The Penneys spring/summer 2013 collection boasts strong elements of French savoir faire and welcome haute couture touches which catapults catwalk chic into affordability.
The Penneys shorts suit comes in a pink and black 'salt and pepper' effect fabric with the shorts (€15) cut high-waisted for a very flattering look, while the matching jacket (€29) displays attention to detail with the reverse rever and exposed black zips.
The real couture feel came through in the floaty, organza dress with daisy cutwork, reminiscent of Louis Vuitton a year ago.
The dipped hemline with the high-low look that shows off your knees is still around for 2013 and the sheer dress (€19) comes in cream, with a narrow gold belt, or in black.
Summery colours like neon coral and orange sit cheek by jowl on the dress-rail along with a pretty Toile de Jouy print in traditional delft blue and white.
However, the stand-out guna was the buttercup yellow spot dress which boasts a terrific a-line pleated skirt, helped enormously by the expensive-feeling poly viscose jacquard fabric.
The playful skirt is offset by a demure white lace collar.
It's short and it's also pricy, at €27, higher priced than the usual Penneys fare, but its inclusion in the range underlines the commercial realities as traditional mid-market shoppers shift their loyalties to affordable stores but are prepared to pay more for 'limited edition' and more exclusive pieces.
The textural mix and match story is huge with PU (fake leather) providing the sleeves for buff rainjackets or a very cute denim-fronted biker jacket (€30) which creates a great transitional look for early spring, accessorised with a blur print dress (€14).
A trophy sweat-top with gold print can look sensational when teamed with aztec print shorts. Other favourites include sunnies (€3), metallic jacquard trousers (€17) for a cool afternoon look and a short kimono (€17) with black fringing, ideal for those days when you don't know what to wear.