Sunday, December 18, 2011

Ready for Liftoff

Unofficial poll time: do you bring a gym bag to work? Personally, I've found that bringing my workout clothes with me to work is the only way I'll hit the gym afterwards (...most of the time).

Right now, I use a large lululemon bag I bought several years ago - I just throw my wallet, phone, keys and other essentials in there along with my yoga pants and sneakers. It's not the greatest system. First, it can get really heavy and cause my shoulders to ache. Second, it's cumbersome, and if I go somewhere besides the gym after work (like last week, when my boyfriend surprised me with impromptu tickets to a concert), it looks odd. Third, taking the time to put together a stylish and elegant outfit and then shrugging on a utilitarian-looking, basic black bag is a bit frustrating.

After giving it some thought, I've decided to implement a new system: use a purse and a smaller gym bag. Having the weight equally distributed on both shoulders is undoubtedly healthier, and my boyfriend gave me a great everyday purse for Christmas! I thought about getting one of L.L.Bean's classic "Boat and Tote" bags, but they're a touch too ubiquitous. Still, the clean lines and preppy aesthetic appeal to me, so I went searching for a suitable substitute. And I think I've found it in this Wm. J. Mills & Co. Flight Bag.

A throwback to the golden age of air travel, when people needed only one medium-sized carry on, the Flight Bag is also the perfect size for gym essentials. Handcrafted from duck canvas, its sturdy shape makes it more polished than a tote bag. The zip top is great too, protecting your gear from the elements (and protecting your colleagues from the unsociable sight of that ratty NYU t-shirt you wear to spinning class).

The only question is, should I choose nautical navy or handsome hunter green?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Go Sparkly or Go Home

I feel like every year, holiday dressing gets more and more sparkly. Five years ago, I wore some glittery chandelier earrings with my black New Year's Eve dress; five years from now, I'll be wearing a long-sleeve hooded full bodysuit made up entirely of Swarovski crystals. This is a trend I heartily approve of! Nothing in the world can be that bad when, at least one month a year, it is socially acceptable to dress like a disco ball.

Case in point:
Eliza J Sequin Drape Neck Dress, $79 at Nordstrom. Please, please, someone invite me to a NYE rager (a classy rager, if possible) so I can wear this.

Monday, October 24, 2011

And I also need a new purse,

because my Nine West one is two years old and more leather is flaking off the straps everyday. Two big purchases in such a short timespan is enough to send me into a tailspin, but I've found some great options on Etsy and I feel good about spending $150-ish for a good quality bag.

So if I want to go with the camel coat/red bag look, I have two picks from Adele Shop (where everything is 15% off!). Slightly darker red foldover flap bag, $123. Love the color and the buckle details, but I have two concerns: first, that it'll be hard to get the straps onto my shoulder when I'm bundled up in a coat/sweater. I fucking hate the way bags look hanging on the crook of your elbow--it just reads "spoiled princess" to me. (Except: Pan Am stewardesses.) Second concern is that the foldover flap will be an annoyance when I'm rushing down the subway steps and need to pull out my Metrocard without breaking stride, or when I'm already on the subway and want to get my book out to read a few pages, even if I'm going one stop. 

This Flamingo bag, $123, opens at the top, but it is a little dull in comparison, right? The pretty floral lining makes up for it a little, though.

I'm not sure if the color in this photo is accurate--it looks more like merlot than candy apple red. Red leather handbag, $125. Also simple, and perhaps too small for my everyday pack animal needs, but that tassel is charming my heart. 
This purple pebble handbag, $145? Definitely not too small. 

You know what could look unexpectly awesome with a camel coat? Turquoise leather. This would definitely fulfill one of my purse Musts: being able to quickly pick it out from a pile of bags on someone's bed at the end of an apartment party. Turquoise pebble bag, $145.

Then there's this more subdued bluish-grey bag, $130. It's made from a vintage jacket, so the leather is a little worn in--how cool is that?

Another tassel! This electric blue color is one of my favorites, and this could be a good happy medium size between "bag lady" and "tiny paperbacks only" size purses. Slouchy blue leather handbag, $145.

And then there's Cognac brown, the shade of my very favorite pair of boots. Here's a bag that'll never go out of style, and I like the exterior pockets (great for keys and work ID badge). Brown bag, $115 .

Two many good choices! Leave a comment telling me what to get, but don't you dare go over to Etsy and buy any of these one-of-a-kind bags out from under me.

So I need a new winter coat,

and of course I’m approaching this with the seriousness and depth of research that other people have when applying to grad school. Right now I’m struggling with the “As a blonde, can I wear a  camel coat or will I look like a beige chameleon?” question. This street style photo (via Refinery 29) proves that it can be done right—I would wear that entire outfit, from the black neck bow to the red notebook.

But this runway photo scares me! What if I forget my colorful scarf or gloves and people mistake me for a giant walking cannoli?

I wouldn’t even be considering camel (if you know anything about me it’s that I’m a “give me a color or give me death!” sort of girl), but I’m having a hard time finding a good coat in brights and jewel tones. I came awfully close to buying this J.Crew double-cloth townhouse trench, $350, last night, since they had a 25% off and free shipping coupon code:

Now that’s a good color, right? And those buttons! But I was scared off by both lukewarm reviews from J.Crew Afficionada commenters and the very high price. If it goes on sale again I might take the leap, but I couldn’t justify it.
So now I’m eyeing this Laundry Wool Trench, $219.99:

I’ve learned that belted dresses are the best way to prevent looking like a refrigerator while all bundled up, and the skirt is also super feminine. But the color. It worries me. On the other hand, perhaps the classic color should comfort me, because this is a long-term investment piece; I’m thinking three winters, minimum. And a good rule of thumb is that if Betty Draper once wore it, you’ll be able to wear it forever.

Here are three more coats I’m considering (and in case you’re wondering, no, I haven’t done any work today):
Tommy Hilfiger Toggle Hooded Coat, $189.99:

Calvin Klein Belted Wool in wine, $209.99:

BB Dakota “Josie” Wrap Coat, $129: (Ok, not really a serious option, but an endearingly silly one)