Those of you familiar with this blog and my style philosophy overall know my argument for investing in a ‘big girl bag‘. Handbags are among the most splurge-worthy of all items because we use them every day. Another reason I advocate splurging for a designer handbag involves the alternative; plainly, handbags under $500 just don’t have style power. It’s very rare to find exceptions, so I’d like to introduce you to one, courtesy of the wonderful Chelsea.
Flynn bags achieve the seemingly impossible: they look chic and expensive but are completely affordable. Wearable cross-body or on the shoulder, the leather is lovely, the hardware is solid, and there isn’t a logo to be found anywhere! Those of you familiar with bags from Loeffler Randall or Philip Lim will recognize Flynn’s look and feel. The black (pictured) is a perfect (small) everyday bag, and it also converts to a clutch. As for clutches, the gold (below) is totally hot and also available in a beautiful Burgundy.
Both retail for under $300.
Is your wardrobe ready for Fall? The Indian Summer we’re having has certainly postponed the need to address the new season, but soon enough it will be cashmere-weather. Here are the top 5 items every women needs for Fall-
1. Frye brown boots– Most Colorado women own Frye boots, so why do you need new ones? Because you’re not going to a biker bar, riding a Harley, or any other activity that would necessitate this chunky pair. Frye continues to refine their selections, and the Anna and Melissa collections are their best yet. Available in the standard tall as well as the super-stylish short, these boots will anchor your cold-weather wardrobe.
2. Chan Luu scarf– Are you sick of me talking about this fantastic scarf? While scarf styling may initially add a few extra minutes in the morning, the effort is so worth it. Chelsea has a large selection right now, and they can also custom order any of these beautiful seasonal colors: Tawny Port, Shadow Purple, Biking Red, and Dark Olive Tie-Dye.
3. Leather jacket– If you’re like most women, a leather jacket has been on your list forever, so now’s the time to pull the trigger. On account of Willow-owner Andrea’s obsession with any and all things leather, they have the best selection around. I recommend this killer DOMA bomber jacket.
4. Cashmere dress– Every once in a while, you can sub out the skinny jeans for this amazing cashmere tank dress. Pair with #1 and #3, finish off with a long statement necklace.
5. Longsleeve t-shirt– Don’t forget the basics! Wear the J.Crew painter’s tee with everything!
1. Stylists are for celebrities– Stylists are for celebrities, and that’s because celebrities are usually too busy to do all the shopping and styling work themselves. They have demanding jobs that require a lot of travel, their lives busy with children, families, pets, friends, exercise, work and social events… Sound like anyone you know? Does it sound, perhaps, like you? We all have busy lives requiring strategic outsourcing (whether its childcare, housecleaning, grocery delivery, dog walking, etc) and working with a stylist is no different. Celebrities: they ARE just like us.
2. It’s too expensive– This is definitely the most popular myth of all and it’s the easiest to disprove with a simple exercise. First, estimate the percentage of your clothing (including shoes, jewelry and accessories) that does not get worn. If you’re like most women, that number is about 50% (and that’s being very generous). Next, take stock of items you have worn- once. Add in what you’ve spent on impulse purchases, sale rack stuff, stacks of $80 Anthropologie tops, junk jewelry, etc. Think that total is at or exceeding $3000?
Investing in a new wardrobe is not inexpensive; but as you should see, you’re already spending that money (and more), and you’re still no closer to enjoying getting dressed in the morning, knowing that you always look great, utilizing 100% of your wardrobe, and having the perfect outfit to wear no matter the occasion. And did you know that select local boutiques like Willow and Chelsea offer my clients special discounts that, added together, often cover the entire fee of working with me?
3. A stylist can’t work within my budget– If you’re ready to invest in your style future, you should have a realistic notion of what it really costs. Plainly, you should be able and willing to spend at least $1500 (excluding my fees) on select clothing, shoes, jewelry and accessories that will ultimately yield about 10 head-to-toe outfits. If you can splurge for the minimum, I stay within budget by consignment shopping, and scheduling our shops around sale times (typically at the end of the season).
4. I’m not gonna look like ‘me’– Not only will you still look like you, you’ll look like the best possible version of you: you 2.0. For more on this, please read what my clients have to say…
5. I have a friend and/or an online stylist can help me– You do. We all have that friend with fabulous taste, who always looks effortlessly put together and has made great recommendations in the past. But will this friend spend 3 hours going through every last thing in your closet, helping you decide what should stay and go? Does this friend have such extensive knowledge of shoe brands that she can recommend a ballet flat that is comfortable, stylish, versatile and affordable? Will she be impartial in recommending pieces when they aren’t her particular style or show you 5 different outfits to feature your new scarf? Plainly, it’s just not the same; stylish friends can make wonderful shopping partners, but they’re not professionals who can assist you in a total style overhaul.
As for the online stylists from Stitchfix.com and other websites, they’re addressing the tip of the style iceberg: buying new clothing is only part of the process. 3 new tops don’t teach you how to wear what’s currently hanging in your closet, or identify where the gaps are, and they certainly don’t put themselves into head-to-toe outfits for you! Skip this gimmick and shop local instead: Chelsea, Willow, Common Threads, Nod & Rose, Christina’s, Cedar & Hyde, Goldyn, Garbarini, Lawrence Covell, Moxie, MAX, and A Line Boutique.
I haven’t even addressed the transition to Fall yet- we’re still having Summer days and will for at least a few more weeks. But getting a jump start on jeans is always a good idea, and our friends at Willow are making that extremely easy with this promotion: through September 9th, buy 1 pair, get a 2nd pair half off. Total no-brainer!