Why. No. The Belt Bag.

Rebranding a fanny pack as a “belt bag” doesn’t make it any less a fanny pack. I love that I’m seeing these crop up all over the place, but to me, they belong on a mom or dad at a theme park. One use and one use alone. And you can bet that I sure as hell won’t drop $1800 bucks for something that will invariably get doused when I go down Splash Mountain.

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GG Marmont Velvet Belt Bag – $1,890

Listen, I don’t mind that these are making a comeback from the 80s and early 90s (though it’s been attempted on and off for the past 6 or 7 years, at least, on runways with limited success). What I mind is not calling a spade a spade, and for something to be so on-trend it’s almost useless for daily life. You can fight me on this, but when I have kids, IF I ever elect to wear a FANNY PACK, you can be sure I’ll be proudly rockin’ the Goofy special in some garish neon color, having paid for the Walt Disney tickets with all the money I saved NOT buying these (despite the inarguable stylishness).

September 12 OOTD: Outdoorsy

I just recently returned from spending some time at my in-laws lake house. It’s a bit outside of Yosemite and has a bunch of gorgeous hiking trails, camping spots, and such.

Unfortunately, outdoorsy clothes aren’t exactly cute, are they? I mean, sure there are people that own that ish, but it’s hard to put the outfits together given the just general blah-ness of what we have to work with. So without further ado, here’s a cute outfit for your fall adventures (specifically for mildly cool, not-too-rugged conditions).

Fall Hiking Outfit

TOP: Kuhl Aspira Tank Top – $22.99

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Breathable and layerable, a good base layer for your trekking!

SWEATSHIRT: Alternative Apparel Athletics Hoodie – $15.24 – $54

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I love Alternative Apparel – they’re super duper soft, really breathable, and not too confining. This is not a heavy sweatshirt, so you won’t overheat if you are on a tough trail in cool weather. Nothing worse than getting sweaty and picking up a chill…

VEST: Uniqlo Women’s Ultra Light Down Vest – $39.90

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This is such a great added layer – it scrunches into a tiny-sized carrying case that you can pop into your backpack and pull out as needed. I’d suggest going for a bright color, like red, though this burgundy shade pictured is nice, too.

PANTS: KUT from the Kloth ‘Diana’ Stretch Skinny Jeans – $36.97

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If you’re not getting super rugged, a pair of jeans with comfortable stretch should do the trick. I’m all about premium denim, but not for an activity like hiking, where I’m almost guaranteed to destroy my pants. If I dropped $180 on jeans that snagged on thorns, I think I’d cry.

BOOTS: Kodiak Surrey II Hiking Boot – $121 – 170

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Don’t skimp on price for anything that connects you to the ground! Meaning, don’t cheap out on shoes, tires, or your mattress/bed. Seriously – you’ll thank me later. Having destroyed my feet in fast fashion high heels on cobblestones for a few years, I can assure you that the scars aren’t prettier with each year. And particularly with an activity like hiking, you want your shoes to be sturdy and safe. Make sure you break these in sufficiently, and always wear the appropriate socks when hiking!

OTHER (MAYBE ESSENTIAL?) ODDS AND ENDS

 

A Girl Can Dream: Daniela Villegas

I can’t find these earrings in stock, but I’m absolutely in love with them. I love classic and easy pieces, particularly when it comes to clothing – but I really like to indulge myself with funky and crazy jewelry pieces and accessories that can amp things up and really just kind of let my creative side loose.

That said, I don’t love jewelry that will turn my ears green, so indulgent pieces aren’t exactly something I feel great splurging on – I’d rather get jewelry that lasts a long time and is multi-purpose.

But this Jurassic Park 25 collection by Daniela Villegas (an NBC Universal collab to commemorate the film) is something I’m kind of obsessed with. Comparable DV pieces I’ve found online cost thousands, so while I can’t find pricing on these, I know for a fact I can’t afford them. But I’ll lust after them anyway!!

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Meteoro Earrings

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Triceratiops Ring

July 31 OOTD: Beach Babe

I’ve recently quit my job, and as of next week will actually have some beach time and an ability to go out into the sunshine during the week. If you look at me, you’d have no idea it was the peak of SoCal summer – I’m so darn pasty.

So, here’s a cute beach outfit that also translates well to a glam pool party — looks super luxe.

A DAY AT THE BEACH

BATHING SUIT: Myraswim Enzo One-Piece in Vanilla – $120 AUD

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Hi-cut and with a bustier detail to keep the girls looking perky and… less like headlights, this classy white suit is easy peasy lemon squeezy. Pop on a pair of shorts and wear out like a tank top, tight jeans if you’re going beach-to-clubbing, or just a traditional kaftan or cover-up to complete the look.

