Wedding Fashion on a Budget

Creative ways to make sure that the wedding season doesn’t break the bank

 

We’re welcoming a new member to the 4Manchester Women team of regular guest writers today. Meet Sarah who writes her own blog, The Threadbare Fashionista. Sarah’s going to be helping us to get the most out of our wardrobe – and this time she’s tackling the money pit that is wedding outfits!

 

Over to you Sarah ……

Sarah Foulkes

 

Some people cry at weddings.

Is it because they know that like the bride, they’ll never wear their overpriced dress again?

Being a wedding guest is a costly business: a hotel, whatever’s left on the gift list, a few rounds at an eye-wateringly expensive bar.

Plus the hen weekend.

 

And you haven’t  got an outfit yet, right?

WRONG!

If you’ve been to a few weddings over the last couple of years, you probably already have everything you need jammed in the back of your wardrobe.

So ask yourself – do you really need a whole new outfit that you might only wear once?

 

Coast - rail of dresses

 

The youngest of 25 cousins, I’ve spent a loooot of time at weddings, been a bridesmaid four times and witnessed more nuptial frock-ups than a registrar.

I’ve never, EVER, bought an outfit just to wear to a wedding.

Maybe you think I’m some kind of nut. Maybe I am. But here’s how to be the best dressed wedding guest and still have a few pennies left in the bank.

 

If it looks like a bridesmaid’s dress, leave it on the rail

 

Chances are, the retailer thought so too and slapped a few extra quid on the price.

Shopping at wedding faves like Coast and Monsoon guarantees a beautiful outfit with matching accessories, but remember, everyone else is thinking the same.

Which is awkward when you rock up in the same frock as the bridesmaids (I should know, I WAS that bridesmaid).

 

Coast - yellow, peach and green

 

Recycle, upcycle, swap

 

Find a friend or relative who’s a similar size and exchange outfits, or just buy one dress and change the shoes and accessories so it looks different every time. Boring? Maybe. Money saving? Definitely.

 

Controversial, but try separates instead of a dress

 

You’ll get much more wear out of a skirt or trousers and top than you will a dress. The skirt and top combo by Oasis (right hand side of the picture below) is a perfect example.

 

Oasis - pink skirt and floral top

 

You don’t always need matching shoes and bag 

 

Or each other. As long as they compliment and add something to the whole outfit, it’s all good. Personally I’ve worn gold shoes and a minky coloured leather bag I made myself for less than a tenner to pretty much every do I’ve been to in the last two years.

No one has turned their nose up. Yet.

 

Monsoon - silver shoes

 

Ditch the hat / fascinator

 

Unless you’re one of those uber cool types who can carry off a hat, don’t bother. Nobody looks cool in a fascinator.

 

Perhaps you’re thinking, so what does this smart alec wear to a wedding?

Here’s three of my outfits from weddings past. I confess, they’re not to everyone’s taste!

 

harem pants

 

Joy dress

 

Turkish dress

 

All I’m trying to say is, if you don’t want to spend a fortune, and want something you’ll actually wear again, there’s plenty in your wardrobe – and on the high street – to have a go at.

Ultimately, it’s the bride and groom’s day– you’re just the supporting cast, so unless you turn up flashing too much leg/cleavage or looking like scrag end dressed as fillet steak, no one will remember what you wore.

My advice? Keep it stylish, keep it comfortable and don’t break the bank!

 

Sarah x

 

Photographs: Sarah Foulkes

Sarah writes her own personal blog over at The Threadbare Fashionista.

 

 

 

 

 

Ethical bags from Africa

Celebrate Fairtrade Fortnight with ethical African bags from BagsandMore

 

We’re in the midst of Fairtrade Fortnight (24th February – 9th March 2014) which focuses attention on better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world.

So it’s a perfect time to hear once again from Jackie Savage at BagsandMore. Jackie who is from the north west specialises in ethically sourced bags and accessories.

We’ve asked her to tell us a bit more about how her bags are made and introduce us to this season’s additions to her collection.

 

Over to you Jackie ……

Jackie Savage

 

After all the terrible weather the UK’s suffered over the past months, nothing could be better to cheer you up than a bag or scarf from BagsandMore.

In my last 4Manchester Women guest blog (read here), I told you a little bit about the ethical background to our bags from Madagascar.

 

This Indian Ocean island is one of the poorest countries in Africa. In 2012, its population was estimated at just over 22 million, 90 percent of whom live on less than two dollars per day.

Any initiative which offers to improve the lives of the people has to be a good thing, and our bags achieve just that.

 

African bag with stars

 

The work involved in making these bags is complicated and it’s important to appreciate the input of the craftspeople working in these communities.

Making raffia bagsThe inner layer of the bag is made from reeds which are harvested and hand woven to create a light-weight inner basket which adds strength, durability and shape.

The outside of the bag is made from the leaves of the raffia palm which are harvested then hand processed, dyed and sun dried before being hand woven into these colourful designs as mats ready to produce baskets.

 

The mats are cut ready to be assembled for the outer surface and appliques. The bags are then individually machine-stitched together with their linings and finished with the leather straps and corners, which are put on again by hand.

Finally all the elements are brought together and this is what you see here – our BagsandMore bags!

 

African bags.

The work involved in making every bag is demanding. However it not only provides income, it also offers an opportunity to develop new skills and generate self-respect.

So when you buy a beautiful Madagascan bag, remember the person who has put much time and effort into making that bag in Africa. Check out the new additions to our range below.

 

African bags poppy and terrier

 

Buying handcrafted items

 

Finally, a story to demonstrate the importance of recognising the role of the artisan in every hand-crafted item you see for sale:

A woman saw a beautiful crocheted dress in a local shop so went in to find out the price. When the artisan told her how much the dress would cost, the lady thought that the price was too high and said “I want to buy a dress from you, but I think you charge too much.” The artisan was a little taken aback but replied “OK, how much do you think I should charge?”

The lady replied “I know the cost of the raw materials and the yarn, the ribbons and the buttons. I will even factor in the price of scissors.” Eventually she gave the artisan a price based on these calculations.

The final price which the woman had calculated was a lot less than the original price, but the artisan thought about it and said “OK then, give me a week”. 

The woman was very pleased with herself and told all her friends what a clever deal she had negotiated. 

