My Not-so-Lazy Longchamp Sunday.

Posted in london calling by bluewellesleyblue on October 26, 2008

I’ve mentioned my fondness for the Longchamp Le Pliage large totes before. Yes, they are so common on my home campus and amongst the young women of the greater Boston area as to be a cliche. Yes, the only reason why they aren’t as common in central London seems to be because they’re considered to be nothing better than a glorified and pricey grocery bag. Seriously, I was waiting in line at a Waitrose supermarket – an upper end supermarket chain here – only to see the well-dressed lady in front of me pull one out from her purse for her groceries. Still, two years after first meeting the Longchamp Le Pliage tote on many of my college classmates’ arms, I still haven’t been able to shake my vague desire for one. It’s just so elegant in it’s simplicity. If only it weren’t an $150.00 nylon bag. But today, I took the plunge and picked one up – legitimately – for 58 GBP. With the current exchange rate, that’s roughly $92.



Crazy for: Cross-Body Bags.

Posted in things i love by bluewellesleyblue on October 8, 2008

I’ve always been very fond of cross-body, sort of messenger-bag style handbags. Though many handbags are sold in the US with detachable shoulder bags for that purpose, I almost never see anyone actually wearing their bag that way when walking around in the mall or on Newbury St. That’s not the case at all on this side of the pond. When I look around at Covent Garden or on Oxford Street, there’s a small but significant percentage of stylish ladies with convenient, small bags hanging by their hip. On most any high street shop accessory wall, there’s also a fair amount of selection if one is looking for a cross-body bag.

Now that the only small bag I brought with me to London has been rendered temporarily unusable – though hopefully not permanently so – I’ve been in the market for a cheap replacement. Normally, when it comes to handbags at least, I look for slightly pricier options knowing that I’d rather buy one very nice one every year or so rather than a cheap thrill every season (though the right cheap thrill could make me change my mind). Still, I always feel slightly exposed when I go to crowded tourist sites with a tote bag that doesn’t fasten securely or at all. The worst pickpocket horror stories from people who’ve visited Europe always seem to take place in other cities, but there’s no point in taking a risk.

Though I rarely see the style used in practice when in the states, there are almost always some options there as well. Forever 21 has at least two very colorful styles in stock right now: If the colorful striped one looks very familiar to you, it should. It’s a very clear send up of a Prada bag from a while back.

I do feel like this is a style of bag that works best when its fairly plain. Usually, my favorite versions of this type of bag are just brown leather. Miss Thumbelina often incorporates a vintage version into her outfits.

Randomly Loving: The Dooney and Bourke “Alto” Collection.

Posted in things i love by bluewellesleyblue on September 28, 2008

When I think about what my next handbag investment might be – I try to choose wisely since I buy bags so rarely, my last purchase was more than a year ago! – I rarely think about Dooney and Bourke bags as an option. For the most part, their bags seem to be either slightly frumpy and old lady in the case of the more subdued monogram bags or very childish as in the case of the bee bags or the colorful monogram ones. I’ve recently encountered the tassel bag from their Alto collection, however, and I’m quite impressed. The entire line is very simple and very classy, though the designs definitely suit a person whose on the older end of being a student.

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Those New Yorkers are so Lucky…

Posted in miscellaneous by bluewellesleyblue on September 11, 2008

Of course, they have fashion week, but with that also comes things that are more accessible to the more average consumer. Fabsugar was able to get to one of the limited-time-only Target temporary stores in Manhattan, and they were able to get their hands on some of the upcoming designer for Target collections. The rest of us won’t be seeing these things until early and mid October.

I’m not too excited about the Jonathan Saunders Go International collection – it’s nice and colorful, but not my style – but the Anya Hindmarch for Target and Siegerson Morrison for Target shoes look to be some of the best designer for Target stuff yet! Once again, Fabsugar has a pretty complete preview of what those lines will include. I don’t know how those shoes will be on practicality or comfort. One of my friends owns a pair of the Hollywould for Target heels and they end up being very painful. Still, the bags are a pretty safe bet for an affordable and pretty classy design.

The Week in Review.

Posted in week in review by bluewellesleyblue on August 31, 2008

1. Everyone’s probably back to school now, including my Wellesley friends who don’t happen to be going abroad. In truth, I’m kind of missing school too. I was busy most of the summer, but I’ve also had about two or three weeks lazing around at home, and I’m ready to get back to work! The start of school is the perfect excuse for getting a new tote bag, which is an infinitely cooler way to carry one’s books than a backpack. (Of course, if one has a lot of heavy textbooks, it’s best just to use the backpack to avoid injury.) While I’m just going to pack a more formal and business wear-appropriate tote during my semester abroad, I am quite fond of keeping around a fun and casual tote for class. Colorful prints or materials like canvas or straw can be very cute.

Betseyville Tote, $45.00.

