Posts tagged accessories
EVERYDAY OCCASION WEAR

I am not sure on the term 'occasion wear' because I believe that clothes shouldn't necessarily be saved for special occasions. All too often people have things in their wardrobes that they are saving for best or for a special occasion that never actually comes around.

I like to buy things that can work for all situations from the super smart to the everyday. With the right accessories and styling you can make dresses/outfits work for many different events, parties and everyday life.

This is a great dress - it is on-trend, super fun, makes a statement but isn't over the top. It would be perfect to wear on holiday but equally could be worn to a summer BBQ (+ denim jacket), wedding (+ heels and clutch) or to work (+ a smart jacket).

Straw Winged Tote Bag £29.50 / Cotton Blend Striped Skater Dress £69

There is a lot of lace around this season and this mint green is such a pretty colour. I've teamed it with white pointed flats (very in for summer) and a snakeskin clutch to make it look less traditional. The hem and sleeve length on this dress is really flattering so if you are looking for a pretty, simple, easy to wear summer dress then this is a good one.

Cotton Rich Floral Lace Swing Dress £69 / Leather Block Heel Slingback Flats £49.50 / Faux Leather Chain Shoulder Bag £19.50

This is another easy and very versatile dress - flattering, lightweight with broderie anglaise detailing and a flattering hem length. You could wear this anywhere from beach to wedding.

Pure Cotton Broderie Shift Dress £55 / Aztec Print Hand Embellished Clutch Bag with Strap £25

This post was kindly sponsored by Marks & Spencers. All the clothes, accessories, ideas and theories are entirely my own.

BRAND: VILLAGE ENGLAND

Village England are a handbag brand who specialise in leather bags that are designed to last, that are top quality and luxurious but fairly priced.

The handbag designs are practical and really work well, it is obvious they have been thought about with the wearer's needs in mind. I have a Hempstead (in blue) and the first thing that stuck me about it was how practical it is and how well it works - it fits everything i need and is so easy and comfortable to wear.

Village England was founded by Eddie & Julia who both had previous experience within the handbag industry, they spotted the gap between super high end leather handbags and what the high street had to offer and so launched Village England to fill it.

Here they tell us what we need to know, why they launched and what we should buy from them:

NAME OF BRAND: Village England

DATE IT WAS FOUNDED: First collection was Autumn Winter 2013

BY WHOM IT WAS FOUNDED: Eddie Knevett - ex Head of Accessories at House of Fraser, ex-buyer at Harrods, and Julia Dobson - ex UK boss of Celine, LVMH Group

WHY WAS IT CREATED: There was absolutely nothing English between Radley and Mulberry (and at that stage Radley was going down and Mulberry up - things have stabilised!) AND the mid-price market was totally dominated by American brands, who just do not have our love of leathers. Eddie and I knew how to create gorgeous bags, that look, feel and will wear like a luxury brand, but we wanted to deliver it at a price that was not completely insane.  I feel like many women felt they had to spend thousands to get quality because what they were buying for £400 wasn't wearing well. But it's not true, it just that so many bags at £400 are created to sell profitably at a discount. Not us.

WHAT WE NEED TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR BRAND: We want to make women happy! We want to create the "best friend"  you have at the back of your wardrobe, which looks great and really works for your life.  Gorgeous leathers, linings that feel luxurious, lots of pockets.  We really think about how the bag will function, as much as the form.  As my mother said; "Good haircut, good shoes, good handbag and it doesn't matter what else you wear"

WHAT WE SHOULD BUY FROM YOU: Whatever makes your heart sing.  Buy less often, buy better, and look after them and you'll be handing down your bag to your daughters!

My personal favourites this season - The Haworth, Chelmorton in Leopard, and the Beamish - our best selling bag which we update every season.  Oh and the Wentworth which is a great "normal" purse for cash, coins and credit cards with a chunky pocket on the side which is perfect for your phone and house keys, making it the one "must grab" as you rush out the door (and the wristlet means its safely attached to you!).  For work it's the relaxed Hazelmere tote, and for dressing up the Thurlaston is gorgeous - the clutch we all need in the cupboard for events (and they all have detachable X-body straps so you can wear it as you want).

