12 Advantages of Fashion Boutiques

Fashion Boutiques seem to be popping up everywhere these days. This is partly because women all over the world are choosing to shop at small Fashion Boutiques instead of their larger, more generic high-street cousins. And most fashion boutiques wouldn’t have it any other way! In fact, most of them don’t even aspire to cater to a large, mainstream audience, as it would take all the fun and excitement out of boutique fashion.

Boutique Fashion is all about discovering hidden styles, reinventing lost trends, and creating timeless collections. To illustrate just how unique this experience is, we’ve put together a list of the top 12 advantages of shopping at fashion boutiques. Enjoy!

1) You get the attention you deserve

From the in-depth personal attention in store, to the detailed and always useful blogs online, Fashion Boutiques are all about providing the best service and putting you at the middle of it all. Whether it’s second opinions or wardrobe suggestions, these are experts who have real experience and a passion for the brands they stock. At Colmers Hill, we build up relationships with our regular customers. This helps us to shape our buying of future collections using the knowledge of what you favour or would like to see. This kind of responsive personal service is something the high street shops can never replicate.

When you come to our boutique you will also benefit from a personal stylist as the team at Colmers Hill have a keen eye for what suits different shapes and sizes and what’s in store that will work well together. Regular customers also know they can trust in our honest opinions, again sadly not always a given.

2) Interesting Brands

How often do you bump into a traditional, hand-crafted Indian clothing store when walking down a typical English shopping street? We know, not nearly enough times! With small Fashion Boutiques, however, you are guaranteed to find eye-catching and out-there brands.

Take Yavi, for example, a brand that we’ve recently added to our own collection. Using
ancient Indian hand-painting techniques and luxurious materials, like velvet and silk, they have created a stylish collection of traditional clothing, with a modern, oriental twist. These are real works of art and have a unique and inspiring story that really shines through the entire design process, adding a whole other layer of personality to your clothes!

IMG_3747 copy (607x800)
Hand printed silk dress at Colmers Hill Fashion

See a beautiful video showing a Yavi craftsperson demonstrating the traditional printing process of fabric.

 

3) Brands that don’t define you, but compliment you

In my opinion, one of the biggest advantages of boutique fashion brands is that their clothes allow you to really express who you are. How can you show your individual personality by wearing something plain or on every high street? Or something your neighbour might also wear?  And who wants to turn up to a wedding wearing something someone else is wearing? Where’s the fun in that?!

4) Sustainable & Environmentally Friendly

It’s no secret that high-street shops manage to keep their prices down by lowering
manufacturing costs, exporting work overseas and using cheaper, non-renewable materials. Boutique Fashion shops often take a different approach, however, turning the emphasis from quantity to quality.

Many boutique brands are environmental pioneers and use techniques and materials that aren’t harmful to the environment. Owen Barry Bags, for example, only use locally sourced trimmings and other environmentally friendly materials, along with their carefully selected British and European skins, showing that you can be environmentally friendly and trendy.

5) Made in England

Boutiques are often champions of UK plc and search out the growing number of labels that are not only designed in the UK but also manufactured here. We are great believers in this and have selected labels like Out of Xile, One Life, Retuned for this very reason.

6) Good Fits = Good Self-Esteem

We often get a lot of women desperate to find solutions to recurring fitting issues. “My legs are too short for mainstream jeans,” is one we get a lot. Sadly, more than 43% of women admit that they would skip going to the beach or the pool because of body insecurities or wardrobe doubts. Well, with small Fashion Boutiques you can rest assured that you get a unique fit that allows you to accentuate your figure and not hide it. And, by the way, while we’re on the subject of trousers, we simply must highlight Robell and That’s Me trousers. These ultra-durable, high-quality trousers offer an almost tailor-made look that is accentuated by their innovative use of materials. This makes for an incredible flattering and naturally thinning design, giving you the confidence to wear what you want, when you want.

7) Perfect for vintage, retro, or unusual styles

If you’re looking for niche styles, then Fashion Boutiques are perfect for you! We even had our own retro-themed photoshoot to show off Dorset’s Retro Revolution last year, which was a lot of fun and really showcased how versatile these clothes can be. Looking for a 1940s flowery shirtwaist dress? Step right this way! With exciting British brands like Retuned Style and Collectif consistently paying tribute to their vintage design roots, you can rest assured that there will always be a boutique shops with that ultra-feminine, highly-stylized, retro look that you’re after.

