I’m used to giving more advice on living spaces than accessories, but I recently got an email from a reader, Hannah, who writes, “I’m graduating in May with a degree in economics and will most likely go into banking so I need something pretty conservative but not dowdy. Do you have any suggestions for VERY simple, preferably leather, briefcases/laptop bags that will not make me look like someone who wears pre-matched suit ensembles with pantyhose scrunched around my ankles?”
Well, I’m gonna say it right now. I was NOT the girl to ask about this because my first instinct was to say – why don’t you get a nice little Louis Vuitton and call it a day? My second instinct was to browse through ridiculously priced handbags like this little beauty..
because, I really really really cannot find a decent ‘briefcase’ bag out there. SO, dear readers… do you have any suggestions for poor Hannah? Mine are below – probably not the best, but not the worst. Almost all leather, and somewhat conservative…
The Fashionista Bag:
Buckles and Studs on a workbag? Love it. This is my style for sure, but I’m also in a much more creative industry than Banking, so while I know I can get away with this, I’m not sure if it’s a bit too fashionista for Hannah. This one is available at careerbags.com which carries a lot of other decent styles, including this one, which I would have to see in person to determine whether or not it’s actually cool…
For a similar ‘handbag’ style that’s a bit more simple, I also liked this one from Gina B. that also comes in a nice olive tone.
The Sexy Bag:
For me, adding something a little sexy to a work ensemble gives me an extra boost of confidence. This bag from Lodis (always a classic!) is sleek and sexy without screaming “look at me!”. While the shape is pretty straightforward, it’s the shiny high-quality leather that makes the bag.
The Brit Bag
No, I’m talking about that crazy Britney. This Brit is much more put together, and mimics that classic Burberry look that, let’s face it, never really gets old. Available at Wrapables.
The Simple Bag
Ok, so it’s grey and yellow which makes it an automatic for being in my favorites. Other great little details? The inside of the bag reads, “Crafted to love you back.” How cute is that? The handles adjust to a shoulder strap, and you can be pretty sure that nobody else is going to have this bag at work… it’s from Schambra in the UK.
I started this post yesterday… and realized that I couldn’t find a single room that was truly inspiring me to post. How depressing! So I’ve ended up with two rooms by Jay Jeffers (he’s always my fallback!) that I wanted to put out there…
Alright, now, class. What can you tell me about these two rooms? The first thing that I noticed was that Jeffers has a stunning talent for pattern. However… I prefer the bottom room to the top for many reasons. The top room has so many pieces that I love, but all together…? Am I the only one who feels a headache coming on at the thought of sitting in a room like this all day? And, to be completely honest, I really don’t like the psychedelic mustard yellow fabric on the chairs.
Now, the bottom room however, I love. My favorite part might be the unusual painting on the wall… it reminds me of the way sunlight crosses a room – perhaps that was the point? But let’s talk pattern. See how many layers Jeffers has put on the bed? And then there’s the drapes, the pop of color in the pillow on the chair, the pattern in the rug. And it all comes together so well, and very balanced. Perhaps its simply the color scheme that makes me more comfortable with all this visual texture and pattern, but this room I could live with.
What do you think? Which room is more your style?
While I’m at it…
Navy, Orange, and White (or Taupe, or some form of a neutral). This color combo was big last spring with the Nautical look, but now it’s come mainstream and I’m seeing orange in all the catalogs (West Elm, CB2, etc).
And then theres THIS:
As you can tell from my photos in the previous post – this is more along the lines of my new favorite color scheme. A peachy terra cotta, and a muted olive green? GORGEOUS. And yet, so traditional. Want some room inspirations? You got it…
Remember all those bright or deep jewel tones we’ve seen in the last couple of years? My prediction is we’ll see them all in their ‘dustier’ form – mustards, olives, peaches, lilacs, etc. I blame it on the surge of grey we’ve seen in decor. Add a bit of grey to the brighter colors we’ve been using and what do you get? Exactly.
… More on this to come!
I was ready for a seasonal change when the clock struck midnight on New Years… no really. I was literally redecorating my living room on New Year’s Eve. (I know, I’m such a loser, and I shouldn’t really be sharing that with the rest of the world.)
So, what would inspire a girl like me to stay home on a night like that? Besides the fact that I can’t really stand they hype of counting down ’til midnight, I fell in love with a blanket from (where else?) Anthropologie.
The colors in the fringe pulled me in, and I couldn’t resist! But what’s funny is when I got home I realized why. Colors seem to come full circle for me. I don’t always realize why I’m drawn to them, or where inspiration comes from, but one look at the accessories I already had in my home, and I knew why this cozy little throw was meant for me…
It all started with this book I picked up at a bookstore that was going out of business a few years ago. The faded beachy colors inspired pretty much my whole living room decor at my last apartment in Seattle. When you’re living in rainy, grey weather, you need the pickup! And, now that I’m in LA, the beach theme seems that much more applicable.
I already had this pile of pillows…
Planted some succulents in a cute thrift store pot (little vase by Ikea!)
Framed some prints out of the Euro magazine Gatsby, whose tagline might be the best I’ve ever read: “The supercilious assumption that on Sunday afternoon you have nothing better to do.”
And (totally coincidentally) I also purchased this gorgeous vintage ice bucket on ebay in a peachy/terra cotta leather with brass…
… can’t you just see it with a bottle of Veuve in it?
So, I’m pretty much set for Spring… I’m just working on my new couch, and my living room will be complete!
This table from BDDW…
A solid wood top with charred finish, a bronze base… it’s stunningly simple, raw, and gorgeous. What a striking centerpiece to a dining room! And some of their other designs are just as amazing…
This little side table is a perfect blend of modern and organic with a white lacquer exterior and oxidized maple interior.
And I love their mirror made with a distressed leather frame lined with wood, completed by the cast bronze hanging puck.
The whole collection just speaks to my love of blending something a little glam with something more raw and organic. Simply beautiful!
Digging around the blogosphere this weekend, I came across P.O.S.H. via shelterrific. Based in Chicago, Posh specializes in vintage tabletop items from around the world… with a unique twist. They are old stock from restaurants and hotels – for the most part. For example…
This gorgeous little demitasse cup and saucer will compliment just about, oh, anything. As they say in their description, “The Stone color is a warm, earthy limestone color trimmed in luminous metallic gold bands – perhaps the most perfect taupe ever!” I concur This piece was from a warehouse in Bordeaux, France.
Want some more?
How about some gorgeous mixed silver that has been reconditioned & replated? Sold in a “mix and match” set, you can indicate whether you prefer a more simple or ornate scheme, but isn’t half the fun not knowing?
Other great finds include…
Vintage rooster plates – perfect for a big morning breakfast, Victorian ivory handled serving pieces, original issued Swiss Army blankets (perhaps not so comfy, but a very cool piece to own for historical value!), vintage European books, and what might be the cutest piece of Americana on their site, these “Pancakes make people happy” mugs (I know pancakes make me happy!).