Basic and Functional Leather Bags

Basic and Functional Leather Bags - Madewell Berkeley Bag

Madewell Berkeley Bag, in Burnished Caramel and Deep Navy

Basic and Functional Leather Bags

I don’t know about you, but when I get in my mind a simple idea for a bag (or anything for that matter)…something that will function the way I need it to, last awhile, and maybe look at least a little visually appealing in a basic way, it takes me FOREVER to find it. I cannot believe sometimes how long it takes to find such basic items nowadays, in such a drastically over-saturated market where everyone is constantly trying to outdo each other with the most extravagant eye-popping show-off styles—oh yeah. I guess I can believe it. But still. Sometimes, I just…can’t…even. If only I had the resources at the tips of my fingers to start my own store and just magically produce everything I have ever spent more than an hour or more than $5 in gas just trying to locate. I think it would be quite profitable. It’s a common complaint I’ve heard from both style conscious and not so style conscious people. Fortunately, it seems there are a handful of companies that already have the power of popularity who decided to actually get back to basics and ditch the superficial side of things. The bags above are from a huge fashion industry favorite, Madewell, who actually branched off of basics brand J. Crew in 2006. Madewell has a huge selection of basic leather bags and wallets that might be pricy, but for a good reason: they will fit any outfit, last you for a long time (seriously, would you rather buy 34534 cheap bags that fall apart and only work with one or two outfits or pay about the same price as you would on those for one versatile, durable bag? I’ll take the latter) and get your toting jobs done.

Basic and Functional Leather Bags - Kate Spade Inside Out Pocket Tote

Kate Spade Inside Out Pocket Tote in Vachetta and Black

Kate Spade Saturday is another great brand, which probably doesn’t need much of an introduction. We all know Kate Spade, and Kate Spade Saturday was created to bring “weekend spirit to every day of the week with good, easygoing style and a sense of spontaneity.” They also have a beautiful collection of basic bags (some that look very Coach-ish to me). Shown above are two great examples, the Inside Out Pocket Tote in Vachetta and Black. Now this one is a first to me…I am more of a fan of simple exteriors, but I found this pretty neat…pockets for any small essentials on the outside, without looking bulky! I do love convertible bags (bags with a strap to hold as a handbag and a longer one for shoulder or crossbody), so this one caught my eye immediately. It features everything on the outside, with just one little side pocket on the inside.

Basic and Functional Leather Bags - Kate Spade Inside Out Pocket Satchel

Kate Spade Inside Out Pocket Satchel in Vachetta and Cherry

Above is another variation of the Inside Out Pocket Tote, but smaller, in satchel form! This one also comes in a Peacock color, or a dark turquoise.

Basic and Functional Leather Bags - Need Supply Co.

Images: Need Supply Co. – Lizzy Disney Envelope Clutch in Cognac and Matte Black

I’ve been subscribed to Need Supply Co. newsletters for awhile, and I’m always kind of drawn into the minimalist designs they carry, both in apparel and accessories. Need Supply is a brick & mortar store in Richmond, Virginia. They started off carrying vintage Levis in 1996 but branched out to a general men’s and women’s accessories and clothing store, and in 2008 they went online! They mix both popular brands and up-and-coming ones to keep the mix fresh. These Lizzy Disney Envelope Clutch bags are just one selection out of their huge bag collection…seriously I could have posted more but I need to keep this brief! How cute are these? They are a bit pricier at about $500, but they are handcrafted in England with brass hardware, a cute stud closure and suede lining. With an 8″ height, 11″ width, 1″ depth and a 19.5″ shoulder drop, it’s a perfect bag to carry your essentials out on the town while running errands or just getting the heck out of the house for a few hours.

