Photos: Ana Ruivo (except interiors shots)
So full disclosure: I had been approached by Matalan last year to work with them. No thank you. That was my immediate reaction. But then I had to confess, not only had I never set foot in one of their stores, I’d never visited their website either. So I did. And after a quick scan of the baby and children’s clothes, I instantly regretted my knee-jerk reaction. They had some great things!! So when they asked me again recently, I immediately said yes! So then I set about doing a FULL audit of the website – from top to bottom. And I also visited a store. I have to say, I was most impressed with the baby clothes. So many cute pieces – little rompers (sailor striped, ruffled…), pretty (but simple) dresses with matching knickers/sun hats, cute little jersey shorts, sweet cardigans… Oh, and the fabrics are good – plenty of 100% cotton. Always a good thing in my book. And on and on. So it’s a BIG tick from me there.
So buoyed up (and not a little surprised) by my success so far, I then checked out the kids’ collections. Again, plenty of lovely cotton pieces to choose from, and enough simple, ‘non-jazzy’ pieces to keep me and the kids happy. I love Tabitha’s pretty broderie angaise trimmed sundress, and the candy striped bow sandals are so pretty! For Marlow, I chose a selection of simple plain tees and shorts, which all got the thumbs-up from Mr Fussy Pants.
Next up, the home section, where I also some found some great, affordable gems, including this berber style rug (it’s even nicer in reality, I was really impressed actually – really soft and cosy, and the pile is really thick – the kids LOVE it – well they did until I decided to layer it over our jute rug, under the coffee table…) and this butler’s table (I have long been a fan of these tables – I love the simplicity, and the criss- cross legs, and they can work in so many different rooms/spaces (they make great bedside tables).
And last but by not least, the womenswear. Now I’m not going to lie (you know me, honestly is key), I found the selects for me the trickiest. But mostly because, Matalan’s ‘Holiday’ collection is made up of colourful, brights and prints (as it should be really!), which (as you know) are not my thing anyway, whatever the store/designer, so it was never going to be easy. But I hunted down a khaki jumpsuit (I ditchded the belt), the comfiest striped pyjama-style pull-on trousers (perfect for holiday with a chic flat sandal – I had mine taken up at my local tailor, so they’re more cropped), and a boyfriend-style cardigan with balloon sleeves, which looks great half -tucked into jeans for an every day comfy-but-cool look. But my favourites for sure, were the accessories. The chic-est rafia flats (I’ve been wearing mine non-stop, rotating between the black (with jeans) and the natural (perfect with dresses), gorgeous slouchy macramé shoulder bags, shell and gold jewellery that’s so prefect for layering with exciting pieces. Oh, and my S necklace.
So to sum up, for anyone who might be feeling a little sceptical or snooty about Matalan’s offerings, go take a look for yourself. Or better still, just check out my edits below. I think you might be very pleasantly surprised!
pps: they also do maternity clothes. Perfect if you don’t want to (and frankly, who does?) invest clothes that you’re only going to wear for a few months.
*This is a paid-for post, in collaboration with Matalan*
Almost all the clothes and accessories are available at matalan.co.uk, but I did mix in a few of our own pieces: Isabel Marant ruffle top (worn with the striped trousers); Whistles leather biker jacket and Isabel Marant bow sandals (worn with khaki jumpsuit); and Marlow’s Saltwater sandals. Everything is is from Matalan.