Treasures

M&S Archive by Alexa

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This week, I’ve found myself surprisingly impressed by the Archive by Alexa Chung collection at M&S.

I’m not often wowed by high street collaborations – quite often it feels like an excuse for high street stores to charge twice the price for pieces that are of the same quality as their usual lines.

What has impressed me about this one is not the name behind it (Alexa Chung), but the quality of the pieces.

I’ve tried on a number of the items in the collection, and each has not only been cut in high quality fabric, but has also been well tailored and not over-designed.

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The Harry Blouse, £35

At first glance, I thought this piece might’ve been style over substance – an unflattering fit (especially for the larger cup sizes) and a bit too OTT for everyday wear.

But the white version in particular is surprisingly easy to wear – it looks great with simple black skinny jeans and ankle boots – and it is tailored to flatter a variety of shapes. The sleeves are close fitting, and although it is A line, the shirt doesn’t hang off the chest, instead flaring inwards.

This is easily my favourite piece. It’s so versatile and deceptively simple.

 

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The Elsie Dress, £39.50

While this takes me back to the vintage tea dresses I wore at university and after I graduated, I can’t help but love it. The pussy bow tie at the neck and ruched arms prevent it from looking matronly, the waist is nipped in to enhance feminine curves and the tailored panels around the front of the waist encourage a smooth fit over the stomach.

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The Lydia Trousers, £35

Boasting the same quality tailoring and fabric as the Lydia Skirt, these trousers are brilliantly flattering and very versatile. The high waist looks great, and the fabric is soft and comfortable. I was really enthusiastic about these for off-duty 1960s style outfits, and also for smarter pairings for work. However, my legs are like pins (quite often even skinny jeans are too big) and I’ve come to associate the feel of a non-skinny fit on my legs with being oversized – so the straight leg fit of these didn’t feel quite as smart as I’d hoped.

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The Eliza Dress, £45

Of all the items in the collection, this is the one I was the most excited about – I love a 60s pattern, and I love mini dresses, so on paper it looked perfect. However, of all the items I tried on, it was the only one that didn’t work for me.

When you feel the fabric you can feel that it was inspired by an apron from the archive – and while that means it feels – and is – great quality, it’s pretty unforgiving of my top-heavy figure. That combined with the high neck means it just doesn’t work for me. Depressing for my wardrobe, but probably a good thing for my bank account.

SD_01_T69_0458K_Y4_X_EC_3lydis-large_trans++qqsh6vk5W2U2XosiZSEQw4tVPglXK47FkgoxzvGXEDUThe Lydia Skirt, £29.50

The quality of the fabric and tailoring of this skirt is incredible. The fit is snug, but flattering – it has stitching down the back to provide a more tailored look. I’m blessed with quite a petite lower half, so the size 6 fits me like a glove and makes me look tiny.

Have you bought any of the Archive by Alexa collection? What did you think?

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