I’ve had lots of people requesting a return to the brand specific spotlight posts that I ran in the autumn. SS24 has been a bit of a juggle in terms of work, travel and blog so I haven’t had time to put a consistent series together but today I’m delighted to be bringing you another one, this time it’s a Me+Em review – Retailer Spotlight.

Me+Em review - Retailer Spotlight

Me+Em – brand background in a nutshell

Disclosure: as with the majority of blogs, products featured on Midlifechic sometimes (but not always) include affiliate links. This means that if you choose to make a purchase, you are helping to support the site because a small referral commission may be paid. This contributes towards hosting fees, software costs, site maintenance and other plug-ins. Midlifechic could not exist without these small payments, so every contribution makes a big difference.


After leaving a career in advertising, Claire Hornby and her friend Emma remortgaged their houses to launch The Pyjama Room – a concept based on ‘comfortable and yet stylish clothes to wear when you’re hanging out at home’. After a while they extended their offering, rebranding as Me+Em – creating ‘designer quality basics for busy women’.


Emma leaves the business to focus on her family and Claire decides to carry on alone. She appreciates that her role of juggling a business along with family life with her husband Johnny Hornby, her 3 stepchildren and 2 daughters equips her to understand the needs of busy women who still want to look stylish. She bases her premise around the 3 Fs: clothes that are ‘flattering, functional and forever.’


Following third party investment the brand really lifts off, increasing its revenue by 73% in the year to January 2023 alone. An international expansion programme launches and stores open in New York and The Hamptons along with a new UK store in Edinburgh. Plans are made for Australia, The Middle East, Canada, Switzerland and Hong Kong. Although Me+Em is stocked at Harrods and Selfridges, Claire puts the rapid growth down to otherwise remaining a ‘direct to consumer’ brand. By balancing her love of design with a fascination with data she analyses the success of every item she produces. Selling directly to the customer also helps to manage margin expectations, enabling her to continue producing clothes with a designer level of cut and cloth at prices that are within reach of an underserved customer group at the upper end of the high street.

“You’ve got to love the numbers as much as the product, because the product changes the numbers. It has to inform everything, and once you’ve created the right product, you’ve got to communicate it in the right way. You’ve got to be current at all times, constantly thinking and being ahead of the customer. You can’t just use data, otherwise the data will only be backwards looking. You’ve also got to be intuitive, and see what’s being read in the tea leaves in the data, and look at what’s running out of steam and what’s suggesting a way forward. And it’s changing all the time at the moment, isn’t it?”

My view

Me+Em is the only non-designer brand I know to produce a collection that’s fully mix and matchable. Giving an example of the design process in an interview Claire outlined it as follows, “when the knitwear designer is designing a vest, the blouse designer is making sure that lines up, and that the top is the right length for each trouser…” So season after season any new Me+Em pieces that you add work seamlessly with the things you already have in your wardrobe. And that’s the beauty of it, the individual items may feel like an investment initially but they soon build up into a hardworking capsule.

One of the things I love most about it is that the fabrics always hang and handle beautifully and yet they’re mostly easy care. Apart from some of the special occasion pieces, most of the collection is machine washable, the fabrics rarely need ironing and clothes tend to have comfort and stretch built in. I find it means that I wear them rather than keeping them for best because I know I can pop them in the washing machine, dry them on a hanger and put them straight back into my dressing room.

The only criticism I have is of the store experience. There’s no denying that the stores are a really good way of seeing just how beautifully the collection mixes and matches, giving you more options that you’d ever imagined. However staff are hit and miss and you very often find yourself in the midst of a rather self-entitled customer group. This is unfortunate for Me+Em, there isn’t much they can do about it but because the shops are small boutique spaces, it doesn’t make for a pleasurable shopping experience. It was a problem we often had at Selfridges and we found that the answer lay with training staff to manage customers carefully. As such, if I want to try Me+Em I find that going into Selfridges is the better option. Of course if you live within the M25 you can use the Harper service where you order as much as you like; they bring it to your home for you to try, returning later to collect and handle any returns

Me+Em review – retailer spotlight – the lowdown


  • Me+Em graduated to full membership of the Ethical Trade Initiative in March 22, adopting its internationally recognised base code of labour standards as the foundation of their own code of conduct, specifically relating to protecting and promoting workers’ rights.
  • They are members of SEDEX, an organisation that helps companies improve their responsible and sustainable business practices and they also require all suppliers to be members of SEDEX.
  • The proceeds from their regular sample sales go to Smart Works.
  • Any unsold samples and write off stock are donated to charities – Smart Works and NEWLIFE.
  • To avoid any ME+EM products entering landfill, they recycle or donate all unused fabrics and trims to art schools and colleges.
  • Clare Hornby is an ambassador for the Prince’s Trust Women Supporting Women initiative, which works to equip young women across the UK to build their own future through education, training and employment.

