Because every woman needs a little Therapy...

Sunday, 27 February 2011

The Seventies

I asked you all if you were concerned about Seventies' fashion making a come back. But I didn't tell you what I think.

I like it! Think Charlie's Angels, think Julie Andrews in 10, think Diane Keaton in Annie Hall, think Bianca Jagger.

Forget David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust and Abba singing Waterloo!

We have some great 70's inspired skirts this season - A line, mid calf, with great detailing. Wear these with a great plaited leather belt and tan strappy wedges with just a simple jersey top and a big slouchy bag to look thoroughly up to the minute.

And what about the trouser shapes? Summer is the perfect time to pick up a pair of wide legged, 70's inspired linen trousers. Substitute the trousers for the skirt and sling a pretty cardigan around your shoulders. Voila, you're transformed into Grace Kelly in "High Society", perfect!

I love the 70's influence on footwear. Our Toni Pons Espadrilles are just right. Peep toe suede wedges, denim strappy sandals, simple linen espadrilles - not only are they comfortable but they're bang on trend.

You can pick up the trend just by adding a slim slippery scarf from Echo, or how about a long string of pretty glass beads from Simply Delightful? Even a fun felt corsage from Avoca will give your outfit a 70's flavour without frightening you or costing a fortune.

Spring is the time to experiment so don't be afraid to try a new look or update an old one. Our staff are always happy to help you and we've worked hard in our selection to bring you flattering fashions to suit your lifestyle.

Have a bit of fun!

Laura x

Friday, 25 February 2011

P.S. I forgot to tell you...

I forgot to tell you how safe I felt in my layers! My Part two gilet hid a multitude of sins and allowed me to wear tops that would otherwise have been a bit clingy for comfort.


Hello Ladies,
Today I'm going to talk about layering. I've just completed my buying for AW11, and it's all about layering.

You know what I mean, putting a vest under a shirt under a knit, with a belt - that sort of thing.

We're not great at it in Petworth. I've spent 7 years buying Danish collections - Part Two being our best known one. The Danes love layering! They do it effortlessly, it's in their DNA. 

I used to work with a Danish Company and spent time in Copenhagen. The Danish women as a rule appear to be tall and attractive and dress with style.

I think Danish fashion suits us in the UK. The fit and spec of their clothing is most suitable to our shape and size - compared to the French or Italians, who make everything tiny. And their pretty, casual styling is ideal for our busy country lives.

Here in Petworth we like to live and live well - just like the Danes. And like them we suit layering.

Now my most successful layering takes place every morning - PJ bottoms, fleece boots, a vest, an old jumper consigned now to bed-wear, an old cashmere cardi and a Dr Who type scarf.

I didn't say it was pretty! As the central heating warms the house through I shed layers, until I stand washed & made up & dressed - ready for the day. 

This winter I tried a bit harder. I can hardly encourage you dear customers if I don't do it myself. And I'll tell you something - it feels good. I feel good!

One of my favourite outfits this winter was a Oui printed top, a Part Two wool gilet, a pair of Jackpot needlecord jeggings tucked into fab knee high olive suede boots. I really felt the business! It was smart and warm and different enough to make me feel confident - but as comfortable as my favourite PJs - perfect.

Now this is the perfect time of year for layering. It's tough just now, coping with the endless grey skies and motivating ourselves to come out of hibernation. What we need is some pretty Spring colours and print cottons to give us a boost.

So wear a new Spring top with a long sleeved tee shirt underneath and an Autumn gilet over the top. Or try a pretty jersey printed skirt with a plain dark knit and boots - like me today.

I saw one of our customers mix a long sleeve tee with a floral cotton tea dress and a pair of jeans. It looked fantastic and gave her a fresh look while still practical.

We have loads of pretty tops and tunics, little cardis and different shapes in jeans. So if you're needing a little retail therapy and don't know what to buy, think layering!

Happy dressing!
Laura x

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

I love Mimi Spencer

Welcome ladies to the Therapy Blog. 
This one's for you! Having established my own personal blog, one of you lovely customers suggested I might add to that with info on our shop. Louise, our manager took it a stage further and suggested a separate Therapy Blog.

So what do you want to know?

This season we will see the return of the Seventies. Does that scare you?! 
I love Mimi Spencer. She writes a fashion column in The Mail On Sunday's You Magazine. Have you read her book: "101 Things To Do Before You Diet"? Brilliant! 

Mimi is a diehard Fashionista, unashamedly in thrall to beautiful clothes and the latest trend. But she's one of us - a mother and a middle aged woman who can't get away with hotpants or the colour nude any more. She manages to suggest a middle ground for the likes of us - combining the season's trends (come on, we're not dead yet) with styles that will flatter rather than mock. Good for you Mimi!

This is where I start as well. My aim has always been to combine my customer's desires and needs with what's out there in the world of fashion. I don't know how many times I've searched for a particular skirt length, the perfect knitted coat or navy when every designer's promoting black.

I do this for you dear customers. Fashion is about feeling and looking good in a way appropriate to the context within which we live. Now I personally subscribe to a Hippy Chick/Vintage Vibe/Secretary look. I feel like a free spirit but that is balanced by my urge to be neat and tidy. 

It seems to me that many of you are the same. We want comfortable, well designed clothes that flatter our lifestyle and are easy to care for. Shouldn't be a tall order, and I do think that things are improving. 

