Say hello to Atterley

Tunic top from Atterley

Online retailer Atterley has rebranded and relaunched with a new collection of beautifully designed and affordable clothes

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By Frankie Graddon on

"Pockets! Everything has pockets and not just any old pockets – practical ones that you can actually fit stuff in. I love practical pockets."  

Katie Starmer-Smith, co-founder and buying director of Atterley, is talking me through a rail of clothes. Having been talked through many rails of clothing over the years, I have to admit that it’s rather easy to glaze over (shameful I know. Sorry, fashion). Not because the clothes aren’t nice – invariably they are – but because I know that a) I will never be able to afford them IRL and b) even if I could, they would only look nice on me if I grew three inches and lost two stone. But, last Thursday, as an incredibly dressed (shirt, midi skirt, animal-print sliders) Starmer-Smith shows me the brand spankers high-summer and autumn collections from newly relaunched Atterley Road, I did not glaze once. Because the stuff was good. Really good. Great. 

Having established Atterley in 2011 primarily as a shopping destination for niche contemporary labels, such as Filippa K, Day Birger et Mikkelsen and Ganni, Starmer-Smith decided to create an own-brand collection after noticing a gap in the market for thoughtfully designed, well-made and, most importantly, affordable clothing – "something more premium than Zara, but not as pricey as COS", as Starmer-Smith explains it.


The look is Scandi-cool: clean and easy shapes that can be thrown on with trainers or a pair of heels – cropped tailored trousers (great for work), longline tunic tops (great for weekends), silky upper-arm-covering dresses (great for evenings). There is truly something for every occasion that requires getting dressed for and what’s clear is that each piece has been thought through. "We pay huge attention to detail when we design – can you get out of the car in that skirt? Is the fabric thick enough on those white trousers so that you can’t see your underwear? Are the pockets deep enough on that dress? Things have to be practical."


Ah yes, the P word. Often dismissed as dowdy and dull, Starmer-Smith, along with creative director Becky Leeson (formerly Topshop and ASOS), have managed to balance beautiful design with wearability. Skirt lengths are just right, summer dresses cover your wobbly bits and everything looks great with a flat shoe. The term "designed by women, for women" is often overused and terribly corny but, when it rings true, is quite simply brilliant – who better to know how women want to look and feel in clothes then a fellow woman?

It is not only the care taken over how the final product looks that makes Atterley Road so refreshing but also the care in production. Many of the pieces are sourced and made in London, including their silk dresses and a lovely matching striped cotton top and trouser set from the summer collection. A wool and cashmere blend camel coat – one of the key pieces from the winter collection and availble later in the year – is made by 75-year-old Stanley in his factory in Turnpike Lane, North London. It retails at £180 and is one of the most expensive pieces on offer (the other is a gorgeous shearling coat at £220). 

What doesn’t get made in the UK is produced in India, with Starmer-Smith and her team making regular trips to the four factories to check on working conditions as well as source fabrics in local markets, which have inspired pieces such as the summery tile-print trousers and embroidered folksy blouse.  


The real gold dust is that the clothes are affordable, and not fashion-speak affordable – really affordable for real women like you and me. Prices start at £25 for lovely beach bags and matching scarfs, dresses are around the £45 mark and you can get a non-fusty trouser suit for just over £100. 

Tunic top from Atterley
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