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Here are all the posts in our Forum/Blog on the topic of Clothing: blouses - casual/day/smart...

Emma    Saturday 28 August 2010 at 14:49

 Post #157 

Subject: Denim

I was chatting to one of my customers this week, who surprised me by suggesting that she was, in her 50s, ‘too old’ to wear denim. It amazed me because this point of view was itself so long past its sell-by date!

As most people know, from the beginning of the 20th century denim started out as a simple work-wear material, but at some point items made of this fabric started to take on a stylish image, and denim has from then on always lurked somewhere in the world of fashion.

Early on it was the fabric of youthful rebellion, with a hard edge. As the denim-clad James Dean famously said: ‘What am I rebelling against? What have you got?’

In those days, denim was for teenagers, and was an expression of a rejection of their parents’ smarter clothing aesthetic.

As the century went on, however, the spread of the denim look became wider and wider. There were the echoes of the manual work-wear look, with baggy dungarees and jeans, but there were also sophisticated disco-influenced designer denims, adorned with sequins, beads and embroidery. And there were stylish fashionable dresses that women-about-town were happy to be seen in, and soft and feminine chambray blouses.

Denim has so many advantages. It’s a strong, long-lasting fabric, whose texture improves with wear and washing. The colour flatters most skin tones. It is a natural fibre that breathes with the body and it is often seen as egalitarian and non-pretentious.

The denim look continued to mutate, and today is incredibly diverse. To take an example, we are now expecting a delivery of ‘jeggings’ a denim legging, from Anna Scholz. This is a real ‘fashion’ look: the ultimate take on the ‘skinny jean’, which is the perfect item to team with the ‘short dress/long top’ look.

Women come to us for wide-leg jeans, classic-leg jeans, and every now and again we still have the bootleg shape (which is coming back into fashion). We often do dark denim, washed denim, and coloured denim jeans. However, jeans are not by any means the beginning and end of the story for denim. As is now usual with this material, some of the new looks push the envelope into whole other areas.

For instance, in stock at the moment we have a wonderful Brand dress, (pictured) which, although it looks like denim, is actually made from Tencel, arguably a better fabric from which to construct such a garment, as it provides a flattering, cool fluidity.

But it is next season (Spring/Summer 11) that our denim looks really take off, and we have some fabulous items on order. We are expecting long shirts, with a gorgeous drape. We will have wide-leg trousers, and little soft denim dresses. We have ordered lovely long skirts and soft pleated jackets. Many of these items are not made from the classic ‘denim’, a cotton fabric that takes its name from Nimes, in France, where it originated. Some of them are Tensel, some Cupro, and much of it is linen. But the look is ‘denim’.

In the meanwhile, there have been technical advances in the classic cotton denim. New mixes of Lycra, which by adding stretch make denim so much more comfortable. The German range, Brand, has added its ‘sensitive’ fabric to denim; a new development designed to provide a much cooler wearing garment.

There are other advances, such as the innovation that LauRie, a Danish brand, has developed, with its clever tummy-support panel that makes its ‘magic Slim’ jeans incredibly flattering to wear.

So next summer, there is going to be a riot of different denim looks erupting on to the fashion scene. With the exciting designs, diversity of styles and aesthetics, innovative fabrics, and clever ideas, there is something here for just about everyone.

I’ve already got this season’s Brand dress, and I will be buying into the lovely Verpass linen denim looks for next season. In particular, I am looking forward to seeing a gorgeous Verpass linen soft jacket, which I have my eye on. It’s stylish, flattering, unique and sophisticated, and – like much denim – will slip very comfortably in among the other looks in my wardrobe.

It’s probably not a garment a teenage rebel would want to wear; but so much the better for that.


 Kim P    Monday 30 August 2010 at 14:46

Denim! That reminds me, have you got any of those pull on Brand jeans I like in stock at the moment?


 Emma    Tuesday 31 August 2010 at 12:38

Hi Kim!

Thanks for your question...the Brand jeans are on order, and we are expecting them momentarily! They may well come in today.

We are also expecting the new 'Magic Slim' Jeans from LauRie in shortly, which we are quite excited about. I would certainly be very interested in your opinion of them...

I have put up a picture of Jaq and I on our way to a party on Saturday, given by a dear friend to mark his 50th birthday. Jaq and I felt resplendent in our Anna Scholz!