COVER-UP: ASOS Design Slinky Glam Long Sleeve Plunge Beach Dress in Rust – $51

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Holy moly, how cute is this dress? I don’t advise blowing a huge budget on cover-ups, though I do think good swim items (specifically bathing suits) are worth the price tag. That said, every cover-up I’ve ever owned has taken a ton of punishment. If I put things on after the beach, light colors get dingy, and it’s difficult to wash items with a lot of beading or embellishment. If I wear things in the sand or poolside, the sand itself is harsh, as well as chlorine and sun – you get regular bleaching punishment. Of course, if you don’t plan to actually go in the water… worry less about what you wear 😉

SHOES: Steve Madden Bandi Platform Wedge – $89.95

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Cork for sand, easy slope, not much that will chafe… and very Côte d’Azur. You can wear these all day with no pain – the straps are textile, not anything that’ll sweat.

OTHER (NONESSENTIAL) ODDS AND ENDS TO FINISH THE LOOK:

Enjoy your suntime funtime – I know I will!

WHY. NO. – The Rhinestone Cowboy Boot

Flipping through magazines, I spotted a western-themed spread… and one of the items featured was this Dolce and Gabbana 30 mm Crystal Western Boot.

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Even though I recently sold my pair of cowboy boots (still on the lookout for an ideal pair, mind you), I legitimately have no idea how you’d wear these outside of a fetish outfit for a stripper. Maybe this is me missing something or just not being “It-Girl” enough… but I just don’t get it. I’ll do a feature at some point on how to wear cowboy boots (they’re unbelievably cute, and when maintained properly, perfectly comfortable), but they won’t be these.

Oh, and if you want to choke on your drink, these blinding, vajazzled monstrosities cost $6,500. You can buy a car or new boobs for that number.

July 30 OOTD: Sassy Florals

Sorry for my absence – despite best intentions to post twice a day to get this blog up and running initially, real life called. I’ve quit my job and am tying up loose ends.

That said, what this has meant for me is a deep dive into fashion magazines I’m behind on reading, a schedule for how I will fill my days, and a reinvigorated focus on the things I love and am personally trying to accomplish.

Yield: The Florals. I absolutely love the continued presence of big and bold florals we’re seeing across the board, with Gucci and D&G and others. I was ripping out page after page today from Elle to tuck into my sketchbook because this ish made me SO HAPPY. And this mother-daughter post from one of my favorite Instagram accounts (Mrs B.C.) was so darn cute.

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Elle Magazine… June (?) 2018

But, because most of us don’t have a few K just laying around to spend on Dolce and Gabbana, here’s the hot summer rose look for less.

Casual Floral Outfit for Summer

TOP: Rebecca Taylor Silk Blend Floral Blouse – $129.97

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Admittedly on the pricier end of the spectrum for a casual outfit, I think the material is worth the splurge. When looking for something that follows a trend, most of the dupe items you find will be polyester, which frankly doesn’t breathe in the dog days of summer. This is cool and breezy.

BOTTOMS: 7 For All Mankind Distressed Denim Skirt in Montreal – $134.99 (or 40% off retail with code – $80.99)

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I am totally in love with this skirt, and 7FAM jeans are my favorite, by far. This isn’t too short/high, but is youthful enough to be a really good multi-purpose piece – wear to brunch or daytime activities with your boyfriend, or throw on a blazer and sleek blouse and ankle boots for a night at a bar. At the time of prepping this post, there is a 40% off code on Off5th, but these sales are not infrequent – if you miss this, you’ll catch another. Plus, 2% cash back on Ebates.

SHOES: Adidas Cloudfoam Advantage Sneaker – $44.97

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These Cloudfoams land on my Wardrobe Essentials list. Unbelievably comfortable and versatile as just a general daytime shoe.

OTHER (NONESSENTIAL) ODDS AND ENDS TO FINISH THE LOOK:

Cop or Dupe – Longchamp Le Pliage

Let’s talk about one of the most popular and versatile casual bags on the market, the infamous Longchamp tote.

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Pictured here is the Le Pliage Small Nylon Shoulder Tote Bag; this size generally retails for $125 almost anywhere. Admittedly, this isn’t too terrible of a price in comparison to many of the other items I’ve scouted here, but it’s over $100 for a nylon bag with leather handles. Admittedly a well-crafted nylon bag that folds over in a handy, travel-friendly way, but a nylon bag all the same.

