I do blabber on a fair bit about how much supermarkets have upped their game in the fashion stakes lately (- note that my mum discovered this Great Gatsby-esque wonder weeks before all the mags cottoned onto it!), but, although I'd spied several F&F gems in mags, lookbooks etc. over recent seasons, since my local store doesn't stock a huge range of clothing, I'd never actually picked anything up before.
Logging on, I was quite frankly shocked by the selection of pieces on offer, and actually receiving them had me even more gobsmacked! I picked some monochrome striped shorts (befitting a #7DaysStripes winner!), along with a tuxedo-style white blazer, printed kimono and metallic gold court shoes*. Everything turned out to be incredibly well cut, a perfect fit, and super comfortable (even the heels - beating all the high street metallic courts I'd already tried hands down).
*After a relatively brief internal debate, I quickly put a second order in for their '60s-Barbie-style bow-trimmed tweed shift, with my very own hard-earned cash - COULD. NOT. RESIST. You may have seen a sneak preview on Twitter, but I'll be featuring it in all its glory very soon.
Talk about serendipity - who knew my new shorts would combine with my trusty Primark blazer to yield a perfectly matched suit?! If you don't happen to have one hanging around (I think the Primark version is pretty much sold out now), F&F do stock a made-to-match version anyway, so never fear! Aside from that, I love the cut - the high, slightly V-cut waist, subtle A-line and cheek-covering length make them so flattering and versatile - the tailoring is immaculate.
Everyone needs a classic white blazer for that Riviera siren look, right? I was dying for a single-button tuxedo style to mix and match with monochrome separates... I'm sure you'll be seeing this again soon, when there may be a 0.1% chance that I'll have outgrown my blazer-as-cape phase, but, donned as intended, it strikes the perfect balance between effortless stolen-from-the-boy style and feminine loveliness, with its slightly nipped-in waist. The material feels thick and great quality, with a slightly structured feeling to the shoulders for added "pow".
I've had a thing about kimonos for quite a while now, and was after a longer, floatier chiffon version for this season - several F&F contenders actually fit the bill, but this half-price beauty took the crown, thanks to its beautiful sleeve detailing, explosion of colour and authentic-looking oriental print. Although it looks gorgeous left loose as a cover-up, I love it just as much loosely tucked into high-waisted bottoms and worn as a top - perfect for dipping a toe into the floral/stripe mixing trend! Do I hear an updated "How to Wear the Kimono" post beckon?
And so we come to the shoes... Since I decided I needed a pair of metallic courts in my life, um, two weeks ago, no high street pair had met my most lenient criteria in terms of comfort (i.e. don't make you want to kill yourself within 5 seconds of putting them on), no matter how amazing the price... We all know buying without trying is a risky business, but, hey ho, since delivery and returns (and even they themselves, luckily enough for me), were free, I figured it was worth a punt... Lo and behold, Cinderella's fairy godmother couldn't have conjured up a more beautiful, or beautifully fitting pair. They are slightly matte, for a grown-up, subtle take, making them a little more versatile than super-high-shine versions, and akin to nude shoes in their leg-complementing properties. OK, I never expected to be able to wear them out shopping - they are high after all, and no stiletto is ever gonna feel like a Hush Puppy - but for skyscrapers, they are about as comfortable as it gets, and would be ideal for nights out.
I'll definitely be keeping my eye on F&F from now on, especially now I've seen their AW13 preview too - methinks a sheer tartan pussybow blouse may be winging its way to me next season!
How about you? Have you ever ventured beyond the fridges and freezers at Tesco?