For rather a long time, women hoping to break through the glass ceiling and advance in the world of work ignored this simple advice. Many shunned overt femininity, believing that to compete with male counterparts they had to think, act and dress in a male fashion. Of course, ‘fashion’ might be too generous a term. The ‘power suits’ and muted colour palettes of female politicians and corporates often looked dowdy and tired. Fast-forward to the ‘Noughties’ and a much-needed rethink in how the intelligent multitasking woman can and should dress. Think Anna Wintour in a never-ending supply of Prada, Tamara Mellon in embellished Jimmy Choos, Michelle Obama in practical but colourful J.Crew and Jason Wu. The female role-models of today bid adieu to the ‘safe’ option and assert with bold, directional choices that you can be taken seriously even if your wardrobe is brimming with personality.
It was the modern conundrum of how to dress for yourself whilst appeasing a world of dress-codes that got Simone Van Trojen thinking. This week ItsRudeToStare was invited to the St Martin’s Lane Hotel to have a gander at the UK debut of her online fashion brand LaDress. In a beautifully decorated reception room, rails of the current collection lined the walls. Guests were invited to get tactile with the materials, and try on anything that caught their eye, so they could judge the excellent fit and material quality for themselves. Simone, a statuesque and articulate bombshell, was on hand to talk each guest through her collection personally.
Simone’s story goes that in 2006 she was a mother of two young children working in corporate law in The Netherlands. With no outfit to make the leap from boardroom to party available, Simone founded her own label and hasn’t looked back since. As with all good fairytales, it began with a damsel in distress and a hero. However, in this case, the hero was a dress. ‘The Diane’, a.simple button-front shirt dress, pulled in at the waist to accentuate the female form whilst setting comfort as a high priority. The dress made Simone’s idea of a dress for every occasion in her busy life a reality. Simone soon realised there was more to be done. And so she created an extensive collection of pencil skirts, shifts, tunics and fitted dresses. Sold only online at ladress.com, Simone prides herself on introducing a new item to the website almost every week. Each is worn by Simone first in order to garner response and ensure it stays true to her clothing mantra of ‘ageless, timeless, flattering, and easy to wear’.
With prices starting upwards of £125 and designs still a tad conservative, her customer demographic is more the ‘career woman’ than the young ‘start-up’ or ‘fashionista’. Nevertheless Simone is adamant that there really is something for everyone. With
Summer shifts in acid brights and jumpsuits in playful prints, there’s sure to be an item you can imagine throwing on as a fail-safe. Plus, with free returns and premium varieties of silk, wool jersey and cotton on offer, you know you’re investing in something that will last until you feel sophisticated enough to put it on.
Words: Shula Pannick