Retuned Style Daisy & Gingham Print Dress at Colmers Hill Fashion
Retuned Style Daisy & Gingham Print Dress

8) Quality

As we mentioned before, quality materials and high standards often leads to exceptional
craftsmanship and beautiful finishes. This leads to timeless products that you can rely on for far longer than just a season. A great example of this is Godske, a now multinational Danish brand that never forgot its countryside roots and unbeatable quality promise. Their strict adherence to their own strict manufacturing guidelines really proves that quality is one of those things that smaller Fashion Boutiques and Boutique Brands simply never compromise on. Other favourites include Myrine and Elsewhere.

9) Unique Clothes

We went into this a little before, but it’s definitely worth expanding on. A recent survey showed that UK shoppers own over £10 billion of clothes they’ll never wear, something probably underlined by the frustration that many people feel over bad purchases. The main reason, however, is that we buy things that aren’t unique, don’t inspire us, and don’t push us to invent a unique wardrobe that really represents who we are. Although Fashion Boutiques don’t provide all the answers to these problems, they’re certainly a step in the right direction.

10) Supporting Local & Small Businesses

Nowadays, shopping local and supporting small businesses can be an incredible rewarding experience. Not only do they have more time and energy to make sure you’re taken care of, but it helps you to keep small businesses afloat, who often reinvest a large portion of their revenue into other local services and businesses. This means you can help your community flourish and pay tribute to local styles!

11) Discover New Styles & Brands

There’s nothing more exciting than finding a new brand that really works for you. Trust us, there’s plenty of gems out there. You just need to know where to look! Like a well-kept
secret, boutique shops often do a lot of the preliminary scouting for you, sourcing products and brands from all corners of the world and all walks of life.

12) From Follower to Trend-Setter

The beautiful thing about fashion is that everyone can be a trendsetter. Whether it’s fabulous dresses or cute little accessories, with small boutique shops you can be the talk of the town, wearing trendy clothing before they hit the catwalk!

We won!! Colmers Hill Fashion named UK online boutique of the year

Colmers Hill Fashion wins Best UK Online Boutique for its website www.colmershill.com
The badge of honour!

You could have knocked us over with a feather when the phone call came in saying that  www.colmershill.com had won Best UK Online Boutique category of The Boutique Awards, hosted by The Boutique Hub.  Surprised, shocked, proud, happy – yes, all of those.

 

The team (especially Penny because she does most of the work) hasn’t stopped smiling ever since. When Penny set up the business two years ago, she only had £5,000 to invest. All the money went on stock and she had to do everything herself – even really horrible things like SEO. She  built the current website and worked hard to find low cost ways to get Colmers Hill on the map. 

 

What makes this a special achievement is also the economic climate. Apparently,  according to the experts, we’re in the midst of a ‘Retail Apocalypse’, which sounds really nasty. And it is, if you’re a big high street brand. On the up-side, it’s the small businesses like ours which are bucking the trend. You – our lovely customers are making this happen by buying local and choosing independent boutiques. Thank you so much! Please can you carry on?  

 

You can be reassured that this fame hasn’t gone to our heads. We almost forgot to write a blog about it because we’ve been unpacking, pricing and uploading gorgeous new Autumn stock from our faves Myrine, Luella and Out of Xile but also new labels Cotton Brothers, Soaked in Luxury and Ralston.

 

If you haven’t shopped online with us before, you’ll find the same friendly personal service and attention to detail that you’d get if you were shopping with us in person.

 

Next up, our Autumn round-up of what’s hot this month!

 

 

 

 

Why personal fashion style is all about meat and potatoes!

This blog is all about how to create the perfect wardrobe.  How you choose clothes that are useful and also inspire you. How to experiment with fashion and be more individual in your fashion style. How to avoid overdoing it, without playing it too safe?

Designer Michael Kors said: “70% of the clothes you own should be meat and potatoes. 30% should be icing and fluff—that’s color, pattern, shine, accessories.  Too many women get the proportions the other way round, then can’t figure out why they can’t get dressed.”

Erm ok, so let’s take a look at the meat, potatoes icing and fluff. Or maybe a more appealing metaphor is a cupcake: a perfect vanilla sponge topped with your choice of icing and decoration.

Best fashion basics

Two thirds of our wardrobe should be hard-working basics. These will be well-fitting, stylish and versatile.  For us at Colmers Hill, this would be our deck super slimming capris or full length trousers. Alternatively, Myrine Emil trousers.  Your colour palette will certainly include neutrals in both dark and light shades such as navy, petrol blue, black, charcoal, sand, silver, ivory, or white.  Choose shades that are the most useful for you.

