Wednesday, 20 April 2016

The Archive by Alexa Collection: Do I Want to Wear Something So Hyped?

The Archive by Alexa Collection by Marks & Spencer, SS16 | Not Dressed As Lamb ponders the collection archived by Alexa Chung
Last week I did something I almost never do. I bought some pieces from a much-awaited, much hyped new collection: The Marks & Spencer Archive by Alexa collection, to be exact. Truthfully, I'm just never keen on jumping on the bandwagon and joining in with everyone else - following the crowd was never my thing, even when I was young.

So do I want to wear something so hyped?

YOU CAN USUALLY SPOT ONE OF THE PIECES FROM A MILE AWAY, AND WE ALL KNOW THAT MANY PEOPLE BUY THEM SPECIFICALLY TO RESELL ON EBAY FOR AN EXTORTIONATE PRICE.

In recent years we've had Balmain for H&M, Kate Moss for Topshop, Ivy Park by Beyoncé for Topshop and numerous other collections that have been hyped and stalked and launched - only to sell out within a day or so. You can usually spot one of the pieces from a mile away, and we all know that many people buy them specifically to resell on eBay for an extortionate price.

And everybody's wearing them (or so it seems if Instagram is your whole world).

So what possessed me to make an exception this time, and more to the point, am I going to keep these pieces and actually wear something I fear I may see being worn by another person - horror of horrors - at the same event?

The Archive by Alexa Collection: Can I Wear Something So Hyped? | Not Dressed As Lamb ponders

BECAUSE LADY DIANA MADE RUFFLED PIE-CRUST COLLAR BLOUSES THE COOLEST THINGS SINCE SLICED BREAD IN 1981, EVERY YOUNG WOMAN ALIVE WANTED ONE.

The piece that made the difference to me - the one that actually got me quite excited - was the pink Harry blouse that Alexa Chung was wearing in the image M&S released when the collection was first announced. This blouse had my name written all over it, because a blouse like this was the first ever on-trend item that I owned, aged 10, when I had a fit at my mother because I didn't own anything fashionable. My 19-year-old sister had come home in a blouse like this, and because Lady Diana made ruffled pie-crust collar blouses the coolest things since sliced bread in 1981, every young woman alive was wearing one.

In a rare act of kindness my sister went and bought me a similar blouse (until I got a bit older I was the archetypal annoying little sister) and I ended up with my first fashionable piece of clothing.

And although I went onto - and still do - follow trends in so far as seeing what's new and picking and choosing what works for me, I always felt deflated if I saw lots of other people wearing something I'd got hold of before everyone else.

I CAN REMEMBER PURPOSELY AVOIDING RA-RA SKIRTS, FRANKIE SAY RELAX T-SHIRTS - I EVEN REFUSED TO HAVE MY HAIR PERMED IN THE 80S BECAUSE EVERYONE ELSE WAS DOING IT.

I ended up being hesitant of getting things that I thought everyone would be wearing. I can remember purposely avoiding ra-ra skirts, Frankie Say Relax t-shirts - I even refused to have my hair permed in the 80s because everyone else was doing it.

Therefore my excitement at seeing the Harry blouse actually go on sale was well and truly extinguished when I saw - in the space of a day - stocks go from all sizes available to almost none.

All sold out.

This meant that everyone else wanted that blouse too, and my happy memories of wearing something that was almost the same as my first treasured piece of clothing would be spoiled by a rash of Instagrammers and bloggers wearing the same piece.

The Archive by Alexa Collection by Marks & Spencer, SS16 | Not Dressed As Lamb ponders the collection archived by Alexa Chung
But within a couple of days Marks & Spencer had restocked and I ordered it this time - along with three other pieces: A white Harry blouse, the Ada trousers (navy, cropped) and the matching Ada blazer (double breasted, cropped sleeves). I did it out of curiosity, or maybe some other sort of unexplained desire to join the throng of excited Instagrammers and post a picture with the caption "I got one! #ArchiveByAlexa" (I didn't, by the way).

