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Grab your coat

We all need an investment coat: you know the ones, the type of coat which can make an appearance every year and stay looking great through changing trends. An investment coat should be classic and neutral so you can match it with your on-trend outfit pieces every year. There a variety of these coats on the high street and these are our top three:

This Linea green belted trench coat will always be in style and complement any outfit. To keep it on-trend this season team it with some metallic boots and leather gloves. From House of Fraser, £199.image-1 We love this tan coat with over-the-top faux-fur trimmings. It will stand out in any crowd but is subtle enough to bring out every year. We think this coat looks a lot more expensive than its price tag. From Miss Selfridge, £89.image-2 Keep the cost down with this absolute bargain form George at Asda. The contrasting panels add dimension to the simple fit. £35.

 

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The on-trend coat is the one you buy and will probably forget about the year after. This winter sees several trends, including metallic colours, sequins, leather and animal print. Don’t overspend on these coats, after all they will only be in your wardrobe for six months:

The sequin jacket, perfect to throw over your party dress, from River Island, £48.image-4

Love it or hate it, animal print is back for winter 16/17. Not only does this coat showcase a beautiful leopard inspired print, it has the addition of the black faux-fur trim which adds a touch of class. From George at Asda, £30.image-5

 The last time we saw the army print on trend the Spice Girls were topping the charts. Lots of 90s trends are coming back into fashion; first the choker then the space buns and now the army print. Add it in the form of this jacket from Matalan, £35.image-6 The faux-sheep fur jacket is another great look of the season and looks fab over a pair of jeans and a cute tee. Our favourite high street pick comes from Matalan at £40.image-7

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The Party Season Part 1

 

The party season is upon us and it’s the time of the year when diaries become full of social events. No doubt your main question will be, what am I going to wear?

The high street has gone above and beyond this season with the perfect party attire. From playsuits to dresses or skirts and bodysuits, find your winter 16/17 outfit and feel confidently gorgeous.

Remember that the top trends for the season are metallic, sequins, lace, leather, velvet and army print; with that in mind, here are our top high street picks.

Next month we’ll bring you Part 2 for your new year celebrations.

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You can’t go wrong with this beautiful sparkle black mesh bodycon-midi-dress from Phase Eight. Team it with a pair of black heels and a dark lipstick to stand out at your party. £160

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These crystal stone ear cuff earrings are the ideal accessory to add to your outfit, from Matalan, £10.

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Let the blouse do the talking, with a pair of black skinny jeans and heels. Miss Selfridge, £65.

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Let the blouse do the talking, with a pair of black skinny jeans and heels. Miss Selfridge, £65.

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For a show-stopper that will get everyone staring choose a fully-sequined item like this dress, River Island, £75.

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Our top buy is this gold oriental print dress from New Look, £39.99. Complete the look with a pair of knee high boots to be bang on-trend.

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Wear this stunning skirt with a neutral top and shoes to really show it off, Debenhams, £165.

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The ideal bargain party shoes, Primark, £10

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Wearing this Indigo lace strappy top is the perfect way to inject lace into your outfit, Marks & Spencer, £29.50

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You don’t want to wear jeans? Choose these metallic trousers, Next, £28.

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Making a statement

Jay Charlton is a woman on a mission.

With her award-winning fashion brand Viva La Vegan, she aims to show us that it is possible to look good without harming animals or the planet. And perhaps unusually for a retailer, she wants us to think before we shop – buy less, through buying with care.award-photo-crop1-2016

The Telford entrepreneur brings a wealth of experience and first-hand knowledge of the fashion industry to her company, which she set up 18 months ago.

“I was a designer for many high street fashion retailers for 15 years,” she says. “I lived abroad and I visited the factories and saw the environmental and social justice issues regarding the use of nasty chemicals, child labour; all the things you hear about. It just didn’t sit well with me.”

A vegetarian from the age of nine, she became a vegan five years ago and her business is clearly more than just something she does nine to five, Monday to Friday.

