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Occasionwear & formalwear Indicator, March 14 2015

What’s selling now in the world of Occasionwear & formalwear?


Trina Dods Co-owner of Mary’s of Enfield in Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire

“We launched Ian Stuart (£924 to £1,500) for spring 15, which sits alongside more established collections such as John Charles.
Its blush-silk mesh and beaded bodice dresses (£875 to £925) and appliqué silver lace dresses (£765) are proving popular.”

Noreen Crompton Co-owner of Norma James in Corbridge, Northumberland

“The good weather has helped hugely, causing business to pick up. Condici (£700 to £1,000) is a favourite. We stock three of each dress to keep it special. It is especially popular for evening dresses and mother-of-the-bride dresses. Another popular brand is Almost Famous (£85 to £130). Our customers like its lace dresses.”

Melita Genziani Owner of Melita of Chobham, Surrey

“The industry is a lot more buoyant this year and spring 15 has got off to a great start. We are seeing a lot of interest in pastel dresses by Ian Stuart (£900). Slightly more tailored mother-of-the-bride dresses by Luis Civit (£550 to £750) are also in demand.”

Pauline Spiers Owner of Catwalk in Falkirk, Stirlingshire

“We’ve been busy since Christmas. As we’re known for occasionwear, in the new year customers started preparing for spring weddings. We’ve introduced Antonio D’ Errico (£600 to £800), as it sits nicely alongside John Charles pastel dresses (£470 to £798) and Condici crêpe dresses (£600 to £900).”

Adele McGuigan Co-owner of Posh in Newry, County Down

“Since February James Lakeland black sequin dresses (£134) have been selling well. Customers like the unstructured, simple design. We are also seeing demand for Luis Civit dresses with lace bodices and satin skirts (£160 to £595) and lovely A-line dresses (£220).”

Jane Kingsley Owner of Jane Young in Newark, Nottinghamshire

“Vilagallo’s beautiful silk garden dress (£100 to £180) and turquoise floral-print dress (£179) are selling well. We’re also seeing demand for Condici’s silk silver grey dresses with embroidery (£989) and royal blue printed dresses with sequin and lace detail (£769). Another key brand is John Charles, in particular pale blue and silver damask dresses (£745). We’re expecting lots of interest with Royal Ascot in June.”

Martha Fraser Owner of Martha V in Newmarket, Suffolk

“Luis Civit’s pleated satin dress (£450 to £750) is a bestseller. Cabotine dresses (£400 to £600) are selling well as the fit suits all body types. Customers also love Zelia’s fuchsia and cobalt blue dresses (£300 to £500).”


Rob Evison Manager of Giorgio Reggiani in Derby

“Our customers trust our judgement, so they don’t take long to warm up to new designers. We introduce brands every season, such as Fynch-Hatton shirts (£65), which we added for spring 15. Having said that, we also rely on our staple designers that we know customers are going to buy like Gibson London jackets (£200 to £300) and our Sand suits (£500).”

John Footitt Manager of Lester Bowden in Epsom, Surrey

“When buying formal menswear it’s all about coming in, feeling the materials, as well as getting a good service. We have also been offering an in-store tailoring service since 1898. We find that suits from Daks (£575 to £650) and our own label, Lester Bowden (£350 to £450), are popular, along with Seidensticker shirts (£50
to £60).”

Simon Hyslop Owner of Armstrongs of Worcester

“February hasn’t been a good month. We’ve had two months where our road was closed, so nobody could get to us. Despite the setbacks, trade is up on last year as we are still benefiting from our decision two years ago to drop womenswear and focus on menswear. Suits from Without Prejudice (£450) and Digel (£295) are selling strongly, as are Van Buck ties (£35).”

Nigel Broadbent Owner of Peter Charles in Lancaster

“Although I do love occasionwear for men, I don’t get into weddings. I don’t want to sell things to men who are just buying an outfit for the sake of it, for an occasion they have to attend. As it’s close to pay day, trade has been thriving this week, with Boss Black (£480), Magee (£335) and Roy Robson (£330) suits all strong sellers.”

Richard Town Owner of Raymond Town in Shipley, West Yorkshire

“Trading has been a bit poor this week because it’s that transitional period between seasons. However, compared with this time last year we are about level. This is down to the fact we try to provide a consistently good service. Without Prejudice (£475) and Benvenuto (£350) suits are our bestsellers this week.”

John Abrahams Owner of Warwicks of Windsor, Berkshire

“Canali suits (£1,100), Manuel Ritz jackets (£350) and Holland Esquire (£450) jackets are impressing at the moment, which is helping to put us up on last year.”

Edward Pritchard Owner of Pritchards in Hereford

“This month has been extremely good for sales, because a new shopping centre, called Old Market, has opened in the area. We thought this might hurt us but it’s brought more people to our local area. Our online business, which we’ve had for five years, has been performing well recently in the UK and in Europe, especiallyFrance, Denmark and Sweden. Jackets from Boss Black (£375 to £480) and Paul Smith (£550) are selling strongly.”

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