BRAND: HARLIG

I love scarves - summer ones, winter ones, large wooly ones or small silk ones, i love them all as they are all capable of completely transforming an outfit.

Harlig was founded by a fellow passionate scarf lover Isobelle, who after often wearing scarves herself decided it was time to set up her own brand.

Harlig scarves are manufactured by hand in Gloucestershire and are individually hand-painted in their London studio - as a brand they insist on ethical and sustainable production in the UK.

Harlig designs are colourful and contemporary and the scarves themselves beautiful and of a stunning quality, they are an item that you will keep forever. Here is some more information about the brand: 

NAME OF BRAND/COMPANY: Harlig

DATE IT WAS FOUNDED: May 2016

BY WHOM IT WAS FOUNDED: Isobelle Rudman

WHY WAS IT CREATED: In a nutshell, I am crazy about scarves, I have always loved and collected them, in fact, I am rarely seen without one. Their versatility from a styling and practical perspective, is undeniable and selecting the right one results in an instant outfit transformation. I wanted to share the 'scarf love' and created Harlig to indulge explosions of colour and pattern, onto a luxury silk canvas.

WHAT WE NEED TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR BRAND: We are dedicated advocates of bold colours and brave pattern coupled with UK design and manufacture. Our design process is undertaken by hand, resulting in texture, tangible depth and delicious colour palettes. Harlig printed silk scarves are crafted in the Gloucestershire countryside and finished with luxury, traditional hand-rolled hems. Alongside the printed range are hand-painted silk scarves, individually painted in our London studio, by myself.

After a decade of working and learnings within the demands of corporate fashion sourcing, I insist on ethical production for Harlig, to minimise any negative social and environmental impact. For that reason, Harlig will always work sustainably in the UK, keeping our carbon footprint to a minimum and buying small quantities from trusted suppliers.

WHAT WE SHOULD BUY FROM YOU: The debut range launches with an exploration and distortion of traditional patterns; herringbone, dogtooth and check. The pink dogtooth is an absolute winner for the breadth of colour, but, saying that, we have been also seeing lots of the printed herringbone flying out of the Harlig studio too.

BRAND & SHOP: CARA SHOES

It's boot season again! And this year boots are IN - ankle ones, high heeled ones, over the knee ones, flat ones - you can take your pick there are so many good ones and there is a style to suit everyone and for every occasion. 

I recently got these flat, knee high ones which are great.  They are leather at the front then they have a stretchy back meaning that they always fit perfectly on your leg regardless if you are wearing tights/jeans etc.

My boots are from Cara Shoes, here is more info on them:

NAME OF BRAND/COMPANY: Cara Shoes

DATE IT WAS FOUNDED: First opening in Cheltenham and Bristol in 1985

BY WHOM IT WAS FOUNDED: Jim Sommerville

WHY WAS IT CREATED: With a well established wholesale business already under its belt, Cara London bridged the gap between classic, comfortable women's footwear and fashion forward design. Shopping was a little different 30 years ago, with little choice for women who wanted quality leather footwear that was easily wearable, but not boring. The usual high street offering was a little lack lustre, that's what inspired company director Jim Sommerville to source beautifully made Italian shoes and boots, crafted from high quality leathers, at a reasonable price point. 

WHAT WE NEED TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR BRAND: "Cara London is a British brand with heritage roots. The combination of Italian craftsmanship and contemporary design is the foundation of the brand, with a passionate creative team at its core. Our pieces are made for individuals, who want to break away from the modern fast fashion culture without picking up the luxury price tag. We've inspired women with our confident collections for 30 years, making them feel fabulous, season after season" #CaraLondonUK 

WHAT WE SHOULD BUY FROM YOU: You can find Cara London stores in Henley on Thames, Caversham, Wokingham, Cheltenham, Bristol, Oxford, Berkhamsted, Windsor and Richmond. We sell our own brand Cara London footwear with the addition of other best selling brands like Superga and Ash in selected stores.  In addition to footwear, we now sell clothing online. You can shop brands like Vero Moda, Vila and YAS amongst others and accessories from the popular British brand Helen Moore. 