Shipping Countries served by the website

Me+Em ships to most countries, simply change the flag icon at the top right of the page and the currency and shipping details will be displayed accordingly.

US website here

International shipping & returns cost examples

Me+Em review - Retailer Spotlight

Now as you know, I truly love Me+Em’s clothes and as part of my last five years of buying less but better strategy have been allocating a high percentage of my budget there. Just slipping a Me+Em piece on makes me smile because the cut is so clever; it really is like trying a designer piece because it slides onto your body and every last detail has been thought through. It reminds me of the way my clothes used to feel when I’d worked my way up at Selfridges and could finally (with my 35% discount) afford to wear brands like Calvin Klein. Although Me+Em is at the top end of the high street price-wise, I usually find it’s worth putting the budget I might otherwise have spent on four items into one of theirs. There was a new drop last week and if you’re looking to dip your toe in, here are my top five picks – then I’ll show you the Me+Em outfits I’ve been wearing over the last week.

Me+Em review - Retailer Spotlight

Me+Em – 5 great pieces from the latest drop

1. Soft white cheesecloth blouse

I have a few pretty white blouses that I never wear, mostly because of the laundry aspect – I know they’re going to be a pain to iron. I also find that they’re too crisp so they crumple while I’m wearing them and they’re too white so they remind me of my school uniform. This is the Goldilocks blouse, it’s neither white nor cream so it will suit most skintones, it’s made from cheesecloth so it’s soft and it won’t crease noticeably or need a lot of ironing. There are a few different cheesecloth blouses in the collection, you can find them here.

2. Jeans with added drama

On any day that doesn’t involve a muddy dog walk you’ll find me in Me+Em jeans. They just have so much chutzpah. You’ve seen me wearing the travel jeans constantly since they brought them out at the end of last year but unfortunately they’re completely sold out now (please reissue them Me+Em). However I have a pair of relaxed flares like this too and they’re the perfect cut. One thing I will say is that all trousers in Me+Em can be generous so it’s worth ordering a range of sizes to try. And yes, you may have to get the length altered. I find they’re perfect for me with a low heel but if I want to wear a flat, I have to have them taken up an inch – annoying but worth it.

(NB there’s a short length available on this style and the mid-blue wash has just gone into the sale – short here, regular here)

3. Easy summer dress

Back to the wonders of cheesecloth again, it has to be the best summer fabric. Me+Em brought it back way before any other retailer and so they really know how to work with it to its best advantage. The structure and shaping is unmatchable and of course you have all the ‘never too hot, never too cold’ properties that it brings with it. There’s a full cheesecloth collection here.

4. Plane to beach piece

Towelling is the other love that I share with Me+Em and they have a full collection of pieces in this fabulous fabric too here. It’s great for fabulous colour saturation as well as being comfortable and easy care. I always wear Me+Em when I travel and would happily wear this for one of those trips where you want to head out as soon as you arrive, feeling the part.

5. Fluid striped trousers

The trouser of the season is striped but I find it hard to get over the just rolled out of bed aspect, especially when they’re drawstring and made from crumply cotton. These have a waistband and are made from a lyocell and linen blend meaning they’ll drape beautifully without creasing. The perfect solution – I’d love to see them in a navy stripe too.

Me+Em in action

While I was in Thailand, Me+Em got in touch to ask if I’d like to pick a few things to feature on Midlifechic and the urge to fly straight home was strong but I had to wait. I’ve been buying and wearing things from them for so long that it felt a bit like the moment when your school crush finally turns round and smiles at you. So let me show you what I picked. I put everything straight into action because the clothes just work for me, whatever I’m doing.

Wednesday pitch presentation

So this was last Wednesday when we had the first new client pitch we’ve done for ages. It was a design project so I needed to look the part and this jumpsuit felt absolutely perfect. As always, I want to command attention by wearing something that holds the eye in what is usually a roomful of black, grey and navy – but isn’t distracting. So here you have me in serious work mode but I’d happily wear this to any event – a wedding, the races, a party or just out for dinner. As always with Me+Em, it’s the sort of chameleon piece that’s striking in any situation without being overblown.

Tulip red jumpsuit (gifted SS24)

The midday sun was very bright in the picture above so this is a better representatation of the actual colour which is a soft red verging on coral. This jumpsuit fits me like a glove – Me+Em always feels as if it’s been made bespoke somehow. You can see how well thought out it is – the front zip enables you to adjust the V-neck to exactly the point that suits you best, the cap sleeves cover the tops of your arms, the fringed edging on the collar makes it a little less formal, the pockets are slanted and placed further forward than most brands so that they don’t add width to your hips, the trousers flare out beautifully at just the right point and the front stitched seam works with the side leg panel to give a lengthening effect.

In my Charlie’s Angels/Lady Penelope hybrid dreamworld I’d wear a jumpsuit like this every day – different colours and a nice washable ponte for the weekends would be the only way I’d ever need to change them up.

