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.

How To Combine Prints

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One of the things that intimidates us is knowing how to combine prints.  Most of us avoid it, but we shouldn’t.  Prints help give depth and interest to our outfits and combining them is easier than you think.  The simple rule is: you can combine two different prints if they both have the same colors.

Consider the floral print combined with the jacket in the picture above.  Because the jacket has a simple line print that is on a grey background and accented by blues, it lends itself well to being combined with the much busier floral print in the Vera Bradley makeup case.  Ultimately, though, what makes it work is the fact that both the jacket and the makeup case have the same dominant dark and light blue.  Even if the jacket was plaid, if the colors in both prints were the same, you could combine them.

You could, for example, wear the cross body purse in the picture with the jacket if you paired the outfit with a solid grey slack.  The neutral grey helps balance the prints. Smartly combining prints in this way allows you to create totally unique outfits that express your personality.  Play around with this a little in your own wardrobe and break out of the one print only rut.  You’ll be amazed at what great outfits you create!

Don’t Match Your Denim

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These mannequins in our window demonstrate pairing chambray denim tops with darker denim jeans.  The Vera Bradley handbags add yet another blue into the mix as well as a punch of print to complete the whole look.

Do you remember the days when your denim needed to match?  I do.  I can recall spending inordinate amounts of time with a customer trying to find the jean that would match her denim jacket.  Pull your hair out frustrating, it was.  Thank goodness we are in a denim trend now when the coolest ladies have denim that doesn’t match.

So here is my fashion advice for the season.  First, get yourself a denim shirt or dress!  It is a must have item this season.  Next, pair that puppy with the opposite flavor of denim.  For example, pair dark denim with chambray.  Also try heavily stone washed denim paired with a clean denim with no stone washing or whiskering.  One of my favorite looks this season is to combine white denim with blue denim.  I’m fond of chambray with white for a washed out look or dark denim with white for a strong contrast; the choice is yours.  Wear your jeans cropped to ankle length and your shirt out.  Add a pair of Chuck Taylors, a great handbag and a cute hat, and oh mama – fabulous summer style!

Love the Artistry

When I go to market, the sheer immensity of choice is overwhelming.  There are an infinite number of products out there to buy.  The diversity in our world is reflected in the millions of ways we can conceive to re-imagine and design products that have existed for hundreds of years.  Consider the handbag, as an example.  Think about all of the different companies out there today making purses.  It is truly mind boggling.  From over-sized to small, from vintage to ultra modern, from classic and boxy to slouchy, from shoulder bags to cross body bags….the shapes, sizes, functions and choices are never ending.

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With so many choices, customers often ask me how I choose.   The answer is: I pick what moves me.  When a handbag stops me in my tracks as I wander endless isles of handbag booths, I buy that line.  It’s totally subjective, of course.  What stops me may not stop you, but as a buyer, I have to trust my instincts.  If it makes me say, “Wow!” there is a good chance it will make one of my customers have a similar reaction.

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Anushka is a handbag line that made me take notice.  I have to admit, I am a sucker for artistry.  Maybe the artist in me has a special appreciation for workmanship that goes above and beyond the ordinary.  I appreciate creativity.  I love lines that demonstrate some inherent quality of their creator.  Anushka handbags are hand painted by artists, and the designs are retired after a year of use never to be re-painted exactly the same again.  So, when I carry my Anushka handbag, I am wearing someone else’s art, and it is as personal to me as it was to them.  The bag I choose to carry for myself has artwork that moves me.  I love the color combinations, the subject matter, the composition.  It represents something about who I am.

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But is isn’t good enough for only the outside of my purse to be meaningful.  I am a neat nick and an organization freak.  I cannot stand the inside of my handbag being a disaster.  Therefore, I have to be able to find things quickly and efficiently which means the inside has to be as functional as the outside is beautiful.  The Anushka bag I chose for myself is “The Shopper” which has two separate interior pockets that zip closed.  Both are lined with additional side pockets to store and organize all of the random things I carry around with me everyday.

When I can find a line that meets both my “wow” needs and my functional needs, then I know I have happened upon a winner.  If you have never explored the world of Anushka handbags, we have a wonderful opportunity for you.  We are having a trunk show this coming Saturday May, 7th from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.  Our Anushka Rep will be in the store with her sample line that will be available for purchase.  Find out more on our website.

How do I Wear The Military Trend?

Utilitarian/Military style offers clean lines. earthy colors and casual chic.

Utilitarian/Military style offers clean lines. earthy colors and casual chic.

One of the trends I really like this season is what I like to call Utilitarian.  It is “utility” in concept, embracing a practical and casual style that works well for every day.  This trend can also be referred  to as military, but I like Utilitarian better because it is less limiting and doesn’t necessitate military insignia or design.