I PRAYED THAT WHEN I TRIED THEM ON THEY WOULD LOOK AWFUL ON ME, THEN I COULD SEND EVERYTHING BACK KNOWING I'D TRIED ON A PIE-CRUST COLLAR BLOUSE AGAIN, TAKEN A TRIP DOWN NOSTALGIA LANE AND HAD A GOOD GIGGLE.

I prayed that when I tried them on they would look awful on me, then I could send everything back knowing I'd tried on a pie-crust collar blouse again, taken a trip down Nostalgia Lane and had a good giggle.

But here's the rub: I liked all of them. The blouse may be a bit of a Manrepeller (the husband wasn't sure but never says he hates something), and maybe nostalgia got the better of me, but I actually liked how it looked on me. I didn't have F cups when I was 10, and that was what I thought would stop me this time around. But no, I somehow (and so did my boobs) got away with it.

The cropped trousers were a surprising winner (the first pair I've tried on) and with the blazer the suit looks very late 80s power dressing, which is no bad thing.

So the big question is: Will I keep any of it? Do I want to wear super-hyped pieces that I may see all over the place, pieces that scream #ARCHIVEBYALEXA ALERT at 100 paces?

The trousers are a definite yes. With a pair of heels they look the doggy's doo-das, and they have a double set of buttons either side which you can adjust, allowing for food baby expansion (thank you, 1972 M&S designers). The blazer looks pretty good with it, and I prefer it undone. I'll probably wear a graphic tee with them to contrast the corporate feel of a navy suit. Plus it hasn't been shown as much as the blouse, so not everyone would know it's Archive by Alexa.

BUT IT'S THAT BLOUSE... I HATE THAT I'VE SEEN IT ALL OVER INSTAGRAM ALREADY. I KNOW THAT IF I WEAR IT TO A BLOG EVENT I'LL RUN INTO AT LEAST TWO OTHER PEOPLE WEARING THE SAME THING. WILL I SEE IT LOCALLY? PROBABLY NOT. 

But it's that blouse... I hate that I've seen it all over Instagram already. I know that if I wear it to a blog event I'll run into at least two other people wearing the same thing. Will I see it locally? Probably not. But in my heart I know that I own something that "everyone" else owns, and that doesn't sit well with me.

You'll find out in time if I decide to keep it because it'll pop up on the blog if I do. I quite like the idea of wearing it just to see what will happen - a fashion experiment, if you will.

So - watch this space.

Here are the pieces I'm talking about plus a couple more I liked:

The Archive by Alexa Collection by Marks & Spencer, SS16 | Not Dressed As Lamb ponders the collection archived by Alexa Chung

The Ada Blazer and Ada Trousers

Definite keepers. Love the 80s styling of the Ada blazer and the 70s feel to the cropped Ada trousers. Expect these on the blog in time.


The Archive by Alexa Collection by Marks & Spencer, SS16 | Not Dressed As Lamb ponders the collection archived by Alexa Chung

The Harry Blouse in pink

Here's the Harry blouse in all its pink glory: Do I? Don't I? I just can't decide whether to keep it. I ordered it in white too - maybe (maybe) I'll keep and wear the pink, and keep the white one to sell on eBay when I'm desperate for a bit of cash.

(Which is now, seeing as I've bought all this stuff from the Archive by Alexa collection.)


The Archive by Alexa Collection by Marks & Spencer, SS16 | Not Dressed As Lamb ponders the collection archived by Alexa Chung

The Eliza Dress (left) and Misty Dress (right)

Two other pieces I really liked but stayed away from: The Eliza dress and the Misty dress. I bet Holly Willoughby has worn the Misty dress already (and if she hasn't it's only a matter of time), and I've seen the Eliza worn by Alex Jones on The One Show this week: I spotted it instantly.

I rest my case.

