OK, this is it, you guys: the last of my “best of” posts for the year. Whew! This series was starting to drag on much like the year did. Today, let’s look at my 16 favourite accessories purchased in 2016. Now, I know what you’re thinking and, yes, that is a long list. I wasn’t sure I could come up with 16 things I absolutely adore and can’t live without … and then I did. I even had to make a couple of tough calls, can you believe it? Erm, you probably can. Let’s have a look, shall we?

In no particular order …

Clockwise from top left: Stella & Dot necklace (thrifted); MaxMara necklace; Alexandra Leigh ring; Winners ring
Clockwise from top left: Stella & Dot necklace (thrifted); MaxMara necklace; Alexandra Leigh ring; Winners ring

MaxMara necklace

I don’t keep track of how often I wear my jewelry, so I can’t give you those deets, but I do know that this necklace has elicited compliments every time I’ve worn it. Even my husband, who called it a “third grader’s failed art project” when he first saw it, has come around to admitting that it is, in fact, awesome.

I’ve spied other MaxMara costume jewelry at Holt’s this year, and really dig the Iris Apfel-esque vibe of many of their pieces, but the prices put them outside the ‘casual acquisition” realm for me. (My necklace was something like $160, and I bought it with a gift card.) Some pieces do pop up on eBay though, and I plan to keep an eye out for them there.

 Stella & Dot necklace

There isn’t anything crazy special about this necklace; in fact, it’s wonderful in its simplicity. It goes with practically everything, especially given that the pendant is reversible (mint green on one side, brown on the other). I thrifted it for $6, and I like the quality at that price point. Finding it inspired me to start having a closer look at the non-showcase jewelry displays at my local thrift stores, which has been paying off like whoa.

Blue labradorite ring

I used to love the jewelry showcase at Winners (aka Canadian TJ Maxx), only to fall out of the habit of checking it out regularly a few years ago. Luckily, this year, I remembered what a treasure trove of unique finds it can be. There is usually a plethora of sterling silver pieces at reasonable prices, although the quality can be hit and miss in my experience. (Some seem more prone to tarnish than others, and the workmanship can vary.) I suggested to my husband that he should buy me this ring ($40) as a “just because” gift … and he did because he’s awesome like that. It’s definitely a winner, both in terms of quality and style. The blue flash of this labradorite stone might just be my favourite shade of blue.

Alexandra Leigh ring

This was a vacation splurge at the Nordstrom store in Vancouver (~$150). I love it, though – I’m a sucker for blue-tinged moonstone as well.

Clockwise from top left: D'Orlan bee brooch (thrifted); vintage bird brooch (via Swish); Rebecca Minkoff earrings; Alexis Bittar earrings; vintage bow brooch (thrifted)
Clockwise from top left: D’Orlan bee brooch (thrifted); vintage bird brooch (via Swish); Rebecca Minkoff earrings; Alexis Bittar earrings; vintage bow brooch (thrifted)

D’Orlan bee brooch

This is one of my favourite brooches, and one of my fave thrift store finds this year ($3). You guys know I have a terrible weakness for vintage brooches, and “brooch bouquets”. I love mixing two or more brooches together, and as much as my magpie eyes are always seduced by big, brash rhinestone statement pieces, a smaller brooch like this is the key to a successful “bouquet” – it complements and/or ties together bigger pieces.

Vintage bird brooch

I bought this little guy at Swish boutique (~$40) because I loved the jelly bean-like cabochon and the colours. Much like the bee brooch, this one is great for mixing.

Vintage bow brooch

OK, so the truth is that I’ve found a ton of amazing brooches this year, and it’s basically impossible to pick favourites at this point. This bow brooch ($6) edges slightly ahead of the others because it so easily accessorizes with my big, floral rhinestone numbers.

Alexis Bittar earrings

I love the simple elegance of these earrings, and the fact that they are an interesting and somewhat unusual take on traditional hoops. I can wear them to work, as well as to any number of dressier work and social functions – they’re sparkly without being too sparkly.

They were a splurge (~$100 on sale), bought with a gift card – which is how I usually justify my splurges. Although I will always love inexpensive, bold costume jewelry, as I get older, I’ve started to be more comfortable with spending a bit more money on pieces that are more timeless. I have a good feeling about these earrings.

Rebecca Minkoff earrings

On the other end of the spectrum, we have these Rebecca Minkoff studs that cost a whopping $10 (on sale). They’re simple and deceptively boring; the truth is, they go with everything, and are a cool alternative to plain, white CZ studs. Not my most exciting jewelry, but a piece that gets worn at least once a week.

Clockwise from top left: Ferragamo pumps (thrifted); Clarks booties; Sam Edelman pumps (thrifted); Kelsi Dagger loafers (thrifted)
Clockwise from top left: Ferragamo pumps (thrifted); Clarks booties; Sam Edelman pumps (thrifted); Kelsi Dagger loafers (thrifted)

Clarks ankle boots

These are not my most exciting pair of shoes, either, but they were a weekend closet staple during the fall (worn 15 times) and will be again come spring. I bought them for $60 at Winners, and have been very impressed with both the quality and the comfort level.

Ferragamo pumps

How’s that for a 180? These are a statement if there ever was one, and I love them. And so does everybody else, I might add. I found them at Goodwill in near-pristine condition for $30 (3 wears and counting), and I’m still amazed that no one else scooped them before me.

