Styling Summer Wedges

This summer season (for me, anyway) is going to be all about replikating Kate Middleton’s staple wedges. I know plenty of people scoff at her Corkswoons, Minx and Imperias, but I’m not one of them! I certainly haven’t grown tired of seeing these shoes, and I can’t wait to wear them out and about!

When Dune, the company that now owns Pied A Terre, re-released the Imperia D wedges in natural under the new Dune Black label, I was thrilled – I already had a pair in black, but the natural had been unavailable for a long time. As soon as I saw they were on sale again, I snapped them up! Despite them being under a different brand name, I can confirm they are the same shoe – although why Pied A Terre also has a range of Imperias as well, albeit without the natural colour, I couldn’t tell you.

Once they arrived, I started to wonder – how to accessorize them? So, I put together this Polyvore set with some basic ideas to get my creative juices flowing! (And I resisted the temptation to add my beloved Mulberry Lily in tweed – all of these bags are still available, if you fancy a purchase!)

Styling wedges

 

I noticed this awesome Modalu St Ives grab bag (£69) in John Lewis the other day and fell in love with the quirky front pocket lock – although the version I saw was in taupe. The orange is a lovely bright way to bring a little summer into your life – and the natural colour of the fabric matches the Dune wedges almost perfectly! The Next striped shopper was on my radar after the Nautical and Nice post I did recently – and it’s a great little bag for just £20, especially with the stylish little rope handles. Find it here. Finally, in one of this season’s hottest colours, this Dorset tote from Mulberry is crazy expensive at £595, but as I’m a Mulberry girl, I had to include something! The tote comes in a variety of colours – this one is called Bluebell, and is available here. (Modalu do a similar bag called the Artemis Shopper in azure blue for £199 here.) Finally, I had to throw in a pair of sunglasses – and I do love the classic Wayfarer style from Rayban! These are really unusual – they’re actually coated with black leather, hence the £250 price tag. Of course, you can get authentic Raybans for cheaper than this, and ‘replicas’ for even less on eBay! What do you think – how would you style a natural wedge espadrille? Do you think wedges are outdated (again), or are they a timeless classic? And, did you manage to bag a pair before they sold out?!

 

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Russell & Bromley / Stuart Weitzman Corkswoon Wedges vs Sainsbury’s Tu Suede Wedges

Kate Middleton’s most iconic pair of smart casual shoes are probably her blue suede wedges. Most frequently seen during the 2013 Summer Olympics in London, these wedges are by American designer Stuart Weitzman and available at Russell & Bromley in the UK. However, there are also plenty of high street replicas – such as the pairs from Next and Hobbs last year. This year, grocery chain Sainsbury’s is in on the trend, producing a pair of blue suede cork wedges for £18 for their clothing line Tu. I happened to drop into Sainsbury’s yesterday wearing the originals, so I present a quick side by side comparison in the interests of retail science!

(Just an FYI, Sainsbury’s is the lighter blue of the two!)

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I thought it was funny to note that 1) these were the only pair left after the Duchess’s appearance with the similar pair the other day, and 2) that they were positioned right next to some Sledge lookalikes!

My verdict: the Tu wedges are a decent replicate at £18, although the colour is not really a match for the dark navy of the originals and therefore doesn’t blend that well with dark jeans – which is the way Kate usually wears hers. For the price you probably won’t be surprised to hear that the suede doesn’t feel as nice, and the shoe itself isn’t as comfortable – although the heel and platform are both lower!

Sainbury’s don’t do mail order but you can find the details, including the item number, here. The original versions are here from Russell & Bromley, although they always sell out after an appearance!

See my previous post about the difference between the Hobbs Myra wedges and the R&B Corkswoons here.

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Replikating at Hobbs, Gunwharf Quays

Gunwharf Quays is my local shopping outlet, and whilst it doesn’t have as many luxury brands as Bicester, it’s still an amazing place to shop.

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If you’re after some Kate Middleton style, it’s also a great place to pick up replikates!

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Many of Kate’s favourite shops and brands are here, including L.K. Bennett, Barbour, Hobbs, Jaeger, Ted Baker, Links and Ralph Lauren

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I popped in to Gunwharf for a quick pit stop this weekend, and here are some of my finds!

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This awesome Ted Baker jacket in silver was a special sample priced at £80. Unfortunately it was a bit creased and didn’t photograph well, but it had a beautiful shape to the back.

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Ted Baker is an excellent place to get really gorgeous party dresses or frocks for the races.

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Another great outlet is L.K. Bennett. I’ve purchased many a great item in here, including a teal Jude jacket (£60) and a pair of black suede Harper pumps (£115). Highlights today included a black Davina dress (Kate has worn one in teal under her Jetta jacket – like the Jude) for £150, and Sledges in beige, gold and black glitter for £115.

