Because... getting dressed should be fun!

Because... getting dressed should be fun!

Category: Accessories

The Perfect Handbag

The Perfect Handbag

I spent years looking for the perfect handbag. I don’t literally mean years wandering the Earth in pursuit of the perfect bag, but I might have had a wee obsession. Pretty much anywhere I went that had anything vaguely resembling a handbag, I would look. This led to some amusing, and some incredibly practical purchases, and quite a bit (Oh, let’s just say a lot!) of wasted money. It wasn’t until much later that I thought to spend  time thinking about what I thought made a handbag “perfect.” Let me make something clear; I despise (No, that is not too strong a word.) the tyranny of “perfect.” There is only one perfect, and it’s not found on this Earth. I prefer: Ideal for you now. This is where I struggle with the what-every-woman-MUST-own lists discussed in a previous post. At some point I discovered that there is no perfect handbag, or even ideal, but there is the handbag that best works for at this point in my life, and for particular occasions.

Here are a variety of questions to ask yourself before exchanging your cold hard cash (or credit card) for a new bag…

Know Thyself Questions

  • What is my life like? Do I need a bag that is easy to clean? (Maybe that cute suede hobo isn’t such a good idea…) Where will it live at home or work? On the floor? In a drawer? In a coat closet? On the dining room table where spills happen?
  • What do I want this bag for? Everyday? A special event like a wedding? Travel?
  • How much do I like to carry around with me daily? Am I the kitchen sink woman, or a  phone, credit card, and lipstick woman? Or am I  somewhere in between? (If you are the kitchen sink woman, know that you will spend more time and money at the doctor’s office later!)
  • Do I want a bag du jour (the latest trend), or one that will stand the test of time?
  • Do I want to change bags often, or have one that goes with “everything”? (Note: There is no bag that goes with everything. There are bags that go with your everyday everything!)
  • How much do I have to spend? How much do I want to spend? (These are two very different questions!) Am I willing to spend more than I want to get what I really like? (Note: I would NEVER suggest you spend more than you have to get what you really like!)
  • What size and shape bags are best for my personality, body shape, and scale?
  • Is brand important to me? Do I like carrying a recognizable bag? Do I like logos? Or do I prefer to go stealth? (Be honest here…  It is a pity to spend a fortune on a bag just to find out you don’t want to be advertising for a particular company. And it is OK to want a bag with someone else’s initials if that makes you happy!)

Know Your Bags Questions

  • Do I prefer a shoulder strap? How long? A cross body? Maybe a handheld satchel is more my speed. Or does it need to be convertible to handle all these options? Some women prefer a wristlet or clutch.
  • How much structure do I want? Soft and squishy, or more structured? What shapes do I like best? Soft and rounded? More angular? Taller than wide (North/South) or wider than tall (East/West)? Frequently there is a connection between angularity and structure, but lately there are structured round bags everywhere, and square squishy totes, so be sure to keep your structure and shape preferences defined.
  • What materials do I prefer? Fabric and PVC (even when called Vegan Leather) are, for the most part, less long wearing than leather. If you have issues with leather bags, expect to replace yours more frequently.
  • Do I have a hardware preference? I have seen a woman reject her (otherwise) ideal bag because the hardware was silver colored and she only wears gold.
  • What colors do I like best? What goes with the majority of my outfits? Do I want a bag that blends with, or stands out from my outfit? (Hint: A black or camel handbag stands out like a sore thumb on many women; a handbag in the same color as your hair goes with all your outfits, because you wear your hair wherever you go.)

If this seems like an awful lot of questions to ask before heading to the shops or to your computer, take a moment to think about what else you could do with the $25-$2,500 (or more!) one can spend on a handbag. (Movie, or family vacation…) Spending time thinking through what your ideal bag looks/feels/smells/carries like is well worth the time it will save you shopping. Think of it as the shopping equivalent of Measure Twice, Cut Once.

Do you have a favorite bag? Or did you, but it is no longer right for your life? Please share in the comments below!

