Archive for August, 2009

Trunk Show September 10, 11 and 12

Monday, August 31st, 2009

On September 10, 11, and 12 Whitten’s Fine Jewelry will hold a Trollbeads Trunk Show. If you don’t know what Trollbeads are yet, you will soon! Modern Jeweler magazine names the beautiful Murano glass and sterling silver “personality” beads as one of the Top Trends of 2009 in their most recent issue.

 

Trunk Show Specials!

  • First 15 people each day receive a free PAX bead with $50 purchase (retail value $28)
  • Buy three beads, receive one free (bead of lesser value is free)
  • Buy a 14-karat gold bead, receive a white diamond or black diamond bead free (retail value $52)

Visit Whitten’s Fine Jewelry at 4719 Kirkwood Highway in Wilmington, Delaware.

 

Hours:

  • Thursday 10-6
  • Friday 10-6
  • Saturday 10-4

 

Susan McNeill is a wife, mother, author, fashion blogger

 and sales manager for the WHIMSY jewelry line. Susan

also writes for http://mcneilldesigns.wordpress.com and

http://successwontwaitinc

Office-chic suits for the fashionable businesswoman

Monday, August 31st, 2009

Every businesswoman needs a great suit, and that suit should be a high-quality but affordable investment. In a man’s working world, we need to look professional, but we don’t want to give up our femininity for shapeless suit jackets and clunky shoes.

 

To my delight, Victoria’s Secret has a ton of great work-appropriate clothing like this pencil skirt and double-breasted suit jacket. The ¾-length sleeves allow for ease of motion and the skirt hits right at the knee—the perfect length for work. Unfortunately, it only comes in charcoal grey, but we could always petition for more choices!

 

VS’s Christie Fit pant, with flare leg and straight fit, comes in a number of colors. It has a touch of spandex for a little “give” in case you go overboard during lunch hour and comes in 30-36” inseams. There’s also a Christie Fit in black and brown tweed.

 

If you’re allowed to deviate from the norm, this checked pencil skirt from TopShop has gold button and ruffle details for a twist on the traditional. I would love to pair this with a simple white button-down shirt and sexy pumps!

 

New York & Company did all the work and put together full outfits on their website, so all you have to do is choose sizes and add them to your shopping bag. I personally like this convertible suit jacket that can be worn open or double-breasted style. Versatility is always a plus!

 

NYC&Co. also offers a two-button jacket, skirt and scarf combo that’s very flight-attendant chic. And for a more casual look, try their double-breasted vest with a pair of matching dress pants.

 

Pair any of the above with a bold accessory like a chunky bangle or a multi-strand necklace and you’ll look so effortlessly professional and fashionable!

 

-Keri

Keri is a 23-year-old aunt, blogger, editor,

wanna-be fashionista and marketing chick

who loves M&Ms way too much and reads

(real) books.

 

And the winner is …

Monday, August 31st, 2009

The winner of our WHIMSY ring and Chamilia bead contest and giveaway is … Vivica S.!

She will receive a sterling silver, interchangeable bead ring by WHIMSY™ and a striking, collectible Murano glass bead by Chamilia™. A $150 value!

 

WHIMSY rings by designer R. Craig Whitten are an exciting new way to showcase the hottest jewelry trend of the year – striking, collectible Murano glass beads. The rings accommodate the majority of the glass beads made by all of the major bead manufacturers including Trollbeads and Chamilia™. Their interchangeability allows the wearer to express their individuality and easily change the ring to match an outfit, complementary jewelry — even a mood.

 

Because precious metals and gemstones are finite resources, the WHIMSY™ ring is crafted entirely from reclaimed materials. Today’s consumers expect more from the products they purchase — merchandise that is created responsibly.

 

Congratulations Vivica!

Susan McNeill is a wife, mother, author, fashion blogger

 and sales manager for the WHIMSY jewelry line. Susan

also writes for http://mcneilldesigns.wordpress.com and

http://successwontwaitinc.wordpress.com.

Cute jackets for chilly fall mornings

Friday, August 28th, 2009

One thing I always forget to buy in the fall is a cute, versatile jacket for chilly mornings, so I end up schlepping my way into work in an old college sweatshirt only to strip it off as soon as I walk in the door. And as much as I love representing where I got my communications degree (Albright College, woooo!), I’d like to wear something a little more “working-world” to shield myself from blustery fall days.

 

It’s important to find a jacket that will match several outfits so you can layer flawlessly and frugally. Any of the jackets below will go with just about any color in your wardrobe.

 

This Boyfriend Jacket from Charlotte Russe comes in a surprising shade of mauve that will actually go with just about anything—black, brown, navy blue, you name it. I love the ¾-length sleeves and the fold-over collar. It’s very casual-but-stylish-weekend.