 Kim P    Tuesday 31 August 2010 at 20:47

All sounds very exciting stock wise and what a swell couple of gals you look! The dresses are so nice on you and how clever of Jaq to have a necklace design that compliments the horsey print on the dress!


 Emma    Tuesday 31 August 2010 at 21:33

Thanks, Kim!

Yes, Jaq is indeed the accessories queen!


 Emma    Thursday 02 September 2010 at 16:33

Hi Kim!

Really looking forward to seeing you this Saturday...the Anna Scholz tunic top is here (and put by for you), as are a number of other tops that Kim thought you would like.

I'm glad to report that nothing dreary has come in this season....

 Kim P    Friday 03 September 2010 at 02:04

That's super!


 Kim P    Sunday 05 September 2010 at 11:50

Had a lovely time in the shop yesterday, lots of beautiful clothes it was very hard to choose which ones to buy! You have so many new things in store it was a real Aladdin’s cave. It was great to see some lower priced items too such as those Dominique trousers, they are ideal to mix and match with the more high end lines. The curved handles on the new design carrier bags are a big improvement, as you said they are more comfy to carry in the hand or arm. Like many others I now await the Brand jeans to arrive!


 Emma    Sunday 05 September 2010 at 17:04

Hi Kim!

Thanks for your kind words....I think you are getting the measure of our modus operandi now! We rush around, serving our customers, showing off all our clothes and generally being very business-like...then, once all the customers have been served, and all the clothes tried on, out comes the tea and cake!

Our cake on Saturday was wonderful: supplied by one of our long-standing customers, Lisken, who had baked it in a charitable cause (so it was OK to eat it!).

I loved those leggings on you. The way they fit is very flattering. It just goes to show that you never know what is going to be a favourite buy until you get to try things on!

I look forward to your next visit (once the Brand has come in).

I have put in a random picture of Pickle, for no particular reason...


 Emma    Wednesday 15 September 2010 at 16:24

Hi Kim!

You will be delighted to know that we have had the Brand trousers in.

Our Kim suggests you may be interested in a pair that is in the same style as one you had before, but a different colour. You had a purple-aubergine pair, and this new pair is a lovely turquoise-denim colour (it sounds not-so-good, but it's a lovely, subtle colour)....

 Kim P    Wednesday 15 September 2010 at 21:59

Thanks for letting me know! I will ring Kim, would def have to see the Turquoise as it's difficult to visualize them.


Nicola    Wednesday 03 March 2010 at 14:29

 Post #119 

Subject: Whatever happened to....

....Anna Scholz blouses.

I am a real fan of Anna Scholz and have invested in a number of her items over the years from kaftans to knitwear.

One of my favourite items is a black fitted blouse which I bought (from Emma Plus of course) about 10 years ago. It is beautifully tailored and has wonderful details like extra long cuffs, delicate square buttons and extra wide lapels. All in all it has become a classic staple item in my wardrobe however it is now reaching the end of it's life (the colour has faded and some of the buttons are now missing).

Every season I visit the Anna Scholz web site in the hope that she will come up with something to replace it. However I always come away disappointed. I love the kaftans and dresses but I still dream of a day when Anna will bring out a range of blouses. Be sure I will be first in the queue when she does.

Emma - is there anything your spring collection which might fill that hole in my wardrobe? I have attached a photo from the Anna Scholz website of a beautiful Silk Georgette Frill Jacket which I love.

Hoping to make a trip to Brighton in the next month.


 Emma    Wednesday 03 March 2010 at 20:54

Hi Nicola

Thank you so much for your post, which like all the best posts enlightens me about something I was only marginally aware of - the dearth of blouses created by Anna Scholz in recent seasons. I will have to discuss this grave matter with her!

Just the other day I was wearing the most beautiful Anna Scholz blouse that you could ever imagine, and it was greatly admired by all. It had dozens of tiny pleats around the shoulders leading up to an incredibly delicate gathered collar. Beautiful! However, it was at least five years old, and I have not seen such a blouse from her for quite a long time. Recently she has been specialising in tops rather than blouses.

This would probably be a very good point at which to describe to you all the lovely blouses that I have on order for this summer. Sadly, I have to admit to a weakness on my part. It is a disgrace and a scandal that I am here writing a fashion blog, when my brain is clearly not up to the job! When I first started in the business I had quite a good memory, and I could tell you everything you need to know about what is on order. However, over the years my grey cells have become used up (perhaps it’s just my age). Anyway, whatever the reason, I am no longer able to remember the first thing about what we are awaiting for the current season.

