The Urban Guide to the Countryside

Wouldn’t you though?

1 Feb 2017

A black ankle boot is a stone cold classic for winter and I’m currently hankering after these black suede studded Chelsea boots – practical enough for everyday wear but with a dash of pizzazz to raise a smile on a gloomy day. Bonus: they look a bit like the much-coveted Chloe ones that cost – splutter – £850, but actually come in at somewhat more reasonable £125 from And Other Stories, in Kingston.

Have you stumbled across & Other Stories yet? Part of the Swedish retail group that brought us H&M and Cos, it’s my favourite high street shop right now but when I mention the brand to many women, I get blank looks – it’s still flying under the radar (I like to imagine it wearing a very chic cape as it does so).

One of the reasons for this is there aren’t that many stores – there’s the one at the Bentall Centre in Kingston, three London branches (Regent Street, Oxford Street and the King’s Road), plus outposts in Leeds and Manchester. I have a feeling there will be more. The website is great but it’s worth shopping in-store if you can – the products are merchandised by ‘story’, which means you’ll get a skirt styled with a jumper, a necklace, a scarf and even a nail polish, all beautifully complementary, all displayed together so you can picture how the whole outfit would work. Such a simple idea, and deliciously practical. Basically it means that they do the styling for you, the working out what-goes-with-what – and let’s face it, that’s often the hardest part about getting dressed.

& Other Stories is a bit more sophisticated than H&M and a bit jazzier than the ultra-minimal Cos, and fashion editors make a beeline for its high-quality, cleverly detailed accessories – the handbags and shoes, in particular, punch well above their weight, and often get mistaken for designer brands. See what I mean?


It also excels at the slightly quirky top. A friend of mine has lived in this merino wool patterned sweater this winter, which was just £45.

I think & Other Stories deserves having its own story told far and wide. Although, um, shall we just keep it to ourselves?

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside -
Surrey Edition