Summer Picnic on the River Cam

A Girl, A Style _ Picnic at Kings College, CambridgeA Girl, A Style _ Sunday Picnic Cambridge Satchel Co Cloud Bag

Hello from Cambridge! Sincere apologies for the sporadic posting around here; this month is proving extra hectic between election campaigning (don’t forget to vote today!), wedding planning (and my inability to delegate anything), and trying to finish all my work projects in time to be be able to take a couple of weeks off to spend with friends and family (who will soon be arriving from all around the world).

Although these are all excellent reasons to be busy, it hasn’t left much room for downtime. Feeling overwhelmed and knowing my tendency to keep going until I burnout, I knew I needed to carve out a little time for self-care in the form of Vitamin D and switching off (read: ignoring my 7 inboxes for just a moment). So on the weekend amidst wedding admin at our venue, I grabbed my boyfriend, threw together a hasty picnic, and headed for the river to spend even an hour reading a book in the sunshine together.

A Girl, A Style _ Summer PicnicA Girl, A Style _ Eugenia Kim Daydreamer Straw HatA Girl, A Style _ Kings College CambridgeA Girl, A Style _ Cambridge Satchel French Blue Cloud BagA Girl, A Style _ Anthropologie Kinsey Gingham Dress

In summer I love those sunny, lazy days where you just switch off, throw on something that makes you smile, and spend the entire afternoon lazing in the park. And while this wasn’t quite one of those gloriously leisurely days, it was still exactly what I needed.

While it’s all too easy to wax lyrical about the importance of making room for fun (and I know blogs – including my own – can perpetuate this myth that everyone else is having the time of the lives whilst we’re chained to our desk / doing laundry / running around after children / etc.), sometimes even taking time out can feel like just another task on an already manageable ‘to do’ list.

But as our mini afternoon picnic reminded me, no matter how hectic things are – indeed, especially when things are hectic – it is so important to take an hour or two to just ignore everything you should be doing, get outside (instead of admiring the sunshine through your office window), and do whatever makes you feel happy. You’ll help avoid that dreaded feeling of ‘overwhelm’, make some new memories (because no amount of email-replying will do that), and come back feeling more calm and refreshed.

So here’s to us all remembering to put self-care at the top of the ‘to do’ list and carving out some indulgently lazy time every day.

A Girl, A Style _ Picnic on the River CamA Girl, A Style _ Picnic at Kings College Cambridge

Wearing: Anthropologie dress c/- (I also bought this similar version) // J.Crew sandals // Eugenia Kim hat (past season but similar style here + inexpensive version here) // Cambridge Satchel Co bag c/- (currently on 50% off here) // Anthropologie sunglasses // Kenneth Jay Lane bracelets // John Lewis picnic basket // Marks & Spencer picnic plates // H&M picnic rug (actually a linen tablecloth!)
Beauty: Deborah Lippmann ‘Naked’ nailpolish // Chantecaille ‘Sheen’ illuminator c/- // Clarins self tan (so good + smells like fig) // Charlotte Tilbury ‘Kim KW’ lipstick.

What are your best strategies for carving out downtime when your schedule threatens to overwhelm you? All tips gratefully received!

Love, Miss B xx

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Photos by Joe Galvin

Spring (Shirt)dressing: How to Dress for Those In-Between Days

A Girl, A Style _ Spring in Notting Hill 2A Girl, A Style _ The Blue Shirt Dress

Ahh, England in May; what a beautiful temptress she is. Spring is playing its usual tricks of luring us in with gloriously sunny days one week, and then – just when you’ve fallen madly in love with all those blossoms and blue skies – surprising us with frigid temperatures and blustery showers the next. All this makes knowing what to wear each day a tricky game of wardrobe roulette, and because I’m a foolish optimist and pack away all my winter clothes as soon as the first blossoms appear on the trees, I’m often left shivering through my determination to dress for the season rather than the weather forecast.

So while I’ve mostly been living in my favourite summer jeans teamed with a white blouse, some days only a dress will do. Although I refuse to wear tights after April, I still want some coverage until summer kicks in (I’m optimistic, but not crazy), so it’s all about the dress with sleeves. Much like pockets, a ‘machine washable’ tag (please tell me I’m not the only one who forgets that I’ve dropped clothes at the dry cleaner…), or a subtle ruffle, sleeves are almost guaranteed to make me like a dress more. Especially good if, like me, you spent the winter hibernating and forgot to do any push-ups.