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THESE HYPED COLLECTIONS BY DESIGNERS OR CELEBRITIES FOR HIGH STREET BRANDS? HAVE YOU EVER BOUGHT ANY OF THEM? COMMENT BELOW, OR TAKE IT TO TWITTER @NOTLAMB!


Catherine

P.S. LIKE THIS POST? YOU MIGHT ALSO WANT TO READ HOW TO STAR IN YOUR VERY OWN LUXURY BRAND ADVERTISING CAMPAIGN!

All photos: Marks & Spencer

Linking up to: Let It Shine, Fitness TuesdayBrilliant Blog PostsFriday's Fab Favourites
Share:

36 comments

  1. You've raised some good reasons to stay away from these "collections", but I find my reasoning is the rush & too many people. To actually go to the store is a throng of shoppers is about as fun to me as hiking in the snow (i'm very much an indoor girl). Or to even try to get it online, when the website goes down, or you're thinking I better get it or it'll be sold out is my definition of insane!
    What this article made me realize is I root for the underdog. I love going shopping first when there's very few others around and then finding that one lone piece in the sale section that nobody else wanted---it makes me feel like I'm rescuing it! (and what i'm really understanding by admitting this in public is I must have some unresolved issues---ha ha). But then taking that unwanted piece and making it come alive is quite refreshing.
    Of course you could say this is all hogwash and the only reason I don't love these collections is I want a better deal!
    As for your ruffled shirt---it truly comes down to loving the piece---no matter how you wear it, i'm sure you'll be wearing it oh, so differently than any others, because that's your MO! So why not have one item that reminds you of the good memories of your childhood?
    jodie
    www.jtouchofstyle.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Isn't that funny, Jodie - it doesn't even occur to me that these collections are physically in the shops, I just think "online" and that's it!! I wonder if people actually went to the shops to buy them... I honestly forget that the high street exists sometimes, I go so rarely!!

      The M&S site didn't go down at all so they coped with the traffic okay, but I *knew* they wouldn't have enough stock to meet demand. But maybe that's a good thing for those of us who DO have them already...!!

      Delete
  2. Hi Catherine, boy, this collection made me laugh! You'd have to be British to appreciatie these clothes, for us Dutch they look weird, like the clothes worn on Are You Beeing Served. So, M&S here have all the sizes still... I too saw a lot of The Blouse on Instagram and was amazed by how cool it looks on others, like Fran Bacon. I could never ever get away with it here! I do have an Isabel Marant for H& M top which I love and still wear, glad she did this collection as I can't afford the real deal but I usually stay clear of the big hype. At 45 I have found my own style ( chuffed) I'm looking forward to how you'll style these items!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's really odd, Irmin - I'd heard that before about the Dutch, that you don't do "kooky" or vintage or kitsch, just very sleek and everything black. I'm kinda pleased that the Brits are somewhat more adventurous!

      You'll see the trousers very soon as I've worn them already - the blouse? Still undecided :/

      Delete
  3. I don't blame you a bit on any of these! They are so timeless compared to so many pieces born out of collabs. That pink blouse is SO stunning!

    Heidi || Wishes & Reality

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Heidi - I agree with you but I have a new problem in that I physically cannot do the buttons up at the back of the neck of the blouse without help. It's just added to my woes!! ;))

      Delete
  4. An interesting post. I thought of Lady Di right from the first picture you shared here! I am a little over Alexa, actually. The magazines in the US have shown her so much that I would really like to see someone else with great style and I would prefer that person be at least 45! I did this ruffled trend back when I was 12, in honor of Lady Di like everyone else, and I think I will leave this look to people who were not around in the early 80s! If you bought and kept the blouse I hope you style it in a fun--and unusual--way! x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmm I've never fawned over Alexa's style either, Jill - for me it was more about my own connection with that style of blouse, nothing to do with her that made me want it. But I agree with you about using someone else, however from M&S's point of view I think it was a clever marketing ploy to use Alexa, so I don't blame them!!