A week later her parcel arrived. Full of excitement the woman opened it and inside discovered yarn, ribbons, buttons and a pair of scissors. Angrily she contacted the artisan and asked “How could you do this to me? I asked you for a dress and you sent me a box of yarn, ribbon, buttons and scissors?!”

The artisan quietly replies “My dear, you got exactly what you paid for. If you think there is something missing, you need to pay for it.”

The moral of the story is when you buy handmade goods you are not just buying the materials, you are paying for the time, effort, love and dedication which goes into making the product. Never undervalue this element – it is the most important one.

 

Competition time

 

bag & scarf

 

To celebrate Fairtrade Fortnight and the launch of the new BagsandMore SS14 collection, we’ve got a gorgeous demi-lune bag (first prize) and a Mara Marin scarf (second prize) to give away to two lucky winners.

All we want to know is:

What’s lurking at the bottom of your bag?

Pop it in the comments box below – but only one comment per person please.

So don’t be shy – whether it’s a supermarket receipt for family size Toblerone, a pair of flip-flops or some emergency wet wipes , we’d love to know?

 

 

Good luck!

 

 Jackie x

 

bags-and-more

 

Web site: bagsandmore.co.uk

Twitter: @JBagsandmore

Facebook: facebook.com/pages/Bags-and-More

Email:  info@bagsandmore.co.uk

 

 

Photographs: BagsandMore

Disclosure

 

Previous articles from BagsandMore:

Eco-friendly accessories

Summer in the South of France

Fashionable French Lemons

A February post card from France

A Christmas post card from BagsandMore

Introducing BagsandMore

 

By taking part in this competition you are agreeing to 4Manchester Womens Terms & Conditions for competitions and prize draws.

 

Competition closing date: 9pm Monday 17th March 2014.

The winners will be the first names selected at random from all respondents. No purchase necessary. No cash alternative. The Editor’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into. Closing date is 9pm Monday 17th March 2014. The winners will be notified immediately. Only one entry per person. UK entries only. No automated entries. Supporting ThePrizeFinder – UK Competitions and loquax. If you are a lucky winner, your contact details will be forwarded to the providers of the prize, strictly for the purpose of fulfilling the prize and not for any other purpose.
Please note: Should you be notified as the winner, and you do not respond within 2 days of our notification, we reserve the right to re-draw the winner.

 

Previous competition winners (last 6 months)

Creative Stitches & Hobbycraft Show – win tickets (1st September 2013). Winners Claire Jackson, Pauline Rendell, Joanna Arthur, Fran Morgan, Liz Ferguson, Michelle Smith, Dil Price, Pam Gregory, Linda Weatherley.

The Independent Interiors Show – win a house hamper (3rd September 2013). Winner Nichola Gill.

Indulge Fragrance Boutique – win bottles of perfume (8th September 2013). Winners Gillian Shiels, Leanne Williams, Julie Ward.

Creamline Dairies / Getting Kids to Eat Breakfast – win a Saturday Cookshop course with a celebrity chef (18th September 2013). Winner Sara Perry.

The Lounge Gallery – win a Michelle Keeling necklace (22nd September 2013). Winner Alison Ferrara.

The Perfect Princess Party – win a Princess fancy dress outfit (14th October 2013). Winner Emma Wolski.

MINILAND Manchester – win a family day pass to LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Manchester (6th November 2013). Winner Andrea Lloyd.

New trends Christmas decorations – win a John Lewis Christmas 2013 teddy (11th November 2013). Winner Rachael Barratt.

Luxurious home products – win a throw from Linen Loft (15th November 2013). Winner Chris Fletcher.

Personalised Christmas Gifts – win a personalised mug from Photobox (18th November 2013). Winners Katrina Steward, Nicola McConnell.

Bathroom makeover – win a selection of pamper products (14th January 2014). Winner Georgina Jacobs.

Travelling with Kids – win Cryin Air travel packs (22nd January 2014). Winner Lily Bowers.

Farmhouse Breakfast Week – win a breakfast hamper (27th January 2014). Winner Janet Rumley.

Easy Valentine Heart Cookies – win heart shape cookie cutters (3rd February 2014). Winner Donna Lawton.

Black Dog branches into fashion – win a designer t-shirt (5th February 2014)

Interview with Rianna Phillips – win a designer mini pouch (11th February). Winner Laura Vitty.

 

 

THIS COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED

Thank you so much to everyone who entered our competition. The winners are Sandy Henry and Jenny Miller.

 

Interview with Rianna Phillips

Shortlisted for Young Vision Vogue x Muuse Awards 2014

 

Every once in a while I stumble across something that stops me in my tracks – Rianna Phillips’ distinctive designs did just that.

Add to that the fact that she’s from Manchester and has been shortlisted for the prestigious ‘Young Vision‘ Awards hosted by Muuse and Vogue and I just had to get her on our Manchester blog for you!

 

Rianna Phillips clutch bag

 

Rianna kindly agreed to answer our interview questions – and asks us all – very nicely, that if you love her designs to vote for her to win and bring the award back to Manchester. VOTE HERE!

 

 

1. Tell us a bit about your background and influences

 

I’m from Stockport, I loved art and design at school and college so went on to do an Art Foundation year at Manchester School of Art, within the year I was able to experiment with fine art, photography and Fashion.

Rianna Phillips

 

This was my very first taste of the subject.

I loved studying at that uni so I stayed there and went on to study ‘Textile Design for Fashion’. I’m now a Graduate teaching assistant at the uni, they can’t keep me away from the place!

At the moment I’m really inspired by a lot of the fantastic architecture we have in Manchester, one of the future print ranges features photography from Manchester and London skyscraper skylines.

 

Travel is a huge inspiration in my work and a trip to Australia last year was the catalyst behind the collection that has recently been nominated in the Vogue x Muuse award.

 

Rianna Phillips AW13

 

2. The Vogue x Muse accessory award – tell us more!

 

A colleague (my tutor that taught me back in the day!) saw the competition and forwarded it to me.

The prize is fantastic! The winner has their next range made in collaboration with Muuse and Vogue.

To have them behind you and promoting your collection would be fantastic press and a huge jump in my career. I have to be in the top 50 to make it through to the final round. The votes determine what position you’re in. So I need all the votes I can get!

