Sponsored ads on social media: annoying at best, offensive at worst (the SmoothSkin ads interrupting my feed deserve a special mention re the latter). Yet very occasionally Instagram or Facebook flashes up some click bait that turns out to be relevant content (who’d have thought that this marketing thing actually works!) Case in point: Olive, a tiny clothing label in Cheltenham. Olive have a consistent way of styling their posts where they shoot ridiculously cute outfits in perfectly organised flatlays (you’ll no doubt recognise them right away). While this is undeniably strong branding, it’s also slightly irritating that they don’t have any pics of actual people wearing the clothes. I trawled the hashtag for hours trying to find blogger pics, so to save you the time I took one for the team and grabbed their pleated string-tie dress in the sale…
Here’s the thing: it’s really, really nice. The fabric is essentially a tailored linen sack, but it weirdly works. Annoyingly this particular dress is already sold out (seems I wasn’t the only fan) but they have a ton of similar styles, some of which I’ve pulled out below.
Olive have been around for six years and work with a network of independent designers to create a signature ‘rustic’ heritage style that just manages to avoid being too cutesy. This might be down to contemporary details like the concertina sleeves above, a pleated skirt, a pocket (dresses with pockets always score points), a nineties-style button-down front… The designs nod to current trends with slip dresses aplenty, off-the-shoulder tops and ditsy florals but they also have a simplicity that makes them timeless buys. These are outfits you’d wear to frolic in the English countryside, to sip Pimms at garden party, or to kick back with a cup of cocoa and a cat by the fireside. There’s not a body-con piece in sight, which suits me down to a t. Olive are also an ethically conscious brand, wholly owned, funded and managed by their founders who are dedicated to manufacturing their garments with suppliers who are economic equals. Their full personal statement about ethical responsibility is totally admirable.
I was actually in Cheltenham on a girly weekend before I found out about this brand so I’m gutted I missed out on some in-store browsing (too slow, Olive, too slow!) Nonetheless I’ll definitely be ordering online again; probably one of the little lovelies below.
Did I mention that they do a delicious line in ice cream suede shoes too?
Talking of shoes, the Topshop loafers in my pics haven’t left my feet for the past six weeks. They weirdly go with everything (leopard is the new black, maybe) and could actually pass for Gucci at a squint. There are a few pairs left in a UK Size 7 here but otherwise there are similar pairs below. You won’t regret it!