We think you should buy Coleman, our chunky black leather biker boot, Codex, our classic (cool) school shoe lace up and Carey, school-run-friendly heel height ankle boot which can be dressed up or down. You should definitely check out Helen Moore faux fur accessories.

BRAND: SARAH BAILY

I LOVE Sarah Baily's bags - they are so beautifully made, the quality of the leather is amazing, they are colourful and will get better with age. I have recently got a tasseled cross the body bag that i LOVE (i have worn it every day since i got it) and the clutches are perfect for more smarter occasions - this hot pink and gold one is perfection!

Here is what Sarah - the babe behind the brand wants us to know about her business:

NAME OF BRAND/COMPANY: SARAH BAILY

DATE IT WAS FOUNDED: 10.01.2014

BY WHOM IT WAS FOUNDED: SARAH BAILY

WHY WAS IT CREATED: Because i have a handbag addiction !! and now i can indulge myself in that addiction ! But I really love to make fun, luxury and practical bags from the best leather and materials that will last and get better with age, but at a decent price so women can treat themselves or buy them as gifts for friends, i also wanted to create a simple styles with bold colours and prints that would appeal to a wide range of women

WHAT WE NEED TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR BRAND: The brand started off from me just using the offcuts of the metallic leather star cushions i make for the interior designer Abigail Ahern. I turned these off cuts into really basic zip purses and gave them to my friends and sisters as gifts, soon orders came in from friends of friends for these little zip purses and the brand evolved into what you see now I never thought it would go this far and now I have so many ideas and things i want to do with the brand I can't wait to show you! its going to be bigger , bolder and better as the brand evolves more and more , I'm excited to see how far I can take it!

WHAT WE SHOULD BUY FROM YOU: Anything with tassels!! i love how tassels move with you as you walk, dance or lunge!! Tassels are so sassy and fun but still cool and rock and roll, you can't go wrong with tassels- embrace the trend! Also do you have a travel card wallet yet?? these are my best seller and i love them , they are so bright and fun and they always add a bit of bling to my bus journey! I've just upgraded mine to the new gold and snake print one, its my new fave.

BRAND: CHAMBERS & BEAU

Chambers & Beau hand make bespoke, personalised jewellery - you can customise their pieces with names, messages and words plus you can add charms and pick colours.  I have a personalised (with my children's names) Karma necklace that i love.

The brand was founded by jewellery designer Amy who hand makes the pieces in Devon. Here is what she'd like us to know about Chambers & Beau:

NAME OF BRAND/COMPANY: Chambers & Beau

DATE IT WAS FOUNDED: 2008

BY WHOM IT WAS FOUNDED: Chambers & Beau was set up in 2008 by jewellery designer and mum of two, Amy Elson. Amy has more than ten years experience in the jewellery industry, designing award winning jewellery for many major commercial brands

WHY WAS IT CREATED: Born from the desire to create heirloom quality personalised jewellery that celebrates life.

WHAT WE NEED TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR BRAND: Designed and handmade in her Devon based studio, the collections are full of rustic charm and simple elegance. Many of the pieces are bespoke and have been created by the customer. The personal touches with the addition of hand stamped words transforms each piece into a treasured keepsake that appeals to all ages.

WHAT WE SHOULD BUY FROM YOU: The boho/tribal collection is particularly popular and great for the layered necklace look. The friendship bracelets for a pop of colour in the coming winter months and the message bangles for sentiment with style.

LEOPARD PRINT LOVE

So as you've probably noticed i am a leopard print lover. I wear leopard print as a neutral ie. i believe that it goes with everything and can spice up and add cool to an otherwise plain outfit. For this reason i think its good to have leopard print accessories and coats, that way you can wear them with jeans, dresses, colours, blacks, patterns etc. 

Here are a few leopard print things that have caught my eye lately and that i think would go with everything you put them with.

