It’s in The Bag

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Anne Sylvain isn’t just any handbag company, and Patricia Raskin isn’t just any creative director. Anne Sylvain, born of many years of careful thought and education, along with several years of testing to find the right U.S.-based manufacturing facility, turns out beautiful one-of-a-kind, hand-crafted handbags of ostrich, python and American alligator.

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Patricia, a corporate lawyer by trade (17 years to be exact), has always enjoyed creating beautiful things, and she comes from a long line of artists on both sides of her family, including painters and a concert pianist. So, while her company is a mere five years old, being the creative director of Anne Sylvain is very natural, what she was born to do. Patricia knew she wanted to create something to augment a woman’s everyday life. As she explains it, no matter what you are feeling on any given day, carrying a beautiful handbag makes you happy. I agree.

img_5656Anne Sylvain bags, accessories and home products are made by hand with careful attention to details such as turned edges (rather than edges which have been cut and painted), and, whenever possible, she uses continuous pieces of material, greatly increasing the value and durability of her products. Anne Sylvain bags are classic shapes, which stand the test of time. The inside of the bag is just as carefully created as the outside, often in a contrasting colored leather for a nice “pop.” The side view of a clutch is also considered, using the prized belly of the python, for instance (photo above). No detail is overlooked. For these reasons, Anne Sylvain bags and products are authentically luxurious.

In 2017, Anne Sylvain is launching a home collection including coasters, boxes and catch-alls. Patricia is also turning out smaller personal items such as zip pouches, notebook covers, eye glass cases, card holders, men’s accessories and women’s cuffs.

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On December 10-11, Turner Helton Antiques & Interior Design is hosting Anne Sylvain at a preview launch party for the Anne Sylvain home collection. The event will also feature the full fall and holiday handbag collection. You don’t want to miss it!

Enjoy the slideshows featured in this post, and trust me when I say each piece is more lovely than a photo is able to capture. Any Anne Sylvain piece would make a special holiday gift for a loved one.

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Not to be overlooked, Anne Sylvain offers bespoke! The options and combinations are almost limitless. Your product can also be stamped with initials or numbers (like the catch all in the slide show above).img_5662

All photos by Bethany Siggins.

Note: The large black bag at the beginning of this piece is Anne Sylvain’s newest addition to the family, the Artemis. It features a 2 way zipper, 2 exterior pockets and 3 interior pockets. In short, it is the perfect bag for your next adventure!

Street Style – Two Style Lessons

IMG_3886Here are a few more snaps from our evening at Casco Antiguo earlier this week. Style Lesson #1: If your top is long (longer than where your leg breaks when you lift it), you must wear a heel to create a longer leg. Otherwise, your body is cut in half (50% torso; 50% leg), which makes you look short regardless of your true height. Our lovely, leggy model Amanda here asked me about cuffing her jeans. If she had been wearing a top with a hem around her hip bone, I would have told her to go for it as she has plenty of leg to sacrifice. However, because her top is longer than the leg break, I advised her to keep her jeans un-cuffed. If you can visualize her in flats with a cuffed hem, she would have appeared overlong on her top half and, thus, out of proportion.

IMG_3903Style Lesson #2: The more leg you show, the more of your top half should be covered. I do wish I had a tan for this lesson – ha! Wearing shorts that hit at mid-thigh or shorter calls for a top that is either a half sleeve, 3/4-length or a long sleeve as I am wearing. Short shorts and a tank top is provocative and not very classy. Leave a little to the imagination, and keep it classy, ladies. It is what men prefer, actually.

IMG_3902Lastly, if you have silver and/or turquoise jewelry, now is the time to wear it. The cool tones of the silver has an overall cooling effect on your look, which is just right during our warmest season. Ditto for turquoise. The light, soft green/blue goes with all your spring/summer clothing without having to think about it. Don’t worry if you have none of this color in your outfit. Adding a new color to your look via accessories is totally okay and encouraged, actually. Happy Weekend!—Bethany

Dallas Street Style Heats Up

IMG_3053My hair stylist and best friend, Gary Walden, has been doing my hair for longer than I care to admit. Today the spotlight is on him as he heats up the Dallas streets with his playful yellow and blue ensemble and his perfectly imperfect bracelet stack. The bright yellow shorts play nicely off the darker blue shirt. Neither is vying for the focus. Perfect playmates.  The bracelets are a cool mix of colors, textures and weights. IMG_3082Each one stands on its own; however, he has brought them together in one look which makes it unique and special.

