My Week, My Style

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One of the best parts of reaching my thirties is that – for the most part – I’ve figured out what I like, and what works for me; both in style, as in life (there were some seriously questionable periods in my teens and early twenties when, trying to find my own identity, I embraced every new trend with varying degrees of failure). By now, I know that my look is part Parisian romantic-meets-uptown feminine, part Oxbridge preppy; classic, but always with a fun twist.

But just as I’m not defined by any one thing, I want my wardrobe to be as adaptable as I am to keep up with my strange double-life and whatever my schedule throws up each week. So when Boden, one of my favourite British brands (and always one of my Go-To’s for chic workwear, breton tops and the cosiest cashmere), asked me to show how I dress for my week – whatever that looks like – I was only too happy to oblige.

Read how I style my week below, and the full profile over on the Boden page.

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Wearing: Sally coat // Lovely sweater // Sophia shirtdress // Drawstring bag // Court shoes  (all items c/- Boden)

Weekday:

As long-time readers probably know, this blog is not my sole-professional pursuit (obviously; otherwise I might actually manage to post more than once per week…!). Whereas most of my internet pals have long since quit their jobs to blog full-time, it’s important to me to maintain both of my passions, which is why to this day I still fly the ‘slashie’ flag and maintain my political career. Yes, it probably makes me the most peculiar blogger at Fashion Week (and I’m fairly sure I win the annual award for most pink worn in Westminster, ever), but I prefer to make my own rules when it comes to my professional path.

But while I mean business, I don’t believe in playing by boring sartorial rules of sartorial dressing. Unless I have a very important meeting or have overdosed on ‘The West Wing‘ the night before, you’ll rarely find me in a suit; instead I favour sharp tailored trousers, feminine blouses, and a faithful collection of go-anywhere LBDs teamed with accessories that make it my own. Hey, if leopard print heels are good enough for our new Prime Minister…

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Wearing: Abingdon trench coat // Carolyn dress // Saddle bag // Court shoes // Sadie sunglasses (all items c/- Boden)

Weekend:

By the time the weekend rolls around, I can’t wait to see the back of the weekday commute and stay put in my neighbourhood for a couple of days. Cambridge is especially perfect in the Autumn, and this time of year is usually a glorious mix of weekends spent lazing in secret gardens, punting on the river, outdoor performances of Shakespeare and start-of-term college events with my boyfriend.

I’ve probably watched ‘Love Story‘ one too many times lately, but I’m really feeling that preppy 70s Ivy League vibe this season. I love how the tan saddle bag and tasselled boots add a new (old) twist on my usual Autumnal weekend-in-Cambridge uniform of preppy navy blazers + breton stripes.

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Wearing: Navy tweed blazer // Soho jeans // Striped breton top // Suede boots // Saddle bag // Selma sunglasses (all items c/- Boden)

Please tell me I’m not the only one around here with a strange double-life (and the dichotomous wardrobe to match)? I’d love to hear how you all divide your time between your professional and personal pursuits!

Love, Miss B xx

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Post in partnership with Boden #MyWeek. Photos by Joe Galvin

Back to School Wardrobe Basics

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It’s that time of year when an crisp fall breeze blows through, the students start piling back into their Cambridge colleges, and the lazy days and floaty white dresses of summer are slowly pushed aside in favour of a fresh new look for the season and all my favourite autumnal pursuits; bike rides, afternoons in the museum, and hours spent reading in my favourite spots around town.

Come September, I start to rotate my seasonal wardrobe (feminine sundresses and sandals are slowly packed away to make room for cashmere and denim) and find myself craving the preppy Cambridge sensibility I always seem to turn to at this time of year.

I love the look of those ‘back to school’ basics; classic blue jeans teamed with striped tees, navy blazers and crisp oxford shirts. Although I’ll add a few more trend-led items and replace a few of my most well-worn pieces each season, these are the same basic wardrobe staples I have been wearing for years.

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While some things may have changed in my wardrobe over the years (these days it more about quality over quantity, and staying true to my own style vs being swayed by every passing trend Vogue tells me I should buy into), others will always remain the same. I still want to team a new pair of shoes with my lived-in old jeans, or a new party skirt with a classic shirt.

I’ve been loyal to Gap since my university days, and for over a decade they’ve always been one of my first stops for the most comfortable jeans I own, the perfect basic tees, and the Oxford shirts that for form the basis of my 9-5 wardrobe. I’m thrilled to be collaborating with them this season to prove that regardless of where you are in life, the classic never go out of style. And really, it’s nice to know that whether you’re 18 or 48, there are some things that always look and feel right.

a-girl-a-style-_-do-you-1a-girl-a-style-_-cambridge-prepsterWearing: Gap striped tee (comes in 4 colours) c/- // Gap ‘girlfriend’ jeans c/- // Gap gingham shirt c/- // ASOS hat // Chanel bag // Mulberry shoes (old, but similar style here) // Kenneth Jay Lane necklace (similar style here) // Michael Kors watch // Karen Walker sunglasses // ‘Everybody Rise’ book.

