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Some favourites for when I want a cheery high street hit
Last weekend was incredible. As the CEO of Children With Cancer UK, I spent Saturday and Sunday talking to hundreds of people who were raising money for the charity by running for us in the London Marathon. We had nearly 1100 runners on the route for us - that’s a lot of people devoting themselves to the months needed to be develop the stamina to run 26.2 miles, and cajole friends, family, colleagues and frenemies into sponsoring them to do it. On the day before the Marathon, I spent the day at the Excel centre in Docklands, meeting with the many runners who visited our stand to pick up their Beads of Courage to run with (one of which will then be given to a child patient with a message from the runner). And then on Sunday, it was all hands to the pump as we spent the day greeting runners at the finish line, feeding and watering them, massaging them (the professionals did that, stay calm) and generally just showing them how much we were blown away by their support for our cause. I saw some incredible feats of human endurance. I heard some inspiring and some truly heartbreaking reasons for why people wanted to run for us. We raised around £1.5million for the charity. And I got home after a 14-hour day full of awe for how wonderful the human spirit can be.
I didn’t run the Marathon myself. But I’m wondering if the above paragraph sets some kind of world record for the longest, most laying-it-on thick excuse for not getting my usual Sunday night Substack written last week. I hope I am forgiven.
Sorry about that.
The last Substack I wrote was on my favourite beauty products. I was absolutely blown away with the response. It’s been easily one of my most read and most reacted to posts. Thank you for the positive support! So it’s encouraged me to follow up with one of my favourite things to talk about, write about, think about: clothes.
It can feel shamefully shallow to admit to that. But I’ve decided to reframe it. Outfits are a true creative outlet for me. My playground. If you follow me on Instagram, you will know I enjoy putting outfits together for my regular ‘Week on A Wall’ series. With that in mind, I’m going to presume that some of you would like to know where I like to shop. So here’s my rundown of my favourite high street brands to shop from and what I think they’re best for.
If I’m in the mood to shop, but I know I probably shouldn’t be spending any money whatsoever, this is the place I allow myself to nip to. It’s incredibly affordable and it’s impossible to buy anything there but sensible and useful wardrobe building blocks. Right now I am sitting in camel track pants and a navy tank top from Uniqlo. But my favourite bits to buy there are usually to be found in the mens’ department - there’s a lot of cropping and batwing sleeves in their women’s T shirts, which vexes me greatly. So menswear it is for their wonderful array of UT T-shirts. I pair them with smarter things like blazers and skirts and they work for the office. The other day I bought this:
On the rare occasions I venture out in public in swimwear, it is almost always from here and I will almost always be asked where I got it. The reaction is always great surprise, as if I’m the only person who’s ever thought to look at Boden for swimwear. I think they always do great, vibrant prints and block colour designs, which somehow help to take the edge of my almost blue paleness. With swimwear, I always take a size up from my usual clothing size and find it more flattering. But you do you.
I stumbled across their pop-up shop in my travels around Shoreditch a few weeks ago. Now I’m obsessed. I wore a few of their T shirts on my little trip to The Body Camp in Mallorca and a couple of people sat Googling the brand and shopping it on our hour-long bus ride to a hike. Cute and fun and lovely quality, they wash really well.
The fabulous entrepreneur and influencer Freddie Harrell put me onto this a few years ago. I had no idea. It’s the outlet site for Kurt Geiger, so stocks a lot of their brands but tons of others besides. I find it particularly great when I want a box fresh pair of trainers - great looking stuff that’s a season old.
Charles and Keith
You have to be quick, everything good sells out fast. But the styles and prices on this site are brilliant. I’ve never bought any of their bags but a lot of them look cute too.
My daughter calls this ‘that shop that all mums love.’ I’m not sure how they’d feel about that categorisation, dripping as it is with derision from my sassy teen. And I don’t know if my being a mum has anything to do with why I like it. I’m obsessed with Arket because it hits a sweet spot where quality meets contemporary cool. I can find something in there will be simultaneously give my wardrobe a cool little update, but it’ll also be something still classic enough to last me for years. I particularly love their tailoring.
Soon I’ll do a round-up of some favourites of mine that are more under the radar. But they’re generally a bit pricier and I wanted to keep this one high street.
I will also return to more cerebral analysis of media and motivational career shizzle too, I promise! In fact I have something special planned for next Friday. I’ll drop a separate Note about that later in the week.
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