“It’s something I feel very passionate about and it’s something we will all have to think more about if we are to sustain the people on the planet.

“It’s using fashion as vegan activism, using our bodies as billboards.

“I wanted to get away from the stereotypes that come with veganism, that we are all tree-hugging hippies who only wear hemp. We are lawyers, doctors, architects, ordinary people who like fashion and want a brand that has the same appeal as a high street brand.”

Her range includes T shirts for men and women, featuring striking graphics and vegan slogans, plus pre-loved shirts, all customised, repaired and screen-printed, along with statement accessories.

“Our T shirts are made of organic recycled fibres, ethically produced and printed with water-based dyes which are more environmentally friendly. Cotton uses a lot of water so the best we can do is use organic cotton, so less chemicals go into the water supplies.viva-29

“I also think people are going to become more aware about the chemicals that their skin is exposed to through the pesticides used in regular cotton growth and the carcinogens in some fabric dyes, and why we have to go organic in our clothing and not just in our food.”

Jay is not only keen to make us think harder about what we buy, but also how often and how much we buy.

“Fashion has become so disposable, we need to buy less and buy thoughtfully,” she says. “It’s about changing people’s association with clothing. When we throw an item away, we are throwing away all the natural resources and labour that go into it. And yet one in five of us in the UK will throw away a garment after a single use!”

She also tells the shocking tale of a supermarket group which discovered that its children’s jeans were too long-lasting, so downgraded the denim so people would have to buy them more often.

“Some years back we used to wear heavy T shirts, but the fashion in fabrics have become lighter, more sheer, and that makes them more prone to twisting so they wear out,” she adds.

While no garment will last forever, Jay says that correct washing – at a cool temperature, and inside out – will prolong their life.viva-34

Born in Wales, Jay moved to Shropshire as a toddler and went to the New College – where she won her first fashion award – before going to university and then living in London, Istanbul and Tel Aviv. She still has strong connections in Turkey so much of her clothing is made there, where she can keep close control on the sourcing, processes and conditions.

Viva La Vegan has customers all over the world, and was named Best Vegan Fashion Brand at the UK Fashion Awards in 2015 and 2016. Jay describes it as ‘a vegan statementwear brand, with wording and graphics to encourage people to think about the lifestyle choice of both the wearer and the viewer’.

The number of vegans is growing rapidly, with supermarkets and restaurants offering more and more choice. Now fashionable vegans can also shop for clothes with a clear conscience, thanks to Jay.

www.viva-la-vegan.com

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Shimmer and shine

Embrace shimmering fabrics this season and shine bright in your carefully selected metallic pieces.

Not only is the metallic craze taking over our favourite high street stores and boutiques, but we are also seeing the return of the sequin.

With sparkles and shimmer overloading the shops don’t get swamped by the trend – here are our top tips on how to conquer the look.

Intensify the look

If the shine and sparkle doesn’t faze you then go head-to-toe in metallic or sequins. Simplifying your make-up but adding a darker lip shade will compliment your shine.

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Star by Julien Macdonald dress, Debenhams, £180

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Silver metallic cami dress, New Look, £19.99

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Three-quarter sleeved sequin dress, River Island, £85

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Metallic pleated dress, Next, £68

Inject the shine

Like the look but don’t want to dedicate your whole outfit to the trend? Opt for a metallic skirt and wear it with a black bodysuit or top. Or chose a shiny top and team it with a neutral pencil skirt or a pair of black denim jeans.

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Silver sequin skirt, Debenhams, £65

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Metallic pleated midi skirt, Marks & Spencer, £49.50

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This high neck body suit is the perfect partner for a shimmering skirt, River Island, £22

 

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Bronze pleated top, New Look, £12.99

 

The subtle addition

Ok, so you aren’t convinced! Add subtle accessories to your outfit to ease yourself into shimmering.

