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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Bag ‘n’ Shoes: Modalu Pippa Grab bag and Mint Velvet taupe suede plimsolls

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(EDIT: See the end of my post for international availability on the Mint Velvet shoes!)

Pippa, meet Kate. Kate, meet Pippa. Ah, you’re already acquainted? What a coincidence!

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I have to say, before this year, I didn’t take much notice of Pippa Middleton’s style. I really like her columns in Waitrose Magazine, and I enjoyed her book, but her fashion never really made its way onto my radar until I picked up a pretty grey necklace from Accessorize I saw her wearing in a Telegraph piece. From there, it wasn’t too long before I fell in love with the Pippa grab bag in shark from Modalu!

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I’d been looking for a replacement for my beloved grey tote bag for a while, since the shoulder strap broke. I never thought a grey tote would be so versatile until I picked it up as a (very poor) replikate of Kate’s grey Tod’s bag. So with mine broken, I was open to alternatives, and as soon as I saw the Pippa bag, I fell in love!

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It’s a very handsome and practical bag, and it seems impossible to ever completely fill it up! Plus, all those handy compartments and zips makes organising things a breeze. (We’ve all been there, elbow deep in a bag that’s mysteriously swallowed door keys, right?).

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Plus, I love the shell motif on the zipper tags too! The Pippa is currently only available in shark (grey) with silver hardware, so I had to go on eBay to find one with gold.

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Anyway, onto my other style influence, Kate, most famous as Pippa’s sister – you might have seen her at Pippa’s debut when she was wearing that fabulous bridesmaid dress. Many people don’t realise this, but Kate was actually the bride. I KNOW! Small world, right?! Anyway, Kate’s been pictured wearing her taupe Mint Velvet plimsolls recently on tour Down Under, and as Mint Velvet have announced they are releasing the shoe again at the beginning of May, I thought I’d do a post about them!

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As I’ve mentioned before, my shoe size varies from a 6 (39) to a 7 (40), but I most usually take a 7, so this is the size I ordered. They fit a little snugly, and are narrow in the toe, which is worth mentioning if you’re going to order a pair yourself.

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They also have a neat Mint Velvet logo at the base of the heel, which I think is how they were ID’d when Kate first wore them!

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I wouldn’t call them my comfiest shoe, especially without socks, but I haven’t really broken them in yet. But they are a very smart pair of shoes if you’re looking for something casual that’s still stylish and somewhat dressy. I also think the grey laces are the final touch that really makes the design feel that much more polished!

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And of course, they’re the perfect match for my Pippa bag! Thanks, Middleton sisters!

EDIT: Mint Velvet has been inundated with requests for this item since it first appeared last year (originally priced £79). The company has stated on Facebook that they will be releasing the shoes again in stores and online in the first week of May. Excitingly for international customers, who previously couldn’t order from Mint Velvet, the company has also suggested that they will open facilities for international orders soon. However, you will also be able to order directly from House of Fraser, which offers international shipping to the US, amongst other places. (Read the comments thread on Facebook here for my source on this! You can keep updated about the availability of the Mint Velvet taupe plimsolls here on their website. I don’t have a direct link for the item on House of Fraser yet, but the shoes are likely to appear in this section of the site. You can find House of Fraser’s homepage at http://www.houseoffraser.com/)

Find the Mint Velvet taupe plimsolls, now called Bibi, at Mint Velvet here for £89. For international orders, contact Mint Velvet directly at customercare@mintvelvet.co.uk, or you can wait until they are stocked at House of Fraser: http://www.houseoffraser.co.uk/.

The Modalu Pippa grab bag is available in a range of colours on their site here. And, here’s a direct link to the bag in shark, my favourite colour! (Pst – I asked Modalu if they were going to bring back the shark with gold hardware and they told me they were not planning to continue production of the shark colour. So, if it’s a shade you like, bear that in mind!)

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Bag ‘n’ Shoes: French Sole Silver Sparkle Henrietta Flats and Wilbur & Gussie Navy Charlie Clutch

Finally, there’s time to post about last week’s bag and shoes combo (don’t worry, I have a special one lined up for this week!). Again, this continues the saga of the French Sole Factory Shop visit last month (read about it here)!

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These are the third pair of my epic haul, and they are very slightly translucent, with a reinforced area around the toes for added strength. The shoes are dotted with gorgeous silver sparkles, and have a muted navy trim. Because they were samples, and had no box, they were actually £20 instead of £25! I paired them with my favourite Wilbur & Gussie clutch (although it has plenty of competition, I LOVE W&G!), the raw navy silk with the beautiful ship fastening! (This style is currently unavailable, but you can browse the Charlie clutch range here.)

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Because of the diamantes on the clutch’s ship clasp, and the gold edging, you can match it to silver or gold accessories, which is handy! As you can see, I usually carry it by the strap handle, which allows you to dangle it off one wrist at a jaunty angle…

I love these silver strips on the heel of the flats too.

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I also love the way the muted colour scheme creates a really subtle look for the Henriettas – the opaque material is also really unusual and great fun. Although the sparkles work well for the holiday season (indoors, of course!), this kind of look would also be terrific for a balmy summer night too!

The clutch – well, what can I say? The Charlie clutch in gold was carried on tour by the Duchess of Cambridge, and her sister, Pippa, is often spotted with a W&G clutch under her arm. Given my fondness for nautical accents, how could I resist this one – especially when it combines two of my favourite colours, navy and red?!

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