Mirroring Meghan Markle’s Royal Style Part One: The Bags

You guy know how much of a fan I am of Kate’s royal fashion, so when Meghan Markle joined the royal family officially, I was thrilled – double the fashion, double the fun! I adore the fact that Meghan brings a whole new style to her official functions, with chic, pared-back pieces being a hallmark of hers. Whilst Kate’s Sloaney, preppy, tailored style is classic and absolutely gorgeous, Meghan’s more laid-back smart-casual wardrobe might resonate more with women who already have a similar style for their everyday looks. So far Meghan’s style hinges on solid primary colours like navy, black, white and green, and consists of skinny or wide leg trousers, simple tops and jumpers, paired with luxurious wrap coats and small, structured crossbody bags which can be carried under the arm or by a top handle.

Here are some of my favourite pieces from Meghan’s wardrobe!

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Red is the colour: the ultimate Christmas bag from Ilex London

If you’re still on the lookout for the perfect Christmas bag, can I please introduce you to this beauty, c/o Ilex London?

I love red accessories at the best of times, but there’s no denying that red is the unofficial colour of Christmas. It goes so well with metallics, especially gold, and it pairs beautifully with navy and white – just ask Father Christmas!

Now, while a smart little clutch might seem like the ultimate Christmas bag for parties and cocktail dos, I’m here for your wake-up call. You don’t need a red clutch, you need a red tote! Stuff it full of Christmas cards, hide your partner’s pressie inside when you’re shopping, cram your scarf in there for good measure. Take it to the works party and line it with tupperware to nick sausage rolls and quiche to eat later.

Take it to a carol service and throw the order of service in afterwards. Buy a pack of mince pies and mulled wine and retrieve them on a visit to a friend, and look like the most casually perfect and festive guest in history. Pair it with sequins and tartan and red suede high heels or black novelty slipper shoes.

Wear it with a black velvet dress, or a white shirt and jeans, or a navy skirt and cable knit jumper. Carry it to work, to school, to appointments, to parties, to friends and family – take it on Christmas day and Boxing day and NYE! Put your clutch INSIDE it and then you’ll never be without space for all the things we actually need at parties – your phone, spare lippy, extra tights, a mirror, your keys…

Have I convinced you yet? Nab your Harriet here for £205 (but if you sign up to the newsletter, you’ll get 10% off!) Also, check out the Ilex sale here, where there are a few bags in the same lovely colour red available!

Finally Organised! My Love for Stackers

This might be a familiar problem for some of you: storage. More to the point, intelligent, expandable storage. Until recently, I didn’t think such a thing existed for jewellery. My collection was relegated to fancy boxes and knick-knack trays and spread all over the house. If I wanted a pair of earrings, it was potluck as to whether I’d find them. I actually lost a necklace and a pair of earrings I loved for two years and only just found them, tucked away neatly inside a washbag in a drawer I haven’t been in for a loooong time.

I’ve only started collecting jewellery properly in the last few years. Before then a pair of novelty studs was about as far as I’d go to jazz up an outfit – these days I have some beloved pieces I always wear, and loads of lovely little baubles I wear in rotation. Items like these classic Ulu earrings from Shelley Silversmith are practically irreplaceable as far as I’m concerned – most of my pieces have a story or a meaning to me beyond just going with an outfit, or something that caught my eye in a shop. If you’re spending a lot of money on jewellery, it’s usually an item you obsess over for days, and research thoroughly before buying. So where to store your precious items?

Enter Stackers! I couldn’t believe it took me so long to find this perfect solution for jewellery storage, but since I’ve found it I’ve become obsessed – and it’s really lovely to see my entire collection in one place, too. Just as with your wardrobe, there are classic must-haves with jewellery (pearl bracelet, diamond studs, etc), and trends or styles you may not even have realised you followed until you really step back and take a look at what you keep on buying. Having everything in one place not only helps you organise yourself and stops you losing things, and but it also makes it easier to curate your collection as well.

The great thing about Stackers is that you can house as small or as large a collection as you like, and you can add to it as your collection grows. Because I’m such a hoarder, I knew I had to go for the Supersize (the range is also available in mini and classic), and as everything in my bedroom is white or green, I selected the white with stone interior. Just like a jewellery shop window, my collection is now on display – and doesn’t it look gorgeous?! The range is also available in mink, vanilla, purple, soft pink, black, cream, red, duck egg, and dove grey with either mint, coral and antique rose.

