We are entering new territory today with this long-running swatch-a-palooza project. It took a while, but I’ve finally managed to swatch through all of my mainstream polishes. I’ve become a lot more strict with my destashing, so I want to go back and take a second look at parts of my mainstream stash. In particular, I want to look closer at OPI and China Glaze. I need better pictures for both of those brands, and I feel like I went easy when I swatched through them the first time. There may be things in there that I should have destashed and didn’t. But that’s a project for another time.
Today, we are heading into indie territory. I’ve decided to start with the brands in my stash that I consider “boutique” brands. I don’t know if my definition of “indie” vs. “boutique” is accurate, but I’ll try to lay it out in here for some background. For me, it feels like a fine line between a true “indie” brand and a “boutique” brand. I think both fall within the umbrella of indie polish, because they are not readily available for me in brick-and-mortar stores. But I think a “boutique” brand is a slightly larger operation. It’s a brand, that, perhaps, releases collections frequently. Perhaps the polishes are created and bottled in more of a lab-type setting. In contrast, I think of “indie” polishes as small companies where the polish is conceived, mixed, and poured in the maker’s house or other dedicated space (like an office room in the home or the basement or garage). Indie batches seem to be smaller and more limited in the number of bottles available.
When I fell down the indie and boutique polish rabbit hole, I fell HARD. It’s more like I jumped in with both feet. I have no regrets. I love the quality and the uniqueness I can find in these polishes. In some cases, they are more expensive, but it’s worth every penny to me. These polishes make me feel like I am getting the absolute best value for my money. I love wearing the creative and unique mixes. I can see the indie part of my stash continuing to grow like crazy, whereas I feel most of my mainstream buying has slowed to a crawl.
A.ENGLAND BRAND INFO:
I decided to start my indie swatch-a-palooza with A.England. Guys, I freaking love this brand. I do consider this brand to be boutique. It’s more of a large-scale polish operation, as opposed to an indie maker putting out small collections in his or her home. This is a UK-based brand, so it is available to me in the US through different online stockists. I’m not sure if this brand is available for sale in brick-and-mortar stores in the UK, but I think UK polish addicts can order directly from the A.England website.
A.England is the creation of Adina Bodana. According to the A.England website, she has a background in fashion and design, as well as a life-long passion for all things nails and nail polish. And this company puts out some gorgeously amazing polish collections! I’ve found polishes from this brand to be consistently wonderful, both in color and formula. They never fail to amaze me, and, if I am putting an A.England polish onto my nails, I know I will be happy every time I look down at it during the day. I love the bottle shape, which is slightly tall and rectangular. It fits between my thumb and the side of my hand comfortably when I manicure. I like the brush shape and size. I consider the brush to be medium in size, but it fans out nicely across the nail. I almost never have to do clean-up when using polishes from this brand!
Also, I’m just going to say this up front … I don’t expect to destash anything today. This is more of a “look at my stash” kind of thing. I almost never let go of an A.England polish, although I did destash one on my first swatch-through: Excalibur Renaissance. I ended up with that polish by accident, and, although it is beautiful, it looked terrible on my nails. It has a very metallic or chrome-like finish, and I felt like it showed every little imperfection on my nails.
Anne Boleyn is from the Tudoresque Collection. It is a deep, rich red holographic. This polish has a fabulous formula. It is rich and creamy going onto the nail. It builds up beautifully and is opaque in 1 coat. I always wear it at 2, but that is a personal preference.
This is Anne Boleyn in macro. As with all of my A.Englands, I find the holographic to be subtle. It doesn’t reach out and grab you by the eyeballs, but it is definitely there. I feel like it gives the polish a soft look on the nail. And, in the case of this beautiful red, the holographic gives it a gorgeous inner glow. I also love how I can see hints of pink and deeper, brighter red within the holographic as the light plays across my nails.
I’m not much for reds, as you guys know. But this one is so fabulous. If I had to pick just one red to have in my entire polish stash, this would probably be the one. Needless to say, I am keeping her.
Let Me In is from the To Emily Bronte Collection. It is a dark purple-toned red holographic. This one reads “berry” to me. It has a fantastic formula that is opaque in 1 coat. Again, I generally wear 2, which is my personal preference.
Here is a macro shot for Let Me In. Look at the glow from all that beautiful holographic! Again, I find the holo subtle but very present on the nail. This polish is stunning. I love how rich and luxurious the color is. I enjoy the mix of purple and red. This is a beautiful color for Summer, but also for Fall and Winter. And it is amazing in the sunlight. So, yep! She is a keeper.
In Robe and Crown is from the Tennyson’s Romance Collection. The A.England site describes it as a “dark lavish red garnet” holographic. I find the color of this one a little difficult to describe. In some lights, it looks red. In other lights, it looks more brown. Other times, it looks more purple. So, I decided to fall back on the maker’s description and stick it in with the reds.
This is my macro shot for In Robe and Crown. I might not be able to figure out just how to describe this color, but I do know it is MAGNIFICENT. This is one of those polishes that I look at and think, “Whoa.” It is beautiful and boggles the mind with its richness and depth of color. I love how I can see purple and brown and red all mixed in here. In some types of lighting, this polish seems to glow off the nails. It is spectacular, and I’m definitely keeping it!
