Archive for the ‘Accessories’ Category

Our 10 Favorite Fashion Trends for 2009


Me and Mom in of course!

(Lizzi/Daughter) Since it is almost the end of the year and 2010 is right around the corner, Mom and I decided to recap our favorite trends from 2009. We each chose five trends that we would love to see continue and flourish in the upcoming year.

Lizzi’s Five Favorite Trends of 2009:

My Favorite Fashion Trends of 2009
My Favorite Fashion Trends of 2009 by ChicLizzi featuring Matthew Williamson
Items in this set:
Discount Balmain Military-style denim jacket |, 3,394 GBP
Matthew Williamson | Fitted twill blazer | NET-A-PORTER.COM, 745 EUR
See by Chloe Crepe boyfriend-fit blazer, $735
ABS Black Bandleader Jacket with Gold Trim
Jimmy Choo York leather motorcycle boots, $1,195

1. Blazers. This is my favorite trend of 2009. I liked the whole menswear trend and thought blazers were a very chic way of dressing up anything whether it was a button-down and jeans or a frilly floral dress.

2. Motorcycle boots. I love motorcycle boots. They are tough and edgy but feminine and fun. They are especially great for the cold winter weather!

3. Bib necklaces. Any statement necklace is great but bib necklaces always seem to catch my eye more than other necklaces.

4. Lace tights. Lace is one of my favorite fabrics and tights are my favorite bottoms to wear, so when both of them are combined they make something wonderful!

5. Military jackets. I love military jackets because of the structure and the buttons. It always reminds me of the toy soldiers in the Nutcracker, my favorite ballet!

I have to say, thank God romance is back in fashion! I mean the soft, feminine, flowing kind, not the French maid, bodice-ripper kind. We moms have more to choose from than we have for a decade. Today’s stores are filled with clothing, jewelry and accessories that show a great deal of imagination and an attention to the fabulous techniques and silhouettes of the past. I actually had a hard time narrowing my trends down to five, but they are all generous categories and easily adopted by every taste, budget, and (best of all) figure type. Take a look and get ready to hit the sales after Christmas!

Mom’s Five Favorite Trends

My Favorite Fashion Trends for 2009
My Favorite Fashion Trends for 2009 by EKotite featuring Miss Selfridge
Items in this set:
Milly Ruffle-sleeved merino wool dress, $295
Prep School Dress, $65
Ruffle Tie Blouse, $19
Stella McCartney Wide quilted waist belt, $263
Full Wool Mini Skirt, $245

6. Romantic (styles and fabrics). From sheerest organza to heavyweight velvets, garments of every type are getting a gorgeous lift. Lizzi and I have discovered marvelous tiered skirts in Forever 21; dresses embellished with fabric flowers in gorgeous colors; jackets with lightly puffed sleeves; and of course, shoes with ankle straps and sparkling buckles.

7. Ruffles. Lizzi laughs at my slavish devotion to ruffles. A simple white blouse I bought at White House/Black Market with a ruffled front has been my wardrobe stretcher of the year. A hybrid mom cannot have too many ruffles.

8. Faux Fur. I must admit I have not yet indulged in the fabulous fakes out in the stores this year. But these faux fur makers are really doing something right in their labs. Today’s vests, jackets, coats, and accessories are soft, warm, and oh so stylish.

9. Preppy. When I finally tossed my mid-calf pinwale corduroy pink skirt from college, I never thought I’d see the like of it again. Today’s preppy trend is a bit sexier but super feminine and flexible. You can look like Muffy instead of Skip with these soft fabrics and understated silhouettes.

10. Watches. The amazing, eye-catching array of watches out there drives home an important point: utility definitely shouldn’t look useful. (If you aren’t convinced, take a look at the wonderful tricked-out Steampunk computer we had in a recent post). Insist on pretty whenever possible. That rule, at least for me, has never been easier than now.


Lizzi’s Look of the Day


This week has been a cold one in New Jersey. We’ve had to tack on a few extra minutes in our morning rush to find gloves, scarves, and to keep the fire going. Lizzi wore this outfit on Tuesday, actually. She is wearing a soft floral dress from Urban Outfitters that we both love. It is cinched with a leather wraparound belt she bought in Paris. Tights are from Old Navy and boots are from Target. Even though the fabric looks springlike, the dress itself is a thick knit and very soft. Cozy, you might say.