As I get new items, I love to rearrange everything, and since I first purchased my Stackers, I’ve already added to it a couple of times as I’ve unearthed old treasures and bought new ones. In my stack I’ve got the lidded supersize stacker, £39.95 (which also comes in rose gold… ahhh, £41.95!), with a 41 section stacker and an 11 section stacker (both £29.95), which is much deeper – and holds a hidden secret…

 

Inside, you can hide the perfect travel companion – a cute little matching travel box, which you can store ready to use whenever you need it.I asked Stackers if they’d be kind enough to send me the travel box and the 11 section stacker so I could show you how they work – and they were so lovely that they did! Before, when I travelled, I’d tuck my jewellery into makeup bags or zipped sections of my handbag – with earrings getting tangled and strands of necklaces getting all tied up. Then, when I arrived at my destination, there was nowhere to put my things, or a way of checking everything at a glance. Now I have my own travelling jewellery wardrobe, and I love it! I’ve already used it twice – once on my flight to Japan to keep all my pieces safe while I slept (blissfully!), and once on a weekend away with my friends to the country.

I love the fact that while I’m not using it, I can keep it stowed away neatly, and still usefully storing things. The travel case has four small compartments and one large one, with a helpful dividing wall to keep everything separate. The travel box is priced £12.95 in a variety of colours – I won’t be parted with mine!

Check out the Stackers range here, and the supersize collection here.You can see the range of travel boxes here.If you’re finding it all a bit overwhelming, they’ve even made a handy tutorial complete with video here.

You can even purchase home accessories like storage for eyewear, or jewellery wraps, or a handy pocket for the side of your bed, here. I’m currently campaigning for Stackers to release a makeup storage solution – because it’s half as good as their jewellery one, it’ll revolutionise my collection!

Do you have a Stackers collection? Tell me about it in the comments!

 

 

New Bag Alert! ILEX London Tote

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Even though I love autumn, it can get a bit drab. Oranges, browns and yellows are lovely, but sometimes you want a pop of colour! So when ILEX London asked me to select a bag from their range, I immediately went for this gorgeous Samantha tote in a luxe cobalt! It’s such a great size and goes really well with the autumnal shades – as you can see above, where I’ve paired it with some pretty Joules Westbourne Chelsea boots in ocelot (find them here  – I also LOVE the leopard version here!)

There’s just something about blue and animal print that I love – and you can also incorporate another pop of colour alongside it, too! Check out these pretty Mrs Alice for French Sole flats (find them here) – don’t they just look perfect with this tote?!

Check out ILEX London here, and the Samantha range here. To see all their bags in cobalt, check here! And, thank you to ILEX for sending me such a beautiful bag – it’s going to get used a lot this season!

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Kate’s New BFF: Nina vs Natalie in the Battle of the Clutches

Move over, Natalie. There’s a new girl in town. Her name is Nina, and she comes in trench…

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The Duchess of Cambridge recently debuted a new L.K. Bennett clutch during her royal tour of India, and it sparked a bit of a buzz, not least because it wasn’t even available to the public yet. Teamed with matching high heels (in two heel heights, no less), the Nina in trench looked to be Kate’s new favourite clutch. L.K. Bennett released the item for sale yesterday, and as I find myself with nothing else better to do on a Friday afternoon, I thought I’d take time out to compare it to an old favourite, the Natalie clutch in straw.

Nina vs

Now, I have a massive soft spot for the Natalie, because during the summer months it really feels like it goes with everything. Kate most often wore it with her trusty L.K. Bennett sledges in taupe, but it also went with the Minx Wedges from Stuart Weitzman, her L.K. Bennett sliver sandals (still only seen once on Kate!), also in taupe, and arguments could be made for it matching any number of her other wedges and espadrilles. However, since Kate’s recently switched from the Sledge to the Fern / Floret in trench, she seems to have ditched the Natalie as her working horse summer clutch in favour of the new Nina.

Tops

Size-wise, there’s not much in the way of difference between the two. The Nina is slightly longer and wider, but the Natalie is fatter. Style wise, the Natalie’s puffy stuffed exterior gives it a pleasantly plump hand-feel, whereas the Nina is much less forgiving and easily marked (mine arrived with a dent in it!). I can imagine the leather becoming damaged from a sweaty palm print or a snagged fingernail very easily, whereas the Natalie really feels fairly indestructible. Natalie has a chic dark taupe satin trim around the edges, like a ribbon, and the Nina is the same trench-coloured leather all around. Finally, while the Natalie has the brand name embossed on the latch, the Nina latch is bare.