LastCall has recently had a whole slew of Le Pliage and other Longchamp bags in stock; the small size is on sale for $105.

So, the question is – should you cop and drop a dime on this? Think it through – you’re essentially paying for a brand name, which can sometimes – but only sometimes – be worth it. I’m thinking more along the lines of resale value.

On to eBay!

The pricing runs the gamut here. The “well loved” listing has the most interest, but the active bidding is still only up to about $24. There is a preowned long-handled tote available to buy now for $22.95, with no interest (looks a bit battered)… and then there’s running interest in one with a starting bid of $50 that looks like it’s in solidly good condition.

Here’s a scan of what I found on Poshmark:

Pricing seems to be a bit more consistent for what’s on sale here, but I see fewer actual “unavailable” pieces like this on Posh- I suspect prices don’t drop enough for owners to feel comfortable selling, based on initial investment. But buyers don’t seem willing to go quite this high, generally, either.

Let’s think back on the material and composition. While this is heavy-duty nylon, it’s a type of material that scratches and scuffs easily. You cannot cosmetically repair blemishes in nylon. Think back on your other purses, especially those with lighter-colored leather – does your usage discolor the handles and corners of your bags easily? I hate to be blunt, but some people just have generally oilier/sweatier hands than others, which means that more dirt will stick to the handles and such. And though this leather isn’t beige, it is still a brown that is susceptible to dirt you’re unlikely to get out again – it’s not as forgiving as, say, the dark cowhide of a Damier Ebene Neverfull.

So… it’s not really something you’re likely to get in great condition if you’re buying used. It really becomes a question of whether or not it’s worth buying new, at this point, which will now be based on your ability to resell it, yourself.

The value that you’ll get back for a Longchamp seems like it’s going to be based on how clean you can keep it. If in good condition, you may be able to get up to $60 back for your small tote, which means a sunk cost of $45.

The reality though, is that the material itself will be working against you with regular use, and you’ll probably only average about $30-40 back, meaning a sunk cost of $65-75.

Don’t get me wrong, nylon totes are great – lightweight, water resistant, and malleable, they fit a fair amount (and are easily carried, even full to the brim)– plus you can use them for everything (diaper bag, gym bag, work bag, travel bag, etc.). Plus, no one can deny how classy authentic Le Pliage bags generally are.

But, paying extra for the brand name isn’t going to net you fair value, IMO. Get a Longchamp for the name and for the workmanship that the brand is known for, and for the warranty. If you’re looking for a workhorse bag, this is probably not it- it’s a little too pricey to trash without feeling guilty. So…

VERDICT: IF YOU NEED A NYLON BAG FOR FUNCTIONAL REASONS AND AREN’T JUST LOOKING FOR SOMETHING BRANDED, GET A DUPE.

You don’t need the horse and jockey logo for this bag; there are plenty of other bags that are largely identical and serve the same function(s).

Suggestions:

July 24 OOTD: Daytime Wedding

I love daytime weddings because I’m an 80-year-old woman in a 20-something’s body – I’m not really one of those party-until-2 am wedding types (at least, not anymore). Daytime weddings? MY DREAM.

Seriously, guys, invite me for a luncheon all day, erryday.

FOR A WEDDING IN THE MORNING OR AFTERNOON

DRESS: Gal Meets Glam Collection Yvonne Dream Crepe One-Shoulder Dress – on sale for $94.80

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Although polyester is a pet peeve of mine, this is an affordable and well-constructed dress that really drapes beautifully. Plus, I love the color. (P.S. I can’t believe I have to tell anyone this, but it’s poor taste to wear white to a wedding if you’re not the bride. Also, do not wear club wear to a wedding at any time of day or night. I’ve seen way too much of this shit recently– you can look cute at a wedding without overshadowing the bride’s special day, or giving other guests things to talk about that will overshadow the day’s festivities)

SHOES: Badgley Mischka Teri Embellished Caged Sandals – $209, but frequently on 40% sale – $125.40

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These are shoes that basically look like jewelry to me – unbelievably cute. If the wedding is outdoors, though, prepare your shoes to protect them from mud and grass stains. Generally, you might want to look into an upholstery protectant and/or waterproofing spray, but hairspray will do in a pinch. Also, these heel protecters are godsend – you can get ones with a smaller base, but the stiletto will still sink somewhat into soft dirt, so the broader the heel base, the better. You don’t want your pretty new shoes to get ruined by an inch of mud.

