London’s Street Markets

Highlights from London

Good day, kind sirs and gentle ladies! I was across the pond last week helping Will & Kate move into their new Kensington Palace apartment (pictured above, top left). I am such a selfless person. Turns out they had plenty of professional help though (and armed guards) so my services were not needed after all.

What a shame. I hear baby George threw a terrible fit in question of my whereabouts. I was at Topshop, Georgie! Just a short 5 minute walk from your very humble palace. It’s my happy place.

Since this was a return visit to Londontown, I whisked by many of the city’s iconic sites, and instead, pointed my laser beams on its beautiful outdoor markets. Antiques, apparel and food was the name of the game. Indeed it was a successful trip for an eager consumer of all things British. So much so, I will be eating Ramen noodles until Christmas to make up for the damage I’ve done to my bank account.

Worth it.

Portobello Road in Notting Hill

Portobello Road in London's Notting Hill

Portobello Road in London’s Notting Hill is famous for two reasons: (1) it’s an antique lover’s paradise, and (2) the charming Notting Hill section of London was the backdrop for one of my favorite romantic comedy’s of all time; of the same name. Remember THE LINE OF ALL LINES that Julia Roberts uttered to Hugh Grant? It went a little something like, I’m just a girl standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her. There is no other line in cinematic history that beats this EXCEPT when Mark Darcy stops Bridget Jones on the staircase and declares, I like you. Just as you are.

You can’t see me, but I just fainted from the romantic-ness of it all.

I begged my husband to be Julia and recite the line to me as we strolled by many of the vendors last Saturday morning, but he politely refused. I think too much of his manhood was already being held captive by spending his weekend looking at old teapots and vintage brooches.

Old Spitalfields Market in London’s East End

Old Spitalfields Market in East London

Old Spitalfields Market is a labyrinth of stalls fitted to the brim with goods ready to be plucked and taken to a good home. Leather jackets, scarves, costume jewelry, you name it, Spitals has it. Yes, we are on such good terms I gave the market its very own pet name. I really loved spending a couple hours here before catching the Tube to Heathrow for my flight home.

The apparel was modern, trendy and very well kept. A bit on par price-wise with some retail stores so it wasn’t a total bargain place, but the items did seem to be unique and many even handmade.

Petticoat Lane Market

Petticoat Lane Market

Also in London’s East End, I happened to walk through Petticoat Lane Market by accident en route to Old Spitalfields. It was an accident because we got lost.

Petticoat is a different world. It’s where old Topshop and Asos clothes go to die. So basically I was in heaven.

Unlike Old Spitalfields, the apparel in this market is more akin to a bargain basement store. If that’s your jam, you’ll like it here. There were bins and racks of wrinkled and worn-looking clothes selling for 5 pounds each. I recognized some of the Topshop items from a 1-2 years ago (including a peplum dress I spent $90 on and took 4 weeks to deliver), which are old by retail standards, but still in style.  I cried a little on the inside.

I’m still not sure if those were happy tears or tears of regret.

In fashion, you win some and you lose some.

XO RTC

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What to Wear to a Wine Tasting

Not sure what to wear to a wine tasting?  Just call your friend and plan to wear the SAME THING!  No, don’t do that.  You’ll look like this:

Wine Tasting A

Completely unplanned.  Fashion soul mates, clearly.  In addition to the similar blouses, Erin and I also had leopard shoes on.  I made a quick belt and shoe change before we left for our adventure.  As you can see from the photo above, Erin is a little more reserved than I am. Oh, nevermind:

Wine Tasting B

I really shouldn’t be posting pictures of myself like this on the internet; but let’s face it, we don’t take ourselves too seriously at Red Tag Couture.

We’ve been attending the Newport Wine & Food Festival with our husbands since 2009.  The tasting takes place on the lawn of the beautiful Marble House.  Most people wear jeans to the tasting, but a casual dress and booties would be equally perfect. You could also go with a red blouse and leopard shoes – no one else will have that on!

We have a surplus of memories from past tastings.  One year, I chased “my husband” down, but when I finally caught up to him he turned out to be another guy in the same coat.  We befriended my husband’s doppelgänger and his wife – wine brings people together.  We also met a British woman who told us she was the inspiration for the song Wild Thing.  And while we cannot verify whether or not any of her claims were true, we have been laughing about “Wild Thing” for years.

This event usually has an abundance of wonderful food and wine, but this year we were not impressed with the selections.  One of the best options at the wine tasting was the tea.  Ajiri Tea passed out delicious samples.  Their handmade packaging and positive message are a tea lover’s delight.  On a less delightful note, many of the vendors had representatives who were sitting behind their tables text messaging.  Awful.  We don’t think we’ll be going back next year.  Instead, we’re looking forward to finding a new fall tradition!

Do you have any favorite fall events that you look forward to every year?