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In terms of internal chain, the Nina beats Natalie hands down. I never was too happy with Natalie’s puny, silver-esque chain, but Nina’s is long and elegant, and a pretty pale gold shade. It’s far easier to sling it across your shoulder, and the slightly longer look gives it a sleek mini shoulder bag feel. Despite having several bags with this feature (off the top of my head, the Mulberry Bayswaters, the Jaegar Kates, and the Oroton Odeion snake clutch), Kate never seems to use the chains on her clutches, and in fact rarely appears with a shoulder bag at all.

Inside

Inside, the bag is very similar to the Natalie – lined with a satin type fabric that has an internal pocket for credit cards, with the metal L.K. Bennett plaque attached.

Inside original

In the original, the plaque is attached with fabric, but the Nina has its plaque glued on. I also found it really difficult to fit my cards in the pocket, whereas the Natalie’s pocket was easy to get in and out of. Finally, perhaps a fault with my Nina, but the fabric was not glued rigidly to the corners of the bag, rather it had a smoothed effect where it felt like the fabric wasn’t reaching the edges, making the internal space a lot smaller than it should have been.

Fit inside

That said, what can you fit inside? Pretty much the same as the Natalie, to be honest – except the Nina is slightly better suited to the slimmer, longer phones of the current gen Samsungs and iPhones. You’ll be able to fit a phone, some credit cards, a lipstick and some change, but not a whole lot more.

Nina Trench 2

Overall, my impression of the Nina is that it’s an expensive bag considering it’s not as versatile as the Natalie – and considering the Natalie originally retailed at £140 (then £160) and the Nina starts at £185, the price per wear is going to be pretty high for me… Of course, the Nina is going to be a year-round clutch, whereas Natalie’s straw effect means it’s best used in spring and summer. And finally, the big question is going to be, does this new season trench match the old season’s taupe? The answer… No.

Trench vs Taupe

Trench is a much pinker-based nude than taupe’s yellow-based one. You can probably wear both together as they’re a close enough match, but they’re certainly not the same colour when you look closely. If you’ve purchased a pair of shoes from L.K. Bennett in trench, the Nina is probably going to be your best bet to match the colour!

Nina Trench

The Nina clutch is available here from L.K. Bennett for £185.

What do you think? Are you going to purchase one? Wait for a sale? Or skip this one all together? I’m still wondering whether or not to return mine…

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What To Wear With A Tan Bag: Ilex London Harriet

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Ilex London were kind enough to send me a bag from their new range recently, and after a lot of umming and ahhing, I went with this gorgeous Harriet Shoulder bag in Wood. For some reason, I have very few tan bags, so when this arrived I immediately went into panic mode about which shoes to wear with it. Silly me – in fact, tan seems to go with everything!

Pictured above, I paired them with Russell & Bromley’s Coco Pop espadrilles, which were worn by Pippa Middleton a few years ago and are still part of the brand’s line. With the toe-cap detailing and the straw wedges, they’re a classic that never goes out of style, and match this Harriet perfectly!

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One of my favourite purchases from Russell & Bromley are the Stuart Weitzman Corkswoons, or as they’re called in the UK, the SW Cocos. Dark blue suede contrasts beautifully with the tan bag, and I can imagine this in an outfit with a navy skirt paired with a white blouse – effortless summer chic! This is another item from the Middleton wardrobe, this time made famous by Kate. It seems like you either loves these wedges, or you hate them – I love them, and judging from the offerings from other shoe brands, this combo of navy suede and cork heels is still firmly in style.

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Moving into more recent offerings from Russell & Bromley, these Xpresso Crossover Flats make a lovely pairing with the tan bag – taming the boyish feel of the brown and giving it a softer, even feminine feel. Pair this with a tulle skirt and a blouse tied at the waist for the ultimate in girly summer chic. You’ll feel like a ballerina, but the chunky, solid Harriet bag will prevent your outfit from turning into a costume, giving a cool juxtaposition and providing you ample space to store your stuff on the run. And, of course, wear these with pride knowing they’ve been royally approved – Kate wore these on the recent Indian Royal Tour!