D.E.C.K trousers (£59) coupled with the Cocoa 100% Cashmere Boxy Cardigan (£210.00)
D.E.C.K trousers (£59) coupled with the Cocoa 100% Cashmere Boxy Cardigan (£210.00)

Skirt basics include simple cuts and colours with enough detail to keep you interested and give you shape. A pencil skirt from Eucalyptus or a midi skirt from A Postcard from Brighton are also great staples.

Adding colour, pattern and shine

This is the icing and decoration on your cupcake. Detail on clothing is a very personal thing and everyone has their favourites as well as their absolute no-no’s.  Some of us love stripes and hate florals, others love florals but hate sparkle, another wince at a frill but love a pintuck – you get the gist. When it comes to sparkle and shine, some of us are happier with a muted metallic whilst others want the full bling – with extra bling.

When an item of clothing or an accessory appeals to us, it’s an emotional reaction. We don’t think too much about it. Enough to say, it gives us a lift. It’s great to express ourselves with the fun aspects of fashion.  We don’t need to take it too seriously but if you’re worried about overdoing it, stick to either sparkle or pattern but not both on the same garment. Many of us get stuck in a rut, thinking we can never wear florals or geometrics or diamante but keep an open mind and give things a try. We change as we get older and our fashion style needs to keep up!

Darling Quinn top (£35) from Colmers Hill Fashion
Darling Quinn top (£35)

Here are some of our very favourite ‘toppings’

Darling Dion top: lovely ivory crepe tops with pearl trim.

Cocoa pure cashmere jumper: amazing colour with a contrast trim and button back.

Myrine floral tunic top: an unusual wildflower pattern does all the work.

Out of Xile vintage tulle edge cardigan: gorgeous colours and just the right amount of lace.

Darling Fara top in duck egg blue: pleats along the hem and cuffs give this top a lovely swing.

Of course, you can switch things around and have your icing on the bottom eg our metallic print jeans and your cake on top with a simple ivory blouse from Darling.

Floral print stretch mid-rise jeans available at Colmers Hill Fashion £45
Floral print stretch jeans available at Colmers Hill Fashion £45 worn with a simple basic A Postcard From Brighton vest top

 

Since we discovered Michael Kors’s quote, we’ve all been taking a good, hard look into our wardrobes at home and working out how close we are to the 70% rule. Suffice to say, there’s work to be done but at least we’re heading in the right direction!

The next blog will be about Wardrobe Malfunctions. Yup – we’ve all been there.

Colmers Hill Fashion is holding its first Styling Masterclass in the Autumn with top stylist Lindsay Punch. The class will teach you how to put together a “meat & potato” wardrobe from the new Autumn collection at Colmers Hill! For tickets or more information see details on our Facebook Event Page.

Autumn Style Masterclass at Colmers Hill Fashion with stylist Lindsay Punch
Autumn Style Masterclass at Colmers Hill Fashion with stylist Lindsay Punch

Photography courtesy of Simon Emmett Images

Get your perfect holiday clothes here!

What to wear on the plane, on the beach, in the evening?? How to fit it all in the suitcase? How to mix and match? It’s all here with our Colmers Hill Fashion holiday edit!

Be inspired by gorgeous, colourful outfits to make you feel like a million dollars without spending it. Dream of relaxing on sun-drenched terraces in head-turning outfits that will make you look and feel great. And coming down to earth for a minute, imagine actually being able to close your suitcase and stay within the boring baggage allowance.

Which holiday clothes are winners

Planning what you’re going to take on holiday is time very well spent. Frequent travellers and fashionistas make a two week, mix and match wardrobe look like an art form. The difficult part is deciding what to take and being ruthless about the rest. The clothes you’ll wear are usually lightweight and don’t crease. They need to work hard for their place in your bag, so they must look great, be useful, mix with other things and be appropriate for the location!

Elsewhere crossover tunic gives a cool look for the summer and is light and easy to pack
Elsewhere crossover tunic gives a cool look for the summer and is light and easy to pack and doesn’t crease easily.

The golden rule of holiday packing: however much I love it, I won’t take it unless I really think I’ll wear it.

For ease, let’s assume we’re all going somewhere sunny and beachy with opportunities for a bit of glamour in the evening.

