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Alex Brougham in our first #PowerfullyPetite interview with founder Jennifer

Posted on December 04 2020

 

Woman standing in petite navy sweater dress

Jennifer Anne Petite has been around now for some three and a half years. I have had it in mind for some time to start a series featuring some of our wonderful stylish and talented customers. We will show them wearing Jennifer Anne Petite clothes (of course 🙂 )  and hear from them as they share their thoughts on work, leisure and style. 

I am delighted to introduce you to Alex Brougham who starts off our #PowerfullyPetite Series. After working in the City for 25 years involving much travelling to the US, Alex has been a trustee and chair of a number of charities including the Wimbledon International Music Festival. For the last 4 years she has been chair (and a member) of Vasari Singers one of the leading chamber choirs in the UK.  I am sure you will enjoy seeing the pictures of Alex and reading her interview.

Petite woman wearing silk shirtAlex at her home wearing: Rowling Black and Orange Print Long Sleeved Silk Shirt + Devon Cuff Trousers in black

TELL ME ABOUT YOUR CAREER AND HOW THE STYLE CHALLENGES CHANGED OVER TIME

I worked as a chartered accountant in the City for 25 years, mostly in the Finance function of two different global banks. During that time, I saw a major shift in women’s business attire. When I started it would have been highly unusual for a woman to wear anything other than a skirt suit and court shoes; by the time I left the industry, it was possible to wear jeans and boots in the office on a Friday.

In between saw women’s business attire embrace the trouser suit, the shift dress, trousers and tops and, only towards the end of my City career, knee high boots. Business attire also changed quite significantly with the concept of dress down Fridays and an increasingly relaxed dress code at other times of the week too.

I found that things gradually reverted back towards more formal attire, particularly for the higher level governance meetings I was increasingly participating in - both within and more often outside the banks in external industry forums. In a male dominated environment, this presented an interesting opportunity, as I soon realised that wearing a dark trouser suit was not the way to stand out and that what I lacked in the height department (at 5' 2") I could make up for in part by wearing more striking or colourful outfits.

Buying such clothes though continued to be a challenge for me and a lot of my business attire from my latter years in the City was purchased on my frequent trips to New York which had much better choice for the petite woman. How different things would have been for me if Jennifer Anne had been around then!

Petite Woman Sitting

Alex at home in her sitting room wearing the Pym Sweater and the Devon CuffTrousers both in black.

HAS YOUR STYLE CHANGED SINCE YOU LEFT THE CITY?

Since I stopped working in City finance, my lifestyle has been so very different that it is now a rare occurrence for me to put on a dress. Yet, with the fantastic collection Jennifer Anne has, I would love to have more excuses to do so and I am absolutely delighted with my navy blue Winterson Dress.

As well as the quality of Jennifer Anne clothing and the satisfaction of buying something designed and made in the UK, all the items I have are easy to wash, easy to pack and easy to wear.  They help you feel confident and comfortable, whether hosting an event, meeting friends, or running a charity trustee meeting.

WHY WAS THIS YEAR DUE TO BE SUCH A SPECIAL YEAR FOR VASARI SINGERS

 This year we are celebrating the 40th year for the choir, with many events arranged. Sadly all of these had to be cancelled but fortunately we had just recorded a CD for our anniversary - "Heaven full of Stars". There are some gorgeous pieces of music on the CD - it would make a lovely Christmas present! [you can order it from the choir's website]. 

We had a virtual video launch for the CD in November with extracts from the recordings and behind the scenes interviews including ones with composers commissioned by the choir. Our recording launch video has at least been something we have been able to celebrate with and enables us to share music we love with so many others.  As chair of the choir it has certainly been a challenging time, keeping the choir going by meeting virtually so that when we can get back to singing again in person, it will feel less as if we have been apart for so long.

 [see Alex from 41.37 on the video]

I was delighted to wear my beautiful Proserpina Top for appearing on the video.  It is my go to item of clothing whenever I want to be thinking about something other than just what I am wearing and whether it looks OK [you can see how good Alex looks in it - click on the link above or visit the Vasari Singers website which will give you the option of watching the video on Facebook or YouTube]. I wore it to our wedding rehearsal last year and it washes and dries so easily I was also able to take it with me on honeymoon. 

HOW HAVE YOU BEEN SPENDING YOUR SPARE TIME THIS YEAR?

Two things I have very much enjoyed having the opportunity to do more of this year has been walking with friends locally and cooking at home for my husband and me. Jennifer Anne has the perfect clothing, so that even in these strange times you can still feel comfortable with what you are wearing. My black Pym sweater frequently makes an appearance on my walks and at home I virtually live in my comfy grey Tyne jacket and black Devon trousers.

My other passion is water skiing. It has been particularly rewarding this year to be able to get out on the lake and practice a sport perfect for social distancing!

How wonderful it will be though when life gets back to something more normal and I will be able to find even more excuses to expand my Jennifer Anne wardrobe, but in the meantime, I think the forthcoming holiday season is excuse enough to treat myself to something more! 

Petite woman standing in kitchen   

Alex at home in her gorgeous kitchen wearing the Tyne Funnel Neck Jacket in grey + the Devon Cuff Trousers in black

ALEX WOULD YOU MIND IF WE END THE INTERVIEW BY SHOWING A PICTURE OF YOU AT YOUR WEDDING LAST YEAR  (even if you were not wearing a Jennifer Anne Dress (as we have not (yet!) moved into the wedding dress market...)

Not at all, it was a truly wonderful and magical day. I was so lucky to have both Vasari Singers and my church choir at St Mary's in Wimbledon Village singing at our Wedding.

 Wedding picture petite bride

 

Thank you Alex so much for being my first interviewee in our new #PowerfullyPetite Series

Jennifer

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