Graduation Style

It’s been a wee bit quiet around here because I’ve been a little busy… Last month I graduated, moved out of my flat in St Andrews and down to London to start my new job – it’s all been a bit of a whirlwind. It seems so long ago now (although it was only last month!)  but I really wanted to publish a “Graduation Style” post to share some outfit ideas and pictures of what I actually wore, as well as describe some of the get-ups I spotted on the day. Every university has it’s own guidelines about what to wear for the traditional graduation ceremony, but as far as I know, graduates are mostly required to wear black or white (I’ve seen lots of dresses in pictures). At St Andrews the dress code for girls was white shirt/ blouse/ top and black skirt or trousers with dark shoes, and lounge suit with white bow tie for the boys. Otherwise, both genders could wear national dress – I saw lots of kilts and a few saris and dirndls. I loved observing how my fellow graduands interpreted the dress code. A white top and black base is about as sartorially simple as you can get – it’s like a blank canvas that’s wide open to interpretation. Everyone tailored the dress code to their own personal style – whether boyish or feminine, laid-back or fashion-conscious. I found the dress code a little tricky as when I wear white I look like I’m about to faint. A lot of my fellow graduands felt similarly so many opted for a creamier shade to minimise ghostliness. In terms of style there was everything from crisp, mannish shirts with big collars to ladylike chiffon pussy bow blouses. I even spotted one girl wearing a white vest top! For the bottom half, the majority of girls wore fitted skirts and there was a smattering of tailored trousers too. Several skirts were a little above the knee (leather fringed mini skirt girl, I’m looking at you) and there were a few cold-looking bare legs (it definitely wasn’t no tights weather) but mainly everyone had made a real effort and looked lovely and smart – I really enjoyed the fact that we were all dressed up together. It was certainly different seeing a few of my classmates, normally only ever turned out in jeans and hoodies, in their Sunday best! After numerous hours perusing nearly identical white tops and pondering skirt lengths, I came up with this:

I wanted to look smart but not compromise my usually girly but tailored style, so opted for more feminine pieces. Lots of blouses and shirts I looked at were either too buttoned-up matronly or too mannish; eventually I went for this polka dot detail blouse with bow and covered buttons, which I thought was much more my sort of fun, feminine style.

For the skirt, I didn’t want anything too fitted or short and again I looked for something ladylike but un-frumpy. As long-term blog readers will know, I’m a fan of pleated skirts and thought I’d try this knee-length black sunray pleat skirt as a more “me”  twist on the smart black skirt. I pulled it all together with a vintage belt and some black patent courts (bought very late in the day), topped off with a full head of curls and quite natural, subdued make-up.

I was hoping it would all come together (as we couldn’t try on the academic dress before the day) and to my relief I liked the whole thing when the gown and hood were added to the mix and was very pleased with the result!

I think it’s safe to say that Grad Week was one of the best weeks of my life so far, thanks to everyone who made it so special.

Only in St Andrews: The Very Vintage Fashion Fair

I spent this morning perusing the rails and playing dress-up at St Andrews Very Vintage Fashion Fair. Ivory Tower Events brought together a group of vintage sellers from all over Scotland to create a retro experience in Younger Hall. The Fair had a relaxed atmosphere and was intimate and well-organised, with a range of high quality vintage on offer. Vintage clothing  stalls included The Frockery (who I was pleased to meet in person after chatting to on Twitter), the lovely Fox & Bhut ladies,  Ruby in the Dust Vintage, CrossWood, Secret Wardrobe, and Scaramanga. The vintage sellers were really friendly and had cherry-picked stock for the event, which added an air of exclusivity.

Ivory Tower really had thought of everything, with vintage-style cupcakes from the University of St Andrews Charities Committee and Ruby’s Cupcakes, as well as makeovers from Sandra Cormack of SC Makeup Artistry giving glamorous makeovers. A thoroughly retro experience!

All in all it was a well-organised project and a great addition to the calendar of events here in St Andrews. We need more events like this and I hope it returns soon! I thought the £3 entrance was reasonable, given that it will cover their overheads, although others thought it was a little steep given the limited selection of vintage and the price of the vintage on offer. However, as I say the vintage was of high quality and priced accordingly; finding such pieces at a lower price would require extreme patience/ talent at bargain hunting/ sheer luck/ mad haggling skills so I appreciate the editing process that had been done in this scenario meant prices were a little higher. I did also see some absolute bargains so there were some budget vintage gems there too!

