Friday, March 29, 2013

I Remember the Colors of Spring


 
Brightly colored Easter dresses are a tradition
 

For many their earliest memories of Easter involve color. We would go to church and seeing all the new dresses and hats, Easter baskets with their colorful candy and spring was also on the way. I remember going to church with my Grandma and seeing all the ladies in their pastel dresses. It was the era of lemon yellow and lime green. Some even wore florals but all were colorful including their offspring.

 

I also remember chocolate rabbits wrapped in Technicolor foil, plastic eggs filled with colorful jelly beans and everything held in a basket with green plastic grass. That is probably why when I think of Easter I think of the renewal of spring and all of the beautiful colors. There is of course a more significant meaning but as a child I didn’t always grasp this important concept. The things we remember as children come back to us the easiest but usually without all the details.

 

Who can forget their childhood Easter baskets
 
 
I do miss the Easter egg hunts that I participated in as a child and of course the ones I staged for my children who are now all grown. I won’t be buying an Easter basket filled with candy, although I could probably make a centerpiece for the dining room table. A clear vase filled with pastel candies if I truly wanted to indulge.

 

So those of you with little ones enjoy these moments and take lots of pictures. The rest of us can enjoy all the colors of spring and the holiday weekend. It will hopefully bring all the promise of renewal and hope. Some warmer weather and blooming flowers will be desired as well. Happy Easter everyone.
 
A very creative use of Peeps

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Alex and Ani Jewelry Discounted


The model is contemplating her Zen moment
 


I received a coupon from Bloomspot this morning featuring 50% off $100 of Alex and Ani jewelry. My guess is the Super Bowl ad didn’t work. Bloomspot is like all those online coupon sites, the same as Groupon and Living Social, they offer customer upwards of 50% off of services, dining and various fun stuff. Needless to say I was a little shocked by the discount on Alex and Ani jewelry. It takes some working capital to pay for a Super Bowl commerical slot.

 

Now I understand that an ad during the Super Bowl doesn’t guarantee the success of a company. I also know that out of all the ads during this event I thought a jewelry ad was a little out of place. There was one that featured football players discussing the merits of a particular cut of diamond while a fan proposed in the stands, but since they used football players and a public proposal on the jumbotron, it kind of fit.
 
 

 

Cute stackable bracelets
 
 
 
The Alex and Ani commercial was all elegance, beautiful women having a Zen moment and then quick flashes of jewelry. The ad was great at conveying their philosophy; it didn’t blend well with the concept of a major sporting event. Alex and Ani jewelry believes, and I’m quoting from the ad here, “they are inspired by “the wisdom of ancient thinkers” and a mission to promote positivity, this jewelry line crafts intricate bangles, earrings, and necklaces designed to keep every outfit fashionable.”

 

It makes one wonder whether the ad money spend for the Super Bowl commercial really paid off, as they are now selling their inventory at 50% off. When it comes to advertising sometimes slow and steady wins the race. If Alex and Ani had taken the same amount spent on that one commercial and spread it out over several weeks they probably would have gotten more bang for their buck. They also could have targeted their audience a little better. I think commercial time during a “Housewives of Wherever” would have fit better. At least the audience would have been women who like bling, not sports fans drinking beer and eating nachos, not that there's anything wrong with that.
 
You have to admit, their ads are very professional

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Know Your Closet


 
In truth, my pile was bigger
 
 

I know I’ve said this before, it is spring cleaning time after all and what better spring cleaning project than your closet. Not only do you get a clean closet but you can also do some shopping to fill in the gaps in your wardrobe. I actually sort through my closet when the mood strikes me. It can be after long intervals or maybe every few weeks. I recently was disgusted with my inability to find something to wear and started pulling things out of my closet.

 

Now I didn’t so a whole closet overhaul, I have way too much stuff for that. I did however go over a couple of racks and took out all of the larger sizes that just didn’t fit anymore. I also took out all those sweaters that shrunk weird or got worn out. Yes I loved some of them, but let’s face it, I was never going to wear them again because they just became too old and over washed and they looked funky on me.