 

            

 

Style/Fashion Myths

Style/Fashion Myths

Myth: Black shoes go with everything.
Reality: Black shoes go with everything only if you have black hair! Otherwise, shoes the color of your skin or hair go with everything!

Myth: Don’t wear navy and black together.
Reality: Navy and black worn together can look very chic when combined intentionally! The same goes for black and brown.

Myth: Never wear white after Labor Day.
Reality: If you look good in white, wear it all year long!

M: Don’t mix metals.
Reality: Mix away! To make it look like you meant it, make sure to choose at least 1/3 of one metal.

Myth: Flats are more comfortable than heels.
Reality: A low heel can be more comfortable (and better for your feet) than flats!

Myth: You shouldn’t repeat an outfit during the week.
Reality: If the outfit is made of neutral basics, no one will notice, especially if you change your accessories!

Myth: Clothes need washing after each wearing.
Reality: Clothes last longer the less they are washed. Many clothes only need an airing before wearing a second or third time.

Myth: One size fits all.
Reality: One size fits no one well!

Myth: There is something wrong with my body; I can’t find clothes that fit.
Reality: There is NOTHING wrong with my body; there is something wrong with these clothes!

Myth: A $5 shirt is a good deal.
Reality: A good deal is defined by Cost Per Wear. If you only wear that shirt one time, it cost you $5. But the $100 dress that you wear once a week for two years costs you less than $1 per wear. Think CPW, not cost!

Outfit Recipes

Outfit Recipes

Do you feel bombarded at the grocery store checkout by the magazine covers? I often do! Quick and Easy Family Meals… 30 Minute Dinners… Shortcuts to Supper… (And have you ever noticed that for every diet/slim down article, there’s a Best Dessert Ever recipe? So unfair!) Literally millions of recipe ideas at our fingertips, but we frequently default to the family favorites we cook so often that we need no recipe at all. The best are the ones that have some wiggle room for adaptation. Maybe we are out of chicken, but it works with ground beef, too. Or, we have no taco seasoning, so we swap in Italian seasoning, and serve it over pasta instead of with tortillas. These are the best kind of recipes, endlessly adaptable, and never boring! Wouldn’t the same kind of recipes for your closet be fabulous?

What’s An Outfit Recipe?

An Outfit Recipe is a dressing shortcut. The best recipes are quick, easy, and adaptable, not the ones with ingredients you can’t pronounce, let alone find at the store (in your closet). I am not talking about the black pants with the pink blouse and heart necklace, that’s too specific and gets boring very quickly. I am talking about those flexible recipes, the ones that with a little spice can keep your wardrobe feeling full of variety. Everyone has their own favorites. Mine change with the seasons, and with my activities for the day. When I was teaching in the classroom, my winter default recipe was dress+boots+cardigan+scarf. With just 3 dresses, 3 cardigans, 3 boots, and 3 scarves, you could go on for quite a while before repeating! (If they all mix and match, you have 81 outfits. That’s 4 months worth of work outfits!)

My Recent Recipes

This month I have been doing the Inside Out Style Daily Picture Challenge. Reviewing one week’s photos startled me. I wore almost the same outfit all week long, but it didn’t feel like it. My recipe that week was Column of Color + Scarf or Necklace for contrast. Some days the column was blue, other days it was white. It could be an inner column (shirt and trouser) or an outer column (trouser and jacket) but CoC + SoN 4 Contrast it was! (Maybe these should be Wardrobe Equations instead of recipes!) My apologies for the selfie… I don’t have an Instagram Husband!

Some Recipe Ideas to Try

Simple Dress + Bold Necklace + Jean Jacket + Shoes/Boots (appropriate for the season)

Slim Cropped Trouser/Jeans + Loose/Flowy Shirt + Layered Thin Necklaces + Ballet Flats

Wide Trouser/Jeans + Slim Fitting Top + Bold Necklace + Wedges

Column of Color (top and bottom of the same color) + Scarf/Necklace and Shoes (of a second color)

The great thing about recipes is their flexibility. Don’t wear trousers, sub in skirts instead! Can’t stand necklaces, sub in bracelets and earrings for interest. Scarves are too complicated? Try the necklace option! Too hot for trousers, sub in shorts!