Basic and Functional Leather Bags - BAGGU® Drawstring Purse

Image: Need Supply Co. – BAGGU® Drawstring Purse in Caramel

Another find from Need Supply Co., BAGGU® has been on the market for quite some time and is available through several major retailers. The brand is just about as basic as you can get. Even their self-proclaimed biography is simple: “BAGGU® makes simple, high quality bags in many bright colors. They’re durable and fill many uses so you can own less stuff.” I only knew about their canvas totes and backpacks, but apparently they have a lot of leather goods as well! This cute, simple little leather drawstring purse looks like something straight out of a Renaissance faire. It might not be as functional as some of the above Kate Spade Saturday bags, but if you are a fan of minimalism, this one is a great bet…basically the photo illustrates the entire product.

There are obviously a ton of great bags out there…my two favorites Coach and Foley & Corinna always have some simple, well-made basics and even Louis Vuitton has branched out a bit and ditched the often-tacky logo patterns for some of their new, more classic collections (as has Coach). It’s nice to see some of the higher brands answering the call, but not everyone is interested in name-brand items or showing off in any sense, so it’s good to know there are other options out there. Oh yeah, I almost forgot Fossil…check them out too, they are also a great bet πŸ™‚ Happy shopping!

Siwy Hannah Slim Crop in Odyssey Review on Denimology

Siwy Hannah Slim Crop in Odyssey Review on Denimology

Siwy Hannah Slim Crop in Odyssey Review on Denimology

Those of us who have been fans of denim for a considerable amount of time know how in-demand Siwy is! Seen on a large range of celebrities and fashionistas alike, this is a brand that has stood the test of time with their beautifully detailed pieces, especially the ever-popular Hannah slim crop skinny. For this summer season, Siwy has released an attractive line of destroyed denim to keep you cool and looking great in the higher temperatures, wherever you go! We already know how big of a staple a nice flattering skinny crop jean is in the summer, so here we go with a Siwy Hannah Slim Crop in Odyssey review!

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MIA & MOSS Hyde High Rise Skinny in Dark Blue on Denimology

MIA & MOSS Hyde High Rise Skinny in Dark Blue on Denimology

MIA & MOSS Hyde High Rise Skinny in Dark Blue on Denimology

How many of you have noticed the growing trend in high-rise jeans? I guess we can’t really miss it…especially with festival season upon us and high rise shorts in all of the hip store windows. It wasn’t long ago that anything higher than low rise was thrown into the “mom jeans” category and immediately shunned. However, every body is different, and it seems as society has become more and more body conscious and accepting of the fact that we don’t all come in one size and shape, there is a much wider variety of rises in the land of denim. Personally, I have yet to appreciate the allure of the high-waisted shorts, but when it comes to jeans, I definitely have seen the light! So here’s a MIA & MOSS Hyde High Rise Skinny in Dark Blue review!

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Nail Polish by Christian Louboutin

Nail Polish by Christian Louboutin

Nail Polish by Christian Louboutin

We are all familiar with the iconic red soles commonly seen sported on red carpets and other lavish celebrity affairs. Those flashy yet beautifully classic Louboutin heels became a closet staple, seemingly overnight. But do many of us know how it all began? About 20 years ago, designer Christian Louboutin took a bright red nail lacquer to a pair of black stilettos, and the rest is history. It was as simple as that, apparently. It blows my mind sometimes how huge such simple ideas often blow up to be. While many might scoff over the idea of spending a typical month’s rent worth on heels just for the sake of fitting in, others might simply enjoy owning a piece of fashion history, or splurging on an investment piece that will last through hundreds of outfits, wears and seasons, possibly to be passed down to someone else down the line (well, that might apply more to handbags, namely the famous Hermes Birkin)…I admit I don’t really give much of a crap about “fitting in,” but I do hope to own a pair of these beautiful heels in the future, just because…well they they are beautiful, and as someone with a passion for the style industry, I would love a pair just as much as someone might splurge on a Lamborghini, for example…what’s the difference, really? Neither of them are “necessary”…but they sure are a whole lot of fun. Funny, the classic red and black makes me think of the Fiat 500 Abarth commercial that came out not long ago…you gotta admit, there’s something sexy about those colors.