      Delete
  5. When we wear things because we love them, they become ours, not Princess Di's or Alexa chung's. And you always look just like you, dear Catherine! And P.S., that blouse is beyond terrific. xox

    -Patti
    http://notdeadyetstyle.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aww thank you Patti!! If I keep it it'll definitely have to be styled differently to everyone else, but it's such a statement blouse I'm not sure how I'm going to do it!! I just need to be able to do the damn buttons up first... It's proving impossible to do up, grrrrrrr!!!!!

      Delete
  6. I hated the ruffles back in the 80,s and I hate them now so I was never drawn into buying but whatever floats your boat I've never heard of this collection either maybe I should get out more lol. Im sure you will look good in it all however.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hehe I think my age helped at the time, Wendy - I was only 9 or 10 so I think it was inevitable that I was going to love frilly ruffles!! x

      Delete
  7. Being older than you I was too busy trying to look like Chrissey Hynde and Patti Smith in the 80s to have let a ruffle within a mile of me. Still the case for me I'm afraid but if you enjoy a romantic moment ruffle away! Needless to say I've enjoyed the reappearance of biker jackets.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ahhhh so you escaped the lure of the ruffles, Maureen... Lucky you, hehe!! I have some horrific pictures of me from those days in a pie crust collar blouse or two, eek ;))

      Delete
  8. Ok guilty. I totally admit to being a bandwagon girl! ;) But I always love your unique style, Catherine. Looking forward to checking out this collection. And hey, we'd LOVE to see you at Fun Fashion Friday this week if you get a chance!

    OXOX
    Dawn Lucy
    http://fashionshouldbefun.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Dawn Lucy, and I love that you admit to being a bandwagon girl, hehe!! ;) I should be able to link up this week, hopefully will have a bit more time x

      Delete
  9. I also got the Ada trousers and wear them casually with the cream camisole and a turquoise wool cardigan from the range. I find the trousers a great shape which proves that they can be worn at any age.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Ada trousers are fabulous, aren't they Josephine?!! Luckily they DON'T scream Archive by Alexa so I'm really happy to keep them. I've already worn them once, can't wait to wear them more! x

      Delete
  10. I'd love to wear the cropped trousers and jacket - except I'm petite and they wouldn't flatter me at all. I've bought from the Ines de la Fressange range at Uniqlo, however they aren't so obvious at these items.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ooh I haven't seen anything about that range, Sue - I must check it out!! Normally M&S do trousers in short, medium and long but they haven't with this collection, so the Ada trousers probably wouldn't be cropped on you...!

      Delete
  11. Um, I've been rather non plussed by this collection. I just don't get the feeding frenzy that surrounds these collections to be honest, but then I'm an odd creature in that I don't have a need to follow the herd, unless the herd is going in my direction! Like you, some of the pretty pieces like the two dresses, I just think, everyone under the sun will buy them which put me off and besides, they don't have them in the petite ranges!
    Wendy (above) made me laugh - she's a lass after my own heart as I too hated the ruffle blouse/Lady Di look!

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

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have to admit Jacqueline that overall I was quite disappointed with the collection - there was so many things that didn't look at retro as I hoped they'd be! So many plain cardigans and slip dresses that were quite boring. But that said, the pieces I picked out for this post I absolutely loved. I definitely think the ruffled blouse was a love it/hate it item though!!

      Delete
  12. I loved the whole collection bar the shoes-it is frustrating when collections sell out immediately so I'm impressed M&S restocked quickly-hoping a few pieces are still available when I get round to popping in store. I feel I need to try before I buy with these pieces x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think the Harry blouse has pretty much almost sold out online now, Vicki - it never occurs to me to go into a shop to buy something anymore!! You do know that you can return things that you buy online, don't you...?!! (hehe sure you do!)

