Photography: Ellie Smith & Briony
Briony (known to many as ‘Miss B’), both the charming voice behind popular lifestyle blog A Girl, A Style as well as our Glitter Guide editor from across the pond. She’s the epitome of what it means to sparkle from the inside out. This adorable and charmingly stylish Australian native currently resides in London, spending her days as a political advisor and evenings delighting in all things fashion, food and culture related. Between her envious wardrobe, collection of sparkly trinkets and keepsakes (we’d like to get our hands on her brooch collection), Briony is a true Glitter Girl and we’re beyond thrilled to feature her here today!
What inspired you to start A Girl, A Style?
I’ve always been a dreamer and a treasure-hunter, and starting my own blog to reflect that is something I pondered for a while. A year after moving to England I was bursting with stories of new finds and adventures and things I’d discovered that made me smile. So one grey, rainy day I decided to start my blog as a colorful, happy place to share all the things that made me smile with friends back home. Before I knew it, thousands of people from all over the world were logging on and sending me sweet comments, and it sort of just evolved into what it is today.
“I first saw these kitten heels by Charlotte Olympia at London Fashion Week last February (in lieu of an ordinary presentation, she threw a grand ‘murder mystery’ afternoon tea soiree at a grand London member’s club) and I would coo with glee every time I saw them. When a single pair went on sale in my size, I figured they were just meant to be mine. And as a bonus: they attract adorable small fluffy animals who think they’re new friends!”
“My favorite store in all of London is Liberty (it is to me as Tiffany’s was to Holly Golightly; where I go to cure the ‘mean reds’). I used to visit with my mum on trips to England as a child, and still love popping in there to collect inspiration and treasures from their incredible homewares, fashion, beauty, jewellery and stationery halls (and always buy a bunch of flowers on the way out).” Wearing: French Connection breton top, J Brand jeans, Charlotte Olympia heels, Chanel bag, Mimco cuff, vintage silk scarf (worn around wrist) and Jersey Pearl pearls.
How does living in London affect the way you dress?
I wouldn’t say London has changed my style per se, but it has made me braver with my choices. Wheras in Australia my fashion tendencies would usually attract stares from onlookers, here you can just be whoever you like and it’s totally normal to wear a vintage pink silk gown with a leather jacket or a battered old tshirt with diamonds and pearls and a Chanel bag. I love that I also get to embrace my preppy tendencies in Cambridge (oh how I’d love to raid the wardrobe of Blair Waldorf/Chuck Bass) without being asked why I’m dressed like an English schoolboy.
Describe your personal style.
I stay pretty true to my favorite aesthetic of sweet, girly style meets Parisian wannabe (flirty black dresses and breton stripes) meets Oxbridge (that’s Ivy League to those of you in the US) collegiate boy. When I’m in Cambridge I love playing with the preppy style in my own tongue-in-cheek way by wearing a crested blazer and crisp Oxford shirt, but tying a bow at the collar and teaming it with lolly pink chinos and high heels and hopping on my Pashley bicycle (my favourite Cambridge accessory). In summer I’m all about sacharine pastels and floaty white lace dresses; the sort of clothes that are made to be taken on picnics and to lie in the grass beside the river daydreaming away the afternoons. Above all, I never like to take myself too seriously. I’m partial to a witty accessory or an ironic take on a particular look, and I’m powerless against a bow or a vintage jewel.
Wearing: Topshop blazer, too many brooches to count (Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Mimco and vintage), T by Alexander Wang tee, Carven skirt, Chanel bag and Isabel Marant heels.
“I love collecting whimsical little treasures on my travels (I’m a treasure-hunter at heart). My dad gave me this vintage London bus as a child. It reminds me of my dreams to pack up and move to another side of the world.”
What is your favorite accessory in your closet at the moment?
Ooh, it’s so hard to choose just one (I am such an accessories girl). If I must, then it has to be my Chanel 2.55 bag (my perennial favorite that holds a lot of sentimental value, as well as being the epitome of chic). But I’m also rather smitten with my glittery Miu Miu booties, collection of Marc Jacobs ‘Stam’ bags (all several years old, but firm favorites), and entire drawer full of twinkly jewels which I feel naked without.
