Valentino Dresses and Autumn Leaves

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A couple of weeks ago, I had just returned from New York and was in need of caffeine and a girl date to help overcome my jetlag. My friend had just received some excellent news, so I put on my favourite new dress and we met for hot cocoa and cake at a charming new café in Cambridge to celebrate.

As it was such a beautiful day and Cambridge was looking so splendid in all it’s autumnal glory, we walked through the colleges after lunch to savour those perfect last moments of autumn. The last of the leaves seemed to be swirling on the breeze and falling that weekend, blanketing all the college gardens in a carpet of red and gold.

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As usual, we had my friend’s secret fellows garden all to ourselves (a heavenly escape from the tourists in the form of an acre of sprawling lawns and manicured English flower gardens and a canopy of old trees behind her grand college), so there was only one thing to do: act like children and throw autumn leaves at each other for the rest of the afternoon.

This dress had been on my wishlist for months and months (I have a RED Valentino addiction), so I finally bought it the moment it went on sale on Shopbop. I realise that a Valentino dress this special should really be reserved for dinner at nice restaurants and birthday parties and nights at the theatre rather than throwing leaves and twirling through Cambridge colleges, but I live by the motto that one’s favourite things should be enjoyed every day. So – true to my word – I wore it to the museum and for a rainy afternoon on the Upper East Side when I was in New York a few weeks ago, for a long walk through Central Park, at brunch with my friend at the Delaunay in London, paired with a black tuxedo jacket at the office, and just about everywhere in between.

Because really, life feels that little bit more wonderful when you’re wearing a dress that makes you want to twirl.

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Wearing: RED Valentino dress (also available at Net-a-Porter) // J. Crew Necklace // Jacquie Aiche ring // Isabel Marant ‘Poppy’ heels (also available at Matches or similar (cheaper) style here) // Wolford tights (also available at ASOS and Selfridges). Beauty note: Essie ‘Big Spender’ nail polish // Estee Lauder ‘Fuschia Flash’ lip lacquer.

Do you save your favourite things for special occasions, or do you make your own excuse to dress up?

Love, Miss B xx

 

Walking the Brooklyn Bridge in Sparkly Shoes

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There are some things that are cliches for a reason: because they’re just so utterly wonderful. For me, no matter how many ‘Top 10 Things to do in New York!’ lists the Brooklyn Bridge winds up on (and the throngs of tourists that come with the package), a visit to New York never feels complete without an homage to that spectacular Manhattan skyline.

So a couple of weekends ago in New York, Nicolette and I headed to the Williamsburg waterfront for brunch (I say ‘brunch’, but really I just mean a delicious, but not at all nutritionally-balanced combination of grilled cheese and salted caramel s’mores and hot chai) and treasure-hunting at the Brooklyn Flea Market (long-time readers may remember my post from the same spot here). Afterwards we took the ferry a few minutes up the East River to Dumbo, where we made our way around to the foot of the Bridge, stopping for hot apple cider and a ride on Jane’s Carousel (as evidenced here, this was the best use of $2, ever) on the way.

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Although I may take my tourism very seriously, you’ll never find me dressed like one (I’m allergic to the thought of very thought of the puffer jacket/sneakers/backpack look that seems to be the uniform of tourists the world-over). Instead, a chic trench coat and a smattering of sparkles is much more my default ‘playing tourist’ style.

This Coach trench coat (which I wore constantly all autumn) proved to be the perfect travel companion; it goes with everything, is at once chic and comfortable, and not so precious that I mind using it as a makeshift picnic blanket in Central Park or squashing it into my suitcase. Here, I teamed it with an old favourite embellished silk organza tee, rose-tinted sunglasses (for watching the golden sunset over the Manhattan skyscrapers from our vantage point on the Bridge), and my favourite New York souvenir: these gold spangled heels from the J. Crew Collection store on Madison Avenue that are actually comfortable enough to walk in for miles and miles.

As we crossed the Bridge, the sun sank behind the Manhattan skyline, casting all of the skyscrapers golden as Lady Liberty looked on against the pink sunset on the horizon. Afterwards, we made our way to Chinatown for dim sum at Nom Wah tea parlour, a hearty karaoke session and impromptu midnight manicures.

It was the perfect New York day.

A Girl, A Style _ Walking the Brooklyn Bridge in Sparkly Heels 8A Girl, A Style _ Walking the Brooklyn Bridge in Sparkly Heels 3Wearing: Coach trench coat (c/o), J. Crew shoes, Chanel 2.55 bag, Whistles blouse (past season), Citizens of Humanity coated jeans (also available here) (c/o), Elizabeth and James ‘Francis’ sunglasses, Mimco necklace, bracelets and flower ring (past season), Jacquie Aiche heart ring, Topshop brooch (arrow), Accessorize pin (Statue of Liberty). Beauty note: ASOS bow clip (in hair), Essie ‘Bahama Mama’ polish, MAC ‘Hue’ lipstick.

Love, Miss B xx

Photos of me by Nicolette

Michael Kors + The Perfect Boucle Jacket

I was delighted to have been asked by Michael Kors and Selfridges to be involved in their latest campaign, How I Wear My Kors. Regular readers may remember one of my previous collaborations with the brand here, and when dear Michael asks, the only answer is “of course!” This time around, they again wanted to spotlight real women in their everyday lives. So, true to brief, I raced straight to Selfridges after work, picked up a Kors bag and did a twirl on the street for the camera, then went straight back to my life minutes later. Dividing my time between my day job (in politics) and this blog means that on most weekdays, I look to pieces that can easily transition between all the events I cram into my schedule. I leave home in the morning and will usually be in the office until late, with perhaps a quick meeting squeezed into a lunch break and then a press event or fashion dinner after work before heading home. Ordinarily, twice-daily wardrobe change is usually nonsensical (although I have been known to slip out of a suit and into a pink Valentino dress in the bathroom when I have a special event on, and I am sure my colleagues would also refer you to the many, many pairs of heels stacked under my desk in boxes). So instead I balance feminine dresses, silk blouses and jewels with smart jackets, and bags that mean business to make outfits that work just as easily in the office as they do at a fashion event. In this case, it was an easy cream silk blouse (the sort of go-with-everything piece that all women should have in their wardrobe), sleek black jeans (which I can get away with on those days I don’t have meetings if I dress them up with neat heels and a jacket), sandals I can actually run in, my usual layers of jewels’ the perfect chain-trim boucle jacket (which seems to look just as good either dressed up or down), and this business-like tote bag which managed to fit my iPad, a pair of flats, a magazine and everything else I insist on carrying around every day.

Wearing: Michael Kors jacket, Michael Kors silk blouse and tote bag (borrowed), J. Brand coated jeans (also available here), Kenneth Jay Lane pearl necklace, Jimmy Choo sunglasses (c/), Zara sandals (sold out), Michael Kors watch (also available here and here), Mimco bracelet (past season), Chanel camellia ring (past season). Beauty note: MAC ‘Ruby Woo’ lipstick.

Does your wardrobe need to take you from the office to evening events (and everywhere in between)? I’d love to know your savvy tips if so!

Love, Miss B xx

Photos by Jonathan Pryce