Must-Have Bags For The Perfect Closet

The perfect closet is like an elusive unicorn. It’s the closet that has all the latest on trend pieces mixed in with the classics and basics. The perfect balance between minimal and chic. Getting to this closet takes time, financial investment, and the knowledge that you won’t get away with abusing your clothing, but that you’ll have to take really good care of your things. (No tumble drying!)

The quest to the penultimate closet also includes organizing your bag situation. Slimming down your wardrobe from tons of semi great bags you only use a few times, to the few quality bags you’ll use over and over again will take diligence and self-control. If you’re serious about tackling your bags but the financial investment part scares you, then shop at places like TJMaxx, Zara, Mango, and other department stores that have really great leather products but for a fraction of the cost of high-end names. Same material quality, different price point.

Here’s my list!

The Tote: An Every-Day Bag

A tote bag is a necessary bag not only for style reasons but for functionality. You can use a great tote for work or school to pile in your books, laptop etc or as a great weekend travel bag. Think about traveling and using it as your carry on. When you’re looking for a tote, look for one that’s structured and leather. Always do leather. Make sure it’s not too small (should be tall and wide enough to fit a laptop and some books, in my opinion), and a neutral color with not too many flashy aspects like buckles and zippers. You want to go for timeless. Will this bag be in style next season and 10 seasons from now. Think colors like black, grey, tan. I’d try find one that has a zipper closure so you don’t have sticky fingers rummaging in your bag if you live in a place with pickpockets around.

 

The Weekender

Your weekend bag is something you can toss on your shoulder and go. It’s small, no hassle and carries the essentials. You can run about town and do your thing without lugging something heavy around. Stick to your neutral colors, that way you don’t have to worry that neon pink is clashing with your look. It goes without saying, choose a quality leather item.

 

The Black Tie Event Clutch

We’ve all been caught in situations where we’ve been invited somewhere nice and realize we don’t have a bag to go with the elegance of the evening. That being said, a “black tie event” clutch will go a long ways to ensuring your date, broadway, and fancy soiree nights are fully prepared for. You’re most likely wearing a gorgeous black dress to one of these events, so have fun with a clutch that is both elegant but has some great style elements.

The Wallet/Every-Day Clutch

This little guy is where I live. I despise carrying around my tote (it’s usually full..), and that weekend bag isn’t always appropriate. But what IS appropriate is this wallet that doubles as a clutch. It’s small enough to throw into your tote or weekend bag, but big enough to carry like a clutch. It fits all the necessary things like your phone, a lipstick, a few credit cards, some cash,keys, and your license. So adorable!

 

The Fun Bag

This is sort of a bonus category, but in case you feel like you may get tired of your neutral colored bags, it’s fun to have that “other” bag for the days when you feel like you’re made from sun rays. We all have those days! Try a fun colored bag, or if colors aren’t your thing, go for a neutral color with crazy amounts of texture. Thing tassels, buckles, zippers. Make sure when doing a fun colored bag that your overall look is well balanced. Depending on the outfit, looking like a neon eye-shadow palette might not be so hot.

 

Hope you found this article helpful! Let me know what you think!

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Fall Obsession: Oversized Cardigans, Capes and Ponchos

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Yes, yes summer did just finish and we’re headed into fall, BUT where I live at the moment it’s chilly and it feels as if winter is actually just around the corner. This is my self assessed justification in loving all things fall.

The benefit of cooler weather is that I am inspired to start building a fall wardrobe, and to stop obsessing over summer apparel. My go to item at the moment for are boyfriend cardigans and capes. I’m obsessed! Mango, Zara and H&M all have great options as does Abercrombie & Fitch (randomly enough..has anyone noticed how their style has majorly changed?)

Chunky wool knits  give off a great vintage chic vibe that’ll help your summer boho style transition nicely into fall. You don’t have to wave goodbye to your suede and flared goodies yet.

Check out some of my favs found at the above stores.

Here are some outfit ideas!

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Trend Watch: Lace Up Gladiator Sandals

Lace up gladiator sandals are the best thing to happen to summer since, well, summer. This gorgeous shoe is the perfect accessory to any look and since you can lace it either high or low (up around the calf or around the ankle) they’re the perfect alternative to your usual summer sandal due to their versatility.

It’s important to read here that the type of lace up sandal isn’t the zipper going half way up your leg kind. (Although those can be great for some looks..) They can get bulky, sit loosely and make you hot real quick. Rather, simplicity and being delicate is key. Ssticking to leather laces or ropes will keep you cool and give you an on trend look and you’ll be able to wear them through many summer seasons.

Try Zara, Mango and Forever 21 for affordable styles.

Check out these looks!

Retail Stores Reviews, and Where You Could Be Shopping

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Retail stores are places that we have interesting relationships with. You’re dependent on some or you feel indifferent and unattached about others. Whether it’s the price point, or the styles that they offer, you’ll find yourself always gravitating to that one store where you always find the good stuff.

I love the shopping experience. I love walking around retail stores and looking at the set up, the price points, the styles, whether its shop-able and if the employees are nice people. Here are my personal opinions about 3 stores I’ve visited on numerous occasions and either had a dependent relationship with or an indifferent and unattached relationship.