Here’s what Younger Hall looked like today (excuse the quality, I only had my phone to take pictures with):

And here’s a picture of me trying on a beautiful camel coat at the Cancer Research stall:

I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect camel coat for a while now – there’s something so timelessly elegant about it, and the right shade of warm camel goes with almost everything. I spotted this one and had to try it on – the perfect feminine shape and classic hue. I thought this coat was beautiful and sat really well but I had to leave it behind: for a winter coat it was a tad on the small size for fitting bulky jumpers and layers underneath for the colder months. It was also £40 which was incredibly reasonable for a vintage wool coat in such great condition, but I am trying to watch my money at the moment and I couldn’t part with the cash knowing it was a tad on the small side for winter. It did go well with my outfit though; on that note thanks to the lovely ladies running the Cancer Research stall and their outfit compliments and pictures, I was extremely flattered (haven’t seen the pictures yet but they should be on their website).

That brings me to my outfit. I haven’t had the excuse to dress “full on” vintage for a while so I thought I may as well get my retro gladrags on today! I went for a glamorous ’40s-inspired outfit today which actually (shock, horror!) was almost entirely high street with a few vintage accessories! I know the philosophy of mixing one-off vintage finds with high street separates is hardly new, but I really liked this outfit and received lots of compliments, so thought I would share it with you.

The vintage velvet and net hat is a favourite of mine, found in Edinburgh’s vintage treasure trove, Armstrong’s.  I’ve been dying for an excuse to wear it and thought it added an authentic twist to my retro-style ’40s-style polka dot tea dress from Topshop, fitted tweed peplum jacket from H&M and patent leather Mary Jane pumps from Office. I accessorised with bright red lips, my vintage patent leather belt and doctor’s bag and a faux fur tippet from Urban Outfitters to add that iconic ’40s polish to the look.

Elisabeth May Shoe Boutique’s First Clothing Capsule Collection

Today Elisabeth May Shoe Boutique invited shoppers to view their new capsule collection of clothing in store with a glass of fizz and some serious eye candy. The store has made the decision to expand into clothing with a capsule collection of pieces; as usual, things are exclusive, so when pieces sell out they are replaced by another line, so get in there fast! The well-constructed starting collection was made up of Lipsy and Never Fully Dressed pieces in blush and neutral tones, floaty fabrics and feminine shapes that marry perfectly with the modern, girly aesthetic of the store.

A further strength of the collection is its versatility. The mid-thigh length of the dresses and tunics suit a range of styles as these pieces can all be styled differently. They can be worn bare-legged with a pair of embellished sandals in summer, dressed down over a pair of skinny jeans and worn with a slouchy cardigan, or dressed up with killer heels and opaque tights. This versatility also ensures that a range of ages and tastes are catered for, a strength the shop has already honed in its collection of shoes, bags and jewellery.

The dresses have a chic and flattering cut; floaty chiffons skim rather than cling and elegant long sleeves and the higher necklines of the Never Fully Dressed shirt dresses are ladylike without being prim. The lilac Lipsy vintage-esque floral dress was my favourite – I’d wear it for a night out with opaque tights, killer bright heels, a topknot and layered necklaces. The long sleeves drew me to this one too, I must say I was a big fan of the long sleeved dresses in the collection, the material added volume and the floaty sleeves were ethereal, reminiscent of Florence Welch. The cuff details were a cute touch, heavy embellishments or dainty bows – I’d definitely go for the bows as they look really cute peeping out underneath a boyfriend blazer or chunky knit. The peachy pink Lipsy pleated tunic also caught my eye, you know I have a thing for pleats! This one had textured detailing around the sleeves and the floaty shape is just gorgeous.

A great achievement for the shop’s first capsule clothing collection, owner Natalie has selected some really lovely pieces that are both fashionable and versatile. I love how the collection really fits with the rest of the shop, the colours in particular complement the shoes as you can see from the pictures of the display. Elisabeth May is fast becoming St Andrews’ one stop shop for a slice of high street and boutique fashion. It’s no mean feat to incorporate such a big high street name into the Elisabeth May brand, but I think this has been achieved seamlessly – that clothes rail just looks like it was meant to be there. I can’t wait to see the next offerings from this darling boutique.

There are some gorgeous new Mischa Barton bags in stock just today as well, I love/ need this satchel!

