Style at any age: Trendsetter clutch bags for under $100

A chic and roomy clutch is an easy (and inexpensive) way to work a trend. All of these cost under $100.
A chic and roomy clutch is an easy (and inexpensive) way to work a trend. All of these cost under $100.

 

Keeping your personal style, being on trend, as you get older can sometimes be a challenge. It can also be a challenge no matter your age if you are not an heiress to a large fortune or a globe-trotting supermodel whose entire closet of designer duds is “gifted”. (Not bitter, I swear, I am not bitter!)

So the double challenge of being, ahem, under-employed and, let’s face it, a little bit of a trend whore, has forced me to become more strategic in my shopping. Every buck I spend must make a bang stylistically and, because I am well past my 20s, look more expensive than it was.

I have found that the easiest way to amp up your style is with accessories and lately my  style-amping accessory of choice has been the clutch. For me it’s the day clutch. I mean, it doesn’t take a genius to rock a beaded clutch or shiny minaudier for evening but to work a big scrunchy, one-of-a-kind looking bag under your arm like a fashion boss? That takes some skill.

So for your edification, I present …

If you love rocker style:

First the age thing. I still like my rock and roll/punk edge but lets be real, I’m too old to be tricked out in leather skinny jeans, fringed scarves and studs everywhere … unless I want to look like an old woman trying too hard (or Steven Tyler, which is really the same thing, ammirite?) But I am not too old to wear this uber soft black be-fringed beauty from Deux Lux with everything from a black sheath and heels to (tasteful) black skinnies, a soft sweater and an oversized wrap coat …

A so soft pouch with just enough fringe on the sides to make it trendy but not too ...Deux Lux faux leather fringed pouch, $75.
A so soft pouch with just enough fringe on the sides to make it trendy but not too …Deux Lux faux leather fringed pouch, $75.

I got mine at Nordstrom, Fashion Island but you can get yours here.

More rocker clutches …

Chic Nova studded clutch, $47.

If you love animal print:

Who doesn’t love leopard or cheetah print? Once relegated to a certain class of overdressed lady, animal prints (for me it’s specifically, leopard print) have crossed into the realm of iconic neutral. But if you’re of a certain age, too much of such a good thing can tip from kicky and fun to tacky and frumpy in less time than it takes to say “I’ll have a chardonnay”. Ladies like us have to be careful not to go overboard, but instead add animal as an accent. Also, just carrying a leopard print bag — or just wearing a very classic leopard pump, but not both — (for the love all things holy, NOT BOTH) is the great way for the style-timid to try something wild.

A minimal silhouette in good materials such as the clutch below (which I got at Chico’s the first and only time I ever shopped there) should do the trick …

In the past few years leopard print has moved from kicky print on the edge of tacky to iconic neutral. Chico's leather and and leopard print pouch, $99.
In the past few years leopard print has moved from kicky print on the edge of tacky to iconic neutral. Chico’s leather and and leopard print pouch, $99.

More animal print clutches …

Zara Printed leather clutch, $99.90 

If you’re a bohemian at heart:

The boho look has much to recommend it: fun, floaty, forgiving silhouettes, a casual chicness perfect for the SoCal climate; it’s a look that says you don’t try too hard, you’re just chill. But … also, the jeans short and floaty kimono with leather booties is tad young for a grown woman (as well as kind of played out here in O.C.).

And, say, you’re boho but you can no longer in all good conscience go out in shorts, opting for a maxi with chunky organic jewelry has it’s own pitfalls. For one, you risk looking like grandmother Tippy Toes (as my mom would say) in voluminous long skirt and flats because no one does boho in heels.   As we get older, or rather, wiser, shouldn’t we aim to also be more sophisticated and not so much Stevie Nicks?

 

One solution? Wear your fave, worn boyfriend jeans (no holes please, I hate that look. Holes in jeans are fine for struggling, just- getting-started-in-life 20-somethings but by 40 you can afford to buy new jeans before the knees go out) low-heeled booties, a soft-as-you-please v-neck tee, classic-cut blazer and a bag like this  …

Woven and beaded fringed Neli clutch, $56 at Luna B in Huntington Beach.
Woven and beaded fringed Neli clutch, $56 at Luna B in Huntington Beach.

