Purse Fetish? Let Me Count The Ways!

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I love handbags!  If you think about it, a purse is a girl’s best friend.  What else do you have with you wherever you go that can always be counted on to have everything you need right when you need it?   A quick inventory of my purse demonstrates my point. Wallet, hand gel, brush, hair spray, makeup, Tylenol, allergy medicine, planner, tissue, sunglasses…no wonder my kids and husband are always asking me to produce what they need out of my magic bag.

I’m an organization freak, so my handbag either needs to have compartments or I use various small bags to keep everything handy.  I love it when my handbags have a key finder (long cord attached to the side of your purse that attaches to your keys), since keys are notorious for hiding so well you have to take everything out to find them.  A key finder allows you to just find the cord and then run your hand along it until, eureka, your keys are at the end.  Ingenious.

Another essential for me (and every other woman I know) is a handy cell phone pocket so you can get to your phone before it stops ringing.  Since my world is on my phone, I need to be able to find it…FAST!

Aside from those few necessities, I choose a handbag based upon what makes my heart sing.  If I am going to carry it every where I go for at least six months at a time,  I want to love looking at it.  I move in phases between carrying neutral purses that go with everything to carrying a handbag that is truly eye catching and makes a statement.  My go to statement purse is Anuschka.

My mom and I discovered this brand exactly the way every woman should discover a purse…we saw another woman carrying one, and after we had oohed and awed over it, asked her the name of the brand.  We have been selling these little beauties ever since. And when I say selling, let me just tell you that we have already sold 30 this year.  At an average price of $150 to $400 in a town of 55,000, that is no small accomplishment.  But the reason they sell so well is because they are truly the perfect combination of beauty and function.

Let me explain.  First of all, they are hand painted with beautiful designs in everything from landscapes and florals, to abstracts and nature.  After 12 to 18 months of use, a print is retired. Once this happens, it is never used again.  At this point, your handbag becomes wearable art. No one will ever be able to get your specific handbag again. Second, the leather is second to none.  It just gets softer and softer over time, making you want to hug it just to appreciate the utterly smooth lusciousness.  No kidding.  But my favorite thing about Anuschka is the attention to detail on the inside of the purse.  These handbags have the most well thought out insides of any purse line I have used or seen. The pockets are well placed and appropriately sized, making them utterly useful.  Often, Anuschka will add built in wallets and divider pockets that appeal to type A personalities like mine.  And, especially in their larger bags, they throw in little extras like coordinating make up bags and sun-glass cases.

Believe me, this is a purse to have a fetish over.  Just ask any Anuschka purse owner you know.

Becoming Her Own Person

I flung the soft white rayon blouse behind me; it’s Bohemian printed tassel floated in mid-air as it descended down into the growing pile of clothes in the middle of my twelve year old daughter’s bedroom floor.  Next came the vintage wash boyfriend jeans with their patched holes and cuffed bottom.  Grumbling to myself, I threw them with extra force, gaining some satisfaction when they crash landed into the pile, scattering it.  “Just wait until she comes home and sees this mess.” I thought to myself, smiling at the thought of her shocked face.  “She’ll treat her clothes differently after she cleans this up.” Last, I grabbed the long fringe sweater that, together with the cute shoe boots, completed the outfit.

It had all started innocently enough.  Looking for my daughter’s ballet clothing and shoes, I had opened the closet when I couldn’t find them.  As I surveyed the clothing, empty bags of chips from after school snacks, old school papers and other various bits of trash, a red hot fire began to grow in my brain.  Obviously, she had just shoved everything that was on her bedroom floor into her closet, closed the door and happily told me she had completed her weekly chore of cleaning her room.

