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Writer Esther Walker is a bit of a girl crush for us all at the office. She’s funny, fabulous and knows how to rock a dress. We met up with her to discuss the stylish/practical axis and picking sides in the shoe vs handbag war.

If you had to list 3 must have items in your wardrobe what would they be?
A denim shirt, a grey or navy sweater and a white t-shirt.

Can you remember your first item of clothing that made you feel like a grown up? What was it?

My sister had a pair of electric blue sandals – the strap was in a kind of zig zag pattern (it was 1986) and they were the most chic, beautiful things I’d ever seen. I finally got my hands on them when I was ten but they were too big so I put them away, waiting for my feet to grow into them. But they never did, because my sister was a size 6 and I’m still, 25 years later, a size 5. Still, they were mine, I owned them – and they made me feel like I’d arrived.

Do you have any major style faux pas?
So, so many. I have never been naturally stylish. If I think very hard about what to wear I can pull together something that looks good, but it always requires thought, I always need inspiration. It’s why I’ve taken to wearing a lot of gym kit during the day – you can put it on without thinking about it and it is, technically, a “look”. I raid Sweaty Betty and Gap once a year for essentials. I’m still toying with the idea of spending £82 on a pair of Lululemon leggings. I can’t decide whether it’s good sense or just the end of days.

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Is there an piece of clothing you’ve always wanted to own? Why?
I’m so fickle when it comes to this kind of thing – the item I’m really crushing on changes daily. This last winter I have most felt the absence in my wardrobe of a smart navy blue overcoat and will definitely get one for AW17. Navy is basically the most useful colour there is. At this precise moment I really, really want one of those super-smart parkas – like from Canada Goose? It’s been so cold and my Gap long puffa jacket really needs to be taken outside and shot to put it out of its frumpy misery. But Canada Goose jackets are about a million pounds and it’s about to be Spring. I mean, in theory. One for the Christmas list I guess.

Would you say you are a shoes or bag girl?
I try not to be either. I am wary of that thing that can happen where you just endlessly buy shoes and bags but barely use any of them. I now have a ban on buying new bags and I rotate the ones I already have. Perhaps once a year I will ask my husband for a really special one – this Christmas I got a dark grey Saint Laurent bag, because I didn’t have a single tote bag in my whole collection. The same goes for shoes – if you’re not strict about how many you actually need it can get out of control. Having said all that, if I had to pick a side in some sort of shoe/handbag war, I’d rush more quickly to the defence of a Chloe Drew bag than a pair of Louboutin boots.

Do you have an all time favourite style purchase?
About two years ago I bought a pair of Acne boyfriend jeans. They were incredibly expensive and quite an extreme shape. But I utterly loved them and wore them all the time and will probably wear them all the time this summer, too. It was the first time I’d bought something expensive that was stylish but also incredibly practical and great for
gooning around with the kids in. Sorry one more: a few years ago I asked for a pair of Jimmy Choo studded spike heels for my birthday and I treasure them like they’re made of diamonds; I keep the shoe trees in and shut them up tight in their special blush-pink box with “Jimmy Choo” written in gold on the lid. No-one is allowed to touch them
except me and they get compliments everywhere they go.

All images shot at the amazing Le Coq, where we would eat every lunch for the rest of our lives if we could.
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In the spirit of the swinging sixties, we met up with writer and GQ literary editor Olivia Cole on the streets of Chelsea.  She had the coffee maker all fired up and ready to go so we were able to talk (some) sense on her first novel set in 30s’ Hollywood, which involves a lot of oldie film watching as research. Damn we’re jealous.

If you had to list 3 must have items in your wardrobe what would they be?

Silver Converse high tops – practical and stylish, at least in my book.   I’ve always loved Converse and my disco versions can take me anywhere. They are a liberating thing to wear because I can walk for miles in them and I like to think that they can be dressed up or down.

In winter, my Missoni jumbo scarves in shades of pink and plum. They can be worn as a shawl or a wrap-around scarf and I tend to wear mine wrapped a couple of times round in the manner of a giant Elizabethan neck ruff.  They are warm and oversized and I’m rarely parted from it from about October to April, so much so that I now have two to mix things up.  I love wearing them either with a coat or my black leather jacket and often keep them on indoors…

In the summer, I love wearing vintage print dresses in crazy colours.  I have two in particular that I found in a tiny place called Venice Vintage Paradise on Abbot Kinney.    They look as though they might have belonged to Barbie circa 1965 and if I was sensible they would be the only things I pack to take on holiday as they are all I ever wear.

Can you remember your first item of clothing that made you feel like a
grown up? What was it?

An outfit that certainly made me feel grown up was a white and pink all-in-one with a bow which I wore to death when I was about 8.  I used to refer to it affectionately as “bow bow”. Like any of my favourite items, I tried to wear it as much possible so much so that it eventually fell apart at the seams. According to family legend, I cried.

Do you have any major style faux pas?

Far far too many to mention I am sure. For a start, I love a splash of neon at all times of year. In homage to Edie Sedgwick I also have a soft spot for a tasteful touch of leopard print… or indeed zebra.   A spaghetti strap snapping on the way to a film premiere in Venice was also memorable. A friend managed to sew it back together as we bobbed around in a water taxi.

