Saturday, 31 October 2015

Magenta Cocoon Dress & Leather Leggings from New 40 Plus Clothing Brand, Hope Fashion

Magenta cocoon dress, leather leggings, red tote | Not Dressed As Lamb
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I'm not quite sure where to start with this post, simply because a new British clothing brand for the 40 plus woman has been launched - and I'm officially very excited about it. I genuinely feel that if a group of over 40 fashion bloggers got together and told a brand what they wanted in the way of product, service and marketing, Hope Fashion would be the end result.

Just to give you an idea of what Hope is all about, it's specifically aimed at the older woman who wants to look modern and stylish - and at the same time be comfortable - whilst creating a fabulous (and figure-flattering) silhouette. Music to my ears...!

Hope kindly allowed me to choose a couple of pieces from their current collection: I chose the magenta cocoon dress (I adore the colour) and leather-front stretch leggings (I've finally joined the leather trousers army)! The dress comes in one "free" size which fits UK 8 to 20 in both regular and long length (mine's the latter). The leather-front leggings are stretchy, come in sizes "Super Slim" (UK 8) up to "Super Curvy" (UK 20) and you can choose the long length, or have them altered - for free. (I chose to have them a little shorter to show off a bit of ankle for wearing them with heels, and I like the little bit of skin showing between ankle boot and hem.)

THE LEATHER-FRONT LEGGINGS ARE STRETCHY, COME IN SIZES "SUPER SLIM" UP TO "SUPER CURVY" AND YOU CAN CHOOSE THE LONG LENGTH, OR HAVE THEM ALTERED - FOR FREE.

To me, this brand stands out because they are, in my opinion, tackling head-on what the 40+ market needs from a clothing brand. Beautiful fabrics and colours, great quality, modern styling and choice. I chose to have my leggings that length, you could choose to have them longer. Same goes for the dress: I went for long as I'm a bit taller than average (5'7", and these boots make me at least 5'11") - but you can go for the shorter length if it works for your body shape and/or height better .

This is what Nayna McIntosh, the founder and CEO of Hope Fashion, has to say (which basically sums it all up):

"CREATING HOPE WAS ABOUT DOING SOMETHING TO PUT RIGHT WHAT MANY FASHION BRANDS AND RETAILERS ARE MISSING AND UTILISING MY YEARS OF EXPERIENCE TO CREATE A BRAND FOR THE 40 PLUS WOMAN THAT IS RIGHT FOR TODAY.
I HAVE EMPATHY WITH THIS WOMAN BECAUSE I AM THIS WOMAN. I'M LOOKING FOR GARMENTS TO HELP RESTORE CONFIDENCE – I UNDERSTAND MY BODY IS CHANGING YET STILL WANT TO FEEL GOOD, IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK?"

So apart from loving this gorgeous magenta colour and soft fabric of the dress and the flattering fit and style of the leather-front leggings, I completely get the whole philosophy of this brand. When I was first contacted (just before Hope launched) about the possibility of collaborating with them, I made a list of all the things that impressed me whilst I was reading their press release and looking at the first collection:

Why Hope Fashion stands out

  1. It is specifically aimed towards, and is designed for, older women
  2. Its founder and CEO is a 40 plus woman
  3. The clothes are modern and edgy in bold colours and classic prints (no mumsy, apologetic florals)
  4. They've used a beautiful silver-haired older model and a gorgeous curvy model - hallelujah! (I know one brand who uses tall, slim 20-something models for their marketing and Lookbooks even though their target audience is 40+ and their clothes generally start at a UK size 12)
  5. Unlike some brands aimed at the older market, the sizes start at a UK 8, i.e. they're not assuming that all older women are bigger (some older women are tiny)
  6. Hope's Foundation range, basic layering pieces to shape and sculpt, is designed for both style and comfort
  7. All garments in the Hope collection have been designed with the "Divine Proportion" (a template of thirds) in mind to give you the most flattering proportions
  8. Many of the trousers can be altered free of charge and a lot of pieces come in a choice of lengths

One more great thing they offer is a new shopping experience. Everything in their collection is available online via their website, but if online shopping isn't for you and you detest high street shopping (like me), you might be interested to know they do pop-up boutiques. With fully-trained Hope stylists you'll get a personalised service in a relaxed environment - you can attend a pop-up boutique or even sign up to become a Hope stylist and host one yourself. If you're passionate about clothing and style and want to run your own business this could be for you...!