I Hate My Wardrobe


dreary closet

(Erika/Mom) A few mornings back, I shivered into my attic closet and couldn’t find anything I wanted to wear. All of a sudden I hated everything. This is not characteristic of me; normally I am cheerful and optimistic about my chances of wearing something that looks decent without labeling me as a “mom in mom pants” or worse yet, a slob.

The all-too-familiar patterns of all-too-well-worn shirts and blouses hung tiredly in their places. Limp cable-knit sweaters melted together with blended-fiber turtlenecks and miscellaneous cardigans. Two pairs of jeans folded neatly among some decidedly high-waisted mom pants that Lizzi begs me not to wear. So I wear my jeans a lot. I spent months looking for slim black pants that didn’t give me a muffin-top belly; never found ’em. Most of my dresses are from the mid- to late 1990s–classics or has-beens, depending on your mood.

So we all get the problem–or do we? I’ve been thinking about this quite deeply, and decided that in my case, it’s not about having anything decent to wear. It’s more about laziness and under-utilizing observation and experimentation. Most of us evaluate our wardrobe in the morning, which isn’t always the best time for creativity. Rows of clothes are scanned quickly and our eye picks up the same things over and over again. Anyone who shops like this is bound to leave the store disappointed. My mother shops like this and it drives me nuts. How can you find something unless you really look for it? Clothing will not come out and curtsy to you. You gotta dig, man.

Same thing with our own closets. Digging a little deeper, I discovered (or re-discovered) a few things that have great potential, worn right. Take this blouse, for example:

I've had this lacy blouse for longer than I care to admit. It's from The Limited and is still in great shape.

I've had this lacy blouse for longer than I care to admit. It's from The Limited and is still in great shape.

By itself, it’s pretty blah. But if I take the time to pair it up with another shirt and some interesting accessories, it really takes on a new life. The first set is the blouse over a Macys v-neck tank and a long necklace doubled over:

This combo is much better, I think. With some acid-washed jeans and shoes other than mom-clogs I could hold my head up.

This combo is much better, I think. With some acid-washed jeans and shoes other than mom-clogs I could hold my head up.

Going one step further, I fished out an old Cabi belt that I bought in 2005. I never wear it, but it’s actually really pretty. (Lizzi, tell me if I’m delusional here.) Anyway, adding the sparkling belt with a really soft scarf in an incredible shade of blue, I came up with this:

It's possible...for a plain yellow pumpkin to become a golden carriage...a Cinderella transformation of my old blouse.

It's possible...for a plain yellow pumpkin to become a golden carriage...a Cinderella transformation of my old blouse.

So what do you think Lizzi?

(Lizzi/Daughter) Mom, I think you should stop wearing your clogs and start wearing your awesome belts!

I do agree that a lot of your clothes are a little bit old, but if you dress things up like you did to that blouse, you’ll be the most fashionable mom on the block (even though you already are…). Even though it’s easier for me to always have new things because I’m still growing, on most days, I’ll look at my clothes and totally hate what I see. I think we all have those days.

A better way for me to pick out my clothes is to do it the night before, when I’m not so groggy. I also like to ask Mom for help because she always thinks of things to pair together that I would never think of.

The other day, I really hated how small my wardrobe was compared to my friends’ and asked my mom for help. She told me to pair a gray sweater vest with a striped sweater, which I thought would look really odd, but it ended up being my favorite outfit of the week.

A great accessory to add to your wardrobe is a belt. Belts can either accessorize your pants or your top. The best place to put your belt is at your waist, like mom did. You can belt anything from cardigans to loose tunics (think medieval!)

Like this:
belted cardigan and tunic

Mom and I are going to try and feature more “reality” posts with our own clothes, so excuse us while we go tidy up our closets.

Is Medieval Back in Fashion?


Medieval woman

(Lizzi/Daughter) This marking period we are studying the Middle Ages in Social Studies. Even though some of the things we are learning about are weird and gross (um, they didn’t clean themselves regularly?!), I’ve noticed that a lot of what we wear today was inspired by what both women and men wore back in the 13th to 15th centuries!

