simply the best


Margaret Howell SS 2013

Dressing for warm leather for me has always meant putting on as little items of clothing as possible. That means each item of clothing has to be able to stand on its own - it has to have a strong identity, it has to look smart, it can't look like it's waiting to be accessorised.

This is especially tricky when it comes to simple clothing, where there are no obvious flourishes to make a sophisticated statement - no pleats or ruffles, no bold colours, no dazzling prints, no intricate embroidery, no complicated shapes. 

I am drawn to these looks from Margaret Howell's spring/summer lookbook because they exemplify how basic pieces like a little capsleeve tee can be made in a way that creates a distinct but subtle silhouette. The lines are boxy and clean, but there's also looseness so everything isn't uptight and strict. These are practical, airy looks that work well in warm weather, with a relaxed vibe that never looks sloppy.
I am especially drawn to the dress, and have decided to use it to test out a new shopping method: for more expensive items, or ones that aren't a necessity, I will set some money each week until I hit the price of the desired item, before I buy it.

It's part of my aim to become more fiscally responsible and better at budgeting, and also a way of giving myself time to really decide if I truly desire something. If it sells out by then, no regrets; I don't lack for clothes I love.

Of course I still believe in the instinctive, immediate, utterly perfect buy, but those are one in a hundred. Everything else can do with a bit of extra time. Would be interesting to see how this works out.

Pictures from Margaret Howell


miss sophie said…
you know i love that ever-so-sailorly detail of the MH dress, but having tried similar styles from APC in the past, i just can't do a straight shift dress. :P maybe one needs to be tall and willowy and French to properly rock it. alas!

i am realizing that most of my favorite staples are all very, very simple with a luxe detail or two. it's a good thing, given my taste for sometimes more outré jewelry!
the neckline on the dress is especially nice. I like the striped shirt and pants look, and the sunglasses are looking good too.

Good luck on your budgeting. I've been very disciplined with mine. Of course I see things that would be nice, but as you well said: it's not like I'm lacking for clothes I love. And I find I thoroughly enjoy wearing what I already own, and I get to put together things, that I may not have thought of if I was constantly buying new clothes. So far my best purchases this year aren't even clothing related.
Amanda said…
I've been pining after those shoes since I first saw them... I just thought you should know. :-)

I'm definitely trying to be more fiscally responsible this year - we'll see when mid-year comes if I'm successful.
jamie-lee said…
I like the concept of saving up and only buying once you have the money set aside, although this requires far too much organisation on my part I find, and with a credit card, the purchase now mentality is always too difficult to resist. At the moment I'm trying to stop shopping completely so that I can move toward something similar, although that is always easier said than done, but I suppose your comment, about having plenty of clothes that you love, well, it's something I'm beginning to realise too. I hope you manage to get our hands on the dress before it sells out!
Joy said…
i can't have said anything better than margaret howell myself. she is just so good.
Eileen said…
I have resigned to the fact that MH's apparel ususally swamp my frame and I get lost in her clothes. So I am living my MH summer dreams vicariously through you.

I get what you mean when you describe simple clothing. I have a few A.P.C. dresses that fit the bill and I hope they bring those back!
Ammu said…
Such a great dress. Your description of simple, but distinctive clothing really speaks to me. It's one of the reasons I tend to be very loyal to designers who understand that a cleverly-cut sleeve or a softly-draped hem can make an otherwise plain dress look stunning on the body.
lin said…
miss sophie: I love the blouse version of the dress I got last season so I was really thrilled to see this dress version. I agree straight shift dresses are hard to pull off but I've realised for me it's all about the length - it can't be too short, and the dress can't be too "A line" - it has to be perfectly straight.

Pret a Porter P: It's been hard budgeting, seeing as Chinese New Year meant extra outlay of money for travel and extra expenses but I'm determined to stick to this financial exercise to see where it takes me.

Amanda: :) The shoes are very cute...I love the sturdy shoes she always shows.

Would love to see how your plan to be more fiscally responsible turns out! I love reading about people sharing this stuff because it really keeps me motivated as well.

jamie-lee: i think the dress is already sold out online, although i've emailed the shop to ask, haha. It's definitely logistically challenging, to set aside money - I'm literally putting money in a jar for this one since it's not a huge sum of money. For bigger ticket items I reckon I'd be transferring money into my "do not touch" savings account and just keeping track of the balance.

joy: I like how you can always count on her to repeat certain things - I hate the idea that I only have one season to buy something.

Eileen: I have to agree that some of her clothes are probably difficult to pull off, and it doesn't help that we can't try her stuff before ordering!

Ammu: Exactly! There is plain, and then there is plain.
emmikoo said…
I love the dress as well, Margaret never disappoints. Unfortunately I've found that the dresses from MH don't for some reason fit me. I tend to look swamped even though I'm not a petite build, sad but true. I think I will have to turn to APC for a summer dress, though lately there hasn't been anything hugely interesting in their collections dress wise.

The shopping method you described sounds like something I should probably try... Impulse buys rarely turn out well and with a credit car and countless online stores it is way too easy to give in.
Nyssa Jayne said…
loving the budget. i think on a whole, as shoppers we're discouraged from saving week-by-week, because "it might be gone!" next week. it was the mental block i had to shake.

i'm much better at not-shopping now, which means when i see a nice piece like you've done here, i can just start saving for it. it's so rewarding, because when you get the piece, you know you like it and you get a bit of a kick out of knowing you've not used credit. (maybe that's just me?)
Sue said…
Oh I cannot save for toffee. If I could, it would be great to be able to do that and think sensibly about how much you want and love something. I have found that something that you thought was the bees knees but you haven't been able to get, when it comes up again say the following year - you don't actually want it. The moment has gone. That makes you really realise that you didn't want or need the item that much in the first place.
lin said…
emmikoo: I've yet to try their dresses; their tops have been all right so far. Some of their shapes definitely look challenging to pull off, I agree.

I'm trying to be responsible about money more than anything else and figured since I am unlikely to ever stop buying clothes completely, I could at least place some restrictions on how much I can spend at any time!

Nyssa Jayne: I agree, I think it's sad that most things only exist for one season, or in the case of designer handbags, end up with horrible price increases.

I like avoiding using credits cards as well! It just makes me feel better knowing that I haven't spend beyond my means.

Sue: I agree, sometimes something resurfaces and I find that the magic is gone, which is why most of the time I prefer not to buy something immediately unless I have that rare feeling of utter certainty.
nanashi said…
Love the looks, and the budgeting idea does sound good (although I also agree with others that the "if you don't buy it now you might regret it later" is ever-present). It's great to read that there are other ways, and we can always say "well, it wasn't meant to be".

I went to the MHL store in Tokyo awhile back, loved most of the items but the dress shape didn't work for me. I do like the relaxed yet bit structured silouette she is great a creating though.
lin said…
Nanashi: Yep, the risk of missing out is always there, but I will still make an exception when I know that something is a must-have, and for everything else, I think it's wise to give it time. In any case, I'm determined to tighten my clothing budget and this is one way of doing it!

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