What’s a favorite recipe that you return to again and again? Please share in the comments below!

And thank you to Katherine of Not Dressed as Lamb for the Linkup!

Fall Dressing in Hot Weather

You are tired of your summer clothes. Fall fashions are in the stores. Fall outfit inspirations like this one by Kotnourka are in magazines, and on websites everywhere. (Yes, Pinterest, I see you!) These looks are lovely, but where I live, daytime temps are still pushing 90 degrees (hurricane notwithstanding), and even the thought of a sweater causes heatstroke. Inspiration boards abound with knee high boots with jeans tucked in, plaid scarves casually thrown over tee shirts, leather jackets, turtlenecks, long duster cardigans over another sweater, chunky knits, and ponchos. Where I live, just trying these on in the store brings on a rash. So what’s a girl to do? Here are a few ways to get your fall on when your climate is just too darn hot…

Darker Colors

Maybe you will be wearing sleeveless tops well into November. (We certainly do here!) Sort through your closet (or drawers) and pull out the darker ones, the more traditionally fall tones. If you are cool complexioned, try wine, navy, dark turquoise/teal, deep raspberry, spruce green, or purple. Warmer complexioned ladies might like brown, mustard, pumpkin, olive or loden green, warm turquoise or teal, warm navy, or red-violet. These feel more like fall than the brights, pastels, or whites and creams that so often take over a hot weather wardrobe. Even something as small as a darker nail polish can give you the change you crave!

Gold Jewelry

I don’t know why, maybe it’s the reference to turning leaves, but gold jewelry and less shiny pieces look and feel more fall to me than silver. If you don’t wear gold because it doesn’t suit your coloring, then try rose gold, pewter, or hematite finshes. I am a cool complexioned girl myself, and don’t look my best in gold, but I pull a few pieces out and wear them to death in the fall, and then tuck them away again until the next year. Layering a few necklaces can be a great way to get a layered look without the heat.

Rock Those Boots

I know, didn’t I say boots and heatstroke just above? Rock booties for a fall look with less heat. Or if you are a knee-high boot lover like I am, as soon as the daytime highs drop low enough (everyone has a different number for this one–mine’s between 75 and 80 degrees) wear those boots with bare legs and a dress. No one needs to know you have little cotton socks on keeping your feel cool and dry!

Suede

Here’s another material that just shouts fall, and the color doesn’t really even matter. Dig out that cute suede bag, or go hit the craft store and wrap some suede cord twice around your neck for a choker. Suede fringe or tassel necklaces are everywhere. I love the new Pearlsueded by Premier Designs ( I get nothing for this plug, it’s just a darling piece that is adjustable, so you can wear it short, too. How cool is that?) If you don’t have a PD jeweler, let me know below, and I can connect you with mine. (She’s so fabulous, my husband jokingly calls her “my dealer”!)

What are your favorite fall cheats for hot weather? I would love to hear them! Please share in the comments below…

Saturday Reading/Listening

Saturday Reading/Listening

Saturday is here again, or should I say FINALLY here? I was in bed last night at 8:30. Social butterfly was not my descriptor yesterday! I know lots of you have already headed off for the weekend. I am determined to have a quiet and uneventful weekend. (Note to my children and grandchildren: Do NOT make this weekend eventful! Be holy and wise. +) So if you are having a quiet weekend yourself, and are looking for some reading, here are my picks for the week.

First off–from the amazing Janice Riggs (you will see her a LOT here!): I love to see how she takes an inspiration piece and builds a wardrobe around it! Each month brings a new installment, so the wardrobe grows and evolves over the year. This is the second year of this series, and now that fall is coming you can really see how these are shaping up.

