Anna Vitiello on the Secret to Loading on Accessories and Top Summer Trends
A carefully curated outfit is only as picture-perfect as the accessories you pair it with. Take it from Anna Vitiello, co-founder of go-to accessories destination &FINALLY, who spent five years in fashion at Harper's Bazaar UK and by now has mastered the art of putting the right pieces together like a puzzle. The London-bred babe—whose Papa is from Naples in the South of Italy, and Mum from the Philippines—is currently in Nashville but hasn't made the move to the states permanent. Here, our accessories queen crush shares her tips for piling on accessories, where to buy budget-friendly luxe accessories, the summer's top trends, and her take on the difference between British vs. American women's approach to fashion.
Job title: Co-founder of &FINALLY, stylist and writer
Tell us about your journey from working at Harper’s Bazaar UK to co-founding &FINALLY with Florrie Thomas.
I spent five years working at the magazine, going from assistant to editor, styling shoots and editing the merchandise pages. But I always knew that I’d grow out of it, so progressing into the digital sphere was a natural next step. We’d come up with the idea a couple of years before leaving, so by the time we left, we were as synonymous with &FINALLY as we were with Harper’s Bazaar, which was a wise move, as it turned out.
How did the name &FINALLY come about?
We were asking around for inspiration, and I sat at lunch with a friend who is a PR in London, and she came up with it after seeing it in a newspaper somewhere. It’s supposed to suggest the ‘finishing touch’, so ‘and finally you add your iconic YSL sandals.’
As an accessories expert, what do you think should be picked out first while getting ready—the outfit or the accessories?
I always feel inclined to say the accessory, here, but truthfully, I decide on the outfit first. Everyone is different, and some people will decide on shoes and build around that, but I find clothes harder to choose - depending on how I’m feeling about my body - and therefore more time consuming, whereas I’ve spent years curating a wardrobe full of accessories that I love, so throwing on jewellery, shoes and a bag is the more joyous part. That said, I did build a few outfits around bright accessories over fashion month, and that was a new way of getting dressed for me (and actually much speedier, so I might try that more).
What are your favorite vintage shops for snagging cool accessories?
In London, there’s a shop called Retro Woman Clothing Exchange in Notting Hill that has two walls of great shoes and boots that are long forgotten but so fun to stumble upon, and they had the Dior Saddle back in before it was a thing. At the moment, though, I’m in Nashville, and hear that Goodbuy Girls is the one to go to for vintage cowboy boots and great iconic pieces, so I’m heading there as soon as I can.
Are there any &FINALLY-approved shops or designers good for buying wallet-friendly accessories?
So many - we always try and cover the great designers making luxury accessible. For example, we often include the lesser known high street brands that make expensive-looking accessories like Uterqüe, Finery and & Other Stories. But there’s also a new wave of contemporary designers using the best artisans and materials who are keeping the price points much lower than the big fashion houses. I love Miista, By Far and Aeydē for shoes, while Danse Lente, Nico Giani and Yuzefi make bags that look much more expensive than their price tag.
What’s the secret to loading on accessories?
My number one rule is this: you can wear anything you want to, and loading on accessories is no different. For so long, super fine, barely-there jewellery was the only thing to wear, so we all became scared to try big 80's style earrings or chunky necklaces. One of the things people say to me most often is ‘I love what you’re wearing but I could never wear that,’ and my reply is, ‘you can, just have the confidence.’ This applies to wearing all the latest accessories trends: headbands, double bags, bright bedazzled shoes... try it once and you’ll become less worried about wearing them.
Do you have any pro tips for making accessories pop in Instagram photos?
I try not to over edit our pictures because we want them to be as honest as possible, but I often use the detail tool in Facetune to bring out details that you might not notice so much otherwise, such as embellishment on a shoe or a logo on a bag.
What hair accessories do you anticipate will be popular this summer?
The good old headband has made a comeback thanks to our penchant for all things 90's, but I love how feminine and playful they can be, so no complaints here. From the ones we used to use as teenagers - the stretchy black fabric kind - to super luxe pearl ones from Jennifer Behr, they’re going to be everywhere. On the flip side, the your-Grandma-would-wear-this kind are also having a moment: think barettes, claws and slides, all piled high together.
What other accessories will we be seeing a lot of in summer?
Artisanal-looking bags: from beaded drawstring bags to asymmetric mini bags, the more unique the better this summer. And bling, lots of bling: from chainmail-diamante earrings to blingy buckle-adorned mules, sparkle is the way to go.
Break down your everyday hair routine for us.
I recently cut my hair to give it a little more volume and movement, so it’s become quite low maintenance. I sleep with it in a half bun, then depending on how it is when I wake up, I’ll either add a bit of a curl, or straighten it out a bit using my GHD tools. I’ll finish it with the OUAI Texturizing Hair Spray either to hold the wave or add a bit of texture to straighter hair.
Who does your cut and color?
I go to FOUR London in Mayfair and have done for five years now: Brooke does my colour and Amy does my cut. They’re super passionate about keeping your hair healthy and not overdoing it, which I appreciate.
You have a friend in town for 48 hours—where do you tell them to go?
In London? For Pizza at Da Michele, crystal and vintage shopping in Portobello Market and Notting Hill then the Natural History Museum which is one of my favourites in the world.
In Nashville? For delicious veggie options at the Treehouse, a walk down Broadway (because you have to see it) then onto coffee and a browse at 12 South.
You seem like quite the jet-setter. Do you have any go-to travel cases for neatly packing accessories on a destination vacation?
I do love to travel - nothing makes me happier! I’m not sure about ‘neatly’ packing my accessories, but I am incredibly strict when it comes to packing them well. All my bags and shoes - unless it’s completely unnecessary - are stuffed and packed in a dust bag to prevent scratching and to keep their shape. And I create pockets within my clothes to put them in so that should my luggage get crushed, there’ll be a little cushion to keep them safe. It sounds incredibly pedantic, but anything worth spending a lot of money on should be well looked after.
You're from London but we hear you're in Nashville currently. What inspired the move?
Technically, I haven’t moved, but I would like to one day. My other half is an athlete and has signed for a sports team in Nashville, so I’m going to be spending a lot of my time here. I hear the summers are long and hot, so I can’t wait.
Since being in Nashville, have you noticed a difference between UK vs US women’s approach to accessories and fashion?
There are so many differences, but the US is so different everywhere you go, so it’s hard to generalise in that sense. But one thing that seems to stand between the UK and Europe generally vs the US is that Europeans have a thing for being quite ‘undone’ - not too much make up, not too much thought going into the outfit. But I admire American womens’ approach to looking preened - for example, in New York, that’s looking polished in a glossier, more understated way, with not a crease or hair out of place. I’m pretty lazy when it comes to curating outfits and beauty routines - a spritz of hairspray and a good handbag are enough for me - but I have a feeling that’s about to change.
What advice would you give to someone who’s pursuing their own e-commerce site/business?
Firstly, make sure that the world needs what you’re offering (or that you can make the world think it does, at least.) One thing I’ve learned from receiving press releases every minute is that it’s difficult to come up with something genuinely original: we just got lucky to have noticed a gap in the market with our accessories focus.
Also, have a plan, but don’t put too much pressure on yourself. If I could go back a year and remind my 2017 self of something, it’s that putting impossible expectations on yourself isn’t particularly healthy.
Follow Anna on Instagram: @annarvitiello