Embracing winter layers on an outing with Admire

 

Thomas's winter layering with Admire

There’s something downright exciting about a sudden chill in the air, making you reach for your favourite sweater, that marks the changing season. Fast forward a month, and dressing well for winter is imperative for those wanting to get out and make the most of frosty recreation. Outfits have to multitask in fluctuating temperatures, functioning for both your cold morning battle scraping an ice-licked windscreen and the subsequent stop at the warm haven of the local cafe. Tempting as it is to forgo fashion to focus on comfort, there is a way to dress cosily for winter and look fabulous doing it. A little visual inspiration goes a long way. Our latest photo shoot with Admire magazine showcases our warmest, comfiest pieces and how they can be worn this season to make you the snug, stylish cold-weather warrior you were meant to be.

In another stunning collaboration with photographer David James, and stylist – Thomas’s own Ingrid Binsted-Pickering, our fashion shoot follows local models Fenella Smith and Josh Thomas as they eke out every last bit of open-air adventure despite the arrival of chilly autumn breezes. Ingrid says the idea for the photo shoot emerged out of, “staff members talking about what they would do on the weekends with their kids, partners, and friends – walks out at the Wairau lagoons, out to Pelorus Bridge, Picton and Marfells beach.” She adds that there was interest in, “how to be comfy, warm and casual but still look cool,” during cooler months.

Armoured with chunky knits and lots of layers, we set our models to explore Marlborough’s natural playgrounds, using White’s Bay, Rarangi, and Monkey Bay as backdrops. Our couple appear dressed in this season’s favoured wardrobe colours, clearly inspired by the transitioning landscape that surrounds them. Hues of khaki and forest green, rich navy, deep copper orange, mustard yellow and ox-blood burgundy feel like the right choice for venturing through the countryside on these cold but striking days.

Ingrid’s key to dressing this stylishly clad couple is working with clever layers. Conquer the flux of temperatures our Marlborough winters offer by adding or removing layers throughout the day to maintain the right temperature as you dart from warm interiors to nippy walks outdoors. It needn’t be complicated: just start with a Mons Royale, Icebreaker or similar merino piece for a soft, thin, warm base that can be worn close to the skin on its own or under chunky knits. Next, add layers with the huge range of long sleeve tees, plaid shirts, coats, puffers and knits from Commoners, RPM and Huffer we see coming through our doors.

Cosy winter fashion with Thomas's and Admire

It’s important to mix texture and colour as you layer for warmth on top while maintaining basic staples – a good pair of jeans for instance, on bottom. Nudie or G-star RAW’s new Lank jean work perfectly – chic and casual on a weekend wander partnered with a Huffer vest, resurging this season with newly released colours for men and women, worn over a long sleeve tee. Your winter wardrobe should let you feel stylishly relaxed and comfortable in whatever task you find yourself embarking on, be it a winter hike, ski weekend, or cosy dinner out.

If you’d like to see how easy finding the right layers can be, stop in to see one of our friendly staff who will be happy to help or have a look online for some ideas. Even if you’re just looking to add to your winter wardrobe, we have new styles and colours this season that are sure to work with your trusty favourites and give them a new lease on life.

 

Photography: David James

Stylist: Ingrid Binsted-Pickering

Makeup Artist: Amber-Louise Connor

Hair Stylist: Lizzie Nott

Models: Fenella Smith & Josh Thomas

Feast Marlborough and the Saint Clair Half Marathon coincide for one lively weekend

 

Saint Clair Vineyard Half with Thomas's - MarlboroughNZ.com

One weekend in autumn draws a huge crowd to Marlborough, but not for the vineyard rows turning spectacular shades of crimson, amber and gold against clear blue skies. It’s the chance to participate in a wildly popular event that delivers an intimate way to sightsee Marlborough’s vineyards: the Saint Clair Vineyard Half Marathon. Thomas’s joins the excitement again as an official sponsor of the event on May 13th for another sell-out year. There are lots of ways Thomas’s will be participating in the weekend events, starting with extended store hours to include Sunday following the race.

