This post is a collaboration with Monsoon. In exchange for this blog post, they offered me five items of my choosing from their autumn-winter stock. No money changed hands.
There are certain shops we just feel like we know – as if we know exactly what will be in them, exactly what occasion they’re good for, exactly what type of person shops there. Monsoon is one of those shops. We have very fixed ideas about what Monsoon is good for: it’s good for weddings, or for a nice dress to wear to Christmas Mass. It does wedding dresses too*, did you know? And it’s fab for childrenswear*. Gorgeous for a special occasion!
We are, I’d wager, less likely to venture into Monsoon on a Saturday when we’re just doing some casual shopping. You know, when we need something new to wear to work*, or when we’re on the hunt for a nice midi skirt*, or a cosy cardigan*, especially now that the weather’s getting colder. We assume that we won’t find those bits in Monsoon. But you know what my Dad always told me? That to assume makes an ass of you and me.
What’s new in Monsoon for autumn?
I truly believe that, the older you get, the less surprising and – dare I say – inspiring you’ll find the new-season trends. That is, if you even care about what those trends are to begin with. For my part, I was once hugely interested in and inspired by fashion; in my 34th year, I feel jaded by military buttons and bored by khaki jackets.
This season’s big trends have, to a certain extent, passed me by. I’ve loved leopard print for as long as I can remember, so its resurgence is nothing new; check prints just make me think of girls who went to posher schools than I did; the only flares that have ever done anything for me are MiH’s Marrakesh jeans*, and I can no longer afford them.
The trends I am most excited about have texture in common: the reappearance of corduroy on the fashion calendar feeds right into my obsession with 1970s cults; and I am here for velvet in whatever guise it chooses to appear (a recent issue of House and Home magazine featured the most incredible velvet couch that I am still thinking about).
My Monsoon picks
With those 1970s tendencies in mind, it’s no surprise that my top two choices from Monsoon’s A/W selection were their corduroy dress* and brogue boots* (above). I bought the dress in a size 16, which fits perfectly (and by “perfectly”, I mean, not a single thing could fit under that dress bar a skintight Nike tee, worn below. God bless sportswear that doubles up).
The boots were a last-minute pick – I saw them as I dashed out the door – and I adore them. They look great with jeans and dresses, add a little height and are incredibly comfortable. They also come in black and burgundy*, but I think the tan adds an authentic 70s vibe.
Photographs: Keith Byrne @keithbphoto
Here I am, casually reading the Sunday papers – which I have just this second remembered I left in my friend’s house. I am clearly very invested in the news. (I was dog-sitting so took the opportunity to have these photographs taken in a setting far tidier and cooler than my own; quelle surprise, she does after all own one of the best shops in Dublin.)
The cardigan is also Monsoon* and I’ve worn it almost every day since I took these photographs. It’s incredibly soft, amazingly warm and has these gorgeous covered velvet buttons that add a little je ne sais quoi. I don’t know why I’m interspersing my witticisms with French phrases – maybe I just want you to think I’m super smart. WHO KNOWS?! I got it in a size L. I could have worn a M but I’m not sure it would be quite as cosy.
Let’s not forget the midi skirt of dreams
Remember back at the beginning, when I mentioned the hunt for the perfect midi skirt? Well, hunt no more – I have found it for you. This midi skirt* is adorable: all buttoned up and polka-dotted and the perfect length. This is also a size 16, but to be honest I’m kind of sorry I didn’t go for an 18. As it is, I’m going to bring it to The Zip Yard and have the buttons at the front sewn up, and a rear zipper put in – because if you have any kind of belly (blame my granola habit), the buttons tend to pucker, which is kind of irritating.
I’m wearing it here with a very old grey tee from Zara, a leather jacket (also old but still available on Asos in a UK 14*, which is the size I’m wearing), red socks that I was roundly abused for on Instagram Stories (I think they’re cute!), my Monsoon boots and (pictured top) my Lancaster leather duffle bag, which is currently on sale in Debenhams*.
Photographs: Simone Gannon @simonescribes
The moral of the Monsoon story
When I decided to start this series, I was sure I’d find something in whatever shop I settled on. But I was pleasantly surprised by the sheer number of gorgeous pieces in Monsoon – far beyond an outfit I’d wear to a neighbour’s wedding.
Of course, there are still loads of wedding-appropriate outfits. You can still buy a sparkly shrug, if you feel that way inclined. There are a tonne of sequinned, overly sparkly gowns my Mum would love to see me wearing. But there are also deadly boots, adorable dresses and – did I mention? – the most perfect midi skirt. (You’re welcome.)
*This is an affiliate link. If you click through and buy anything, I’ll get a small commission. It won’t cost you anything extra!
But if you do feel like contributing a little somethin’ extra, you can support the work I do by contributing a very modest sum to my Patreon. You can read all about why I’m not ashamed to ask you for money here.