Store Owner’s Product Review of Vera Bradley Travel

S16_Instagram_Escape the Ordinary 1As a store owner, I always try out the products that I sell.  If I tell you it works great, you can bet I have experienced the benefits of the product.  I can’t sell something I don’t believe in.  So this past weekend, I had the opportunity to take a long weekend away with my husband to Las Vegas, and I decided to give my Vera Bradley travel gear a try.

I purchased The Grand Traveler which is a large quilted duffel bag with handles, a shoulder strap, and a pass through pocket to slide over your suit case handle.  To this I added the matching Hanging Organizer and a coordinating Signature Vera Bradley Small Trimmed Tote Bag and matching wallet.  Lastly I threw in my black Mini Hipster.  Here is what I discovered.

When packing my Grand Traveler, what I figured out very quickly is that the four interior pockets are just the right size for shoes and are organized along both sides of the bag so you can fit four pairs of shoes nicely.  They are kept up and away from your clothing which I really appreciated.  I packed three outfits, including two with jackets as well as a dressy Sympli skirt and top for our nice dinner at Le Circe.  All my clothing and two pairs of shoes fit in the bag easily with plenty of extra room.   I used the extra interior pockets to hold my Mini Hipster purse and my brush and hair dryer.

The Hanging Organizer is a toiletry bag and has several zippered compartments that are clear plastic so you can easily see what is in them.  It also has a large zippered compartment at the bottom that holds all your large items like shampoo and deodorant.   Additionally, The Hanging Organizer has an organization pocket at the top with several interior pockets within it.  I used one of the clear plastic zippered pockets for makeup and another for my toothbrush and toothpaste.  I kept all my travel sized items in the larger bottom pocket and kept the other miscellaneous things like medicine, band aids and hair bands in the top compartment.  Of course I had to travel with all my liquids and gels in a baggie, but they could be organized into The Hanging Organizer once I got to my hotel and hung up on the bathroom door with the heavy duty hanger.  It fit easily on top of my clothing.  The only knock I had on The Hanging Organizer is there was not enough room for my straightening brush by the time I fit everything else in.

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When the Grand Traveler was all zipped with my Hanging Organizer, it was not too heavy and easy to carry with the padded shoulder strap.  I did not have to constantly adjust it or struggle with a too heavy bag.  When I got to the plane, it fit easily into the over head compartment and I had no trouble lifting it over my head to get it there.  Compared to my suitcase, I found The Grand Traveler much easier to handle.  I also liked that when I got to my hotel, I could unpack it and fold it neatly up so it did not take up unnecessary room in my closet.

I used my tote bag to hold my iPad, charging cables, head phones, magazine, iPhone, and wallet.  It had interior pockets lining both sides as well as an outside zippered pocket and an outside open pocket.  I really liked all the interior pockets because I was able to avoid the black hole syndrome of a typical tote where everything falls to the bottom and you have to dig through everything to find anything.  The pockets kept all my gadgets handy and easy to find.  The zippered outside pocket worked well for my iPhone and kept it within reach but secure.  The open pocket worked great for a place to temporarily store my driver’s license and jewelry in the frenzy to get everything stored without annoying the passengers behind me in the security line.  The tote again did not become too heavy when all of these things were added to it, and it fit easily under the seat in front of me while still leaving room for my feet.  I found the fact that my tote zipped closed an essential feature because I didn’t have to worry about it tipping over if I accidentally kicked it.

While I was in Las Vegas, I used my tote during the day and stored my light jacket inside it during the times when it was sunny and warm.  It was nice not to have to carry my coat all the time but still have it available when it cooled down.  I used my Mini Hipster purse when we headed out for the night and I didn’t want to have to worry about setting my purse next to me on the floor.  It worked great and had a pocket for my phone and a wallet organizer that held my license and credit cards with a cross body strap to keep everything within reach.

I added a matching Vera Bradley scarf in the same print as my Grand Traveler Bag and felt very stylish as I walked through the airport.  I don’t know if anyone else noticed, but I coordinated quite nicely!  I loved how my Vera Bradley travel gear performed on my trip. It is a well thought out product line that is loaded with features and style.

How To Wear Lace

IMG_2235I like to work out like the rest of you, and I don’t mind wearing my yoga wear on my days off, but as a boutique owner that focuses on career wear, the 24/7 workout trend never much appealed to me.  What I can embrace, however, is this season’s infatuation with lace. I laughed out loud when I read Cindy Weber Cleary’s comment regarding this trend in January’s edition of In Style Magazine: “In the age of athleisure and the 24/7 workout clothes, it should come as no surprise that many designers are now proposing you go about your business in what appears to be PJs and lingerie” (99).  Her teasingly sarcastic poke at designers fits for there are some rather risque lingerie looks out there this season.  For the rest of us, however, we can embrace this trend with grace and class.

