This week I popped up to London on the train to attend a lovely event at Hobbs in Covent Garden: A little champagne (orange juice for me considering my getting back to fitness regime), great conversation, some beautiful flower arranging and a lot of browsing the Hobbs SS16 collection. We were very lucky to be able to choose a gift in the form of something from the store as a thank you, and after some deliberation I succumbed to my current orange obsession and plumped for the delicious mandarin orange Adlington tote bag.
It may seem a frivolous choice to go for such a bright colour when choosing a tote, but please, please, hear me out on this...! Buying quality leather totes is something I'm finding myself drawn to more and more these days - I'm definitely favouring quality that will last over cheaper, more trend-led bags (I must be growing up at last). I'm convinced, however, that a brightly coloured tote bag could be the most versatile accessory in your wardrobe - far more so than black.
I have a leather tote in red that at the time retailed for over £300, and it's the bag that I reach for nearly every time I put an outfit together. Now, I don't wear a lot of red (hardly ever, in fact), but somehow the red seems to go with just about everything. Most recently I wore it with grey, burgundy and black; with all the brights and winter white on Valentine's Day, and with black tights, a sweater dress and a camel cape at the beginning of January. So that's a lot of wears already this year, and it doesn't include the times I've used it when the outfit hasn't appeared on the blog.
I've had it over two years and it doesn't show any signs of wear and tear. It still looks box-fresh, and that's thanks to the quality of the craftsmanship, which of course you do pay for.
For me, a bright bag goes with all the colours, but it does a great job of adding a punch of colour to neutral tones as well. You'll always have something to brighten your outfit, especially if you're drawn to black a lot and want to get out of your black rut.
FOR ME, A BRIGHT BAG GOES WITH ALL THE COLOURS, BUT IT DOES A GREAT JOB OF ADDING A PUNCH OF COLOUR TO NEUTRAL TONES AS WELL. YOU'LL ALWAYS HAVE SOMETHING TO BRIGHTEN YOUR OUTFIT.
To prove my point, I've created three outfits using the very same Hobbs orange tote. One office chic work outfit, one lunch date outfit and one smart-casual weekend outfit. Hopefully it'll show that bright isn't bad, and if you're investing your money in a quality tote then not only are they worth the money, but I honestly think you should ditch the black and reach for the rainbow. Colour is so much more exciting...!
ARE YOU A HANDBAG ADDICT (DESIGNER OR OTHERWISE)? AND ARE YOU A DIE-HARD BLACK FAN OR DO YOU DO BRIGHTS LIKE ME? TELL ME IN THE COMMENTS OR TWEET ME @NOTLAMB!
1. Marks & Spencer Navy Belted Culotte Jumpsuit | 2. Michael Kors Navy Sawyer Watch | 3. Johnny Loves Rosie Jewel Bracelet | 4. Ralph Lauren Annabelle Scarf | 5. Louise et Cie 'Hermosah' Heels | 6. Hobbs Adlington Tote in Mandarin Orange
Office chic work outfit
The workhouse of this office chic outfit is the M&S culottes jumpsuit - navy goes really well with orange, and it's one of those classic pieces that can be worn to the office and then dressed up for after-work drinks. It's a flattering midi length and of course looks like a dress but you have the bonus of wearing trousers. The orange tote compliments the jumpsuit beautifully, and a patterned neck scarf in tones of orange and pink will tie in the colours. Be different and go for off-white heels (as here) or nude: Navy shoes are harder to find and nude heels will lengthen your legs. They'll also go with just about every other colour in your wardrobe - more so than navy. The only other details you need are a smart, business-like watch and some delicate jewellery like this jewel bracelet. Avoid noisy bangles in the office if you can - they often get in the way when typing and tend to annoy everyone else...!
1. & Other Stories Embroidered Dress | 2. MaxAzria Black Sunglasses | 3. Kate Spade New York 'Lenticular Eyes' iPhone 6 & 6s Case | 4. Topshop Turquoise Triangle Cube Earrings | 5. Topshop Ginger Mary Janes | 6. Hobbs Adlington Tote in Mandarin Orange
Lunch date outfit
Your brightly coloured tote is perfect for a lunch date or shopping being nice and roomy for all the stuff us ladies carry around. The & Other Stories white embroidered dress is a beauty - great for spring and summer and can be worn with a long cardigan if the temperature drops in the evening. This statement dress only needed block heeled Mary Janes (much more comfortable for walking), bold turquoise earrings and black cat eye sunglasses - all of which, including the orange tote, pick out the colours in the dress. Don't forget a conversation-piece phone case: Kate Spade does some of the best ones.
1. Derek Lam Matte Peach Optical Glasses | 2. Topshop Colour Block Asymmetric Tee | 3. River Island Black Smart Ruched Sleeve Blazer | 4. DL Nineteen Sixty One Riley Boyfriend Jeans | 5. Vince Camuto 'Orbital' Geometric Black Cuff Bracelet | 6. ALDO Zerah Black Studded Flats | 7. Hobbs Adlington Tote in Mandarin Orange
Casual weekend outfit
The weekend is the time you want to throw everything (and anything) on, grab your bag and run out the door. Straight leg jeans are much more comfortable (and more on-trend) than skinny, and you can either go for strappy shoes like these ALDO studded flats or swap them for sports shoes like the New Balance black and white trainers or a pair of white Adidas Originals. I think a colour block t-shirt and black blazer is a great go-to at the weekend with jeans - you basically just can't go wrong with this combination and you'll be comfy but not scruffy. Your brightly coloured tote doesn't need to pick out a colour in your outfit, but if it's in the same colour family (like this yellow, white and peach Topshop t-shirt) it'll still work really well. Finally, get yourself some cool reading glasses like these pale peach readers. If you're my age or older you're very likely to need them - and if not now, probably very soon...!
P.S. FOR MORE EASY OFFICE OUTFITS WARDROBE SOLUTIONS, CHECK OUT WHAT TO WEAR TO THE OFFICE: 23 OFFICE CHIC WORK OUTFITS FROM 9 SEPARATES!
Linking up to: Style Stories, iwillwearwhatilike, Visible Monday, Shoe and Tell, Let It Shine, Monday Mingle, Style Sessions, Turning Heads Tuesday, Trend Spin Link-Up, What I Wore Wednesday, Brilliant Blog Posts, Throwback Thursday, My Refined Style, Passion for Fashion Friday, Friday's Fab Favourites, Fun Fashion Friday