 

I sometimes wonder if Goodwill cringes when they see me with all those bags
 
 
What was truly shocking was how many bags of clothing came out of that small section of closet. Apparently I have honed stuffing a closet with clothing into a fine art. There was also way too much stuff that hadn’t been worn in quite a while. I think it was time to get rid of that silk Hawaiian print shirt. On the plus side I also found a few items I have forgotten about and are still in wearable condition.

 

I found two pairs of old jeans, one is just okay but look good with boots and are brand new another pair were very old, super soft and fit just right. I actually went out and bought a new silk blouse at H&M to go with them. It gives just the right combination of old and new. I wear them with my navy blazer and some tan loafer and it looks pretty sharp. So cleaning out a closet doesn’t have to be traumatic you might even find an old friend.
 
This silk blouse from H&M is awesome

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Industrial Jewelry


 
Love the Cartier nail bracelet
 

Spikes and nails, metal and leather, it can be Punk, Goth or have Biker flair, these are all aspects of industrial jewelry. Industrial jewelry adds a little bit of an edge to frilly and girly fashions. You’ve seen it when a woman wears a sweet flower print dress and a leather biker jacket. The edge makes the outfit age appropriate. I don’t care how old you are, a floral dress, Mary Janes and pigtails are only appropriate on a child, but lose the pigtails, trade the Mary Janes for spiked heels and add a leather jacket, now you’re talking.

 

Industrial jewelry consists of faux nails bent into rings or bracelets, earrings with dangly spikes. It looks hard, has a rough edge, it appears to be hand carved or made from scrap metal pieces. It is different from molded jewelry with fine edges and you would never describe it as elegant or delicate. It will have weight or give the appearance of weight and heft and it generally means business.

 

 
 
Industrial jewelry isn’t reserved for chicks in leather jackets and boots. It can be worn with delicate fabrics to keep an outfit from looking too sweet. It works well with minimalist outfits that have simple smooth lines. Image a white suit with a gold spiked necklace that lies across the collar bone. Silk pants with a wide leg and matching sleeveless collared shirt would look awesome with wide hammered metal cuffs or a couple of those Cartier Nail Bracelets.

 

This look also can be a DIY project. There are tons of tutorials on the internet on how to turn hardware store items into jewelry. You can also add a little Steampunk feel by reusing vintage jewelry or watch pieces. Spring is the perfect time to try something a little different and since the weather is still pretty mild you might want to keep that leather jacket handy and add a little industrial jewelry for a completely fashionable look.
 
If you're handy you can make your own jewelry!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Animal Jewelry

Cartier Panther bracelet
 


There seems to be a trend of animal jewelry out there. Some of it is good and some is not so good. It is amazing but pieces featuring animals have actually been around for a long time. Case in point, the Cartier Panther Brooch created for Wallis Simpson in the 1940s. Women and men have been wearing animal jewelry for quite some time, so like any trend or style it will come and go, have its day then fade away. Currently it is making a comeback.
 

 A diamond snake necklace

Some of the hot trends in jewelry and accessories feature snakes. There are snake rings, bracelets, necklaces and they adorn the clasps of evening bags. Stars have worn them at red carpet events and they’ve been seen on the fashion runways. Popular animal jewelry not only features snakes, but cats, dolphins and even insects. I have a small stackable ring with a silver dragonfly. It’s actually quite demur.

 Animal prints in jewelry

Now animals are not only featured as creations in jewelry, the animal print is also quite popular. Bracelets made of faux animal fur and statement necklaces with animals prints are on trend this season. We’ve been seeing animal prints in clothing for quite a while now so it’s only natural to see it showing up in our jewelry. Zebra strips in enamel on a ring, leopard prints on a bracelet, the beautiful greens and blues of peacock feathers reproduced on a brooch.
 

 
Love the reds and the elephant head bracelet
 
 
While animals and their prints are nothing new in fashion, they are extremely on trend right now. If you don’t have some, get some. You can start off small with an animal print bracelet mixed in with other metal bracelets for an arm party. Stack some rings on your finger and slip in an animal print. It doesn’t have to be bold, it can be subtle, but if you wear it, you will certainly be on trend this season.
 
