Posted in Events, Personal life, Writing

A Grand Summer Outfit

A post about “market dressing”, inspired by the fashion pages of The Times and the new Sherston Market

(This piece first appeared as a column in the August 2023 issue of the Hawkesbury Parish News.)

Much as I love reading The Times’ lifestyle supplement, I find its fashion features hard to take.

Some of the clothes in my wardrobe are older than my grown-up daughter, and many came from supermarkets or jumble sales. I flinch when the newspaper’s fashion editors quote high three-figure price tags for a single garment or accessory. Reading their advice, I feel like a Martian peering down at Planet Earth, perplexed by its inhabitants’ behaviour.

Debbie and Laura at TIm's house
The company that made it, Racing Green, may have gone out of business in 2013, but 20 years after this photo was taken, this grey hoodie from Racing Green is still going strong, although it’s now in my daughter’s wardrobe. I still wear those earrings, a present from my dear friend Jane.


So it was with surprise and delight that last week I came across a fashion feature that at first glance seemed made-to-measure for me.

“Market dressing”, according to fashion editor Harriet Walker, is going to be “one of summer’s big trends”.

“Market dressing” means donning the kind of outfit you might wear to go shopping in your local market – the outdoor, traditional kind, rather than a supermarket like Tesco. You just slip on a summer frock, grab a wicker basket, and amble down to your nearest market square, whether on holiday abroad or at home here in the Cotswolds.

So far, so good. Addicted to wicker baskets, I have them in all shapes and sizes. In my wardrobe are plenty of summer frocks.

photo of row of wicker baskets
Just a few of my many baskets of all shapes and sizes

But at this point, my standards part company with Ms Walker’s. According to her:

  • the must-have designer straw basket retails at £675
  • “the ultimate market dress” costs £420.

Yes, her recommended summer outfit comes to over a grand – and that’s without matching shoes. Marie-Antoinette playing milkmaids springs to mind.

My most expensive basket cost about twenty quid, and my newest dress less than a tenner in Sainsbury’s sale. I may still drift about the new Sherston Market in a summer frock, stashing my shopping in wickerware, but as I do so, I’ll be feeling smug for saving so much on my outfit.

Founded by the enterprising Holly of The Loaf Shack Bakery, who you’ll know from her stall outside Hawkesbury Stores on alternate Saturdays, Sherston Market has stalls offering a wide range of fresh local produce including vegetables, cheese, meat, honey, bread and cakes. It will be running every Thursday behind Sherston Village Hall from 10.30am until 1.30pm. Summer frock and wicker basket optional.

Here are a few photos from last week’s Sherston Market to whet your appetite…

Photo of railings by entrance to market
The market takes place in the car park behind the village shop
photo of Holly at The Loaf Shack stall
Holly, who founded the market, with her wonderful artisan bread and cakes
photo of Bisley Lane Farm van
A wide selection of meats from Bisley Lane’s refrigerated van
photo of greengrocer stall
The charming Dutchman with his organic locally grown fruit and vegetables
photo of cheese stall with sign saying We Heart Cheese
The man who loves cheese!


photo of honey stall
The honey stall also stocks beeswax candles, soaps and polish

A Post on a Similar Theme from My Blog Archive:

Why Pay A Grand for A Handbag?

And Finally…

My latest book, Artful Antics at St Bride’s, the fourth Gemma Lamb Cozy Mystery, is now available in ebook, paperback and audiobook, and may be ordered from wherever you prefer to buy your reading matter. It’s currently half-way through a week-long blog tour, commissioned by my publisher Boldwood Books and organised by Rachel’s Random Resources. Three leading bookbloggers share their reviews every day, on their websites and on social media.

blog tour schedule for Artful Antics at St Bride's
All of these book bloggers have kindly read an advance review copy of the new book and are now sharing their reviews online.

I’m delighted to say that so far the feedback has been excellent. Here are a few snippets from their reviews so far:

  • ‘The characters are so well written and are a wonderful mix of quirky personalities’ – insomniacbookwormreviews
  • ‘The dialogue is fizzy and genuinely funny – the scenes with the girls will make you smile!’ – @EmmaMerrygold
  • ‘Cosy and very witty series oozing with humour and charm’ – @alysonread
  • ‘I confess that I am now thoroughly obsessed with St Bride’s and fully intend to read every single book in this series!’ – 
  • ‘A wonderful series and so far I have really enjoyed every book I have read’ – @KirstyReviews

Artful Antics at St Bride’s is now available in ebook, paperback and audiobook, online from all the usual stores, and the paperback can be ordered from your local bookshop on request. If you’d like to buy it from Amazon, please click my affiliate link below to go to the book’s page.


English author of warm, witty cosy mystery novels including the popular Sophie Sayers Village Mysteries and the Gemma Lamb/St Bride's School series. Novels published by Boldwood Books, all other books by Hawkesbury Press. Represented by Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agents. Founder and director of the Hawkesbury Upton Literature Festival. Course tutor for Jericho Writers. UK Ambassador for the Alliance of Independent Authors. Lives and writes in her Victorian cottage in the heart of the beautiful Cotswold countryside.

3 thoughts on “A Grand Summer Outfit

  1. I agree with you, Debbie, about the prices of clothes that are in that newspaper. Outrageous!!! I still, like you, have some lovely T-shirts, that a work colleague of mine thought ‘looks really expensive’ ~ and it came from Quality Seconds (QS) back in 1986 !!!! Still looks lovely today, as if new! Today I am wearing a top I bought in Debenhams back in the early 1990’s, still looks good! So I quite agree with you!

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