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Travel

Ella’s Fashion Tour of London

In December, I was lucky enough to be invited to join my boyfriend and his parents on a trip to London. I had been to London once before when I was ten years old, and my memories of that trip are fuzzy; therefore, I was thrilled to have a chance to explore the city as an adult.

Of course, London is at its most extravagant during the holiday season. Almost every street was decked in lights that would put D.C. holiday street decor to shame. The whole city was in the holiday spirit!

London is a pretty glamorous city, so fashion was definitely a big part in my trip. Naturally, I can’t write for a fashion blog and not share all of my fashion discoveries with our readers! Scroll down to read about some of my fun fashion adventures across the pond.

Cheerio!

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Fashionable Museum Visits

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Balenciaga at the Victoria & Albert Museum

In addition to a heartwarming exhibit on Winnie the Pooh, the Victoria & Albert Museum also offered an incredibly thorough exhibit called “Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion” that displayed 100+ original pieces by late designer Cristóbal Balenciaga from the 50’s and 60’s. Beginning with his earlier pieces and ending with some of his final works prior to the closing of the Balenciaga fashion house in 1968, this exhibit was full of mouthwatering-ly beautiful gowns that each showcased Balenciaga’s creativity and fantastic technical skills. My favorite look was the red balloon skirt dress shown below.

 

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Gift Shop at the Tate Modern

After touring several exhibits at the Tate Modern, our group stopped in the gift shop for postcards and souvenirs. Naturally, I went straight to the jewelry display case to check out what the Tate had to offer when it came to accessories. Long story short, they have a fantastic collection of funky, handmade jewelry from different designers around Europe. I ended up purchasing a pair of hand-painted earrings by Edinburgh-based Polymorphics for my mom. For myself, I splurged on a pink “e” necklace from Dutch company Turina Jewellery‘s ABC collection. Do you blame me?

 

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Department Store Adventures

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Liberty London

The first department store we visited was the Liberty London flagship store. Before I started working at Real Life Style, I had never heard of Liberty (despite the fact that my mom studied abroad in London in college and loves Liberty)! Well, I soon came to learn that Lani is a major Liberty enthusiast (I got her birthday present from the Liberty for Anthropologie home line). So, I was thrilled to get to see my boss’s favorite store in person. The store is located in an old, Tudor-style mansion in the middle of London’s main shopping district, so it’s pretty hard to miss.

Although Liberty carries all manner of designer clothing and shoes, the brand is known for its cheerful floral patterns that are printed onto notebooks, purses, scarves, and even just as rolls of fabric. My favorite pieces from the store included the deer figurine covered in Liberty fabric and the colorful Liberty print totes shown below.

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Harrods

Harrods is one of the most famous department stores in the world and its glamorous, over-the-top atmosphere renders it a major tourist attraction. The place is the definition of luxury. My boyfriend and I spent most of our time exploring the food hall, which was filled with elaborately decorated candies and desserts; however, I definitely made time to browse women’s accessories. All the big name designers were represented, but I was particularly attracted to these crazy clutches by Alexander McQueen! The one with clasps shaped like skulls was deservedly in a display case all its own.

I also explored the “Fine Jewelry” section of the department store…and wow! Talk about feeling out of place! I’ve never seen so many jewels and precious stones in one place in my life. I tried to keep a healthy distance from all the display cases out of an irrational fear that I would somehow break a £20,000 necklace just by looking at it. I mean, look at the this amazing necklace and matching bracelet by Lorraine Schwartz! I also spent a long time looking at all the Fabergé egg pendants…

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Christmas Market Explorations

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Greenwich

After taking the Painted Hall Ceiling Tour at the Old Royal Naval College, our group passed a market tucked into a outdoor atrium in Greenwich. While we only stopped in to look for a quick bite to eat, I became entranced by all the artisans’ stalls selling everything from artwork to clothes to funky trinkets. One of my favorite stalls was run by a jewelry designer whose company, Richardson & Richardson, sells quirky necklaces that put the “statement” in “statement necklace.” I also loved exploring the UniCrafts stall, which sold adorable jewelry boxes covered in fun, patterned fabrics.

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Thames Waterfront

On our way to get drinks at The Dandelyan, we stopped at a Scandinavian-type market selling sausages, hot drinks and different goods. I spent a long time at a stall that sold super warm scarves and shawls. I have been very into shawls lately. After all, they’re essentially glorified blankets that are socially acceptable to wear out in public. I fell head-over-heels for this grey and navy shawl, and before I knew it, I was handing over my money to the vendor and walking away wrapped up in stars. I’ve been wearing it constantly since. No regrets (although I wish I had gotten one for Lani, too)! She has been shooting me jealous looks when I wear it to the office…

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