Thursday, April 27, 2017

Accessorizing in a chic way




When it comes to accessorizing, I am a less is more kind of person. I like to wear not that much otherwise I feel overdone. I have very few blingy pieces too. Everyone’s different in how they accessorize; what I think is important is to take note of how you feel in different types and styles of accessories.

Sometimes it’s not the item itself, but making subtle updates. A few years back, I realized that when I wore scarves I felt frumpy and old-fashioned. Then I took a look at the scarves I had – they were variations on the square, and often of silky fabric. Having them knotted around my neck did not feel modern. I observed the newer more casual scarves of looser weave fabric that you could knot two corners together to make into an infinity scarf and I occasionally wear one of those. I also wrote about this here.

Other than scarves, I accessorize with jewellery, shoes and bags. Most of what I have I’ve had for a long time. I don’t know if this is boring or classic, take your pick. Most of what I wear gets equal billing, so my clothes are as important as my shoes are as important as my hair/makeup/jewellery.

I am pretty lucky to have had good contacts in the past to be able to purchase nice handbags at an excellent price. I worked for Christian Dior in the New Zealand head office for five years from 2000, and during that time was invited to two or three staff sales where we were able to purchase bags and scarves for 75%-90% off. Yes, off! I remember that the fur-front bag (it is rabbit) was $2,950 and I bought it for $295. It is a huge discount, but even spending that was a lot for me. In the past if a handbag was over $150 it was probably above my budget.

I love and have looked after all my Dior bags (the only one I did not buy was the pink one, it was a gift when I left there) so although at the time I was having palpitations even at the discounted prices, I am glad I took the opportunities when I did because I’ll likely never have that chance again.

Then, when we owned our shoe store for twelve years, one of the footwear brands we stocked was Diesel. Because of that, my husband and I were able to purchase Diesel clothing and accessories at a discount. I have several pairs of Diesel jeans and two Diesel handbags (the big beige leather one and the black fabric one). I feel very fortunate that we had that opportunity too.

Actually the only two handbags I purchased outside of these opportunities are my tan leather Michael Kors bag bought when we had our belated honeymoon in Hawaii three years ago. I bought the tan leather wallet too. I love Michael’s style and love the way tan leather brings out navy, denim or black without being a ‘colour’. I also bought the white leather bag from Oroton and I sometimes wear this casually, and sometimes with a dressy red dress that I wear to weddings or out to a special dinner.

I used to use the Michael Kors bag going to the shop every day, but now that I lead a more casual work-from-home life and don’t need to lug so much stuff around with me, I mostly use the denim and gold Dior bag or black Diesel bag.

As you can see, I keep things for a long time, with most of my bags from the early 2000s and my ‘newest’ one from 2014.


With my jewellery, these are my most loved pieces and what I wear most of the time. I mostly wear stud earrings with a necklace, or one of my hoop earrings with no necklace. Hoop earrings with a necklace would be too much for me!

I have had my watch since 2000, when I bought it for my own 30th birthday, newly single and feeling a little rebellious. It’s not like I got tons of money from the divorce, just the tiny amount we’d saved up, but I decided to blow some of it on a nice watch. Yes, a little bit crazy at the time but it felt good to do and I’m confident that I will enjoy wearing it until I am a little old lady.

My wedding set is white gold with a solitaire diamond, and the gold rings, which I wear on my right hand – one is a family piece that my nana gave me, from an aunt way back, and one is my engagement ring from my first marriage. It was a cluster which I had remade into a ‘straight’ style so I could wear it with my nana’s ring. After it had been remodelled I renamed it my independence ring. I do feel a bit Joan Collins with all my diamonds but they’re not that fancy and what are you going to do? You get nothing for jewellery if you sell it, so I may as well enjoy them.

So, that’s me in all my accessorizing splendour. Are you a maximalist or minimalist accessory girl? What are your key pieces or what you think people would most associate with you?

And, what one piece, whether it’s a bag, pair of shoes, scarf or item of jewellery would you love to own if money was no object? For me, I think it would be a classic black leather Chanel 2.55 bag. That would be just divine. Maybe one day!

