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Occasionwear Indicator, December 8 2015

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


Julie Rainsord, buyer at Checkmate in Clitheroe, Lancashire

“The sales are good this season as our customers are looking for occasionwear for Christmas events. Sleeveless dresses in red, black and white are particularly in demand. Bodycon, sleeveless Joseph Ribkoff dresses (£225) are proving really popular because they’re so stylish and elegant. Leslie Monte-Carlo dresses in with black and grey patterned sleeves are also in demand (£135-£150). On December 12 we’re celebrating our 20th anniversary with a one-day 20% discount in-store on dresses, skirts and blouses.”

Charles Simons, owner of Donna in Cockfosters, London

“In the run-up to Christmas we’re selling lots more evening wear. Nicole Bakti evening dresses are very popular, especially the black lace embellished dresses with wonderful back details in long (£700) or short (£500) versions. For curvy ladies Dynasty is the best option, available in sizes 14 to 20. The label’s rouge embellished short dress (£269) and gold embellished lace long dress (£529) are selling really well. Body Frock dresses are great because they feature a sculpting slip made from a bi-stretch elastane fabric, designed to hug the body and smooth the silhouette. Our customers are loving Body Frock’s The Holly lace dress in emerald and cream (£225) and The Tara grey and leather trim dress (£195). For the mother-of-the-bride customer, we’re seeing a lot of demand for Tahari dress and jacket sets (£239) in a silver jacquard print with a diamond trim. We plan to go on Sale from January 3 until the end of the month, offering 60%  off selected lines.”

Alice Cox, owner of Coco Fashion in Benfleet, Essex

Condici’s pale blue dress and jacket set (£650) is absolutely one of customers’ favourite pieces. They love Joseph Ribkoff (£299) short black cocktail dresses with fine long sleeves and a pretty neckline with black trimming, great for a special occasion. Bright blue long lace dresses from Jora Collection (£275) are also in demand. Our core customers are ladies aged 40 to 60 years old looking for styles that fit their bodies perfectly in rich materials, and fast fashion just can’t compete. We won’t be running any Sales in January as it’s the beginning of the new season and we’ll be introducing the new ranges from Condici, Ronald Joyce and Cabotine.”

Marilyn Evans, owner of Design Wardrobe in Kings Langley, Hertfordshire

“Sales are quite slow at the moment as customers are thinking twice about buying a dress and often think they can get a better price online. That said, Bianca dresses (£100) and Taifun (£130) black embellished dresses are perfect for Christmas events. We will go on Sale on December 28 until the end of January, offering 30% off a selection of dresses and blouses.”

Shawna Downey, owner of Fosters in Derry

Joseph Ribkoff’s black and white cocktail dress (£200) is a great option for a special event, while Libra grey and black occasion dresses (£170) are also very popular. Mascara champagne lace dress and bolero jacket sets (£220) are selling really well. We carry this dress in sizes 14 to 18. Sales are better than last year, I think because customers are in the mood to prepare for Christmas. We’re planning to go on Sale on December 20 until the end of January, offering 30% off whatever dresses are left in-store after Christmas.”

Heather Gant, owner of Gallivant Boutique in Thame, Oxfordshire

“Sales are really good at the moment, especially of Marc Cain (£289) coral sweetheart neckline fitted dresses, which are so well fitting and elegant. Luisa Cerano (£289) lovely warm grey knitted dresses with a lace metallic overlay are selling really well, as are silk printed Hale Bob (£249) dresses. We never do Christmas Sales, as we prefer to wait for January for the classic winter sale. We will start discounting autumn 15 stock on January 1 until the end of the month.”

Irené Whittle, owner of Irené in Broadstone, Dorset

“Ladies start coming in three to six months in advance before the wedding in search of their mother-of-the-bride dresses. They want to feel in control, prepared and confident. Condici’s (£900) gold silk dresses are classy and opulent, suiting all sorts of different skin tones. John Charles dresses are really popular with a slightly younger customer of say 20 to 50 years old. The lace sleeveless blush pink dress (£800) is very flattering. Luis Civit’s (£600) ivory satin dress is also very stylish. This Spanish label has a very particular, unusual style that suits our customers as they love to try new things.”


