Thursday, May 28, 2015

Thinking Outside the Box: Creative Purses and Clutches That Speak to Your Style

    Someone once said to me that when it comes to your wardrobe you're either a shoe person or a bag person.  All you need to do to figure it out is look in your closet and see which one you have in the greatest numbers.  At the time I had one pair of bulky black leather shoes and one desperate looking canvas bag, so I responded, "I must be both...or neither.  Let's go with neither."  Over the years since that conversation I've come to see the value of having different shoes for different occasions; the shoes you jog in shouldn't be the shoes you dance in or work in as  I once did with those clunky black shoes. 
    My attitude towards purses hasn't really changed much.  When shopping for a new bag I usually go with something that works with everything and that usually means black.  I also like it when it has a nice shape when it's just holding my wallet and phone, but it's also big enough to hold snacks, books, and possibly a coat or two.  Bags like that are rare and, well, kind of a myth...

    Looking back I realized these bags were all the same--boring.  Functional, yes.  But who says you can't have function and form?  So, I've decided to abandon the idea that it has to be a solid color or a member of the rectangle family and it's been a lot of fun.  I've come to appreciate these purses that don't blend in.  They have and amazing ability to spruce up a plain or dreary outfit, and even start a conversation or two.  I wish I'd done this years ago. 

In the coming weeks, I'll be posting outfit pics with my new purses, but in the mean time, here are a few of my favorite Stand-Outs:

Nila Anthony
Ms. Anthony's purses come in a range of styles, but the ones that have caught my eye are those which don't look much like purses at all.  I've recently purchased a couple of her purses and have to say that so far, I really like them and they're much bigger than they seem in the pics.  (outfit photos coming soon!)

Available at
Do some price comparison between these sites before buying.  I've found a $10-$15 price difference on the same item.  At amazon, I usually don't find anything when I search Nila Anthony, but a storefront called Ruby's Red Ribbon Sidecca usually carries them.

Lazy Doll
This handmade brand hails from Cardiff, Wales and has a great selection of coin purses, i phone cases, and clutches featuring original painting and embroidery. 

 Dreamy and whimsical, you can find these lovely purses at

Sleepyville Critters
Usually true to the name, these purses mostly feature cute woodland creatures.  But, every now and then you'll see a lemon slice or a box of french fries, or my favorite a hot air balloon.

You can find them on
As with Nila Anthony purses, it pays to do a little price comparing.

Disaster Designs
This British brand has some serious style, and a pretty serious price tag to match.  They come in different lines such as the "Dandy," "In a Nutshell," or "Paper Planes."  And, they come in a range of sizes from small make-up bags to weekend getaway bags.  I've yet to see one of their pieces that I didn't like, and I get tons of compliments on all of them.  I've even had people come up to me and offer to buy my bag or wallet on the spot.  That being said, I've yet to own one that could stand up to everyday wear without coming apart. So, if you've got the extra money and don't mind saving the purse for special occasions these are so creative and get tons of compliments.

Find them at
or you can find a few pieces on

MeDusa Brand purses are fresh, original, and handmade in Israel.  They come in a variety of bright colors and range in sizes from clutches to shoulder bags.  This brand has been around since 2009 and according their shop info page, designers, Gili Rozin Tamam and Adi Gal, named their brand

"after the infamous Greek deity and the Hebrew word for “jellyfish”, MeDusa is dominantly influenced by the all the beautiful colors and patterns found in sea life." 

These bright and beautiful bags are indeed very eye catching.

Find them at

Kate Spade
Ms. Spade is a well known brand and most of her purses are classy, run of the mill pieces, but every now and then she makes some really unusual pieces.

Have an unusual purse?  Send me your pics and I may included them in a future post!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Watermelon Kiss: ootd

    Verdant is the word for this time of year and rightly so as everything is so very green.  The days are a little longer and the wind is a little warmer.  I lose a little sleep this time of year.  I just can't stay in bed with all the birds singing and the sun streaming through the windows.  Summer is almost here.

    I had a little trouble naming this week's post.  Maybe because I had a little trouble with this dress.  It's a little unlike my style.  I don't really go for this many stripes normally, but there was something I just loved about it.  So, I looked at it for weeks without knowing just how to wear it.  In the end I thought it looked a little like a slice of watermelon, so I decided to run with the idea.

    I paired it with a pale pink beaded cardi and a grapefruit bag I made myself.  I'm mixing prints with metallic snakeskin heels, but they're very neutral and I think it works well.

The look:

This little dress is by Carandy and was available at Anthropologie, though it is no longer in stock

Spritz a Wonderful Life purse at for $44.99.  I made my own smaller version out of felt.