I wouldn’t have noticed this if my teachers hadn’t told me, “Your outfit is very Medieval-looking! Very cool!” For example, when I wore an orange chiffon tunic with leggings and fringe ankle boots. Of course, the boots were more Native American-like, but the tunic and leggings, I realized, were very similar to something a man would wear in the Middle Ages. Or when I wore a pair of slouchy suede boots (Robin Hood style), I also got a similar comment… or compliment.

I found some medieval clothing sketches that look similar to what we wear today:

medieval clothing sketches

This tunic is very Medieval-like, especially the colors and the shape.

antik batik tunic

… here are some more….

tory burch tunic

Tory Burch Linen Split-neck Tunic

delia's tunic
Delia’s Lisette Empire

Flowing, belted dresses were trendy way back when AND now….

anna sui dress
One of my favorite designers, Anna Sui, incorporated a lot of Medieval-looking fabrics and styles into her Fall 2009 collection. This dress happens to be one of my favorites.

And this dress is really lovely also:
etro dress

Now, for shoes. Men in the Middle Ages wore flat leather or suede boots and lace-up flats.
medieval shoes mens boots

black medieval shoes mens

Wet Seal has a lot of nice boots this Fall like this pair:
wet seal boots

And these:
red boots

Women wore embroidered flats like these:
medieval flats

… and Kadam shoes has a wonderful pair that I think grasp the look very well:
kadam flats

Now, put the whole look together:

Medieval Inspiration
Medieval Inspiration by ChicLizzi featuring Etro

And voila! You have a Medieval Masterpiece!

Mom, what do you think of the Medieval trend?

(Erika/Mom) Great history lesson, my daughter! What abundance of gray matter resides in thy head! Hmmm, sorry, I’ll drop the Medieval speak. Lizzi is right–it is remarkable to see how strong the fashion connection is with silhouettes, colors, and fabrics worn 800 years ago. After so many years of jeans and T-shirts this is a welcome transition. I was driving out of Blockbuster the other day and slowed down to let a woman cross the parking lot. She had on a darling plaid tunic and black leggings. Something along the lines of this:

plaid tunic

Paired with either cuffed boots a la Robin Hood or embellished ballet flats, this would look great on just about any 40-something figure. If that figure is on the heavier side, ditch the leggings for black pants, either denim or a really nice fabric blend, like viscose and cotton. If the tunic is long enough, or your legs are skinny but your middle is hefty, a longer tunic and great boots along with nice-quality leggings will make a most comely combination:

Macys tunic plus size
Macys leggings plus size

For us middle-aged women, the Middle Ages is a fantastic fashion era. Fantastic hygiene era? Not so much.

Fashion’s Night Out


Fashion's Night Out tag

(Erika/Mom) Thursday night, Lizzi and I participated in fashion history. Despite it being the first week of school we made the bold decision to attend New York City’s first-ever Fashion’s Night Out. The way it’s been publicized online and through all the sites we like to surf (like Polyvore, other fashion bloggers, and of course retailers) you’d think the whole world was going to be on the train with us. But in reality it was an ordinary day for most people. We were the only ones wiggling with excitement on that late-afternoon train. We were the only ones smiling in anticipation as we ascended the steps of Penn Station. Everyone else seemed to be going the other way, anxious to get home after another stellar day at the office.

And as most first-time ventures go, we learned a lot that will really help us with the second one. Remember that planning a travel route on paper is completely different from executing it…especially in Manhattan. We ultimately wanted to cruise Bleecker St. with the editors at Teen Vogue, to meet Marc Jacobs and perhaps Vera Wang. But first we wanted Mary Kate and Ashley to serve us some drinks at Bergdorf’s.

And they might have brought us some Perrier…if they had actually been there. Or if we could have made it through the revolving door. Instead, a mushroom cloud of line-cutters began pushing so that Lizzi and I kept getting further from the door. Besides losing oxygen we began to worry that our entire evening would be spent like uncool clubgoers waiting to get into Area in 1986 (not me of course). Angry and disappointed, we retreated.

Crazy mob scene trying to get in to staid Bergdorf Goodman's. Very surreal, and really unfun.

Crazy mob scene trying to get in to staid Bergdorf Goodman's. Very surreal, and really unfun.