Military jackets were everywhere at market, indicating the strength of this trend for winter.  I saw them in many colors including olive, chocolate brown, black and oxblood.  Usually, this style works best with jeans, but In this store window, we highlighted the Utilitarian trend with several items showing different ways to interpret the trend.

The first model shows a dressier look that includes a light weight boxy  blazer in cream paired with a soft, draw string waisted harem pant in olive green.  Less easy to see is a military style vest with a draw string waist paired with a dark denim jean, a zip top in olive green paired with a black jegging and finally, a military jacket paired with a vintage wash jean.

The style offers clean lines and loose fits that work for many body types and it pairs perfectly with lace up boots.  The harem pant on the first mannequin could easily be worn with a heel for a dressy work outfit.  But, as a casual jean look, this trend rocks.  I love it with a beanie and cross body purse.  It is a fashionable way to run errands or meet friends for coffee that is comfortable, easy going and chic.

Key Fall Fashion Trend: Fringe

Fringe jacket from Blu Pepper.  Available on our online store.

Fringe jacket from Blu Pepper. Available on our online store.

Fringe is a key fashion trend this fall, and you’ll see it on everything from jackets and sweaters to purses and shoes.  In the picture to the left, I am wearing a fringe jacket with a full length sleeve, soft sueded polyester, and fringe that lines the asymmetrical hemline on the front of the jacket and then the straight hemline on the back of the jacket.  I paired it with a hunter green tank because I like how the colors compliment each other and a boyfriend jean and sandal.  This is a great example of a fall transitional look that gives you a jacket for cooler mornings and a tank for warmer afternoons.

One important thing to remember about fringe is to restrict it to one item in your outfit.  A fringe jacket, purse and shoe, for example, worn altogether would be overkill.  Better to understate the trend than overstate it.  This keeps it classy.  You don’t want to look like a seventies throwback.  Restricting the amount of fringe will prevent you from making this mistake.

I had a blast the day I wore this outfit.  I am not a child of the seventies (leggings and leg warmers are way more my speed), but I enjoyed the soft feel of the poly suede and had a ton of compliments on the jacket.  And, In Wyoming, suede and fringe always feel right, regardless of whether they are trendy.  We are rugged outdoors people with cowboy and Native American roots, after all.  For all the rest of you who don’t get to live in the west, right now is your time to try on some fringe!

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Key Trends for Fall 2016

  
Of the many trends I noticed dominating styles at market this fall, the most consistent were fringe, suede, southwestern motifs, military jackets, plaid shirts and the color merlot.  You can see all of these trends reflected in the picture above and the way you can combine them for smart fall style this season.  The key accessory is the floppy hat and beanie.  

1. Suede and Fringe

Suede and (faux suede) was everywhere at market.  Often combined with fringe, suede and the seventies are a strong influence in fall fashion for 2016.  Look for suede especially in vests, dresses and on handbags.  I saw everything from saddle brown and light tan classic suede colors to blush pinks and merlots.  Embrace this trend as a child of the seventies by combining fringe and denim, headbands and bohemian tops and dresses.  Wear a floppy leather look or sueded hat with these styles for a modern version of this seventie look.  Avoid head to toe fringe to keep the look fresh.  Pair fringe with other sueded pieces but restrict the fring to one clothing item or accessory.  

2.  Southwestern Motifs

Southwestern prints are still dominating fall like they did for spring.  Find them combined with fringe, in sweaters and on tops, and, of course, on handbags.  Take this sweater as an example.   With its southwestern diamond print in merlot and grey and its fringe bottom, it combines several key tends in one style.  

 Look for grey to be the new neutral for fall and give black a run for its money as the go to basic.  Additionally, grey looks amazing paired with melot which is the color of the year from Pantone.  

Military Jackets:

Seperating itself distinctly from the previous two trends, military is the utilitarian trend of the season and is expressed in one key piece – the military jacket.  I saw some companies combining southwest motifs with miliary which was a unique twist, but military jackets are a key piece that you will want to have in your wardrobe.  Don’t feel you must have the trend represented by a army green jacket.  I saw very cute styles in black, grey and tan as well.  A great military jacket paired with a beat up boyfriend jean and lace up boots is a killer look for a casual outfit.       
Plaid Shirts:

Plaid is officially a key trend.  You will need to buy yourself a cute plaid shirt to pair with boyfriend jeans this season.  Wear a benie and puffy vest with this look for a fun casual look for a cold day.  The strongest plaid trends is reds or burhandy plaids, but I also saw lots of black and white versions as well.  Keep it cool by wearing your plaid shirt tied around your waist for a fall day when its not too cold.  Again, wear this look with lace up shoe boots.