The manbag: once a most unfairly maligned accessory that was reserved for the more, let’s say, sartorially serious gent. ‘Real men’, of the kind of butch masculinity heralded by Yorkie chocolate bars and McCoy crisps, would never be seen with anything so fey and useful , instead preferring to stock their pockets or maybe condescend to use a natty skate backpack, at a push.
But that would be me showing my age, for in recent years, the manbag has undergone a reputation overhaul and now is the accepted accessory of nary a man, regardless of personal style or degrees of butch, with everything from satchels to duffle bags thrown over shoulders.
Personally, I’m all for a good man bag: why should men be so heartlessly deprived of life’s greatest pastime (namely, bag shopping) while simultaneously forced to ruin the line of their trousers with overstuffed pockets? Tsk, this is an age of equality we live in and it is only right and proper that men should be able to enjoy the finer aspects of life just as we women do. But just as the most unyielding have come round to this way of thinking and begrudgingly accept that it’s possible for something other than the briefcase to be carried, Burberry have challenged us anew with the latest update to the manbag: the man clutch. I see those questioning looks on your faces; this isn’t a return of the murse, but rather streamlined bags to be carried much in the way you might your iPad, which can no doubt be handily stored inside. Burberry’s offerings included those in brightly coloured metallics (which could work with this season’s skater boy trend, in theory) but the early adopters of the trend on the street often tend to favour oversized, slouchy leather versions in simple black or brown leather, which are more ideal for those wishing to ease themselves in. There are even some to be found that come with a slim chain, so, when you tire of carrying it, you may causally adorn your shoulder. But I see I’m losing you again.
Now, this isn’t going to be for everyone, I grant you, and it may take a few more seasons for the majority to come round, but if you can pull this one off with aplomb, why you’ll look the height of sartorial elegance.
And if anyone questions your choice of accessory, simply throw them a withering look of pity, deprived as they are of the wonder of the manbag. Or failing that, pretend like it’s your girlfriend’s…
Amy Lavelle is a journalist from UK fashion comparison site Style in View. She’s contributed to a number of publications including Spindle magazine.
Today, April 22nd, marks Earth Day. Last week, I told you how you can get great skin while supporting a green initiative, and today, I’m featuring a way you can complement your great skin and eco-friendly lifestyle with ICU Eyewear. Specs from ICU are a fashionable way you can protect your eyes, while protecting the environment. Since the launch of its first “Eco Reader” in 2006, ICU has used the most sustainable materials including bamboo, recycled metals, and other plant based materials, to manufacture many of its reading glasses, sun readers and sunglass styles.
Product Recycling Program
ICU encourages consumers to recycle their readers so materials can be repurposed. Through the company’s product return and recycling program, customers can return used eyewear to the company’s warehouse to be recycled. Glasses that are in good condition are donated to organizations that distribute eyewear to those in need. To date, ICU has donated over a 100,000 pairs of glasses through various programs worldwide. Learn more here»
Last week I attended the Summer/Fall 2013 jewelry preview event of Kensie, held at the company’s beautiful showroom in New York City. I believe a woman’s outfit is never complete with at least one accessory, so I was excited to see the new pieces, which will be available at Macy’s later this year. Whether your style is boho chic, low-key or elegant, there is something for everyone in this collection. The Summer/Fall line is an eclectic mix of colorful statement pieces and metallic jewelry, some of which feature fun geometric shapes.
I am in love with the bangle sets in the “Shine Like Stars” collection, which are engraved with inspirational words (seen below) and will make great gifts for upcoming graduations, birthdays, and other special occasions.
Click on photos to enlarge.
My favorite accessories in the whole room were from the Rooftop Party Gasoline collection. The see-through, lace-like architectural design of the necklaces, earrings and braceltes creates a unique effect and is absoutely stunning.
Which pieces from the Summer/Fall 2013 collection are you coveting?