Finally bigger retailers and modern designers are cottoning on to the fact that we're the ones with the money. It's about time too. As I said (did I?) in my first blog, my customers buy according to their figure and their lifestyle. Age has nothing to do with it and I'm delighted that this is the case.

I don't know about you but I feel Primark and the likes are for the young. Yes I shop there occasionally but if I want to look good then I spend a bit more on something special. I do this for several reasons: I can afford it nowadays, I need a better fit and better quality fabric to make me look good, I don't buy unless I love it and it flatters me so I want it to last, I buy it because it makes me feel good.

And what's wrong with that? We do have to work harder as we get older. And we have earned the right to look good, to spend a bit of time and money on ourselves. Haven't we?

Please let me know what you want to read about. If you have any fashion queries please share them. If we don't have the answer then I'm sure one of you out there will!

Thank you for reading.
Laura x  

Saturday, 19 February 2011


Welcome to all of our customers, old and new. I hope you will find this Blog useful and informative. My aim is to talk about fashion - my love, and to share with you what's new and helpful in the complicated world of women's clothes.

We've had our shop for 7 years now and I've learnt so much in that time. My previous buying and retail experience was in Menswear - quite a different animal to womenswear! Like the men themselves, men's fashion was a delightfully straight forward affair. Even though I worked in men's "fashion" and bought the likes of Paul Smith, Diesel Jeans and Moschino, it was still easy. Men have 2 arms and 2 legs. There are a limited number of ways to clothe them: shirts, knits, trousers, jeans, suits. Yup, that's about it. And very grateful and well behaved they all were to be dressed at all.

Now women - there's another story! I hadn't realised until I started Therapy just how insecure we are about our bodies. Despite my own foibles and sensitivities, I still imagined that most women were simple...easy to men. How wrong I was.

And I'm pleased I was wrong. Because for all the drama and hard work involved in dressing women, I love it. It is a constant challenge and a constant satisfaction to find the perfect outfit for each unique woman. Great.

So I'm hoping to develop a dialogue with you all. I have always strived to offer you what you want. I'm a retailer by training as much as a fashion buyer and I was taught that we wouldn't exist without our customers. True.

I don't subscribe to the attitude of many "up market" fashion retailers. Like poor Julia Roberts in the film "Pretty Woman", we're made to feel inferior by women who are paid to serve us - disgraceful. Don't ever tolerate bad service. If people work with the public then their job is to serve them with a smile and with a willingness to do their job well. If you can't do that then go work in a lighthouse.

So our little shop Therapy is so named because we wanted it to be an oasis of calm and a place to come for some fun. I know it doesn't sound like good business sense but I want customers to visit us without feeling obliged to buy. I'd rather you came and enjoyed looking around than felt that you couldn't enter because you weren't spending.

Isn't half the fun of shopping the looking? The imagining? The choosing? More than half I'd say. 

I like to think of the yummy things we sell in Therapy as "neccessary luxuries". This is a phrase I coined for myself when trying to justify to Chris why I needed to pay £12 a bottle for my favourite Artful Teasing body lotion. (Try it ladies, I have never in my life had such soft skin). Anyway, I wanted him to understand that £12 was a neccessity for such a result. I'd rather scrimp on holidays and have soft skin.

Do you know what I mean? We all have things personal to us that we don't want to live without. For me it's paper tissues in every room (allergies) and Chanel lipstick, Twinings Lady Grey teabags and cashmere jumpers.

What are your favourites?

Shall I tell you?

NYDJ and FDJ jeans. You know the ones - that pull your tummy in and give you a smooth line and feel like a second skin they're so comfortable. Once you've worn a pair it's hard to go back to normal jeans.

Or what about Part Two knits from Denmark? We sell loads so I know how much you love them! I have umpteen and they wear so well.

Ah, one of my favourites although I don't wear them: Echo scarves from New York. You love them too. I have never seen such beautiful and clever colour combinations & designs. I want to frame them!

Now La Badia pumps from Florence - these really are best sellers. I'm trying to get Francesco, the owner of this family run business, to make us lots in basic colours so that you can all have them. Cross your fingers that he agrees.

Rachel Lovett jewellery - wow. Rachel's another local girl based in Sussex. Like me she worked for some big names in the fashion world before settling down to produce her own collection. She has a beautiful, vintage way with her and her necklaces and bracelets look like heirlooms. How she manages all of this at such a good price I'll never know. But I'm grateful that she does!

Avoca. I can't say that word without smiling. I love Avoca. I know I love lots of things, but Avoca makes me smile. A married couple - architects or lawyers or something - looked at the old original Avoca Handloom Mills in Kilmacanogue, Eire. They were going to convert it to live in but fell so in love with the heritage and romance of the place that they decided instead to resurrect it. They apply a fun and positive slant to everything they do and use humour too. We stock their dresses, scarves, wellies, homewares - yummy.

Oui? Oui! I've been looking at Oui from Germany for years but only bought it for Therapy 3 seasons ago. I'm glad I did! Yes this collection is at the top end of our price range but I think it's great value for money. I have some of their printed knits & tops and I always feel like a million dollars in them.

I'm hoping to tell you all about our Spring collections and feature key looks and styles here on our Blog. Please feel free to ask any questions or tell us if you're looking for anything special. I'll ask our staff and make sure we give you as useful an answer as possible.

Looking forward to hearing from you all.
Laura x