So now, besides lacking oxygen I was riding towards a serious sugar crash. We stopped at Prada and had a good time checking out their wonderful display of Little Red Riding Hood and men with wolf heads (had to be there). Let me see if we got a picture of this. Lizzi was probably one of the youngest attendees this night, and being petite she had a hard time seeing anything above the crowd. I lifted her up so she could see Vogue’s Creative Director Grace Coddington. I noted that her wonderful thick, long hair looks a tiny bit like mine!

grace coddington

No cabs to be had on 5th Avenue, we impulsively jumped on a bus that said “East Village.” The driver took pity on me fumbling for bus fare and gave us a free ride. We ate some pasta and salad at a cozy little deli and then looked for the Teen Vogue party. And looked. And looked. Turns out it was in the WEST Village. Crap. This time we found a cab and finally got to the right place at around 9 pm.

Now I find the Village fun no matter what time it is, or whether Teen Vogue editors are there or not. While Lizzi scanned the well-dressed crowds for signs of celebrity, I enjoyed the warmly lit shops and watching people sip their wine and cappuccinos in the tiny restaurants. Yet our quest was not yet complete–we HAD to get T-shirts. And nearly every shop had already sold out.

live mannequin at Brooks Bros

These live mannequins at Brooks Brothers were a delight to watch and just one of many live tableaux that night. We checked in with Ralph Lauren and luckily found our first Tshirt in my size. Then we stumbled upon Tommy Hilfiger and had a great time listening to Tim Brantley singing. He’s really good. Listen to Damage. But I digress.

While enjoying Hilfiger’s hospitality we found what was a nearly-extinct small size of the coveted T-shirt for Lizzi. So this was a very good stop for us. We checked out a few more stores but it seemed the party was wrapping up. And we were pooped. We hailed a cab back to Penn Station and slipped in the quiet house about midnight.

(Lizzi/Daughter) I expected Fashion’s Night Out to be all over the streets of New York City, with performances everywhere and celebrities walking along the streets. I also thought I would be able to get into Bergdorf Goodman, meet the Olsen twins then head on over to Ralph Lauren to get a t-shirt and meet Blake Lively. And right after that, arrive at the Teen Vogue block party and seeing Taylor Momsen’s whole performance plus the back-to-school fashion show. Oh, and let’s not forget meeting designers like Isaac Mizrahi, Vera Wang, and Donna Karan and watching a cook-off between designers like Cynthia Rowley and Peter Som. The winner ended up being Lela Rose, I found out with her corn crepe topped with lobster and cilantro salsa.

Anyway, Fashion’s Night Out wasn’t what I dreamed it would be. Although, I guess most things don’t turn out how anybody wants them to. To be honest, I’m still really upset about Bergdorf Goodman and missing most of the Teen Vogue Block Party, other than that I had a fun time walking around NYC, on a school night, with just my mom, experiencing something new.

I’m so glad I got a t-shirt also because mine can be worn as a t-shirt dress (it’s very large on me) or a t-shirt (tucked in loosely into jeans) and I’ll have the t-shirt for a very long time because of how large it is, even though it’s a size Small. Mom’s looks great also. I loved the way she wore it yesterday with her lacey black pencil skirt and she cinched at the waist with a big black patent leather belt.

mom and lizzi in our fno t-shirts(My face is the only face in the picture because my mom didn’t feel like putting on make-up)

Fashion’s Night Out for us wasn’t the disappointment that I’ve made it sound like (I can be very negative sometimes) Note from Mom: Noooooo, never!

Actually, I had a lot of fun looking around in Prada because of the cool mannequin displays which were wearing really cool wolf masks as Mom said before.

Lions and tigers and bears and... wolves? Oh my!

Lions and tigers and bears and... wolves? Oh my!

As you can see, this is not a very good image because it was taken on my cell phone, but you can see the wolves pretty well in their black Prada suits.

In conclusion, Mom and I had an awesome time at the very first ever Fashion’s Night Out in New York City. I will always remember this day and we know for next time not to wait in a long line to get into Bergdorf Goodman, no matter how much we want to get in!

My Book Bag… is it the right one?