Fiona

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44 comments:

  1. Hi Fiona, great post. Funny how although you and I are both classics, I am an accessory maximalist to you minimalist. When I saw your blog photo, my first thought was "Where are the belts, and the bracelets, and the hats?" 8 months of the year, when Canada is cold, my everyday look is a belted sweater over a collared shirt. Topped with both a scarf and a necklace. And a cuff below the rolled up sleeves. Bangles don't work in an office, but a cuff is such a feminine touch and I enjoy seeing it as I work at the keyboard.
    I use your scarf tip about tying a square into an eternity loop,too. I agree it updates a silky square.
    Thanks for another evocative post. Time to go and accessorize!

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    1. Hi Kerry, I love the sound of your winter look, and agree about bangles in the office! My first job as a 19 year old I remember wearing an armful of bangles and driving my co-worker nuts... and I still wore them. Oh dear.

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  2. I'm a "preppy minimalist" - all of my casual handbags and tote bags are monogrammed (I even still have a Bermuda bag from the 80s!) I carry a vintage 1940s black leather Kelly bag for dressy occasions.

    Jewelry - still preppy, still minimalist: gold and silver hoops, pearl earrings, strand of vintage pearls. An LL Bean watch for everyday, a Movado watch for dress-up. Plain gold wedding ring, an elegant minimalist diamond engagement ring, my grandmother's small diamond wedding ring on my other hand.

    I've tried to get into fashionable jewelry but I always feel fraudulent. I do have one Hermes scarf my husband brought me back from Paris which I love but never wear because no matter how many of the Hermes helpful booklets I read I can't figure out how to tie it so it looks effortless. Sometimes I tie it in my ponytail.

    If money were no object? I'd probably upgrade my pearls or get a Tods leather bag.

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    1. Amy, I've never thought of my style of accessorizing as you do with 'preppy minimalist'. I'll have to have a think about that.

      I know what you mean about feeling fraudulent! Sometimes when I've bought a bold piece of costume jewellery (thankfully tres inexpensive) I've worn it once and then never touched it again, eventually donating it. At least it was a cheap lesson.

      I love scarves tied around handbag handles too, if appropriate (and they are not too huge, I guess).

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  3. Hi Fiona, I love your attitude about acquiring your watch and redesigning your "independence ring."

    I guess I'm a minimalist through and through, even with my accessories. I only have three bags: all leather in black, cognac, and a black clutch. My scarves are colorful solids and the long type. I can't do the silk triangle style scarf because I feel I resemble a 1950's flight attendant, no matter how I arrange it :) It sounds like you've figured out a good way to avoid that though. As far as jewelry, I only wear my simple gold wedding band. My solitaire diamond engagement ring is too much accessory for me (even though it's a smallish diamond)! I will wear either my stud or drop pearl earrings only rarely. I do try to wear hats more, since it's often sunny and hot here in L.A.

    If I could own one piece regardless of price, it would be a pair of bespoke shoes that were both beautiful AND exquisitely comfortable.

    D.

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    1. I don't know if I have, D, I feel like a flight attendant too sometimes!

      Lol, you are a minimalist that your engagement ring is too much, that's cute :)

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  4. I've got TONS of jewelry and only wear about 10% of it. Really need to declutter. I don't have many bags or scarves, though. Pretty minimalist in that area. I generally buy 1 medium-size bag and use it until it falls to pieces, then get a new one.
    Kathy B.

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    1. Le sigh, Kathy, that's the problem with accessories. They are hard to get rid of because even if you don't wear them, they don't take up much room.

      I like your one-bag policy, nice and clean - one in, one out!

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  5. Hi Fiona! So excited to see a post on a Wednesday! I've never had an interest in designer handbags but I love the look of carrying a clutch. I think it looks so classy! I also love pearls. The more strands the better! Silver and white gold is much better with my coloring so I don't really have anything gold. Thanks for sharing your accessories!

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    1. Ooh, yes, multi-strands of pearls a la Chanel. Delicious.

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  6. This was so enlightening. It's really to each her own, though. I'm like you--less is more. But I have a very chic friend, typically French and looking like a young Deneuve, who is of the more-is-more camp. She wears numerous rings, several bracelets, a scarf, necklaces (yes, plural), earrings....And she looks great. I think the main thing is to "assume," as the French say. Whatever you choose, whether it be minimal or maximal, do it with gusto and confidence. That's all that counts.

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    1. Exactly, own your look with confidence, whatever it is that you love.