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I spent most of my time in Hobbs though – I love the brand and the physical stores, but let’s just say their online service leaves a lot to be desired… But let’s stick with the positive for this post!

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There were a few items in here from the current mid season sale, including plenty of items in the same Dalmatian print that Kate wore in Southampton (hers was a collarless coat). The Niamh top was there in blue and white for £28.

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There were also trousers, a scarf, and a cardigan (£50).

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As the Dalmatian mac that Kate wore is long since sold out, these are great replikating options which use the same print! There are even shoes – the Lexi open toe court for £49 and the Bea ballerina, £35.

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My favourite replikate from Hobbs is the Myra wedge, in navy suede (£49).

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They also had the mushroom version, which was incredibly tempting!

Hobbs Outlet stores can be found at Bicester, Braintree, Canterbury, Cardiff, Cheshire Oaks, Kildare, Portsmouth, Swindon, Walton-On-Thames and York. Track them down at http://www.hobbs.co.uk.

Russell & Bromley / Stuart Weitzman Corkswoon / Coco wedges versus Hobbs Myra wedges

You might have noticed my slight obsession with the Duchess of Cambridge – she’s one of my favourite style icons, and I’ve always had a soft spot for the royal family. So I’m very happy to scoop up any Kate purchases I come across when they’re brought to my attention by the lovely community over at What Kate Wore’s Facebook site!

One of my favourite ever shoes that Kate’s worn are the Corkswoon wedges – designed by the American label Stuart Weitzman, they were sold in Russell & Bromley stores here in the UK for a short period. Unable to get my hands on a pair, I plumped for the copykate Myra wedges from Hobbs, which retailed at £125. Thanks to a variety of reasons, I was only ever able to wear these out once, when I went to a Greek restaurant last year.

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Needless to say, I loved them, but being a perfectionist, I couldn’t help but jump to it when I saw that Russell & Bromley had made the wedges available again to buy! At the price of £255, though, they’re over twice the price of the Hobbs Myra wedge, so in the interests of retail science, I decided to do a side by side comparison! But first, here is the epic story of how I got my wedges…

The Corkswoon wedges – as they are called in the US – have been renamed to ‘SW COCO’, and I found out from R&B’s Twitter account that they were available again for the new season. (Also available in a pretty silver shimmer colour too!) Unfortunately, by the time I got myself organised (three hours…) my size (7/40) had sold out. I decided to take a chance and ordered the 6.5 but they were too small. So, I signed myself up to receive updates when my size is made available again. Every morning at 9am I’d get an email to say my shoes were in stock, but after checking, they were sold out again, leading me to believe that there was massive demand that R&B was keeping up with by getting in new shipments everyday. It turns out I was hilariously wrong, as I eventually emailed them to ask them if they could put a pair aside for me as an exchange. What had been happening was that the email system was telling everyone who was on the list when a new size came in, even if that wasn’t the size they were after. In fact, there were no new shipments and they weren’t expecting any more through(!) BUT, they checked their inventory and found a pair in Mayfair for me. I rang the store right away, and they were able to post the shoes out to me. And so, they arrived today. And thus ends the tale!

Now for the comparisons! Hobbs Myra is on the left, and Corkswoon/Coco is on the right:

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As far as I can tell, these are the main differences: the colour of the navy on the Coco is deeper and more even. The nap seems to be shorter, which gives it a tidier appearance. The cork differs slightly – the Myra has a more spotted finish, while the Coco has a series of lines… (I tried to look up to see if these have a special name but I couldn’t see anywhere that they do!) When it comes to fit, the Coco actually fits me much better than the Myra wedge. The back seems to be higher, although the Myra wedge has a nifty piece of cord at the back which helps to maintain grip. Finally, the most obvious difference is the cute gold SW button at the back of the Coco wedge!

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If you’d like to see all the pictures in high res, you can visit my Flickr set here. You can also see another comparison between the Myra wedge and the Next wedges that they did last season which were a good match for the Coco wedges here.

As I don’t need both pairs, I’m going to be selling my Myra wedges – they’re size 7/40 and if you’re interested just email me using the contact tab above! As they fit me better than the Myra wedges, I decided to keep the Coco, but I honestly think that the Myra wedge is a fantastic replikate, especially considering the enormous price of the originals. The Cocos are nicer, but twice as nice…? I’m not certain!