The Tribe Make-up Shoot: Botanical Brights

Here are the pictures from the make-up shoot I organised and directed for The Tribe last week. The beautiful pictures were taken by Bailey Roberts – take a look at her Facebook page for more of her gorgeous shots. She’s moving back to America soon and her talent will be sorely missed in St Andrews. Thanks so much for doing this shoot for us Bailey! A big thanks also to gorgeous model Laura Watson who looked absolutely stunning in the make-up looks the talented make-up artist Olivia Mackay created. All in all a great shoot that we pulled off really speedily as everyone was so focused and professional.

The theme of the shoot itself was something that came to me recently and I was itching to create; I wanted to focus on the statement bright lips make-up trend that was all over the S/S catwalks (think Jil Sander matching neon pink lips and skirts) as well as strong brows. I wanted to have a bit of a floral theme to accentuate the brights, St Andrews Botanical Gardens were the perfect location with tropical flowers and exotic colours in the sweltering green houses. Ever organised a shoot in a green house? Adds an interesting element of sweatiness… Beautiful flowers really made the coloured lips pop, just look at how the shade of purple seems to change when next to different flowers – from a light magenta pink-purple through to deepest mauve. Congrats ladies on a wonderful shoot and thank you all again.

Photographer- Bailey Roberts
Director – Rosie Steer
Model- Laura Watson
Make-up Artist- Olivia Mackay
Production Assistant – Alastair Irvine

Only in St Andrews: May Ball 2011

Last night was the May Ball, organised annually by the infamous Kate Kennedy Club. It’s a yearly ritual that almost everyone attends to celebrate the end of classes. The dress code is black tie (officially) but it is interesting to see the varying takes on said description. There’s normally a discrepancy between the more casual high street numbers, such as cocktail dresses from H&M, or full on fairytale ball gowns and designer frocks. I think it’s how you wear it that makes each look, styling is important as there is always the risk you might bump into someone in the same dress. I find it interesting to see how people wearing the same dress style it differently, even if it is every girl’s nightmare scenario!

My dress was in a 1930s style, so I decided to make my whole look retro. The dress is Kate Moss for Topshop, the iconic one she wore in the window to launch the first collection. I wore it for my cousin’s wedding, and love it to bits! When I got it I was worried it would only suit those with a Moss-esque figure but it’s actually incredibly flattering if you have curves, more so than if you’re stick thin I think as it emphasises a Jessica Rabbit figure. Al approved anyway! I love the vintage-esque style of this dress, reminiscent of the return to maxis and curve-fitting garments after the short hemlines and dropped waists of the emancipated twenties. There’s nothing more vampish or glamorous than the thirties silhouette and its embrace of womanliness.

I really wanted to try thirties hair to make the look authentic, and after some internet research and a bit of trial and error I came up with this. I created the “marcel waves” using straighteners as I couldn’t understand how to create the “finger wave” manually, it seemed a bit too hit and miss for me. I just waved my hair instead of curling it with straighteners and made a bun at the back, pinning all the waves behind my head so it looked like I had a thirties bob. It worked pretty well, I’d recommend this technique if you want to create retro hair as it’s actually quite easy, if time-consuming.

My bag and necklace are vintage, in keeping with the style of the era. I got this vintage patent leather bag in Cancer Research for just £5! It was in perfect condition and is the exact style I wanted to go with the dress. It looks a bit purpley in the pictures, it’s more of a burgundy hue in real life. I really liked creating a vintage look for the ball and felt like I did stand out, I got several compliments saying so, so I seem to have achieved my goal!

It was a great night all in all, although I don’t think we got £35 worth of stuff for our money and the queues for the bars and rides (yes, fairground rides at a ball!) were ridiculously long. It’s also really easy to lose everyone at Kinkell Byre where the ball was held, as it’s just so big and phone signal is terrible! It was a good night overall however, and St Andrews certainly does balls like no other.

Dress- Kate Moss for Topshop
Necklace- Vintage
Ring- Primark
Shoes- Office
Belt- Vintage
Bag- Vintage

Only in St Andrews: Thrifting Finds

Here’s my latest vintage find from my favourite thrifting emporium, Cancer Research on South St, St Andrews. You’ve got to be so quick in there as the good stuff is snapped up almost immediately. Luckily I was quick off the mark with this one! I love the gorgeous mint green colour, appropriate for this season’s girlier and less in your face alternative to neon: pastels. The pleats are also incredibly on trend, but these are heavier duty retro box pleats instead of the light chiffon sunray ones that have been everywhere since the Chloé S/S 11 show. Don’t get me wrong, I own and love my high street pleated wonders but I’m loving this skirt for a change. The heavy fabric makes things a bit sharper and more tailored.

