During London Fashion Week, I had the opportunity to see (and try on) nearly the entire range from Winser London. In the weeks between then and now, I’ve been living in and loving the items that I bought. There are so many, I can’t include them all in one post, so I’ve narrowed it down to two. I’m going to start with the firecracker, the hero piece, the wear-everywhere-outfit-making piece, the statement coat that ticks the boxes for ‘beautiful’ and for ‘useful’ in equal measure… this long warm wool knit red coat (pictured below). Out of every item in my current rotation, this one gets the most compliments. People in airports have stopped me to ask about it, friends I’ve not seen in a while covet (and ordered!) it, strangers remark on its vibrant colour (you KNOW how I feel about reds), and to be honest, I just feel amazing in it. It looks sharp as hell, but it feels like you’re wearing a blanket– win-win. Here I’ve just worn it with comfortable flats (I know! Me! Flats! Sorry.) and a Breton tee for a day out shopping, but it works well smartened up with a dress underneath it or with a black tank, black jeans, and heels.
Now before I get to the other things I bought, I’m going to tell you a little bit about the company (I had to get that rave about the Milano Coat in Sequinist Hollywood Red out of my system first; this isn’t a sponsored post, but I’m so excited about this range of clothing it sounds like it is!). Winser London was launched in 2013, by a charming and super savvy lady named Kim Winser, who I had the opportunity to meet at Fashion Week. She was at Marks and Spencer for 20 years (their youngest ever divisional director), then went to Pringle of Scotland and later Aquascutum (where as CEO she turned both ailing companies around). After that, she was Chairman of Agent Provocateur and an advisor to Net a Porter. She’s a renowned businesswoman (one of The Wall Street Journal’s 25 most successful European businesswomen, in fact) who decided to start her own brand with only an online presence and some occasional pop-ups in upscale department stores. Not investing in brick and mortar stores has allowed her to produce clothes of exceptional quality at a surprisingly good price point. In fact, the tweed pieces in her collection are made in the same factory in France as Chanel and Lanvin… so THAT kind of quality! There is no shortage of eye-wateringly expensive designer merchandise on the market, and sadly, no shortage of inexpensive lasts-one-season throwaway merchandise, but not so much in between. Winser London was created to fill that gap in the middle (read more about her philosophy here). Because she is a single mother who runs her own company and is also a non-executive director of the Peninsula Hotel and Property group (read: all around badass), she knows what busy women want and need in their wardrobes. She can relate to the women who spend their hard-earned money on her clothing because she IS that woman. We need clothes that pack well, that are stylish yet not in fashion-victim way, that look elegant, and suit every occasion from walking the dog to a boardroom to a cocktail party. In every phase of my day, Kim’s range has got me covered! When I went crazy after first seeing the collection, I bought the cashmere loungewear for home that I mentioned here, I got the red coat above, the black trousers above, a knit biker jacket, two funnel-neck jerseys like the grey one featured below, and this cocktail dress…quite a spectrum.
What impressed me most about the Winser range is the quality of the fabrics used. Given her lineage from Aquascutum and Pringle, there is absolutely nothing that Kim does not know about knitwear. She champions the use of natural fibres, especially Merino wool. The Winser leggings, trousers, and dresses all have just the right amount of stretch and are made of high-quality dense fabrics. I can’t describe how soft and scrummy the sweater below is; it feels like I’m wearing a warm breeze wrapped in a feather and tied with a unicorn’s tail. I bought it in cream and very oversized in grey, because I wanted to wear it exactly as I am here– as a slouchy dress with tights (and with boots if I’m running around doing errands).
Winser London is available online in the UK; have a look around the site and see what you think (note the clever use of Yasmin Le Bon, the 50+ face of the brand). They ship internationally, and in the US a limited range is available here in California. There are plans to expand in the US (and elsewhere) in the next few years. There is a real elegance to Winser London’s clothes; they’re simple enough that you can still add your own styling mark, but they still work well pared down. I told Kim that when I first graduated from University and went to New York to work in finance, I would have loved to have had a range of clothing like hers to buy. I couldn’t afford Donna Karan, but I needed ultra-professional, high quality suits and dresses which I could change the look of with jewellery and accessories, and that would still look good after many, many trips to the dry cleaners. Here I am, 25 years later, still needing high-quality, affordable pieces in my wardrobe… Who doesn’t? Let me know what you think after exploring the website.
Jumper/Dress: Winser London