Throw a few pieces in with your outfit

Friday, March 22, 2013

Wear Yellow in Spring

Who can resist yellow Louis Vuitton


Yellow is a hot color right now. There was a lot of it on the runways at New York Fashion Week and the spring 2013 collections. Now not all yellows are created equal and there are great variations in the tone of the color. There are bright yellows that appear to have neon lights shining from within. There are mellow yellows that have just a hint of a yellow color and there are deeply saturated yellows like daffodil.

 

The great thing about color is the ability to match any personality and individual taste. I like yellow but I don’t look really good in bright yellows. I need either the subtlety of a lemon yellow or a deep yellow. Those neon yellows look bad on me. Although there are people who really look good in bright yellow, my mother is one. She can put on a bright yellow sweater and it really makes her skin glow. This is how you know you have the right color.

 
Everything has a touch of yellow
 
 
If you like yellow but don’t feel comfortable in it, try an accessory. Brightly colored handbags are all the rage this season. You can also wear some jewelry with yellow. Amber has some wonderful yellow and orange tones so the color won’t overwhelm you. Scarves, shoes and hats all come in yellow and make wonderful accent pieces. You don’t have to go out wearing head to toe yellow to indulge in the trend. Maybe you can try a watch with a yellow band and face.

 

Yellow pairs well with white, black, grey, and even amethyst. Nothing looks more spring like than denim jeans and a yellow shirt, or maybe a beautiful yellow skirt with a crisp white blouse. Don’t be afraid of yellow this season, start off slow and work your way up. I’m thinking maybe some lemon yellow flats or a yellow blazer. It will be a bright alternative to my usual navy blazer and jeans. I think it’s time for a little spring in my life and yellow is the color of spring.
 
Try just one piece at a time

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Hey...Do You Need a Watch?

 
There were rows of watches



Today a watch not only tells time, it is a fashion statement. Just as handbags and shoes say a lot about a woman, a watch says a lot about a man. It shows that he has taken the time (pardon the pun) to accessorize. For years men only accessorized when they wore a suit. The accessories included tie clips, cuff links and of course wrist or pocket watches. Now that dress is more casual and eclectic, men are accessorizing their everyday outfits.

 

The watch is an intricate part of style and I found dozens of watches at ASD Las Vegas. I would have to say after handbags, watches were the largest vendor category. Just about every other vendor sold watches. While some carried very similar watches in style and price, there were many vendors selling higher end watches. In the “Cash & Carry” section there were vendors selling everything from new Rolexes to gently used and refurbished Cartier’s.



 Some were brightly colored

In what I would term the “fashion watch” department, there were vendors selling inexpensive watches that looked really good but had a reasonable price tag. This is important as not everyone can afford a designer watch. This is especially important for those who wish to look fashionable. The construction was quite good and since quartz watchmakers have it down, they are quite accurate. The fact that there are so many vendors selling watches just goes to show that watches are a true fashion statement.

 

While we carry a large selection of watches in our store there are always new styles to consider. If someone wants to remain fashionable they have to accessorize with the latest and a reasonably priced watch is one way to accomplish this task. I am particularly liking the tortoise shell band watches and of course ceramic watches. The bling and large dial watches still seem to be popular. There are so many beautiful watches to choose from, yet not enough wrists to wear them on.
 
Some were themed, Masonic watches

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Found Some Wonderful Things at ASD Las Vegas

Gee Honey, can I have two?


We are on our second day at ASD Las Vegas. It was a long and grueling day. I think I got a month’s worth of walking in and I won’t have to worry about that donut I had for breakfast. I know I worked it off. We visited the fashion and accessories section which also had a small section called “Cash & Carry.” This section has really great pricing on beautiful items. You simply find what you love, buy it and walk away with your treasure.

 There were handbags...