Is there a piece of clothing you’ve always wanted to own? Why?

When he was living in LA, working as a screen writer and writing The Last Tycoon, in 1937 F Scott Fitzgerald gave his girlfriend, the Hollywood journalist Sheilah Graham, a silver fox fur coat as a birthday present.  LA at night can be freezing. She loved it so much she was too scared to wear it much and then when he was short on cash they gave it away to Scott’s teenage daughter Scottie, who was studying at Vassar, as a Christmas present.  I’m writing a book based on Sheilah Graham’s life. I don’t know what happened to the coat but it would truly have some stories to tell.

Would you say you are a shoes or bag girl?

 As a journalist I like to carry a lot of “essential” rubbish and books around, so my capacious tasselled Anya Hindmarch black bag has room for everything and pretty much goes everywhere with me.  That said, I love my Jimmy Choos and it’s not a party without them.

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Do you have an all-time favourite style purchase?

A silk little black dress by Prada. It was an amazing 30th birthday present from my mum and dad and it’s definitely grown up but is also the right combination of elegant and slightly naughty. It totally put me off fast fashion as I’ve worn it countless times and it still puts a spring in my step every time I put it on. I’ve never not had a good time wearing it!

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Gosford Park star, former face of Max Factor and stylish lady around town Camilla Rutherford tells us why she loves fifties screen goddesses. She walked through the door beautiful and bare faced but with just a lick of red lipstick was ready for her close-up. We’ve got a style crush!

If you had to list 3 must have items in your wardrobe what would they be?

3 must have items in my wardrobe would be; a great coat, a good pair of jeans and a timeless bag.

Can you remember your first item of clothing that made you feel like a grown up? What was it?

When I was about 12 I graduated from Benetton jeans to 501s, much cooler.

Do you have any major style faux pas?

Don’t over do it, it is so important to look relaxed whatever you are wearing.

Is there an piece of clothing you’ve always wanted to own? Why?

I would love a fur coat but still don’t have one. I want a great one but worry about the expense and cruelty to animals.  I would like to get a kindly sourced one before I am 45. I would like to look like a 50s movie star- elegant and sophisticated, also like my mother and grandmother.

Would you say you are a shoes or bag girl?

Shoes date more so than bags, a good bag can last a lifetime, like my mother’s Hermes.

Do you have an all time favourite style purchase?

I love my Roger Vivier patent shoes- they make almost any evening frock look snazzy!

 

 

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We opened the door on a grey London morning to a riot of gorgeous colour, gleaming copper table and beaming blonde! Maternity guru Marina was launching her first book that evening, The Bump Class: An Expert Guide To Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond,  but couldn’t have been calmer- we quizzed her on her style secrets…
If you had to list 3 must have items in your wardrobe what would they be?  
A great pair of jeans – I’m loving J Crew at the moment, a blazer – I’m a fan of bright colours and a pair of Stuart Wizeman silver pumps.
Can you remember your first item of clothing that made you feel like a grown up? What was it?
My first bikini – my favourite piece of clothing.
Do you have any major style faux pas?
I bought a bright orange coat from somewhere like Mango in the 90’s.  Looking back I realised I looked like I worked for Easy Jet.
Is there an piece of clothing you’ve always wanted to own? Why?
A piece of couture.  I wore an Oscar de la Renta jacket for a photo shoot recently and it was incredible.  For a moment I toyed with the idea of spoiling myself and buying it….until I realised it cost £3,500!
Would you say you are a shoes or bag girl?  
I’d love to be shoes girl but with enormous feet, I have more luck with bags….
Do you have an all time favourite style purchase?
I found two pairs of Louboutin boots in the sales about a decade ago and they’re something I wear every season.
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For this London Fashion Week, we asked one of the loveliest ladies in British street style to layer up one of our coats.  Anneli started blogging as a way to document her fashion buys(!)  Over the years she’s taken us through her wedding planning, multiple house renovations and has now gone full time with blogging and her passion for health on her site Sustain the Glow. We have to say she looks pretty darn gorgeous always so we’re avid fans of her wellness tips and artfully styled breakfasts as well as her minimalist with a twist style.

Anneli started blogging as a way to document her fashion buys in 2012. We’ve seen her blog grow personally and professionally – she’s taken us through her wedding planning, multiple house renovations and most recently going full time with the blog and her wellness website Sustain the Glow.

If you had to list 3 must have items in your wardrobe what would they be?

A pair of skinny jeans, any of my Saint Laurent bags and a well fitting sweater. I also love my fitness gear for my workout-days, a good pair of printed leggings and bright coloured sneakers are a must have.

How would you define your style?

Classic and minimal with an edge. I’m originally from Norway so am quite minimalistic, but my time in Barcelona and London has injected a little bit of flare and colour in places!

Who do you look to for style inspiration?

Instagram, where I stalk all the super chic Australian bloggers. I would love to have as much sunshine as they do as I’m a real sunshine junkie, and I adore their balance of fashion and wellness.

Would you say you are a shoes or bag girl?

I am definitely all about the bags. I’m very fortunate to have quite a collection. I’m not at all frivolous, lots of my bags have been gifts or treats to myself after working very hard. Shoes come and go, while classic, leather bags – stay with you forever (and add that luxe feeling to any outfit).

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