Tulip red jumpsuit (gifted SS24)

Friday afternoon meeting & drinks

We were meeting a client at the beautiful Art Deco Midland Hotel with its original Eric Gill and Ravilious features on Friday. We all agreed that a 4pm start would be a good idea so that we could stay on for a glass of wine afterwards. I was determined to wear this dress and was expecting to shiver so I’d taken a (past season Me+Em) cardigan along but suddenly the sun came out. The forecast for last weekend was miserable so there was a real mood of optimism around when the warmth came from nowhere.

Cheesecloth dress (gifted SS24)

As you can see, this is the halterneck version of the dress that I picked out above, there’s a skirt with matching top in the same fabric too. Cheesecloth is so cool and soft to wear, it drapes beautifully and swings as you move – it washes well too so it’s a no brainer for me. The panel at the waist adds structure to this dress so that it doesn’t look too casual – I’d just add that despite it being shirred, there is a seam around the waist at the bottom of your ribs and it’s quite neat so if you’re between sizes, go up on this one. The plunging neckline is a style that works for me but if you prefer to be more covered, there’s a hook and eye further up that you can fasten – a new but thoughtful detail from Me+Em.

Cheesecloth dress (gifted SS24)

Saturday morning shopping and coffee

A trip into town so that I could pick up new contact lenses from the opticians. I’ve realised that I’m wearing my glasses all of the time now so after resisting for as long as I could, I decided to make the transition. One of Lancaster’s best coffee shops is in the grounds of its beautiful old castle so we wandered up there afterwards. I love being there because you can feel the history thrumming around you. It’s the place where the Lancaster witches were tried and you can still go down and be locked in their dungeon if you’re brave enough. Anyway it was gloriously warm again and I was wearing Me+Em. You often see me in their co-ords, especially when we’re travelling. Their stretchy textured palazzos with their elasticated waist are so comfortable for flying in and they look so smart, plus they have the same leg-lengthening properties of the tailored trousers.

Jacquard halterneck top; jacquard palazzos (gifted SS24)

The halterneck top is just the right shade for wearing with jeans and it will look great with cream jeans or skirts too. The trousers will work with ivory, white and blue tops so you’d get a lot of outifts from these two simple pieces. Both are machine washable – note that the relaxed trousers are often generous so you may want to size down, the top in a 12 is quite a neat fit so it may be better to size up on that one.

Jacquard halterneck top; jacquard palazzos (gifted SS24)

Saturday afternoon on the beach

And so on Saturday afternoon we popped over to The Caribbean…

… only joking, this is Morecambe but you wouldn’t think so would you?

We probably wouldn’t have gone down to the beach if I didn’t have this dress to photograph but I’m so glad we did. For once the breeze was warm rather than the usual arctic chill. I forget how lucky we are to have this stunning sandy beach with its view across to the Lake District hills just a thirty minute walk from our front door.

Halterneck beach dress

Now this dress doesn’t look much on the website or even when you unpack it but when you put it on something magic happens. It’s made from the finest cotton viscose blend that hangs and moves like silk, especially when the wind catches it. There are matching swimsuits and bikinis and the whole collection comes in chestnut brown and black as well as this stunning magenta purple.

As you can tell, I had a bikini on underneath. I wouldn’t usually wear something like this locally but while we were taking these photos we bumped into some people we know and ended up going on for a spontaneous drink and something to eat. There is a slight transparency to the fabric but luckily as the light grew dim you couldn’t tell. So many people stopped me to ask about the dress because it’s just so beautiful when you see it in real life.

Halterneck beach dress

And just a word about the sandals. If, like me, you know you’ll never get your eye around the fugly sandal trend however comfy they may be, then these are a great option. They’re strong and sturdy but they don’t ruin the architecture of your foot and thereby the look of your outfit. They have a small heel for support, adjustable straps so that you can get exactly the right fit and yet they still look streamlined.

T-Bar sandals (also available in black, tan or off white)

So it ended up being an unexpectedly lovely weekend – maybe the Met Office need to forecast doom and gloom more often! It’s been good to focus on Me+Em in more detail than usual because it’s a brand that’s become integral to my life. I will only ever feature the retailers that I think deserve your hard earned money and this is one of them. And they will see this post so do take the opportunity to speak to them via the comments, I’m quite sure the petites amongst you will have something to say! I’ll be back on Friday as usual – have a good week.

Disclosure: ‘Me+Em review – Retailer Spotlight’ is not a sponsored post

Subscribe by email

    Disclosure: as with the majority of blogs, products featured on Midlifechic sometimes (but not always) include affiliate links. This means that if you choose to make a purchase, you are helping to support the site because a small referral commission may be paid. This contributes towards hosting fees, software costs, site maintenance and other plug-ins. Midlifechic could not exist without these small payments, so every contribution makes a big difference.