CLUTCH: Jessica McClintock Sparkle Minaudier in Champagne – $34.70

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As someone who’s been to a lot of weddings at which attire becomes a great way to display wealth and impress other wedding guests, I frankly think it’s stupid to spend a lot of money on a clutch. Most of us aren’t hitting cocktail parties every night, nor are we going to the opera on a regular basis. A simple clutch that goes with any outfit is great, and this champagne color can lean toward either gold or silver jewelry choices. Clean and classic and not overly embellished while still being a bit glitzy.

OTHER ODDS AND ENDS TO FINISH THE LOOK:

Note: I don’t recommend wearing a necklace with a one-shoulder dress with such a big featured bow – that should be the focal point of the neckline, not additional bling.

Now go celebrate some love!

A Girl Can Dream: Luxury Nightwear

This actually is something a little more attainable in my “girl can dream” series of luxury items. Personally, silk nightwear has always been an indulgent fantasy of mine, but I still haven’t copped because I’m just a gross, disgusting sleeper who sweats through everything, and I imagine I’d ruin anything that wasn’t a plain cotton t-shirt quicker than you can say “deodorant.”

However, if you were going to cop, Lunya does washable silk sleepwear that’s super cute. They have silk kits and slips, as well as short pj sets, but I personally have already put these two items on my Christmas wish list with my husband:

WASHABLE SILK PANT SET – $238

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WASHABLE SILK ROBE – $248

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Not quite as out-of-reach, but more out of budget than strictly necessary. But this segment is all about indulgence, right?

July 23 OOTD: The Not-Outdated Powersuit

I think I’ve made my feelings on suits relatively clear – the time of the old-school power suit has passed. Women’s suiting has a long and illustrious history of an attempt to level the playing field between the genders.

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The 80s power suit in particular, with its gigantic padded shoulders mimicking the broad structured shoulders of Wall Street suits, did a fair amount to visually achieve that goal… and then didn’t progress all that much for 20-30 years. These “modern silhouettes” attempted to liken the genders by, in my opinion, reframing traditional femininity within the outlines of what was perceived to be masculine.*

Unless, of course, they were fetishized.

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*Note that the trend toward androgyny in attire is, at least to my mind, a completely different and intention in fashion, something to reclaim pieces and fashion as “neither-nor”  as a concept when gendering attire, rather than “either-or” and forcing women to choose the latter in order to play with the boys. Own that androgynous style – just recognize the difference and nuance between the motivations of why these styles are worn.

The reality is that we don’t live in a world anymore that sees being womanly or feminine as a weakness – we don’t need to necessarily have to have linebacker shoulders to be taken as seriously as men. Being female is a power in and of itself, and not one that’s sexualized or fetishized – it’s about perfect comfort in ones own skin, in one’s own clothing, and accounting for the sexism behind the office thermostat.

That said, we’re hitting summer sale season. It’s a good time to stock up on your transitional suiting pieces.

THREE SALE SUITING SUGGESTIONS TO HOP ON RIGHT NOW:

#1- THE PRICEY: Theory Sculpted Chevron Jacket and Theory Adbell K Chevron Stretch Pants – Nordstrom Anniversary Sale total: $514.80

Yes, I know this is pricey. This viscose and wool set is the highest end of the price spectrum I’ll suggest today. The chevron print is both timeless and youthful, and these pieces can liven up an outfit when worn either together or separately – plus, I love a good mandarin-style collar. Good suits, with fine cut, cost money, but they should last years. Consider the amortized costs to decide if this is worth it for you.

#2- THE MODERATE: WHBM All-Season Peplum Jacket ($150) and Essential Slim-Crop Pants ($89)

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Super tailored to accentuate the positive, with some unusual detailing to draw away from the strictly-classic structure. The crops would be good for transitional seasons.

#3- THE ULTRA AFFORDABLE: Zara Cape Jacket ($99.90) and Flared Pants ($69.90)

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I love capes! Zara is pretty fast fashion, but with an item as on-trend as a cape, it’s tough to beat the price… plus, no uncomfortable shoulder-pulling from your sleeves, and an easy piece to use/transition into evening wear!

#4- ULTRA AFFORDABLE AND PRONE TO SALES: Nine West Kiss-Front Blazer and Flare-Hem Skirt – $168

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With some added frill detail on the skirt and a notched collar / kiss-front closure, the set pictured here is such a dressed up version of a classic. And Macy’s frequently has sales (48 hour, etc.), and offers up to 12% cash back via Ebates.

Happy suiting!