But as I began tossing all of her stuff back onto the floor, I started to notice something.  On the bottom of the pile were all of these clothes that I hadn’t seen her wear in months. Worse yet, they were her cutest clothes, the trendy ones I had been especially fond of buying for her school wardrobe.  After all, being a boutique owner, fashion trends are my life.  I took great pleasure in seeing her dress in hip styles.  When had she stopped wearing these outfits, I thought to myself?  Lately, all I’d seen her wear was tee shirts and leggings.

I was still annoyed and perplexed when I picked her up from school later that day.  We chatted about school, as I laid in wait for a good time to mention the surprise waiting for her at home.  When the opportunity arose, I pounced.

“So, you forgot to get your ballet bag out for me.” I said, pausing to allow my daughter to think about where I might have looked for it.

Suddenly, the dawn of recognition spread across her face.  Shock and fear resonated from behind her eyes as, wide eyed, she asked, “So….did you go looking for it?”

“Yup.” I said it matter of factly, letting the “p” sound have extra emphasis and enjoying every minute.  I watched her face change as a myriad of emotions played across it then watched as she looked down and began twiddling her fingers.  “Any guesses what I found?” I added sweetly.

“All the stuff I shoved in my closet?” She answered, sheepishly.

“Yup.” I said again, again emphasizing the “p” sound.

“Sorry mom.  I didn’t want to clean my room so I just put it all in there.”

“Hmm, what do you think I did with all of that stuff?” I asked, smiling sweetly and looking over at her with my eyebrows raised.

“Threw it all away?” my daughter said, almost sounding hopeful.

“No… I put it all back on your floor where it started.  You can tackle the pile when you get home.”   We drove in silence for awhile.  She, I’m sure was thinking about the mess I had made, and I was trying to formulate my next question.  “Why, may I ask, were all of the cute clothes we bought you for school at the bottom of your closet?”

“I don’t like those anymore.”  She said, looking straight ahead.

“What do you mean you don’t like those anymore?” I responded with irritation.  “Do you know how much me and your dad spent on those clothes?  You liked them when we were shelling out all that money.”

“You liked them.” She said it quietly, still staring straight ahead.  “You talked me into them.  They just aren’t my style.”

I didn’t respond right away.  My mind went back to that day in Justice when we had done her school shopping.  Both my husband and I had just loved that cute Bohemian outfit with the boyfriend jeans.  She looked adorable, and we probably had forced it on her a bit.

“Well, what is your style then?” I asked, genuinely curious.

“I like sportsy stuff…you know Champion, Nike, and brands like that.”  She answered, looking over at me.

“Oh, okay.  Good to know.”  I said, and then changed the subject.  But as she continued talking about her day, I thought about style and how important it is as an expression of self.   My daughter was becoming her own person and trying out different styles and personas was all part of the adolescent exploration of self.  And, this was just the beginning of that process.  So she may not be like me and like dressing in the latest fashion trends, but I can take solace in the fact she will become who she was meant to be, an individual all her own.

 

Not All Cold Shoulder Tops Were Created Equal!

I have found my go-to cold shoulder top, and I’m so excited about it,  I wanted to share it with you!  Sympli has added a new top to their line called the Nu-glimpse top, and it is the perfect cold shoulder top!

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Nuglimpse Top By Sympli available in store or online 

Why so perfect, you ask?  Well, let me tell you!  As I have watched a myriad of women try on various shoulder exposing tops at the store, I have noticed that not all cold shoulder tops are created equal.  Some are too big in the shoulder, causing them to fit poorly on the arm or droop. Some make it impossible to wear a bra which means fiddling with a strapless bra or bandeaux (just kill me now).  Some show so much shoulder, women feel a bit naked and too exposed.  This is why I love this top from Sympli!  It has shoulder cut outs that are the perfect size, giving you the cold shoulder look, but in a way that any woman can wear.  I also love that this top does not show your bra, eliminating the hassle that so many cold shoulder tops pose. Best yet, it has a slight a-line cut so it doesn’t show any extra weight you may be carrying at the waist.

