Friday, 17 March 2017

Mama, I love you...

If your mum is anything like mine, when it comes to Crimbo, Birthdays or Mother’s Day, she’ll say, “don’t get me anything, save your money”. This may be because she’s desperate for me to add to my moving out fund so she and my dad can rent out my room, but the real reason is that mothers are by their very nature totally and utterly selfless. Despite their refusals, there is nothing better than spoiling the matriarch in our life, so browse our pick of mumma worthy gifts…
Say it with flowers that are guaranteed not to wilt in the form of this beautiful soft canvas pouch from Becksöndergaard. Perfect for make up or as an evening clutch bag, this beauty delivers on the kind of practical versatility that mums love.

If the special lady in your life is the queen of lists then how about a pretty Beyond Retro journal? Each one has been specially crafted using recycled materials and rare vintage fabrics that will brighten every note.


My mum is the hardest working person I know and Friday nights are everything to her. Her favourite way to start the weekend is with a glass of fizz and burning her beloved candle. A soy wax candle from Parkminster’s Regency Collection is definitely Friday worthy, especially with three gorgeous scents to choose from. With a burn time of 60 hours, my mamma’s Friday nights are sorted for a while!
 Nothing says “I love you” quite like a cup of tea in bed on a Sunday morning. Make her Mother’s day brew extra special with an Imogen Owen fine bone china mug etched with 24 carat gold calligraphy. If the cuppa is just the beginning of the day of treats then how about the wording ‘All the best adventures start with a cup of tea’ or ‘Rise & Shine’. Or if you’ve REALLY pulled out the stops for Mother’s day then how about ‘Today is going to be f*cking fantastic”!!!

Picture Credit: Imogen Owen

Picture Credit: Imogen Owen

Picture Credit: Imogen Owen

Every mum has a Mary Poppins handbag; everything is in there and everything can be resolved thanks to its contents. If her bag needs upgrading then look no further than WSd HQ.  The Becksöndergaard Cascade bag combines plush suede in a timeless navy colour with a knotted leather strap for a modern update. If your mumma likes her bag to be a little more compact then the CRU Calvin backpack is the perfect choice. Ideal for a lady who likes to be prepared for anything, the back straps on this beauty have been reinforced, so in the words of CRU “feel free to load it up”.

You can also find the perfect Mother’s Day card in store from a host of talented designers and creators.

Picture Credit: Oh Squirrel

Picture Credit: Emily Coxhead

Happy Mother’s Day to all you superwomen out there!

Rachel x

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Girl Power

At WSd every day is a celebration of women, but this week was an extra reason to shout about girl power thanks to International Women's Day. In recognition of the business women of Hitchin, Sarah has joined forces with the wonder women of the town to create a film which brings everyone's story together. The inspiring video is the brainchild of Anisha from Woodside Osteopathic Clinic in Hitchin via Media Bites.  This week we've gone back to the blog archives to re-share one of the most loved posts, 'An Interview with a Stylist' which tells the story of What Sarah did and the superwoman who runs it! 

Check out the video and let me know what you think  

Sarah Clare, the blonde goddess behind What Sarah did…has been delivering style and fabulous brands from 4 Bancroft since November 2010. Her store came about because she’s a qualified fashion stylist who wants to share what she knows with as many people as she can. She’s handled the wardrobes of singers, actresses and playwrights while still managing to empower the women who walk into her Hitchin boutique everyday.

I chatted to Sarah on a warm summer evening over delicious French food to see what its like to be a shopkeeper of a much loved lifestyle store and synonymously deliver her knowledge as a qualified fashion stylist…

Why did you want to become a fashion stylist?

Having worked in the retail industry for some time I felt that there was an underlying need for women to feel comfortable in their own skin. I believe that the superficial world we live in dictates that our wardrobe choices make a huge impact on how we are perceived... rightly or wrongly it's a fact. If you’re not comfortable, you’re not going to present your true fabulous self.  I strive to bring a newfound confidence to those I style and make everyone feel worthy and accepted. I trained and qualified as a fashion stylist so I’ve got the certificates to prove I know what I’m talking about but I also have the experience of encouraging women on a daily basis when they walk through the doors of What Sarah did...

How do you stay updated with current trends?

For me there’s an element of following trends but my priority is keeping in touch with our WSd customer. My mantra has always been ‘It’s not what you wear, it’s how you wear it’. This belief doesn’t correlate with fast throwaway fashion where you buy a top for Friday night…and Friday night only! The advice I give and live by is to make clever investments that work for your lifestyle and that you can wear time after time. I don’t want to dress someone for one night out; I want to dress them for what’s going on in their world right now. Trends are there to work with, not live by. I buy each season to complement my ladies and to keep the store current but wearable. WSd aims to bring information, style and trends to you, taking the hard bit out of shopping while injecting fun!

What sets WSd apart from other fashion retailers?

We are totally honest with our customers and its honesty that customers return to first and foremost. It’s a harsh reality but too often we’re upsold lies for commission and fashion is falsely sold to us to get numbers in the till.  Wsd is built on foundations of honesty- more often its not about what something costs, its about how it works for you and if its worthy of being in your wardrobe. As women we face so many adversities and our wardrobe should not hinder us from growing. Confidence is not an arrogance it's a super power that we all have the right to own and yes once you *feel* amazing, you can do anything you choose. I’ve also trained my team about body shape, flattering cuts and colours and as stylists we’ll not only take all of this into account for every customer who seeks our advice, but we’ll also try to get an understanding of their lifestyle and interests so whatever we recommend is guaranteed to work for them. We get to know our customers and have running conversations with them- you can often hear us saying ‘That will go really well with that skirt you’ve got” or  “those shoes you bought last season will really work with that”. We can offer multiple outfit suggestions for each piece of WSd you buy, thus making it wardrobe worthy.

