Posts Categorized: accessories

This Week I Love …

… distressed leather bags.

Earlier this year, I was on a mission to find a leather bag that looked like it had been left in the rain, run over by a semi, and buried in the yard for a few months. I’ve written about my affection for distressed leather boots before, but have generally gravitated toward sleeker bags. Until I shifted my style toward the casual and edgy, at which point a beat-up-looking bag felt like just the thing.

Here are some of the options I considered, and a few I’ve been ogling lately:

stick dog leather

Stick Dog Leather Crossbody Bag – $155

I own one of Bret’s gorgeous bags (seen here and here) and can tell you from personal experience that the leather is thick but not stiff, and truly lovely in person. As distressed leathers go, this one is on the subtle side, but it has a distinct marl to it that lends personality and edge. Plus, get a load of that cool hardware.

frye cameron tote

FRYE Cameron Tote Handbag – $281.47 with code BAGS20OFF

If you thought Frye boots were spendy, take a look at their bags. This little lover clocks in at nearly $700 full price, so it’s quite a bargain. Well, relatively speaking. I’ve actually ordered a few bags from the Cameron line and sent them all back for one reason or another, but I was impressed by how beautifully distressed the leathers were. For an even more beat-up look, peek at the Deborah bags.

rough and tumble leather bags

Rough and Tumble Waxed Canvas and Leather Tote – $178

I bought one of Natasha’s sling bags on super sale a couple of months ago, and it is exquisitely made. You can mix and match materials for most of her designs, and she incorporates some gorgeous waxed canvases for a few bags like this better-than-basic tote. That vintage brown leather base has such a perfectly distressed look to it.

free people distressed leather

Free People Asher Vegan Tote – $98

Yep, even vegan leather can be distressed! Love the two-tone design of this one, the edgy black hardware, and the fact that it’s nice and roomy at 17.5″ x 11.75″4 x 5.25″.

liebeskind bag

Liebeskind Berlin Vanessa Double Dye Bag – $177.03 with code BAGS20OFF

I first saw this brand at Anthropologie a few years back, and have been smitten ever since. Their designs tend to be simple, but with thoughtful details and this roomy dual-strap bag is no exception. I love this distressed brick red, but it also comes in two beautifully mottled brown leathers.

faux leather crossbody

T-Shirt & Jeans Washed Crossbody Bag – $28

“Washed” is another term used to describe leathers both real and faux that have an aged or well-loved look to them. This bag is small and faux leather, so it’s quite a bargain. But still large enough for wallet, phone, and keys and would look perfect with a printed sundress and gladiator sandals.

distressed satchel

Leather Handbag Satchel – $145

I bought a bright red leather backpack from Beckie many years ago, and it is both durable and beautifully constructed. She’s started to work with vintage-finish leathers, and I’m drooling over virtually all of them. It’s hard to pick a favorite, but this rolled-handle satchel with a nice, long shoulder strap is definitely in the running.

Anyone else a fan of distressed leather? Got your eye on any bags for the coming season?

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Reader Request: Pairing Earrings and Statement Necklaces

earrings and statement necklaces

Reader Sarah e-mailed me this question:

I tend to gravitate toward matchy-matchy pieces, perhaps because they seem safe and that’s primarily what was modeled growing up in a rural community. In particular, I struggle to find earrings that go with statement necklaces, especially when one or the other contains colored stones or beads. Most of my earrings tend to be relatively short drops, but at times they seem to detract from or contrast with the necklaces. If I go without either the earrings or necklace, my look seems incomplete; earrings tend to disappear into my curly hair or my neck feels too open. Any advice?

With a statement necklace, I always default to studs. Since the necklace and earrings are close to each other, you don’t want them to compete and long, dangly earrings will definitely group with a big necklace and give the impression of a lot of jewelry. However, my ears are entirely exposed because of my short hair, so all earrings are quite visible on me. In Sarah’s case, she’s got thick, curly hair that can obscure small earrings. A large stud may still work, but the next step is simple drop earrings. You want your earrings to stay fairly close to your lobes so true danglers may look like overkill, but something with a single gem or small dangly element should work in most cases.

If your necklace has colored stones or beads and you’d rather not match their color with your earrings, you can do studs or drops in whatever metal is used in the necklace’s hardware. If that creates a visual disconnect for you, repeat the metal in your bracelet or watch. So, basically, match your bracelet and earrings and let the necklace stand alone.

Those are my rules of thumb. What are yours? How to you pick earrings to complement your big, statement-y necklaces?

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Reader Request: What About Pantyhose?

when to wear pantyhose

Reader Natalie sent me this question:

I’m a bit unsure about legwear – not tights, but stockings. As a kid, my mom and grandmother taught me never to go out in a dress without them. It isn’t proper. As an adult, I am noticing that the rules for legwear aren’t as clear cut anymore. I have been challenging myself to reflect on how I feel about stockings. My feelings are mixed. I’m worried that I either look unprofessional without them, or dated and old with them. Are there any rules on how to wear stockings? How can I make them look young and fun, rather than old and dowdy?

I could’ve sworn I’ve written about this topic before, but can’t find any posts that specifically address the question of pantyhose. So. Let do this.

Bottom line: If you feel more comfortable wearing nude nylons, then by all means do so. As you may have heard, the Middleton ladies wear them frequently, and both are current style icons. Plus I know lawyers are generally required to wear them in court. Hose have come a long way over the years, and today’s nudes can really disappear against your skin. If you wear them, try to find a high-quality pair/brand that works with your specific skin tone.

Now. In my opinion, wearing pantyhose with a casual sundress and sandals may look a little awkward. Wearing pantyhose to a business casual office might seem like overkill. And nowadays most women do bare legs in summer, tights in winter, and hose only for very specific occasions. (Here in the States, anyway.) Nylons are, to some extent, representative of an bygone era and wearing them may date you. Especially if they’re obvious and/or worn in a casual context.

I’m not gonna hand down any rules for the wearing of pantyhose because I don’t really dig rules. This is a question that many women feel very strongly about on both sides, and there’s room in the world for nylon-wearers and nylon-shunners. Some women may prefer to do hose because of scarring or discoloration in their legs, to add color without tanning (fake or otherwise), or because they just feel more pulled-together with them on. Others love tights – and wear sheer patterned tights for transitional seasons – but see hose as a thing of the past. Wherever you fall, you’ll have supporters and naysayers. So you must decide for yourself.

Over to you: What are your thoughts on nylons/pantyhose? Always? Never? Only for formal occasions?

Images courtesy Kohl’s

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