Sezane, is it worth the hype?

This is a question I get asked almost daily on Instagram. When Parisian brand Sezane dropped in the UK, so did the sanities of many a Francophile. When Morgane Sezalory (even if you don’t know how she is, when I say “typical, lithe, cute French girl” the person you’ve got in your head is her) launched the brand in France, with an aim to create “thrift-store-like-staples” in 2016, I very much doubt she’d thought beyond clothing her own circle of friends. Because she’s Parisian. 

 Fast forward to 2018, a shed ton of Facebook marketing (umph) and all the cool-club wearing it on Instagram and we all would give up Idris’ mobile number to get hold of it all…

I can say this with experience of working for a French brand; Parisian women know their sh*t. The brand I worked for barely had a returns policy when it launched globally because women in France never return anything, because they never order anything they don’t know that they need and will fit. They know their inside leg, ankle and hip measurements as well as they know their mobile numbers. They have brands they stick to, and will only switch if someone they know and love is involved (cue, Sezalory).

Now, when it arrived in the UK (or more to the point, the French were prepared to share it) it was marketed as “affordable” which is a relative description. You’ve got to remember that the majority of French brands are very expensive. For example, can anyone understand why BA&SH is so expensive? Does anyone who wasn’t gifted it actually wear it? Why are Sandro, Zadig, etc so expensive? Because the French don’t mind spending money if it makes them look good. They have a word, and I cannot for the life of me remember it (but someone needs to make a brand with it) for fashion brands that are their lifeblood. It’s not like us, who love Topshop and Zara. No, for them it’s Chanel, Louboutin, YSL – and not just for the handbags, no, they’ll pop in to one of these guys and buy a T shirt nonchalantly when they could have gone to Uniqlo next door…

This is potentially why Sezane has been such a rip roaring success for the global market, because compared to other French brands it’s begun to recognise the needs of the wider consumer (which trust me, having worked for a one, is like pulling teeth). Whilst it’s by no means a bargain, it’s good value for the quality. I recently bought one of their Eric Bompard knits here which was 95 euros. When I compare it to a couple of much more expensive (gifted) items from brands like Madeleine Thompson and Chinti and Parker which retail at £300+, I have to say Sezane comes out on top. This dress is really good quality. In comparison I bought a second hand dress from Sandro in a similar cut three years ago (second hand it was still more expensive than this) and when I looked up the fabric, the Sezane one is a considerably better quality – yet also doesn’t need to be dry cleaned, whereas the Sandro one does… #gofigure.

As someone who worked in eCommerce I really admire the concept. They do short runs of limited edition product (ie: don’t make many of anything – Ganni coined this strategy for the Scandis) which has created a fan-frenzy. It means that if something who likes Sezane wants something, they need to hurry up and buy it. Hell, I’ve fallen hook, line and sinker for those Sunday newsletters… Essentially if you want something you need to buy it there and then. Their London store doesn’t really like holding stuff for customers, because name me a French person who likes doing an English person a favour… They do, oddly, hassle free returns though to be fair to them…

But what arrives is clothing I’m happy to pay the price for. The sizing is pretty standard, if you have broader legs or a larger bust you’ll need to go up a size (have you ever seen a Parisian with either of those? No). So a size 38 is a 10, and their “small” is probably an 8-10. They make clothes that work for them, not for you). As I said before the quality is up there with much more expensive brands and Damas has a knack for producing the items of clothing you didn’t know you needed to pull your whole wardrobe together. 

 My Favourites

 Right so what are my personal favourites? In summer, I love their dresses. The polka dot midi dress is a staple for them, here, and one you can’t really go wrong with. I just bought a silk skirt from them because it looked so brilliant I am happily holding it back for next year if I have to (find it hereeven though it's a dark enough colour to wear with boots and a jumper for autumn. 

This jumpsuit is something you just know will become your "this old thing?" if you know what I mean... It's never going to go out of date, it's black so appropriate for 99.9% of times you want to wear it... Winner.

I challenge you look at their blouses and not swoon, you can find them all here. I'd also quite like the Parisian flat they shot these photos in, but I guess that's part of the idea... In particular, this "Cathy" blouse is a gorgeously simple upgrade on a plain, white top which also comes in a really fine blue and white stripe here which would look awesome with a suit... As a third option, you can hardly say no to a Breton shirt made my actual Parisians can you? (No). See here.

Last but not least, their knitwear really is quite special, but in that sort of “not showy, just clearly shows you thought about your purchase” way. As well as the grey knit mentioned above, I have ordered the navy version of this jumper which is on route as you read. Very excited...

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