Stephanie Milburn, Creative Director of Bcharmd jewellery boutique in Newcastle talks to Jo Dunbar about the importance of accessories, online shopping and her lounge-wear wardrobe

How would you describe your own style?

Laid-back chic. Not too fussy; quite simple but I like flattering lines and nice fabrics. I like Parisian style, chic with minimal fuss that doesn’t date.

What do you wear to work?

When I am in the boutique or at a trade show, I wear clothes with more of a glamorous edge: it’s more considered, what I call a restaurant look. I might wear heels; I wouldn’t wear jeans and I up the ante a little bit. I want to show how to style the jewellery and give customers styling ideas.

What’s your favourite piece in your wardrobe?

A cream silk blouse from Zara. It’s long sleeved with a knotted detail: it dresses up and goes with jeans. All my pieces have to have versatility: I have a toddler so I need to grab things with ease. I have adapted my wardrobe so I know it works and I can look effortless and elegant without trying lots of outfits on.

Have you always loved accessories?

Accessorising goes hand in hand with fashion and styling. Jewellery, bags and shoes are key pieces that you can wear over and over. Accessories are so key to your outfit that it’s worth investing in accessories, sometimes more so than your clothes.

Do you have a handbag habit?

I have two handbags: over the years I have phased out all my bags – in my 20s, I had a bag for every occasion. I have a Louis Vuitton monogrammed tote, which is big enough for everything I need to carry: I take it on flights and on the train to London. Then I have smaller Fossil cross-body bag with gold hardware and that goes everywhere with me. It even goes inside the Louis Vuitton. It’s a logistical nightmare swapping handbags. Even if I am going out, I use the Fossil as a clutch and take the cross body strap off.

What was your last splurge?

My White Company cashmere jumper. It was over £100 and I bought it last season, but I wear it all the time. I have my eye on a White Company cashmere robe at the moment.

Are you a big shopper?

I pretty much buy all my clothes in Zara, out of ease. Their clothes don’t break the bank and I don’t have time to go shopping. I used to visit the Metrocentre but now I would rather put my daughter to bed and then have a look online at Zara and H&M. I buy what I need at the start of the season and after October, I probably won’t buy anything else until February. When I’m in London for trade shows, I pop to Westfield for a wander round the shops and to have a bite to eat.

Who is your style inspiration?

Olivia Palermo is my fashion icon. She really wears her accessories well and she looks great dressed up or down.

Ever had any fashion faux pas?

Back in the mists of time, during the teenage years, I probably did the thing of going out in something that turned out to be see-through – I think that’s just being young and not realising. I would hope I am past that phase now!

Where is your favourite place in the North East?

I live on the coast and I love being near the beach, but I also love the countryside. We love going to places like Whitehouse Farm near Morpeth with our daughter Molly, but it tends to depend on the weather.

Do you prefer going out or staying in?

I don’t really go out much anymore. If we go out, it’ll be an occasion: we went out for my husband’s birthday recently and had dinner and a few cocktails at Branches in Ponteland, which was lovely. Usually we decide to make a night of staying in: have nice food, watch a movie – for me, staying in is the new going out. I have more loungewear than going out clothes. If I am going to spend my time indoors, I want to feel nice. I have a lounge-wear wardrobe: knitted pants, cashmere jumpers and camis to wear under a cosy cardigan

What are your swear-by beauty products?

YSL touche éclat – I use that all the time. YSL false lash mascara and bronzer and lip gloss. It sounds really minimal, but I can put it all on in two minutes. I also love having a tan, but I don’t get to sit out in the sun or have time to go to a salon so I use cocoa butter with a tint in it.

What’s your dream holiday destination?

We love Dubai. It’s got the luxury factor; there is great shopping; everything you need for kids and – most importantly – there’s heat! It’s easy to fly direct from Newcastle so it’s basically a dream destination for us.


Bcharmd boutique

No. 19 Central Arcade

Newcastle upon Tyne


Stephanie worked as a designer in the fashion industry for ten years before deciding to launch her own business. Bcharmd was first known for one-off handmade pieces sold from a weekend market stall, then in August 2012 Stephanie moved to her first boutique in the city centre of Newcastle Upon Tyne. Husband Lee joined the business and the couple took Bcharmd to the next level, focusing on global trade. Now stocked in luxury boutiques and leading department stores, Bcharmd has become a prominent accessories brand in the UK and abroad. The jewellery was recently launched on shopping channel QVC.