SCHOOL GATE STYLE

Belfast-based, clothes-loving, shopping-obsessed, mum of 3. Wearable fashion on a budget for busy women

Friday, 26 August 2016

AW16 at Dunnes Stores

Following on from my post about M&S's latest AW16 stock, I'm moving onto Dunnes now and this is a brand that has really upped its game in recent years with lots of designer collaborations and store revamps.

For instance, if you're near Belfast, Dunnes has completely overhauled their Forestside store and it is flipping AMAZING.....like no Dunnes I've ever been in before. And it's the perfect store to visit to see the best of their designer collaborations, starting with Carolyn Donnelly's 'The Edit'.
If you're of my vintage and from Ireland, you'll remember Quin & Donnelly, the source of many a wedding outfit in the late 1990's and early 2000's. I have a vivid memory of turning up at a wedding in Donegal c.2002 and how can I put it....'co-ordinating' with another guest in my silk trouser suit from Q&D. <shudder>
Anyway, moving on a few years and Caroline is now a Creative Director with Dunnes and has had a home and womenswear range with the store for about 3 years called 'The Edit'
I had hoped to be wowed by the range after reading a few gushing blogger reviews (never a good thing!) and there are pieces that are lovely but over all, it was a bit too grown up for me (seeing as I'm only 30 in my head)...too much like conservative office wear, which obviously some people need....but I don't.

But a few basics that did appeal included this cream top - perfectly opaque too:
and this white shirt insert - great for the white shirt effect without all the ironing :)
This roll neck grey jumper is a classic:
and I wanted to love this blue coat though it was a bit underwhelming when tried on. Nice but not wow
and it had a funny scarf thing that I wasn't sure what to do with!
The Lennon Courtney range is a little more edgy but more in the work/dressy space than I need. Some lovely pieces though:
And then, probably more widely known, Paul Costelloe's range is very classic and the most expensive of all their designer lines. Again, a great work-wear option also:
I think for me, the most wearable and coincidentally, the best value in the Paul Costelloe range is the knitwear (all on this link) - mostly priced at around £45. I'll definitely be back for some.
So I love a good designer collaboration as much as the next woman but I did wonder if Dunnes NI is ready for this? I think that south of the border, people know these designers well and are prepared to come into Dunnes and spend this kind of money but up here (and across the water if it's launching there too), I'm not sure shoppers are going to appreciate these designers to the same extent. I hope I am wrong and I think the store revamps will help to shift the mindset of Dunnes being just one or two notches above the likes of Primark/Penneys, which is where they always were when I was growing up.

For me though, the real hit in Dunnes stores at the moment is the Gallery range:
Very Mint Velvet in looks and much more appropriately priced for Dunnes. These skinnies are that great shade of grey/brown that just goes with everything:
Are you getting the Mint Velvet vibe?
This next top was RIGHT up my street and I couldn't stop thinking about it after seeing it in the Belfast store early last week...which is why I ended up going to Forestside the next day to buy it...more below...
and this grey top is just the perfect simple top that you'll wear and wear...layer it with a white vest underneath:
and here I am in the size M which was a bit too big so I'd get the S if I was buying it:
Thought this was black top perfection - wearable casually, formally and at work. Unfortunately, I can't find it online.
And you know how much I love a high neck cream blouse:
There are two colour ways in this boat neck striped top:
The Savida range also had some gems - it's the next best reason to go into Dunnes. Check out these amazing boots...I am SO ready for boots again!
Navy Mid-Heel boots - not online 
This similar denim high neck blouse to the M&S one. Not available online.
And I can't get enough of this wide sleeve cream knit
also available in a gorgeous golden yellow shade:
Adore this print
Just love how they've merchandised it too..
So I mentioned above that I went back to Dunnes to get the oyster coloured drape top I saw in Belfast above. Sadly, Forestside only had a size Large left so I tried it on hopefully:
but reluctantly didn't buy as it just felt too big and sloppy. A couple of days later, I saw there was a medium in stock and I tried it:
But again - it still felt a bit big. They had the size small in the black:
But it felt a bit neat. I'm going to go back once I have no kids with me and it's not a really hot day outside. I was getting so flustered that day and was too hormonal to make a decision :)

So the overall verdict on Dunnes Stores AW16? I'm hugely impressed with the Gallery Range and can see a few of these pieces making their way into my wardrobe this season. The designer collaborations are also worth checking out too if you've a bit more budget to spend. I'm interested to see how they do in the UK stores - the winter sale will be a good time to gauge this.