In the past I’ve written about Maya Brenner Designs, a high-end jewelry collection favorited by some of the most hottest celebrities. This week the jewelry company is kicking off 2013 by having a celestial sale – 40% off all zodiac necklaces and birthstone rings through Jan. 14. Since the year has just begun, you can buy a special zodiac accessory for someone you know and hold onto it until their birthday. Or, just grab one for yourself – at 40% off why not?
1. Druzy Necklaces, $40.00
2. Jay King Blue Lace Drusy Sterling Silver Drop Earrings, $89.90
3. Peter Ciesla Necklace, $690.00
4. Liz Larios Black Garnet Nugget Ring, $170.00
5. Raw peridot stud earrings, $14.00
6. Crystal Cave Rock Ring, $20.00
A quick and easy way to add flare to your outfit is to add a hint of animal print. However, even easier is going from stylish to tacky when wearing animal print. To avoid overdoing any print, try it out on one piece of your outfit. If you are feeling bold, try a printed dress. Make sure that the print is not too busy, and keep your accessories simple.
A few weeks ago I was approached by a representative of Alli’s Everlasting Arrangements & Accessories asking me to take part in a fun contest to style one of the company’s floral pins in friendly competition with other bloggers. After hearing the story behind the company, I couldn’t say no. Alli’s Everlasting Arrangements & Accessories, is a floral arrangements and accessories line designed by Renee Heyden, in memory of her daughter Allison (Alli) Emilie Heyden, who passed away at the age of 24 last summer. Alli was an up-and-coming fashion designer, had her own clothing line, and won numerous awards. Renee makes everything in the collection from fabrics she found in Alli’s room, and a portion of the proceeds from sales go towards the Alli Heyden Passion for Fashion Scholarship Fund at Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD), Alli’s alma mater.
I received a pink suede floral pin embellished with sparkling rhinestones. It’s the perfect accessory to that can be used to jazz up any outfit. In the pictures below, you can see just how versatile the pins can be. I used it as a hair accessory, two different ways; attached it to a crystal belt; and, adored a solid shirt with the pin for a pop of color. Which one do you like best? The contest is bein hosted on Alli’s Everlasting’s Facebook Page.
Here is the direct link to vote: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.433878246649964.87455.327042910666832&type=1
Special thanks to Ramola Poonai nd Erin Angarola for thier help with this project. xoxo
The most wonderful thing about nature is its ability to be beautiful without human interference. So, it only makes sense that some of the most beautiful jewelry can be made from one of Mother Nature’s precious resources. Today, I’m focusing on the gorgeous wood we get from trees. It’s amazing how scraps of wood can be transformed into something absolutely magnificent and fashionable.
1.. FULL TILT 5 Wood Bangle Set, UPDATE: currently unavailable
2. Kenneth Jay Lane Polka-Dot Bangles, $79.99
3. Classic Rock – Lola James, $55.00
4. Wood Bead Stretch Bracelet, $5.50
1. Spiral Wood Earrings, $26.00
2. Natasha Couture Wood Earrings, $28.00
3. Unable to locate link
4. Gara Danielle Victorian Wood and Emerald Ring, $125.00
5. Karen London “Woodland” Ebony Wood Studded Polygon Ring, $80.00
6. Sku Wood Band Ring, $115.00
7. Lucky Brand Peace Wood Ring, $31.99
So, I’ll admit it. I’m a little scared of turtles, no matter what their size. I think my fear of turtles began in junior high school when I used to have a turtle as a class pet. When it was my turn to bring the turtle home, he somehow managed to escape while we were cleaning his tank. I know, I know, turtles are slow and should be easy to catch. But, this one managed to dog paddle its way into the darkness of under my couch, and popped out in the middle of a scary movie. Since then, I have been scared. I am, however, not afraid of wearing them in the form of blinged out chic accessories. Here are some cool turtle inspired jewels:
Sneaky was to incorporate blue into your wedding.