IMG_3068Whatever your story and whatever your style, it is yours. Let it speak and do not stifle it. Have fun. Thank you, Gary, for showing us how to have fun with style!

Edie’s Shoes – Seattle’s Capitol Hill Mainstay

IMG_2359For 16 years Edie’s Shoes has served up the sophistication of Europe in a relaxed shopping atmosphere in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. Founded in 2000 by Erin Dolan, the shop offers men’s, women’s and a select few children’s styles, in addition to hats, handbags, jewelry and men’s accessories. On a recent visit, I found an enticing selection of merchandise, including lovely wall art for sale. As I have learned since moving to Seattle, comfort is key, and Edie’s serves it in abundance. Yet style is never compromised. These are on-trend shoes for the fashionable, discerning client.IMG_2310

IMG_2347Erin knows her stuff and is very hands-on with her customers, offering educated advice on what works and why.

As the saying goes, it is a small world. My daughter could not stop talking about a boy she likes (in a friendly, not a romantic, way – they are only five) in her class at a West Seattle school. It turns out, he is the son of Erin.

IMG_2348Edie’s Shoes offers a welcoming, relaxed shopping environment, and I recommend you stop in soon. They are running an anniversary sale until June 9! Now is the time to invest in a cool pair of shoes no one else will have at a price that won’t break your bank. Happy Shopping!—Bethany

Fashion Week Lake Charles

 

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Many things come to mind when south Louisiana is mentioned, Mardi Gras, Creole cuisine, Spanish moss, Voodoo and their world-famous laid-back attitude top the list.  Fashion is not generally one’s first thought, but Julie Branden and her dedicated team of fashion professionals are making fashion week a reality in Lake Charles, Louisiana, April 13-17.  In true Louisiana style, FWLC is packed with a gumbo of events such as a design competition, two days of runway shows and a variety of parties to keep you on your sartorial toes.

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There will be appearances by special guests Saints hall of famer Tyrone Hughes and American Horror Story (season 4) actress Ania Spiering at the launch party on Thursday, April 14. Ms. Spiering is wearing a few hats during FWLC, serving as a judge and a model coach on top of hosting duties.

Amongst the featured designers: Lake Charles-based clothing line Quad Clothing by Indrea Gordon, Nigerian designer of head-turning fascinators Iniziobella, Koko Shantal, purveyor of funky accessories and unique apparel, and many more. You do not want to miss the wrap party on Sunday, April 17 where local designer James Porter will delight attendees with a fashion show of his gorgeous swimwear.

The mission of FWLC is two-fold, to highlight special talent in the fashion industry and to support the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund (JDRF). Thus, in this case, fashion is much more than skin deep. Come one and come all to southwest Louisiana, for this smashing inaugural fashion extravaganza that is sure to light your fashion fire and leave you with a heaping helping of creative inspiration. Buy your tickets today!

FLOR to the Rescue

FLORsignFLOR popped upon my radar earlier this year when a friend on Facebook asked where to buy a quality rug at a good price.  Over and over the responses to her post were, “FLOR.”  When I looked into it, I discovered FLOR is a modular carpet tile system, which gives the customer the freedom to create a rug in whatever shape, size, color or style they desire.  I was intrigued, and I filed that little nugget of information away for later use.

Fast forward to summer. We are settled in a lovely craftsman-style home in West Seattle with beautiful hardwood floors throughout.  As you enter the front door of our home, you can see straight to the rear of our home to our family room which is just beyond our open kitchen.  This lengthy stretch of hardwood begged for a runner to not only add spice to our interior but also to protect the floor from foot traffic.

I went to FLOR’s website to investigate my options.  It is mind-blowing, actually.  I was stumped.  I decided to best place to start would be to order samples.  My lack of understanding must have showed having ordered a couple of squares for pet rugs.  Woops!

Thank goodness FLOR has design consultants to assist.  A consultant from the Seattle store e-mailed me shortly after the samples arrived to see if she could help me.  I immediately made an in-store appointment for a consultation.  She and I discussed the space, our aesthetic and our interior colors.  She guided me through my options, and she kept it simple.