Kelsi Dagger loafers

This was such an unlikely love affair, you guys. I’m not even sure why I bought these loafers ($17/24 wears) because I wasn’t super into their “look” … and then, somehow, they became my go-to casual shoe over the summer. The taupe grey colour is super versatile with my weekend wardrobe, and the style works great with all my skinny jeans and pants – and even some skirts.

Sam Edelman Opal pumps

I know Sam Edelman is old news to some of you, but it’s a recent revelation to me. I thrifted a pair of Opal d’orsay pumps ($8/6 wears) at the beginning of December, and have been super impressed with the comfort level. I do wish mine weren’t suede (the black seems to attract dust/dirt like nobody’s business), but I have my eye out for a pair (or two) in sturdier leather on eBay. I can see these becoming my go-to pair of black shoes for the office.

Top row: Skagen watches; Bottom row: 14Th & Union scarf (thrifted); Chanel bag (via Swish)
Top row: Skagen watches; Bottom row: 14Th & Union scarf (thrifted); Chanel bag (via Swish)

14th & Union scarf

I wear scarves a fair bit, usually by necessity, but I wouldn’t consider myself a “scarf person”. Is there such a creature? I digress. I am, however, totally crazy about this scarf ($5) – it’s my favourite shade of blue again. I love pairing it with black, grey, and khahi, which are basically my weekend uniform all year round.

Skagen Anita watch(es)

OK, so this is a bit of a cheat, because I bought three – yes, 3! – of these watches in the past year. The first one was a fluke (I just fell in love with the face and rose gold mesh band, and bought it on impulse), and then I purposely went and bought the others because I loved the style that much. I went from never wearing watches to wearing one every day.

The Anitas are sleek and elegant, look more expensive than they are (I paid between $120-$140 for each of mine), and are super lightweight. The last part is key for me, because I hate the feeling of heavy bands (watches, bracelets, etc.) on my wrist. I used to lust over the Cartier Ballon Bleu watch (and, truthfully, I still do), and having the Anita watches has reconciled me to the reality that my dream of owning one won’t become a reality any time soon. In fact, when I recently had the occasion to see the BB watch in real life, I found myself thinking that I might prefer it to have a mesh strap. Shhh, don’t tell Cartier I said that!

Vintage Chanel Jumbo Maxi bag

I’ve bought some great bags this year, but none of them quite measures up to this one. It’s the perfect size, and I prefer the single flap over the classic double flap of my old Chanel bag. The colour is also quite versatile, and the longer chain strap is a bonus. I do worry about the soft lambskin leather, which is more prone to scratches than other types of leather; although that is a common issue for all vintage Chanel bags, I worry that wear will be more obvious on this lighter colour than the black. I’m not typically great at babying my bags, but I may have to make an exception in this case. She’s worth it.





8 Comments on Best of 2016: Purchases, Part 2 – Accessories

  1. I am a committed scarf person! Every day, every outfit. Great for combating summer AC and winter drafts.
    Interesting that many more of your accessories are retail versus thrift; opposite from your clothing. Is this a deliberate choice, or due to the whims of the thrift gods? Regardless, I love your blog and could read at least 2 more year end posts. One on what you purged and why would be very interesting. Have a great new year, see you in 2017!

    • It wasn’t consciously deliberate but that might be splitting hairs. Until recently, I never had luck finding jewelry I liked at thrift stores. I do buy things like scarves and shoes there, but will occasionally indulge in retail shoes (on sale). With shoes in particular, sometimes I need something very specific, and the thrift stores don’t work like that — you find what you find. Shoes also last me a long time, so I feel OK about spending a bit more money on them, especially something I will wear lots (like those Clarks ankle boots).

      A post on what I purged this year would take a few hours to read, haha! There has been a lot of turnover in my closet, as I did a lot of experimentation this year thanks to thrifting. I would say that about 1/3 of the things I bought I ended up re-selling, donating, or gifting. And that doesn’t include older items I purged this year. I haven’t kept very good track of this, I’m afraid.

  2. Skagen watches are great! (I have the one with the gray leather band and mother of pearl face and it’s just so pretty.) I’ve been perfectly happy with mine, especially given the price point.

    I’m thinking of buying more jewelry this year. (I only bought two pieces in 2016 – the Skagen Anita and a necklace.)

    • I’m a committed Skagen fan now too. It looks professional and polished, with a bit of flair.

      What jewelry pieces are you thinking of buying? I would like to focus on better quality and/or vintage pieces, but my magpie instincts will get the better of me eventually, I’m sure.

  3. Your scarf is beautiful and I particularly like your watches. Also, I saw the movie Hidden Figures last night (set in 1961) and there were a number of brooches featured where I thought–that looks like something Adina has posted! 🙂

    • Thanks! I love brooches so much. The hard part is trying to make them look modern and not costume-y or “old lady”. I mean, there is definitely an “old lady” side to my style, but I try not to emphasize it too much 😉

  4. Where did you get your Chanel? She’s beautiful! I’ve been looking at some vintage bags but haven’t come across many good sites.

    • I got this one from a local boutique. I purchased my previous one on Malleries from Chanel Touch (I’m not sure if they’ve since re-named, but I believe the store is still around).