I of course found my heart’s desire, a five carat diamond surrounded by three carats of paved diamonds. It was a great deal at $53,000.00, down from the retail price of $171,000.00. Unfortunately, my hubby didn’t agree. So I’m sorry to say that it will stay at ASD Las Vegas. I did however find some interesting merchandise. I also looked at a very large selection of handbags.

 and more handbags...

It is amazing how many vendors are selling handbags. It is important to note that there is a great deal of variation between the quality and style of the handbags from vendor to vendor. Some are quite trendy while others are more conservative. I didn’t purchase any handbags but I did get some evening bags. I’m hopeful that they will be well liked. I certainly like what I purchased for the store. I also saw quite a few displays that had me scratching my head.

 and one really big handbag

There was a display of some really wild tights. I’m not sure how they would be worn but I’m kind of sure they would be considered a fashion faux pas. I also saw quite a few hat places with some questionable headgear. It seemed that most of the fashion apparel was more orientated to women, although I did see a few menswear items. My mind is still spinning from the large assortment of items and it will take a while to figure everything out, but I highly recommend the experience.
 
Not sure about these tights

Monday, March 18, 2013

Shopping Around at ASD Las Vegas

There is that road sign Zzyzx Road
 


ASD Las Vegas began yesterday. Thank goodness I had vendors written down to look at the first day because even with a list I got lost. I found myself wandering at times but it was an interesting interlude. I began my adventure with driving to Las Vegas. It is a long drive but I was hopeful that I would see some desert wildflowers this spring. Alas the flowers were not in bloom. I did pass that road sign for Zzyzx Road. I have never been able to pronounce it and probably never will.

 This is only half of one level

The line for will call was huge and it did take some time to get our badges. Note to self, next time, go have breakfast first then go and get the badge. The first vendor on our list had a wonderful selection of fine writing instruments and I was able to place an order that will go well with the items in our store. We did pass through the gourmet food section; while not super large they had some wonderful treats.

 There are two halls with two floors each

The smell was a huge draw. The company that made candies nuts could be smelled all the way across the convention hall. I tried some really great turkey jerky and an interesting seasoned cracker. They had chocolate wine that was similar to a liqueur. There was also candy, chocolates, gourmet jelly and hot sauces. The hot sauces were not only very good but they had interesting packaging.

 This is the bottom of the hookah

By far the most interesting section had the world’s largest hookah. It was not only huge it actually smoked. There were many vendors selling hookahs and various flavoring. As far as I could tell it was a hot item. It was described as flavored water vapor. I smelled some of the gel that is put inside the hookah and it smelled like strawberries, very unusual. I still have vendors to visit on my list so I will continue to be busy this week. I’m hoping to have more pictures on my next post, sorry but I got sidetracked, it’s hard to stay focused at ASD Las Vegas there is so much to see.
 
It was actually smoking, you could see it across the convention hall

Friday, March 15, 2013

ASD Las Vegas 2013

They have watches


If you don’t know what ASD Las Vegas is, you’re missing out on the world’s greatest shopping experience. Not only do they have everything, everything is at wholesale prices. If you own a store, internet or otherwise I cannot recommend this event more highly, it begins this Sunday March 17th and runs through Wednesday March 20th.

 Beautiful watches

This is the time of year that I love my job. I am going on a buying mission and looking for new items to place in my store and to talk to old vendors who have new spring lines. I have my list together and have even mapped out locations. I’ve been told that this year there will be a gourmet food section. While this is not a product that I carry in my store I will go and take a look and a taste. Who can resist cookies, chocolate, jelly and other goodies? I’ve also heard they will be giving out free samples, yum!

 
All kinds of jewelry 

Since I will be in Las Vegas all next week I will be blogging from the show. I will try and give a good idea of the scope of the show from my vantage point. It always seems so huge and if you allow yourself to become overwhelmed you surely will. I have gotten lost looking for a vendor but these trips off the beaten path have produced some interesting interludes. I found a vendor who sells little bejeweled gift boxes and while his quantity required for purchase was a bit large, I did enjoy his varied and beautiful collection.

