Look beyond your high-street faves to these fabulous sites for female fashion.

Contrary, perhaps, to popular belief, the UK’s rag trade is roaring. It is estimated that British women spent £29.4 billion on clothes last year. Research also suggests that shoppers are keener than ever before on buying fashion that will last.

We are all familiar enough with the internet to know that every label worth its salt has a website. But how do you know which are the really good ones?

We are not talking about your beautiful behemoths like Net A Porter and Matches, or the websites of your favourite high-street stores, we are talking about the crafty little gems of which you might not have heard.

Here, we present our top 10 women’s fashion sites that are as functional and elegant as the clothes they sell.

OLIVE


Family-owned, British, contemporary and ethically aware, Olive is pretty much the dream. You will float around in extreme comfort in any one of their pretty cotton dresses and blouses. We are particularly taken with their tortoiseshell sunglasses, which are the perfect example of the brand’s simple, understated ethos.

ME + EM


A busy, working, wife and mother, Clare Hornby founded ME + EM in 2009 to make flattering, functional and fashionable pieces that stand the test of time. She offers designer-quality basics to busy women. Fabrics are crease-free, comfortable and durable. These appealing styles are so carefully thought through that they seem, miraculously, to suit all ages.

SEZANE


The best of this site’s pieces are so popular that they sell out fast – you need to have your wits about you when shopping Sezane’s four collections each year. Your reward will be lovely renditions of wearable Parisian chic. What began as France’s first online-only fashion brand now has stores in London, New York and Paris, which are as invitingly designed as the website.

THREE GRACES LONDON


This site is as pretty and glossy as a fashion magazine. Delivering the ultimate warm-weather wardrobe, Three Graces offers luxurious fabrics, relaxed shapes and a general vibe of serenity. Their swimsuits and summer dresses are to-die-for. The nighties, meanwhile, look like those worn by Keira Knightley in her most beautiful period dramas. Founder Catherine Johnson says: “I have collected vintage nightwear and loungewear for many years and I understand the beauty of these garments is to transport the wearer to a different place.

“When I put these pieces on, I see how closely connected fashion and escapism are. I wanted to set up a brand that created garments which allow women to feel this way – specially in their down time.”

ALEX EAGLE


Creative director Alex Eagle is one of the great tastemakers of our time. Unfortunately for all but a very lucky few, the stuff on her endlessly stylish website does not come cheap. Every item is truly beautiful, though, and it is all designed to outlast fleeting trends. Of her label she says: “The aim is to simplify your life and make dressing in the morning easy. I spent time working out which components I lived in until they were threadbare, as well as those pieces that lived in my imagination because I couldn’t find them anywhere.”

TROUVA


Set up in 2015, Trouva exists to “merge the world of online and offline and give smaller businesses the opportunity to compete with bigger businesses”. The site is a one-stop-shop of handpicked pieces from the hottest independent labels. Showcasing brands such as Ganni, Veja and Lolly’s Laundry, it is like a collection of the boutiques that you might stumble across while off the beaten track.

KITRI


A group of fresh, young creatives launched this label to bring us weekly drops of well-made wardrobe staples that are produced in limited quantities and will not break the bank. Think cherry motifs, polka dots and stylish slogan tees. Vogue describes Kitri as “sparkling with under-the-radar zing”.

CEFINN


Founded by Samantha Cameron in 2017, Cefinn is a high-end label selling elegant pieces for the multi-tasking urban woman. Cameron says: “As a creative director at Smythson and during my life at Number 10, I always found it hard to source contemporary, trend-led pieces that weren’t corporate or dull. I wanted beautiful clothes that made me feel confident, cool and appropriate but, given my hectic life as a working mother of four, didn’t require endless dry cleaning and could carry me from the school gate to the office to an evening event.” Voila.

BODAS


This one is niche, because it is a purveyor specifically of underwear, nightwear and swimwear. But, my oh my, are these specimens perfect. You won’t be overwhelmed by too much choice – and you will find the prettiest versions of what you are looking for. Bodas is all about beautiful, everyday basics in a peaceful, muted palette. They say: “We started Bodas in London in 2001 to make the kind of chic, comfortable, everyday underwear we wanted and couldn’t find…

“We continue to learn and discover. We love to introduce new ideas, innovative technologies, colours and shapes. We have [now] developed ranges of dreamy sleepwear and swimwear, always keeping in mind our ethos of quality, comfort and style.”

ANINE BING


New arrivals are available every Tuesday at this stunning site, which sells the building blocks of the coolest modern wardrobe around. A former model and singer, Bing was born in Denmark, grew up in Sweden and is now based in LA. She says: “I want to create clothes that are easy to wear. The pieces should work just as good for everyday use as for a night out. To me, the quality, together with the fit, are the two most important factors in a good piece of clothing, so that’s what I focus on in the design.” Look out for excellent denim, covetable ankle boots and a great line in flattering t-shirts.

By Becky Ladenburg
May 2019

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