Back in Class

A Girl,  A Style _ Back in ClassA Girl, A Style _ Back in Class 1

The students are all making their way back to Cambridge this weekend, all wide-eyed and enthusiastic ahead of the start of term this week. I love the sight of them wheeling the wooden trolleys through their colleges, laden with books, cases and all their worldly possessions for the year ahead. Although it is years since I graduated myself, every autumn I still crave that preppy back-to-class look (which seems to suit life here in Cambridge so well).

A Girl,  A Style _ Back in Class 4A Girl,  A Style _ Back in Class 3   A Girl,  A Style _ Back in Class 7

I had to wear almost this exact outfit (navy blazer, kilt, bow-tied shirt) all the way through school and so really should be over it by now, but there’s still something I love about that uniform. Though truthfully, the preppy look is a lot more fun as an adult when you can swap the knee-socks for ladylike red-soled Louboutins, the tartan kilt for a leather skirt, and not be hauled into the Headmaster’s office for wearing lipstick (true story).

I suppose there will come a point where I’ll have to stop dressing like Blair Waldorf at prep school, but for now, while I’m in Cambridge, I still take comfort in pulling out my preppy uniform each autumn.

A Girl,  A Style _ Back in Class 6 A Girl,  A Style _ Back in Class 9

Wearing: Band of Outsiders blazer (similar style available at J.Crew) // Whistles sweater (also available at ASOS) // ASOS shirt // Whistles skirt (now on sale + also available at ASOS) // Lulu Guinness clutch (past season, but similar styles available here + at Kate Spade) // Christian Louboutin heels (sold out, but similar styles available at Net-a-Porter + J.Crew) // Lulu Frost necklace (past season, but similar styles at MatchesNet-a-Porter + J.Crew) // Vintage brooch // Lola & Grace ring c/- // ASOS hair bow (also available in red).
Beauty: NARS ‘Heat Wave’ lipstick (also available at Sephora + John Lewis) // NARS ‘Orgasm’ blush (also available at ASOS + Selfridges) // Essie ‘Bahama Mama’ nail polish (also available at Debenhams + Liberty London). 

Is there a style you gravitate to year after year, regardless of which stage of your life you’re at?

Love, Miss B xx

Photos by Beth Morton


The First Week of Term

There is something so wonderful about the first week of the new academic year here in Cambridge. Being a University Town, there is a noticeable shift in the mood of the city when the students flood back for the new year after the summer break.

I’m long out of university myself (though I live rather vicariously through the Clever Boyfriend, who has just started as a fellow at the University after graduating from his PhD this summer), but I can’t help but smile at the sight of the new students, wide-eyed with freshman enthusiasm, wheeling little wooden trolleys laden with all their worldly possessions through the cobbled alleyways to find their new dorms.  Thankfully, lectures and essay writing never factor into my current life (studying three degrees was quite enough!), but I treasure the fact that I still get to experience the fun side of University life by merit of living here; there are wonderful start-of-term dinners, garden parties in courtyards that overlook the river, magical libraries I quite happily get lost in for hours, and candlelit dining halls that look straight out of Hogwarts.

And of course, the Oxbridge collegiate lifestyle has influenced more than just my social life. While in summer I’m all about florals and white lace dresses, by the time autumn comes around I’m craving a more preppy uniform (give me a rope of pearls, a bow headband, a crested blazer and a crisp Oxford shirt and I’m happy). The Clever Boyfriend and I took these photos the other day (after lunch in Kings College and a visit to the college library) and it struck me just how much that preppy sensibility has permeated my wardrobe. For here I was dressed like a grown-up version of a stereotypical Cambridge student, with a dose of irony (in the form of my toungue-in-cheek accessories) thrown in for good measure.

And you know what? I kind of love it.

Wearing: Camilla and Marc dress, Uniqlo shirt, Lulu Guinness book clutch (borrowed), Charlotte Olympia kitty heels (past season, but similar version here), J. Crew crystal necklace, Jersey Pearl necklace, Mimco cuff, Chanel crystal camellia ring and earrings (worn as collar studs), bow headband from Tokyo.

How does your style change at this time of year?

Love, Miss B xx

Cambridge Prepsters

As I was cycling home through the lamplit cobbled streets of Cambridge tonight, two things occurred to me:
1) how grateful I am to live in such an amazing place (though this isn’t anything particularly revelationary; I have the same thought pretty much every time I walk past Kings College or along the Backs) and;
2) just how preppy my wardrobe has become since living here (again, my style had always tended this way, but I realised it had reached a peak as I was riding past one of the town’s iconic outfitters – generally aimed at the town’s Tory Boys and Nobel Prize-winning professors alike – and thought just how much I fancied the crested blazers styled with raspberry chinos in the shop’s window. I’m fairly sure these are not normal sartorial urges to be having).

I’m not entirely sure whether it’s the magnificent ancient architecture (all dreaming spires, 500 year old libraries and Hogwarts-esque dining halls), the collegiate environment, the truly incredible history or just the sheer volume of clever, well-bred individuals that reside here during term time, but the town has a remarkable impact on the way in dress. While in London I’m all about black skinny jeans and sky-high heels, in Cambridge I come over all preppy and no ride on my Pashley is complete without a dandy outfit to match*. For example on the weekend (ie. when normal people wear something akin to sweat pants), when I was doing nothing more demanding than a trip to the farmer’s market in town and a coffee/cinnamon bun date with my dearest friend S, only my favourite schoolboy blazer would do.

Wearing: Vintage Sportsgirl blazer, Karen Walker frilled tuxedo dress, world-weary Marc Jacobs boots and Louis Vuitton scarf

So if you do ever pay a visit to the glorious place that is Cambridge, please feel free to bust out your preppiest outfit (shiny brogues, preppy oxford shirts and sharp tweed and/or crested blazers all welcome). And because I’m too cold and camera-shy to stand around taking photos for any longer than the two minutes required for the above photos, here’s some more inspiration for the Cambridge preppy look…

Clockwise from left: The Sartorialist, unknown editorial, Jak & Jil

Do you ‘location dress’ according to where you live, or am I the only crazy chameleon in the room here?

Love, Miss B xx

* The same phenomenon happens to me when I travel, when I seem to unconsciously mimic my surroundings.