 

Vote Here

 

I’ve been in the M.E.N newspaper campaigning for votes and on Stockport’s Pure Radio. The closing date is February 17th. So please vote everyone!

There were thousands of applicants for this competition, there are now 173. I’ve been in the top 20 for a few days now and am also number 1 out of all the U.K contestants. So it’s looking good, I just need to keep the votes coming in and the support of my local community.

 

Rianna Phillips

 

 

3. What are your top tips for SS14?

 

The art scene is a big inspiration for this upcoming summer. Abstract/modern and pop art is appearing on tops, dresses and of course clutch bags and scarves.

 

Rianna Phillips

 

Rianna Phillips

 

 

4. Manchester is brimming over with creative people – why do you think that is?

 

There is a big push to keep graduates in Manchester and with the likes of Vogue holding Vogue’s Fashion Night Out in our city centre, well that just says it all. Manchester is the new place to be.

 

5. What’s next for you?

 

I’m working on a few new bag shapes and I’d love to do clothing. I’ve got the support of fantastic pattern cutting staff at Manchester School of Art so watch this space.

 

Rianna Phillips AW13 Lookbook 4 - Caloundra

 

e-boutique: riannaphillips.com

blog: appliquefashion.blogspot.co.uk

twitter/instagram: @riannaphillips

vote: vogue.muuse.com/riannaphillips

 

 

Competition time

 

Rianna needs all the votes she can get!

To celebrate she’s running a little give away alongside the Vogue x Muse competition, to win one of her most popular prints to date ‘Byron’ (win a Byron mini pouch bag pictured below).

So click VOTE HERE here to go straight to the page and vote for Rianna, then leave a comment / message of support on this blog to let us know you’ve voted.

One lucky reader who leaves a message in the comments box below will then be chosen at random as the winner – but only one comment per person and please vote for Rianna to win the Vogue x Muse award first .

 

Byron mini pouch bag

 

Good luck!

 

Alison x  (your 4Manchester Women Editor)

 

Photographs: Rianna Phillips

 

By taking part in this competition you are agreeing to 4Manchester Womens Terms & Conditions for competitions and prize draws.

 

Competition closing date: 9pm Monday 17th February 2014.

The winner will be the first name selected at random from all respondents. No purchase necessary. No cash alternative. The Editor’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into. Closing date is 9pm Monday 17th February 2014. The winners will be notified immediately. Only one entry per person. UK entries only. No automated entries. Supporting ThePrizeFinder – UK Competitions and loquax. If you are a lucky winner, your contact details will be forwarded to the providers of the prize, strictly for the purpose of fulfilling the prize and not for any other purpose.
Please note: Should you be notified as the winner, and you do not respond within 2 days of our notification, we reserve the right to re-draw the winner.

 

Previous competition winners (last 6 months)

Cocktails & Dreams – win a cocktail making masterclass at Lock 91 (29th August 2013). Winner Nicola Robinson.

Creative Stitches & Hobbycraft Show – win tickets (1st September 2013). Winners Claire Jackson, Pauline Rendell, Joanna Arthur, Fran Morgan, Liz Ferguson, Michelle Smith, Dil Price, Pam Gregory, Linda Weatherley.

The Independent Interiors Show – win a house hamper (3rd September 2013). Winner Nichola Gill.

Indulge Fragrance Boutique – win bottles of perfume (8th September 2013). Winners Gillian Shiels, Leanne Williams, Julie Ward.

Creamline Dairies / Getting Kids to Eat Breakfast – win a Saturday Cookshop course with a celebrity chef (18th September 2013). Winner Sara Perry.

The Lounge Gallery – win a Michelle Keeling necklace (22nd September 2013). Winner Alison Ferrara.

The Perfect Princess Party – win a Princess fancy dress outfit (14th October 2013). Winner Emma Wolski.

MINILAND Manchester – win a family day pass to LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Manchester (6th November 2013). Winner Andrea Lloyd.

New trends Christmas decorations – win a John Lewis Christmas 2013 teddy (11th November 2013). Winner Rachael Barratt.

Luxurious home products – win a throw from Linen Loft (15th November 2013). Winner Chris Fletcher.

Personalised Christmas Gifts – win a personalised mug from Photobox (18th November 2013). Winners Katrina Steward, Nicola McConnell.

Bathroom makeover – win a selection of pamper products (14th January 2014). Winner Georgina Jacobs.

Travelling with Kids – win Cryin Air travel packs (22nd January 2014). Winner Lily Bowers.

Farmhouse Breakfast Week – win a breakfast hamper (27th January 2014). Winner Janet Rumley.

Easy Valentine Heart Cookies – win heart shape cookie cutters (3rd February 2014). Winner Donna Lawton.

 

THIS COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED

Thank you so much to everyone who entered our competition. The winner is Laura Vitty.

 

 

 

 

Rose Gold Fashion Trend

Dress it up or dress it down – casual and glamorous looks

 

I’m not usually a fan of gold – I’m a silver / white gold kind of chick, but I really love the current trend for rose gold. It’s delicate, warm, antique and fragile, and depending on how you wear it, you can either go glam or casual. Just one piece can give an outfit a real pop!

The rose gold trend has been around for a few seasons now – but it’s currently very big on the high street.  Here are a couple of looks to give you a few ideas for how to wear this gorgeous trend.

If you want to find out more about a particular item in the collections, click on the image and all will be revealed.

 

Rose Gold Glamorous

 

Mix rose gold with black for a dramatic evening look.

 

Rose Gold collection - evening

 

 

 

Rose Gold Casual

 

Give the look a casual twist with some gorgeous rose gold pumps, aviators, baggy shirt and skinny jeans.

 

Rose Gold Casual

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Accessories

 

But of course where rose gold really comes into it’s own is accessories – and in particular watches. There are some absolutely beautiful time pieces in the shops at the moment. Here are three of my favourites which can all be found at The Watch Hut.

 

 

Rose Gold Watches

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So this Spring invest in a couple of rose gold pieces and you’ll be bang on trend.

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Alison x  (your 4Manchester Women Editor)

 

Photographs: Polyvore

Disclosure

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bespoke engagement rings

Let H & D Diamonds help create your perfect Valentine’s Day

 

Whether you dream of a being proposed to in letters written by a skywriter in the sky, over the match tannoy at half time or by a friends and family choreographed routine to I think I wanna marry you – by Bruno Mars (I kid you not – click here).

