Each year with the new season we want to update our wardrobe and we need some inspiration to do that. And with the celebration of Queen Elizabeth’s 90th birthday last week, the media has been all abuzz with fashion reviews here in London. In celebration of her remarkable birthday, the Queen chose a vibrant lime green coat and dress by the fabulous London designer Stewart Parvin. And why not… it’s her party! One can’t help admire Her Majesty’s consistency in creating a style fit for a stately world leader, with her iconic coat-and-dress combos, pristine white gloves, her iconic pearl necklaces, Launer handbags, and elaborate hats perched upon her tightly cropped curls.
I believe we are all born with some sense of style, some more than others. It’s just part of who you are. Fashion bloggers have always been a great source for me, and one of my favorite inspirational blogs (besides Alexandria Stylebook, of course) is Coco’s Tea Party. I love the name, and adore the blog! Written by a South West London-born gal, Ella Gregory believes that “life is more fun when filled with beautiful things – whether it be a cozy cashmere sweater, glossy coffee table book, or new lipstick – and that it shouldn’t cost a fortune to build a stylish, colourful life.”
My other go-to blog for style inspiration is Camille Over the Rainbow, founded by a Parisienne expat, Camille Charriere, who definitely shares a Coco Blanca vibe with her latest “All White” post. Now based in London, this leggy blonde says her blog is “a destination for a mixture of emerging and luxury fashion…peppered by personal thoughts and traveling tips.”
With such style surrounding me in London, I thought it would be fun to write a series of posts where I ask people in the fashion business to tell me where they get their style inspiration. So I’ll begin by sharing my own source of style inspiration, followed by my first guest style expert, Clare Slater of the newly launched handbag company, Clare Slater London.
Favorite fashion designers: Etro
Every Day; go-to Labels: Acrobat, Go-Silk, and Ost
Go-to nail polish color: Adorable or Ballet Slippers by Essie
Current lipstick: Kevyn Aucoin Expert Lip Color in Samilke Natural Rose
What would you like to be better at? Sleeping and time management
Reading now: My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferranté
Comfortable yet stylish footwear: Stuart Weitzman black pumps
Sleepwear: Love sleeping in a freezing cold room, wearing nothing but Only Hearts!
Latest splurge? Bespoke off-white silk blouse from Stewart Parvin. Simple lines, perfect fit. Timeless.
Always packed in your suitcase: My gray cashmere fringe wrap and my black cotton fringe wrap (both by Acrobat), white tanks and camies by Only Hearts and several silk scarves from a variety of designers.
Favorite local restaurant: It’s a love affair with Zafferanos!
And now may I introduce a longtime friend of mine from London, Clare Slater, who recently launched her own gorgeous handbag business, Clare Slater London.
Everyday go-to labels: Zara, Boden and LK Bennett. The Duchess of Cambridge shops a lot at LK Bennett. I have the blue dress worn by The Duchess in this image.
Favorite fashion designers: Celine (simple, elegant lines), Chanel (timeless, classic elegance).
Inspired by whom? Anya Hindmarch & Victoria Beckham – both great business women who have created phenomenal brands – but my greatest inspiration is my father, Jim Slater, who sadly passed away at the end of last year. He had a very strong work ethic and a razor sharp mind, as well as a great sense of humour. He always gave great advice and taught me so much. I really miss him.
Favorite fashion blogger: http://www.garancedore.fr/en/
Instagram: @lucyflorals and @abigailseesit My Instagram is @clareslaterlondon
Your dress code preferences: neutrals or bold colors? Solids or patterns? I love neutrals on other people but I think I suit bold colours, so I tend to have more of them in my wardrobe. I often wear monochrome – solid black and white together – but I also like patterns, especially on a dress like the Zara dress I’m wearing in the photo above!
Your go-to nail polish color: Stunning by Leighton Denny together with Marshmallow by Essie for a classic French manicure. Butterfly Wings by Leighton Denny for a subtle, shimmering pedicure. And my go-to place for a mani-pedi is Urban Retreat at Harrods.
What might we not guess about you: I am a very keen salmon fisher and have gone to Scotland fly fishing every year since I was 9 years old.
Lipstick you currently love: Frog Prince by Lipstick Queen (editor’s note: available at Bellacara!)
What would you like to be better at? I wish I was better at drawing and I’d also like to have a better sense of direction!
Reading now: Princes at War by Deborah Cadbury. She gives such a vivid and gripping account of a well-known period in British history.
Favorite shoe brand: LK Bennett is the brand I buy more than any other. Manolo Blahnik is the shoe designer I covet / most admire.
Pearls or diamonds? Diamonds are a girl’s best friend!
Sleepwear: Simple cotton pajamas — I am a single mum to a teenage son and he often has friends to stay, so I find that pajamas are both comfortable and appropriate!
On a free afternoon, I like to: As I’m in the midst of launching a new business, a free afternoon is almost unheard of! If one were to come up I would go shopping, have a late lunch with friends or go for a walk by the Thames with my neighbour (my house to Putney Bridge, along the other side of the river and back over Hammersmith Bridge makes a lovely walk which takes about an hour and a half).
Latest splurge? A Wyse London cashmere sweater with metallic gold stars on the elbows
Always packed in my suitcase: A Clare Slater London silver pouch – perfect for organizing your essentials and it makes an elegant evening clutch.
Latest music download: 7 Years by Lukas Graham
Last movie watched that you would recommend: I want to say Me Before You because I really enjoyed the book by JoJo Moyes – but I haven’t actually seen the movie yet!
Favorite local restaurant: The River Café – I am very lucky that this wonderful London restaurant is walking distance from my house.
Next up, style inspiration for another London entrepreneur…
Using the soothing color palette of a coconut by the sea—whites, neutrals and splashes of turquoise—Coco Blanca has created a trademark look. Her lifestyle boutique offers expert solutions for home design and women’s fashion—blending a clean, fresh, sophisticated, feel-good style.
210 South Union Street
Alexandria, VA 22314