Metallic shoes and boots are also hot right now and teamed with your Little-Black-Dress they can add the perfect amount of shine without overpowering your look. Add a sequin bag in to the mix for a gorgeous amount of glamour, and why not accompany your look with the hottest accessory of the moment: the choker necklace?

 

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Metallic silver ankle boots, New Look, £27.99

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Sequin and metallic bag, Next, £24

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Sequin choker necklace, River Island, £8

 

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October cover-up

The weather has changed and so has our wardrobe content – keep covered up this autumn/winter with these beautiful high street buys.

This print cardigan is ideal for a day time look, team with a plain white tee and black jeans. From Matalan, £35.image-1

The lace trim adds a really feminine look to this jumper, from F&F at Tesco, £20.image-3

Wraps always look classy and chic, especially when teamed with a hat. This cashmere button wrap is from Phase Eight for £69.

image-4This look is perfect for shopping trips, keeping warm yet looking stylish. M&Co Plus range, jumper £22, coat £65, jeans £20.1801759_charcoal_om_medium

Love this River Island jacket, practical and stylish, £85.image-6

An essential wardrobe item for A/W, a light sparkly jumper, Primark, £10.

image-7 The injection of the ruffle keeps this cover up bang on trend, Next, £30.image-9

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Take a bow, ruffles and pleats

Ruffles

Ruffles are massively on-trend for Autumn/Winter, but many women have trouble finding the right ruffles to flatter their look. The simple rule is: Keep ruffles away from areas of your body that are already full.

Pair your ruffled garments with simple, structured pieces. This will also prevent the look from overwhelming your entire figure.

Remember  that less is more.

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Light pink blouse with simple ruffle and bow, Marks & Spencer, £27.50

 

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Salmon colour blouse with ruffles and bow, Primark, £10

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Nude ruffle blouse, Marks & Spencer, £25

 

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Printed pussybow dress, Matalan, £16

 

Pleats

We were sceptical about pleats –until we saw Beyonce wearing a monogrammed knife pleated skirt and shirt. Yes, it was the masterwork of Gucci, but we have found the high street alternatives which are more achievable.

Pleats have been spotted all over the catwalks and the red carpet events and if they are done in the right way they look stunning.

We usually say keep pleats to one half of your body – skirt or blouse – however we have seen beautiful pleated dresses on the high street.

And what’s even cooler than pleats? Metallic pleats.

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Metallic pleated skirt, Next, £46

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Black velvet pleated dress, Phase Eight, £89

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Metallic pleated skirt, Wallis, £45

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Lace pleat skirt, Marks & Spencer, £69

 

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The perfect accessory: Metallic can be bold, but if you want to inject a small amount of it without it feeling too over powering, try this metallic hand bag, Debenhams, £25

 

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Fairy tale day

There’s a quote that says: ‘Falling in love was the easy part; planning a wedding – yikes!’

If you are planning a wedding, or know someone who is, then help is at hand! Here you’ll find inspiration for the big day from county companies who will help you make your dreams come true.

From venues to jewellers to bridal shops, start planning your perfect Shropshire wedding.

Don’t forget to enter our competition to win tickets to The National Wedding Show, find out more here.

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Stunning Paris chiffon sheath dress with sparkling Swarovski crystals, by Maggie Sottero. Jeanette From Wedding World, Shrewsbury

 

Tie the knot at Barnutopia

Against the backdrop of the glorious Shropshire and Powys hills, glamping site Barnutopia is set to expand its glamping and camping facilities and convert its long barn as a wedding and event venue for up to 120 guests.

Located in rural Shropshire on the Powys border, Barnutopia is tucked away in a gorgeous spot that’s out of the way yet within easy reach of Oswestry and all amenities. After just one season, Barnutopia established itself as a sought-after glamping destination with over 80 five-star reviews.

Their recently added party barn has proved popular for birthdays and family celebrations and they are now excited at the prospect of hosting weddings.