Fotheringhay Castle is from the Elizabeth and Mary Collection. It is a yellow-toned, slightly mossy olive green. The A.England site says this polish has a “golden overlay and a strong prismatic shimmer”. The formula for this polish is perfection. It is beautifully opaque in 1 coat. I like it at 2, but that’s just me.
This is my macro picture for Fotheringhay Castle. Look at all the greens and browns and golds in here. It is so, so pretty. I can’t even.
You guys know I’m a fan of yellow-toned, slightly murky greens. Or green-yellows or yellow-greens. Whatever you want to call them, I love them all! And this one is no exception. I adore this polish. I love the golden tones in and among the greens. I love the mossy look to it. It reminds me of walking through a deep green, cool forest — calm and peaceful. You’ve already guessed, right? This is a keeper.
Jane Seymour is from the Tudoresque Collection. It is a dark-toned, mossy olive green holographic that has a lot of gray undertone. This one has a perfect formula, too. It is opaque at 1 coat, and I love it on my nails at 2.
Here is my macro for Jane Seymour. I feel like you can see so much in this polish. You can see greens, browns, grays, a little touch of gold, and well as a few pops of blue here and there. I think most of this is from the holographic, although I feel like the grays are from the base color. Whatever the case, these all morph together into a big, old pile of YUM. I love this on the nail. It is another color that is beautifully calm and peaceful. But it’s also luxurious and elegant. I feel like this polish is neutral but also green. Does this even make sense? I don’t know. But I know I LOVE it!! This beauty is a keeper.
Dragon is from The Legend Collection. It is a darker, glistening green that falls somewhere between a mossy green and a forest green. There is beautiful holographic in here, which gives off golden tones as the light hits it. This polish has a fantastic formula that is opaque in 1 coat.
This is my macro for Dragon. I love how this polish has so much depth and dimension to it. The green is rich and refreshing. I love how there is a lot of black or very dark gray to the undertone, too. And the holographic, while subtle, is beautiful in this polish. I love how the holographic plays against the dark, luxurious green. This was one of the first A.England polishes I bought, and it definitely sold me on the brand. This one is a keeper, for sure.
Saint George is from The Legend Collection. It is a deep, dark, brooding green-blue holographic. This qualifies as a teal to me, but I always think I can see a lot of green in it, which is why it’s in this section of my swatching madness. It’s “broken record time” but I’m gonna say it, anyhow. This one has a fabulous formula that is opaque at 1 coat.
This is my macro shot for Saint George. This kind of makes me want to cry because it is so, so, sooooooo pretty. I freaking love it. This is one of those polishes I could stare at for hours on end. I could get lost in the beautiful, rich depths of this polish. And I would not regret it at all. I love this one. It is another early A.England acquisition for me, and it’s definitely a keeper.
Catherine Howard is from the Tudoresque Collection. This is a vivid, bright green-blue holographic with hints of gold. The A.England site calls this a teal, but I feel it’s more of a turquoise. I find it leans a little more green than blue, but there are definite blue undertones in there. This polish has a fabulous formula that is opaque in 1 coat.
Here is my macro for Catherine Howard. This polish is so bright and beautiful. It screams off your nails, but in a refined sort of way. I love how I can see greens, blues, and golds all in the mix on this one. And the holographic is beautiful. This is a keeper.
Princess Tears is from The Legend Collection. It is a soft, silvery pink-toned purple (lilac?) holographic. This polish has a great formula. I found it a little more sheer than most of my A.Englands. I need 2 coats for this to be opaque. It builds up nicely, but I have found it can leave brush strokes behind. I don’t find the brush strokes overwhelming, but they are there.
Here is my macro for Princess Tears. I feel like you can see a lot of pinks in here as well as purple. And there is a lot of silvery-gray, too. This is a magical polish. I find myself using that term a lot with indies, but I think it absolutely applies in this case. The combination of soft pinks and purples … the silvery-gray undertones … It all adds up to something very special and fairy-like. This beauty is staying in my stash.
The Most Happy is from the Tudoresque Collection. This is the brightest, most vivid purple holographic in my stash. It has a fabulous formula that is opaque in 1 coat.
This is my macro shot for The Most Happy. Could there ever be a more perfect “grape” purple? I don’t think so! I am pretty sure this is the brightest purple in my stash. It packs such a zing. I love how you can also see some blue undertones in the base color, which gives this polish a cool feeling on the nail. You guys know how I love cool-toned colors! This one is definitely a keeper. It’s beyond fabulous, and I think the name is perfect. Because it is The Most Happy.
Incense Burner is from the Rossetti’s Goddess Collection. It is a rich, deep, dark plum holographic. The formula is fantastic and opaque at 1 coat.
This is my macro shot for Incense Burner. Look at how you can see not just a deep plum in here, but also brown, bronze, and even a little bit of green. This polish seems almost mundane on the surface or at a quick glance. But it really is a complex mixture that has a lot of depth and dimension to it. I love how rich and moody it is. This one is a keeper for me.
As predicted, I did not destash anything in this post. I’m not upset with this in the least. I love all of my A.England polishes, and I treasure each and every one of them. It’s not a brand I buy often, just because it is a little harder to find for me. And it is a little more expensive. But each polish from this brand is a lovely jewel in my stash.
I have 11 more A.England polishes to share in next week’s post. I went a little bit out of ROYGBIV order today so that I could try and split the posts up more or less evenly. Next week, I will wrap up this brand with my blues (of which there are A Lot!) and neutrals (brown, black, gray).