XO RTC

Touring Lower Manhattan & Save or Splurge

Dare to do NYC in an unconventional way.  While most visitors flock to Central Park, I’d rather head to Lower Manhattan.  Battery Park is an enjoyable, less crowded, slice of the Big Apple.  Hotel rates are reasonable – a stark contrast to other sections of the city.  If you don’t mind walking (for me this is half the fun), you’ll save on cab rides, too.  Battery Park is quiet and lacks big-name design house storefronts like Prada and Chanel.  Completely refreshing.  FYI:  Businesses close early in this area. Plan accordingly!

room view

Battery Park at night

Not sure how I managed to snap this crazy looking shot from the rooftop bar at the Conrad:

Roof Top Bar

The last time my husband and I were in the city, we caught up with some friends. Our night began on Stone Street in Lower Manhattan at a cozy little wine & whiskey bar, Vintry.  Stone St. has a European feel.  Imagine a narrow cobble stone road blocked off from traffic and lined with eateries.  Being the gracious hosts that they are, our friends ordered ahead and treated us to champagne and a variety of small plates upon out arrivial.

Friends: We ordered roasted nuts, marinated olives, cheese, eggplant caponata, and a few of other plates we thought you’d like.
Us: Thanks!  Yes, we’re starving.  This looks fantastic.  Oooooh, champagne.  We love Piper Heidsiek.  Sip, sip, sippity sip!

I glanced over to the end of the table and spotted a plate I hadn’t initially noticed.  What are these?, I asked as I simultaneously grabbed a handful of (pistachios, maybe?) and popped them in my mouth.  Odd.  A slimy, cold sensation.  When I bit down, the (nuts?) felt like stones.

Friends: (Jaws agape.  Eyes extremely wide.)  That’s where we’ve been putting the OLIVE PITS. 

It happened.  I can’t undo it.  Gross and equally hysterical.  I mistook pits for pistachios.  Life lesson: Wear your glasses.  Or, suck it up and put contacts on your eyeballs.  Here’s a little save or splurge inspiration for your next eyewear purchase – because tearing through this world with poor vision is obviously the pits!

glasses 2 RTC

Save: 39 Dollar Glasses| Splurge: Tom Ford via Bloomingdale’s

Can you tell the $45 pair from the $450 pair?  Are expensive prescription eyeglasses something you’re more willing to spend a little extra cash on?  I tend to think of an eyewear purchase as an investment.  My glasses get ample use, but I’m not certain there is too much of a difference between $100 frames and a $500 pair.  The jury is still out.  What are your thoughts on the eyewear debate… or are you still disgusted by my pitty-ful experience?

XO RTC

What to Wear to a Late Summer Business Dinner

Navy dress, Pink patent bag, leopard flats RTC

Dress: Zalando | Shoes: Nasty Gal | Bag: John Lewis | Earrings: Marc Jacobs

Oh, my!  You’ve got a business dinner to attend.  An after work “night out” like this necessitates a different kind of attire.  Think plain, simple, polished and clean.  Go with a navy dress.  Another heavy rotation item for your wardrobe, hooray!  Pair it with chocolate-brown or oxblood tights and a cozy sweater for the fall.  Beyond the dress, you’re not required to include much more.

You may want to make a meager investment in a simple silver or gold stud.  You’ll throw them on every time you have an I can’t think morning.  These Marc Jacobs rose gold studs go with anything, and they aren’t too flashy.  A great bag… yeah, we have that!  How functional is this deep pink patent tote?  Load all things business in this beauty.  Or, maybe throw flats in the bag if your going straight from the office to dinner.  Is anyone as excited as we are about pointed toe shoes tip-toeing on the catwalk againPhew, we thought they’d never return.  You’ll be a shoe in with these lively leopard pumps.  It’s always nice to make a statement minus an obnoxious roar.  We know what your thinking… An entire outfit with items that can be repurposed a million times!  Genius.  Adopting this sort of style is every economical girl’s dream.

Sparkling water in a can RTC

Not sure what type of cocktail to order?  Keep it classy – you’re still at work.  Order a sparkling water and dazzle the associates with your brain, not your slurred speech.  The wait staff will put your bubbly water in a wine glass and you’ll feel a professional buzz.  Has anyone tried these mini cans of Perrier?  They are so stinking cute!   Order these out.  Corporate will thank you for not taking advantage of the company credit card, too.  You really are a gem of an employee!  See, an occasional obligatory work dinner isn’t that bad.

What do you like to wear to work dinners?  We’d love to know!

XO RTC

Beach Week: Packing Up

Fold up your chairs and dust the sand off your feet. Today marks the end of Beach Week at Red Tag Couture.  Quite frankly, we’re not even all that sad.  Okay, that was a lie.  The beach is awesome – we don’t wanna go home. C’MON. JUST. ONE. MORE. SANDCASTLE.  No?  Fine – we’ll leave, but that doesn’t mean we intend to go home.  There are plenty of exciting things to do near the ocean that don’t involve the beach at all.  Slip on your Sperry’s and explore the surrounding seaside communities.  You’re going to love what you see.  We promise.