“Accessories are my absolute weakness, though I’m highly impractical in that I only want to buy beautiful, sparkly, fun heels that are no good for running around town. And since my current wardrobe is so teeny tiny, I’ve literally run out of storage space and have had to start displaying them the way normal people do works of art around the house. Here are a few of my favourites: Miu Miu, Marc Jacobs, Chanel and Mulberry.”
“Like most of my favorite things (which I collect almost to the point of excess), I adore gorgeous beauty products. My favorite is a pretty perfume which, in my opinion, is the perfect finishing touch to an outfit.”
You work at Westminster as a political advisor. Tell us about that.
If my blog is all about whimsy, pretty things and a rose-tinted approach to life, then my day job couldn’t be more opposite! I did three degrees at University which all seemed to point me towards politics. I interned on Capitol Hill in DC early on, and was blown away by what an impact it can have on people’s daily lives. I wanted to channel that power and use it as a way to have a positive impact and genuinely help others, and ever since I’ve worked as a speechwriter, media advisor, policy advisor, lawmaker and now, as a senior political advisor to the British Cabinet. I’m fairly sure I’m the only girl in Westminster to write legislation in 4″ heels.
“A few of my favorite things to brighten the house: vases of flowers (I buy myself a bunch every week), gorgeous scented candles, favorite jewels, and souvenirs from Paris.”
Wearing: Asos blouse, See by Chloe shorts, vintage necklace, Mimco cuff, Jersey Pearl pearls.
You have quite the collection of brooches? When did you start collecting them and how do you like to wear them? To be honest, I seem to collect any type of jewelry but brooches are a particular favorite of mine. I remember the first time I had to have one; I was in Tokyo with my boyfriend and saw a big one in Louis Vuitton that said ‘love’ in ivory and crystals, and I knew it was made for me. Ever since then, I’ve hunted them out at vintage markets on my travels (they make such a darling souvenir of favorite places I visit), and those by Chanel are special favorites (I can’t afford a wardrobe filled with Chanel, but every season they do the most adorable little brooches that I love collecting). I love that they’re a bit silly and whimsical and unexpected and add an extra special something to an outfit. I’ll dress up an old tshirt with a few clustered on the front, or go a bit overboard and pin 20 or so to an old blazer to instantly transform it into a statement piece.
“I never had to own a serious winter coat and wellingtons until I moved to England (winters in Australia are over before you know it). I love these Hunter wellington boots for how very English they are (and the fact that they were named after one of my ancestors, the Duke of Wellington). I’ve taken to popping a vase of flowers in them for a fun, silly touch during the winter months.”
How do you like to spend your Sundays?
If it’s been a really hectic week, then there’s nothing I love more than recharging with a lazy morning, a skype session with my friends and family in Australia, brunch with my boyfriend (my favorite meal of the week), and several hours spent working my way through a pile of magazines, books and pots of tea. I usually have a few writing assignments and blog posts to get done in the evenings, so light my favorite candles and put on some happy background music to make me smile the whole way through. If I’m feeling less slovenly, then I love going for a bike ride or sitting on the sunny riverbank as students punt down the river in Cambridge (my happy place filled with ancient colleges that look as though they belong in Harry Potter, cobblestoned alleyways and leafy country lanes), or pottering around Portobello Road market in Notting Hill before afternoon tea or a trip to a gallery with a friend in London.
“Although my wardrobe used to be dominated by black and white, all these grey English skies can get you down. I now try to make my own sunshine by wearing fun pops of color that are instantly cheering.” Wearing: Sandro lace top, Current/Elliott chinos, Isabel Marant heels, Mimco sunglasses and bangle, Michael Kors watch.
How do you sparkle?
Quite literally, with a healthy smattering of jewels or sparkly accessories (you can usually spot me glinting in a crowd, which, come to think of it, might be quite a health and safety risk if I’m standing in direct sunlight!). That said, I think happiness is the best way to sparkle, and so always try to spread a little loveliness (whether via a big smile at a stranger I pass on the street, posting a care package of little things to make a friend smile, or practicing random act of kindness often) wherever I go.
“It’s completely impractical and only fits about two things in it, but I adore this Lulu Guinness lips clutch. It’s impossible to frown when carrying something this fun!”