(Lizzi/Daughter) Most of you remember the post we recently did on what bag I should get for school. Well, I finally found a bag that is close to perfect! We went to Target a few days ago to get a couple of basics like gym clothes for myself and a new pair of denim shorts for my sister, Caroline. We also decided that while we were there, we should check out the purses and bags they had. It didn’t take long for us to find a decent-sized and roomy Hollywood Intuition for Target bag in an awesome purple color that could be used as both a tote or a messenger!

hollywood intuition purple bagWe found the bag without any tags and we couldn’t find a similar bag. So for about fifteen minutes, people were searching everywhere for the tag or a similar bag. We also found out that this bag was part of Hollywood Intuition’s Fall Favorites which I thought was kind of cool. Even though we had to wait a while for the price to be found, it was worth it! Because now I have a totally cute and inexpensive bag for school.

purple target bag

purple target bag

I just have one teensy-weensy problem. I’ve had my eye on this hot pink Marc Jacobs tote for a long time and now I’m having bag remorse because I don’t know if I chose the right bag!

hot pink marc jacobs toteIt’s a little bit expensive ($190) and I don’t know if I should buy it because it would take away money from more back-to-school shopping at King of Prussia. Also, if I got this bag ruined or lost, I would hate myself.

They’re both awesome bags, but I don’t know if I should keep the one I have, which is a perfectly good bag… or go for my dream tote by my favorite designer Marc Jacobs? What do you think, Mom?

(Erika/Mom) Hmmmm. Let’s see, if it’s between what my own mother would call “a PERFECTLY GOOD bag” for $26 and a $190 designer bag that will be dragged through the unsavory detritus of a middle school’s hallways, going from bright pink to the color of a well-used pencil eraser in a matter of weeks–do I really have a choice? It just doesn’t seem like a smart thing to do. I immediately said “No” when Lizzi asked me about it. Then an hour later I felt bad and decided to make her an offer–if she wanted to spend her own money she could get it.

Quite frankly I was delighted with the Hollywood Intuition bag. It had everything going for it–generous size, sturdy construction, awesome color, front pockets for cell phone, and a good price. It is also somewhat unique–as much as anything can be unique these days. But Lizzi hears people talking disparagingly about Target–that it’s not cool to shop there. I won’t get on any soapbox here–I have my own list of stores that I will only enter if the world is ending and I need a hurricane lamp (Walmart, all warehouse grocery stores). But isn’t being fashionable about choosing the unexpected, the one that not everybody has? Not everyone has a Marc Jacobs bag mostly because they can’t afford it. but I consider that the more predictable choice. And being predictable will never get you anywhere in fashion.

Lizzi you have remarkable nonconformity at an age when it is almost irresistible to follow the crowd. My hat’s off to you and hey, can I borrow your bag sometime? 🙂

Trend Spotting for Moms and Teens


fashion sketch

When I was 12 I entered a Levi Strauss design contest. The premise was to create a product in denim that was entirely new and unique. I spent many days sketching and rejecting things and finally came up with two winning ideas: knickers and a trench coat. These little drawings were submitted with high hopes. I was going to be a fashion designer someday!

I’m still waiting for that to happen. Meanwhile, daughter Lizzi seems to have caught the same bug. She’s entered about 100 Polyvore design contests and usually sketches out her entire back-to-school outfit–accompanied by a scary-long list of items she simply cannot live without for the year. Channeling all of this pent-up fashion frustration we bring to you our first annual Favorite Back-to-School Trends for 2009. Keep in mind our demographics (47-year-old editor Mom, 12 1/2-year-old 7th grader, suburban New Jersey), body sizes (8 and 00), and personalities (conservatively creative Mom, nonconformist adventurer daughter) and don’t be shy about offering your own opinion. Fashion is a community pool with a huge deep end!


Trend #1: Ruffles. After years of androgynous shirts and jeans, it’s nice to welcome back the feminine ruffle. This trend is really hard to miss–it’s everywhere, from dresses to jackets to simple blouses. Here is a great plaid blazer from Free People with a relaxed ruffled lapel:

Free People plaid ruffled blazer

Trend #2: Houndstooth. I would swath the world in houndstooth if I could. And I’ve waited a long time for it to come back but it has, in earnest. In fact, I got up early so I could beat Lizzi to the punch on this one.

Houndstooth dress Marc Jacobs

Houndstooth began sometime in the mid-19th century in Scotland and in the 60s and 70s tickled the fancy of Geoffrey Beene. You can even find a 1969 Camaro upholstered in houndstooth if you’re lucky!