What services do you offer as a fashion stylist?

I offer VIP evenings in store, which is a great way to get the girls together as well as getting a professional fashion stylist to yourselves for a few hours. Play dress up, sip on fizz and shop ‘till you drop! You and up to 6 friends will have WSd HQ to yourselves with just myself on hand for advice, so the setting will be a tranquil hub in which you can discover your wardrobe needs.

I can also come to youa wardrobe edit is a relaxed way to re address your wardrobe to make it work for you and you alone. It's fab, easy and not just about getting rid of what's there, it's about re discovery, ensuring you wear everything you have in your wardrobe and making it work for you on a day-to-day basis. 

We all have an unbalanced wardrobe, too many of this, nothing to go with that... During the edit, we discuss your body shape, any changes to your world that could affect your wardrobe, lifestyle and current wardrobe needs to figure out exactly what is needed in these areas... 

It's a beautiful fact that we all have too many evening/going out outfits sat there like the ugly sister waiting to be taken from the depths of the wardrobe, whereas we have over worked work wear like Cinderella by day. So it's a case of looking at day to day versus nights on the tiles and making each outfit work in several different ways to ensure its worthiness in your wardrobe. 

It's a cool and therapeutic exercise to re work existing staple pieces that can perform year after year. My guidance just puts the confidence back into you and therefore your wardrobe and adding a few key pieces per season keeps it all current but still wearable. Reinventing pieces does this too and I give ideas on how to do so.  With a fresh set of eyes you’ll be surprised what you actually have hiding in there that’s wearable and on trend... 

We discard anything that doesn't fit, is worn out, faded or you have multiples of. Be it to be offered to a friend, charity or re worked into something fresh, it's not a landfill moment it's an efficient way to wear all your purchases. Ultimately with my professional styling advice, we’ll use what's there and works for your body shape, lifestyle and needs. It’s so therapeutic…I bloody love my job!

Once I’ve styled my customers (angels as I like to call them) on a 1-2-1 basis, they have me on hand to assist in the future. Prices are upon application and we can accommodate birthday parties at WSd HQ too! I’m also happy to research that special something that an angel may need for an upcoming event.

What can we expect from WSd in the future?

There’s loads to come! We’ve got some really cool projects in the pipeline that we’re so excited to share soon. I’ve been working on exciting styling developments too. Everything I’ve mentioned today is just the tip of the styling iceberg but gives an insight into the WSd ingredients needed to create the lifestyle cake (and yes we’re excited that Bake Off started this week!). There’s lots more on the horizon so watch this space and subscribe to the blog if you want to know more…

Rachel x

Friday, 3 March 2017

Get in Line

So I’ve given up sugar for Lent- that’s 40 days and 40 nights of no chocolate or fizz. Lord help me. They say day 3 is the hardest so I’m frantically searching for my fill of the sweet stuff in other ways...welcome to this week’s blog on the (candy) stripe!
If the thought of stripes conjures images of beach umbrellas and weathered deck chairs, then fear not. A great way to dip your toes into the balmy waters of this style is through accessorising. The Becksöndergaard Barasse scarf is a colourful blend of wool and cashmere and will uplift the simplest of outfits. The print combines a mix match of both vertical and horizontal lines and is the perfect way to ease into a spring look that’s more Riviera than Bognor.

Another great way to dip into stripes is to go for a piece that just has an accent of the print. This navy Scotch & Soda dress is made from a light-weight silky fabric and has contrasting striped sleeves in knitted lurex. Perfect for work or play.

What would a blog about stripes be without the mention of Breton? The cult classic of Parisian chic is a timeless wardrobe staple and the great thing about this style is that every year it takes on a new lease of life. For Spring/Summer, Scotch & Soda has taken the iconic navy and white combo and teamed it with the granddad cut top to achieve a spring staple.  Team with the Vero Moda straight leg jeans for that sense of relaxed refinement which the French pull off so well. Red and white stripes also offer ultimate French girl cool and Scotch & Soda strikes again with the ‘French T-Shirt’. The cotton jersey t-shirt is etched with the words ‘Libre Comme L’Art’ meaning ‘as free as a bird’- what’s not to love or should I say ‘amour’?!

The showstopper of this feature is from a brand that’s new to the WSd block. All hail, Traffic people, a fresh and eclectic brand ‘born in the heart of London, on the stalls of Portobello Road and Camden market'.  Dior and Prada brought vertical lines back into the spotlight and the Gloriously Graphic Bianca Jumpsuit offers a doorway to this fun print. According to Traffic People, this beauty ‘is an elegant alternative to the little black dress’ and an uplifting one at that! Style with the Moda in Pelle cobalt blue Chiara heels for a night on the geometric tiles or team with a pair of Veja kicks for chic laid-back vibes.

 Offering equally statement-making appeal is the Carmen top. The bright beauty takes the Bianca print and flips it horizontally for a masterpiece Piet Mondrian would be proud of. With batwing sleeves and tie cuffs, this oversized top will be your Spring/Summer saviour. Simply team with the Scotch & Soda white chinos for the epitome of laid-back cool.  

As I continue in my sugar free quest, expect next week’s blog to be about the hottest new shades of the season...biscuit and champagne anyone?!
Rachel x