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

 

The Island of Burano, Venice

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Wearing: dress // hat // sandals // bag // bracelets // sunglasses // necklace

As those who follow me on Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat will know, last month my Fiancé and I headed to Italy for the most marvellous vacation (and some much-needed sunshine; England was in the throes of a very gloomy June). I thought I’d start with our day trip to the Venetian island of Burano; quite simply one of the lovelies places I have ever visited.

Whilst I had seen plenty of pictures and knew to look for the colourful houses, I hadn’t expected the entire island to be such a charming, brightly-hued rainbow. Traditionally, the houses were painted in bright colours so that the village fisherman could find their house in even the darkest storm when they returned each evening, and every single house really does look like that (or, as we say over on Instagram, #nofilterrequired). Nowadays the whole island is a UNESCO world heritage site so that the tradition is officially protected, and if homeowners wish to change the colour of their house, they have to apply to the government – who respond with a list of available colours to choose from so that no two neighbouring properties are the same.

As soon as you arrive at the dock, you’ll see what I mean. And it only gets prettier from there. We were lucky to have blazing sunshine and cornflower blue skies for our visit, and as we stepped off the main canal and explored the little alleyways, I couldn’t help but think how those sunbleached, cheery houses – with their laundry hanging from the windows, children playing happily in the streets, and contented cats lazing in the shade – looked exactly as they might have done a hundred years ago.

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Given Burano’s small size, it hardly requires a ‘guide’ to what to do – instead the best thing is to simply walk down each canal and colourful side street, discovering your own secret corners and favourite spots yourself. But nonetheless, here are a few tips to make the most of your visit:

Good to Know // Burano is an island in the Venetian lagoon and is a leisurely half-day trip from ‘mainland’ Venice. The easiest way to get there is to either take a private water taxi or the number 12 vaporetto (water bus) which runs frequently, takes the same time as a taxi – around 40 minutes – but only costs €7.50 each way. Go early or late afternoon to avoid the largest crowds if you can (but don’t be put off either way, as the crowds quickly disperse between each vaporetto arrival).

Do // Burano is really a tiny little island; there are no roads – only footpaths and canals for the fishing boats – but you can walk the entire island and all it’s side streets in a couple of hours (add in another couple of hours for lunch and pausing to take approximately 16,000 photos along the way). There aren’t many shops on the island – which helps retain the traditional charm – but if you like lace, then be sure to stop into one of the little lace shops for the authentic lace linens the island is famous for (I’m still regretting the fact I didn’t buy a lace parasol and a stack of beautiful handmade napkins).

Eat // We had heard great things about Trattoria al Gatto Nero (my friend Julia had gone there earlier in the year), and the name – which translates to The Black Cat – had us sold, but when we arrived there wasn’t a free table to found until fully three days later (moral of the story: book ahead). My friend Alex had also recommended Trattoria da Romano, but both the restaurant and street looked a little too crowded with tourists when we passed. So instead we simply followed our noses and ended up at the charming, pastel pink Riva Rosa Enoteca, which turned out to be the very best choice of all. We had big plates of spaghetti alla vongole (a local specialty, pictured below) outside at one of the tables overlooking the colourful canal, and it was quite simply one of the most delicious, memorable meals I’ve ever had.

A Girl, A Style _ Riva Rossa Burano, VeniceA Girl, A Style _ Burano, VeniceA Girl, A Style _ Burano, VeniceWearing: H&M dress // Eugenia Kim hat // Valentino bag (mini version here) // Dune sandals // Kenneth Jay Lane bracelets (necklace version here) // Tom Ford sunglasses // J.Crew necklace // Chanel brooch.
Beauty: Chanel ‘L’Eclatante’ lipstick // MAC ‘Dollymix’ blush // James Read tan // Essie ‘Limoscene’ nail polish

There was just something so magical about Burano, and I couldn’t help falling a little in love more in love with each street we explored. I’m so glad that places like this – frozen in time and still retaining every ounce of charm and history – still exist in the world. I can’t wait to return one day.

Stay tuned for Venice, Florence and Bologna soon!

Love, Miss B xx

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Punting on the Cam

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One sunny Bank Holiday weekend last month, my friends Liv and Joe were visiting Cambridge for a spring staycation. Of course, I did what any self-respecting Cambridge-resident would do: rounded up my favourite Cambridge girl Caroline and her boyfriend, Oscar, and insisted on a picnic and an afternoon of punting on the river to kick off the summer.

I cycled across town to meet the gang at St John’s, where we all traipsed through the Bridge of Sighs towards the river to borrow a punt from Caroline’s college. We all piled in, the bottles of champagne outnumber the crew, and set off on the Cam with dashing Oscar and his master punting skills at the helm.

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The sun was shining gloriously, so the afternoon melted into dusk as we floated up and down the river more times than I could count until it was time for dinner. It is quite simply the best way to see all the grand colleges along the Backs, and the three of us recounted all the marvellous historical tales we could think of as we passed each college, and made up our own stories when we couldn’t think of anything better.

It wouldn’t be a Cambridge summer without at least a few adventures by the river, and there’s no place I’d rather be on a sunny Sunday afternoon than messing about on boats with friends.

Summertime in Cambridge, you’re alright.

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Wearing: Saint James for J.Crew top // ASOS jeans // Salvatore Ferragamo pumps via Monnier Freres // Ralph Lauren blazer // Chanel bag // Tom Ford sunglasses // Chanel brooches // Michael Kors watch // J.Crew necklace.
Beauty: Chanel ‘L’Eclatante’ lipstick // NARS ‘Gaiety’ blush // Deborah Lippmann ‘Naked’ nailpolish

What are your very favourite adventures to kick off summer? I’d love to hear your traditions, old and new!

Love, Miss B xx

Photos by Joe Galvin

Winter Floral

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Let it never be said that I don’t know what I like. Trends come and go – and whilst I’ll sometimes experiment with a new style – it’s those classic, gorgeously feminine pieces I always reach for. Or put more simply, red lipstick and Louboutins always trump #normcore (unless you’re my friend Alex of The Frugality, who wears boyfriend shirts and Birkenstocks like no one else and makes me wish I were half as cool as her). 

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I’m pretty powerless against a dark floral dress, but I always prefer a dark, winter version (as seen here and here) vs a lighter spring iteration, which can feel a little too twee or predictable. I bought this neoprene version in Anthropologie before Christmas, and it it looks instantly glamorous, but is actually completely effortless (exactly what I like in a dress). I teamed it with my sky-high red Louboutins for date night, but it looks just as good with a mid-heel (this Kate Spade pair are a perfect substitute because, let’s be honest, those Louboutins are strictly taxi shoes only) for dinner, or teamed with black boots or a ballet flat for day. Just add red lipstick and a jaunty beret and voila: the perfect coquettish winter look that will work for just about every occasion.

A Girl, A Style _ Winter Floral 2A Girl, A Style _ Chanel Classic 2.55 Flap BagWearing: Erin Fetherston at Anthropologie dress // Kate Spade coat // ASOS beret // J. Crew necklace // vintage bracelet (similar style at J.Crew) // Lulu Frost crystal ring // Alex Monroe ‘love’ ring // ASOS pearl ring // Jacquie Aiche heart ring // Christian Louboutin heels // Chanel bag. 
Beauty: NARS ‘Greta’ Audacious lipstick // Chanel ‘Provocation’ nail polish // NARS ‘Orgasm’ blush.

What’s your instant style formula for winter?

Love, Miss B xx

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Photos by Amber-Rose