Houndstooth upholstery-1969 Camaro
This year instead of a predictable houndstooth skirt I want something more exciting–are tights going to be in? I’ll have to check with Lizzi.

Trend #3: Loafers. Yes, loafers! Thanks probably to Michael Jackson the little loafer is making a big comeback. Macys has tables of sleek, shiny loafers like these by Etienne Aigner:

Etienne Aigner loafers
Bottom line: There’s a lot of great stuff out there. Watch your wallet!

(Lizzi/Daughter) Wow, Mom! Great trends. I had a feeling you would do houndstooth for one of your trends.

A lot of the Fall trends I get are from Teen Vogue or Who What Wear Daily or I love a lot of the Fall trends this year, so choosing my top three will be hard. Right now, I only have one in mind. I’ll start with that.

Trend # 1: Bright scarves. I haven’t been seeing a lot right now being worn, but I have seen them in stores, in magazines, and online. I love the bright colors and they can make any boring, dark, outfit into an exciting bright one by just wrapping it around your neck!

marc jacobs bright scarves fall 2009
Ahhhh, Marc Jacobs, the best designer (in my opinion) of all time. His Fall 2009 collection was full of his bright pink, green, and yellow neon scarves, but this outfit really caught my eye because the outfit had such dull colors when you look from her shoes to her top, but then you see this statement scarf.

You can get your own bright scarf this year from Urban Outfitters, Macy’s, Forever 21, and more. It’s one of Fall’s biggest trends.

You can get this scarf in either color for $18.90 at Nordstrom. I think I might get one!

bright orange scarf bright turquoise scarf
Trend #2: Pretty in Pink! My favorite color has been pink ever since I can remember and I love how designers like Michael Kors are incorporating a lot of pink into their collections.

michael kors fall 2009

michael kors fall 2009

michael kors fall 2009
Michael Kors almost beats out Marc Jacobs with his Fall 2009 collection. It was full of neon colors like yellow, orange, and pink plus a bit of black, gray, and khaki here and there. But, my top 3 looks were these because of the awesome pink color. I’m so glad that pink is one of the Fall colors this year.

Trend #3: Boyfriend jeans. Loose and comfortable jeans that are also very chic and stylish if you dress them the right way. GAP’s new line of jeans has a wide selection of jeans including boyfriend jeans. American Eagle, Current/Elliot, and Levi’s also has a wide selection of boyfriend jeans.

gap boyfriend jeansgap boyfriend jeans
You can dress ’em up:

polyvore - boyfriend jeans - dressing them up
by BellaMarie on Polyvore

Or dress ’em down:

polyvore - boyfriend jeans - dress them down
cropped boyfriend jeans by popbarb on Polyvore

Either way, they’ll still look great.

So now it’s back to Polyvore and listmaking. Mom and I have a BTS shopping trip in NYC to look forward to this Thursday. Maybe we’ll see you there!

Bag’s the Question


vintage schoolbag

As back to school looms (or has arrived) for most of us, thoughts of last year’s schoolbag, still bulging with tattered binders, doodled notebooks and dull pencil nubs, resurface. While these shabby bags still look servicable to us careworn and cash-poor moms, they are positively outre to our persnickety children. They always need bigger, better, cooler bags. Can the universe continue to supply these? Of course not. We look to the usual retailers and perhaps a couple of unorthodox solutions to getting the bag right for Fall 09. Lizzi, you go first.

(Lizzi/Daughter) To me, book bags are probably one of the most important elements of going back to school.

I don’t know if it’s just me, but does anyone else have trouble finding a bag that will fit all your books and folders for school? And making sure it’s affordable but stylish?

Last year, being my first year in middle school, I had no idea how many books and things I would have to bring home everyday. So, I bought a good-sized LeSportSac that was 50% off and thought it would do fine. But every day when school ended, I’d find myself jamming hundreds of books, folders, jackets, lunch bags, etc. into my what-seemed-to-be-tiny book bag. Sure, the bag was cute and all, but by the middle of the year, I was tired of it.

It looks big here, but that's because it's stuffed with some old folders I still haven't unpacked.
It looks big here, but that’s because it’s stuffed with some old folders I still haven’t unpacked.

This year, I want to make sure not to make that mistake again.