A Girl, A Style _ The Blue Shirt DressA Girl, A Style _ Vila Blue ShirtdressA Girl, A Style _ J.Crew Paint Splatter Blush Signet Bag

I love the effortlessness of a cotton shirtdress; just throw it on, dress it up with pearls and heels, or down with a belt and trainers, and you’re done. I used to have a white version I wore to death, so had been on the hunt for a replacement for this spring.

I must have ordered 15+ versions in pale blue from at least five stores – some just right on the fabric but wrong on the cut, or vice versa (too flimsy, too sheer, too short, too frumpy…) – so knew this was the best of the bunch. A total bargain, and bonus points for the peplum frill (so you needn’t worry if everyone can see your knickers at the back) and the fact it looks even better a little crumpled as the day goes on. When the clouds look ominous I just throw a beige trench coat over the top, and I’m ready for just about every situation: meetings at the office, brunch with friends, or a day of running errands around town.

Spring dressing at its simplest!

A Girl, A Style _ J.Crew Signet Bag Paint SplatterA Girl, A Style _ Spring in Notting Hill

Wearing: Vila shirt dress // J.Crew bag (+ in plain blush here) // Mulberry shoes (old, but similar style here) // Kenneth Jay Lane necklace (similar style here) // Louis Vuitton brooch // Celine sunglasses c/- // BHLDN earrings.
Beauty: Charlotte Tilbury ‘Red Carpet Red’ lipstick // Clarins blush c/- // Deborah Lippmann ‘Blue Orchid’ nail polish.

What are your wardrobe staples for this sartorially confusing in-between months?

Love, Miss B xx

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Photos by Joe Galvin

How To Be Both: On Style + Intellect

A Girl, A Style _ Little Black JacketA Girl, A Style _ Marc Jacobs BlouseJ.Crew jacket // Marc Jacobs blouse // J.Crew skirt // Chanel bag // Charlotte Olympia heels // Celine sunglasses // Charlotte Tilbury lipstick

This post was originally meant to be about those wardrobe staples I rely on – the little black skirt, a white silk blouse, my well-worn Chanel bag – but lately I’ve had so many emails from younger readers asking for advice on how to juggle an interest in style and fashion with their first job, a career, or a social conscience. This somewhat took me by surprise, until I remembered that I was that girl not so long ago.

When I landed my first big internship during university – working for a US Senator on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. – I had no idea how to dress for my first entry into my future career in politics. So the week before my departure, in a panic and on a student budget, I raced to every shop desperately trying to find anything that would make me look serious, intelligent, and like less of an outsider than I was.

A Girl, A Style _ Little Black Jacket 5A Girl, A Style _ Little Black Jacket 3A Girl, A Style _ Little Black Jacket 7A Girl, A Style _ Charlotte Olympia Kitty Heels + Chanel Timeless Bag

I knew no women in politics from which to ask advice, there was no such thing as style bloggers, and there were as yet no political dramas that portrayed strong female characters who were both stylish and brilliant. So I presumed that to be taken seriously, I should show up looking as ‘serious’ as possible, and eschew any signs of femininity – lest an interest in fashion marked me out as frivolous. My suitcase was full of cheap black suits, boring shirts, and ‘sensible’ shoes I thought would make me look professional. I didn’t look ‘more intelligent’, I just looked like an 18 year old trying to dress like a boring 40-something. And because I love you all, here is the hideous photographic proof to illustrate my point.

I went far in that internship, and it opened so many doors when I got back to Australia and started my career in politics. But I wasn’t noticed because I was wearing sensible shoes and no makeup; it was because I showed up at 8am each morning and didn’t leave until 8pm, volunteered for more and more responsibility, worked hard, and knew my stuff. Wearing lipstick and a pretty blouse wouldn’t have changed my success in that role (and for what it’s worth, I was still sexually harassed by two male Senators regardless of what I was wearing, simply because I was young and female – not because of how I was dressed).

Of course it’s important to be well-groomed and mindful of dress codes in the workplace, and in much the same way you wouldn’t wear a silk ballgown to the beach, or denim shorts to afternoon tea at Claridge’s, some things will never be office-appropriate. But over the years, thanks in part to having more female role models to look up to, but also due to my growing confidence in my own abilities, I learned that you don’t have to sacrifice your own style, feminininty or personality to be taken seriously. I still wear a suit from time to time (though now it’s a black tuxedo that I team it with a silk top + a great necklace rather than an ugly shirt), but nowadays you’re more likely to find me in a dress or a skirt in which I feel like myself.