What is also amazing about the Nuglimpse top is that you get all of the other wonderful features of Sympli – no wrinkles, no fading and no stretching out.  This top will look this black and this great 5 years from now.  With Sympli, you just wash in cold water and hang to dry.  It dries wrinkle free, and you are off and running! The use of 12 oz weight fabric instead of 9 oz weight, means that the fabric drapes rather than clings to your body.  It really does look amazing on.  The fact that it is the number one selling line in our 5,000 square foot store is a testament to this.

There is the issue of price, however.  Sympli is not inexpensive.  This top retails for $124, but when you calculate cost per wear, it really is a great value.  If you just wore this top 1 time a week for a year, you would only be spending $2.58 per wear.  Given the fabric’s longevity, you will have this top for much longer than a year so the cost per wear goes down the longer you own the top.  Considering the fact that it is black, it will work back into your wardrobe easily.  Given that it is a mid-hip length hemline that pairs with any bottom, the styling opportunities are endless! That $124 doesn’t seem so costly now, does it?  That is the magic of cost per wear! Spending more on a really great item ends up costing you less than spending less and having to replace the item in six months because it has pilled, lost its shape or shrunk.  And as always, Fashion Crossroads offers a great layaway program too!

So, that’s my product review of Sympli’s Nuglimpse top.  It is my favorite cold shoulder top in my own wardrobe, so I am unashamedly recommending it to you!

Lace Up Detailing

One of the hottest new summer trends is the addition of lace elements on tops and dresses that add interest and detail to the neck, back and front.  My favorite part of this trend is its freshness.  While exposed shoulders have been around for a few seasons in various forms, lace embellishments are new for this season.

One of the most important benefits to this trend is that these simple lace designs draw the eye upward and keep it focused near your face.  When you have one of these tops on, no one will be looking at your legs or feet!  Additionally, the trend adds a feminine touch that is delicate and beautiful.  It is almost like adding jewelry to your top.  The lace details act in much the same way a lovely necklace adds interest and focuses the eye.

If you find the neck or back to be too plunging, you can always use fashion tape from Hollywood Fashion to secure the neckline to your skin so it will stay in place.  We carry this line of fashion emergency fixers at Fashion Crossroads.

Just remember ladies, this season is all about showing some skin.  Whether you are bearing your shoulders in a cold shoulder top, showing skin with cut outs, or drawing the eye upward with lace detailing, you are highlighting the area around your face and neck and keeping beautiful you at the forefront and center!  That, my dears, is the WHOLE point of fashion!  Happy shopping!

How Old Is Too Old To Wear A Romper?

One of the most common questions I get is the “Am I too old to wear a….?”  Let’s face it ladies, one of the most challenging things about fashion is figuring out how to stay trendy without dressing in an age inappropriate way.  Let me just say at the beginning of this blog that I flat out reject the idea that if you are wearing current trends and are past forty, you are dressing too young.  I don’t believe the problem lies in whether you wear the latest trends; I believe the issue is in how you wear them.

Let me explain.  Each trend will have an edgy side and a more conservative side.  Take the two pictures at the top of this blog as an example.  On the left is a romper that I would wear, and I am 45.  I wouldn’t wear the one on the right, however.  That choice doesn’t come from which I think is cuter because I love them both.  I would choose the one on the left because it is a toned down version of the romper trend.  It has a tank style top that is bra friendly; it has an adjustable draw string waist with a blousy top that will hide figure flaws; it is in a beefier fabric which is less flimsy; and it has slightly longer shorts because of the crochet detailing on the bottom.  My post forty legs just can’t do short shorts.  If I wanted to add another conservative element, I could put a white button up cardigan or denim jacket over my arms for coverage.

The floral romper on the right would perhaps be better suited for a woman in her twenties or even thirties.  With the chiffon fabric and shorter shorts, it will require nice legs.  The addition of the cold shoulder element further limits this romper because the more edgy trends you combine in one outfit, the younger the look becomes.  In other words, its okay to wear a romper if you are over forty.  It might not be the best idea to wear a chiffon romper with little flowers and cold shoulders that require you to wear a bandeaux as a bra.  Do you get my drift?