Our Colmers Hill hot picks are a) fashionable b) individual, c) comfortable and d) versatile

What to wear on the plane

Go for comfort all the way. If you are delayed (which is NOT going to happen) you need to be able to relax. And that goes for the flight too. You may have forgotten how small an economy seat is. Our best travel companions are layers and stretch. Think trousers, leggings or maxi skirts. Avoid wearing white, unless you love doing laundry on the first day of your holiday. Layering allows you to can strip off when you hit the heat at your destination and vice versa when you return to Old Blighty.

The aptly named A Postcard from Brighton range fits the bill perfectly. Check out the Fifi stripe maxi skirt with Farrah striped top and a cheeky Sammy lace trimmed vest underneath.

A Postcard From Brighton available at Colmers Hill Fashion is made from best quality jersey that doesn't bag and washes perfectly
A Postcard From Brighton is made from best quality jersey that doesn’t bag and washes perfectly

Myrine’s Emil lace trimmed trousers are made from fabulous, lightweight stretch material. Don’t be put off if you’re not sure about lace: the trim can be turned down or up for a more casual/dressy look. Wear with Bohemia’s tunic in either grey and white scribble design or plain blue. These outfits will also look great in the evening with statement jewellery such as this chunky cuff bracelet and Owen Barry metallic clutch bag.

Myrine Emil Trousers from Colmers Hill Fashion
Myrine Emil Trousers come in a variety of colours and are made of a comfort stretch fabric. The lace trim can give you a lovely evening flourish but can be hidden by turning down the cuff if you don’t want it to show during the daytime.

What to wear during the day

Cool dresses are your best friends, in cotton or linen. Myrine’s Pearl daisy print dress is swingy and pretty and can be dressed up in the evening with pretty sandals and maybe the Emil trousers.

Myrine Pearl Dress sold by Colmers Hill Fashion
Myrine Pearl Dress with a daisy print. A soft jersey dress, perfect for hot weather as recently tested by Britain’s latest heat wave!

Deck’s new linen dresses are proving really popular – be quick and snap one up while you can. Choose from navy, silver or hot pink in various designs. These are great for day or evening wear.

DECK Linen dresses at Colmers Hill Fashion
DECK linen dresses are available in-store at Colmers Hill Fashion in a range of colours and styles. This is an embellished dress, but there are plain dresses with cap sleeves available too

What to wear in the evening

This is when we get to indulge ourselves and make the most of all those lovely print dresses and separates. If you’ve got a tan, you can really go for it with stronger colours and a bit more bling. If you like black, take some as you will always feel great in it.

Myrine’s gorgeous strappy Amele maxi dress is very classy on its own or with the Joy sheer cardi in either ivory or mauve for a bit more coverage. Alternatively your statement dress could be the Eucalyptus Lily May dress a classic retro dress with oodles of English charm. If you want to show off your figure, this Friday on my Mind black mesh heart dress is a proper head-turner.

Myrine Amele Maxi Dress available at Colmers Hill Fashion with a pretty floral print and crossover straps on the back
Myrine Amele Maxi Dress with a pretty floral print and crossover straps on the back

Darling’s Aiofe floral skirt is incredibly versatile and will look great with any number of coloured tops, for example their Quinn coral top or the Dion ivory pearl trimmed layer top

Trousers-wise, you can’t do better than a pair of Deck super-slimming trousers in white or black. They look great with either flats or heels. Team with a Pour Moi cobalt blue top or a cute Collectif 50s inspired top.

DECK white trousers with a Pour Moi cobalt blue top available at Colmers Hill Fashion
DECK white trousers with a Pour Moi cobalt blue top

If you think you might want a little more warmth, either a Luella cashmere mix poncho (choice of colours available) or a stripe sweater in pink or blue is just the ticket – especially on the flight home.

Lastly, if you’re coming to Dorset on holiday, do pop in and say hello. You’ll find lots more gorgeous jewellery, watches, scarves and accessories in the shop. They make great souvenirs. Just saying.

Wherever you go, have a wonderful time!

 

Aagh!! What’s the dress code for Wimbledon, Ascot, Glyndebourne..?

If you are going to any of the big society events such as Glyndebourne, Wimbledon, Ascot, Henley etc and you need help, do not worry. Desist from stress. We have rifled the Colmers Hill Fashion rails so you don’t have to. You can look fashionable, whatever the occasion, whatever the weather. There’s no need to sacrifice your comfort by freezing, boiling or being uncomfortable all day.

In short, whatever the ‘appropriate attire’ or dress code, ladies, we can work it to our advantage!