Anyone who knows me, knows I wear a lot of scarves. Actually I wear a few scarves, a lot of the time. They are one of my signatures. I was perusing the Echo Designs website (It gets harder and harder every year to find silk scarves at a reasonable price point. They still manage!) , when I ran across this bit of history… As a scarf lover, I love to meet the people behind my scarves!

If you are interested in the history of dress/fashion/style or whatever you wish to call it, the next two links may be right up your alley. The Lost Art of Dress is a fascinating look into the history of dress, and some of the amazing women who blazed a trail for women in academia and business in the only place they could make inroads in their time. Linda Przybyszewski also shares a wealth of information about the development, and loss, of American style. If American style is of particular interest, Claire McArdell’s What Shall I Wear is a beautiful book showcasing her designs and affording the reader a peek into her sources of inspiration, and perspective on practicality. What Shall I Wear was originally published in 1956, (the newer edition dates 2012) and still bursts with practical wardrobe advice.

Last, but certainly NOT least, a blog post/video from Imogen Lamport and Jill Chivers about Owning Your Style. This is not so much a primer on how to do so, but more of a philosophical reflection on what Owning Your Style means. I frequently notice an Own Your Style age gap. Small children do it naturally, and many older men and women rock their own style with confidence, but so many people seem to get lost in the middle.

Enjoy your weekend, and be safe!

My Wardrobe Musts

My Wardrobe Musts

A few weeks ago I published a post about all the Must Have lists, and thinking about your lifestyle to determine YOUR Must Haves. Everywhere you look are wardrobe must have lists. I enjoy reading what others think are wardrobe musts, but these lists do not send me running off to the shops, because usually the writer’s life is very different from mine. One of the most comprehensive (beautifully illustrated and witty) is Nina Garcia’s 100.  but since my life is not nearly as jet-setty as hers, that 100 doesn’t work for me. Tim Gunn has an interesting list, as well, and I especially love his “sweatsuit alternative” (something comfy cozy and still presentable). In the interest of transparency, and satisfying some askers, here’s my 10.

#1 Narrow Trouser: I’m short. No euphemisms necessary. (Although I do like “fun-size” and altitudinally-challenged.) For me the standard trouser needs to be narrow, even when I am carrying extra weight. Wearing big pants just makes me look bigger. Most other lists have a skinny jean here, but I’ll throw my denim on with #10.

#2 White Knit Top: I have cool coloring, so mine is soft white. I love a white top for how cool it feels in May-October. (And for the fact that I can bleach it to get out all the food I drop on myself.) A nicely fitted white tee is harder to find than it should be, and unfortunately needs replacing frequently. (It’s the Goldilocks thing, people: not too loose, not too tight; not too thick, not too thin; not too long, not too short; not too high-necked, not too low-necked.)

#3 Colored Shoes: I know, everyone says you need a black pump, but unless your hair is very dark, they are not the most flattering choice. I love colored shoes, because most of my clothing is neutral.

#4 Sparkles: I would grab my big silver hoops if evacuating. Yup. Trivial, but they always make me happy and I love how they look with #9. If not those, then a fun necklace. Most likely turquoise.

#5 Big-ish Tote: This one is all about scale. If you are a large scale person, your large tote will dwarf mine. My current fave is 14.5 in X 6.5 in X 10.5 in. That wouldn’t be large on someone who is 5′ 10″, but on me, it’s plenty large. Bigger than a handbag, smaller than a tote, my everyday bag. Much bigger and I look like a child carrying Mummy’s handbag.

#6 Day Dress: Throw and go. That’s one of the reasons I love me a dress. That and the fact that in our unbearably-hot-for-6-months-of-the-year weather, a dress means less places the fabric is touching your body. No Waistband=More Coolness. Air circulation is a godsend.