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  7. Yes, I would buy the classic Chanel bag - no contest! That bag is so pretty you can almost taste it! :) I bought a knock-off on the street in NYC years ago, but finally donated it, b/c it felt so fake-y to carry it. Kind of regret not keeping it though so I could just look at it, as it was a very good "version".
    Would love to send you a bottle of Dior Addict perfume that I have, Fiona. I remember reading in one of your posts that you liked it. When I checked on postage from USA to NZ I was shocked - do you know of a less expensive way to post things? I can't wear many perfumes and wanted you to have it. Really enjoy your blog and have bought several of your e-books. Best wishes for all your new endeavors! Kay

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    1. Hi Kay, I don't think a classic Chanel bag would date at all, either.

      You are very sweet to offer to send me the perfume and I would love to say yes please, but perfume between countries is problematic because it is classed as dangerous goods for air travel. I don't think surface mail on boats exists anymore like 'the old days', lol. Maybe there is someone in the US that could enjoy it?

      Thank you for being lovely :)

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  8. I love accessories. I don't have a lot of bags, but I love the ones I have. I also really love hats - I think women don't wear them enough, and I have a pretty great, albeit small collection. My current wish list item is a Cartier tank watch, which I think will be a reality in the next year or two. But if money were no object ... I'd have a big honkin' pair of diamond stud earrings. I prefer classic jewelry overall, and I'd wear those babies every single day.

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    1. I have a couple of berets, but it's not really cold enough here to wear them. Yes to the Cartier tank, Marcia! Such a classic :)

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  9. Hi Fiona, i love accessories - scarves, bags, bracelets necklaces. love it all. I have a large collection of scarves, both old squares and the newer long ones. i find that i often buy scarves when i'm overseas as it's easy to pack and a nice reminder of my holiday. Plus the same for jewelry. I have a few very expensive/quality pieces, but i also like funky jewelry/statement necklaces etc. Bags - another addiction, but i don't necessarily buy expensive - a few Guess bags, but mostly just what really takes my eye.

    Happy days
    Jane

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    1. Hi Jane, I love the idea of buying scarves or jewellery as a souvenir too. The chunky silver/gold necklace I bought at a tres stylish boutique in Greytown and it reminds me of our trip to the Wairarapa.

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  10. Like you, I think I'm more of an accessory minimalist. I love jewelry but generally I only wear 1 - 2 pieces at once from my small collection. Earrings are my favorites so I always have a some on (drop or stud, depending on the outfit) always paired with my wedding ring, which is the only ring I wear. I've always found bracelets to be somewhat uncomfortable but I think small feminine watches, much like yours, are very chic. I've been contemplating purchasing one for months.

    I also have a few purses that I rotate with my outfits. I generally use totes slung over my shoulder for every day, and a more formal, structured black bag for work. I absolutely love clutches as well for the evening - I have one that I have been using for years. I'm petite so I stick with smaller bags, too big just feels clumsy on me.

    However, my all time favorite accessory would have to be SHOES. I'm a little crazy for heels :)

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    1. Well, shoes are a whole other story, Anna!

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  11. I'm a minimalist when it comes to accessorize get. Never earrings and a necklace at the same time, unless it's my strand of of pearls that were my mother's, along with pearl earrings. I'm not much of a purse girl, usually carrying a small clutch style wallet. That's why my slacks must have pockets so that I can carry a few other items. I'm a knitter, so I enjoy knitted scarves and shawls in cold weather. As the years have gone by, I have to say that my collection of accessories has become smaller. I only wear and use items that hold some special meaning to me. Thanks for your post, Fiona.

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    1. I'm the same, Pam. I have less accessories now, and am happy with what I have. But that goes for my whole house really; I am happy to gently declutter and curate everything around me over time.

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  12. Fiona, thank you for sharing your beautiful Dior bags and lovely accessories. To get your wonderful Dior bags at such a steal is amazing and such investments!
    I own quite a number of bags compared to shoes. I have many whimsical casual bags, either I bought for myself (Disney, from Harrods London) or gifts from family. (hello Kitty and Ariel versions! LOL) I usually use them when I am popping by my parents'. I love my beachy basket ones for "summer". (well, in my mind when it is since it is "same weather" all year here.) I get all my accessories and bags on holidays. I like to get from Australian flea markets as well as special boutiques. My husband bought me 3 real leather monogrammed bags and a wallet when we were in Tuscany for my milestone birthday. I need 1 more Chanel bag between my tote, WOP and my wallet.Incidentally, I just polished and cleaned them last night!
    I have a lovely set of Swarovski earrings as well as really unique dangling earrings bought from flea markets which I love. Recently, I went out of my comfort zone and bought bling bling costume necklaces in Melbourne to jazz out my accessories' repertoire.
    For my wedding, my mum gifted me with heirloom diamond earrings, bracelet and necklace .... These and a few pair of diamond studs are my only "real" jewelry.
    I am known for my mum's beautiful priceless, diamond statement engagement ring that she gave me, I wear this daily, if nothing else. But when I am on holiday, I swapped it for my heart shaped diamond ring.
    Opps! This has turned into a mini novel. I thank you for this amazing post as you can tell my passion for it. Oddly, I only wear 1 statement accessory when going out.