2. The new O.P.I. for Sephora nail polish line is quite fun to play around with in the store. They are a bit pricey because they are salon-quality, but wow, just from trying it in the store, there is a difference. Since they go on to the nail very thick and smooth, it’s easy even for someone with clumsy hands like mine to do their nails neatly with higher quality nail polish. When compared to the price of several manicures, $9 a bottle is not too bad. They also offer a top coat, a base coat, and other odds and ends so that you can really do your own manicure. I probably won’t be investing in this since I get tired of individual colors so quickly, but if you can find a roommate or two to split it with and plan on using it for a while, the pricing is not too bad at all.

3. I hope no former Hillary supporter is fooled by McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin as a running mate. I was a Hillary supporter myself, but will of course be voting for Obama come November. I am not particularly enthused about Obama as a candidate. I am, however, well aware, that the Democratic candidate I liked less is still a far lesser evil than McCain/Palin when it comes to actual women’s issues like the right to choice. I’ll step off my soapbox now, but the argument that people will vote Republican just because they have a woman on the ticket makes me so angry. No one’s going to be fooled by that transparent a ploy from the Republican party. It’s just like those articles that argue that today’s teenage girls or just today’s teenagers or children do stupid things just because of what’s on TV or what’s going on with some specific, little groups of people.

4. I am almost completely recovered from my wisdom teeth extraction! I do not actually have dry socket, which is a relief. The recovery process for getting wisdom teeth out is actually not that big a deal at all, I just have very little else to complain about, and I quite like complaining.

5. I have the biggest urge to start browsing thrift stores because of the way some bloggers out there are able to incorporate thrift store pieces into their outfits so well. Unfortunately, those seem to be in very short supply in the California bay area. In the Boston area, I’m only familiar with the likes of Second Time Around and other still kind of pricey, swanky places that have locations in the Newbury Street area, but I’ll be sure to keep an eye out for more options in both my home locales.

Until next week, stay stylish!

Back to School: The Only Bags you Really Need in College.

Posted in shopping advice by bluewellesleyblue on August 25, 2008

As I go into my junior year at Wellesley College, and pack for my fall semester away, I can’t help but think about how best to pick and choose what clothes, bags, shoes, and accessories are traveling with me and which are staying home. Whether one is going overseas, across the country, or just across the state, anytime you can’t just drive up to your school, packing efficiently becomes an issue. Especially as airlines now charge exorbitant fees for overweight luggage or that second check-in bag due to rising fuel prices, picking and choosing what to bring is now more important than ever. Having dragged alone my entire (very modest) handbag collection across the continental United States way too many timesĀ  in the last two years, I’ve put a lot of thought into which bags I actually, really, truly need while at school.

1. The School/Work Tote.

One of the most important bags to have as a college student is a roomy tote for notebooks, pens, and smaller textbooks. Those larger brick-like monsters used in most science classes don’t travel well in anything but a backpack, but anything smaller and lighter than that should be easy to carry in a tote. Even laptops can travel very safely in a sturdy tote, though your shoulder will complain and you do need to be very careful with it. Many ambitious, busy college students will have days when they need to run straight from class to work or to an off-campus internship, which is why its twice as nice to have a bag that would be at home in both settings.

At left, the Longchamp Le Pliage tote from Nordstrom for $145. This one is a bit of a splurge and also a bit of a cliche, which you’ll find out pretty quickly upon setting foot on any Boston area college campus. However, this is for good reason as it is a very elegant, simple, and ultimately very sturdy school or work bag. At right, another option, the Hip Hip Large Hobo from Nine West, on sale for $55.

2. The Night Out Bag.

Whether for a party or dinner and a movie, there are many busy evenings when the only bag you really want to be carrying is something small enough that it only fits the bare bones: cell phone, a little bit of money, an ID, and maybe a lipgloss. As you settle into the social scene and habits that work for you, there are likely to be many awkward dorm parties, frat parties, and the like. This is where a bag that can be kept conveniently at your side at all times without restricting your movement – because dancing is fun, even if the setting occasionally results in meeting sketchy people – is especially useful.

One example is the Botkier for Target shoulder bag, pictured at left, which is only $30. For a little more of a splurge, there’s the gray Kenneth Cole Seams Right shoulder bag on sale for $90, pictured at right. Wristlets are also very good for the purpose, though I find that they are a bit awkward.

3. The Day Out Bag.

By “day” bag I just mean a sort of medium-shaped bag that is good for shopping or other daytime activities yet is not as big or bulky as the school or office tote. It’s not quite as necessary, but there are going to be outfits that don’t quite go with the one nighttime bag and occasions where the school bag just won’t do at all. I really like brown, yellow, cream, or white bags for daytime, and they’ll essentially match well with just about anything my smaller black bag won’t catch.

This B. Makowsky bag from Nordstrom is only a small splurge at $188 and is just the right color and size. It’s cute and just right for a college-aged student.