When it comes to wedding’s we’ve all heard the famous good-luck bridal rhyme: something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. I am nowhere near walking down the aisle, but I already know what I will be selecting for three out of the four areas on the list. Yet, when it comes to the last item, something blue, I’ve really had to sit down and think long and hard about it.
I’ve got nothing against the color blue, but why would I want to disrupt the purity of my fashionable white assemble with such a clashing pigment? Well, it turns out that for centuries, blue has been associated with weddings as a symbol of love and purity. For that reason, the Old English rhyme includes “something blue” as one of the four good luck charms a bride should have on her wedding day. Now, I won’t go as far as wearing a blue gown on my wedding day as women did in the middle ages until white became the wedding hue of choice; but, I do have some ideas on how to sneakily incorporate the color on the big day.
If you’re sugary sweet
Nothing is sweeter than the fragrant smell of fresh flowers, so incorporate some blue flowers, such as hydrangeas into your wedding bouquet. You can also have a blue ribbon tied around the bouquet.
If you’re naughty
Wear blue lingerie for a sexy little secret no one has to know about. Or, put on a blue garter for the traditional groomsmen toss.
If you’re flashy
I love, love, love the idea of adding blue rhinestone monogram stickers underneath your shoes. It’s devious, and oh so clever. You can have the monograms say anything you want from “I Do,” to the wedding date, to your brand new initials.
If you prefer to show off your blue bling, then accessorize with dazzling earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and even hair pieces.
For the more adventurous bride that loves bling, you can try vajazzling with blue crystals (I won’t judge!).
If you’re a beauty queen
Blue nail polish is a great way to integrate the color into your wedding in a subtle way. You can also wear a light blue eye shadow on your lids.
Many brides nowadays choose to incorporate blue in other parts of their wedding, instead of on themselves. Bridesmaids or flower girls can wear blue dresses, sashes, or hair accessories. Centerpieces and place cards are also a great place to add in the color. You can even have your cake sit on a blue plate. At the end of the day, it’s just an old tradition. Just as long as you are not the “something blue” on your wedding day, then that’s all that matters.
Ashley Williams, the brainchild behind online fashion boutique, Couture Luv, didn’t always want to work in the fashion industry. After receiving a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice, she was on a career path of becoming a lawyer, until she realized she had a strong desire to combine her love of styling with her desire to be an entrepreneur. Williams now exercises her instinctual knowledge of what women are looking for in terms of fashionable clothing and affordable price points with her online clothing boutique, Couture Luv.
From trendy tops to colorful leggings, the online store, which launched in March of 2012, offers pieces that super chic and trendy, and feature unique clothing and accessories that you are going to “luv.”
How did you decide on the name?
Because of the love I have for couture and vintage fashion, I decided upon the name couture. Luv is because of my personality and how I present myself. I am a very ‘luving’ and caring person. I have a deep yearn in my heart to help others, and the best way to help is to spread the luv.
What motivated you to start your business?
My love for fashion and design lead me to starting my own business. I loved to style others based on the things that make them unique. I always feel that how a woman feels inside should be reflected through her clothes, so I wanted to start a store that carried things that could be beneficial to all women in their own unique ways.
How did you come up with the concept for Couture Luv? Any specific reason behind why you choose to use “luv” vs “love”?
I chose ‘Luv’ instead of ‘Love’ because I thrive to be unique.
Is this your full-time job?
Yes this is my full-time job.
Do you have any employees?
No, I do not currently have employees. I only have interns who are working towards a career in the fashion industry. I do look to expand in the future.
How do you find the models for your website? What do you look for when selecting someone to model the clothes?
I have not held any model searches, I hand-pick my models randomly. I see someone walking in the mall and find the perfect model. When selecting models I look for everyday body types. I don’t typically cast models who are a size two, because the majority of women aren’t that size. I try to find models people can identify with. I love all nationality and races. I thrive for diversity when choosing models. I am currently searching for plus-size models. Finding plus-size models is my biggest challenge when searching for models for the site.