 Handbags galore

So this blog is really to make all my readers a little jealous, I get to go shopping next week for a living. Even though I’m in Vegas it isn’t all fun and games. There will be serious negotiations and considerations of all items I’m looking to add to the store. I will try and have periods of relaxation and dining to round out my days. You can’t beat the food in Vegas, anyone have any suggestions while I’m there?
 
Lots of everything!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Denim Jeans are Forever

The iconic James Dean in denim


You know that old slogan, diamonds are forever, in reality denim is forever. Denim material has been around forever and the ever popular denim jean has been a staple of everyone’s wardrobe since the 1950s. The denim jean was invented by Jacob David and Levi Strauss in 1873. Jeans were popular with workers and became a big success in San Francisco California, my hometown, because of their durability. In the 1950s they were associated with the James Dean's rebellious character in the movie Rebel without a Cause.

 Armani does a denim dress

I remember when we were not allowed to wear jeans to school back in the early 70s. I guess I was on the cusp because by the time I reached middle school they were allowed. I never went to a private school but at one time dress codes were enforced by public schools and there was no denim allowed. Now many public schools are requiring uniforms for all students. How boring for them. Wearing denim jeans to school was so thrilling at first; nowadays I can’t image not having several pairs in my closet.

 7 For All Mankind has flared denim

While every decade has had its hits and misses when it comes to styling denim, no one can dispute the longevity of the fabric. It is a staple of the American wardrobe and I’m sure every woman has several pairs. What I find humorous are women who don’t own a pair of jeans. This would include my mother. While discussing wardrobe options with my mother for an upcoming cruise I suggested denim jeans and a striped boatneck t-shirt for sightseeing trips. She could add a cardigan or light safari jacket if it becomes cold; she said she didn’t own a pair of jeans, shocking! I’ve heard the average closet has seven pairs of jeans.

 The denim jacket hits the red carpet

Personally I love skinny jeans that come to rest right at the ankles. You can wear them with sleek oxfords, sandals or dress them up with heels. They work great for tucking into boots and pairing them with a slouchy sweater. One of the most remarkable aspects of denim jeans is their versatility. They’ve gone from workman’s clothing to everyday wear and can even be dressed up for a nightclub. How many garments can claim that? If you don’t have a pair of jeans in your wardrobe, get a pair, once you try them you’ll love them. It’s an iconic look.
 
A little cutie in denim overalls, I say start um young!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Finding the Perfect Dress for You

The strips on this dress are universally flattering, they draw the eye in then down to elongate the body
 


Now that we sprung forward in our time keeping, we can safely say that spring is around the corner. Spring is dress season and there are many beautiful dresses to be found in local stores. I know that spring is near because I saw three or more women; I lost count, at the grocery store wearing shorts and flip flops yesterday. While a dress is an easy outfit to put on in the morning, it needs minimal thought, only the right dress for your body will do this trick. It also looks a heck of a lot better than shorts and flip flops.

 

Since there are as many different body types as there are stars in the sky, it’s not always easy to find the right dress for you. Here are some tips. First know what you are trying to achieve in regards to your body. Do you have a large bust, a small bust, slim hips or heavy hips, a tiny waist or straight up and down? If you don’t know what you are trying to hide or emphasize you won’t know where to begin. Universally, stripes that go up and down will elongate the body. A cropped sweater with three quarter sleeves will not only keep you warm if the temperature drops but covers upper arms.

 

Tougher fixes include downplaying hips and thighs, concealing a tummy or finding a style that flatters a fuller figure. Fuller figures work best with the simple sheath dress. Just find a slightly stiffer or heavy fabric, no jersey knits, fabrics with body will lie flatter and fall over your body without clinging.  When concealing a tummy look for a dress with off center gathers, the wonderful faux wrap dress in a jersey knit, I have three and they work great. The gathers hide my tummy bulge without adding bulk.

 

For those who are trying to hide their hips and thighs I recommend a full skirt but no stiff fabrics. You want the waistline to be defined and the fabric to be a soft jersey, that way the dress will skim over your curves, you want it to drape. The A-line dress is perfect because it tapers in and you can further highlight your waist with a cute belt. An A-line dress is a classic and comes in an abundance of patterns. Dresses are an easy outfit and once you find a style that flatters your body you can get ready in a snap because we’re all pressed for time. After all, we lost an hour last weekend.
 