If it’s all or none of the above, there’s one thing that we all agree is a crucial part of the proposal and that’s the ring!

 

Engagement ring holding hands

 

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner we thought it was time to invite Orit from H & D Diamonds back onto the blog.

Orit H&D Diamonds

 

The thing we love about H & D Diamonds is that Orit is not only a diamond expert in her own right, but she’s your direct contact to diamond trade suppliers, a Bond Street jewellers and a team of designers.

Without the overheads of a shop this means you can get better quality than the high street, but for less.

With a team of designers and jewellers at her disposal it also means that if you’ve spotted a design you love, Orit can have it made bespoke for you.

 

But as we all know, Valentine’s Day isn’t just about proposals and engagement rings. Diamonds are a girl’s best friend, so whether it’s an eternity ring, pendant or diamond earrings on your wish list, Orit can help you find that perfect Valentine treat.

 

Over to you Orit ……

If you are hoping to receive diamond jewellery this Valentine’s, it’s probably wise to drop a few hints!

It’s not particularly subtle, but try leaving the computer open on one of the beautiful items H & D Diamonds has to offer (handddiamonds.co.uk).

 

H&D Diamonds Website

 

But which one to choose?

Sky blue diamond 3 stone ring

 

Before you make your choice, read up here on diamond shapes and the 4c’s of diamonds (colour, carat, clarity and cut), all of which impact on the cost of your ring.

It’s rather obvious, but choose an item that you know is within your partner’s budget so you won’t be disappointed.Halo diamond ring rose gold

 

If you already own some diamond jewellery look for another piece that’s either in the same style or where the diamond is in the same shape to create a set.

If you’ve seen a ring in a magazine or a shop window that you love, but can’t find it in the range of rings on our web site, then get in touch and we’ll make it for you!

If you want a style tip  – rose gold is very fashionable at the moment!

 

Mock engagement rings

 

If you think that this Valentine’s Day might be the year that you get your proposal, but you’re worried that you might not completely love your ring, then a mock engagement ring purely for the proposal is a great idea.Diamond Ring Round Solitaire

I can provide a mock diamond ring made of silver and cubic zirconia, which looks just like a traditional solitaire ring but is a fraction of the cost.

After the proposal, if you return the mock ring in the same condition that it was purchased, we’ll deduct 75% of its cost from your new H & D Diamonds engagement ring that you’ve chosen together!

 

If you think that dropping hints might be a bit too tricky, then just leave your computer open on this ‘mock engagement ring blog post’ here.

 

 

Keeping your diamond jewellery in good condition

 

If you were lucky enough to receive some diamond jewellery this Christmas, perhaps you already own your own sparkles or you’re keeping your fingers crossed for a Valentine’s Day delivery, here are some tips to keep it sparkly and safe:

Take your jewellery off when showering, applying hand cream or sleeping. This will prevent dirt and residue sticking to your jewellery and will help to keep its shape.

Keep your jewellery shining by cleaning it regularly. Try using this special kit for home use and wipes for holiday (find out more about jewellery cleaning kits here).

If your jewellery is insured you’re periodically required to check the setting. If you haven’t insured your jewellery make sure that the setting has not been worn out, otherwise you risk losing a diamond.

To enjoy special offers at H & D Diamonds regularly sign up to our newsletter here.

I hope that Valentine’s Day brings you all the sparkle you wish for.  I’ll be waiting to hear from you!

Orit

 

 

 

 

H&D Diamonds

 

Web site: handddiamonds.co.uk 

Facebook shop: facebook/handddiamonds

Twitter: @HandDDiamonds

Phone: 0845 600 557
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Photographs: H & D Diamonds, Shaun Anyi on Flickr

Disclosure

 

Other articles by H&D Diamonds

H & D Diamonds fine jewellery

Valentines Day and Diamonds

Expert guide to diamond jewellery

High quality diamond jewellery for less

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Essential accessories

The perfect way to spice up your wardrobe this season

 

Wearing the right accessories can make or break any outfit.

Simply sliding on a stylish, chunky bracelet, an elegant wristwatch, or a stunning, statement necklace can be the difference between looking drab and looking absolutely fabulous.

Take a moment to check out these hot trends in accessories to make sure you have everything you need to spice up your wardrobe when it matters most.

Here are the top six essential accessories for this season:

 

1. A fabulous hat

 

Kate Middleton has rejuvenated the UK’s love of designer hats and millinery works of art with her impressive collection of subtly sophisticated hats.

Knit beanies and animal-print fedoras are especially popular at the moment for hat enthusiasts. It is the perfect way to accessorise, especially if you don’t have the time to properly style your hair.

 

Winter hats

 

 

 2. Statement Necklaces

 

You can quickly enhance the appeal of any outfit by putting on a bold and beautiful statement necklace. Hammered metal, unique stones, and vibrant beads can be transformed into charming medallions that spice up even the most subtle attire.

 

Statement Necklaces

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3. Chunky Bracelet

 

All it takes is one big bracelet to draw attention to your sense of modern fashion, as well as your manicured fingertips.

Look for the biggest hunk of metal or the brightest shade of hardened plastic to make a dramatic statement.

 

 

Chunky bracelets

 

 

 

4. Classic Wristwatch

 

Big bracelets are not always the way to go when you want to dress up your wrists. If you would prefer to wear something that is subtle and classic, consider accessorizing with a new wristwatch instead.

You can instantly create a look of elegance and sophistication by dressing up your outfit with a designer wristwatch. Watches of Switzerland has an impressive collection of state-of-the-art watches that will complement both casual and formal attire.

 

 

Dress watches

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5. Touch of Cultured Pearls

 

Earrings, bracelets, and necklaces that encase soft pastel pearls are expected to be an essential accessory for 2014. Their shimmery and distinctive style adds an elegant touch to almost anything you wear. Many jewelry designers are creatively using cultured pearls in this seasons collections.

 

Pearl jewellery

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6. Simple Clutch

 

Every woman should own at least one sleek clutch in a vibrant colour. Big black bags are a more convenient and flexible option, but a simple clutch gives off a sense of contemporary style and fashion forward confidence. It shows that you can fit everything you need to handle the entire night in the smallest of spaces.