What has been the most rewarding aspect of launching the site so far?
The most rewarding aspect from Couture Luv has been the positive feedback I’ve gotten from my happy customers. Just knowing I made someone’s day, is very rewarding for me.
What has been the most challenging aspect?
The most challenging aspect has been marketing the brand.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
My inspiration comes from within. The artist that lives within me paints the pictures that I bring to light.
What is the company’s best-selling item(s)?
All of our unique tights/leggings are most popular right now.
What do you look for when selecting items for the website?
Sometimes I look for creativity and sometimes I look for simplicity; it depends. My fashion intuition has many different sides and angles. I look for everything from bright neon colors, strips, and patterns; to old English button ups, and pearls. I like to be out-of-the-box.
Do you have any advice for young women looking to start their own business?
For young people wanting to start a business, my advice would be to be determined and unafraid. You have to market yourself well, sell yourself and your brand. I am very open to others emailing me with questions about my success in such a small time frame.
Are there any special promotions going on now that you would like to highlight?
In July 2012, I am giving a percentage of my sales to the Barack Obama campaign 2012. I would love for everyone to come on-board in knowing we’re supporting a good cause. We also do hour deals which there are promotion code discounts from 10% to 50% that is available to those who are following us on twitter. ‘Fam28′ is the permanent code that will give you 10% of on every purchase. This code can be obtained once you register with the site. The code can be re-used.
Is there any additional info you would like to provide me with?
Our slogan is ‘Pretty Girls Rock’. We are a vendor at many events in the South Florida region, so if anyone is in area, they can find out where we will be selling from our Facebook page. We update regularly.
Follow us on twitter: @Coutureluv1
If your mom is a fashionista, then why not enhance her chic aesthetic this mother’s Day with a luxury handbag by orYANY (pronounced “or ee yah knee”). Launched in Spring 2010, orYANY’s line of bags offer functionality (there are internal compartments for your keys, cell phone..etc), while being stylish (the bags are available in vibrant colors and exciting textures like rattan basket). There are tons of styles to choose from including crossbody bags, totes and clutches. Check out some of the styles below.
orYANY’s high end bags usually retail between $165 and $450, but for a limited time, you can score one of the brand’s coveted creations for 70% off at LuxeYard.com (prices range from $65.00 to $195 with the discount). This special sale will end on May 9th. After that, you’ll have to pay full price for the handbags, so while you’re there getting one for mom, be sure to pick one up for yourself, too.
On April 10th, I attended the Scotland Re:Designed showroom launch party as part of Scotland Week 2012 in New York City. The event, held in association with the Scottish Government and Creative Scotland, featured the collections of twelve of Scotland’s hottest fashion designers and textile companies. This new initiative provided the designers a platform to promote, share and expand their work with NYC media and buyers.
The creative work show visibly drew on historic Scottish heritage as seen with some of the pieces by award-winning designer Judy R Clark that were made with tartan cloth; yet, everything managed to be fresh and was far from antiquated (the tartan cloth pieces incorporated lace).
The exhibit of Belinda Robertson immediately drew my attention. Ms. Robertson already has a large fan base in Scotland, especially among celebrities and fashion editors, and after viewing with pieces it’s not hard to see why. The beautiful clothing is made from 100% Pure Scottish Cashmere and some of the pieces incorporated intricate embellished crystals, which provided just the right amount of sparkle.
Last week when I previewed the Kardashian’s new home collection, I also had the opportunity to preview the upcoming swimwear, bag, and accessories that will be launched later on this year. This expansion of their current Kardashian Kollection line shows that there is nothing off-limits for the trio. Take a look below. Which piece can’t you wait to see in stores?
Strong, independent, and determined are three words that describe Karen Joseph, owner of Ezzie Bliss, a newly launched online accessories store. This March, the single mother of three set out to make her love of fashion a successful business, while pursuing a degree in nursing – an unlikely career path for someone who has a background in accounting and telecommunications. As a young girl growing up in Grenada, accessories played a major part in helping her develop self-confidence.