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Duchess Style: jewellery

Another post in my continuing saga of replicating outfits by the Duchess of Cambridge! This time, it’s about her jewellery. To be honest, I’m not massive jewellery girl – I love studs and long pendants, but other than that, I’m fairly neutral about sparkly things. I wear glasses most of the time, and I just don’t think dangly earrings suit my face with them on, which vastly reduces my opportunity to wear them. But, like I always do, I’ve been sucked down the rabbit hole and have started lusting over some of Kate’s amazing pieces. I swear I am going to pick up the gorgeous Links of London Effervescence Bubble Stiletto earrings someday, but there are some other items that I like that I simply couldn’t afford. Step in, the replikate! Tatiana of Tatiana’s Delights (another great Facebook group for Kate fashion fans!) tipped me off about the amazing Kate collection from Cristalina Jewellery, and I emailed the company right away (sales@crystaline.co.uk) to see if they had the items I was after in stock. They did! So, with a £5.99 postage fee on the top, I got my items the day after I paid for them, on a Saturday, no less!

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Kate Crystal Pear Drop Earrings, £9.99

kate_middleton_duchess_cambridge_jewellery (14)Kate’s Button Pendant, £16.99.

I have to say, I love them both. I’m a massive fan of Kate’s Asprey pendant, but I’d never blow three grand on anything… literally, I cannot think of anything I’ve ever bought or would intend to buy that’s near that price. But this is a pretty similar item. The only bugbear I have is that there’s an engraving of the word ‘princess’ around the edge. As someone who, even as a child, never styled herself as a princess, nor actually wants to be one, having it around my neck is a little bit annoying – but hey, I guess I can live with that!

I also quite like Kate’s Hope Egg earrings, but again, the price is too high for me to spend on something that I merely ‘like’. The crystal pear drop earrings really are very similar, and of course, a much better price!

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I’m not usually a fan of silver jewellery, but I do like these!

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What do you think – any items Kate wears that take your fancy?

Duchess Style: Great Plains Cezanne dress

I have a bit of a thing for the Duchess of Cambridge’s wardrobe. Who wouldn’t want to dress like a future queen, after all? I love finding out what she’s wearing and then tracking down the item myself! When Kate appeared in Grimsby wearing a new dress last week, I logged onto the amazing Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/WhatKateWore, where the community had located the dress within minutes of her appearance. So, I had to bag one for myself (on sale at www.greatplains.co.uk). Here’s the result!

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I decided to pair it with a couple of other Kate-related items, my L.K. Bennett Sliver sandals in taupe (bought from the outlet store in Portsmouth, now renamed as the Sandy) and my L.K. Bennett Natalie clutch (still available from the site).

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I love these shoes – had them resoled as the leather soles are pretty delicate. It’s sooo cold here at the moment though that it’s impossible to wear them out anywhere, so for once I’m actually looking forward to the warmer months!

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The Natalie clutch is an item I’ve been lusting after for a long time, so I decided to break down and treat myself last month. I’m glad I did, because it goes perfectly with my sandals, and my nude heels that I bought from M&S. I did try on a pair of Kate’s beloved Sledges, but sadly they are too dark a shade to really be ‘nude’ on me, so I bought the much cheaper pair from the Autograph range – practically identical in every way, expect a better match for me! (And comfy too!)

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Do you follow Kate’s fashions? Ever bought anything she was seen wearing? Ever replicated one of her looks? I’d love to hear from you in the comments if so!

Christmas office party outfit

Bit late with this one, but I thought I’d post it, if only to show off my new Miss L Fire Monaco shoes! Although, it’s a bit hard to show them when the cat keeps wandering into the shot…

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We went to the Coriander Lounge in Southampton, which is a great Indian restaurant (so great that Matt Le Tissier was there at the same time as us) that does amazing buffets. It wasn’t my office party (I work from home and the company is based in Dorset), it was actually for my husband’s work, but I know a lot of his colleagues fairly well and get on really well with them so I always look forward to it. And, I don’t have many reasons to dress up, so I have to take my chances when I can!

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I wore an L.K. Bennett Mimi Dress that I bought from eBay that has a shortened skirt (great LBD), Whistles Black Spot Tights (as worn by Kate Middleton – what do you think?), a red skinny waist belt from ASOS and a gold pendant from Peacocks. Oh, and those amazing Monaco shoes from Miss L Fire!

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I seriously don’t think I’ve loved a pair of shoes this much in years. They are AMAZING, and another leopard print item for me! They’re black suede though, so I’ve been too scared to wear them out most of the time, thanks to the disgustingly rainy weather we’ve been having. I love rain, but not on my shoes…

I also wore the eyeshadow from my Clarins Odyssey set, which I’ve been using pretty much every day during the holidays – the gold colour is amazing, and you can layer up as much as you like – either a really heavy coating, or a light sparkle all over the lids.

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Not pictured is a Christmas pudding hair clip I bought from Sainsbury’s that my husband requested I wear at the last minute – which everyone loved! Sadly, my shoes were under the table most of the evening, but I knew they were amazing, so that was enough for me…