Icebreaker at Thomas's

The Saint Clair half-marathon has been drawing entrants throughout New Zealand for over ten years. This year, guests travelling to Marlborough will be treated to an added bonus, the launch of the newest foodie festival in the country, Feast Marlborough. The inaugural event takes place the same weekend as the half-marathon, celebrating Marlborough as a producer of fresh, local delicacies and world-class wines in a series of mini-events.

Feast Marlborough with Thomas's

Pork bao buns with Thomas's for Feast Marlborough's street party

Friday kicks off Feast Marlborough’s three day celebration with a street food fair right outside the store, where our own Thomas & Sons Café will join other local food producers and restaurants to show off the region’s best fare with amazing street food in downtown Blenheim (3pm–7pm). Renowned chef Martin Bosley is leading the charge and there will be incredible seafood, Asian pork-belly bao buns (that’s us!), Mexican and other delicious street food on offer. Turn up, enjoy some late-night shopping – Thomas’s will be open until 7pm – enjoy a great meal, and get your weekend off on the right foot. Saturday night’s Feast Marlborough offering gives the half-marathon participants a chance to celebrate their efforts with several venues hosting unique dining options, and finally Sunday closes with a collaborative brunch. What better way to celebrate the mum in your life (Sunday is Mother’s Day after all!).

If you need a bit of inspiration for what to wear on the big day, check out our range online and make us your first stop for insider knowledge on the best fashion, from competition time to kicking up your heels. Mons Royale and Icebreaker offer great options for Marlborough’s fluctuating temperatures that will see you through a cold morning start to a heated finish on race day. We also carry the latest from KowTow, Karen Walker, Ted Baker, Ketz-ke and more, for an instant uplift after you peel off running gear and join the celebrations.

See you on Friday night for the street food party, Saturday at the finish line, or come and see us in store on Sunday for a relaxed shop, coffee and brunch.

Best of luck to all the competitors, whether it’s your first time or your tenth. You’ve got this!

Thomas’s opening hours for the Saint Clair Vineyard Half Marathon & Feast Marlborough weekend

Friday

  • Shop: 9.00am – 7.00pm
  • Café: 8.00am – 7.00pm

Saturday

  • Shop: 10.00am – 4.00pm
  • Café: 8.30am – 3.00pm

Sunday

  • Shop: 10.00am – 3.00pm
  • Café: 8.30am – 2.00pm

Photograph of Marlborough vines: MarlboroughNZ.com

Built to last – a new and an old favourite for Slow Fashion: Nudie Jeans & Kowtow

Nudie Jeans and Thomas's for Slow Fashion

Slow fashion for men

Swedish label Nudie Jeans has officially arrived at Thomas’s. This is a brand that aligns itself closely with the emerging slow-fashion movement, where quality takes precedence over quantity, timeless before trendy. Nudie Jeans joins some incredible labels that we have carried over the years who strive to make eco-friendly clothing that will stand the test of time through classic designs, organic materials, and superior craftsmanship.

Nudie Jeans at Thomas's

Nudie jeans is a label born from an absolute adoration of denim, from the way the fabric is made right down to the life and feel it takes on as it ages. If you’ve ever owned a favourite pair of jeans that’s lasted for years, known the way the soft fit feels like slipping into a second skin, then you understand the sort of experience Nudie Jeans aims to provide. But they know that experience doesn’t happen straight off the shelf; this is familiarity and maturity that can only happen over time. The mindset is that a good pair of jeans carries “history in every rip and repair, like pages in a diary.” Nudie jeans reflects you as an individual over time, meaning they need to be built to last.

