Susie's Blog



With a change of lifestyle and country and frequent trips back to the UK, putting together a summer wardrobe became a fruitless search.  I missed the past 40+ years where everything I needed was in my store. Now it’s about finding things in many different stores. 

On my last trips back to London and Milan, I noticed how heavy all the summer fabrics were and how difficult it was to find clothes that were neither too hot nor too beachy (eg. shoe-string strappy) for a summer in the city…albeit one, as in my case, with a beach nearby.  I went into countless shops and came out with my credit card still intact ! 

Why did every shop I went into look the same, and why wasn’t merchandise tempting me?

Returning to my hotel I passed the Max Mara store and wandered in, not really believing I would have the shopping success that had so far eluded me. Surprisingly they had a few things which solved some of my problems. Yes, a cotton dress, interesting shape and great cropped trousers to supplement my numerous AG and JBrand jeans. Faith restored.

I have been surrounded by Italian designers and our own manufacturing for many years.  I sold Max Mara clothes years ago, but in later years found them either too classic or trying too hard to be trendy. Recently reading an article about them in the New York Style Magazine I realised that they are one of only a few Fashion Houses that, with a confident designer, haven’t strayed too far from their DNA and are still trying to please their customers, rather than aiming for ‘column inches’ in the fashion media. 

It seems to me that formality in dressing is well past its sell-by date, however what is emerging is a form of “new-chic” and accessorising is really key to getting it right. 

Bags have long been a way of updating your clothes and still are. And as for shoes, most women I know have the largest number of sneakers in ratio to shoes, ever.

But ‘it’s the look’. Trousers wide, cropped or skinny need different footwear. Every  dress I  tried on the salesperson said ”be great with a flat sneaker”. To go into a meeting?? “ However chunky lower heel shoes can be an alternative.

…. So how to proceed ? 

Here the Capsule Wardrobe Concept I introduced 40 years ago comes into play. 

  1. Choose your colour of the season, my bet this summer would be on a range of blues.
  2. Decide on the best trouser shape and fabric for summer.
  3. If your lifestyle requires a jacket, I notice that many designers have gone back to the blazer shape, various lengths, single and double breasted. 
  4. Choose a couple of tops where proportion works with the shape of your preferred trousers (with a cropped wider trouser a short top works better.)
  5. And a dress for more important occasions, business or pleasure. Dressier dresses definitely easier to find.  Something fitted seems more cutting edge and leaves room for accessories.

So what was my take-away? Most importantly find a salesperson, stylist and a store you can trust and, most importantly, has a tailor nearby to make sure your new clothes fit properly.