Other Boho options …

H&M Faux fur clutch, $35.95

If your style is quirky gamine:

Being a gamine, pixie dream-girl is only for the young.

Sorry, ladies, but even Zoey Deschanel isn’t trying to pull that off anymore and the original “gamine”, Audrey Hepburn (pause to reflect on the meaning of Audrey’s style) aged out gracefully while maintaining that sparkling look. In fact, if you think about it, her most famous character, Holy Golightly (Breakfast at Tiffany’s) wore fairly classic items: LBD, belted trench, kitten heels … It was only her accessories that were quirky: Tiara, eyelashed sleeping mask,  cat eye sunglasses (for modern reference see Karen Walker’s line) and a top-knot bun. (Her home decor was quirkier: suitcases as end tables, a bathtub as a couch, zebra rug).

So if you still grave a bit of wit and whimsy, try a bag that makes a statement (it’s also a good replacement for the ironic graphic t-shirt which really should be reserved for youngsters) …

Bam Forever "Faster Better and Stronger" denim pouch, $25 at Miel in OC Mix, Costa Mesa.
Bam Forever “Faster Better and Stronger” denim pouch, $25 at Miel in OC Mix, Costa Mesa.

Other quirky girl options include these adorable clutches from Rebecca Minkoff and Betsey Johnson at Nordstrom …

Rebecca Minkoff floral "Leo" envelope clutch, $98 at Nordstrom
Rebecca Minkoff floral “Leo” envelope clutch, $98 at Nordstrom
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Bestsey Johnson cat clutch, $58 at Nordstrom

 

 

 

 

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Pepper Project: Shop with a purpose this weekend

Pepper Project's new home is stocked with  fun and affordable accessories, jewelry, scarves, home goods and even some toys.
Pepper Project’s new home is stocked with fun and affordable accessories, jewelry, scarves, home goods and even some toys.

 

The only thing better than shopping is when your purchases give back to someone less fortunate. That’s why I love buying gifts, home goods and even fantastic handmade jewelry and accessories from my friends at Pepper Project (pepper project.org).

Continue reading Pepper Project: Shop with a purpose this weekend

Miel! A sweet new place for cool clothes

MielNothing better than discovering a new place to spend my money. Especially if that place is stocked with fresh basics and witty accessories like Miel (it means “honey” in French and Spanish!)  in Costa Mesa.

It’s a tiny space to be filled with so much style and whimsy tucked as it is in the warren of cool eateries and fun shops at OC Mix.

Miel rack

Miel girls

 

Miel/top

Miel is the first foray into retail by two SoCal girls Grace Lee and Kayla Park, old friends who met in school and share the same passion for kicky clothes with a bit of East Coast edge. They also love style on a budget so shopping here will not break the budget.

Miel carries L.A.-based Persee, Mustard Seed denim, and Lani California. The style is very much OC meets NYC with the expected drapey pants and kimonos alongside a distressed striped Tee from Rock and Rose and a made -for-the-club gold mesh shirt from Rehab.

 

Miel/mesh shirt

Jewelry is mostly from Irvine’s Bearfruit and has a delicate but edgy feel with lots of potential for layering.

Bear Fruit/Miel1

 

Bearfruit/Miel2

Bearfruit/Miel 3

Bearfruit/Miel 4

But my favorite thing at Miel are the witty clutches from Bam Forever (ok, so they maybe, kind of are rip-offs of Karen Walker’s iconic clutches from fall but they’re a tenth of the cost too!).

Miel clutch 1

I got the denim “Faster, Better, Stronger” clutch – the yellow print adds a pop while the faded denim makes it neutral; win-win! (And it cost less than $30!)

Miel Clutch2

Some of the styles skew a little young, but this is OC and no one lets age rules define them. There are plenty of basics (like the cool striped tee below) and grown up pieces like work-approp white button downs, scarf-hemmed leather jackets, cozy sweaters and the Merlot-colored bell-sleeved tunic I picked up to wear with satin evening trousers.