Alfie Hope, manager of Capital Collection in Grimsby, Lincolnshire

Vivienne Westwood white, black, navy and pink shirts (£200) fit perfectly with the brand’s wool rich suits (£750) in navy, grey and black colours. Another popular brand is Ted Baker (£270), and our customers are loving navy wool tweed suits. We are not interested in starting Sales as the shop is so busy but, if we do discount in January, it will probably only be on leftover autumn 15 stock.”

Tim Wolstenholme, partner at Andrew Watson Menswear in Belfast

“Compared with last year, a greater number of customers are interested in buying outfits for Christmas parties. Eduard Dressler wool suits (£700) are selling well, especially in navy and grey. Even just the Eduard Dressler jackets (£475) in demand, particularly tweed styles in earthy tones of green and brown. Another strong seller is Hackett’s deep green or blue jacket (£550). Our Sales will start on December 27 until the end of January, starting with 25% off what is left of the autumn 15 collections, extending to a further with 50% off. The Sale will include jackets, jeans, trousers and belts, as well as shoes from Oliver Sweeney and Eton shirts. For spring 16 we are planning to introduce Hartford’s casual wear, including jackets, jerseys, jeans and trousers.”

Nicolas Lockheart, owner of Country House Menswear in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire

“Tailored suits are in demand, as everybody gets ready for the Christmas festivities. Customers are loving Corneliani tailored suits (£1,000-£1,200) in navy blue or charcoal grey. Circle of Gentlemen (£400) tailored wool jackets are very popular. They offer a really modern look, even though they come in quite classic styles, because the coloured buttons offer something a bit different. Carl Gross navy suits (£500) are also proving popular, as the two button style is really elegant and classic. Our Sale will start on December 28, with 50% off everything and is likely to run until early February, including suits and jackets.”

Richard Madison, manager of Elliotts, Lymington, Hampshire

One Like No Other shirts (£130) are perfect for special occasions. These shirts are really individual, statement pieces with floral or patterned necklines and cuffs. Tommy Hilfiger tweed grey jackets (£325) are great for Christmas events. Circle of Gentlemen white cotton shirts (£129) with patterned collars and cuffs are also selling well. Our  Christmas promotion is offering selected clients £15 off every time they spend £100. For spring 16 we are introducing collections from La Martina and Ted Baker.”

Nick Fryer, owner of Gun Hill Clothing Company in Saffron Walden, Essex

Ralph Lauren navy blue shirts (£90) are popular as they complement any suit. Gant twill trousers (£85-£90) are selling well, especially in black and blue. We have a huge range of our own brand Gun Hill cotton and wool blend jackets (£70) in black and blue. On December 19 we’re doing a ”get three and pay for two promotion” on belts, jackets, socks and ties, which will run until December 25. Our classic January Sale will start on December 28 until the end of January, offering discounts of 60%.”

Noleen Howard, manager of Ken Young in Coleraine, Northern Ireland

Hugo Boss is definitely one of our bestsellers from their black tailored suits to the blue slim-fit styles (£450-£500). We stock Hugo Boss shirts to complete look (£65-£75). Armani suits in classic grey are also in demand (£750-£800), as are Strellson suits (£390) with smart, tailored trousers and shorter-cut jackets that appeal to a young customer. Our January Sale will kick off on New Year’s Day with discounts of 20%, rising to 50% by the start of February.”

Richard Town, owner of Raymond Town Menswear in Saltaire, West Yorkshire

“I would say that anything goes this Christmas – there isn’t a set trend and shirts tend to do really well because they make great presents. Italian shirt brand Caliban (£80-£100) offers formal shirts in a range of patterns. For a young and contemporary look, Without Prejudice’s blue slim-fit suits are popular (£450-£500). We sell traditional, looser-fit suits from Benvenuto, which are great for occasions, especially their pure wool mix and match suits (£350).”

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