There is so much more I could say about this brand, but I'll leave it to you to check them out and decide for yourself what you think of their approach, their philosophy and, of course, their collection.

Discount code

Hope are offering 15% off your order until midnight Tuesday 3rd November: Use code OCT15 at the checkout. Currently they only deliver to the UK, Northern Ireland and Channel Islands but do say they're working on delivering overseas. As they've only just recently launched I'm hoping that it won't be too long before they're able to deliver to all my lovely readers all over the globe...!

Let me know what you think of Hope's collection - are you excited that a new 40 plus clothing brand has been launched? Tell me in the comments or tweet me @notlamb (and tag @hopefashionuk in as well, they'd love to hear what you think)!

Magenta cocoon dress, leather leggings, red tote | Not Dressed As Lamb
Magenta cocoon dress, leather leggings, red tote | Not Dressed As Lamb
Magenta cocoon dress, leather leggings, red tote | Not Dressed As Lamb
Magenta cocoon dress, leather leggings, red tote | Not Dressed As Lamb
Magenta cocoon dress, leather leggings, red tote | Not Dressed As Lamb
Magenta cocoon dress, floral neck scarf | Not Dressed As Lamb
Magenta cocoon dress, floral neck scarf | Not Dressed As Lamb
Dress: c/o Hope Fashion | Leggings: c/o Hope Fashion | Boots: New Look (close match) | Bag: c/o Brenda Mcleod (similar) | Scarf: Asos | Sunglasses: c/o Lulus (close match) | Watch: Lipsy (similar) | Nails: Revlon Top Speed 'Hazy'

Hope Fashion AW15
Above: A selection of Hope Fashion's AW15 collection

You can see my leggings really clearly here (studio lights show the leather better!) - and how gorgeous is that tomato-red dress? It looks so striking with the model's white hair and bold glasses. Hope have a great selection of textures and fabrics that you can mix and match: It suits those of us who want to stay a little safer with classic black and neutrals, but the leopard print and bold brights appeal to my wilder side.

I can't wait to wear the leather-front leggings throughout autumn and winter with a wrap knit or my longline camel blazer, and the magenta dress will also look good with dark denim or coloured opaque tights and heels. Watch this space!

Catherine

P.S. Don't forget to link up what you've been wearing on Monday's #iwillwearwhatilike link up post - especially if you're dressing up for Halloween (next week's optional theme)! Link up your Instagram posts if you don't have a blog post :)

Linking up to: iwillwearwhatilikeVisible MondayLet It ShineMonday MingleStyle SessionsTurning Heads TuesdayTrend Spin Link-UpWhat I Wore WednesdayBrilliant Blog PostsThrowback ThursdayPassion for Fashion FridayFriday's Fab FavouritesStyle Stories

Disclosure: I have written this post in collaboration with Hope Fashion (click here for my full disclosure). All content is original, however, and opinions are my own and 100% honest.
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56 comments

  1. I like everything about this company's ideology except for the name. I know the name is of the owner's mother, but it just sounds like the over 40 crowd is pathetic and needs "hope". I'm not sure about some of the clothes I've seen either. They seem kinda baggy, like were all out of shape and have something to hide. I do like your outfit though. The color is so pretty and I love the skinny scarf!

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    1. Hmm I hadn't thought of the name like that at all, Amy - maybe because I don't think of us as pathetic that it doesn't occur to me (though I'm not saying that YOU think that of course)! You may know that I often wear things that show off my waist, but I totally love the loose dress over trousers look and I'm glad I tried something new... I'm always going for fit n flare!