“There were days when I felt ugly when I saw myself in the mirror; although my friends and family told me different,” she says. “It was those pieces of jewelry that made me feel transformed – as if it was like therapy when I put them on. Accessories helped me to build my confidence, and is now leading me towards my accomplishments. I hope I could relay this feeling to other women in similar situations.”
How did you decide on the name?
My sister Ezra is the inspiration behind the name Ezzie Bliss. Although she is my younger sister, Ezra has had a major impact on my life. She is driven to achieve her goals, she is caring, loyal and loving and because of these qualities, I look up to her and admire her. In Hebrew, Ezra means helper. Ezra is currently engaged and in August she will become Mrs. Bliss. Combining Ezra and Bliss just made sense to me. When I was thinking about the name Ezzie Bliss it meant “helper of joy.” In my life my sister and my family have been my foundation and my joy.
What motivated you to start your online accessories business? (more…)
I recently booked an early summer vacation. That’s right, in just a few short weeks, I will be basking in the warmth of the sun, listening to the soothing sound of the ocean, and enjoying being kissed by the kind of soft, cool breeze that only exists on tropical islands. Although I am tremendously excited about my trip, once concern I have is the amount of time I will be spending outside – no one goes to a beautiful tropical island to just sit in their hotel room. And, being the busy body I am, I foresee shopping trips, laying on beach, and daytime outdoor dining. So, in addition to my spf, I’ve begun the search for a fabulous hat that will not only make me look chic, but protect my skin from the hash rays of the sun. Check out the hats I’m considering below. Which one do you think I should get?
I first introduced you all to designer Barbara Campbell in October 2011, when I attended one of her trunk shows at Bloomingdales in SoHo, where she was showcasing her Black and Gold jewelry collection. This week I had the opportunity to catch up with the busy designer to learn more about her company, where she gets her inspiration from, and how her business continues to thrive in the fashion industry.
Where are you from?
I am a first generation Cuban-American, born and raised in Washington Heights in Manhattan. Both my mother and father were born in Cuba
When did your company launch?
The inspiration for my company began in Vermont in 2006, overlooking a lake in the green mountains. The natural beauty of the environment started merging with my design instincts. The company actually launched while I was on the beach in Montauk. Once again the natural beauty of the beaches and the ocean convinced me that designing accessories that were inspired by nature’s wonders was something I wanted to do. The company officially launched in the fall of 2007. (more…)
Starting your own business is no easy task, especially in the fashion world, where competition is fiercer than an episode of Ru Paul’s Drag Race. So how does a young boutique owner stay on top of their game in a dog-eat-dog industry? We sat down with Michelle Akers, Owner/Buyer of the New York based online boutique Liveinfashion.com to find out.
Launched in December 2009, Liveinfashion.com, caterers to “the woman who is daring to be different.” The online store successfully sells out unique fashionable pieces, reflecting Akers’ eye for quality, and innate ability to sense what women covet when it comes to style.
Where are you from?
Wow…I was born in Houston, Texas then moved to Brooklyn, NY for a little while, then to Jamaica, Queens. Now, I live in Elmont, Long Island.
What inspired you to start you online boutique?
I remember coming home one night and just saying to my mom that I wanted to start an online store. I’m a very daring person, so when I dress people would always ask where I got certain pieces from. I decided that I wanted to be the source of “getting.”
How did you decide on the name?
It came down to either “love in fashion” or “live in fashion.” The slogan “Do you live in fashion?” just stuck and that’s how I chose the name. (more…)
During New York Fashion Week, I was introduced to The SEAH Collection, an astrology-based line of luxury timepieces and jewelry. I immediately fell in love with the SEAH long earrings with yellow gold two-tone plating (pictured above) that I found, personalized with my astrological sign (Scorpio).
