Oh Whistles, how I love thee. After Jane Shepherdson took the British label’s spot as Chief Executive in 2008, the brand has gone from strength to strength, becoming synonymous with buttery-soft leather jackets, quirky prints and beautiful tailoring. There is just one snag though, and that’s the price tag.
Remember fashion’s (still lingering) obsession with pleated midi skirts in 2011? That stemmed, in part, from the brand’s £95 ‘Carrie’ skirt, a sugary pink midi that grabbed the hearts of many, myself included, and spawned a hundred look-a-likes. Then last year there were the royal blue lace panel dresses that were so intricate they deserved the £190 price tag, but again were out of my reach.
Not any more though, oh no. The Whistles trousers I’m wearing here – bottle green silk printed pyjama pants that are the most comfortable trousers I’ve ever owned – cost just £20. The reason? I bought them from the Whistles outlet at Clarks Village, Somerset.
S and I went there for a day trip a few weeks ago and while I wasn’t bowled over all the shops, there were a couple that caught my eye, and when I saw Whistles I knew I had to take a look inside.
Understandably with outlet villages, you’re not necessarily going to walk away with current season clothes, but I’d been curious about pyjama-style trousers for ages and hadn’t found a pair that fitted properly. The reason this pair was so affordable (down from an eye-watering £120) was a missing button. However, since a spare button was attached to the label, all I needed was a needle, thread and a spare five minutes and voilà! The trousers are as as good as new.
I wore them this weekend for a trip to St Nicks Market, a Bristol institution packed with every stall imaginable, from pies and falafel to cobblers and stamp collectors. I opted for a mannish look by pairing the trousers with a grey marl jersey t-shirt from Zara and a very old cricket-esque blazer from Peacocks, plus my Dr Martens satchel, Lorus watch and the Topshop Chelsea boots I found for festival season.
I’m pleased as punch with my new trousers – have you ever found a bargain at an outlet village? Tell me your favourite outlets (online or shopping centres) to shop at?
Silk trousers – Whistles / Grey marl t-shirt – Zara / Cricket blazer – Peacocks circa 2007 / Maroon satchel – c/o Dr Martens / Chelsea boots – c/o Topshop, Cabot Circus