I don’t know about you, but when I get to this point in the season, I’m over the excitement of Autumn clothes because I’ve become accustomed to the new trends. It feels as though each retailer is simply offering a slightly adjusted version of the same thing and I yearn for something that stands apart. There are a handful places that I turn to for visual refreshment: Cos, Me+Em, Kin at John Lewis (not Modern Rarity – I feel like I’m the only blogger who isn’t gushing over Modern Rarity but I’m just not sold on it), however, my favourite is always Finery. Now I want to make it clear straight away that this Finery review is not a collaboration, I just love their clothes.
What makes me love Finery?
Well, to begin with, they tick my box of being a small company created by women over 40 who are following their dream. They know about our Midlifechic community and talk to me regularly. The woman who is in charge of blogger relationships is one of my favourite people to talk to in the world of retail. She is always open to feedback and she takes it absolutely for granted that women over 40 are interested in being chic.
Why? It’s not because she is over 40 herself as you would suspect, in fact she is only in her early 20s. The reason is (and this is not me peddling a cultural cliché) that she is French and when I chat to her, I realise that she simply assumes that of course women want to remain stylish. I can’t tell you how refreshing this is. So often I have to talk to chilly young PRs who patronise me, with a slight smirk playing at the corners of their mouths, because I am an older blogger. Finery, like Hush, is an ‘attitude not age’ brand.
The last thing that I particularly like about them is that they are less seasonal than other brands. They make clothes with care in small batches. If a style sells well, they repeat it and it becomes part of their core range. They are still doing the beautifully simple Ashwin tops that were the first thing I bought when they launched over 2 years ago. This is an almost ‘anti-fashion’ approach and it takes a stand against the obsolescence of the industry.
Finery review: skirts
So, let me show you some of the things that I have bought from Finery over the last few months. This is one of my favourites. As you know I am fully embracing the midi-skirt for its elegance but a proper midi length is difficult to find. More often you come across skirts that are actually just below the knee which are not particularly flattering for most people.
Now I bought this one in the John Lewis sale but thanks to the Finery retail model, versions are still available. It was a size too big but it was the only one left and I really wanted it. These pictures have made me realise that I need to have it altered slightly, so imagine it with a more fitted waistline.
Skirt – see details below; blouse; Jigsaw shoes – past season
I wore this outfit for an important lunch meeting this week when I need to have a ‘creative but intelligent’ edge.
This gives you an idea of the beautiful fabric which is almost a heavy satin but without too much of a sheen.
Finery clothes are all about architecture and this skirt is constructed as beautifully from the back as it is from the front.
It’s going to be much harder to get decent shots over the next few months as the days become darker and the weather more unpredictable. I looked for a sheltered spot so that you could see the skirt in daylight. I thought I’d found one with this grubby old wall…
…this is how it’s going to be from now on…
…bad hair days galore.
This skirt is not currently available in the Mulberry colour I am wearing, although knowing Finery it could be back any time. However there are other fabulous options. You’ll be able to wear it with a polo neck and opaques to brighten up a Winter day or dress it up with a camisole and heels for a party.
Finery review: trousers
Now, moving onto trousers. Last week I started playing around with wide trousers and was trialling the slouchy look with a ribbed jumper and Stan Smiths. My youngest son was taking part in a fundraising ‘Supper Run’ after school so I went along to watch and waited while he had supper with his friends afterwards. I’d noticed he kept glancing across at me and when we got back to the car, we had a conversation that went like this:
Son: “I don’t want to upset you but I need to tell you something”
Me [heart pounding]: “Ok, you can tell me anything. What is it?”
Son: “I know you’ve been really busy and have been missing Pilates but I think you need to get back to the gym, you’re looking a bit chubby”
Me [gulping silently]: “well I weighed myself this morning and I was the same, what do you think it is?”
Son: “Well I looked across at you and you didn’t look like you, you just looked all short and like you had no middle”
Me: [puzzled]: “Maybe it’s these trousers and trainers that I’m trying together, it’s what everyone’s wearing in London”
Son: “oh, well, let the Londoners look bad then Mum – I think people know a lot better round here…”
However hard I try, there is no chance of me getting too big for my boots is there?!