Nudie Jeans from Sweden at Thomas's

Of course, Nudie jeans takes the task of building durable jeans to the highest level, using only organic cotton and insisting on production that is fair and transparent, a small step that hugely influences the quality of the final product. These are jeans that don’t care what the current trend is, instead focusing on how you feel and look in them. Once you’ve met your perfect pair, the company even offers repair kits to keep them a part of your wardrobe through the long haul. You will also see that they recycle and resell their older gear, yet another commitment to the eco-friendly nature of their label. It’s a mindset that feels good to wear.

A good pair of jeans carries “history in every rip and repair, like pages in a diary.”

Slow fashion for women

While we’re on the path of looking at labels that aim to make sustainable fashion, one of our absolute favourites is Kowtow. Kowtow slows the fashion world right down with their building block basics; timeless, multifunctional pieces like skirts that untangle to become shirts or simple dresses that layer under or over the louder collection pieces. Kowtow has been creating clothing that doesn’t just physically last, but escapes the need to be trendy with time-honoured classics you will wear over and over.

Kowtow at Thomas's

Kowtow evolved under the passionate guidance of Wellingtonian, Gosia Piatek. She found her niche in the fashion industry with a simple insistence that whatever she created, it had to be done ethically and sustainably. Kowtow has stuck to that, becoming certified Fairtrade and sustainable “from seed to garment”. By using only certified organic cotton and truly involving themselves in every stage of the line’s production, this is a label making waves on an international level for slow fashion.

There is beautiful structure even to Kowtow’s most basic pieces, sometimes voluminous with layered sleeves or generously wide pant legs, while at other times slouchy, flowy and relaxed.

There is beautiful structure even to Kowtow’s most basic pieces, sometimes voluminous with layered sleeves or generously wide pant legs, while at other times slouchy, flowy and relaxed. These are elements that make the line timeless; starting with simple, high-quality material and transforming it into a work of art through nothing more than shape and cut. Kowtow’s clothing is so incredibly multifunctional, dressing up or down with ease, that you find a million ways to wear one piece over the years. What’s amazing is how Kowtow manages to make every detail a signature of their philosophy embracing simplicity, durability and sustainability, from fabric and stitch to beautiful hemp buttons.

Kowtow comfort and style at Thomas's

You’ll never regret choosing classic pieces in high quality fabric with traditional cuts, which is why the slow fashion movement is gaining traction and guiding people away from fast fashion. So, if you’ve been wanting to slow your own world down a little and get off the treadmill, come in and see how these labels look and feel in person. It might just be the beginning of a journey with a piece you’ll be wearing for years to come.

Drumroll please … Sunday shopping at Thomas’s has arrived!

Thomas's is now open for Sunday tradingYou’ve been asking for it and we’re delighted to announce that it’s nearly here – Sunday opening at Thomas’s!

From Sunday 6 November, Thomas’s store and Thomas & Sons cafe will be open every Sunday for the summer period from 11.00am until 3.00pm – except Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

Use your Sundays to catch up on your shopping or enjoy a long lazy lunch with friends (or both!). Our popular salads change daily and are packed with the freshest of local produce. And have you tried Marcia’s carrot cake yet? You really should.

The hot weather has arrived so make sure you check out our beautiful new summer clothing ranges in store from Karen Walker to Kowtow to Kate Sylvester. And if you haven’t started your Christmas shopping yet, we have gorgeous new products arriving in Homewares. And we’ll even wrap your gifts for you while you enjoy your coffee.

Sunday buzz with Thomas's and Blenheim CBD

There’s going to be a real buzz in the Blenheim CBD on a Sunday this summer – a number of both independent and chain stores are now open on Sundays and if you want to nab a spot on the super comfortable, and popular, bean bags in the Forum you’ll have to be in quick!

As our opening day coincides with the wonderful Stihl Shop Garden Fete in Seymour Square, part of Garden Marlborough, you can come and put your feet up at Thomas & Sons afterwards for some glorious food and a great coffee.