 

 

Clutch bags

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When it comes to our everyday attire, it is the accessories we choose that give our clothes the oomph they need to stand out in the crowds.

Make sure to invest in a fabulous hat, a charming statement necklace, a chunky metal bracelet, classic wristwatch, touch of pearls, and a bold, yet simple clutch. These are the accessories every woman will need in 2014.

 

Alison x  (your 4Manchester Women Editor)

 

 

Photographs: Polyvore – click on the images for more information.

Disclosure

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eco friendly accessories

Brighten up your Christmas with a little piece of Africa

 

It is good to remember that when we make a purchase, it’s not just an economic act, it’s a moral one.

BagsandMore sells beautiful hand woven bags from Madagascar and 100% cotton kikoi wraps made in Kenya.

 

Madagascar

 

Supporting environmentally sustainable projects

 

Jackie from BagsandMore says:

“Our Madagascan bags are sourced from environmentally sustainable projects. The paramount aim of these projects is to improve the lives of people through fair trade.”

“But you’ll see from the collections below that they can brighten up any outfit and bring a little bit of African sunshine to a cold British winter day.”

 

Bags from Madagascar

 

“Our suppliers are committed to contributing part of their profits to charity projects in Madagascar. So, when you purchase one of these products, you will be making a personal contribution towards improving the lives of people in one of the poorest countries in the http://www.4manchesterwomen.co.uk/wp-admin/post.php?post=19781&action=editworld.”

 

Bags from Madagascar black & white

 

“And when you buy one of our kikois you will be supporting local Kenyans, because they are purchased directly from Kenya. The wraps are of the highest quality cotton and come in a wide range of bright colours.”

 

Kikois Kikoys

 

“This Christmas, when you give one of our beautiful bags from Madagascar or Kenyan kikois, you’ll also be giving a gift to the communities who made them!”

Check out the BagsandMore collection of eco friendly accessories here.

 

 

bags-and-more

 

 

Web site: bagsandmore.co.uk

Twitter: @JBagsandmore

Facebook: facebook.com/pages/Bags-and-More

Email:  info@bagsandmore.co.uk

 

Photographs: FrontierOfficial on Flickr, BagsandMore

This blog is produced in collaboration with our friends at BagsandMore. We occasionally publish blogs funded by commercial partners.

 

Previous articles from BagsandMore:

Summer in the South of France

Fashionable French Lemons

A February post card from France

A Christmas post card from BagsandMore

Introducing BagsandMore with ‘What’s at the bottom of your handbag’ competition

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review of Fashion’s Night Out

Sights & sounds – was it hot, or was it not?

 

We’ve been banging on about Vogue’s Fashion’s Night Out for weeks – the fashion colossus’ first trip ‘Up North’ for their annual shopping fandango, sitting Manchester on the catwalk front row alongside the likes of Paris, New York and Milan.

So when the evening finally came – what was it like?

 

Did it live up to expectations?

 

 

Fashion's Night out model

 

I think I’d have to say – in parts!

Your opinion on Fashion’s Night Out probably depended on where you were and the stores you visited.

There was so much going on for Fashion’s Night Out, I had to get back up! Regular guest blogger and journalism student Victoria (she’s the blond one in the middle) is young, funky and fashion conscious. I felt a bit like her nan!

 

Fashion's Night Out

 

Victoria headed off to the Hugo Boss launch party – which sadly didn’t deliver the rumoured celebrities, but was hip and glam nonetheless. Followed by Agent Provocateur on King Street and a certain Spinningfields store, which we’re not mentioning because they lived up to their reputation and were rather snotty to her!

 

Here’s Victoria’s Fashion’s Night Out diary

 

Hugo Boss marked the start of my experience at Fashion Night Out. Arriving at the massive designer store on Manchester’s New Cathedral Street, I was welcomed by a line of the most attractive security men I have ever seen, adorned in some seriously stylish suits.

 

Hugo Boss Fashion's Night Out.

 

It was quite surreal checking my name on the guest list as I entered Vogue’s FNO launch party hosted by the one and only Alexandra Shulman- AKA Editor of the Fashion Bible.

Champagne, rum cocktails and mocktails formed the complimentary drinks on offer and waiters were on hand to dish out sushi canapés. Style was at an optimum with the men even providing competition for some of the best dressed women.

 

Hugo Boss Fashion's Night Out

 

Nicky Clark Fashion's Night Out.

 

The place was alive with a great DJ and the general buzz of excitement for the night ahead. Media professionals, bloggers and makeup stylists filled Hugo Boss and I even got a glimpse of celeb hair stylist, Nicky Clarke!

Next on the list of must-visit stores was Agent Provocateur. The King Street located shop welcomed shoppers with Prosecco and beautiful miniature pastries. They had even appointed real models to stand in place of the mannequins in the shop window!

Before leaving I entered a competition to win £1,500 to spend in store (think of the amount of knickers you could buy with that!) and got my hands on a goodie bag containing some lovely fragrances and a brochure for the Autumn/Winter collection which is simply gorgeous.

 

Agent Provocateur FNO

 

Agent Provocateur FNO

 

Agent Provocateur FNO

 

Agent Provocateur FNO.

 

I couldn’t leave without a stop off at Selfridges, (mainly because I had to buy a ‘sensible’ pair of shoes when my heels retaliated due to excessive shopping) which was alive across all floors with live music and the inviting aroma of fresh popcorn and candy floss originating from the retro stalls- and not forgetting the odd soap star getting in on the shopping action.

Fashion Night Out certainly lived up to its expectations; the condition of my feet today is testament to that! Same again next year, Vogue?

 

Victoria x

 

 

Here’s my Fashion’s Night Out diary

 

Having spent the week before Fashion’s Night Out fretting about what on earth I was going to wear, coupled with a fruitless and frustrating shopping trip to try and find something, I couldn’t have felt less like a fashionista. In the end, my dress was three years old, my coat wouldn’t do up and my hair smelt inexplicably of fish! I’m not sure what that was all about!

My evening started with one of the M&S Leading Ladies.

 

M&S Leading Ladies.