For more details go to www.barnutopia.com

 

Queen of the castle

For a dream wedding there is nowhere more magical, authentic or special than Ruthin Castle.

Set within acres of woods and parkland a little over 20 miles from Chester, this luxury hotel and spa is a royal gem.

The castle can host wedding receptions for up to 120; licensed civil marriages for up to 140 guests; and marquee weddings catering for up to 225 guests.

You can even enjoy a ‘reception with a twist’ in the medieval banqueting hall.

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Delphine Manivet lace textured wedding dress, £249 from La Redoute

www.ruthincastle.co.uk

 

Fairy tale day

What better setting for a truly romantic day than by choosing Whittington Castle near Oswestry for your civil ceremony.

A fairy tale castle, ivy clad ruined walls, medieval moat and a twin towered gatehouse entrance all await for your perfect day – the ideal backdrop for all of your photographs.

Whittington Castle is committed to providing a first class service to all those wishing to book a civil ceremony. With this in mind they will only ever book one ceremony per day in order to give their full attention to all those who book.

Ceremonies take place in the Lady Eleanor Room in the south tower. Luscious hand painted silk velvet wall hangings adorn the walls.

The castle prides itself on its small and friendly approach, providing an historic and elegant venue for smaller, more intimate ceremonies.  It also has contacts with medieval re-enactors who can help create medieval themed functions.

Step one is to make an appointment to meet and discuss your plans and to look around the castle with castle manager Sue Ellis without obligation.  Sue can be contacted on 01691 662500.

 

Dresses to muse over

Muse Bridal in Newport stocks a range of designer gowns from Ronald Joyce, Victoria Jane, Benjamin Roberts and Romantica.

You will also find shoes from Rainbow Club, veils by Joyce Jackson and Richard Designs along with a tempting collection of exquisite headdresses and tiaras.

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Demure sheath dress gets an extra dose of drama with illusion sleeves, neckline and open back, romantic lace and flowing chiffon skirt. Vaughn From the Maggie Sottero range at Wedding World, Shrewsbury

You are invited to take time to indulge in browsing the stunning collections and share your thoughts and ideas with the team there, before exploring the delights of discovering an array of different styles with your own personal ‘fashion show’ for invited family and friends.

Individuality is very important to Muse Bridal. They pride themselves on relaxed, friendly, one to one attention, offering encouraging, constructive advice for every bride choosing the perfect dress to reflect her own personal style, beauty and personality

 

Don’t tell the groom!

British grooms are being cut out of wedding planning and aren’t trusted by their future wives to make decisions on their own, according to new research.

A survey of 2,235 UK adults, carried out by One4all, the Post Office gift card, revealed brides are taking full control when planning their big day, allowing very little input from their fiances.

More than 1 in 3 (35%) brides weren’t willing to let their future husbands make any decisions whatsoever without them.

Just half of grooms made the decision on who they had as a best man or groomsmen without any input whatsoever from their fiancée. And only 50% of grooms had a say on who attended the wedding and contributed to the guest list.

The decisions that brides were least willing to let the groom make were what the bride wore, who the bridesmaids were, the flowers, the cake and the décor.

The research also found that the tradition of the bride’s family footing the bill is dying out – 23% of married couples say they paid for their wedding themselves, while 11% of groom’s parents contributed to the wedding either equally or more than the bride’s.

 

 

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Demure sheath dress gets an extra dose of drama with illusion sleeves, neckline and open back, romantic lace and flowing chiffon skirt. Vaughn From the Maggie Sottero range at Wedding World, Shrewsbury

 

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Striking fishtail tulle gown with V-neck in ivory. From the Benjamin Roberts 2017 range, at Muse Bridal, Newport

 

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Striking fishtail tulle gown with V-neck in ivory. From the Benjamin Roberts 2017 range, at Muse Bridal, Newport

 

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Ball gown dress with embellished lace, tulle and detachable sleeves. In ivory/blush or ivory/ivory, from the Benjamin Roberts 2017 range at Muse Bridal, Newport

