Finally my favourite item in the current collection: a diamond print jacket. Part smart, part off-duty, quite a lot impractical: I love it! I’m unlikely to spend £79 on something I couldn’t fit under my coat but I can also imagine about 40 different outfits this would go with, and navy is so ridiculously 2015 that it would update everything.
The range’s big selling point, according to The Guardian is that it stretches across men’s, women’s, and children’s ranges, selling neatly to middle class families who want to co-ordinate presumably. A quick look confirms that it’s a very nice range all-round, but that means bugger all to me. The women’s range is clean, vaguely Scandinavian-looking, and has great everyday pieces at less than you’d pay at the shops it’s directly competing with for customers. It’s only a matter of time before I’m clicking-and-collecting my first item of Kin.