 

I stumbled across Helen Allen a few weeks ago very randomly in The Trafford Centre (read here to find out more). Helen lives just around the corner from me in Sale and was due to be M&S’s special guest for Fashion’s Night Out. It’s all a pretty big deal for a nurse from Wythenshawe Hospital (albeit Nurse of the Year), so it was of course a great excuse for a pre FNO party – will M&S party food!

 

Helen Allen

 

On arriving in the city centre, Helen also headed off to the Hugo Boss party, while I went to explore The Manchester Arndale. Huge red killer heels, actress Sarah Jayne Dunn, catwalk shows, magazine cover shoots and a multitude of stores packed with offers and fun times were getting shoppers in the mood.

 

Red Killer Heels

 

Catwalk show FNO

 

Magazine cover FNO

 

The Manchester Arndale is a big space – it can be hard to generate an atmosphere throughout. And I’m not sure that all the shoppers understood what was going on and why. But it was a really good effort.

I’d prearranged to pop in and see the guys in FOSSIL who were having an arm party! The idea was to create a stack of watch and bracelets, tweet a photo and win the stack. I’ve got a soft spot for FOSSIL so I lingered a while.

 

Fossil arm party

 

Onwards through NEXT (where I couldn’t see anything happening) I headed to Selfridges, which was buzzing. The shops on New Cathedral Street were a masterclass in how to hold a Fashion’s Night Out. Radio 1′s Jameela Jamil was banging out some massive tunes!

 

Selfridges FNO

 

Selfridges FNO

 

Selfridges FNO

 

Harvey Nicks FNO.

 

The fur protesters were out in front of Harvey Nicks. It was a chilly night so the fox costume was also quite a practical solution.

My evening finished in Marks & Spencers, where I met back up with Helen who was due to do a Q&A.

 

M&S Helen Allen FNO

 

I have to say I was a bit disappointed with M&S. Where Selfridges had been in glorious technicolour, M&S next door was a bit black & white. They’d kind of made an effort with prosecco, a platform with a compere and Key 103′s Mike Toolan on the decks. But it was really quiet and a missed opportunity in my opinion, because they didn’t go for it.

I know M&S have a different demographic to Selfridges, but it still has customers and Fashion’s Night Out should be for everyone. Especially as their Limited Collection is actually designed by Vogue.

 

M&S Coats

 

They’ve got the space to have a full catwalk show – they could have showcased their new collection, linked up with some young designers to give it more of an edge, maybe a pop up cocktail bar from a well known Manchester bar – and the Leading Lady campaign on display to make sense of why Helen was actually there.

 

Other parts of the city we didn’t get to

 

We were nowhere close to getting to everything. Having spoken to others the reports were that King Street was very quiet and that many of the street food vendors packed up and went home early.

Spinningfields was similarly on the quiet side. But that the vintage market in Manchester Art Gallery was rammed.

 

So what do we think?

 

The general consensus seems to be that Fashion’s Night Out was a great thing for Manchester. But that there was almost too much going on to get your head around. When you’ve got people out in their finest clothes and heels, expecting them to trek across the city was a step too far.

 

alstaples's Fashions Night Out album on Photobucket

 

 

The stores that took Fashion’s Night Out seriously and invested budget in getting their existing customers along and then entertaining the hell out of them did really well. Those that were a bit half a*sed were quiet.

With a bit more structure, advertising and the message that it’s for everyone – Vogue’s Fashion’s Night Out will only grow from strength to strength. Let’s hope that Vogue chooses to come back to Manchester again next year!

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Alison x  (your 4Manchester Women Editor)

 

Photographs: Victoria Hepworth, Alison Staples, Agent Provocateur, Manchester Arndale

 

 

Other articles you might like:

 

Vogue’s Fashion’s Night Out – Interview with actress Sarah Jayne Dunn

A-Z Guide Vogue’s Fashion’s Night Out

Vogue’s Fashion’s Night Out – Interview with Vogue’s Executive Retail Editor

Interview with Helen Allen, M&S Leading Lady

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

H&D Diamonds fine jewellery

Finding the best diamonds for your budget so you’ll enjoy them for a life time

 

We’re delighted to be working with Orit from H&D Diamonds. Orit has achieved the perfect mix of providing expert advice and quality jewellery, but as an online business without the overheads of running a shop, at a really great price.

 

Over to you Orit ……

Orit H&D Diamonds

 

H & D Diamonds is a truly independent jewellery retailer.

With over ten years experience in the trade as a diamond grader, I started my career in Antwerp where I learned how to grade diamonds, defining the colour, clarity, cut and other factors that affect the price of a diamond (click here to learn more about diamond education).

After that I headed to Hatton Gardens, the jewellery quarter of London, to work for diamond dealers.

 

During the eight years I was there, I not only used my diamond grading skills but I also worked with the UK jewellery market (as a wholesaler does with high-street jewellers).

Working with UK jewellers I quickly saw that there was a common problem, with jewellers buying stock which didn’t always sell as quickly as they would like.

When I decided to leave London it was only natural for me to take all the experience I’d gained and the contacts I’d made with people working in the trade right across the world with me, to set up my own online diamond jewellery shop.

 

Why set up an online shop?

 

It’s simple, with me you don’t pay for the overheads of running a shop and holding stock, you only pay for my expertise and your diamond, which means that your money will get you a better quality diamond!

But how can you buy jewellery with no stock?

There are several specialist services that I can offer to my customers:

 

Ready-made jewellery

 

I’ve got a wide selection of ready-made jewellery that you can see on the website.

 

Once you’re chosen and ordered your favourite piece on the H&D Diamonds website, I will order it for you from the manufactures.

I’ve currently got lots of ready-made pieces on the website which are reduced by more than 10%. You can find them here.

However, if you can’t find exactly what you want, simply give me a call on 0845 600 5557 and we can talk about what you want. Alternatively you can email me an image of what you’ve got in mind and I will source it for you.

 

Bespoke Jewellery

 

Jewellery is a very personal thing, so if you’ve got a design that you love then I can help you to create your perfect piece. There are a number of options:

  • Know exactly what you want but can’t see it on the website? I will source the mount and the highest quality diamonds that your money can buy. I work with the best gem setter in Cheshire to ensure that finished product is exquisite.