#7 Short Cardigan: The long boyfriend (or grandpa) cardie is too long for me. (See shortness issue in #1) I opt for short; then, it also looks better with a dress. I am still looking for one I can turn around and wear buttoned up the back…

#8 Watch: Yup, again. I am old-school. Yes, this is a generational thing. Most of the under-30’s I know don’t wear a watch (unless they are medical personnel.)   I like a watch. As a matter of fact, I love my watch. It’s old, scratched, and sturdy; it has proven to be the best clothing/accessories purchase I ever made. Thank you LLBean!

#9 Neckerchief: Anyone who knows me, knows that this is a signature for me. Maybe you prefer long scarves, or maybe a scarf would never grace your neck. I can’t explain why they make me happy, they just do. Ideally, this neckerchief would be the same color as item #3 above!

#10 Denim Jacket: This is another signature item for me. Mine is years old, from Target. The one before that was Levi’s. Who knows from where the next one will come? It casual-izes any dress or trouser, and wards off the chill in frigid air conditioned spaces. Layered with a cardie underneath, it handles most of what qualifies for winter here in the CSRA. Other items move in and out of my wardrobe with the seasons, but the jean jacket is there 12 months of the year. Some day, heaven forfend,  I will pull it out of the washer to find it has come from togetherness. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. And a halt to all superfluous activity until a suitable replacement is found.

Looking over this list, everything here is rather mundane, and would certainly be the first things I would throw into a suitcase for almost any trip. It just goes to show that it is the personality of the wearer, and how she chooses and combines her basics that makes all the difference!

What are your top ten? What would you throw into your bag if you had to leave home in a hurry? Please share in the comments below!

AUGUST GIVEAWAY!

AUGUST GIVEAWAY!

To celebrate the launch of Closet Play Image (AND my acceptance as a Skilled Member of the Association of Image Consultants International — Woo Hoo!), I am giving away a Personal Style Consultation OR Wardrobe Audit ($300+ values) to one local winner to be selected at the end of August. The winner will be drawn on September 1, 2017. (Yes, Aiken is local. So is Grovetown. And Burke County! Even out Clark’s Hill Lake way…)

To help you decide which of my services would be best for you, here’s a taste of what the winning options include…

Personal Style Consultation

This comprehensive (3-4 hour) style consultation includes:

  • Personality, Lifestyle, and Values Analysis
  • What’s Working Now Breakdown
  • Physical Presence Awareness and Education
  • Somatype and Fabric Choice
  • Line and Design
  • Facial Evaluation: face shape, defining features, and other related aspects and includes recommendations for jewelry, necklines, hairstyles, makeup based on your unique qualities
  • Body Evaluation (No Measurements!): body shape, proportions, variations, clothing shapes to flatter your unique assets, what to avoid and how to camouflage, scale and how to use it to your advantage
  • Business and Social Dress Codes
  • Style File: your own customized 50+ page style portfolio with an overview diagram showing what to look for when shopping, and other reference materials for review
  • Mix and Match: a short session in your own closet, evaluating some favorite pieces and how to make them work even better for you

Wardrobe Audit

This 3-4 hour wardrobe review includes:

  • Personality, Lifestyle, and Values Analysis and
  • 3 hours closet work including:
  • What’s Working Now Breakdown
  • Piece by Piece Assessment (Fit, Potential, Modification)
  • Wardrobe Capsule Creation
  • Wardrobe Gap Evaluation
  • Shopping List for Future Purchases
  • Mix and Match: a session in your own closet, evaluating some favorite pieces and how to make them work even better for you
  • Closet Organization
  • Wardrobe Therapy File: your own customized 13 page style portfolio with capsule wardrobe worksheets and other reference materials for review
  • Removal/Donation of Unloved and Unwanted Items

How to Win

To enter, please comment below, and feel free to share with your friends! The more the merrier!

Imitation is the Most Sincere Form of Flattery?

Imitation is the Most Sincere Form of Flattery?

The familiar quote above is from CC Colton, although others have said similar through the ages. In our social media (especially Pinterest) age, where are the lines between imitation, inspiration, and cultural appropriation?