      Delete
  13. I'd love that ruffled blouse with distressed denim. Fluffy and scruffy... so to speak. Still trying to figure out what "the doggy's do-das" means. Is that good (as in cat's meow) or bad (as in dog's breakfast.) Canadians, like me, who watch tons of British TV and have travelled in the UK.... still can't figure out what the heck you guys are saying sometimes:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmm I think distressed denim has to be the way to go with this blouse (if I keep it), Susan - you're right!!

      Hehe so sorry about the expression... "Doggy's doo-da's" is a slightly more polite way of saying something is "the dog's bollocks", meaning it's the absolute best. Sometimes we say just "it's the bollocks" - that's the expression you're more likely to hear on TV. These expressions always get mashed up and changed a bit, I often hear things and I don't know what they mean - I'm learning new (British) expressions every day!!

      Delete
  14. I'm not a bandwagon girl either, but I also make an exemption now and then if it is something I TRULY love. I think you'll be gorgeous in this pink blouse, and having seen the cropped trousers on you, you DEFINITELY made the right choice there, they are lovely. xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Lisa, the trousers were a winner, weren't they?!!

      Maybe I'll be the only 40 plusser to wear the Harry blouse - that'll be my twist on it, haha!!

      Delete
  15. I know exactly what you mean Catherine.
    I think for me, i really dont care if its a collab or an unknown brand, if i like it and can see me wearing it then I'd buy it, i love the red floral dress above and would have bought it but don't need it right now and have my capsule, but i didn't even realise it was part of the alexa collection, twonk that i am, but i really liked the look of it.
    The other thing is even though lots of people may have it, i know for a fact your styling will be completely different to any other, which totally makes me think you should keep them.
    I'm excited to see you style them now too!XXX

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aaargh that doesn't help me in my quest to spend less, Rachel... everyone's being too kind, haha!!!! Though I can TOTALLY see you in that red Misty dress, it's very "you" - it doesn't look as "Alexa" as the other pieces [ahem - the blouse] xx

      Delete
  16. I'm not one to follow trends, I just buy whatever suits me, whether it's in fashion or not and I would certainly buy this blouse because it's gorgeous. I'm a big fan of Victorian 'styles' and this is kind of reminiscent of that era (I think). I wouldn't worry about you running into anyone else wearing it at the same event because you have such a unique sense of style, Catherine. You'd probably outshine anyone else wearing it anyway!
    Hugs
    Suzy x
    www.suzyturner.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think I'd definitely avoid wearing it to a blogger event where I know other fashion bloggers will be there, Suzy... I think that's asking for trouble!! Still undecided about whether to keep it - the buttons are a bigger problem right now!! x

      Delete
  17. Really interesting post Catherine. It's nice to hear someone thinking about the collection rather than just jumping onto the 'emperor's new clothes' bandwagon. You'll know what I think about the blouse without me saying. I'm really looking forward to seeing you in the cropped trousers though xx

    ReplyDelete
  18. I hate having things everyone else has too but something if you really love it I say keep it! you'll probably regret it some day if you send it back
    Lauren

    livinginaboxx | bloglovin

    ReplyDelete
  19. I am over 40 so of course I wore a Lady Di ruffled blouse back then. Looking at those pics way later I swore never ever to wear such a hidious item and I am determined to stick to it ;-) xo Sabina

    ReplyDelete
  20. I love the Harry top as well as the Eliza dress but as you said, it is already all over Instagram and I would worry about turning up to an event wearing the same outfit as someone else. It's amazing the influence people like Alexa Chung and Kate Moss have on us! Love Liz xxx www.whatlizzyloves.com

    ReplyDelete

Thank you so much for leaving me a comment! I love reading what you have to say and I'll always do my best to reply. If you have a question why not tweet me @notlamb?

(Please note any working links left that don't redirect to blogs will be deleted as spam...!)

© Not Dressed As Lamb | All rights reserved.
Blogger Template Designed by pipdig