Trying to get out of the house as quickly as possible each morning without ironing, shouting or forgetting something, I've found myself slowly going DOTTY (Dress Over Tights Thank You very much). As part of my journey to work involves riding a bike, this is an easy sartorial option. Well, easier than my regular uniform of trousers or jeans - we really don't need to talk about chafing. Fortunately all my frocks come in a modest just-above-the-knee length, so as not to scare the motorists.
Now. I can't tell you how pleased I am to discover Allium B. This relatively new fashion label sells simple, stylish, go-anywhere dresses, at very reasonable prices. The bird print shirt dress above is one of my favourites, beautifully made - I've seen the latest collection in real life and can confirm this - and distinctive. Designed for grown-ups, these frocks are soft and unstructured and have a vintage-inspired theme. Fabrics and trimmings are often handpicked at vintage fashion fairs and used to create a thoroughly modern look.
Founded by sisters Clare and Mary Burgess, Allium B was borne out of their frustration at not finding suitable frocks on the high street, 'We've grown up with fashion and built our careers buying dresses for some of the best high street brands,' says Mary, who launched the Designers at Debenhams collection and then worked as head of buying at Topshop, 'There is a gap in the market, everything is either too young or too expensive, so we decided the only way to get the look we really wanted was to do it ourselves. We wanted something wearable, affordable and not frumpy.'
|Mary and Clare Burgess wearing Allium B.|
'Someone my age is happy to pay a little bit more for an everyday dress,' points out Mary, 'As long as they can wear it lots of different ways - and for more than one season. The idea behind our collection is that each dress doesn't do too much, so that the wearer can style it up as they wish: layered over t-shirts, belted or loose.'
I don't know about you, but Allium B is guaranteed to send me DOTTY this autumn. I think the Burgess sisters are onto something.