 

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A sheath style bateau neckline gown with lace, chiffon and detailed belt. From the Benjamin Roberts 2017 range at Muse Bridal, Newport

 

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A sheath style bateau neckline gown with lace, chiffon and detailed belt. From the Benjamin Roberts 2017 range at Muse Bridal, Newport

 

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A ball-gown style dress with embellished applique and tulle. From the Benjamin Roberts 2017 range at Muse Bridal, Newport

 

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Cressida wedding dress, £395 from Phase Eight

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Update for autumn

Prepare yourself for the change of season by adding pieces to your wardrobe now.

Our fashion forecast for autumn/winter 16-17 is: The Souvenir jacket, high-class sportswear, faux sheepskin coats, military, tweeds, sequins top to toe, velvet dresses and the ruffle Victorian-inspired blouse.

Freshen up your basic wardrobe with a pair of darker jeans, white tops and cute jumpers then add a few on-trend pieces which you can inject into your outfits.

Here are County Woman’s high street picks for the perfect autumn wardrobe.

 

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A denim pinafore dress is perfect matched with ankle boots, tights and a long sleeve top underneath. Opt for the darker denim. Matalan, £20.

The cold shoulder stripe rib top is a brilliant way of showing off a bit of skin on the sunnier autumn days without revealing too much to the chilly breeze. Matalan, £10.

The cold shoulder stripe rib top is a brilliant way of showing off a bit of skin on the sunnier autumn days without revealing too much to the chilly breeze. Matalan, £10.

This contrast dress is ideal for the office. Phase Eight, £95.

This contrast dress is ideal for the office. Phase Eight, £95.

Big over-stated earrings are set to be big for AW16/17; poppy earrings from Phase Eight, £25.

Big over-stated earrings are set to be big for AW16/17; poppy earrings from Phase Eight, £25.

Structured blouses are going to be everywhere this autumn so find a unique one to add to a pair of jeans. Miss Selfridge, £45.

Structured blouses are going to be everywhere this autumn so find a unique one to add to a pair of jeans. Miss Selfridge, £45.

This simple khaki shirt dress is a good basic item to have in your wardrobe, dress it up with heels and jewellery or dress down with flat boots and tights for a day look. M&Co, £35

This simple khaki shirt dress is a good basic item to have in your wardrobe, dress it up with heels and jewellery or dress down with flat boots and tights for a day look. M&Co, £35

A grey fedora is essential for next season – protect your hair from the wind. M&S, £22.

A grey fedora is essential for next season – protect your hair from the wind. M&S, £22.

Blouse £10, jeans £17 from Primark

Blouse £10, jeans £17 from Primark

The pleated shell pink metallic midi skirt was a big trend for the summer but you can carry it over to the autumn by teaming it with ankle heel boots and woolly socks. New Look, £19.99

The pleated shell pink metallic midi skirt was a big trend for the summer but you can carry it over to the autumn by teaming it with ankle heel boots and woolly socks. New Look, £19.99

Inject velvet into your wardrobe with this Bardot top, New Look, £17.99

Inject velvet into your wardrobe with this Bardot top, New Look, £17.99

Rusty silk shirt, Debenhams, £36.

Rusty silk shirt, Debenhams, £36.

Introduce a knit by keeping it light so you don’t overheat in the mild temperature. Grey knit tunic top, Marks & Spencer, £29.50.

Introduce a knit by keeping it light so you don’t overheat in the mild temperature. Grey knit tunic top, Marks & Spencer, £29.50.

Dark brown – across bag, M&S, £79.

Dark brown – across bag, M&S, £79.

Find your autumn ankle boots: burgundy patent Chelsea boot, M&S, £39.50.

Find your autumn ankle boots: burgundy patent Chelsea boot, M&S, £39.50.

