I first spotted the Ella by Viyella range in John Lewis at Easter. I recall being there with the children (no doubt buying new school shoes and bribing them with a "lunch in a box" for good behaviour).
I headed towards the new range, which I had never heard of before, and was suitably impressed - that was until I realised that it was linked to Viyella when I thought to myself "No, it can't be. Can it? It's way too trendy." And then we left, with me feeling slightly uncomfortable - largely at how shallow I was.
Roll on a few months and I was approached by Ella at Viyella (or rather Sam from Ella at Viyella) to ask me whether I would like to take a closer look at the range and whether I would like to choose something to try. When I took a look at the range, this is what I saw....
It was the Dandelion Print Blouse which I chose to try as I liked the collar and the detailing across the shoulders. I also think that the right blouse can be a sophisticated alternative to a T-shirt or top, in the same way that a blazer can be a more sophisticated alternative to a cardi.
Here is the blouse on an evening out in Wales. I can vouch for the fact that it doesn't crease at all. Despite having been sent via the post, having been wrapped up in its box for several weeks and then having travelled to Wales, it was as good as new when I hung it up at the other end.
The other thing that I liked about it was how warm it was. Unlike some blouses that are really flimsy, it has a real weight about it. It's not silk but for me that's a bonus!
Here I wore the blouse with wide leg jeans and a leopard print belt and I am sure that I could style it with many other things from navy cropped trousers to my navy lace pencil skirt. It would be nice to pick up the gold in the print elsewhere in my outfit which I shall do in the future - this was just a trial run.
Apologies for the quality of the photos - although I must admit that I quite like the slightly soft lighting look - it's far more flattering!
It's easier to see the pretty dandelion print on this picture.
There are other great pieces in the collection including a hacking jacket, a leather pencil skirt, a bordeaux leather jacket, a lace dress and a cream silk blouse.
So there are some fantastic wardrobe staples and some cracking savings to be had in the sale with skinny jeans down to £24, which is a saving of £56. There is also a black silk shirt reduced by over £104 to £44.
I will definitely be keeping an eye on the collection over the next few seasons. Now I have got my head around it, I like the traditional feel of the brand with the addition of a modern twist. I suppose it's a little like M&S bringing out their Limited Collection range, which clearly I have got my head around! I think in particular it will appeal to those who are less into fast moving disposable fashion but rather those who, like my friend Sal, will buy two or three fab pieces each season because of the quality, fit and fabric.
I should say that although I didn't expect to, I was allowed to keep the blouse. It was actually quite a relief when several weeks after having received it I emailed Sam to apologise for not having returned it, at which point he said that was OK, I could keep it. I love it when one of those feelings of guilt gets magically lifted by someone else!