The lace jacket pictured at the top is by Adore and is a great example of how really beautiful and feminine lace can be when it is not over done.  I toned this all over lace jacket down by adding a solid cement grey tank underneath and some neutral but bold jewelry from Treska. Because the jewelry has some weight, it contrasts the airiness of the lace and gives it some added dimension.  As with any trend, keep it classy by not overdoing it.  If you have a lace skirt, don’t have a lace top and vice versa.  This jacket would pair beautifully with a slick grey slack and solid heels for a work look or night out.

IMG_2236You will also see lace as an accent this season on shoes, on sleeves, and on purses.  While it doesn’t show up as well in the picture, the sleeves of this jacket (also from Adore) are lace.  It gives the jacket some extra oomph, transforming it from just another classic jean style.  Pairing it with a grey lace skirt would contrast elements of all over lace with a more casual jacket.  This creates dimension and interest in your outfit.

I will definitely be adding some lace to my summer wardrobe this year.  How about you?


Making Rose Quartz Work In Your Wardrobe

With Pantone’s announcement of Rose Quartz as the color of the year, you may be wondering how to wear such a soft and gentle shade of pink.  I am dark haired and look much better in bolder colors.  As a result, I usually avoid pastels.  What I love about this shade of pink, however, is how well it pairs with darker shades like brown and olive green as well as with creams and whites.  

When pairing Rose Quartz with olive green, it is essential that you stay consistent with either warm or cool tones.  Rose Quartz it usually a slightly warm color, so you will also want to choose a color of olive that is also slightly warm.  Avoid strongly warm greens that have a predominate yellow undertone.  The other fantastic aspect of putting Rose Quartz and olive green together is that the pink adds a feminine aspect to the more masculine olive green, especially in utilitarian or military themed items.  Military continues to be a strong trend in spring so you should see plenty of military vests, tanks, and light jackets out there.  Try putting a Rose Quartz tank under them!

Rose Quartz is also beautiful with creams, khakis and browns.  Apply the same advice of matching the level of warmth, and you can’t go wrong with any of these colors.   You can also pair Rose Quartz with its counterpart color of the year Serentity blue.  This feels less earthy to me than the other choices, but remains a viable option.  What I’ve done here is to put an ice blue blouse under the Rose Quartz sueded vest and then pop the two with with a Serentity blue purse.    It’s a nice combination with both soft and strong elements.  

  So have fun this season exploring these new colors.  You may just find your new favorite ! 

Colors of 2016

We have traveled a long way to get from the deep red wine color Marsala (Pantone’s color of the year for 2015) to Rose Quartz and Serenity, the colors of 2016. They are about as opposite as you can get.  From Marsala’s strong presence and blood pressure heightening hue, we have leaped to calming soft pink and blue. Perhaps as we enter into an election year and all the strife it will inevitably produce, the color forecasters felt we’d need a bit of serenity in our closet! Truth be told; I already do.


Rose Quartz

According to Leatrice Eiseman, Pantone’s executive director, “with our hectic lives and the frenzy around us, there is an increasing demand for tranquility.” (In Style, January, 19).  Too true, but have you ever considered that societal changes and trends affect the colors stylists choose for the fashions we will wear?  It wasn’t until mid way through my fashion career that I realized this truth.  A designer once told me that when the economy is good, the colors get lighter and when it is bad, they get darker.  When you consider color can cause physical reactions within our bodies (excitement or calm, for example) it isn’t surprising that color trends are impacted by our world.

th (17)Rose Quarts, for example, reminds me of softness, the early stages of a sunset, and everything feminine.  Serenity is a soft blue like the light blue sky in springtime.  Imaging these two colors causes a relaxed sigh to escape my lips.  I find myself smiling as I write this blog post and listen to ocean waves playing in the background.  That place – sunsets, blue skies and ocean waves- sounds like a great alternative to the 20 some degrees outside my office window.

Interestingly, Rose Quartz is a warm color and Serenity a cool color, so by combining the two you have a yin and yang, so to speak…a complete picture.  Eiseman calls it “balance.”  I like it.  It feels right to me.  Let these two colors lead you into your new spring wardrobe, destined to help you feel calmer, softer, and perhaps a little sweeter to those around you.