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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Channeling Kate’s Style: India Tour Version

Who didn’t love the recent Royal Tour in India? Kate brought some fabulous style to the table, including some really interesting boho chic looks, as well as some amazing casual outfits too. I loved her hiking outfit and had to snap up her Jaeger linen blouse (still available from John Lewis here) – and I accessorised it with a replikate of her Pickett London scarf, this coral John Lewis wrap. Much cheaper, but still a really pretty and soft piece for summer nights!

But this wasn’t the only tour purchase I made! As soon as I saw Kate’s beautiful Paul & Joe cape I had to snap it up…

But there’s an epic story here in how I managed to track it down… I saw the update about her outfit about an hour after the ID was made (darn those time zone differences) and missed out on ordering it from Net A Porter. So I set myself up on the waiting list (surely hopeless!) and then moped over the listing on the US site (where it was still available). I phoned them up to see if they could sell it to me through their UK site – not a chance of that, I’d have to order it from the US. So with $55 delivery fee plus customs I was wondering whether I really wanted to pay £200 more for this thing to get it sent from America… (The answer is no, I’m not that crazy yet.)

Then I emailed Paul & Joe’s website to ask if they were getting any more in stock and they basically said they might do… (Very vague! And on their Instagram page they’re still giving out an email address for enquiries which makes me wonder if they will re-release it…)

In desperation, at lunchtime I phoned up Paul & Joe’s flagship store in London to see if they had any. Well, they had ONE LEFT! I immediately asked if I could buy it over the phone and they said I could! So out came my card right away… It arrived the next day and I love it!

Look at the gorgeous stitching and beautiful colours – the fabric itself is very thin even though it’s made of wool, making it a great choice for spring and summer evenings. Although I enjoyed Kate’s styling with this, I’m going to wear it very simply with jeans and white shirts – perhaps even the white Reiss Vinnie blouse Kate wore recently?

On the tour, there were also plenty of lovely new accessories, including the Monsoon taupe wedges and Accessorize filigree earrings, which I coupled with a really old Accessorize clutch I bought for Ascot. This is an easy combo for summer – and Kate’s already shown the versatility of these wedges by wearing them with a pair of jeans and a Breton top from J.Crew recently! (One note – to me these seem to be very tight in my usual size, and they’re also not real suede… A bit pricey considering, really!)


Apart from the gorgeous Brora gold earrings (which haven’t arrived yet) I also picked up the Zara biker trousers! Kate’s colour was khaki marl, and Zara recently released the same style in a different colour… Or did they?!

On the bottom you can see the originals and the new ones are on the top. Apart from the difference in the ribbing, there are also differences on the back, an extra zip on the originals and zipped ankles on the new ones! So, when you purchase, if you’re after Kate’s version, double check you’re buying the khaki marl version here.

Did you make any Royal Tour purchases? Let me know in the comments below!

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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!)

Friday Lust List: SW Corkswoon Wedges in Bisque

Any self-respecting Duchess of Cambridge fan like myself should have a clear opinion on two of her most divisive shoe choices: the ubiquitous nude L.K. Bennett Sledges, and the blue suede Corkswoons from Stuart Weitzman. Personally, I love (and own!) both pairs, so when I was idly browsing Stuart Weitzman’s EU site and saw that there were a bisque pair on sale, I jumped at the chance to nab them!

Stuart Weitzman Wedges

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Breton Stripes: A Forever Classic

If you describe your style as classic or preppy, you should have at least one Breton style top in your wardrobe! The Breton top is a classic and has been popular with the fashion set for nearly a century, after Coco Chanel introduced the top to her fashion collection in 1917.

The original, classic Breton top was worn by sailors in the French navy, was introduced in 1858, and was supposed to feature 21 stripes for Napoleon’s 21 victories. The lore surrounding the Breton top also states that the stripes were selected so that a sailor would stand out in the sea if he fell overboard! Breton tops are most classically defined as navy and white, although red and white is fairly usual alternative. These tops have been worn by Audrey Hepburn, Kate Middleton, Marilyn Monroe, Coco Chanel, Brigitte Bardot, and Alexa Chung, to name but a few. Taking stock of my wardrobe recently, I realised that Breton stripes had become something of an obsession, so I decided to do a post featuring a few of my current favourites!

Breton Style

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French Sole Sale A/W 2014

You guys know my heart belongs to French Sole, right? Every year during the sales I try to play hard to get, but alas, I’m always tempted back in by the bargains. Check them out for yourself here!

French Sole Sale A/W14

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