This is very annoying from a professional point of view, but for me it does have its compensations. For one thing it makes working in the shop at this time of year a whole lot of fun! Every time we have a delivery it comes as a marvellous revelation and gorgeous surprise! If you want to know what I mean, imagine that you got deliveries of clothes selected by someone who has exactly the same taste as you, and who happened to have access to some of the most gorgeous clothes available. How exciting would that be? Welcome to my world!

This does mean, however, that, although I can remember certain things that are on order for the autumn (the season I have only just finished buying), what is coming in for this summer will be as much of a surprise for me as it will be for my customers...

One blouse which we are expecting very shortly, and which I can remember perfectly (because I have a photograph of it - see above), is a gorgeous fine, blue blouse from Marina Rinaldi. It is in superb light linen, long and full in shape, but with fabulous finesse and delicacy. Do tell me if you would like me to keep you posted about the arrival and availability of this blouse.

I will also keep an eye out for blouses in general - I am beginning to get quite a lot of interest in this increasingly rare item of clothing...

 Nicola    Saturday 06 March 2010 at 11:42

Hi Emma

Thanks for the photo, the blouse looks perfect, I love the way it seems to be slightly fitted. If you can let me know when it comes in, that would be great.



 Emma    Sunday 07 March 2010 at 21:05

Hi Nicola

Yes, the blue blouse is lovely. The reason I picked it out is that Marina Rinaldi is a top design range, on a similar level to Anna Scholz, and this is an item from one of its special collections, which are fabulous. I can't wait for it to come in, and will tell you when it does...

In the meantime it's worth mentioning that last week there were quite a few deliveries of lovely blouses from other collections. I'm showing here a picture of another linen blouse that came in. It's by a collection that's relatively new to us - Dominique. I've focused on the lovely delicate pin tucks at the front - beautiful. This top is also gloriously long and generous.

It's starting to look like a very good time to be coming back in to see the Spring/Summer 10 clothes...

 Emma    Friday 19 March 2010 at 13:48

Hi Nicola

Just a very quick post to tell you of our blouse situation here at the shop. We've had some fantastic deliveries from most of our suppliers, and there really is a lot for you to choose from now.

The ones I have pictured are from Marina Sport (as you know from the Marina Rinaldi stable)... and they are gorgeous. They are both 100% linen, yet the fabric is incredibly fine and light. You may get awfully hot in the summer in Spain, but these blouses will not make you any hotter - they are as cool as it gets.

Although the ones pictured are quite large (you would take a smaller size) the style is fitted, with a lovely feminine shape and a good length.

We are still awaiting the Voyage blouse, and I imagine it will come in any minute now. Either way, I think it would be a good time for you to start thinking about flying north for the summer!

 Kirsten    Wednesday 10 March 2010 at 23:07

Emma - I love this blue MR blouse! I tried to order it from the Marina Rinaldi store in Chicago but they do not have it. Also loved reading your post about the new looks for A/W 2010. I love to check in on you now and then and read your thoughtful posts. Sometime maybe I will make it across the ocean to your wonderful shop!


 Emma    Friday 19 March 2010 at 13:57

Hi Kirsten

If you like the picture of this Voyage blouse, you would love it in real life! The fabric is absolutely lovely, and the fit is sophisticated. However, we don't have it in yet - I'm speaking from the memory of seeing the sample last year!

There is still hope for you to get this blouse. I think it's likely that your local store will get it eventually. If I, in Europe, don't have it yet, then you would not expect Chicago to have had their deliveries. I think they will be getting them in soon.

Thank you for your kind comments about our blog - I do hope you make it into our little store one day. I would really love to meet a fashionista from across the pond.


 Nicola    Saturday 20 March 2010 at 10:44

Hi Emma

Thanks for posting all the photos and by the way I love the new design of the forum.

I have been looking for flights recently but the combination of Easter and the BA strike means that Easyjet flights are really expensive at the moment.

I am planning to come over in early April and will let you know as soon as I have a date fixed.

See you soon


 Emma    Tuesday 23 March 2010 at 12:57

Hi Nicola

Thanks for your comments about the new-look forum. It has been a lot of work for our website guru, who has worked tirelessly to make it fit our exact needs.