      But thank you so much for your feedback, it's interesting to read all opinions x

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  2. You always look incredible Catherine! If I'm half as stylish as you in 25 years I'll be happy

    Coleoftheball xx

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    1. Nicole that's really nice of you to say, thank you!

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  3. This will be interesting to follow and see how they do! I have looked at their website and dislike the name too (sorry!) and have to say that the drapey, cover-up-as-much-as-possible style is not my thing at all and is a style I associate with plus size brands. I think you picked the best pieces, great colour dress on you, but I am not sure they are quite hitting the mark. I am a few years away from 40 yet but can't see my tastes changing massively! Good on them for trying though, it's a massive market that needs attention. Xx

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    1. I think it's definitely a particular "look" that doesn't necessarily appeal to everyone, Sarah, so I get where you're coming from... I like to switch up my style now and then (like I said to Amy), and to wear something that was comfortable (i.e. not skinny jeans that cut off my circulation and fitted dresses that are too tight round the waist) but still modern was a revelation to me.

      Maybe we'll see some more fitted pieces in the future to appeal to your retro-loving style...?!

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  4. I think its a stunning collection and well designed. Not sure everyone made it all the way to the "accessories" page but those were clever and nicely curated. It was a nice touch to also provide foundation pieces in particular one would need to wear something underneath the off-the-shoulder sweater and some of the slitted dresses. Really enjoyed the look of the models, and noticed the clothing seemed to work best on the "curvy" model although the silver/blonde lady was gorgeous.

    I can relate to the comments others have made about them being too drapey but I interpreted the look as architectural and avaunt guard myself. That said it still might not flatter everyone and I too was looking for the more fitted pieces.

    What I would wear (I'm 5 9 and size 2 US, sometimes 4 on top): All of the pants including the wide leg, most of the knit sweaters, the accessories, ponchos. I'd pass on the dresses and coats as being too baggy.

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    1. I'm with you on the avant-garde and architectural description, Charlene - I really love the look and I'm not always fussed about *having* to show off my figure the whole time. Sometimes I want really, really comfortable yet stylish without having to resort to sweatshirts and tracksuit pants.

      This works for me - funnily enough I adored the coats, they were my favourites after this dress! But thank you for commenting, I really appreciate it x

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    2. Well maybe the dresses and coats just need to be tried on, to be appreciated... ;)

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  5. I have loved the brand since I went to the launch party over a month ago. I agree the fabrics are lovely. I will be featuring their faux fur gilet next week. I am very heartened that new brands are springing up that cater for the more mature woman.

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    1. Oh gosh I'm very envious that you went to that, Josephine! I can imagine that their clothes are very much your style, I bet most of the collection looks amazing on you. I too think it's great that a new brand aimed specifically at our market has been launched :))

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  6. I just looooooove this look on you Catherine! I love Magenta, I love leather, and the combination of the two on you - stunning! xx Abby

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    1. Abby thank you so much! Magenta is such a delicious colour, isn't it...?!

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  7. Beautiful clothing - I am checking them out asap! See you later at Vis Monday xox
    -Patti
    http://notdeadyetstyle.com

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    1. I can also imagine you in some of their pieces, Patti! Thanks sweetie x

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  8. Will definitely be taking a look at this brand. Love what you picked from the collection and I want your boots!
    Laurie x

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    1. Thanks so much Laurie! They're a very classy brand :)