Anyway, as well as feeling haunted by the fact that I’d perhaps let him down in front of his friends (I remember how much these things matter when you’re 13), I thought about our conversation the next day (when I was on the train down to said London).
I’d been looking at these high waisted trousers for a while and so I ordered them. In past seasons I’ve learned that Finery tends to come up small so I always size up. I think they must have adjusted their sizing though and these will have to be exchanged because again, they’re too big – but look how well this high waist works for someone who is long bodied (and short legged) like me.
They have lovely detail at the back too
Because they sit at the bottom of your ribcage there is no chance of any bulge and the belt ensures you still have a middle. I am relieved to tell you that they have received a Northern 13 year old’s seal of approval!
Finery review: trench coat
I’ve had this Fournier trench coat for a couple of months now. When everyone else was buying wafty linen numbers, I was busy investing in a trenchcoat – there’s a Northern summer for you.
It is a simple but really good quality raincoat. I think our mothers would have called it a ‘gaberdine.’
It has the features you need such as a stand up collar…
and a stormflap on the back.
It’s heavy and has been well tested in the rain already. It’s something a little different to the ubiquitous beige trench, thanks to its longer length and flattering tailored shape.
I’ve found it works really well with more formal work clothes such as the high waisted trousers above, as well as with jeans like this.
Finery review: boots and shoes
The Elmworth boots are back in stock in my favourite blue
You’ve seen how I use them to brighten things up
I also managed to buy a pair in the chocolate snake, again in the John Lewis sale
And they have just been released in an even more on trend tan snake print
as well as a burnished burgundy
And I just had to show you these. When all of the other retailers are chasing their tails by copying each other, Finery stands calmly aside and creates art for your feet.
The Ferncroft slingbacks are also back in stock. I’m wearing them in this windswept picture in Birmingham and in that John Lewis bag are the Finery pieces that I’d bought in the July sale.
And I’m just showing you these because I can’t justify them but they’re beautiful. If you buy them please tell me so that I can enjoy the thought vicariously!
I also wanted to show you these tweed trousers because I know a lot of people want to wear the tweed trend but can’t because of the itch factor. Looking at the composition of these, I think they will give you the look without the irritation.
And finally, one for the apples and columns out there. This is an absolutely wonderful dress, I know, I’ve tried it. It’s also a wonderful price. It doesn’t work if you’re my shape (which is basically an hourglass but without the Marilyn Monroe factor) but it will be great if you’re not. It’s made from quality soft, heavy jersey and it makes a statement.
So that’s Finery. If you are lucky enough to live near a John Lewis that stocks the range, it’s a really good way to familiarise yourself with it (Oxford St, Birmingham, Liverpool, Trafford Centre and Cheadle). It usually sits next to Whistles and that is how I see it, as a more affordable (and often better quality) version of Whistles.
Unfortunately both brands insist on using models from the same “Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now” agency. I never understand why they think we will be encouraged to buy their clothes when it looks as though they’re making the person wearing them feel utterly unhappy.
The other bugbear I have with Finery is the photography of the clothes (not the accessories, they do that well). They pride themselves on their ‘magazine style’ shots but, in my opinion, they are forgetting that magazines are simply creating beautiful images; they don’t care whether you buy the clothes or not. If you’re on a retail website you need the shots to be sufficiently well lit for you to see the detail.
However, setting that aside, I’m glad Finery looks to be here to stay. I have one more piece that has just been delivered that I’m dying to show you but we have to wait because it’s for an occasion that’s coming up in a couple of weeks. I won’t be blogging on Tuesday because I have lots of other work that I need to catch up with. I’ll be back next Friday though so, until then, let me know your thoughts on Finery in the comments and have a great week.
Finery deliver to Europe and the rest of the world and delivery is free with orders over a certain spend. Details for all countries are here. You can also order online from John Lewis’s Finery section, details for all countries are here.
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