Imitation and Inspiration

I will say flat out, that I have no answers here! This is all interpretation, unless you are dealing with patent law, and piracy, neither of which involve flattery, merely profit. For fashion or style, I define imitation as the the duplication of another’s look. Maybe, you are trying to duplicate one of Kate Middleton’s maternity looks for a baby shower. You find the same dress, and the closest possible shoes, but alas, you cannot duplicate the jewels! Understandable, so you go for a matching set you have that is similar. You are trying to recreate her look. That says imitation to me. Pre-teens do this all the time; I am sure most of us have seen two or three together, (sometimes more!) wearing matching outfits.

Inspiration works on a much looser principle. You like someone’s look, and you take something from that look, and make it your own. Maybe you use the color scheme, or the proportions, or the way she mixed her jewelry, but you do it using your own items, in a way that works for your personality, shape, and lifestyle. I have a client who loves Katherine Hepburn in her wide legged trousers and crisp white shirts, and Nicole Kidman’s modern interpretation of that same Elegant Chic. My client would be swamped in wide legged trousers, and does not wear woven shirts, but she takes her inspiration from the color combinations, and simple accessories they use.

Cultural (Mis)Appropriation

Talk of imitation and inspiration often leads to a discussion on cultural (mis)appropriation. This is a messy topic, and much like the author of this article in The Atlantic, I do not want to only live the culture of my Irish, German, and Alsatian ancestors; I would look silly running about in a dirndl and shawl. (Although a pint of Guiness would not be a strain…) I can see how taking elements from another’s culture, using them for profit, and not giving credit is a problem, as the author of this Thoughtco.com article elucidates. Years ago, I was astonished when a folk-dance enthusiast and instructor commented on a necklace I was wearing. She recognized it as an antique Kuchi Wedding Necklace (I think…) and asked how it came to be in my possession. She told me these necklaces were very special pieces, and rarely left the family. When I put on the silver necklace that was a gift from my mother, I was not pretending to be an Afghan bride. My mother saw it at an estate sale, and thought the craftsmanship beautiful; it is a work of art.  I wear it with that same appreciation. I appreciate its beauty even more, now that I know more about it.

Most of us are past the imitation phase in our lives, so, where do you find inspiration for your outfits? Please share in the comments below!

 

Beauty Bundles

Beauty Bundles

I love the ever amazing Brenda Kinsel, and the versatility of what she (and many others, now) calls Beauty Bundles. A Beauty Bundle (BB) is a group of coordinated accessories that can be used to add a punch to a variety of outfits. Think of them as accessory families. Now don’t panic. A BB is not fixed; you don’t have to wear all the pieces at once, and there is no set number of pieces required. You probably have some at home already…

(Please forgive my extremely amateur photos… They were taken years ago, for my own reference, ages before I ever imagined I would be blogging!)

Color or Theme?

Often, BB’s are thought of as a way to add color to an outfit, and they can be a great way to pop your neutrals, or add a second color to an outfit without feeling like you are dressed like a clown. If a Beauty Bundle is an accessory family, think of the bundle’s DNA as what makes it hang together. That DNA could be a color, or a theme. I have a polka dot problem (no there is no support group available, yet!) and pulled together a polka dot bundle. No, I would not wear all my polka dots at once, but I would mix up two or maybe three! Maybe you feel a little rebellious some days and need a Rock-n-Roll Bundle. One summer, feeling a little sad that a trip to Capri was not on my itinerary (A friend was going and I was extremely happy for her, as well as a little jealous), I pulled together a Capri beauty bundle. In my mind’s eye, that meant turquoise blue, gold, and white, and a boho luxe flair. While she was away, I joined her (in spirit) on her trip by wearing items from my Capri bundle each day. Crazy? Probably, but it made me happy, and when we did sneak off to the beach later in the summer, I packed my bundle, and that long weekend became my Capri!