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  9. Well bravo to Nayna for launching a fashion brand for this age group as I'm always looking for new and interesting brands to try. It's a fiercely difficult market to enter so I can only applaud her ballsiness for doing so. I'm along similar lines to Amy and Porcelina - I'm not crazy about the name (although it is adorable that she called it after her Mum).
    The style of her clothing will be great for some but I fear drapey often looks shapeless, dumpy and undefined on many especially someone like me who's an hourglass petite.
    And freesize? How can a dress look good on a size 8 if it's also suitable for a size 20?
    Some of the scarves are lovely and I'm a total scarf lady but no way would I pay nearly £100 for one! I can get gorgeous, silk, wool, cotton scarves from museums and the National Trust for between £15-£45 in really unusual prints that you won't see mass produced. Obviously, Nayna doesn't have the economies of scale that these places do but some of her prices will sadly be out of reach for many women she'd be needing to reach.
    However, how wonderful to know that you can choose leg length and have them altered for free - as a petite trying to find lengths that work for me are a nightmare. And so refreshing to see she's used a silver haired model and a curvier model. I do wish her well but I can't see this brand working for me.
    The colour of the dress looks fantastic on you Catherine.

    http://petitesilvervixen.blogspot.co.uk/

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    1. I do agree with you abut the price point of some of the accessories, Jacqueline - I myself wouldn't pay so much for accessories either because my budget doesn't stretch that far. I spend more on quality main pieces (like the leather trousers, for example) but do tend to go for cheaper scarves, hats, bags, etc.

      As for the free size dress... well I'm a size 8! Maybe I should see what it looks like on someone I know who's a bigger size than me and we could see :)

      Thanks for your comments, I really appreciate your feedback!

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    2. I'd love to see the dress on someone who's a bigger size for comparison!

      We're like minds in that I too prefer to spend more on the main pieces and then have fun with the accessories - means I can stretch the money further and ring the changes with the accessories!

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    3. Hi ladies. After reading through your comments Catherine...I had to add my sixpenneth worth! To this one with Jacqueline.
      I find it really interesting how we are all so different. And, I love that fact!
      If I had the choice of an expensive dress and a cheaper accessories (or vice versa), I would always spend on the accessories. Even though, in real life, that does not happen.. I need to be very careful with my budget and spend more time in unusual places to find quality at bargain prices....but I would still like to be able to splurge on shoes, bags and scarves!!
      I have a Moschino scarf and it is an absolute gem of an item....worth it's weight in gold!
      I also have a few pairs of designer shoes and the odd bag (from Ebay and Charity shops) that are stunning and a dream to wear/use.
      Unfortunately my children need shoes, and boots, and coats so life gets in the way of my designer shopping urges.
      Sigh....
      XXX
      Samantha

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  10. Love the color of your dress, Catherine! Really pretty on you! With regards to the new clothing brand, the company's mission statement is admirable but I personally don't relate. I've never liked putting people in boxes, either because of their age, shape, etc. Fashion is art. It's creative, it's bold, it's whatever we want it to be. No rules. Women over 40 and beyond have never looked better and because of that I'm not sure the messaging of this brand will fly. xox-M

    http://marymurnane.com

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    1. Thank you Mary!

      I know what you mean about putting people in boxes, and I do agree with you to a point - however us fashion bloggers are a much more creatively-minded lot compared to the average woman on the street when it comes to shopping I think. I don't mean that they don't *want* to shop somewhere that's aimed at a younger market (Topshop, Zara, etc.), it's just that these shops don't do anything to attract an older crowd - and there's a very simple reason why they don't!

      If they started to market their product towards their target audience's mums then it'd put off the young girls who are already buying there, and Topshop and Zara of course don't want to do that. Yes, fashion is art, yes it's creative - but the average non-blogging woman ISN'T catered for as much as younger girls are.

      By giving 40 plus women a brand that says "We're here for YOU, not your daughters", it will hopefully give them the confidence to put the effort into loving fashion and getting dressed for themselves, and themselves only, again.

      As I said I totally agree with you, but us fashion bloggers are only a very minuscule proportion of the women over 40 out there who want to look good and go shopping for clothes. We're a lot braver than most and are therefore braver about where we shop.

      But as I've said to the other ladies I really appreciate your feedback, it's all good discussion! x

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  11. Love the magenta with the leather boots, looks great!

