Inevitably I have discovered Cos The cool, trendy cousin of H + M which is currently expanding throughout the UK with branches in Birmingham, Brighton, Manchester and Glasgow as well as the usual parts of London.
The layout of this shop is aspirational, lots of blonde wood and single items displayed on plinths without anything so vulgar as a mannequin on display. The clothes themselves are for the most part gorgeous with lots of greys, navys and cream tones enlightened by the occasional streak of vermillion or ochre.
Clothes for women, as far as I was concerned. fell into two distinct types: structured and non-structured. The structured were absolutely no use to me at all although some of the dresses I would describe as the end result of Mad Men's (obligatory fashion mention) Joan Holloway going into a convent run by Ann Demeulemeester; they were very pretty but severe.
The unstructured stuff however is very curve forgiving and there is a good range of choice here to put together a number of different looks by spending no more than a couple of hundred quid. I bought a green jersey dress for £55 which is very drapey and falls into forgiving folds to the knees. There is plenty of room for movement and I think this style would work on someone even a couple of dress sizes bigger than me, maybe up to a UK 24/26.
Unfortunately Cos's website maddeningly concentrates on the structured stuff which means I can't post images of the many knits and jersey pieces I thought would go well together. That's just one of the many irritiations of the brand. Sizing seems to be a big secret with nary a mention of what range they stock on the website or in store. There are a couple of notices dotted in the shop telling you to ask the staff if you need any help, however you'd have to find a member of staff first in order to do so and I failed to do so even after three circuits around.
Also bizarrely the H & M connection is echoed in the clothes being crammed too close together on the rails to browse through which seems especially odd given its minimalist vibe.
However Cos is a welcone addition to the range available on the high street especially if you are a fan of designers like Jil Sander, Comme des Garcons, or the aforementioned Ms Demeulemeester and her Belgian ilk.