From Friday 16th – 23rd September, I’m excited to be taking over the windows of the Cambridge and London Oxford Street flagship stores, and you’ll also find a curated selection of my favourite pieces for the season ahead in-store (those very wardrobe staples I reach for year after year, and which never go out of style). I hope you love the pieces as much as I do; I know your wardrobe will thank you. And if you’re visiting either store, please snap a picture of my windows, rails or anything you buy and tag me (@agirlastyle) + #DoYou on Twitter or Instagram; I’d love to see!

What are your timeless classic wardrobe basics that you turn to year after year? I’d love to know if we’re on the same page.

Love, Miss B xx

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Post in partnership with Gap #DoYou. Photos by Joe Galvin

 

7 Things for the Weekend

A Girl, A Style _ Brooklyn New YorkWearing: By Malene Birger dress (old, but similar style here) // Valentino bag // Karen Walker sunglasses // Kenneth Jay Lane bracelets (similar style here) // Dune sandals.

Hello lovelies! The past two weeks have absolutely flown by around here. I’ve been trying to make the most of the sunshine and have been cramming in as many hours outdoors as possible (hours spent reading in the park, having picnics, and weekend brunch outdoors with friends). This Sunday I’m so excited to be heading back to New York for a week! I’m actually going for a press trip with a few fellow bloggers to see Michael Buble (*faints with excitement*) and then I’ve extended my stay by a few days to catch up with my friends and just soak up the city. If you have any suggestions for great new cafes to try, your favourite things to do in the city, or how to score tickets to Hamilton, please leave me a comment below!

1. Is the weather going to be nice where you are? There’s only a month left of summer so make sure you get out and enjoy it. Last weekend y cousin came to stay and we got ice cream, lazed by the river, had a picnic and saw an excellent performance of Shakespeare’s ‘As You Like It’ in the Kings College Fellows’ garden at sunset. It was just perfect. If you’re in Cambridge in the next couple of weeks, try to get to one of the productions of the Cambridge Shakespeare Festival (they perform a different play in each of the college gardens and it’s one of our very favourite annual summer traditions).

2. I have lots of beautiful perfumes, but when I wear this fragrance, I literally get stopped on the street to ask what I’m wearing. I’ve never been to the Mediterranean Riviera, but I imagine this is how summer holidays there must smell. I have a major thing for Aerin (both the woman and the brand), but this is by far my favourite from her perfume collection.

3. I had a bit of a pre-emptive packing panic ahead of New York this morning and ordered a couple of new summer dresses, including this cu-ute little white number. I’m really not ready to say goodbye to summer dressing just yet, and thankfully it’s meant to be scorching hot everyday that I’m there, so I only want to wear dresses that pack well and that I can just throw on with sandals, sunglasses and little more.

4. Filling my home with art and prints I love is proving to be a very slow process (mostly because it takes me forever to get around to framing everything), but I’m gradually getting there. I just added this marvellous print to my collection and can’t wait to hang it by my desk (I also love the ‘London‘ and ‘Paris‘ prints).

5. Lipstick is one of my ultimate treats, and I recently indulged in two of the new ‘Hot Lips’ collection by Charlotte Tilbury (the 60s pink Bosworth’s Beauty + the perfect nude Kim KW) and they’re just as good as the hype. So good in fact that I’m going to go back for the fuchsia Electric Poppy.

6. When I travel, I always try and take a book set in the same city as the one I’m visiting. I bought this book from Strand Books (one of my favourite bookstores in the world) when I was in New York last May, and was so enthralled I’d finished it by the time my return flight touched down at Heathrow. It was so good, I’ve just ordered the second book for this trip (and will pick up another New York-themed book while I’m out there).

7. Every September I get that ‘back to school’ feeling and become obsessed with organising everything; life admin, working through my absurdly bulging ‘to do’ lists, and getting back on track with my New Year’s resolutions. Although I put all my appointments in my phone calendar, I still love keeping a proper agenda for scribbling all my thoughts, ideas and daily lists. I’ve just ordered this 16 month 2016-17 Kate Spade version (my annual favourite), but I also love this striped version.

P.S. Don’t forget you can follow me over on InstagramTwitterPinterest and Facebook for daily updates + catch my latest posts (in case you missed them) here: 

Life: On seeking (and finding) that summer mindset + how I’ve been having the best summer yet
Travel: A weekend spent exploring beautiful Brussels
Style: A technicolour rainbow on the amazing island of Burano, Venice
Style: Weekend brunch dates in Notting Hill + the perfect little white dress for summer

As always, please do let me know what you’re buying, doing or enjoying this week in the comments below (I always love reading your favourites).  I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Love, Miss B xx

 

How to Have the Best Summer Ever: on Seeking (and Finding) that Summer State of Mind

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Remember those heady days of our youth when school would break up for the year and we’d have the whole summer stretched out before us like a sea of possibilities? Honestly, I had forgotten what that feeling was like.