The red sole was born from red nail polish. I am giving back to beauty what the shoes took from the nails many years ago.” –Christian Louboutin

But, *le sigh*, who has a thousand big ones lying around to spend on a whim? Luckily for the fashion world, Christian Louboutin is making it a little easier to acquire that trademark flash of red…for our fingers, at least. Women’s Wear Daily reported that, coming August 6, the brand will release its own line of nail polishes, titled Rouge Louboutin, with the red being the first. The rest will follow on August 31st (Check out that WWD link also for photos of the rest of the line!). They will be available at the usual high-end department stores, as well as Sephora, who has an interactive page that tells the story behind it, and a product page already laid out, ready to go upon release! Also notable is the awesome packaging. The badass-looking polish bottle is styled after Louboutin’s sky high stilettos. Granted, these are $50 a pop, which I believe makes them the most expensive nail polishes out there, but is anyone surprised? As reported by Women’s Wear Daily, “The 16-faceted bottle, produced by Pochet, has its edges smoothed with a hand-held flame. Likewise, the little box container is also made by hand. Roggero said it takes 22 weeks to make each piece.” That’s Catherine Roggero, general manager of Christian Louboutin Beauté. But either way, I think I now know where I’m going to spend my $25 Sephora gift card I found floating around in my bedroom recently…I’m not usually a fan of red nail polish (unless it’s dark and gothy), but there’s something about that Louboutin red that is just so, so pretty!

Bluer Matchstick in Soul Mate Rinse Review on Denimology

Bluer Matchstick in Soul Mate Rinse Review

The last time I reviewed Bluer, I was featuring a great medium-blue style, the Slim Skinny High Rise in Soulmate Medium, which became a quick favorite of mine. We all know skinny jeans will always hold a solid place in every fashion-conscious woman’s closet, and rinse washes are a big favorite, considering their slimming effect and neutral dark look that goes with just about anything. Whether you’re hitting the clubs on a warm summer night or walking to work on a cold winter day, dark skinny jeans are a common go-to item that will compliment and dress up any look effortlessly. So, without further ado, here’s a Bluer Matchstick in Soul Mate Rinse review!

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The Rockstud Pump by Valentino

The Rockstud Pump by Valentino

Images: Bergdorf Goodman. The Valentino Rockstud Pump (in a few select colors)

The Rockstud Pump by Valentino

I know I’m a little slow on the uptake with these in the eyes of the blogging world, considering the Valentino Rockstud pumps have been out since 2010 (Valentino since the 1960s), but whatever. My blog (as well as personal style) is still relatively new, and I only now decided that I actually like them. Anything with studs takes me back to my high school punk days, and I don’t really wear anything with studs now (except for a Tylie Malibu bag I picked up from Hautelook awhile back) so at first I looked right over this look. I really only started seeing the style around on cheap fashion sites like Charlotte Russe, but I also saw them adorning the feet of fashion bloggers everywhere. Assuming they couldn’t possibly be rocking something so cheap if they were such a hot item, I finally looked into it, found out about Valentino’s beautifully colorful 2015 Resort collection on Purseforum, and realized their true beginnings. D’oh. Well whatever, I am more of a contemporary, rather than a high couture, kind of girl anyway.

The Rockstud Pump by Valentino

From L to R: Wild Diva Adora-55 Pump. Black on Charlotte Russe, White on Amazon, Red on Charlotte Russe

The look of the Rockstud is finally kind of rubbing off on me, now that blogging has kind of opened my eyes to other possibilities for styling myself for photo shoots. However, these are Valentino, and retail at about $995. No surprise, no skin off my back (remember…I don’t hate the high prices, I admire the art!). But there are a few other options out there. Wild Diva has a few copycats scattered around cheaper sites like Charlotte Russe (Red or Black) and UrbanOG (in Leopard, Camel or Black), Sole Society (a favorite of mine) has a more toned-down rendition in a variety of pretty colors. I’m not usually one of cheap knockoffs because they’re just that: cheap, and often fall apart. I prefer items by quality brands that are simply inspired by designer labels, like the Sole Society pumps, which you know will last for awhile. But hey, if you’re just looking for a quick pop to an outfit for an event or a season, why not?