Two powerhouse New Zealand designers now have their own areas in store

Karen Walker concept area at Thomas's Lonely concept area at Thomas'sWe’re delighted to have launched new concept areas recently in store with two powerhouse Kiwi brands – Karen Walker and Lonely.

Karen Walker – one of New Zealand’s biggest fashion exports – made the news over the weekend with her decision not to show at New York Fashion Week this season. She’s been a regular on the New York fashion circuit for a decade but has just announced that with the changes in social media marketing New York no longer works for her. You can read more about it here. Brave call for a brave designer and it is testament to her status and influence that this decision isn’t likely to hurt her sales.

The Karen Walker aesthetic captures a sense of eccentric elegance and her clothes and accessories are beloved around the world, including by personalities such as Alexa Chung, Lorde, Rihanna, Gigi Hadid and Florence Welch. Come in and experience the Karen Walker phenomenon with a new spring range that is all about colour and distinctive patterns.

Karen Walker concept store at Thomas's“Fostering a sense of positive body image and freedom of expression, Lonely eschews conventional marketing, bringing its collections to life via the Lonely Girls Project, a journal featuring women around the world from all walks of life captured wearing Lonely in their way.”

These are the words of Helene Morris, Lonely designer, who along with Steve Ferguson makes up the Auckland-based Lonely duo. The Lonely Girls Project focuses on real women – of many sizes and shapes – being photographed in their underwear. And it is due to this refreshing approach to marketing, as well as the beautiful designs, that Lonely is fast gaining cult status across the globe.

These guys are big on Instagram. Follow along to find out more about the Lonely Girls Project.

Lonely - new range at Thomas'sLonely celebrates women’s strength and individuality with beautiful, and comfortable, lingerie, swimwear and clothing. This latest spring summer 2016 range was inspired by the movie Ghost World, starring Thora Birch and Scarlett Johansson.

Lonely is appealing to a broad range of women here in Marlborough – all ages are snapping up the lingerie and enjoying the flexibility of the clothing which can be dressed up or down. We’ve had great feedback and there’s more lingerie and lounge wear arriving at the end of the month and then again in November, when the swimwear will make its appearance.

Come in store and see what all the fuss is about. Our wonderful staff in womenswear would love to help you discover the Karen Walker and Lonely collections for yourself.

Image credit: In-store photographs by Peter Burge

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Spring into new fashion – what to look out for this season

Trends for Spring 2016 at Thomas's

At Thomas’s we like to stay at the forefront of fashion so we can offer you a broad selection of the best designs available, right here in Marlborough. As well as keeping our eye firmly fixed on design trends, we are also committed to supporting beautifully, ethically and sustainably made clothing, created from enduring and high quality fabrics. We want to sell you great clothes that last – so you can feel good while you look good!

Hamish is our fashion buyer and he and Tim frequent the fashion show front rows to keep up to date. We put some questions to Hamish about what to look out for in spring trends this year.

Spring 2016 Trends – Q&A with Hamish:

Q.  What are the main trends we should be looking out for in spring 2016 fashion?

A.  Off the shoulder styles are going to be strong, especial in preppy blue and white fabrics. Anything Victorian – ruffles, puffy sleeves, high-collar necklines and loads of flowers. Also look for lightweight denims and bomber jackets.

Q.  What’s else is happening in denim – are flares still the thing? Anything new?

A.  All our international brands are showing high-waisted straight leg jeans in light coloured denim, think 1990s, look for holes and raw edge hems. There has been a move on from flares, look for cropped bootlegs such as these from Neuw below. There is still dark and black denim as well as the boyfriend fit.

Neuw flared pant from Thomas's

Q.  What’s up in colours for this coming season?

A. Orange is strong, as is khaki, and look for white, prints, dusty pinks and light-coloured denim.

Spring 2016 Trends with Thomas's of Marlborough

Q. Is there a great difference between new ideas in men’s and womenswear?

A.  Fashion is always lead by women’s trends and men’s styling is taken from there, like colour, fabric and styling.

Q. What would be your favourite NZ label in store this spring – for men and women? What great things are Kiwi designers doing?