Between my university years (when I’d spend the entire summer holidays either working or getting as many internships under my belt as I could), and adulthood (when years of being a type-A workaholic had tricked me into thinking I couldn’t possibly take a proper vacation or things would fall apart at work in my absence), summer had a habit of slipping by before I had even paused to take a moment to enjoy it. Other than a few lovely Sunday adventures and afternoon picnics in the park, too often I’d over-schedule my life to such a degree or feel so guilty taking any downtime just for me that ‘summer’ became something I merely admired from my office window at work (I must sound like a bundle of fun right about now…)

So this summer, rather than planning my weekends and evenings to within an inch of my life, I did precisely the opposite: with the exception of work, I have virtually cleared my diary for the entire duration of summer. My usual ‘bucket list’ (you can see last year’s list here, should you need a little inspiration for your own adventures) was this year replaced by just three simple goals:

1) when the weather is nice, get outside and enjoy it (instead of spending entire weekends doing battle with my inbox and life admin ‘to do’ list); 
2) give yourself permission to take time away from work to travel and explore new places;
3) do things I enjoy when I feel like it with people I love. 

And you know what happened? I’ve been having the very best summer of my life.

Because rather than carefully organising my free time to maximise the fun (there’s nothing that says ‘fun’ quite like military-level planning…) but then being horribly disappointed when it inevitably rained that day or friends had to cancel, I am learning to be truly impromptu and listen to what I need or feel like that week. When the stress of ‘Brexit‘ got all too much a couple of months ago, I escaped to Italy on a whim (I couldn’t seem to relax at home so joined my boyfriend in Bologna where he had a conference, and we turned it into a mini vacation); it was neither expensive or planned-out and yet it turned out to be one of the best trips of my life. The other day we saw the weather forecast looked good and found a great deal on a hotel, so booked a last-minute weekend in Brussels (and again had such a fun time).

Closer to home, having my evenings free has also meant saying ‘yes’ to things like punting on the river, impromptu dinner parties, or dates with friends (that I normally have to schedule months in advance because we’re all so busy). I found myself blowing off sunny Friday afternoons (which these days are ordinarily reserved for working on my blog) to get ice cream and sit by the river talking for hours on end with Caroline. The other day I met my dear friend Sasha for a last-minute trip to the theatre (after trying unsuccessfully to coordinate our schedules for about a year) and when we were having such a fun time that I literally missed my last train home, rather than suffering first-grade anxiety (as would be my usual response), I just went back to her place for a sleepover followed by brunch and a long walk through Regents Park the next morning.

And just today, when all my afternoon blog meetings were cancelled at the very last-minute, rather than getting stressed about the wasted time and journey to London, I met my friend Charlotte for a walk in St James’s Park (we were meant to go to an exhibition at the Tate but the weather was so glorious we both decided it would have been rude to be indoors and so changed our plans). When she had to dash off to get her train, I carried on lazing in the park beneath the shade of a an enormous fig tree to just watch the clouds float by and write this post (rather than racing home to work from my desk or having an internal meltdown that my post wasn’t up by lunchtime, as I usually would have done).

And so it was while sitting beneath this very tree, giving myself permission to just spend a couple of hours relaxing, that I realised I had accidentally struck upon that summer state of mind I spent years trying to find (or in my business, forgetting to even look for).

Whilst I still spend many a sunny day admiring the blue sky through the window at my office rather than on the beach, I’ve learned that the elusive goal of having ‘the best summer ever’ is not just about working through a ‘to do’ list of fun (or worse, being so busy I forget to make any time for fun at all).

But rather, as I have discovered this year, it’s about a state of mind: that vacation feeling of having a vague idea of what we want to see and do, but generally going where we like – at our own pace – when the mood strikes us. It’s saying ‘yes’ to new experiences when the opportunity presents itself, making new memories and exploring new places (or familiar places, from a new perspective, and playing tourist in our own city), having impromptu adventures whenever the sun is shining, or simply just spending the entire day lazing in the park if what we really feel like doing is nothing at all. In the first instance that means having the schedule that allows freedom (none of my usual type-A tendencies allowed, and of course it helps that we don’t have children to throw into the scheduling equation). But more inportantly, it is about giving ourselves the permission to just have fun and do as we please.

A concept I’d long-since forgotten from the days of my youth, but which I’m so happy to have rediscovered at last.

Here’s to the maintaining that vacation mindset, all summer long!

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend. And however you find yourself spending the rest of your summer, I hope it’s the best one yet!

Love, Miss B xx