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    1. I don't know if I could get away with calling my bags investments, but I do know that I have certainly gotten my money's worth with cost per wear.

      You 'need' one more Chanel bag??? Oh Miss Princess, you are priceless. How lucky for you that your mother gifted you with all those diamonds too. You must sparkle divinely wherever you go :)

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  13. I love reading these descriptions. Thank you for putting this together. MK makes the best tan/brown color bags. They look so luxurious and rich. It's the most perfect tan. Also, I continue to adore your watch. It is so classic and timeless.

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    1. I always love the MK ads with his models dressed in white and/or navy paired with tan leather accessories. In my mind I am that girl with the golden skin and hoop earrings :)

      My watch feels the love, thank you Stephanie!

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  14. I'm a hippie chic person, but I don't wear a lot of accessories. Hats- I love hats. Big brimmed ones in summer to keep the sun off my face (I get a lot of compliments on them) and warm caps in winter. Always earrings, then maybe either a necklace or a cuff bracelet (I only wear bangles if I'm going dancing at a club.)I may wear a scarf, but if I do I won't wear a necklace.

    I wear shawls in summer- again, lots of compliments. I have one plain leather belt for jeans and that's it. I have a black leather purse, black leather tote, black backpack and a purple quilted bag for summer. I wear gloves in winter- my current pair is a leopard print cloth trimmed with fake fur. Lots of compliments on them as well.

    This may sound heretical to you, but I'm not a shoe person. :) It's walking shoes or boots in winter, sneakers or sandals in summer. I'm not anti feet, but I want any attention that comes my way focused on my face and not my shoes. Also, I am very pro comfortable shoes, and those aren't always pretty.

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    1. Aurora, I actually am not that much of a shoe person, considering I owned a shoe store - really! I mean I like a good shoe, of course, but I don't go nuts for them. You may not believe me...

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  15. Absolutely LOVE what you did with your Independence ring and the story behind your Cartier watch. I remember in a post wayyyy back you talked about possibly letting go of your Cartier watch because of the cost of upkeep, but always decided to keep it. Now that I know that fabulous story, yes, I’m glad you didn’t let it go! And as you said: “You get nothing for jewellery if you sell it, so I may as well enjoy them.”

    I am a maximalist as far as the amount of accessories I own goes. But I’m actually a minimalist when it comes to wearing them. Jewelry-wise the pieces I wear most regularly is always a watch and then a ring of some kind. During my working days it was a Cartier black trinity ring or Bvlgari blue marble Bzero ring. The service at Bvlgari was so lovely to me and I’m not a VIP, that I’ve since gone on to purchase other things from the brand. I collect (older) Baccarat jewelry, but the all crystal pieces by nature are fragile and I’ve shattered 2 of my favorites. I own too much “junk jewelry” considering I rarely wear things outside of my nicer pieces. But “junk jewelry” can be a cheap way to see if a look is for me. I rarely wear earrings—more out of laziness—than not liking them. And it’s either a simple stud or a chandelier earring.

    I LOVE bags. Almost all my bags were purchased 2nd hand (I favor designer bags from the 2000s) and then I have 2 from my retail employee discount days for a fraction of their original retail price. I feel my collection is “complete” at the moment, if I had an unlimited life I would have bags for dayyyysss.

    And I love sunglasses. As I’m not getting any younger or prettier, the lenses just keep on getting bigger and darker.

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    1. "I love sunglasses. As I’m not getting any younger or prettier, the lenses just keep on getting bigger and darker". BEST QUOTE EVER!

      And you certainly made some good purchases through your workplace, good for you.