TOPSHOP £89 / French Sole £95 / Sarah Baily £115 / ASOS £8 / Happy Plugs £34.99 / Whistles £45

BRAND: BELL & FOX

I am a big fan of bags - i love all different styles and shapes.  I usually have a few everyday bags on the go that tend to be cross body bags or shoulder bags - i look for ones that go with everything but are a bit different, are great quality so they last, are practical and i only invest in one if i love it.

I recently discovered a new leather bag brand called Bell & Fox - the bags are super good quality and the designs are classic but also modern. These would be good investment bags that would last a lifetime.  I love the round one and the fox one.  

Here is what Sarah the designer and founder of the brand says about them:

NAME OF BRAND/COMPANY: bell&fox

DATE IT WAS FOUNDED: first collection launched for AW15

BY WHOM IT WAS FOUNDED: Sarah Edwards

WHY WAS IT CREATED: After completing a degree in Footwear & Accessories Design back in 1992, I have worked as a designer and buyer for a number of brands including Clarks, TopShop, Monsoon, Reiss and Radley to name just a few. Having gained over 24 years of experience, I had a ’now or never’ moment to start my own brand!

WHAT WE NEED TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR BRAND: bell&fox is a new brand, a new collection of contemporary, luxurious leather handbags and accessories designed with a British spirit, for the woman with effortless style. Launched in AW15, I wanted to channel my years experience within premium accessories design to form my own brand. Inspired by my passion to create a modern collection of leather handbags and accessories, combining style with function to form a collection of accessible luxury, bell&fox was born. Clean lines and great quality combined with functionality are the definition of bell&fox. I love effortless style that works with our now more relaxed way of life and dress code, and have drawn on my British heritage and passion of vintage silhouettes and detailing to create a range of luxurious leather bags and accessories that can be worn on any occasion. As your hardest working accessory, quality and function are key – my bags are made in full grain leather with interior mobile phone and tablet pockets designed for a modern lifestyle.

WHAT WE SHOULD BUY FROM YOU: I love designs that are versatile, and work! My Wristlet Clutch works as a clutch both with or without the wristlet, then with the wristlet removed can be used as an iPad mini or kindle case and also as a pouch for make-up or all of those bits and pieces that I seem to need to carry around. My Fox Bag works as a cross body bag, and also as a wristlet clutch – mine has had many many outings over the last few months! My Canteen Bag is a good enough size to fit what you might meed for an average day. My Bucket Bag recently held my purse, keys, phone, snacks, water, tissues and a jumper for a day trip out with my niece and nephew – its like the tardis! And my Hobo has a slip pocket inside for an iPad for those days when I need to go to carry even more. Whilst I sometimes need my large purse to carry all of my cards and nonsense, my credit card purse if perfect for when I only need a few cards, notes and coins. Can you tell I love them all?!

LEOPARD PRINT SUNGLASSES

I LOVE sunglasses, i have loads of them - my cheapest cost a few pounds and my most expensive over £100(ish). I have whacky ones and serious ones - I seem to wear the whacky ones more.

Just when i thought i'd got a piece of leopard print everything - i realised i hadn't yet got any leopard print shades.  Well now i have!

Mine are by Australian sunglasses brand Le Specs.  Le Specs was an 80s brand that was re-launched in 2006, i'd say most of their frames are in the whacky/fun shades category, but they are reasonably priced and the lenses are great quality. 

Here are some other leopard print sunglasses - in case like me you realised you are lacking in something leopard print for your face.

  Sheriff & Cherry £125 / Dolce & Gabbana £155 / Warehouse £16 / Stella McCartney £164

CROSS THE BODY BAGS

I LOVE bags.  At the moment i'm really liking carrying a cross the body bag (with wallet, keys, lipstick, phone etc. in it).  Then all the kids stuff i put in a canvas bag under the buggy.

I only buy leather bags - i always regret it if i buy fake leather. Always.

If you are looking for a cross the body bag here are some that if i could in anyway justify buying for myself i would. 

& Other Stories (who make loads of amazing, good quality leather bags) £65 / Zara £50 / Valentino (dreaming) £930 / Whistles £195 / Rebecca Minkoff £117 (was £235) / Sarah Baily (colours made to order) £97 / Topshop £30