STRAY TALKING: Shopping the Cordings Summer Sale
Fashion editor, stylist and Harrogate resident Stephanie Taylor shares her insider tips on where to go – and what to buy in the sales – in this quintessentially stylish town.
We do love our sales in Harrogate. There’s none of the madness, mayhem, rummaging and bun fights you’ll find in our neighbouring cities. Here, in our compact but eclectic town centre, we can make a genteel grand tour of all our favourite stores, boutiques and High Street names within an afternoon, and still have time for tea at Bettys. Visitors come from far afield by the coachload to do the same, such is Harrogate’s reputation for fine shopping and dining, so we locals know when we’re on to a good thing.
As careful shoppers – Yorkshire shoppers – we keep a keen eye open for bargains, but not at any cost. We prefer to spend our money on quality, on those items and pieces that we really want and need, and if we can get them for less than we were prepared to pay anyway, so much the better.
For me, it’s all about the classics at sale time, and that means investing in those hard-working wardrobe essentials we need season after season. I’m heading to Cordings for neat tailored jackets and beautiful shirts I can wear all year round – these are at the top of my list. I’m looking towards autumn too, so light layering knits would be welcome, but there’s always room for a lovely summer bargain I can put away until next year (or which might provide an excuse for a winter sun break).
Here are my top 12 Cordings sale buys:
With its simple shape and works-with-everything, subtly opulent, cream and gold boucle fabric, this three-quarter coat will be an outfit saviour for special events and weddings for years to come. Plus, you can pair it with your favourite skinny jeans for an instant chic outfit upgrade.
Understated yet distinctive, this is the sort of tweed jacket you can make all your own, however you want to wear it. Great with jeans or cords, or throw on over a cotton dress for summer evenings. It’s cleverly tailored to fit and flatter, and the buttons and pockets are details to adore forever.
You could wear this fine cashmere knit now, by itself with jeans, but thanks to its easy, elegant shape, it’s going to be a brilliant layer piece as we move towards autumn. Try wearing over a long-sleeve jersey top, as a cover-up in place of a jacket. When it turns really chilly, it will be cosy, but fine enough to layer under coats.
Every wardrobe needs the perfect tan suede belt, to pull looks together with a touch of tactile texture. This classic, calf skin, medium-width belt works well with jeans, but also looks good used to cinch in the waist of floral-print dresses and oversized white shirts.
I don’t think I can get through the autumn and winter without these gorgeous leather boots. The burnished brown leather and buckle detail are simply beautiful, and I know I’ll be wearing them for years to come.
The subtly quirky flying birds print is a real mood-lifter and conversation starter – ideal for the office, business meetings, maybe even a first daytime date. It’s beautifully made, and won’t ever look dated.
I adore the grown-up floral print of this shirt, with the yellow-gold flowers popping against the rich, dark, satin background. Pair with dark velvet jeans or a swishy skirt and heels for evening – striking and sophisticated.
In cotton and cashmere, this generously sized, light but luxurious scarf is going with me on planes and trains, and will make an elegant cover-up for cooler evenings. It pulls together both special and off-duty looks with polish.
I love the pared-back cut of this little jacket, and the way the cropped, neat shape means it will work with both slim-leg jeans and wide-leg trousers. I’d also be looking out for co-ordinating pieces in one of the colours featured in the boucle fabric – a simple emerald green or rose pink shift dress worn under would become another elegant special event outfit.
I’m wearing these with everything – skinny jeans, slim-leg crops, pleated midi skirts and summer print dresses. It’s not every day you find the perfect flats for both smart and weekend looks, but here they are.
Cut to fit and flatter with a touch of comfortable stretch, these luxe-textured jeans, in a gorgeously versatile deep navy shade, will come into their own in the coming autumn/winter. Dress them down and up, from day to night.
Large enough for my tablet, make-up bag and notebook, with handy pockets for phone, credit cards and keys, neat enough to look chic every day, no matter where I’m going. And that lovely blue tweed. Irresistible.
WHERE TO WEAR:
July 10-12: The Great Yorkshire Show, Great Yorkshire Showground, Harrogate
It’s the 160th anniversary this year for this massive and hugely popular event. As well as all the prize pigs, ponies, tractors et al, there are stalls selling fashion and must-haves for home and garden, a fabulous food pavilion, plus there are four catwalk shows a day in the Kuoni Fashion Pavilion. https://greatyorkshireshow.co.uk/
July 19-22: Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate
A renowned and much-loved event, now in its 15th year, with best-selling writer Lee Child chairing this year’s proceedings. Guest appearances by John Grisham, Val McDermid, Nicci French and Richard Osman, among many other notables. https://harrogateinternationalfestivals.com/crime-writing-festival/
July 19-29: The Great Yorkshire Fringe
This alternative festival in nearby York features Michael Palin, Omid Djalili, Gyles Brandreth, Tony Slattery, Rachel Parris and Lee Nelson, plus music from Ronnie Scott’s All Stars. The Fringe Dog Show has prizes for prettiest female, most handsome male and waggiest tail. http://www.greatyorkshirefringe.com