For anyone without a Dunnes Stores shop near to you, there's free delivery currently on all online orders over £40. Returns are not free however...but I'm always ok with just paying for one side of it...cannot bear to pay postage AND returns costs!

Do let me know if you've had a chance to try out any of the range or have spotted something great that I've not featured here. 

Have a great Bank Holiday weekend (in the UK). I'm out tonight with some girl friends at a gig that runs until 3am (equally scared & excited at this prospect) and also out tomorrow night with my husband on a long overdue date night so I'm not anticipating being up to blogging until Monday at the earliest :) but you can follow my antics on Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook in the meantime. 

Ax
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Monday, 22 August 2016

AW16 at M&S

In the past week, under the guise of 'let's go get some school supplies', I've enjoyed checking out the new stock coming into the shops for autumn. The two shops I have spent the most time in are Dunnes Stores and M&S so they seem as good a place as any to start. First up, M&S....who are well overdue a good season.

Accessories first and these wraps have just arrived in two colour ways. This colour is very similar to a H&M blanket scarf that I have from a few seasons ago and it's a great way to introduce blush to your winter wardrobe. I love wearing these wraps like huge scarves rather than over the shoulders.
Open Front Triangle Wrap - £39.50  (a bit pricey for acrylic but it is big)
Some great jewellery in the Limited Edition range and the prices are amazing:
This top came home with me - though annoyingly, it went into the sale a week later so it's all sold out online now:
The jeans game is strong in the Limited range too - these black/grey skinnies are fab. Guess what? Not online. This is a frustrating theme that builds as this post goes on....
Took a shine to this cream sweatshirt. Not online.
But this jacket is! It's from the Indigo Collection and it looked great on the hanger:
It wasn't however great on me - perhaps would work better on a shorter body? I'd also say size down - this is the 10 with sleeves rolled up:
But this coat won my heart. I'm a huge fan of a cream coat but they're difficult to keep clean. This is a great option as the fleck will make it easier to hide any marks etc. It comes up huge though - I'm wearing the 10:
here's a close up:
Moving to Per Una...I know, I know...but bear with me! This bardot top is exactly the same as the River Island & Topshop one. I know this as I've tried them all. It's £5 less too #bonus:
but here's the surprise....can't find it online ::Head Desk::

But I've found both of these online and and believe it or not, they are Per Una too - just landed this week and I'm really quite impressed! I guess my head is in a work clothes space but I still think this first one would look great with jeans and black boots:
I'm feeling the pussy bow chambray shirt thing...but concerned about the ties. I bought a cream sleeveless one recently and couldn't work the tie at the neck.

The BOGOHP is still on on the basic tees on this link - get stocked up now!
Shoes-wise, these are a great nod to the Gucci ones all the super stylish bloggers have been sporting
and these boots are a fab dupe of the Topshop Master ones last year, which in turn were a nod to some Stella McCartney ones..
but guess what....they're not online!

So, despite the lack of online stock, I'm hopeful for a better AW16 at M&S. For the first time in a while, there are a few items I definitely want to buy and that's great for the brand after a few barren seasons where they've struggled to find their place in the market.

Finishing with outfits from the past couple of days...days where I've considered renaming the blog 'Black, White & Denim'
Asymmetric Knit - Zara (past season)
White Skinny Jeans - Pieszak via Sarah Jane Boutique, Magherafelt
Scarf (in hand) - New Look
Sandals - H&M

Denim Jacket - Vero Moda (via eBay)
Jeans - Gap Leggings via the Outlet
White Linen Top - Gap (via charity shop!)
Backpack - MiPac ℅ Menarys
Sandals - as before

Back soon with my Dunnes Stores edit!

Ax
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