Last weekend, I had the pleasure of visiting the McArthurGlen designer outlet in Swindon.* I was invited to take part in the White Shirt Challenge, where I had to put together an outfit to complete the look with the #iconicwhiteshirt Brooks Brothers is known for. I was welcomed by the team the moment I set foot in the outlet, if not in person then on social! I felt at ease from the word go, able to shop to my heart’s content thanks to the Swindon outlet’s generosity. I have to admit, however, that the thought of finding the perfect outfit out of all those shops was daunting. Not the world’s most complicated task, nonetheless I felt the pressure. This was only alleviated by the prospect of…shopping!
Luckily, I was a little familiar with Brooks Brothers as the iconic American brand it is. I’m aware that one of my favourite designers, Ralph Lauren, found his love of classic tailoring when working for Brooks Brothers as a fledgling entrepreneur. Not surprising, when you think about the staples of both companies: the classic, all-American aesthetic, the subtle detailing and clean silhouette are both easily recognisable traits in each brand. Where Lauren differs is in his penchant for a touch of quintessentially British style. Where Brooks Brothers exudes effortless elegance with a professional touch, British style has just a tad of quirk – creating the double take factor. Influenced by both worlds, I took this theme and ran with it. Fortunately for me, the Polo Ralph Lauren store was there at the first turning I took. I immediately knew that the metallic jumper was for me. Gold and white are great together, so I knew I had the top sorted. Now for the bottom. I got side tracked by Jigsaw (as I often do when I go shopping), but eventually came to terms with the fact that it wouldn’t be for me that day. I also tried to avoid veering towards the obvious such as skinny jeans, mini or pencil skirts and heels. While I would probably opt for these in quotidian life, I knew I wanted to create a look that was slightly less conventional. So, it took this French Connection skirt (only £9 at the outlet!) and Polo Ralph Lauren trainers (down to £44.99) and sweater (a steal for metallic knitwear at £89.99) to complete my preppy, upper-east-sider-meets-Wimbledon look. The accessories were the pieces that were most me: vintage shades, nondescript watch and Native American Indian jewellery from Rainmaker Gallery. All items, except the accessories, were purchased at the McAthurGlen Designer Outlet Swindon. Brooks Brothers items start at £69, a steal at 35% RRP!
We shot this look easily enough, as we have tennis courts near our home. Despite the elegance of the brands involved, I didn’t want to take this experience too seriously. I’m young, ambitious, hard-working and a little odd…which explains the images at the bottom of this post! I’m just glad this collaboration gave me the opportunity to be a little adventurous with my style, while at the same time not compromising who I am or what this blog stands for. I rarely partner with brands or big establishments, because I fear the lack of authenticity that may ensue. But from the moment the McArthurGlen team reached out to me, I felt there was room enough for realness. After all, what better way is there to express yourself than shop?
*This post was done in collaboration with McArthurGlen Swindon & Brooks Brothers.