I’m not the only fan, it seems. Even the big stars are in alignment when it comes to SEAH. No, I’m not talking about the cosmic ones, but top stars including Misha Barton, Joss Stone, and Kelly Rowland, have been seen wearing items from luxury line’s watch collection.
For years, SEAH has been known for producing magnificent watches, and recently launched its jewelry line for men and women, consisting of handcrafted earrings and high-quality leather bracelets, embellished with gold and stainless steel zodiac insignias. Considering astrology’s connection with direction and time, it seems natural that a company known for its iconic timepieces would integrate astral influences into its family.
Beautiful accessories from The SEAH Collection can be personalized with any of the 12 astrological symbols of your choosing. Each order comes with information prepared for you by SEAH designer and astrologer Rachel Levy, divulging knowledge about your sign and its significance…sounds to me like the perfect birthday gift.
Visit www.seahwatches.com to see more.
Feast your eyes below on one of the world’s most expensive ear buds by Thomas Heyerdahl / Heyerdahl Jewellery of Oslo, Norway, which debuted in 2008. Made of 18 karat white gold and 204 diamonds, and limited to 1,000 pairs, the “iDiamond ear” is touted as the “world’s most exclusive earphones ever made.” It also costs up to $7,000. Now, if you’re like me, and can’t afford to blow that much money on headphones, then keep scrolling so that you can see where you can get your own cheaper, blinged out headphones that you won’t have to remortgage your home in order to buy.
I thought it was absolutely hilarious when Renee Graziano accessorized her outfit with a brass knuckle purse when going to meet up for drinks with other members of the cast of “Mob Wives,” in the episode that aired this past Sunday. The bag she was carrying was the 1st edition Black Glitter Too Fast Brass Knuckle Purse, which has been discontinued. But, you can get Too Fast’s newer version in Glossy Black for $40 here.
In the spirit of Renee’s handbag/weapon, here are some other knuckle clutches sure to keep your haters at bay:
If you’ve been reading this blog long enough, you know that I love accessories. I’ve been very lucky to have been invited to the showrooms of many high-end designers to give you an inside peek of their latest collections. But, I am aware that not many of you can afford an $84,000 watch from Rafaello & Company (it doesn’t hurt to dream, though!).
So, today, allow me to introduce you to t+j Designs, an accessories company that consists of budget friendly jewelry, necklaces, bracelets and earrings, offering you the opportunity to show off your high-end taste, without the high-end price tag. Started by Tiffany and Jen, two fashionable sisters, t+j Designs features something for every fashionista on a budget. If you like a more glamorous look, for example, then check out their Luxe Collection. Or, if you have a more funky style, then chose one of their many colored pieces, such as the Purple Rhinestone Ribbon Bracelet ($7.00, shown below).
In addition to affordable prices, you can get sale items for up to 70% off, and shipping is free on all orders until January 31, 2012! (U.S. only).
Here are some of my must-haves:
Last week, I had the amazing opportunity to visit the showroom of Rafaello & Company Jewelers. Located in New York City’s Diamond District, the company’s clientele reads like a who’s who in the entertainment and sports industry. Celebrities such as Drake, Jay-Z, Alicia Keys, Carmelo Anthony (NBA), and Dwight Freeney (NFL), to name a few, have all donned customized pieces by the designers – not bad for a high-end jewelry line that has only been around for three years.
Launched in 2009 by Rafael Aranbayev, Eric Aranbayev, and Gabriel “The Jeweler” Jacobs, Rafaello & Co. has emerged as one of the leading go-to places for luxury jewelry. The company features everything from glamorous iced-out necklaces to watches to earrings, for both males and females.
Their jewelry may be icy, but their hearts are not. Ten percent of the net proceeds from their Blackout collection are donated to international charity, All As One, as an effort to raise awareness to the needs of Sierra Leone.
After seeing some of the magnificent pieces first-hand, I can see why the top stars choose Rafaello & Co. I was left completely hypnotized by the sheer brilliance and intricate detailing of each piece, and if you keep scrolling, you will see why.