Blouse £35, bomber jacket £45, skirt £35, bag £29 from Debenhams

Blouse £35, bomber jacket £45, skirt £35, bag £29 from Debenhams

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Mellow yellow

Yellow print dress £125, Lori clutch bag £65 from House Of Fraser

Yellow print dress £125, Lori clutch bag £65 from House Of Fraser

Yellow is a popular colour this summer but it isn’t easy to wear. Don’t dismiss it though; just learn the simple rules of adding it to an outfit.

The colour yellow is associated with happiness and good times. Of course it is bright, but you can choose how bright you go! Start by injecting elements of the colour to your outfit or go for a full yellow dress. Be brave with colour this summer, after all fashion should be fun.

 

Tip 1 – If a block of yellow is to overpowering for you then break it up by using a print which combines yellow.

Tip 2- If you are not finding a yellow garment which suits you and still want to use the colour to liven up your outfit then add it with an accessory. A bag, necklace, belt or even shoes will give you the colour but still leave you feeling comfortable.

Tip 3- If you are wearing a statement piece of yellow, team it with neutral and simple accessories and shoes. Think beige, white or black.

Tip 4 – Yellow items look better on then off so grab a few pieces in a shop and try them on, you may shock yourself.

 

 

Yellow dress, River Island, £85

Yellow dress, River Island, £85

Yellow shorts, Next, £18

Yellow shorts, Next, £18

Twiggy eyelet tie blouse, M&S, £39.50

Twiggy eyelet tie blouse, M&S, £39.50

Faith yellow bag, Debenhams, £29

Faith yellow bag, Debenhams, £29

Yellow Bardot neck T-shirt, New Look, £12.99

Yellow Bardot neck T-shirt, New Look, £12.99

Palma point shoe, Very, £18

Palma point shoe, Very, £18

Yellow tunic, Evans, £24

Yellow tunic, Evans, £24

Floral box clutch, M&S, £29.50

Floral box clutch, M&S, £29.50

silk cami dress, Ralph Lauren at House of Fraser, £215

silk cami dress, Ralph Lauren at House of Fraser, £215

French sunflower bikini print top, £26.50, bottoms, £20 from Debenhams

French sunflower bikini print top, £26.50, bottoms, £20 from Debenhams

Bella skirt, Monsoon, £89

Bella skirt, Monsoon, £89

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Festival of fashion

Think fringe, suede, tribal print and a cool back-pack.

It’s festival season and here at County Woman we know which high street buys will keep you looking as cool as a Hollywood A-lister at Coachella.

Unlike that LA festival, UK festivals can be muddy and wet so find the perfect raincoat to keep your outfit dry, ready to showcase when the sun comes out.

Printed wellies are always a must for a festival but a cowboy boot could be as reliable and look like a match made in heaven with your denim.

Here are our top buys:

Faith black tassel rucksack, Debenhams, £45

Faith black tassel rucksack, Debenhams, £45

Faith black tassel rucksack, Debenhams, £45

Faith black tassel rucksack, Debenhams, £45

Lace dress (to wear over denim shorts and top), Accessorize, £32

Lace dress (to wear over denim shorts and top), Accessorize, £32

White fringed knit, M&S, £35

White fringed knit, M&S, £35

Denim pinafore dress, F&F, £20

Denim pinafore dress, F&F, £20

Fringed belt, Very, £20

Fringed belt, Very, £20

Tribal top, Monsoon, £49

Tribal top, Monsoon, £49

Boho necklace, Matalan, £12

Boho necklace, Matalan, £12

Sunglasses, Next, £45

Sunglasses, Next, £45

Sleeveless patchwork print kimono, Evans, £30

Sleeveless patchwork print kimono, Evans, £30

Flag print Wellies, George, £13

Flag print Wellies, George, £13

Raincoat, Topshop, £49

Raincoat, Topshop, £49

Top £17.99, shorts £14.99, bag, £17.99, red neck tie £4.99, New Look

Top £17.99, shorts £14.99, bag, £17.99, red neck tie £4.99, New Look

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