The classic sheath dress works on fuller figures by gently hugging your curves

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

How to Wear High-Waist Jeans

Keep everything sleek and in proportion


There are certain styles that come in and out of fashion. Over the many years that I’ve been following fashion I’ve been in and out of style, usually not by design. I’ve found some trends that work for me and have used them over the years. The boyfriend blazer, rugged leather boots and cardigan sets, obviously not all at the same time, or maybe... Recently I found out that I was wearing a trend, high waist jeans.

 

Apparently wearing jeans and pencil skirts with a high waist is trendy. Part of the reason high-waist jeans are popular is quite simple, they are flattering. No need to worry about the dreaded muffin top as a high-waist jean usually sits above the danger zone. Now I’m not talking about sky high waistlines, but a waistline that is just over that area at the fleshiest part of our hips. High-waist jeans works like Spanx and hold everything in a little and can smooth out the hip area.

 I don't think Jessica Simpson looks that horrible

These jeans also elongate the leg by creating a slight visual trick that makes the eye go up and down. Now who doesn’t want their legs to look longer? The reason I’m trendy by accident is I wear longs when it comes to jeans. Most of my height is in my legs but I unfortunately have a short waist. Talls or long jeans also have a higher rise naturally; this causes them to sit a little higher on me. I’ve always appreciated this fit because those low-rise jeans are so uncomfortable when you sit down. I felt like I was flashing everyone, not my intention.

 

When purchasing a jean with a higher rise just keep in mind that fit really counts. Don’t go too baggy and definitely don’t go too high. Remember the Jessica Simpson “Mom Jean” incident? You can wear a skinny high-waist jean with a really sleek blouse; keep the proportion right otherwise you risk looking frumpy. You can also accent your waist with a skinny belt to nip in your waistline a little bit. The high-waist jean might not be a trend for everyone but I bet a lot of women will find that it’s just right.
A high waist can really elongate your body

Monday, March 11, 2013

Is Vintage Just another Word for Used?

Channel is always classic
 


You see a lot of items for sale on EBay, Esty and other websites proclaiming that the item they are offering are vintage. Portero Luxury has a lot of vintage Channel, Louis Vuitton and Hermes all in excellent condition. I have to admit that I’ve cruised these websites and saw a lot of really beautiful handbags and jewelry pieces. Some of which I would love to own if only I had that kind of money. Alas I do not.
 Who wouldn't want a Hermes

But this does get one thinking, is vintage just another word for used. Most of the item featured have been “gently” used. They are of course in perfect condition and may have had a thorough refurbishing. I looked up the word vintage in the dictionary and it gives contradicting definitions. One definition is “characterized by excellence, maturity, and enduring appeal, classic” and it also says “old or outmoded.” So which is it, it can’t be both. I think I’m going with the enduring appeal and classic definition.

 A Birkin is beautiful

Many items have enduring appeal. Handbags and scarves, pearls and diamonds, even certain clothing styles have endured over the years. It makes sense to purchase an item gently used if it has these features and it tends to run in the expensive range. Both of my fur coats are vintage. The full length mink was passed down from my mother and the shorter stroller length mink was purchased used. It’s a smart move since fur is expensive new and isn’t worn often. Even though you will own a fur coat for years, it makes better financial sense to purchase used.

 You can wear this Hermes scarf forever

While websites that sell vintage abound, you can also find great vintage deals at thrift stores, flea markets, festivals and even Esty. We have a Harvest Festival at the Fairgrounds every year and I’ve found beautiful Art Deco pins and rhinestone jewelry. You have to be careful while sorting through these pieces, some may not have been gently used, and in fact they may have had a hard life. If there is still some life left in a piece of jewelry or accessory it makes sense to either continue to use it or maybe sell it for a little income. This is why vintage is so popular.
 
David Yurman has classic designs