For our next trip with Toast, we wanted to choose a city that hosts a Toast store. When we looked at the list it was obvious to us all - it had to be York. As a family, we relocated to York for my Dad’s job when I was 10 and we stayed for another 11 years. As you can imagine, Mum and I know York well but what makes the city particularly special for Graham St is that it is also where Alex (our photographer and collaborator) and I met. We found each other on the first day of senior school and have been friends ever since. The next 7 years were spent doggedly avoiding the science, maths or sports departments, and whiling away many an hour in the art department listening to the radio, chatting about nothing in particular and everything at the same time.
Alex’s family have remained in Yorkshire but my family moved back further south when I went to University. Alex therefore knows the city as it currently is, a lot better than Mum and me - and oh my goodness has it changed! Obviously it is still the beautiful Cathedral city it has always been, steeped in history, but York has taken on an entirely different spirit since we lived there. Put it this way, London’s Shoreditch has nothing on York. Every gorgeous cobbled street and Georgian building houses an independent cafe, restaurant, deli, bookstore, clothing boutique, florist or jeweller…. the list goes on.
Alex’s friends own Mannion & Co, an artesian bakery and restaurant which is where we based ourselves for the day. The cakes and bread are freshly baked every morning and the aroma of delicious treats being made alongside freshly brewed coffee is the smell that wafts through the doors when you enter the building.
Needless to say ‘fuel’ for the day was consumed at regular intervals in large, sticky, sugary quantities.
I am in love with Toast’s new collections. The current drop is gorgeous and it only gets stronger as we move into Spring and Summer. Perfect Toast treats will be dropping every few weeks and therefore a warning to all fellow Toast fans - start saving now! The collection has been inspired by the colour of spices, from tumeric yellow, to cayenne red and all the warm, rich colours in between. For anyone that has been to the Souks of Marrakesh, the collection will transport your straight back to that heady onslaught to the senses.
When choosing what we wore for our day in York, I really wanted to illustrate this fabulous colour palette.
The new Toast collection lends itself to being layered and as I am a big fan of this aesthetic (and it was blummin’ freeeezing in York) Mum and I were very happy. The dress that Mum is wearing would be such a great buy at this time of the year. You can wear it as Mum has done, with thick navy blue tights and a navy blue polo neck, but equally come Spring and the warmer weather it would look great with bare legs, tan sandals and nothing underneath. It’s made from a lightweight wool so it may not be suitable for the height of Summer but having said that, if you’re living in the UK…
Mum’s thin knit cotton polo neck is from John Smedley but it’s the sort of thing that M&S or Uniqlo would also do. Toast have fine wool long sleeved t-shirts which would also work.
The turmeric yellow of Mum’s cardigan adds a vibrant splash of colour underneath the dark navy of her coat and also complements perfectly the burnt orange in the dress. It’s A-line in shape, which we both find so versatile. It can be worn over most garments without feeling bulky and uncomfortable and also looks really good over any shirt, untucked.
If I’m honest, the coat does not have much ‘hanger appeal’. Before mum tried it on neither of us were particularly enamoured, however, as soon as Mum put it on, we were converts! It hangs like a swing coat but is casual in its appearance. It is padded, so offers warmth and is a really lovely length. The dark denim colour is incredibly versatile. Mum and I have both fallen in head over heels with this coat.
The unstructured Kantha embroidered coat that I am wearing is made from recycled saris by an Indian co-operative. A kaleidoscope of colour, no two are the same. It can of course be worn as a rather beautiful dressing gown but I have chosen to wear it as a coat. It is the incredible painting in a whitewashed room - nothing else needs to be fancy or over complicated. This is why I have chosen this dark denim dress and a Japanese style jacket in the same material to wear with it.
Bearing in mind that I am 7 months pregnant in these pictures, the dress is incredibly flattering which is testament to its design and fit. It is neat across the shoulders, from which the rest of the loosely fitting dress hangs. It has a three button design detail on the shoulder and comes with a fabric belt which can be worn around the waist. As I currently have no waist I found it much more flattering to leave it unbelted but obviously the option is there.
In order to break up the contrast of the coat against the dress (and to offer more warmth!!) I added the denim jacket. In my opinion it just makes the outfit that much more interesting - the combined design detail of the Japanese style jacket and Indian style coat is a fresh and individual one.
My tights are from Calzedonia. It’s not a shop that I was that familiar with but having stumbled across their amazing selection of coloured tights in Islington, I am now a devotee.
This is Rachel (right), the Toast store manager and Ellie (left). They work in the York branch and create the warm, relaxed vibe that you will find. They literally couldn’t have been more lovely and helpful. Rachel has a design background so knows her stuff when it comes to clothes and fashion. The store itself is perfection - petite but perfectly formed. The changing rooms are upstairs with the homewear. My granny lived in a 18th Century cottage with undulating floors and gnarled beams and it feels exactly the same as one of her bedrooms - warm and cosy with tonnes of character. I guarantee that if you go and see these ladies, you will have a lovely experience - please say hi from Graham St.
Photography and Artwork by Alexandra Mooney .
Toast has had no editorial input into either the curation of our shoot or the words in our blog.
We have been given store vouchers as a gift for our work.