Shop small: Somerville London

This outfit is a new favourite, featuring the first clothing (non-underwear) item I’ve purchased as new since October: a luxurious pure silk blouse from Somerville London that can be hand washed, is designed and made in England, with an ethical supply chain to back it up.

Yes, that’s all reflected in the price tag, but I’d saved up for 5 months, making the purchase feel like a reward, and bought in the Valentine’s Day sale so it came with a £50 discount off the full price of £220.

The top arrived in a cardboard box inside a plastic wrap, lined with recyclable tissue paper and topped with a handwritten note.

Before ordering, I’d contacted Somerville about sizing (I’m perfectly between sizes and wanted their advice), and was delighted when they said it was OK for me to order two and return the unwanted one.

Silk is one of my favourite fabrics because it’s lightweight, breathable, and biodegradable. I also love how it feels against my skin, but I avoid buying dry clean only silk because of the environmental impact dry cleaning chemicals can have.

Black is one of my go-to colours, and since I was looking for an investment piece to wear (and wear, and wear) for years to come, this was the only colour option for me. Also, I’d probably have a heart attack if I spilled a glass of wine or any food on a white silk blouse!

This blouse is bookmarked to replace a favourite cotton shirt bought in 2015 that’s just about got holes through the elbows from being worn so much, so it also feels like a practical purchase.

Before buying, I’d spent my 5 months of not shopping in fast fashion stores searching charity shops for a suitable replacement, but with nothing even close to right I was happy to go for this one once enough pennies were in the piggy bank. By the time I bought this shirt, that was the equivalent of saving £34 per month for this.

For this outfit I paired the blouse with thrifted Levi’s, Claudie Perlot Shoes bought on The Outnet, and my new prescription sunglasses from Cubitts.

In just a few weeks it’s already seen me through weekend exploring, Soho dinners, cocktail hour, days at the office and back again.

I always find it rewarding to work towards a goal, and after not shopping at fast fashion retailers for 5 months while I saved, I feel even more proud of “earning” this top and delighted that I don’t have a wardrobe of clothes worn a handful of times before falling out of love with them. Do you save up for investment pieces, too?

Much love, Katie xo

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