 

 

JCrew

I wish I could love JCrew! They have great products and their stores are set up in an attractive way. But when I see a blouse and guess that it’s probably $30 (it’s polyester and the design is a normal sleeveless blouse, also H&M sells something similar), only to see that it’s actually $80, my heart breaks a little. You’re not paying for the garment, you’re paying for the JCrew name. And is the JCrew name really that special to you? To me, it’s not.

JCrew doesn’t seem like it’s geared towards to the woman who loves fashion, and who would then want to by multiple garments so she can have the whole look. As a woman, shopping at JCrew regularly could mean that you have an expendable budget and aren’t too worried about the quality of what you’re getting, or you’re oblivious. It might be for the girl who doesn’t really care about style and fashion, she just needs an outfit that looks good.

I, however, am not that girl. I’m looking for a bargain, for amazing clothes that are fashion forward and trendy with quality and prices to match. As it turns out, JCrew had to fire their lead designer due to massive financial losses, and hire a lead designer from their other company, Madewell. Perhaps we’ll see a change of friendliness to the average consumer in prices, or at least have quality that matches the price point. I would pay $80 for %100 silk or silk blend sleeveless blouse any day.

 

Mango

I’ve recently rediscovered my love for Mango. They’re at a higher price point but their garments are well made and you get what you pay for. The average top ranges in the $40 to $50 range with tee’s being in the $20 range, and then raw material tops being $80’s and up (suede etc). They have great pieces that you wouldn’t feel guilty purchasing, because the price point makes sense for the garment. I’d expect to pay $130 for the suede biker jacket but probably not much more than that. What I love about their price points is that it’s inviting and doesn’t smack you in the face. You feel like you can do business there without the shame of having to stick it on a credit card.

They also have the upper hand in that their clothing seems to be aimed at a more developed and mature woman. Their garments mostly don’t have the wild prints and abstract designs that you might find at places like Forever 21, where you wade till you find something you could actually wear as a late 20’s something girl and not look like a teenager. They do have cutting edge trend items, great garment designs and those one of a kind pieces that are must-haves. (Disclaimer: I do love some of Forever 21’s items and definitely their prices!)

Having Penelope Cruz and her gorgeous sister at the helm doesn’t hurt either. There’s a face that you know and trust. I’ve never been let down by Mango, but my gripe is that they don’t have enough brick and mortar stores!

 

Zara

I’m skipping right to Zara because they’re worth mentioning. Zara was the euro fashion house that found its way to our shores, and it’s introduction into american culture (as well as shops like H&M) was a breath of fresh air to our stale Abercrombie and Fitch and American Eagle counterparts. We loved the fresh cutting edge trends,  and the other companies saw an unfortunate downturn in sales as a result of the fast fashion movement, and amazing price points.

You might not believe me but Zara and H&M are quite similar in some respects. Both are vying for global domination, it seems, and are constantly battling the top charts of who’s bigger and has  more reach. They also have similar styles in some departments, though at different price points, and that’s where they differ.

You’ll be paying more for items at Zara, but to some style bloggers having the Zara name is more bearable than the other fast fashion giants like H&M and Forever 21, who are notorious for angsty crowds wading through stores looking for a bargain. (H&M’s saving grace, however, has been their collections and collaborations with major high end designers, which is what makes them unique in their field. They’ve made fashion accessible.)

The Zara customer is more refined and demure, they don’t beg for scraps and Zara has the attitude of you’ll either like or you won’t, and if you don’t it’s not our problem. Whereas places like H&M and Forever 21 have multiple departments each offering a vastly different style from the next. They want to cater to the masses. They want everyone. Zara only wants the style icon, or at the very least to make you into a style icon.

 

 

Let me know if you agree or disagree!

 

Where I Shop

Places I easily and willingly shop at are H&M; you can’t beat the collabs, and their Trend section is usually to die for. Their premium products are also usually amazing and their other stores like COS are amazing too. Also Zara, Mango, Next (amazing UK store), Forever 21 (I’m loving their Contemporary collections), and then the usual department and consignment stores. (TJMaxx, Macy’s etc). I also love theoutnet.com, asos.com, amazon.com (right??), shopbop.com and a host of other websites.

I love fashion, but because I’m a financially savvy person I’ve learned to shop for items that are great quality and at a fair price point. Know your materials! And invest in things like shoes, denim, coats, knit sweaters and basics. Everything else is just for fun and shouldn’t break the bank.

 

 

 

A Flannel How-To

I’m not sure about nations abroad, but here in good ole ‘Merica we do love our flannels. It’s the perfect combination of crisp fall weather, orange and red leaves, misty mountains, cold oceans and total coziness. Weather you’re male or female, you own a few of these. As much as I love my flannel and leggings combo, I decided I needed to spice up some outfits and show a flannel how to. I wore mine with black skinny’s, a precious kitten heel and a moto inspired jacket with a large structured bag. This way you don’t lose the coziness and patriotism but you also look fit for the city.
Enjoy!
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H M white shirt
$24 – hm.com

MANGO white jacket
$115 – mango.com

Acne Studios black skinny jeans
$225 – youheshe.com

Pierre Hardy black pumps
matchesfashion.com

Michael Kors handbag
neimanmarcus.com