Month: October 2011

Chronicles of the bag lady (continued)

I recently decided to take a new approach to my purse “collection” – first to downsize, then to upgrade. As much as I love bags, I’ve never been a hoarder; for years now, I’ve had a “one in, one out” policy in effect, which I followed most of the time. Still, I had managed to accumulate around 15 or so purses, most of which I didn’t wear on a weekly basis. On the other hand, I had 3 (ok, maybe 4) bags on my “dream (bag) team” wishlist, after which I’d been lusting for some time, afraid to commit to the budget required to acquire them. Rather than buy the bags I REALLY wanted, I kept buying lower-priced substitutes; somehow, I still went back, again and again, to gaze longingly at my dream bags on Bluefly and Net-a-Porter. 

Well, no more! Having lived for the better part of a year with a much smaller wardrobe than in the past, I’ve come to appreciate a more minimalist approach to dressing – relying on fewer, carefully selected, high quality pieces, and wearing them creatively … and frequently. I’m in the process of massively purging my closet, and it’s now time to do the same with my bags. Out with the old, in with the new. And in this case, the old will help bring in the new – I’m selling about half of my bags to help fund the purchase of my dream bags. As my closet shelf space increases, I have to admit to a feeling of satisfaction from the process of simplification.The second part of the equation has its own rewards, of course.

My first “new” dream bag was a very lucky local find. The YSL Muse Two has been on my wishlist for a long time now, and its funkier cousin, the Besace satchel is cut from the same design cloth, so to speak. I was very excited to bring one – in gorgeous croc-embossed, eggplant-colour nubuck – home with me. Roomy and comfortable to wear, it’s quite a beauty to behold.
I want to show off the Besace in “action”, but first to attend to some details. To start, the perfect nail polish.

I know, I know. Here I am, cheating on Chanel again. What can I say? This time I will blame my Purse Forum membership, and the lovely ladies in the Nail Care sub-forum. They post such lovely swatches, and occasionally the urge to try one of the fabulous non-Chanel colours is just irresistible. Dior’s New World Purple was a perfect example; I read so many positive reviews, and the colour intrigued me. Despite the name, it’s a bit of a chameleon – more brown than purple, especially in certain light conditions. In sunlight, it definitely leans towards purple, although it’s a subdued shade with a lovely iridescence. 

It’s a great match for the Besace.

Next, a new top from Anthropologie. I couldn’t resist – stripes AND florals! Plus, it was on sale. I love how the periwinkle blue works with the purple.

Indoors, the Dior nail polish shows its brown base far more strongly. It’s almost like a yummy, luscious chocolate. I took that as the inspiration for my second outfit.

Taking a cue from the chameleon-like Dior, I decided to dig my Gap ruffle shirt out of the closet. Like the nail polish, its colours are deceptive. In some lights, it pulls towards gray, in others towards brown. Either way, it’s an interesting match for the Besace, for a more preppy, casual vibe.

I’m currently plotting my next “dream team” purchase, which, with some luck, should be complete in time for Christmas. I won’t spoil the surprise by telling you what it will be, but I’ll give a hint for anyone who’s game to guess: it’s an “it” bag whose popularity is a match for its (famous) namesake.

Stay tuned …

Manicure of the week: Midtown Magic

Yes, I know what you’re thinking. No, it’s not a typo. This week’s manicure is – gasp – not Chanel. It’s China Glaze’s Midtown Magic, released as part of its recent Metro collection. A shimmery black, it seemed like an appropriate choice for this time of year.

First, let me explain. Yes, I “cheated” on Chanel, despite my vow to be faithful to its polish alone. And, yes, like many a cheater, I’m going to blame my beloved for my lapse. See, Chanel does not have a shimmery black polish as part of its permanent collection. It did, at one time, release such a polish (the lovely Noir Ceramic) but it is, alas, no longer available – unless you’re willing to shell out beaucoup bucks on eBay. No thanks! Black Satin, Chanel’s current black polish is, well, just plain black. I wanted more. When I saw a swatch of Midtown Magic online, I knew I found my replacement. It’s not a true black, but rather a very dark plummy brown; however, with two coats, it becomes almost black under most lighting.

Sadly, this picture doesn’t really do justice to MM’s subtle red, orange and gold micro-shimmer. The China Glaze formula is pretty good, and the application was not too messy or difficult. On the first coat, the purply base of the polish shows through a lot more, but the opacity builds quickly on the second coat. I missed the Chanel brush a little bit, which I find easier to use (it may be a question of habit), but all in all, I was quite impressed with the brand – a steal at well under $10 a bottle.

For my “inspired by” outfit, I didn’t want to go the obvious route, goth. So instead, I decided to go the opposite way, with pearls and a pencil skirt – how much more ladylike can you get?
I also wanted to show off my new platform slingbacks which, though not exactly season-appropriate, are too cute to be relegated to the back of the closet all the way till next summer. I picked up these Sam Edelman beauties in a clearance sale at the Bay for $30, which made me feel like I was back in the bargain-hunting game. Oh yeah!

Love the flash of toe “cleavage” – naughty!

Happy Halloween!!

Manicure of the week: Rose Cache

Released as one of a trio of nail polish colours in Chanel’s Rouge Allure Velvet make-up collection this fall, Rose Cache is a perfect counterpart to Pirate: a soft, creamy, ladylike rose pink. It’s also my perfect “mannequin hands” colour – the nail polish equivalent of the leg-elongating “nude” pump (in this case, not too pink, not too peach, not too cadaverish). 
The light shimmer that shows up in the bottle under my camera flash doesn’t translate on the nail, at least not in any immediately visible way. This is very much a creme polish. I, for one, am a big fan of cremes, which tend to glide on the nail. The application was fantastic as always, and I experienced very minimal tip wear and no chips. This is Rose Cache in natural light:
Although as a “neutral”, this is a colour that can probably work with any outfit, I wanted to pick up on its rosiness in my “inspired by” outfit. My MICHAEL Michael Kors “maternity” blouse got a lot of wear this summer, and I’m still loving its paisley print and the pink-and-beige colour combo, so it was a perfect pick. Now that I no longer have an extra passenger on board, it’s just long enough to wear with leggings on those last warm-ish days of fall. [A long cardigan helps to keep my tush covered, always a must when leggings are my “pants” of choice.]

Blouse, MICHAEL Michael Kors; cardigan, Old Navy; leggings, The Bay;
shoes, Nine West
Blush pink Nine West flats complete the look – love the delicate, sparkly ruff detail. I love it so much, in fact, I have the same shoes in black, too. What can I say: Nine West makes some seriously comfy (and cute) shoes. And a good sale never hurts either!

Happy Friday!