 

H&D Diamonds

 

  • Creating a new design or enhancing an existing ring. I did exactly this for Sarah Byrne, wife of celebrity chef Aiden Byrne whose menu’s many of you will have sampled at The Church Green in Lymm and more recently Manchester House in Spinningfields. When Sarah decided to add an eternity ring to both sides of her engagement ring as her wedding band I was able to help.

 

Diamond rings

 

This type of bespoke work is incredibly delicate, so it’s done to a beautifully high standard by a Bond Street jeweller who I work with very closely.

 

  • Our rendering service. I’ve just started to offer a rendering service. This is where you email me an image of a piece of jewellery you’ve spotted. After creating an image of your  jewellery in three dimensions (3D) and getting your approval, it will then be created for you.

Diamond ring

 

Once again, you can set your own budget for the diamonds or any other gem stones, which will determine their quality. With this service you can combine features from several rings into one to create your perfect ring.

My message to you is that diamonds are forever so let me help you to get the best that you can so that you can love wearing them for a lifetime.

Orit

 

 

 

H&D Diamonds

 

Web site: handddiamonds.co.uk 

Facebook shop: facebook/handddiamonds

Twitter: @HandDDiamonds

Phone: 0845 600 557
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Photographs: H&D Diamonds

This blog is produced in collaboration with our friends at H&D Diamonds. We occasionally publish blogs funded by commercial partners.

 

Other articles by H&D Diamonds

Valentines Day and Diamonds

Expert Guide to Diamond Jewellery

High quality diamond jewellery for less

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A-Z Vogue’s Fashion’s Night Out

Your guide to what’s happening on a night of high fashion

 

Vogue’s Fashion’s Night Out is the ultimate shopping extravaganza. The UK event is normally held in London – but this year it’s coming to Manchester!

So put Thursday 10th October in your diary and start planning your outfit!

 

Vogues Fashion's Night Out

Here’s a map from Vogue (available at stores across the city centre) showing who and where FNO fun is happening.

 

Map Vogues Fashion's Night Out

There is so much going on during the evening, we asked fashion fan Victoria to put together an A-Z Guide to help you glamorously enjoy all that the city has to offer.

 

Over to you Victoria ……

Victoria

 

Fashion’s Night Out hosted by Vogue is a shopaholic’s dream.

With over 30 events already confirmed, it’s enough to send you into a shopping spree induced coma.

Even just writing this article has sent me a bit woozy and made it even harder than usual

to resist the temptation that comes with the devil that is online shopping.

Cupcake Vogue Fashion's Night Out

Well it is the best excuse you’re ever going to get to buy a new outfit to impress.

Stretching from Spinningfields, right across to Manchester’s Arndale Centre, designer and high street shops aplenty are offering something unique and special for FNO visitors.

I hope that our A-Z breakdown will make it a little easier to comprehend. All that’s left for me to say is that I look forward to seeing you in your glad rags for the most glamorous shopping expedition of your lives.

 

Agent Provocateur

There will be cocktails, champagne and canapés, a ‘special guest’ DJ, prize draws and goodie bags for all customers. In addition there will be models in the window showcasing the Agent Provocateur AW13 collection from 6.30 to 9pm.

 

Burberry

Lounge around with champagne in hand. DJ to be confirmed.

 

Chanel

Channel your inner WAG for the night with a visit to Chanel- certain not to disappoint. Seize the opportunity to get a complimentary manicure in the FNO colours and browse the A/W collection.

 

Crombie

Crombie is on hand for when the October weather finally takes its toll. A visit to Crombie’s Warm party will leave you feeling nice and toasty after some hearty food and warming drinks. That’s without mentioning the luxurious coats you can try on and have your photo taken wearing.

 

Dune

Spend a hundred pounds or more in store and you will be walking away with your very own personalised tote bag. A live illustrator will also be in store providing sketches for the event.

 

Emporio Armani

Vogue fashion editor Fancesca Burns will be hosting the Emporio Armani event and will be on hand to off her style expertise to guests. The Maccabees will perform a live DJ set between 8.30pm – 9.30pm and there will be canapés and drinks by Birra Moretti and Aperol. The official FNO t-shirt in association with ‘Save the Children’ will be available to buy in store.


Flannels

There is a real star studded opportunity to meet and greet fashion famous designer Matthew Williamson who will be located in the Spinningfields store. He can offer you style tips and provide you with all you need to know about the new season trends.

 

Fossil

Fossil will be holding events in both their Arndale and Trafford Centre stores. Join them from 6pm for some American Cream Soda, vintage-style sweets and some oh-so-sweet cupcakes! Come to either store to hear all about ‘The Stack Is Back’ competition, where you will also have a chance to win your very own Fossil Arm Party (one lucky lady and one lucky gent will each win a watch and three bracelets).

 

The Stack Is Back 2013

 

Gap

All customers can get their teeth into some proper American grub. There are prizes to be offered for the best dressed too- those who best pull off the cool American style will be shortlisted and sent to St Anne Street to be papped by a street style photographer from The Mancorialist.

 

Harvey Nichols

Give Your FNO T-shirt a Designer’s Twist. Roksanda Ilincic will be in Harvey Nichols customising FNO T-shirts.

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Roksanda Ilincic

 

Hermes

Hermes will pay homage to Fashion Night Out with a Sporting Chic evening.

 

Hervia Bazaar

All Fashion’s Night Out visitors to Hervia Bazaar will be in with a chance of winning a £500 fashion, food and drinks prize. Now I’ve got your attention, there’s also some fabulous cuisine and beverages to enjoy as Yang Sing, Whitley Neill Gin, Tsingtao Beer and Tequila Rose collaborate for one night only.

 

Hobbs

You won’t be able to miss Hobbs, as it will quite literally have a black cab parked outside the store full to brimming with lots of fabulous products to give away. At eight o’clock, if your name is drawn, you get to travel home in the cab with all the great goodies inside!

 

Black cab in front of Hobbs

 

House of Fraser

The Deansagte store is celebrating its new shoes and accessories store with discounts and exclusive offers. Get a keepsake in the form of a photograph following your Dior red carpet treatment. Visit the ground floor pop up bar for an exclusive cocktail by Bem Brazil and don’t forget to sample the delights of The FNO café, controlled by award winning restaurateurs Chicchetti.

