Basically, your go-to budget brand is steadily becoming more and more desirable rather than merely reliable. The stereotypical Irish tendency to respond to a compliment of an outfit with an embarrassed "Oh, it's just from Penneys" has become a more proud, "Oh, it's from Penneys!"
The removal of the "just" and addition of an exclamation is rather meaningful in the context.
And it's easy to see why people are proud of their purchases. At the SS16 press day I could have gladly run away with 90% of the collection (including the menswear and kids' clothes). It was all just so damn impressive and cute and a happy fashion crowd is easy to spot, there's lots of gasping, squeeing and instagramming - there was plenty of all of the above.
Four main trends or themes run through the SS16 collection; Camp California, a nod to 70s Americana; Road to Morocco, a whole host of embroidered, rich clothes inspired by Morocco; Laundered and Humble, a selection of pared back, casual clothes that are minimalist and super-easy to wear; and Sheer Romance, whimsical, bohemian pieces that will call out to your inner hippy.
The lookbook presents very retro clothes in a very current way. Different periods and reference blur together seamlessly in a stylised manner. In person, this reads as well. There's a melting pot of influences but they all come together to fit into any contemporary wardrobe. The Moroccan-inspired pieces do stand out with their rich fabrics, colours and ornamentation but are served up to us as delicious separates that are seriously wearable. The array of embroidered jackets, in particular, drew me right to them as I mentally added them to a shopping list. They're a great way to get a touch of a current trend while maintaining your own sense of style. I imagined throwing them on over a swimsuit or pairing them with an otherwise minimalist outfit for a touch of depth and interest.
Highlights for me have to be the selection of super-cute and wearable flats that make girls like me, who can't really do heels, rejoice. Laces, patterns, textures and cut-outs all serve to give you a serious amount of options so awesome that they'll upstage even the most killer heels. And, speaking of accessories, the sunglasses are unspeakably cool; think reflective lenses, updated aviators, cut-outs and fierce shapes. The bags, meanwhile, aren't half bad either. Lots of saddle bags and little cross-bodies in patterned or textures faux leathers, cool trims, tassels and one particular bag with a handle as cool as the body.
The kids' clothes are cute, easy and wearable in pretty pastels and light fabrics, as one might expect. The menswear, however, is super-cool with rad prints for tees and sweaters, updating them a little, and some slick outerwear. Think streamline, minimalist bombers and structured parkas that'll immediately take an outfit from just grand to chic.
I could go on and on but suffice it to say that I'm already over winter now (my favourite season to dress for) and am ready for SS16. Pieces beginning dropping in January so I don't even have to wait that long. Yes.
P.S. The catering and headquarters blew my mind. Penneys is so ridiculously cool.
(Thanks to Penneys for having me!)
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