A. That would have to be Kowtow for women and Huffer for the guys – you can see both in the photos below. Both labels fit our Kiwi lifestyle, Kowtow uses organic cotton which has an amazing feel, and is so comfortable to wear.  We stock Kate Sylvester, Zambesi, Nyne, Workshop and have just opened our Karen Walker and Lonely concept area which is very exciting. We are so proud to stock so many outstanding NZ labels. It is very important to know your customer and keep true to that, it keeps people coming back season after season and that is what makes NZ labels so popular.

Kiwi cool from Kowtow - Sunday Jumpsuit 2Huffer for men from Thomas's

Q.  Which is your favourite international label in store?

A.  Ted Baker, both men’s and women’s. Their attention to detail is incredible, they use the best fabrics and cuts.

Q.  What labels do you recommend for those who want to be at the forefront of new trends?

A.  Karen Walker (see below left), Zambesi or international labels Ksubi or Diesel.

Q.  How about for those of us who are a little bit slower to get on board or who prefer a more classic look?

A.  Caroline Sills, or Obi, both have beautiful knitwear, dresses and pants and of course both are from NZ.

Q.  There’s a real feel of comfort in the new Camilla and Marc spring range, as witnessed in the image above. Is the comfort factor spread across other labels too?

A.  Comfort is the key to all labels – you will see brands do beautiful dresses for evening wear and casual clothing for the weekends.

Q.  And what’s your take on the must-have accessory for the coming months?

A.  Hoop earrings, mules for shoes and a Yu Mei bag.

You heard it here from Hamish first. Check out the new spring range online or come in store to see it for yourself. We have fantastic friendly staff who’re highly skilled at helping choose the perfect clothes for you.

We’ll leave the last word on the topic to the inimitable Vivienne Westwood, who once said “Fashion is very important. It is life-enhancing and, like everything that gives pleasure, it is worth doing well.” Couldn’t have said it better ourselves!

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Marlborough Book Festival – time to cosy up with a good book

Thomas's supporting the Marlborough Book Festival

Who’s heading along to the Marlborough Book Festival this weekend? Aren’t we lucky to have such an incredible line-up of top New Zealand authors descending on the region – with Bill Manhire, Kate de Goldi, Charlotte Grimshaw, Witi Ihimaera and Rachael King just a few of them.

The book festival is a fantastic event for Marlborough and an important cultural festival which we’ve been very pleased to help promote since its inception in 2014. Keep an eye out for our new window display put together in conjunction with the book festival trust. If that doesn’t make you want to dip into a great book we don’t know what will!

We take great pride in our window displays here at Thomas’s and have a team of talented people who work on them. This book-lover’s dress (as seen in the photo above) was conceived by Ingrid and Hanna. The concept was based on a previous Christmas window we did, with the book pages replacing Christmas decorations. Hamish and Cathy laboured over this little dress one evening and the night-time effect was captured beautifully by Peter Burge’s photograph. The lovely old books used as props come from our extensive archives – it’s amazing what you accumulate after 103 years!

On that note, there’s a beautiful book in store that would make a good present for someone who loves cooking, Gjelina – Cooking from Venice, California – is filled with sumptuous recipes and images from the celebrated Los Angeles restaurant. And if you need cosy accessories for winter reading we have beautiful Le Forge lamps, Citta candles – how about Gingerbread Soy? – and a selection of gorgeous throws. For more on the featured products in this window, check out our website or come and see us in-store.

It’s great to see a few other shop windows around town getting behind this wonderful event. Watch out for our coming window displays with new stock arriving – in all departments – in August. We’ll be sharing some spring/summer trends with you in our next blog too.

Shop at Thomas's Marlborough for great reading and accessories