For one night only the Chicchetti restaurant will be taken over by celebrity chef Aldo Zilli and will boast a unique menu. For reservations call 0161 839 2233. For avid readers of Vogue, like myself, don’t miss out on the opportunity to view a collection of the most iconic cover stars before embarking on an unmissable Fashion Treasure Hunt (the best kind if you ask me) in store!

 

Hugo Boss

Any purchase of womenswear you make in Hugo Boss will be accompanied by a special present. You can also enjoy live music from Princess Julia and get your very own fashion illustration to leave with by talent Clym Everndon. Official FNO t-shirts can also be purchased in store.

 

Jo Malone

Make the most of the delicious treats on show and roam the couture dresses behind the inspiration of the Peony & Blush Suede collection as an expert milliner creates bespoke pins.

 

Kurt Geiger

Shoes! The part I have been waiting for. KG are offering exclusive discounts in store and gifts with purchases. There will be a 90s soundtrack to the night and mini manicures by Nails Inc.

 

Kurt Geiger Shoes

LK Bennett

While we may be praying for the rain to stay off, LK Bennett are hoping for the exact opposite as they celebrate the night by playing homage to the Great British Weather. Visit the store for cocktails and learn more about the inspiration behind their Autumn collection.

 

L’Occitane

Exclusive offers include a Fashion Night Out gift with all purchases over £35 and an exclusive tote bag with every purchase. Luxury services such as a pampering hand massage ritual will also be up for grabs.

 

Louis Vuitton

Are you a folder or a roller? When it comes to packing, Louis Vuitton is the man in the know. Get some tips and learn more about the art of packing your luggage most appropriately for your journey. If you are lucky enough to have swiped yourself a LV number, you can also get it hot stamped in store.

 

Packing luggage.

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Malmaison

Home of the after party for that post store closure pick-me-up. At Malmaison low calorie cocktails can be sipped and a late night DJ set annoyed. Visitors to the Hotel will be entered in a prize draw to win dinner, bed and breakfast and a 30 minute spa treatment.

 

Manchester Arndale

It’s the home of all things high street and it’s certainly more than happy to welcome the avid shopper. Here you can enjoy numerous catwalks, pop-up beauty stalls, Mandy from Hollyoaks (Sarah Jayne Dunn) and the chance to win a pair of shoes every month for a year. That in itself is a sole reason to go (no pun intended!) There’s much more to be enjoyed including delicious mocktails and scrummy sushi. The list just goes on…

 

Sarah Jayne Dun Vogue's Fashions Night Out

 

Manchester Art Gallery

A vintage fair will be popping up in Manchester Art Gallery. Drop in for a mini makeover and photo shoot.

 

Mappin and Webb

The Manchester boutique will be the home for a luxurious Emerald and Diamond necklace worth £250,000 for the night for guests to admire. Customers can enter a prize draw to win a piece of Mappin and Webb jewellery worth £1,000.

 

Marks and Spencer

Did somebody say personal shopper? Not only that, but a Prosecco Bar and style presentations make M&S a must visit.

 

Molton Brown

Shoppers are treated to two free 50ml shower gel samples with any purchase made on the night. Get the full Molton Brown experience with a mini exfoliating hand an arm massage and swot up on the latest scents this season.

 

Mulberry

Get your nails seen to by the professionals at Essie or simply drool over the new collection, with an accompanying glass of champagne in hand.

 

Next

Strike a pose in the Next photo booth, indulge in cake pops or get the VIP treatment by talking to some of the store’s top stylists.

 

Nicky Clarke

The icon himself will be in Manchester! He will be on hand to answer your biggest hair styling woes and enjoy some great prize giveaways. Nicky will be situated in the new location of The Avenue, Spinningfields. To RSVP please call the Nicky Clarke Salon on 0161 833 3555 to confirm your place for the evening which is sure to be a massive hit!

 

Office

Office will be boasting a great experience whereby shoppers can have their look sketched by a team of stylists and have their outfit accessorised with the perfect pair of shoes from the new collection. The sketch will be sent straight to you via email and one lucky tweeter will win the shoes from their sketch. Make sure to arrive early as the first 100 shoppers will receive a goody bag crammed full of amazing fashion and beauty treats.

 

Office Illustrates for FNO

 

Radisson Blu Edwardian

Enjoy two complimentary tasters with every bottle of champagne purchased at the hotel on the night! There’s also fashionably infused cocktails to taste, which start at just £10. And for when all that shopping becomes too much and your ankles are starting to swell from all that totting around in stilettos, the Sienna spa is at hand with some relaxing treatments.

 

Reiss

Cocktails from The Alchemist and a live DJ set are to be enjoyed at Reiss. Not to mention the discounts across full price products and numerous competitions to be entered.

 

Selfridges

Enjoy a makeup tutorial with the girls at MAC or get an up close and personal music experience by Radio 1 presenter and style diva, Jameela Jamil who will be taking to the decks in store. Every shopper who steps through the door will be given a mystery gift card- ranging in value from £1-£500. Don’t forget to take your Selfridge’s ‘selfie’ as a memento of your night. Oh, and take advantage of the canapés at the food stalls. Always take advantage of free food and booze.

 

FNO Vogue Manchester

 

Tommy Hilfiger

Here you can enjoy drinks and music while taking in all the details of the Runway collection show which will be digitally streamed into the store. There’s also the chance to get involved in a Runway inspired photo shoot with the best pics being posted on Instagram.

 

Topshop

Prizes to be won, music to enjoy and advice to be taken about how to achieve those key A/W makeup trends.

 

Ugg

Celebrate FNO by meeting members of the UGG creative council. Food and drink also gets creative at the Check On pop up restaurant.

 

Whistles

Bags purchased from the new collection on the night will receive a complementary monogram service whereby your initials can be printed in a colour of your choice.

 

I’ll leave you to plan your night out to the very last detail. I don’t know where to begin….

For more information about Vogue’s Fashion’s Night Out visit vogue.co.uk

 

Victoria x

 

Photographs: Vogue’s Fashion’s Night Out, Map – Vogue by illustrator Katherine Baxter

 

Other articles by Victoria:

National Days September

Rita the Rock-n-Roll Waitress

Hard Rock Couture Exhibition

Top 10 Picnic Spots

Top 10 Places To Go and See Animals

Top 10 Family Adventure Days Out

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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