And she’s off! Outfit ideas for Royal Ascot

Royal Ascot is a fashion event. Forget about the horses. The enclosure you go to dictates how much you should dress up. Warning: this is not dressing up in a humorous way. The website clearly states ‘fancy dress and replica sports shirts are not permitted’.  Oh right, we’re not going then …

Smart, fashionable trousers are ideal for the turf. Steer clear of linens that turn you into a crumpled paper bag by lunchtime. Our deck trousers can be worn capri style with pretty flats or full length with a heel, depending on your height. The stretch keeps you comfortable and holds its shape all day. The cut is very flattering madam. Choose from lovely summery colours – aqua, hot pink or dusky pink or play it cool with black. Wear with a Darling top, for example the Dion pearl trimmed top or Dottie jacket with its beautiful embellished buttons.

Darling Dion Top in ivory available at Colmers Hill Fashion
The pretty Darling Dion Top with pearls detailing on its tiered hemline
Darling Dottie Jacket in white worn with the Darling Marion Dress in Navy available at Colmers Hill Fashion
Darling Dottie Jacket worn with the Darling Marion Dress available at Colmers Hill Fashion

If you need to wear a hat, a dress and jacket are a good team. Our Eucalyptus tea dresses such as the Rosa navy floral are gorgeous prints in styles that flatter all ages. Team with heels or flats, with a pretty Out of Xile vintage tulle edge cardi. They are great for any formal occasion and happily dress down with a denim jacket on another day. Our favourite milliner Fiona Baker makes headpieces to order which will slip into a small bag if the weather turns iffy.

The Rosa is floaty chiffon tea dress by Eucalyptus with pretty cap sleeves and a contrasting tie belt available at Colmers Hill Fashion
The Rosa is floaty chiffon tea dress by Eucalyptus with pretty cap sleeves and a contrasting tie belt

It’s your advantage: what to wear at Wimbledon

Wimbledon is more smart casual but it’s a challenge for spectators, not just the players. When you’re seated for long stretches, swivelling your head from side to side, you need to be comfortable. And if you plan to be on the Centre Court, or TV, you need to look good.

Spectators are sitting ducks if it gets really hot or cold, so a longer skirt or a print culotte such as our Darling Hilda culottes are practical. Wear with flat ballerinas or a heeled sandal.  Layer your top half to give you options if the weather changes: the simple ivory Darling Quinn top and a cute Friday on My Mind honeycombe cardi will be perfect. Take a big statement tote to keep your day’s clobber in. Alternatively, check out Myrine’s Anna floral tunic or Amele maxi dress – super comfortable and sooo pretty!

Myrine Amele Ankle Dress with pretty floral print available at Colmers Hill Fashion
Myrine Amele Ankle Dress with pretty floral print
The pretty cotton Myrine Beth Dress with its crossover straps on the back available at Colmers Hill Fashion
The pretty cotton Myrine Beth Dress with its crossover straps on the back

Fortissimo belissimo: look gorgeous at Glyndebourne

If you’re going to the festival at Glyndebourne, full evening dress is The Thing. Enter stage right Out of Xile. Their lovely dress and coat combinations will really make you look and feel the part.

Out of Xile Reversible Dress in Marine Blue from Colmers Hill Fashion
This is a clever reversible Out of Xile dress so you can have a totally different look for two different occasions.

Out of Xile’s outfits are superbly cut and the fabrics have a beautiful evening-y subtle sheen. A dress and coat in their uniquely dyed fabrics are the most versatile combination and will keep you warm. There’s no need to spoil the whole effect with a massive puffa – take a Luella cashmere wrap/poncho instead. Great jewellery and an Owen Barry metallic clutch will finish off the outfit perfectly.

Va va voom: glorious Goodwood style

Go faster with our range of retro dresses which are perfect for Goodwood. Polka dots, florals, geometric designs: take your pick. Our new Collectif dresses in black or red spot or red cherries are real show-stoppers. The Eucalyptus Gillian dress is a beautiful modern vintage design in a subtle shade of blue or make a statement with the stunning Lily May dress in red and white floral. Alternatively, if you want to channel your inner Avenger, Desigual’s Hello dress is the bomb.

The retro style Eucalyptus Lily May Winter Rose Dress available at Colmers Hill Fashion
The retro styled Eucalyptus Lily May Winter Rose Dress

 

To keep your look authentic, make sure to choose retro style accessories such as a pretty Josephine hat in natural and blue linen with silk roses.

If you are going to any society events, we hope you have a great time. If we can be of any more help do email usfind us on Facebook or call 01308 426517.

One to one service and styling advice come as standard, for all our customers at Colmers Hill 🙂

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