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Independents' bestsellers: women's occasionwear and men's formalwear

Find out what’s selling now in the world of women’s occasionwear and men’s formalwear

Women’s occasionwear

gina bacconi

gina bacconi

Claire Strong, owner of The Copper Tree in Usk, Monmouthshire

Cobalt blue and printed dresses (£220) from Joseph Ribkoff are our bestsellers. We’re also seeing a trend for gold. Gold dresses from Gina Bacconi (£230) and Izabella (£320) are selling very well. Customers seem to be looking for similar products all year round now – they don’t come in looking for something specifically for a winter wedding. Fortunately, we’ve been extremely busy recently and business has been really good. We’ve just moved from a one-storey shop into some new three-storey premises and business is going really well. Having more space has allowed us to bring in more bridesmaid styles.

Jackie Allan, owner of Revolve in Leamington Spa

Our bestselling brand at the moment is Ronald Joyce. Its fit and flare dresses (£599) in neutral colours such as champagne and silver have sold out. John Charles is another favourite with customers and its dress and jacket set (£700) in gold has been very popular. We’ve just started stocking some dresses from Linea Raffaelli (£600), which have also been a hit with customers.

condici pizazz printed dress

condici pizazz printed dress

Trina Dodds, co-owner of Mary’s of Enfield in Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire

Dress and jacket sets from Condici are always in demand. The Pizazz printed silk dress with matching silk bolero (£835) has been a particular hit with customers. John Charles is another bestseller, particularly the brocade dress and jacket set in champagne (£1,100). Mid-length dresses from Ian Stuart have also been in demand, especially the black and white candy-stripe dress (£1,397). From mid-January to mid-June, business was really strong. July was a little quieter, but that’s absolutely normal for us. We’re looking forward to introducing Spanish brand Rosa Clará, which sells a mix of long eveningwear dresses and shorter occasion dresses, into the store.


Diane Holland, owner of Peep In in Chadderton, Oldham

Lately, we’re finding customers are looking for more affordable occasionwear. They don’t want to have to spend more than £700 on a dress any more, and are searching for something that they can wear again. Dresses from Izabella, Daisy May, and Ellaboo (from £175 to £200) all seem to be more to our customers’ tastes. Pinks, yellows and oranges have sold particularly well. We’re not looking for any new brands at the moment. In fact because of the current economic climate, we are cutting down our suppliers.


Men’s formalwear

Brook Travener Dollis

Brook Travener Dollis

Brook Travener Dollis

Steven Buttress, owner of Buttress’s in Thurso, Caithness, Scotland 

Rael Brook shirts (£20-£40) are our top sellers. Black is always very popular, but customers are also choosing teal, royal blue and lilac. Brook Taverner suits (£170) and jackets perform very well for us, too. Trade has been up this month compared with last year and the shop is definitely busier, which I think is due to an increase in tourists to our local area.








Nigel Broadbent, owner of Peter Charles in Lancaster

Our most popular brand right now is Hugo Boss, especially its navy and grey suits (£489-£550). Magee is another brand performing well. Shirts with a contrast trim (£55) from Eterna are subtly different from our normal range and have gone down well with customers. It’s a habit that we start our Sale later because we like to extend the season and keep the period we discount for short. Footfall has been down. The weather hasn’t helped and people choosing to shop online has also taken some of our trade. However, we’re expecting things to pick up when people start coming to the area for their summer holiday.

Circle of Gentlemen

Circle of Gentlemen

Circle of Gentlemen

Philip Buckley, manager at Denis Hope in Rochdale

Suits from Hugo Boss (£500), Roy Robson (£350-450) and Remus Uomo (£300) have been selling very well. We are seeing the majority of customers choosing styles in royal blue. Formal shirts from Circle of Gentleman (£129) have been another favourite, as have Barker shoes (£200). We have pushed our Sale back this year because the shop is busy and our customers tend be local. They don’t come in for the Sale and we like to do our own thing.

Tim Benns, sales manager at Jarrold in Norwich 

Suits from Gagliardi (from £260) have performed best for us. Gant, Barbour, Ted Baker and Hackett are always favourites with customers. Last month was quieter – it could be down to the post-Brexit blues or the level of competitiveness from the high street. The larger multiples in the area have moved their Sales forward, which has an impact on smaller independents like us because we’re forced to follow suit.







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