Glittery Sperry's

Sperry’s: Neiman Marcus | Watch: Nordstrom |Bracelet: J Crew (old) similar |

By the way, I feel like Dorothy’s alter-ego in my Sperry’s.  A more laid back Dorothy who isn’t really concerned about getting home in time for supper.  Happy Friday, and have a lovely weekend!

XO RTC

Beach Week: Cape Cod Style

Cape Cod Style

Top: Monsoon (similar, similar)| Shorts: Target| Necklace: BaubleBar| Earrings: Shopbop | Sandals: Target| Cosmetic Bag: Burke Decor| Nail Polish: Amazon

Beach Week continues and today we go from sunsets to sun obsessed in picturesque Cape Cod, Massachusetts (aka, “The Cape” for us locals).

Casual Cape Fashion, But First, A Lofty Reflection

So many things come to mind when I think of The Cape. Sand dunes and tall beach grass, hot and hazy afternoons in the sun, chilly evenings by the fire pit and treks to the nearest creamery for a scoop or two of Moose Tracks fudge swirl ice cream cradled in a waffle cone. Also, old-fashioned drive-in movies (it’s where I first saw ET & then eventually Independence Day…two stellar alien flicks) and boutiques crammed with trinkets of sailors knots, whales, sea glass and starfish.

The Cape isn’t just a destination. It’s a lifestyle.

Introduced to the world through the Kennedy’s, Jack and Jackie spent long summer weekends here as a family before and during JFK’s presidency. Geared up in their wayfarers, crisp white shorts, boat shoes and wind-swept hair, they lived a life miles away from the fast-paced world of politics.

Ok, Now for the Fashion Part

Today, much of the same remains. In terms of fashion, a largely casual yet preppy style permeates the wardrobes of locals and visitors. To be honest, it’s like a really wrinkled version of a Vineyard Vines stores. But to be fair, the humidity down here could curl a steel rod. So really, ironing is counterproductive.

Anything nautical and striped is fair game. “Nantucket red” is an actual color and anything with a pink whale or a black dog is strongly encouraged. Flip flops are a fashion “do” and you can sport them for drinks out with the gang or to the grocery store. Nobody will judge you.

Some men (those confident in their manlihoods) wear multi-colored or pastel madras or linen shorts, or faded green shorts with embroidered lobsters. Those are okay, but if they’re paired with penny loafers and no socks…mmmm, not so much.

Oooh, She’s Got Photos

Yeah I do. I’m ending this nostalgia train to show you some of my Cape photos. Here’s a sampling of my favorite places to stay and visit:

Falmouth, MA (on the Cape)

Wellfleet, MA (On the Cape)

Provincetown, MA (on the Cape)

Have you been to The Cape or is there a destination near you that’s an enchanting oasis away from the hustle and bustle of your 9-5 life? Are you on board with the casual beachy way of life or you do long for pearls and stilettos? 

XO RTC

Beach Week: Sunset Style Somewhere in New England

Beach Seagull A RTC

Back to school commercials, eat your hearts out.  This week Red Tag Couture is going to the beach, not Office Max.  Today, let’s get glammed up and celebrate the splendid sunset.

Sunset at the Beach RTC

Top: Tilly’s |Necklace: Charlotte Russe| Skirt: New Look | Shoes: DV8 | Lip Balm: Bloomingdales | Tote: Wildfox Couture |Champagne: Veuve Clicquot

Take me to the beach… Yes, we found a tote that almost says it all.  Time for a quick RTC edit.  How about, take me to the beach at sunset with a fab bottle of champagne?  Ah, now this tote is speaking our language.  Oh, but what to wear?  We chose classic (yet inexpensive) items for this sunset look.  Jeweled sandals to match the soft glittery sand will look lovely with a bold purple pleated maxi.  A tailored white blouse tied at the waist & adorned with mint baubles will keep you tepid by the cool ocean air.  Don’t bother to retouch your make-up with anything other than a dab of lip balm – natural is best at the beach.

The greatest part about sunset at the beach?  Most are leaving when you’re showing up.  It’s just you and the ocean.  So, sip that champagne and quench your thirst for all things summer.

Beach 1a RTC

Top: Banana Republic (old) similar | Dress: Rebecca Taylor (old) similar

Sunset Collage RTC

This weekend, my husband and I took our poodle-child to the beach at sunset.  As entertained as she looks in the pictures, my pup was rather horrified by her beach experience.  I thought dogs liked nature!  Not mine.  Next time we go, we’ll leave the poodle home and tote a bottle of bubbly.  No need to torture the dog with another breathtaking sunset!

Right around early August, I begin to realize my beach days are slightly numbered.  If you’re a New Englander, you might share these sentiments.   Anyone ever feel this way?  Summer is not over.  Let’s soak up every moment of this season.  Have a spectacular Monday, and come back for more Beach Week tomorrow!

XO RTC