The skirt was a few sizes too big, but a bit of adjustment here and there and it was absolutely perfect! Just goes to show that you shouldn’t completely disregard items in charity shops if they’re a bit big. Better big than small, as you can adjust them so easily! I’m so glad I didn’t walk away from this one.

As you know I have a bit of a thing for buttons, and these ones are perfect. The burnished gold colour and embellished detail of these buttons is gorgeous, and add to the tailored, ladylike feel. The retro midi length is actually surprisingly wearable, and hot this season too. The skirt was just £4.25 – yes really! I couldn’t believe my eyes and I did think the sales assistant was about to fight me for it as she reluctantly put it in a bag and took my money. Smug, me?!

I look forward to styling it in different ways: with a plain T-shirt like my Jil Sander inspired post, or a denim shirt. For today I decided to emphasise the ladylike vibe with my chiffon lace panelled blouse. I can’t believe how versatile this blouse has been! The headscarf is Liberty for Comic Relief, from T.K. Maxx. I missed the boat with this at the time and was annoyed at myself for not snapping it up quicker. However, when my family came up to visit a few weeks ago, my Mum gave it to me as a present! She just knows me so well, and we share a great love of Liberty. It’s a perfect headscarf size and I love the colour and print.

I wore my Chanel-esque quilted pumps for a sophisticated touch, and added my leather jacket to break things up a little.

Like my new blog header? Thanks again Gillian!

Skirt- Vintage
Blouse- New Look
Jacket- H&M
Shoes- Office
Ring- Primark
Scarf- Liberty for Comic Relief (T. K. Maxx)

Fox & Bhut Shoot for The Tribe

Here’s the fruits of our labour from the shoot last Wednesday. I don’t think I’ve ever had a more fun on a shoot (there was a trampoline!), or been more pleased with the results. A fantastic, hard-working team; we were there for six hours and all did this in our free time – I really appreciate that everyone did that and was so professional and enthusiastic.

A big thanks to all of the below, an extremely talented bunch:

Photographer- Gillian Gamble (
[Director and Stylist- Rosie Steer (not that I’m thanking myself, just including myself in the credits!)]
Models- Nicole Abbott, Cloudie Edward, Ellis O’Connor, Stephanie Ramsay
Make-up Artist- Olivia Mackay
Production Assistant- Alastair Irvine
All clothes and wellies- Fox & Bhut (
Accessories- Stylist’s own
Other boots – models’ own
With a huge thanks to Ellen and Ursula of Fox & Bhut for the beautiful clothes and stunning location.

St Andrews duo Fox & Bhut have relocated their girly emporium, returning to their roots selling their signature girly wares at festivals in their recently acquired and revamped 1950s airstream trailer. The ‘F&B Bus’ will be on the move, so look out for its location on their website. They set up shop on Market St last week, inviting a flurry of excitement and collective enthusiasm for their new venture. The brand’s roots, selling at festivals, makes them a perfect option of course for your own girly festival style. The overriding sense of joy and femininity, and the story behind the clothes make them much more unique than your average high street offering. The ethical conscience, clarity of vision and creation of the antithesis of throwaway fashion makes them sustainable and unique.

This is a preview of their new stock, with some of their classic past collections thrown in for good measure. The Trollied Dolly dresses with peter pan collars, buttons, polka dots and ribbons couldn’t be more girly. The versatile length and flirty shape combined with these details make for an explosion of retro style with a modern twist. Throw in some eye-poppingly bright florals, Stella McCartney-esque fruit prints and a nipped in waist and you’ve got a modern nostalgic look.

Wear them with festival staple wellies (such as the chic pictured wedge wellies), or tough boots to give a masculine edge to an overtly girly ensemble. Add some bright, retro sunglasses or modern, kooky shaped frames to complement this look. Think hippy with the rest of your look: wavy, bedhead hair, plaits and flowers.

The beauty of these dresses is their versatility- styled up or down, for day or night, festival or pub, ball or lecture.