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Finally, white shoes haven’t been on the fashion forefront since the ’80s, it feels like, but I couldn’t resist these Rockstud Valentinos, and they go awesomely with the Ilex – the gold detailing picks out the logo perfectly! (Check out Dune’s Heti in white for a decent alternative at £70.)

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So, enough about the shoes, what about the bag? I love this sturdy little trooper – it’s perfect for work (or play!) as it has a central, easily accesible section with a zippered pocket, plus two additional zipped compartments either side, very much like the Modalu Pippa bag. It has two straps to carry over the shoulder, or an attachment to convert it to a shoulder bag. Priced at £205, it’s an investment bag, but one which will carry you through the seasons. It can fit a heck of a lot inside – the only limit is going to be how much you can physically lift… It fits an iPad easily, and you can just about squeeze an A4 mag or paper inside the middle part.

So far I’ve taken it on weekends away (perfect for stowing makeup and jewellery), work events (to hide notebooks and my camera) and to the cinema (of course, I would never smuggle Coke Zero and a packet of chilli crackers into a movie). It’s even been carried along the ramparts of Warwick Castle and over the London Bridge! I am really looking forward to wearing it in autumn and winter, too, as the new seasons open up a whole new range of styling possibilities!

Check out the Harriet here, and the whole range from Ilex London here.Which bag would you pick from the range?

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Game of Thrones Inspired Jewellery

If you’re a big Game of Thrones fan and you’d like to indulge in some retail therapy before the premiere of the new season this week, have I got a post for you! I love giving a subtle nod to some of my favourite shows and fictional characters in my outfits and accessories, so check out my picks for pieces to celebrate some of the most famous noble houses of Westeros!

House Baratheon

Baratheon

Red Hart Earrings, Clogau, £224

Pay homage to House Baratheon by celebrating the noble stag – Clogau also has some beautiful rings and pendants, all crafted from rose pink Welsh gold!

House Tyrell

Tyrell

Grecian Laurel-Leaf Bandeaux, Jennifer Behr, £250

Imagine the wind whipping through a golden field of corn, and the sun beating down on scented rosebeds. Celebrate the bounty of Highgarden with Jennifer Behr’s beautiful headpiece.

House Targaryen

Tessa Metcalfe pigeon grasp

Pigeon Grasp Ring, Tessa Metcalfe, £85

No one needs to know your dragon claws are merely pigeon’s feet. Just like Daenerys, fake it ’til you make it with Tessa Metcalfe’s gloriously quirky pigeon grasp rings!

House Lannister

Lannister

Large Lion Head Pendant, Azuni, £50

Hear me roar! Lannisters are famous for paying their debts, having loads of gold, and being really, really fond of lions. You can tick off at least two of those boxes with this fantastic lion’s head pendant, which also comes in a smaller version.

House Martell

House Martell

Timeless Rose Gold Vermeil Cuff, Links of London, £525

Distil the essence of Sunspear into a piece of jewellery and you’d get this elegant rose gold cuff from Links of London.

House Stark

Stark

Large Snowflake Pendant, Azuni, £50

The famously chilly home of the Starks, Winterfell, lends its icy grace to this delicate snowflake pendant from Azuni. I don’t think it’ll ward off any Boltons, though…

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Beulah Sample Sale

Last week I was in London for work at the same time as the Beulah London sample sale started! I’d never been to the Beulah store so I decided to take an hour out for lunch to pop along to visit. Here’s a spoiler:

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Bayswater Clutch: A Classic Wardrobe Staple

If there’s one thing that every fashion expert will tell you, it’s that you should invest in classic pieces – those fashion staples you can use year on year…

After seeing how versatile my Valentine’s Bayswater clutch is – and how often Kate Middleton uses hers in black suede – I couldn’t resist picking up a black leather version!

This is the glossy goat leather – Mulberry have just changed to a different leather called small classic grain, which has a slightly different finish. Getting hold of this clutch was a mission in itself, but I tracked down one of the last four in the country in Birmingham’s branch of Harvey Nichols!

The great thing about this clutch is that it’s just about big enough to use as a bag if you’re only carrying a few cards, your phone and a lippy – but it’s also stylish and small enough to use as an evening bag. The chain is detachable but I like to use it as a shoulder bag, because the chain is just beautiful!

Check out the clutch online in a variety of colours here: http://www.mulberry.com/shop/women/bags/shoulder-bags/bayswater-clutch-wallet-black-small-classic-grain. (And, if you hurry, there are still some colours on sale including peony pink, poppy red and mandarin!)