I use this same logic when I am considering any trend.  Is there a way I can wear the trend while still keeping the look conservative enough to be appropriate?  I can tell you that I have rarely skipped a trend altogether.  Only two “um…not only no but hell no” trends come to mind: short shorts and mini dresses.

So if you are like me and over forty but still want to dress in the latest trends, don’t despair.  You can stay fashionable and stylish well into your sixties and seventies.  The key is keeping it classy!

What is A Shirt Dress?

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Buy this in store or online at http://Fashion-Crossroads-Inc.shoptiques.com

One of the big trends in dresses this year is the shirt dress. Although it can take a few forms, a shirt dress is an elongated shirt.

My favorite version of this style is the button down,  like the one pictured to the left.  What makes these little beauties wonderful, is you can open them up and wear them as a long vest or keep them buttoned and wear them as a dress.  The versatility of style gives you more bang for your buck.

The high low hemlines (shorter in front and longer in back) are still popular, giving these dresses some interest at the bottom.  It’s trendy right now to wear a “shoe boot” style shoe with dresses.  I’m not fond of the heaviness of an actual shoe boot with a dress, but there are many styles of open toed sandals that mimic the look of a shoe boot without feeling so bulky and weighty on the foot.  The one the model is wearing in the picture above is a good example of this.  We have similar styles in the store that accomplish this same look, like the ones pictured here from Yellowbox.  Don’t hesitate to wear suede in the summer.img_3345

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Buy this in store or online at http://Fashion-Crossroads-Inc.shoptiques.com

The other style of shirt dress is a pullover style.  Again, it looks like an elongated collared shirt, but it doesn’t open up with buttons and thereby can’t be worn as a vest.

This style is usually offered as a mini dress, making it harder for everyone to wear.  If you don’t feel comfortable wearing a short dress, don’t hesitate to add skinny ankle jeans or even leggings with this style.  It will still look just as cute.

Again, you will want to pair this style of shirt dress with a “shoe boot” sandal to keep it really trendy.  Otherwise, a great flip flop and hat could make this the perfect summer run around town look.   It would also be a wonderful vacation item, as you could use it as a dress and swimming suit cover up.

It’s snowing here today, but writing about these dresses makes me long for warm summer days.  I know they are just around the corner!  Give one of these styles a try this year.  I think you will love how you look!

What Is A Waffle Top?

One of the big trends this season is the waffle top.  It took be a bit by surprise because here in Wyoming, waffle tops are something we wear in the winter and not the summer. We call them thermals.  But, the powers that be in the style world have decided to fly in the face of tradition and saturate the market with waffle tops for spring!

The descriptor “waffle top” refers to the fabric.  It’s a bit hard to see the texture of these tops in the pictures above, but if you were able to zoom in, you would see that they have raised, nubby fabric.  If you have ever bought a thermal tee to keep warm, you can compare the fabric to that.  Of course, the spring waffle tops are not as heavy as what you might expect from a typical thermal top, so you can still wear them without getting hot.

The benefit to textured fabric is that the more body a fabric has, the less likely it is to lay against your figure and expose all of your lumps and bumps.  Heavier fabrics are more figure flattering that lighter weight ones.  Texture also helps draw the eye away from figure problems like muffin tops.  This is because the sheer weight of heavier fabrics pulls them downward, creating a better drape.

The nature of the waffle fabric lends these tops to pair best with jeans or casual bottoms.  Wearing them to work would be like wearing your thermal to work.  I’m guessing your boss might frown on that.  But, for a casual weekend, these tops make a great, trendy choice.

The two tops pictured above are available on our online store.  If you want to know more about other important spring and summer trends, check out my blog post 5 Key Summer Trends.