Being a size 12 - 14 certainly helps. The reality is, that most fashion-forward brands stop at a size 14 (or even a 12 in some cases). So, it was lovely going into boutiques showcasing their new season collections knowing that I was likely to fit most of it. On reflection, I fitted about 90% of what I tried on.
One thing that becomes more obvious with each visit to Melbourne is the gaping hole in the 35 - 50 corporate wear market for women here in New Zealand. Country Road and Trenery don't cut it for me these days. The tailoring is rarely crisp and the collections lean towards the casual. Don't get me wrong: I can still find things to purchase at Country Road, but more and more, items I buy are for the weekend or casual Fridays at the office.
My go-to brands for work wear in Melbourne are Saba, Zara, Nine West and Jo Mercer. For casual wear, Zara. I happened to be in Saba's new store at Emporium in central Melbourne the moment it opened (purely by accident!). I met the General Manager of Saba and mentioned to her how I wished Saba would open in New Zealand. Their database is full of New Zealand-based customers, so perhaps some time in the future they will come here. I learned that sister brand Sportscraft has just opened in Christchurch so that's promising. Sportscraft came and went quickly in the mid 1990s so they are trying again, 20 years on. New Zealand retail was very different back then so I am sure this time it will work out.
I tried to get into the newly-opened H&M but with queues around the block all week (and school holidays!), I decided to give it a miss.
Below is a list of my purchases and a few photos of the haul (excuse the amateurish pics; Sara I am NOT)! I'll blog about a few key pieces in coming days, and share some shopping tales with you!
Grey Short-sleeved Angora Mix Top with Jewelled Sleeves
Black Cigarette Pants
Grey/Black Zipped City Coat
2 x Soft, Billowy Tops with Painterly Pattern (Green and Blue Tones)
Skinny Mid-wash Blue Jeans
Grey Wool Pleated-front Pants (a new shape for me!)
Sass & Bide
White Tuxedo Shirt (another new shape for me!)
Grey and Black Ankle-strap Heels (finally, ankles fine enough to wear a strap!)
Rhodes & Beckett