A Girl, A Style _ Little Black Jacket 2A Girl, A Style _ Chanel + J.Crew Lady JacketWearing: J.Crew jacket (I also love this spot versionthis navy version) // Marc Jacobs blouse // J.Crew skirt (past season, but very similar style here) // Chanel bag // Charlotte Olympia heels (also in flats + this summer version which I’m definitely going to need) // Wolford tights // Celine sunglasses // Michael Kors watch // BaubleBar earrings c/- // Chanel brooch.
Beauty note: Charlotte Tilbury ‘Carina’s Love’ lipstick // Deborah Lippmann ‘Shape of my Heart’ nail polish. 

Because an interest in fashion and intellect are not mutually exclusive, and a preference for Louboutins over sensible footwear does not diminish the fact I have three university degrees, graduated top of my politics class, or have successfully negotiated a bill through Parliament.

Putting on a pair of cute heels for the office won’t lessen your intelligence, caring about fashion doesn’t make you less of a feminist, and you won’t be taken less seriously for wearing lipstick to a political rally.

So here’s to all the brilliant, smart, and politically-aware girls in the great outfits! You deserve to be there as much as anyone.

Love, Miss B xx

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Photos by Joe Galvin

Faux Fur Security Blankets + Coffee Dates

A Girl, A Style _ The Faux Fur JacketA Girl, A Style _ Cambridge Satchel Co Cloud Bag + Fitzbillies Chelsea Bun

Well, we made it through January! Between the current state of world political affairs (which I just can’t, and won’t ignore) and losing my beloved Uncle to cancer, it definitely goes down as one of the most emotionally taxing months I’ve known for a while. But no matter how trying the times, there’s always a way through. For me, that means reverting to my most introverted tendencies and taking it one day at a time until the storm passes; temporarily eschewing anything not immediately urgent or essential in favour of quiet hibernation, familiar comforts and small pleasures, and doing what I can to help make things a bit better for others worse off than me (as my readers so wisely reminded me, there’s no shame in admitting that life isn’t always Instagram-perfect, and the world is definitely not perfect right now).

While the January might be the most depressing month of the year in the Northern Hemisphere when it comes to the weather, those cold, dark nights do make for the perfect guilt-free excuse to embrace cosy hibernation and battery-resetting JOMO (the joy of missing out, or not having to fill your diary with important events and exciting adventures).

A Girl, A Style _ Faux Fur JacketA Girl, A Style _ The White Fur JacketA Girl, A Style _ Fitzbillies, Cambridge Instagram

So while I could quite happily tuck myself indoors until winter is over with a stack of books, a Netflix queue of old movies, and a coffee table laden with Diptyque candles, the reality is that I have an office to go to (and a heaving workload to go with it), political causes to rally behind, wedding plans to make, and friends to see (who probably think I’ve gone and fallen off the face of the earth).

And if I can’t literally wrap myself in a furry blanket indoors, I’ll be wearing the closest thing I can (on days when a duvet and/or pyjamas are not socially acceptable). This outfit is pretty much the lazy girl’s guide to cold-weather glamour: a fur jacket that looks polished but feels like a cosy bear hug, a pair of black jeans that go with anything and require zero thought, red lipstick (to give the appearance of having made an effort), and a couple of fun accessories to make you smile. Fact (according to me): it’s scientifically proven your day will be 20% better when accompanied by sparkly shoes (that you can walk in) and a whimsical bag (that can still fit all the essentials).

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to need another flat white and a blowdry to face February front-on.

A Girl, A Style _ The Best Coffee Shop in CambridgeA Girl, A Style _ Cambridge Satchel Co Star Print Cloud Bag

Wearing: Cambridge Satchel Co cloud bag (plain navy version here) c/- // Unreal Fur jacket (past season but similar style here) // GAP jeans c/- // Self Portrait top (just seen; on sale here) // J.Crew heels (past season but similar style here) // Chanel brooch // Z by Accessorize rose gold crystal ring // ASOS gold horseshoe ring // Alex Monroe gold love ring.
Beauty: Charlotte Tilbury ‘Carina’s Love’ lipstick // NARS ‘Gaiety’ blush // Deborah Lippmann ‘Naked’ nail polish.

How are you making it through winter? Please send all your loveliest hibernation tips my way!

Love, Miss B xx

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This post is in partnership with the Cambridge Satchel Company. Photos by Joe Galvin.