It goes to show that it is not only in the fashion business that people understand the necessity of an excellent fit, and go to great lenghts to achieve perfection!

Rosa Worgan    Saturday 20 February 2010 at 17:03

 Post #114 

Subject: Shirts/Blouses

Desperatly trying to find traditional long sleeve shirts/blouses for size 28-30. Need these for Office wear to wear under ladies traditional suits. Any material apart form jersey. I am getting desprate


 Emma    Saturday 20 February 2010 at 17:39

Hi Rosa

Thank you for your post. I hear you loud and clear!

It’s at times like this that I wish I were a designer! There does seem to be a dearth of this kind of blouse around at the moment. We always order them (and sell them extremely quickly) when we can get them, but I suppose that it’s the classic nature of this kind of garment that fails to inspire many designers. Yet a really lovely classic shirt/blouse is a gorgeous item to possess.

Because we have just come back from buying for next season, and it’s very fresh in my mind, I can tell you happily that we have some on order for the autumn. In particular we have a lovely one in white and several other colours (long sleeved, cotton) from a collection called Verpass. These come in generous sizes.

At the moment we have some great linen blouses, but I wouldn’t necessarily recommend them for the use you have in mind - i.e. under a business suit. It’s not that they wouldn’t look nice - I just think they may be a bit ‘high maintenance’ in the business environment. Some offices can be fairly hot, and linen - though beautifully cool - can end up creased by the end of the day.

However, you may like to give one a try, and we do have some in your size in stock at present (see picture). This blouse comes in a variety of colours - beige, pink (as shown) and lilac, and the sizing is generous. A word of warning about all our stock, though... our items sell through extremely quickly, and these blouses are already disappearing!

If this is not what you are looking for, then I think the best thing I can suggest is that we keep your request in mind and put a post on the forum when the perfect ones come in.

Clare Ovenell    Tuesday 10 February 2009 at 13:49

 Post #7 

Subject: Thanks

Just wanted to say thank you for your help on Saturday. I got exactly the trousers I was looking for. Perfect material - nice and cool - and now I have some colour. Really looking forward to wearing them once they have been taken up. You had so many lovely things. It is so rare to have a choice and not just take the one thing that fits even if you are not too keen on it.

As you know I am now looking for the perfect white top - that covers that 'difficult' area. Please keep me updated as I know you have your new stock coming in.

Why is it that most designers for larger sizes never make tops long enough? They always cut them off at exactly the worst possible place.

Thanks again... I'm already looking forward to my next shopping trip.


 Emma    Wednesday 11 February 2009 at 12:35

Hi Clare

It was so good to see you on Saturday and I was particularly delighted that you ended up buying the cobalt-blue linen trousers I mentioned on the forum!

The subject of the length of tops is a vexed one. Everyone needs a different length, and most people need different length tops for different functions. For example, tops need to be longer over trousers than over skirts. This is because trouser tops have to skim over one's bottom (and sometimes thighs), not just one's tummy.

We solve this problem in two ways. We try to get a wide selection of different lengths (all long enough to cover at least one's tummy), and then we offer a free alteration service to tweak the selected top to the perfect length.

The one thing that many of my customers seem to agree on is that the High Street does not seem to have understood the need for longer tops for large women. I have a confession to make - although I feel just as aggrieved about this as everyone else, we do benefit from the situation. Women often travel some distance to come to the shop, often because they can't get long enough tops, shirts, jackets and jumpers. It's actually very good for our trade!

The question of why the big chain stores don't seem to have understood this touches on what I think is a fundamental problem in the large-size fashion world. The serial failure of the buyers to understand what we larger women require! Sometimes when I look at what the High Street stores are offering in our sizes I have to draw the conclusion that if they had just one larger woman involved in the selection process they would have a radically different range.

 Emma    Saturday 13 March 2010 at 15:29


You mentioned that you didn't mind me showing a photograph of the lovely long(!) blouse that you bought from Emma Plus this week.

Actually, we have had quite a few beautiful blouses in lately. This one has everything you were looking for: a lovely, slightly thicker, creamy linen, with generous pleats which didn't look too blowsy. It's got three-quarter length sleeves, and is a length that particularly complements trousers. It's by a company called Ellbi.

I know it was a white blouse that you were particularly looking for, but it's worth mentioning that this one also comes in several different colours.

I hope you are very happy with it - a really good blouse is a precious thing!

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