Monday, September 9, 2013

Fall Fashion - For the love of the handbag!!!!

Fall is almost around the corner - and while you may not still see any sign of it in the warm temperatures and elevated bug count, retailers everywhere have unleashed earth tones!

Fall is my favorite season personally. I'm a person who thrives on structure. I like schedules, lists and goals. Perhaps that's why summer's loose, flow-y, laid back styles, in cooler tones never fully resonate with me. Having a slightly flamboyant and moody personality, I'm naturally more attracted to the rich, warm, dark and complex colors of fall and winter.

I like layers too. A student of psychology, it never ceases to amaze me how a little creativity goes a long way with layering cardigans, tanks, sweaters, boots and scarves. All the different layers, the different combinations, color schemes, and even taking one layer off, or adding an extra one gives a whole new look - a slightly different impression, a small twist on a classic. Much like people, the more they release their own defenses, the more guards they drop, you see another dimension, a unique viewpoint, another glimpse into the same heart.

Fall is comforting to me - the summer can be uncomfortable. It's too hot, I feel sticky, and there's so many restrictions on when to avoid the sun, how much water to drink, how to dress to stay cool etc. Don't get me wrong - I enjoy summer. But I don't thrive or blossom in the summer. I come into my own in the Fall. And sometimes, I think retailers do too :) Obviously, there may be some bias in this last statement, but Fall 2013 looks like a promising time for fashion and fashionistas. While animal print/leopard print has definitely made it's yearly "re-appearance", there's lots more to be excited about this fall - leather, leather and peplum, leather and ankle length pants, the moto trend, brocade and dark burgundy colors to name a few.

What's catching my eye first? Handbags! From a self confessed handbag collector, and addict (more of the latter, less of the former - but I'm working on it!), the handbag collections this Fall are decadent. Yup, "decadent". How does a handbag look "decadent" you ask? Well, one of the definitions of "decadent" (the slightly positive one anyway) is -"marked by or providing unrestrained gratification; self-indulgent" Oh. Yeah. That's how I feel when I see this beauty -

Kate Spade Beau

 But this mes amies is just the beginning. In the realm of animal print, for a much more affordable price, but unbeatable functionality and lots of aesthetic appeal is the Phoebe Shoulder Bag from Coach. For everyday glamor and practicality, this handbag cannot be beat. It's got a zippered section in the middle of 2 large outer pockets for a wallet and keys, and it snaps close for those who prefer carrying a bag that is closed on the top. The slouch on the bag is perfect. While I'm not one for metallics, or colored metallics to be more specific, there is another version in the newly popular rose gold shade as well.

Coach Phoebe Animal Print

 Michael Kors (one of my all time favorites) has the snake/crocodile print theme prominent in his collection.While I like the Selma, it's not on the top of my list this year. I'm more of fan of the sapphire/black Selma Hamilton Tote. It's definitely "trendy" and very "in" with the season's focus on that shade of blue/indigo/sapphire etc. The combination of black, blue and silver is very edgy and a departure from Kors' usual focus on gold tone hardware and details. A BIG plus with the colorblock Hamilton is while it's "trendy" with the colorblock appearance, and the shade of blue chosen, it will last throughout the seasons. Blue is one of those colors that pairs very well with the American wardrobe, with denim as one of the long enduring staples. For city girls, black is always "in" and forever the "go to" color to dress up any occasion. Lastly, if you're a girl of cool temperament, a girl for silver (and not for gold) and someone with a little "edginess" to her personality, this bag's for you!

Selma Snake Print Tote

MK Hamilton Colorblock

Switching gears, and coming back to the animal print (at a lower price point), I also like Rebekah Minkoff's animal print M.A.C (Morning After Clutch). This style/design of hers has become very popular since it's debut in a variety of colors suitable across seasons. Just like the text on her own website espouses: it's the kind of bag that can go from daytime to evening with flair and versatility. For women that don't like the big over sized totes, and are efficient with their space and prefer indeed to carry less. Minkoff's M.A.C is great, widely appealing accessory. This is another handbag you can wear year after year. The leopard print is subtle enough not to get too "loud" if your tastes change with time. Again, the bag will pair very well with jeans, and a pair of dark skinny jeans look like the perfect complimentary piece right now.