The Rockstud Pump by Valentino

Photos: Sole Society, The Anekke Pump

Check out more styles inspired by the Valentino Rockstud Pump below:

The AG Contour 360 Jean

The AG Contour 360 Jean

Photo: AG

AG Jeans require little introduction…they are probably my FAVORITE denim brand, proving their resilience to stretching or bagging out, their amazing ability to stay put without a belt or any gapping, and their incredible washes and attention to detail, especially with their AG-Ed line. I have a few pairs and I cannot get enough, my favorite model so far being the Stilt! They are one brand that continue to be innovative no matter the current economic climate, and they’ve once again come out with a line that I hope to get my hands on and try out soon. There is definitely a new movement in the world of denim, namely jeans that feel like leggings and allow you to move and move with you. AG Jeans now has released their own version of this “trend” (if you can call it that, I’d say more like a need), with the AG Contour 360 Jean.

The AG Contour 360 Jean

The AG Contour 360 Jean. From L to R: The Farrah in Crater, The Prima in Hideout, The Legging in Crater

Right now this jean comes in three models: The Legging, The Prima Mid-Rise Cigarette, and The Farrah High-Rise Skinny. They are each available in two colors: Crater, which is a dark blue wash and Hideout, a black wash. They all implement a 11% C85, Polyester(T400), 4% Elastane denim blend, which obviously has AG‘s proprietary technology written all over it. The brand states “Our Japanese-crafted Contour 360 denim combines all-way stretch, exceptional recovery, and unbeatable comfort, setting a new standard for modern fabric innovation.” Each pair “features all-direction stretch and incredible recovery power, delivering the movement and comfort of a yoga pant while maintaining the classic versatility of jeans.”

I am intrigued! Check out the video below for more information, and shop these for yourself right here!

Michelle Chang Jewelry

Michelle Chang Jewelry

Lucky Breaks…one of my favorite morning-warm up tasks. Who doesn’t like a good drawing or contest now and then? My eyes were immediately drawn to today’s opportunity, a $1,000 shopping spree to Michelle Chang‘s super cute jewelry line. I hadn’t heard of her before, but I have a strong taste for simple but whimsical jewelry, so the picture of a gold Manta Ray pendant was enough for me to do some investigating. Michelle Chang is originally from Seoul, South Korea, but spent most of her time in NYC before moving to Los Angeles, where she now resides. Her childhood passion for drawing (hey, me too!) combined with inspiration from everything she sees on a daily basis along with a passion for scuba diving and other water activities helped her build up her jewelry line.

Michelle Chang’s gold, brass or silver pieces feature tiny gemstone accents and can be found in the form of octopi, skulls, cats, manta rays (my favorite) and other shapes like stars, hearts, or peace signs. I love the repeating motifs that I notice as I look through her store, the cat head being one…There’s the bangle below, then an infinity ring made all of those heads, then a few necklaces and more rings. I find consistency both adorable and appealing, and smart as a designer, so your work becomes more distinctive and noticeable, and fans are more likely to snatch up more than one piece at a time! I really dig the manta ray, as mentioned already, both in the gold and silver forms, their eyes adorned with tiny gems like diamonds or rubies. The octopus is a close second! Oh yeah, and then there’s the hedgehog ring…how frikken CUTE is this? I think they are all reasonably priced, too, considering the materials used, and the fact that these come from an independent designer.

Read up on Michelle Chang right here, and shop her pieces here!

Colorful Crocheted Artisan Footwear by Painted Bird

Colorful Crocheted Artisan Footwear by Painted Bird

Photo: Painted Bird

Colorful Crocheted Artisan Footwear by Painted Bird

I first discovered this brand through one of my millions of newsletter subscriptions a few years back…but now that I’m blogging I might as well spread the word again! The word “footwear” and “summer” are two of the best-sounding consecutive words any style-conscious girl could ever hear. The possibilities are endless…summer for sure, is the most fun time of the year to shop for cute ways to show off your new pedicure and stay cool! I like my flip flops, my heeled sandals, my one pair of gladiators…but really I am a runner, so my feet look horrendous and as soon as my pedi starts to wear off…look out. So, sometimes I prefer full-covered flats, but I hate how sweaty and stinky they can end up. I’ve eyed perforated styles but, meh. So, when I first heard of Painted Bird, my senses perked up a little, in more ways than one. This brand is definitely one to keep on your radar!