Packing with a Bundle

Which brings us to one of the ways Beauty Bundles can be most effectively used. Packing! I love to travel, and will throw together a suitcase at the drop of a hat. Weekend away is one of my favorite phrases in the English language. A BB, whether by color, or theme, can help a suitcase full of basics turn into a customized travel wardrobe. Imagine my Capri bundle on the left packed with white jeans, a white tee, a denim shirt, a turquoise tee, and a chambray sundress and a swimsuit. You would be dressed for days, with very little in your bag!

Pulling Together a Bundle

Since color is the easiest place to start, head to your closet or drawers and choose a colored accessory. It could be a pair of shoes, a scarf, a handbag, or jewelry. This is your starting point. Now look through your other pieces and see what else you have that shares that piece’s color DNA. Look everywhere. Bandanas count, too! Take a snapshot of your bundle, and next time you put on jeans and a white tee, add two or three pieces from your bundle, and see if you don’t feel more polished.

Jewel and Hammer

Jewel and Hammer

July Monkey Mind: Support Small Business in the CSRA!

A Christmas in July sign got me thinking about Small Business Saturday. This led to thoughts about how I want to spend my money and support our local CSRA businesses. (Even if the big box store is unavoidable for some purchases!) Which led to “Is there any other way I can help my local businesses?” Aha! I can showcase a local business on this blog. Maybe it could be a regular thing? So, starting with that silly sign, here is my first attempt at showcasing a local business.  I would love to do this more than once a month, but let’s see how this flies. Please note that I have not been compensated in any way for sharing this information with you!

Jewel and Hammer

Jewel and Hammer is a husband and wife team (Why don’t we say wife and husband?) in Grovetown who make whimsical, interesting, and beautiful jewelry! Shannon and Ryan Cooley craft their pretties in their home workshop to sell on Etsy . First, if you ever have the opportunity to meet the Cooley clan, be ready for enthusiasm! Shannon, Ryan, and their lovely girls are a bundle of ideas, energy, and just plain fun. This is truly a family business, they handcraft all the pieces, shoot the photos,  write the copy, and do their own web-work. They are a remarkable Renaissance couple. I was lucky enough to visit their workshop and see their beautiful pieces in person this past week. What a treat!

Geek Chic

Shannon and Ryan work in a variety of media, wire, semi-precious, stones, sterling silver, Swarovski crystals, Pokémon cards, and Magic the Gathering cards. Yes, you read that right! They have an entire line of Geek Chic pieces made from the cards. Lest you think these are just for children, I know quite a few adults who can tell you their favorite Pokémon character with no hesitation whatsoever. Yes, I mean adults with children and gainful employment! Alongside the G/C items, they also make one-of-a-kind wire wrapped pendants and earrings. I am keeping my eyes open for the wire wrapped bracelets Ryan told me will be coming in the next few months. He treats the copper wire to prevent further oxidation (that’s what makes you green!). Shannon does most of the filigree and crystal work, including their super sparkly line for those who just can’t get enough shine, particularly those in the ballroom dance community. I often have a problem with many earrings being too heavy, especially sparkly ones, so I was thrilled to feel how lightweight these are. Positively gravity defying! If that’s not enough variety, my favorite pieces are their Steampunk items, and Shannon was telling me all about plans for a bag of watch parts they just received… And some pearls, don’t even get me started on the pearls…

Truly Original

Jewel and Hammer’s pieces are one of a kind, and very reasonably priced! You will not see your purchase on every neck about town, so if you are someone who seeks out the unique, check them out. They are more than willing to work with clients who may wish to further customize a piece. I found a pendant for a gift, and asked if there was a way to add X and Y. Shannon helped me find just the right jewels and pearls to take it to another level of refinement. My stylist side appreciates their individuality, and the variety of styles and of scale. If you prefer larger, more bold pieces, there are items for you, and if you prefer smaller, more subtle jewelry, that base is covered, too! When you are looking for not-to-be-duplicated gift, for yourself or someone else, try Jewel and Hammer!

What other CSRA businesses should I check out? Please let me know in the comments below!