Animal Print MAC Crossbody


 Lastly, for this entry, Tory Burch also has a great crossbody (the Natalie) in a very rich fall shade. I love the plum color of this handbag with the now iconic logo and gold tone hardware. This color and style is also one that will endure forever. While it's fun to have a handbag in slightly more exotic/bright colors (fuchsia, orange, turquoise) , they don't always hold their appeal throughout the years. The plum color on this bag can be worn through Fall and Winter, and it's a bag that will continue to draw attention and enchant people year after year. Plus, imagine all the rich fall makeup you can do to compliment this one, fabulous accessory! Lastly, for those with expensive but understated tastes, the logo on this bag is not "flashy" or readily apparent as it can be on some of Tory's other styles. Don't get me wrong - I love a flashy loud logo but I have friends who don't like to "advertise" the make of their bag. This is a classy companion.

Tory Burch Natalie Crossbody

This list is by no means exhaustive or complete. I'll have to do another entry on Fall Handbags as there are just too many that I like and that I believe will work for every kind of fashionista out there! Fall colors feel more grown-up, more adult-like with their rich tones, and luxurious finishing touches. Truly, as Fall draws closer, the warm autumnal colors and tones are going to draw me into a warm, cozy cocoon. While I'm not a fan of Starbucks' Pumpkin Spice Latte, my heart does do a little hop, skip and jump when I see that the "PSL" is back!  Stay tuned for more updates and additions!!!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Make a Statement...

So I hear the big trend for Fall 2013 are statement necklaces with preferably plain/monochromatic tops and dresses  (with jewel necklines). Or you can mix pattern and jewels but that's much harder to pull off.

Consider the statement necklace below.

While this necklace can likely be matched to a patterned dress or top, a plain dress/top will truly do justice to it. The key to wearing statement necklaces is accepting that the focus will be on the necklace. So if you want to wear a hot dress, or if you've done your makeup in a completely different style, know that it might not catch everyone's eye !

For a look at how pattern and statement necklaces work, I like this example below. It's a classic color pattern that most women are comfortable with. The cut of the dress will flatter most body types - from curvy to athletic, boy/slim. For those that want to try this style, this color combination is not only a safe choice, but an enduring one. It might be "in" for Fall 2013 but will still look good in Winter 2016.

With pattern and jewels, apart from just the color of the dress and the necklace, the fabric of the dress, the style of the dress will dictate the type of necklace as much as anything else.

Some statement necklaces can be a little deceiving. For instance, I loved this necklace when I first saw it online, but when you touch it and hold it in your hands, the actual impression of the necklace is "too plastic, too fake, kinda cheap". It is costume jewelry no doubt, but it feels like cheap costume jewelry at a high price point.

On the other hand, this other necklace below, similar in style, but at an even higher price point works. It could be as simple as the quality of work (to justify the higher price point?), but the color combination is also an advantage - it draws the eye but it can still camouflage flaws (or quality of construction).

Some of my favorite statement necklaces that I've seen so far are:

Something to keep in mind with the Kate Spade Puttin' on the Ritz necklace - it's LOUD. It's also an investment. It may appear trendy but can probably we worn countless times with a dress shirt, a jewel neckline top, a sheath dress, a strapless dress etc The only thing necessary to wear this necklace is CONFIDENCE! Because it is LOUD.

For the "low on budget, high on style" amongst us, here's a few affordable chic finds:

I really like this Gold and Pearl combination. It's a very versatile piece that will pair fabulously with most holiday party dresses. It's also a great addition to the carefree, "bohemian" style most of us adopt in the summer with less tailored dresses and a more casual vibe. The necklace can easily help make the transition from day to night.

The nautical motif comes back season after season with modern updates, but the original navy/white combo remains a staple. If you're like me, and you're already added some nautical/navy outfits to your wardrobe, this necklace presents an alternative way to take advantage of this repeating fashion theme.

These are just a few I see out there that I like. I will update this list with new finds!!!