Miel/striped

Miel/jacket

 

 

Miel/jumpsuit

 

Miel is at 3315 Hyland at the OC Mix in SoCo. Check it out or go to Facebook/mielclothinghoney and Instagram/melclothinghoney  to see their cool style.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jewe

The two people you must have in your life

Post  my most recent cut and color
Post my most recent cut and color

 

If someone held a gun to my head and asked me what two people I would take on a desert island it would have to be my esthetician and hairstylist. (Ok, maybe a trainer if I get to pick three. )

Sorry family and friends, but girl wants to look good, always.

I think there is a reason we women bond with our beauty specialists, especially as we get older and maintenance is harder and more time consuming. It’s because going to these regular appointments refreshes and rejuvenates us emotionally as well as physically.

The spa table or stylist’s chair has some magical power to open you up.  After all, who among us hasn’t told our life story to a hairstylist? And why wouldn’t you? There is a person standing as close to you as possible with your hair in their hands — if you get a bad haircut it’s like wearing an ugly dress every day for months until the hair grows out — you want that person to know you and you want to know them.

The same thing holds with an esthetician; a feeling of trust is essential. Once when I was going through a particularly broken hearted time in my life I cried while getting a facial the way I hadn’t been able to around my friends. The esthetician – who I had just met — told me it happens all the time. She told me she thought it was because being on the table with someone’s hands on your face, massaging your scalp and getting you to relax makes a person feel particularly open and vulnerable.  She told  me she viewed it as part of her job to help the client through that vulnerable moment and bring them out the other side to a little peace. You have to have a lot of faith and trust in the person leading you to that place of well-being.

That’s why I feel lucky to have two such women in my corner.

Continue reading The two people you must have in your life

Fall Fashion at South Coast Plaza with Rachel Zoe

Video: Live the Look South Coast Plaza

 

Oscar de la Renta at South Coast Plaza
Oscar de la Renta at South Coast Plaza

South Coast Plaza (aka “the happiest place on earth”) is in the middle of its three-day style celebration “Live the Look”  this weekend.

First up was a fall fashions presentation featuring designer/celebrity stylist and reality TV personality Rachel Zoe. The petite blond (dressed in a black Fendi midi dress) presented a runway show  fall fashions from some of South Coast Plaza’s luxury designer boutiques.

Zoe, an obvious fashion enthusiast, drooled over the looks from Gucci, Max Mara, Salvatore Ferragamo, Ralph Lauren, Brunello Cuncinelli, Barbara Bui, Fendi, Chloe,  Oscar de la Renta, Roberto Cavalli, Versace and Lanvin at South Coast Plaza Thursday night.

“Fall fashion means layering; it’s an excuse to wear more clothes,” said Zoe, pointing out what most true fashion fiends feel: Fall is the best season of the year.

Fendi cape at South Coast Plaza
Fendi cape at South Coast Plaza

Continue reading Fall Fashion at South Coast Plaza with Rachel Zoe

Save the Date: Lessons in Style with Leslie Christen

Leslie Christen EOSW

Ever feel like you need a little help getting your style on? Well, you’re in luck! My friend Leslie Christen — lifestylist  extraordinaire — is holding the fall edition of her ” Edit, Organize, Style, Wear” class in a few weeks.

According the lovely Leslie the class will teach you how to … :

1. How to define your personal style and based on that, eliminate the pieces you no longer wear.

2. Understand different materials, what pieces to invest in and how to mix and match pieces into outfits for all occasions.

3. Design your most ideal closet space and tips for organizing and storing your clothes.

Leslie is a sought after stylist and is a fashion contributor to Riviera Magazine, Greer’s OC, and VisitNewportBeach.com.

I’ve worked with Leslie many times and I can tell you no one is better at helping a lady define her style and pare down to the most classic of luxe essentials. Leslie is also an experienced organizer and she styled a piece for the me at the Orange County Register on packing for a get-away.

Weekend getaway styled by Leslie Christen
Weekend getaway styled by Leslie Christen

The class is Thursday, October 16, from 6-8 pm at Bardot, 2043 Westcliff Dr. in Newport Beach. Cost is $125 and the tickets go fast so RSVP at lesliechristen.com to secure your place. Guests will receive refreshments, light bites and a goody bag (nothing better than some swag, right?).