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    1. thank you so much, Nicole - so glad you like them! x

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  12. I am not a believer that women of different ages should dress differently. I think you should dress for your shape, and that is the only 'limitation.' The marketing is clever and the sentiment behind the brand is lovely, but those voluminous shapeless pieces tend to look ok in a Lookbook (only from certain angles) and not very flattering in real life, in my own experience. I do love that they are using older models and models in different sizes though; that is refreshing.

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    1. Lisa I agree with your first sentence 100% (you've only got to read my "opposing age appropriateness" tagline to know that I do). However, as I said to Mary above, looking at the brand solely from a fashion blogger's point of view is not the way to address what Hope are doing and are all about. Their brand is nothing to do with limitation - it's about giving the average mature woman on the high street (the ones who DON'T want to go into Topshop or H&M or Zara) some guidance and choice that is aimed towards her, and her only.

      I personally don't think you should always dress for your shape - I think you should simply dress in whatever makes you FEEL good. If I dressed in what the style books say my body shape suits (I'm an hourglass), I'd be in pencil skirts and V-neck tops all the time. I actually think pencil skirts look bloody awful on me and they're just not comfortable or practical either.

      I also had a stylist make me try on a halter-neck top at a photo shoot last year - I almost refused because with bony arms and big boobs I always read you "shouldn't" wear that shape. It looked amazing on, and she was totally right.

      What I'm saying is that going too much by what you're supposed to wear for your shape is just as restrictive as going by what you're supposed to wear for your age.

      If this dress hides my shape or doesn't flatter me as you suggest - I'm really not bothered! I dress for myself and myself only. I think this dress looks great on, it's a particular style that I see a lot of stylish women wear and I wanted to try it myself. The fact that it makes me feel good because I like the style is what matters the most to me, and that's what Hope are so keen on doing for women who feel lost and under-represented in the high street.

      However I do appreciate you taking the time to comment, it's all good feedback (thank you!) - but I hope you can see it from a non-fashion blogger's point of view as well...!

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    2. Catherine, I'm definitely not suggesting that the dress doesn't flatter you; it certainly does (especially in that colour, but you KNOW that!). I said "in my own experience" because I've bought (and returned!) a few cocoon dresses that looked amazing online in photos, but they made me look a giant marshmallow with legs. I certainly didn't mean to sound negative about what you're wearing; I genuinely meant "in my own experience."

      I think you are right in your point about about non-fashion blogger midlife women needing somewhere that makes them feel welcome with options to suit them. I hear PLENTY of women my age saying they feel totally uncomfortable in Topshop (I don't get that at all, but many women feel that way). As a group, we're underrepresented despite having more purchasing power.

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  13. Sounds like a really wonderful company! And you look beautiful in their outfit. I particularly like the drape of the dress.

    I saw your post in the Monday Mingle lineup and came over here to say hello! Here's my Monday Mingle post...
    http://www.midlifemakeover.me/2015/11/the-no-repeat-november-challenge.html

    Have a great week!

    Jeanine

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    1. Catherine,

      This outfit is fabulous and I really like the new easy feel of your hairstyle! I think Hope Fashion is really onto something with this line. The top is a beautiful color and the pants are just keepers all the way around.

      Shellie
      www.thefabjourney.com

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    2. Anna thank you - I hope you check out the rest of their collection! Good to e-meet you :))

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    3. And Shellie: I'm so glad you like the outfit and their philosophy! I agree with you when I say they're onto something... It can only get better from here x

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  14. This dress looks like the most comfy dress ever. So pretty! Love the whole look!

    xo,
    Stephanie
    Diary of a Debutante
    www.thediaryofadebutante.com

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  15. I was lucky to get an invite to the Launch and am pleased about the concept (aimed at us older women over 40 and originated by someone herself of this age group), and I love the name Hope. The dress looks gorgeous on you as do the leather leggings Catherine! I have a couple of similar style dresses from Gudrun Sjoden (these are patterned) which I love for comfort/ease of movement, but in all honesty when I wear them (being 5ft tall, curvy and full busted) depending on my mood, I sometimes feel, they would look better if I were a very petite build (like Nanya the CEO of Hope), or taller.

