Ever so occasionally I’m accused of being city centre centric. Hey, the clue's in the name. Boutiques in Birmingham regularly get shout outs ‘cuz I’m basically a self-appointed B'ham indie cheerleader. But I’ve got nothing against the ‘burbs and there are gems to be found outside of B1 to B5, either a short drive away or a bit further afield. But all less than an hour from Grand Central. Pom-poms optional.
It’s sale season and it feels like every retailer everywhere is aggressively flogging their wares at you, whilst you’re at your Dry-Jan-vulnerablest. To save trawling through them all, only to realise there’s just a measly quid off the original price, here are some big savings from some of my fave High Street brands. All for less than the cost of a month's gym membership.
Hey, we know we’re not the first people to write a gift guide in December. So sue us (please don’t).
Cast your mind back to the 90s. Leopard print was not held in high regard. It was a signifier of someone that was brassy, or uncouth, or just a bit of a floozy. You know the type, Dorien in Birds of a Feather, your loud aunt. Fast forward to 2018, and those days are a distant memory and a lil bit of animal print is so every day, it’s basically a neutral. Watch the pattern work from the office to a night out-out.
This section of the email is rather preposterously called Ampersand. It’s an homage to the & in our name and hey, what can I say? I’ve got a soft spot for the lil linguistic device. I've gone super meta and I'm featuring &s in Ampersand.
Our happy place is anything that brings together practicality and prettiness. Hair clips are that new thang. No longer just the preserve of school uniforms and girly-girls, they’re on the catwalks and give a real fashion with-a-capital-F look. We’ve got some decidedly purse-friendly picks.
Dad trainers, you know the ones, bulbous and a bit ungainly, have been a trend we've resisted for a while. But we've finally found ourselves craving a chunky sneaker. If you’re firmly in the pretty shoes only crew, don't worry, we’ve got some far from fugly ones too.
Soft spot for slogan tees? Us too. Take it to the next level by adorning yourself with B’ham based localisms. Wear this second city merch with pride and support some local business babs at the same time.
We like J.Crew. We all caps LOVE when Birmingham women are recognised for their gorgey creative wonderfulness. Imagine our delight on hearing of the collaboration between B’ham pattern designer, Abigail Borg and J.Crew for an Autumn capsule collection, a perfect combo of the two.
Butterfly hairclips. Bandanas. Some things just shouldn’t get a second chance. But some things we're happy to see recycled — we’re willing to give the likes of plastic bottles, glass and fabric offcuts another chance. These good guys and gals are fighting the good fight in sustainable fashion. Turning waste into womenswear never looked so good.
Maybe you’ve noticed? We’ve been seeing a lot more of that yellow ball in the sky than we’re accustomed to. Style out the rest of the glorious heatwave with these super glam, acetate sunnies.
Maybe it was ol' uncle Attenborough and The Beeb, maybe it wasn't, but in 2018, plastic became a dirty word. Rather than banging on about our increasing levels of guilt on the rare occasions we do end up using a 5p bag or disposable cup, let's talk about what our city is doing to help the enviro, and the little changes you can make to get on board.
Swimwear shopping is up there with jean shopping in the list of Things We Try to Avoid. The perfect colour does not mean it’ll also be the perfect cut. And don’t even get us started on sizing, eesh. To take the pain out of perusing poolside fash, here's a round-up of your soon-to-be-fave maillots. Here comes a certain lifeguard-friendly shade, cut outs, the renaissance of the one-piece.
A good ol’ reliable shirt. It's a stalwart. A staple. And maybe a bit overlooked? Introduce some linen to the sitch and you’re onto a holiday season, smart-casj winner. Bonus: there’s no need to iron as the slightly worn-in look is completely intentional. Honest.
Millennial pink has an ice-cream-coloured contender. Embrace the lilac trend and give it two air kisses with a matching co-ord. Or if you need convincing before diving in head first, inject some parma violet goodness with a pastel accessory. We’ve got the answers for every bank account.
The combo of denim and embroidery might initially bring to mind a flowery faux pas you made in the 90s. But repress any spine-chilling thoughts of Tammy Girl. Topstitch and contrasting seams are where it’s at, in a perfectly utilitarian, grown-up kinda way. Here’s the proof.
Winter is dead to us. Seriously, we’re done. Embrace spring by deep diving into the season’s loveliest and most colourful garms from the completely new range at Emporio Armani in Mailbox. Here's looking at you, multi-colour sweaters, that trainer trend and playful power dressing. Transitional clothes have never been so fun.
We’ve never really been fans of pink. Too sickly, too girly-girl, we’re normally fans of a more monochrome palette. But something has happened. Whether it’s bathroom tiles, or a pale blush, we’re suddenly digging pink in a big way. We’re easing ourselves (and our bemused friends) into our pink appreciation by wearing dusky, nude tones.
Since Friends has been back on Netflix, we’ve been binge-watching to an unhealthy extent. Although some of the storylines and jokes haven’t aged particularly well, the perfect 90s looks have. Oversized jackets, mom jeans and dungarees are in no short supply. But blazers are our real item of the moment. Here are some of our faves, whatever the bank balance sitch.
Of all the workshops hosted at the Herbert in Cov, the one that really caught our eye this season is this party clutch DIY. One of the few things we love more than a new wardrobe item, is the opportunity to brag about something we’ve made ourselves. So the chance to do exactly that and pick out lovely vintage and designer fabrics is just too much.
Offices can be dull. Karen in Accounts won’t stop talking to you and you’ve just had another meeting that definitely could have been an email. Bring it in the boardroom with these bargainous workwear additions.
We have zero plans to traverse a mountain any time soon, but hiking boots are firmly at the top of our wish list. City-dwelling in winter means pounding pavements in rain and snow (mainly rain) so a sensible shoe is the answer. Now just decide whether it's going on debit or credit.
We don't really do New Year's resolutions, but there's always time for more yoga in our lives. Zen the eff out with the aid of these joy-inducing leggings.
It’s sequin season. It’s possible to get super spangly without looking like a five-year-old at a Christmas party — unless that’s your thing — then you do you, gurlfren'. This way for a more sophisticated take on sparkle.
Patterns are what your winter wardrobe's all about: the more chintz the better — think your gran's interior décor in terms of inspo. We're talking floral from the wallpaper, to the checks on the sofa. And apply those patterns to every item — the less matchy-matchy the better. Now go forth into the world, you beautiful, veritable whirlwind of colourful prints.
You know all about Digmas. But do you know about the Paperdolls portion of proceedings? It’s a curated market bursting with lovely independent makers and their wares from illustrators and florists, to candles and clothes. Here's just some of their Christmas line-up, at the Custard Factory, November 25.
The forecast? Rainy and dark. For the next five months, probably. For those of us that have a predilection for drier and warmer seasons, we're on the wrong side of Christmas. Beat the rainy blues with the most practical of accessories, the parapluie.