Instead of having a tote this year, I want a messenger bag again, like I had in 3rd and 4th grade:

JanSport messenger bag 3rd and 4th grade
Of course, I want it less sporty and less, well, “fourth grade.”

I found this leather messenger bag a few days ago from J. Crew.

J. Crew leather messenger bag

I fell in love with it… until I looked at the price. $595?! Wow, must be real leather! I looked around for less pricey ones, but found out that most of the bags were too small. And not just the leather bags, all of them.

To be honest, I thought that finding a school bag this year would be easier because I knew what I wanted. But now that I’m looking, I can’t find anything. Mom! Help!

(Erika/Mom) How ’bout Mommy’s old Coach briefcase c. 1995? Just kidding. For cool stuff I tend to look across the Pond for inspiration. I found a few neat-looking messenger bags at Miniseri that seem roomy enough. This one is leather, with a fun plastic window in front for a photo:

Miniseri messenger bag
And I really like these bags, but seen through the cloudy lenses of mom-dom, I have no idea if they are cool or not:

travel bag
Besides,they might be a bit hard to shove into the narrow slits they call lockers. Personally, I love market bags–deep and roomy and oh, so malleable. You can shove these bags anywhere. Here’s a pretty blue floral one from April Cornell:

April Cornell market bag
When in doubt, though, it doesn’t hurt to fall back on the good ol’ Army/Navy store. We used to buy our peacoats there, when they were in style, er, awhile ago. They have these authentic Danish schoolbags that look like they would survive a war or two:

Danish messenger bag
And judging by the way kids abuse their bags–cramming them in closets, flinging them on as they run like mad to the schoolbus, dragging them along questionable cafeteria floors–well, durable isn’t such a dirty word.

Paris Fashion Part 1

whaaa...? no wifi? they promised!

whaaa...? no wifi? they promised!

(Erika/Mom) Elizabeth and I had grand plans. We were going to POST from the road. Yes indeedy, we were going to take our blog across the Atlantic and share our wonderful discoveries and observations of Parisian, Cote d’Azurian, and Venetian fashion in real time, on my sleek 17-inch Macbook Pro. I should know from long experience with the fickleness that is Europe, to never expect things to turn out the way you want. I can brag because I lived in France for one year. Spontaneity? Je ne crois pas. You have to plan grocery runs. Clerks at the post office do one thing really well; they will NOT take a package if they are in charge of airmail letter stamps. Flying by the seat of one’s pants is obviously not a French expression. So trying to secure the wifi to which we were entitled by the U.S. Constitution didn’t hold any water in Paris. We were “merde out of luck.” Pardon my French.

So we made the best of things. We kept our eyes open and our imaginations on high speed. We did not lament the lack of wifi access for long because there was so much to see and do. I not only got to see my beloved France again, I got to see it through the enthralled, fresh eyes of my children.

The photo above is our first apartment in the 3eme arrondissement. We are still experiencing jet lag, but itching to hit the rues and avenues. My aunt Phyllis promises to lead us to some of the great shops and Elizabeth of course wants to make sure she rubs elbows with the greatest couturiers of all times.

Dior and Valentino and Chanel...oh my! Walking down the greatest avenue of fashion design.

Dior and Valentino and Chanel...oh my! Walking down the greatest avenue of fashion design.

Elizabeth and I were glad we brought some pretty scarves with us. They’re easy to pack and dress up an outfit without compromising comfort. We even picked up a fun one that says Paris all over it, from a vendor in front of Versailles. We saw a lot of trends that surprised us, and some that we hope to jump on with our own wardrobes. Coming up are some more posts on specific looks and trends, with blurry examples from Paris, Lake Como, and Venice. It’s hard taking pictures of moving targets! We hope that you’ll enjoy the journey.

Grandmother’s Buttons


(Lizzi/Daughter) I just got off the phone with my best friend who said, “You like buttons?” like it was a bad thing. I laughed and explained to her that they can be really cute and made into something so chic. Sure, buttons are cute on sweaters, sometimes jeans, jackets, and more. But, they can look even more amazing made into accessories such as necklaces, brooches, bracelets, earrings, and watches.

Where can you find the best? Grandmother’s Buttons. Artisan-created antique button and beaded jewelry.

Plum Fancy $73.00

And if you’re in the mood for something button-less…

Key Earrings $24.00