See the shoot on The Tribe –

Only In St Andrews: Thrifting Finds

I had a quick look in my favourite charity shop today (Cancer Research on South Street), and here are some more little vintage finds. Firstly, the navy vintage leather handbag was £6.50, a bargain for such a gorgeous vintage piece that’s really in style just now. It has an adorable clasp opening and frame structure. As I’ve said before I love bags with a bit of structure, so this one ticks all the boxes. You can’t really tell from the scale here but it’s actually quite small, I thought it would be good for days when I don’t have to lug around all my bits. Now that I have the real deal, the high street seems like such a poor imitation!

I also got this little headscarf in a blue and red paisley print for just £2! It’s just the right size to wear as a headscarf and I love the rich jewel tones and silkiness. There were a lot of new vintage scarves and bags such as this as well as loafer style shoes in the shop today, some really lovely pieces and I could have bought them all!

Only In St Andrews: Royal Romance

If you’re in St Andrews, unless you’ve been hiding under a rock (highly possible if you’re in the midst of deadline central) you’ve most likely already seen this video. I know that I have a fair few readers outside of The Bubble, so I urge you to take a look at this fantastic video by St Andrews a cappella group The Other Guys . Their hilarious tribute to Wills and Kate is poised to go viral – they’ve had 47,000 hits since Monday. They were on STV news tonight and are receiving more and more media attention which is spreading internationally.

The witty lyrics, fantastic vocals and well-edited video showcases lovely shots of iconic St Andrews locations. I like that there’s a lot in there you have to be/ have been a student here to appreciate fully and I think Wills and Kate would love to see this – I sincerely hope that they have.

It certainly brightened up my day of reading! Please share this video and help The Other Guys go stratospheric!

Only in St Andrews: Elisabeth May Shoe Boutique Spring ‘Ladies Night’

Tonight was Elisabeth May Shoe Boutique’s ‘Spring Ladies Night’, the first of the St Andrews shoe emporium’s events I have been able to attend. The evening saw the thriving boutique launch three more brands in store: H by Hudson, Bourne and (some more) French Connection Jewellery. Cupcakes, pink champagne and shoes, what more could you want?! In a welcoming, relaxed atmosphere shoe lovers mingled, browsed the carefully selected new stock and received pedicures by So…Glamourous of Anstruther to show off their new purchases.

The evening was evidence of how the unique boutique is making its mark in St Andrews by creating a brand centred around the woman in the shoes. Elisabeth May shoe parties are key to making the boutique more than just a shop but a lifestyle experience. Owner Natalie is clearly passionate about her job and her energy and eye for style have created a unique shopping experience.

Firstly: the selection of beautiful heels. If you’ve got a ball or wedding to go to, then look no further than Elisabeth May. There’s a great selection of styles, from low and mid-heels to sculptural skyscrapers. Covering all the bases from minimal to glamorous embellished beauties there’s a shoe style to fit all tastes. Leg-lengthening peep-toe platforms are on trend for this season’s ’70s obsession with the platform/ flatform. My favourites were the delectable Moda in Pelle suede platform heels. I was finding it impossible to choose between the romantic pale pink or the coral brights, both are so right for this Spring/ Summer. For a sturdier heel, the Moda in Pelle wooden wedges are perfect for this season’s return to natural materials. Great for offsetting a voluminous maxi or this season’s palazzo pants.

If heels aren’t your thing then chic ballet pumps are available in neutral shades and playful leopard print as well as other hues. The H by Hudson brand which was launched in store tonight had some more retro designs – the slick black loafers caught my eye, or if you want to rock androgynous cool then their boyish brogues are perfection. Butter soft leather and quirky design, what more could you want in a flat? Wear them with girly florals and floaty chiffon to give an androgynous edge.

The French Connection Jewellery complemented the shoes with its understated glamour. There was an art deco vibe to some of the geometric pieces, my favourites were the square tassled earrings. French Connection offer quirky, quality designs and I am loving their new branding; I like fashion with a sense of humour that isn’t afraid to poke fun at itself.

I was looking forward to seeing the new Mischa Barton bags; I got a black patent slouchy handbag from the range a few years ago that I loved to bits (literally – the zip fell off on the street in London) and since then the brand had fallen off my radar. This range had a distinctly Mulberry-esque feel. They reflected the structured yet slouchy aesthetic and attention to detail, rendered at a much more wallet friendly price for an air of catwalk cool. The detailing was my favourite part: the studding, eyelets tassles and zips gave the classic designs an edge. From envelope style clutches to structured shoulder bags in neutral tones the range fit the stylish but timeless vibe of Elisabeth May.