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    1. Thank you, Valerie! I met the team at a pop-up boutique last night, and seeing more of the collection in person I could tell just how many beautiful pieces they have. It's very hard to design a range that will appeal to all women and suit all shapes, but I think Hope's core range are brilliant basics and then there are some very, very interesting (and unusual) pieces that appeal to those of us who like edgy and modern. x

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  16. This is a random comment, BUT well worth noting. I found myself having a question or two as I read, and always within the next sentence you were answering me queries. That's kind of amazing. And definitely a sign of a very good writer.

    I feel like reaching out to Hope--especially when they decide to broaden their horizons globally. Because, that tomato shift, well, I kinda need it!

    Thanks for linking up to the Kremb de la Kremb Style Story Link Up.

    Love, Ann from Kremb de la Kremb

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    1. Aww Ann that's really sweet of you, thank you (I don't think of myself or this blog as being about the writing, more the pictures... I really appreciate that comment)!!

      I totally think you'd be a Hope girl! I went to one of their pop-up boutiques last night and tried loads of great pieces - lots that you would LOVE. I could totally see you in the B&W shaggy poncho, it's very "you"!!

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  17. I'm thrilled to hear about Hope Fashion! I can't wait until they deliver abroad!
    LOVE this look on you too... you look fabulous :)
    Suzy x
    www.suzyturner.com

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    1. Thanks so much Suzy - and I have it from the horse's mouth that they are working on it! Watch this space x

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  18. Love the dress you are wearing, but also the orange dress/tunic in the collage. If they are getting around to deliver mainland Europe, give us a holler :)

    Alex - Funky Jungle

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    1. that orange-red dress is a beauty, isnt it Alex...? I'll try and remember to let you know but why not sign up for their email alerts, I'm sure there'll be notice of international delivery in them :))

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  19. I just love your style! I should comment more often but really reading almost all your articles. Like your instagram, too.
    Visiting your blog via PASSION FOR FASHION Linkup!
    Greetings from Elegant 40!

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  20. Catherine, this has clearly touched a nerve with your readers. Personally I think it can only be a good thing to have a new choice for us over 30's shoppers. None of us buy all of our clothes from just one brand or retailer and therefore to have another option is great news. The dress looks fab on you, but I know it would swamp me, however I don't want to knock them for that. Surely that's what freedom of choice is all about? Hope is responding to a gap in the market, and hopefully more designers will want to follow.
    Anna
    Anna's Island Style

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    1. I couldn't agree with you more, Anna! It IS a good thing to have brands aimed specifically at certain age brackets - no one minds that "younger" brands like New Look or H&M target a young audience, so why should we be offended when other brands target older women? There's no denying we change as we get older, our lifestyles and wants and needs change along with our bodies. We don't want clothes for going out clubbing, we want clothes for all sorts of things like walking the dog or going out for an evening meal (just two random examples)!

      And as with all brand collections not every piece in the collection is for me, but i can't wait to see what Hope comes up with for SS16...! Thank you sweetie xx

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  21. I say they fill a wide gap in the market. You look relaxed and stylish in your Hope clothes and indeed I like rhe red dress. I am going to check them out. Pity I am not an experienced retailer. Then I could get to represent them in The Netherlands.
    Greetje

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    1. I don't think you'd need to be an experienced retailer or even a great saleswoman, Greetje - just an eye for putting things together and an interest in clothes... You have both in abundance!! So glad they've piqued your interest, thanks my lovely xx

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  22. These leggings with the leather detail is so fun! I am not fan of cocoon style tops/dresses since they are not flattering on me but it looks fab on you.

    Thank you for joining TBT Fashion link up and hope to see you next week.

    Alice
    www.happinessatmidlife.com

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    1. Oh Alice I get that - I wasn't too sure about cocoon dresses either but I liked it more on me than I thought I would...! Thank you sweetie x

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