Painted Bird was born in 2012 by fashion and PR veterans Jennifer Samson and Nicole Halpern, and their pretty, hand-crocheted shoes are “like beautiful jewels for your feet.” They are all crafted by artisans out of Long Beach, California. I love how this brand has been around for almost three years, and the designs still seem limitless! Each pair is so unique and colorful, that I think they all look good together! They are said to be very comfortable, and I’d have to agree they sure look like it. They are all woven with rayon and silk yarn, with a leather insole and rubber sole. Some of them have cute ankle ties, and some are simple slip-on designs, and for years were only for women…but Painted Bird has recently released a kid’s line, called Baby Bird. Cute cute cute, all around. They are on the higher end price-wise, at $68 a pair, but come on…hand crocheted!!!! I’d probably want to charge more than that if I made one of these by hand, myself (well first, I’d have to learn how to crochet).

Colorful Crocheted Artisan Footwear by Painted Bird

Photo: Painted Bird

Shop Painted Bird right here!

7 For All Mankind Introduces Jen7 Jeans

7 For All Mankind Introduces Jen7 Jeans

Jen7 Jeans by 7 For All Mankind

7 For All Mankind Introduces Jen7 Jeans

7 For All Mankind is pretty much a household name when it comes to the denim industry, or to anyone who has at least been around it for awhile. Most of the seasoned denim brands nowadays cater to all body shapes and all ages, and a lot of the newer ones aim to be on the less-trendy side, with minimal, classic designs that just get straight to the point of a good fit and a long-lasting, comfortable fabric that keeps its shape. As we women enter the stages of our lives where well, life is more important than being concerned about the hottest brand that just hit the market and being one of the first to walk around with its logos emblazoned on our trunks, we just want something that is comfortable, fits well and looks clean. 7 For All Mankind has entered that market recently with a new line, called Jen7. Jen7 is catered to the “working mom,” although all of these new styles are made for older women in general, who just want something a little less trendy and a little more sophisticated.

Every woman struggles to find a balance between fit and comfort, while still attempting to look good. Whether bending down to pick something up or aiding to their children, they always fear the inevitability of exposing themselves in their jeans. Imagine having that perfect pair that you can grab every day and feel fully confident that you can wear with
ease.” -Peggi Jewell, Vice President of Product (Denimology)

Jen7 is for the woman who “still craves the same high quality denim but with a more enduring look and ease of fit that works with her lifestyle now. A lifestyle that celebrates being comfortable in her own skin and embraces timeless elegance.” The line includes some of the classic fits—skinny and slim bootcut—in various washes and colors like berry, white, olive green and my favorite color, cobalt. Jen7 obviously doesn’t deviate too far away from the woman who was stylish all through her twenties, with styles like a skinny jean featuring a snake-print cotton twill and the Comfort Skinny, in a black leather-like ponte fabric. Other fabrics and washes include brushed sateen and dark rinses. These jeans also feature higher rises, shorter inseams, and waistbands that are built with a two-inch stretch to eliminate gaps and fit curvier figures (Women’s Wear Daily). These appear to be winners! I love a brand that understands that not all moms or older women prefer the dreaded and much-stereotyped “mom jeans”…there are a lot out there who care about fashion and still like to look their best for dinner parties or the workplace that allows denim! In an interview with Women’s Wear Daily, vice president of marketing Andy Griffiths stated these are for women who prefer “throwing a dinner party at home, not having cocktails at a club.”

Jen7 is still in its beginning stages, officially launching in the Fall. There are a few limited styles out at the time being, but check out the collection below, available at Saks Fifth Avenue.