By the end of our appointment, I had happily settled on a lovely multi-colored patchwork runner that covers the most highly trafficked stretch of our entry floor.  I love that I was able to incorporate many colors we have in our home.  The various textures and patterns I chose keep it from looking basic or boring.FLORWithPics

I installed it myself, and that part was much easier and quicker than I expected it to be.  I highly recommend FLOR.  When I walk in our home, it makes me smile.

If you live in Seattle, contact their store at 206.448.3365.  Ask for Kirsten.  Address: 2000 1st Avenue, Seattle, 98121.

Byrnie Utz Hats

NewHat (5)I cannot remember who told me about Byrnie Utz Hats, a wonderful family-owned hat shop located in the Financial District of downtown Seattle.  When I spotted it on a recent visit to downtown, I ducked in to see it for myself.  Though I do not wear hats often, I simply adore them and I fancy myself to be a regular hat wearer one day.  We’ll see!

Opened in 1934 by Byrnie Utz, this is Seattle’s oldest hat shop with an extensive inventory and a staff with unsurpassed knowledge on head gear.  I found the shop to be quaint, tidy, organized and well-stocked.  It looks much like it did when it was opened, which lends to its charm and appeal.  I believe there is something there for just about anyone looking for a hat, and the prices will not break the bank.  The many brands they stock include Borsalino, Makins and Stetson.NewHat (7)

As I browsed, I picked up a packable hat by Wallaroo made of lovely layers of navy and white polka dot fabric.  With a family trip around the corner, one that may include stops at a water park and the zoo, I simply could not resist it, especially given the added benefit of UPF 50+ and an interior adjustment for a perfect fit.  I love it.  What do you think?

If you’re looking for a hat or simply enjoy the idea of hats, pop into this wonderful store when you get a chance.  It will not disappoint, and I would be surprised if you did not walk away with a treasure for yourself.

Tory Burch “In Color”

ToryJessicaTory Burch, known as much for her love of the color orange as for her sporty flats and dreamy caftans, has released a gorgeous coffee table book today, “Tory Burch: In  Color” about her 11 favorite colors: orange, blue, green, purple, pink, red, yellow, white, black, natural and gold.  I was blessed to meet Tory last week and have her sign the book, which is being released today.  Last Friday afternoon at the Nasher Sculpture Center in downtown Dallas, Tory was joined by her friend Jessica Alba (actress and founder of The Honest Company) to discuss the book and other topics of interest including how she balances motherhood and a career, and the roundabout path she took in starting her namesake company.

Tory considers herself a late bloomer having only started her wildly successful company 10 years ago.  Tory departed a career on the rise with LVMH to stay at home with her three young boys.  Four years later, she started her company because she felt there was a need for high-quality, affordable clothing and accessories.  She certainly hit the mark!  However, she said she was not an overnight success, spending many of her first two years on the phone with her Hong Kong operations until 3:00 a.m. her time.

Tory was raised on a farm in Pennsylvania with three brothers.  Her parents Buddy and Reva (for whom Tory named her first flat) who would leave Tory and her brothers with family to take six-week worldly vacations, returning with various exotic souvenirs.  In addition, Tory’s childhood home entertained many “overnight” guests who invariably would stay long past their expected departure dates.  As as result of this unique upbringing, Tory’s aesthetic reflects an appreciation for diversity, one that is decidedly multicultural.

I greatly enjoyed the event, hosted by American Express, and I am very appreciative to my dear friend Peg Baird for allowing me to be her plus one!  Pick up a copy of the book, even if you are not familiar with Tory or her company.  I think you will find the content, including many beautiful photographs, to be highly inspiring and a lovely addition to your library.  Tory sees the world in color, and I think we all should!

How To Create a Wardrobe Shopping List

HangersSizesThere are at least two approaches to creating a smart wardrobe shopping list. One way is to assess your wardrobe for basics versus personality pieces.

Why do you need a shopping list? For starters, most purchases are impulse buys. And let’s face it, it is difficult to have a wardrobe that works for you if it is full of impulse buys. Any guilty parties out there? Tags still on oodles of items in your closet? Yep, that’s what I thought. Stop it. Make a list and stick to it.