Faux Pearl Knit Cardigan at Forever21 for $12.90 in sizes S,M, L is similar to my own beaded cardi.

And I don't usually post my make-up info, but for this I used Baby Lips by Maybelline in Peach Kiss.  I have several of the Baby Lips glosses and this one is my favorite for a natural, nude lip.  It's available at most drugstores.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Cameo Love: ootd

    I love cameos, always have, and I own approximately one gazillion.  Most of these pieces I made myself so I'd get exactly the style and quality I wanted.  Since I have so many, why not wear more than one at a time?  Pale pinks, blues, and ivory...sigh*  I can't get enough.  So, for this little outfit I decided to layer on the cameo love.

    I started with my Ivoire lace dress by Tracy Reese and a pink beaded cardigan.  Even though these two pieces are both solids, the lace provides texture and the beading on the cardigan provides a little sparkle creating visual interest.
    I started the to accessorize with my blue cameo earrings creating some contrast from all the pink.

Then I added my favorite cabbage rose necklace and layered a large cameo necklace on top with a longer chain. And finished with a chunky cameo ring.

 To break up all the lace, I used my taupe Samba Sash belt from ModCloth.  And last, but not least,

 metallic snakeskin print heels by Report.  I really like these heels because the print and color are just subtle enough to be neutral, but with a little pop.

Have a favorite Cameo?  Send me pics of it (along with you of course) & your favorite outfit and I may use them in a future post.  Share the cameo love!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Pencil Me In: Skirts With Style

    Pencil skirts are scary for some; women today are afraid of curves.  Ladies, if there is one piece of advice that you take from this blog, let it be this:  Love your curves!  And a cute little pencil skirt is the best way to show them off.

    I'm a curvy gal, always have been and the idea of a pencil skirt was pretty scary for a long time.  I didn't want to show off that part of my body, I wanted to hide it.  When I actually tried a pencil skirt I found that it did the opposite of what I expected.  It drew attention to my waist at its narrowest point and created a smooth silhouette.   An area I used to hide, is one of my favorite  features in this style skirt.

Some examples from my closet:

    This pencil skirt is a thick wool fabric making it office appropriate, and it's bright yellow color makes it fun and interesting.

This satiny skirt by LOFT blue and green watercolor print has a higher waist and is so figure flattering.  When paired with heels, a cardigan, and some chunky jewelry it's perfect for the office.

Same watercolor skirt with flats and short sleeves for a more casual look.  I could easily take this look one step further and wear it with a tee shirt or cotton blouse and sandals for a totally casual look.

When looking for a casual pencil skirt, look for a fun print and cotton or other light weight fabric.  This little pink and tan paisley print is a vintage piece that I found at a flea market for less than $10.  It's my go-to skirt for a strolling the farmer's market or the antiques shops on lazy weekends.

With this skirt I wore a simple cotton blouse which is too short to wear just with jeans, but perfect tucked into this skirt.  I altered this ModCloth bow belt to give it the right fit.  And, I made this sundae purse and the cameo earrings myself so I could get exactly the look I wanted.

And Now for a few pencil skirts that I think a pretty sharp:

Stop Staring! Railene dress at for $150
This dress is aptly named.  It's absolutely stunning and comes in sizes S-XL.

Scarf Print Pencil Skirt at for $19.80
Love the boho feel of this skirt, it has so many possibilities.  At the time of this post it is available in XS, S, M.  Large is sold out.

Curvy Fit Floral Lace Skirt at for $64.99
It has a summer casual feel and the lace texture creates a little visual interest.  Available in regular sizes from 4-14.  Petite and Tall sizes available too, so check the website.

Cosmopolitan and Effect Dress at for $104.99  This dress has a center floral print and solid side panels which creates a narrower shape.

 Paillette Pencil Skirt at for $198
Wow!  This skirt is a stand-out piece, so I have to include a few extra pics.  It's available in regular and petite sizes from 0-12.

 If this post has inspired you to give pencil skirts a try, send me you outfit pics and I may use them in a follow up post!

Friday, May 1, 2015

Monochromantically Attached

There is something simple and elegant about black and white.  Not to mention its total diversity when it comes to accessorizing.

I found this out first hand with my In the Key of Chic dress.  There's no end to the possibilities.  I'd say it's better than a blank canvas because you're starting with something so easy to work with.

And now for some more monochromantic lovelies that have caught my eye:

In All Modesty Dress at for $99.99

B&W Bicycle Fit 'n Flare dress at for $58.00

Love these Adrenasa Peep Toe pumps by Aldo at for $77.00 has lots of B&W options.  My Fave is this Abstract Heart Print Blouse for $22.90

Smoke and Mirrors Blouse at  for $54-$60

© Bleu Avenue. Made with love by The Dutch Lady Designs.