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I always feel a bit naughty buying cheaper high street versions of designer clothes, but the truth is I’m never going to shell out £500 for a jumper that’s a one-season wonder, or blow £500 on shoes that I’ll only wear twice. If I had the disposable income to buy designer clothes all the time, maybe I would (I suspect I’d still love trawling the rails of Topshop, though). But right now, my designer purchases tend to be the things I know won’t date so quickly – handbags, coats, retro style dresses and so on. When it comes to trends and seasonal styles, I have to budget, which means fast fashion. I think so long as the items are designer inspired, not fakes being sold as if they’re the real thing, they only strengthen the brand they’re emulating by drawing more attention to the specific look or style. Besides, a lot of the designer pieces don’t hang around for long, and I’m sure Victoria Beckham isn’t sweating the fact a few cut-price retailers are selling low cost alternatives to her sold out dresses.
So on that note, here are three designer-inspired looks I’ll be sporting this season…
The Primark ‘Pow’ comic book jumper
You know when you see something in a shop, carry it around for a while, then put it down thinking ‘no, I don’t need this’, only to find yourself thinking about it for days afterwards, wishing you’d just gone ahead and bought it? That happened with me and this jumper. I didn’t buy it because I’d already bought two slouchy jumpers for Autumn and thought three was overkill. But when I saw it at The LOOK Show last weekend (pictured), I knew I’d made a mistake. I’m hoping my new ‘local’ store (the huge new Oxford Street East branch, which is 3 mins from my office) will still have it in stock so I can pop it on and pretend I’m wearing the 3.1 Phillip Lim it’s based on. This is going to become my weekend wardrobe – I’m getting more and more lazy and casual as time goes by.
Buy it: Pow! Jumper £14 at Primark Stores
Boohoo’s Cat Face Wedges
I already have the flat version of these, and I’ve just ordered the ridiculously cheap and stupidly high £15 wedges as well. Though I wish I could afford to fork out the £500 the Charlotte Olympia real deal would cost me, I just can’t, so I’m forced to go for the cheap option. The flat shoes get comments wherever I go in them. I recently wore them to go on holiday and even the tour group of pensioners on my flight asked me about them. So for £15, I thought I’d give their sister shoes a go. I’ve never been scared of things that are twee and a bit childish, and these really are big offenders in those stakes, but I think they add a sense of humour to a more grown-up outfit. Provided I can walk in them, I’ll be teaming the wedges with pencil skirts and blouses to avoid looking too ‘sexy secretary’, and with skinny jeans for the longest legs ever!
Everyone’s collar-detail bodycon dresses
Where Victoria Beckham goes, the high street inevitably follows, which means this Autumn / Winter there are loads of fitted dresses with cuffed sleeves and high collars. I love Internacionale’s burgundy dress with black stripe detail, and obviously so does everyone else as the £19.99 bargain is sold out at the moment in everything but the smallest sizes. Loads of brands have versions of the drop-cuff dress in blue and khaki. Goddiva offers the best price – £28 for both colours. If you’re looking for larger sizes, the Contrast Collar & Cuff shift dress from M&S goes up to a size 22. My only concern is how this style will work with bigger boobs, as the high collar and fitted shape might end up giving the shelf-boob effect. I will be investigating this and doing some trying on!