First, assess your wardrobe for basics. These are the foundational building blocks of your wardrobe. You might also think of wardrobe basics as classic pieces, the items which are always available (in some version) year after year.

Basics/Classics include:
a white cotton shirtClassic Dresser
a blazer (or cardigans)
quality, well-fitting t-shirts
a few skirts (in lengths & shapes that flatter)
dark wash, straight leg jeans
flat-front pants
a few blouses
a day dress
a cocktail dress
a leather handbag
a leather pump
flats
quality bras (in the correct size) and
good underwear

How did you do? Write the missing classic pieces on your shopping list. Next, list them in order of priority. You cannot build a home with no foundation. The same is true for your wardrobe. These foundational pieces help to create well-balanced outfits. However, you may not need every item on this list. If you never attend cocktail events, skip the cocktail dress. If you are a skirt girl, skip the pants or vice versa. Tailor this list to your taste and your needs/lifestyle.

Of the classics/basics you own, are they in good condition, do they fit and are they representative of your taste and style? If not, toss them and purchase new ones.

Second, assess your wardrobe for personality pieces. Do you have any? What are personality pieces? Perhaps they are pieces you gravitate towards in the store that you are not sure you can pull off. Of course you can! Go for it! Often a personality piece is a twist on a basic or a classic. It has a slightly different design, color, texture or pattern to it.

Personality pieces may include drop earrings, cocktail rings, printed scarves, patterned tights, colorful handbags, over-sized sunglasses and so on. These pieces show others who you are. Personality pieces are mixed with classics to make interesting, well-balanced outfits.

WardrobeSpiceIf personality pieces are sorely lacking in your closet, write “personality pieces” at the top of your shopping list. The next time you shop, if you gravitate towards a basic/classic, but you know your highest priority is to find personality pieces, step away from the classic.

Some of us are classic girls, and some of us are personality piece girls. And some of us are both (guilty)! Too many classics makes for a lackluster wardrobe, but too many personality pieces make it difficult to create well-balanced outfits.

Happy Weekend, everyone, and thanks for reading. Make a smart wardrobe shopping list and stick to it!  Most of all, stay fabulous.

Fall Trends 2014

OrangeDoorAt the end of each summer I produce a card of fall trends, a reference of the biggest trends of the season, in anticipation of fall fashions which begin hitting the stores at about that time.  I simply love fall fashion, the rich colors, the textured fabrics and the beautiful leather goods.  To me, fall fashion is worthy of investment.  Trends come and go, but if you purchase wisely (read: not too trendy) and you take care of your things (yes, pay attention to care instructions), your investments will last you several years (at the least!). 

If you love something but cannot afford it, look for the best version of the knock off or scour vintage stores for something similar.  As you know in fashion, everything old is new again, so it is quite possible what you love has been done before in a previous decade.  One fall I really wanted a moto jacket, but I did not have the budget for a leather jacket.  So, I purchased a pleather version and wore the heck out of it.  A few years later, I got the real thing.

My fall 2014 trends card does not cover all the trends, so below is an extensive list .  If you would like a trends card and a couple of extras for friends, message me.  I would be delighted to send them to you!

Colors:  cobalt, steel, dark red, moss green, pastels, orange and jewel tones

To see a list of the Pantone fall 2014, click here.

Fabrics: shearling, leather, tweed, knits, fur, metallic and velvet

Prints/Patterns: plaid, abstract, color blocking, patchwork and diagonal lines

Oversized: coats, collars on coats, dresses, sweaters (including turtlenecks) and pants

Office:  midi skirts, pant suits, sharp blazers, pin stripes, menswear and neck tie blouses

Details: feathers, accordion pleats, fringe, sequins, western and puffy sleeves

Top layer: ponchos, capes, varsity jackets, bombers, blanket coats and fur-trimmed parkas

Bags: bucket, totes, jeweled clutches and fur top-handle handbags

Shoes: sneakers, flats, ankle boots, brogues and ankle-strap heels

Beauty: ponytails, braids, oversized buns, colorful cat eyes, nude and berry lips and nude and Bordeaux nails

Whew, I probably missed a few, but not many.  If you need assistance finding what suits you, call me.  I love making the shopping experience quick and easy.  I especially enjoy helping people find pieces they would have never considered if they had shopped on their own!  Happy Shopping!