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  16. Great post Fiona! I have a Longines watch that I bought about 10 years ago when I got an unexpected bonus at work. I wear it all the time and I still love it every time I look at it! I agree, like your watch, it is expensive to get serviced every 2 yrs but after agonising over the cost I now accept it is a worthwhile cost of ownership and feel grateful I am lucky to own it. My FIL also gave me a vintage gold dress watch which is lovely but I never wear - this has reminded me to get it serviced. I mainly wear silver jewellery as it goes with my colouring and I am allergic to most other metals - even 9ct gold! I almost always wear a necklace - I am small but don't really suit really delicate jewellery - a simple bolder piece usually suits me better. I have a string of large freshwater pearls I wear sometimes with heart clasp - I wear the clasp at the front which looks great and gives it a more modern look. I have 3 Hermes scarves and used to wear them a lot but they do seem unfashionable at the moment. They have such great memories attached though - the first one I bought in London and is fake but I didn't realise at the time - I bought it 2nd hand at a good price and it is an old fake made with heavy silk so I still love it. I am known for wearing scarves though - recently long more modern cotton and woollen ones - I have about a dozen! I wear them most days except in midsummer!

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    1. I love Longines watches, Aisling, they are so classic and elegant.

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  17. What a fun post! I enjoyed reading all the comments:)
    I love to "decorate" myself, so I have quite a collection of accessories. I especially like buying jewelry when I travel, to remind me of the country. It also takes no place in my luggage.

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    1. It really is what are doing - decorating ourselves!

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  18. I am joining this post rather late this time, but I have found all the comments very interesting.
    For myself, I have few accessories with the exception of scarves but I've even 'weeded' those over the past few years. Some or floaty, long ones which I tie around my panama hat in summer sometimes if I want to prettify it, other times I leave it plain, unadorned. This is a useful way of prettifying a simple outfit. I recall last summer I was walking in a nearby town with husband, and I was wearing indigo jeans, white shirt and my hat, but around my had I'd tied a colourful floaty scarf and I was stopped by someone who said how lovely it looked. That really surprised me but I remembered my manners and didn't say, "what, this old thing?" and instead simply thanked them for their kind remark. Other scarves are silky ones (real and artificial) and those can look a bit granny-ish unless you wear them loosely and not tied in a granny-knot, and wear them with jeans and not with, say, an old fashioned pleated skirt (heaven forfend, even though pleated skirts did, for a short time, return to fashion - I have always thought them a little bit mimsy, but others think of them, especially if worn by younger women, as preppy.
    I don't have much jewellery. We've never had spare cash to spend on what we have considered 'frivolous' purchases and as jewellery isn't really necessary, I have only my engagement ring and my wedding ring, and some pieces of costume jewellery, plus a lovely cold bracelet that belonged to my late mother in law, and a silver bangle I wear often and was given as a present when I was 8 years old (it's an expanding one, I might add!)
    I have a couple of 'good' bags by Radley, and I tend to stick to the basic colours for bags: black, navy, tan, taupe, and they will take me just about anywhere, and a straw/raffia style bag for summer. The best accessory is a smile and a waft of really lovely scent!
    Margaret P

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    1. I meant 'gold' bracelet, not 'cold' bracelet, and sorry for other typos!
      Margaret P

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    2. Margaret, I always enjoy your point of view; thank you for sharing all your accessories. I agree: perfume and a smile are great accessories!

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  19. I really like the idea of getting a scarf or jewelry on vacation. I'm getting way too many t shirts which I always get! I think I'm going to try that, we have a trip planned to new York city this summer,

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  20. I agree!
    Hoop earrings - no necklace! Hoops are my signature jewelry item. I feel naked without them, but sometimes I wear a necklace and then I dont' wear my hoops. Love your accessory style - right up my alley.

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    1. Funny how you feel the same about hoops and a necklace!

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  21. I love all of your jewelry. So classic and understated but still visible. It adds just the right touch.

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  22. Great post Fiona. Loved looking at your pieces. Despite owning a jewellery boutique I am a minimalist when it comes to jewellery (which surprises most people). I tend to just wear my wedding ring and a good watch. But if I am going out I normally wear one statement ring. I always forget to put earrings on. If money were no object I guess I would go for either a Bottega Veneta bag in the iconic weave or a watch by Cartier or Hermés.

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    1. I was the same with shoes, Vannessa. People thought I must be a shoe nut but working with them all day made me happier with a smaller, more curated shoedrobe (not sure if that is a word at all...)

      I hadn't heard of the Bottega Veneta weave bag before (I live under a rock) but I had a look and they are gorgeous. Could be casual or dressy, I like that.

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Merci for your comment. Wishing you a chic day!

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