 

Holy crap do I love this motorcycle jacket. Every woman should wear something a little edgy from time to time, and that doesn’t mean she has to compromise her femininity. This crinkly faux leather jacket, also from Charlotte Russe, would look super cute over a little minidress and high heels—perfect for club-hopping on a chilly night. Or wear it zipped up with your favorite jeans. Just don’t opt for torn jeans or you’ll look more like a Hell’s Angel than an edgy fashionista.

 

If you’re more of a preppy blazer type, try Charlotte Russe’s simple black twill jacket with ruched sleeves and argyle satin lining. Its notched lapel and open front is very “menswear”, but the argyle lining adds just the right amount of girly flair. And, of course, the side ruching helps, too.

 

For a nice twist on typical officewear, this striped double-breasted blazer from Forever 21 adds a bold element to your button-down shirt and black dress pants. The vertical stripes will make you appear slimmer—always a plus—and maybe they’ll also hypnotize your boss into agreeing to give you a raise. (A girl can hope!)

 

Animal prints are funky and fun, so Forever 21’s black and white City Safari Coat will show your daring side. The tie-waist allows you to show off your curves, and the spandex in the fabric will give a little, so you can move freely.

 

-Keri

Keri is a 23-year-old aunt, blogger, editor,

wanna-be fashionista and marketing chick

who loves M&Ms way too much and reads

(real) books.

 

 

Knee socks that DON’T make you look like a schoolgirl

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

I’ve always thought that when a woman wears knee socks, she’s wearing them either for warmth under long pants or to look like a Catholic schoolgirl—so imagine my surprise upon seeing a photo of Carrie Bradshaw rocking a short skirt and over-the-knee socks while filming an episode of Sex & the City and not looking like a roleplay fantasy. She actually looked very stylish! (I know—not surprising for SJP.) Check out her outfit here.

 

So now I’m actually looking forward to bringing my over-the-knee socks out of hiding for a bit of a fashion risk. (Unlike Miss Bradshaw, I’m not sure I can pull it off, but I’m going to try!) My feet are perpetually cold, so I went on a thick sock shopping spree last winter and even bought a pair of gray cable knit thigh-highs. They don’t stay up too well at the top, but the slouchy effect just kind of works.

 

What seems to be in style this season is knee and over-the-knee socks with a short (not plaid) skirt, while keeping the gap between the hem of the skirt and the top of your socks minimal to avoid looking like a hooker. (The Armani photos here show a little more leg, but the look is still very successful.) Also, keep in mind that your socks should be a tight fit—you don’t want awkward bunching in your shoes.

 

Speaking of shoes, the best style for this look is chunky, low platform heels. Flats are also an option, but I favor heels—as long as they aren’t stilettos. Don’t forget to stick to solid, muted colors or simple patterns—nothing too bold or you’ll end up looking like you’re back in grade school…or like Rainbow Brite.

 

-Keri

Keri is a 23-year-old aunt, blogger, editor,

wanna-be fashionista and marketing chick

who loves M&Ms way too much and reads

(real) books.

 

Jasper for fall

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

Since spring, I’ve seen an increasing number of organic, earthy choices showcased in the jewelry industry. These range from rough cut stones, to wood and tribal-inspired pieces, to one of my new favorites – jasper.

 

Jasper is an opaque semi-precious stone that is quartz based. Jasper contains either minerals or organic materials that often give it interesting patterns, bands and colors. Each piece is unique and after polishing, shapes that resemble landscapes, clouds, or mountains emerge, creating miniature works of art. Jasper is found in all colors including: red, brown, pink, yellow, green, grey, white and shades of purple.

 

The history of the use of jasper in jewelry making is well known and jasper was a favored gem in the ancient world of Greece and Rome. In the America, rock hounds can find jasper throughout the West from Washington to Utah.

 

Today, contemporary jewelry designers are incorporating the use of this diverse stone in a multitude of chic looks for fall. According to Cheryl Kremkow, Editor-in-Chief of Modern Jeweler magazine, the use of agates, jasper, patterned rocks, fossils, and other unusual minerals is near the top of her list for fall looks in her article “Top Trends of 2009” (Modern Jeweler, August, 2009). Better yet, in these tough economic times, designers are creating fabulous styles using the colorful, patterned gems that won’t break the bank!

 

As a stone, jasper lends itself to the creation of beads of all sizes and shapes. Trendsetting jewelry firm Trollbeads recently launched a series of jasper stone beads for use with their personality bracelets and necklaces. These mix well with the Murano glass beads and sterling silver charms for which the company is best known. The use of jasper adds an extra dimension to the line.

 

Jasper also works well as a cabochon for use in rings, bracelets and pendants — even belt buckles. A good deal of cowboy-inspired jewelry contains jasper in various colors and shapes, most often paired with sterling silver.

 

Whatever the form you choose, the addition of some jasper simply looks right for fall!

 

Want to learn more? Check out Ron Gibbs’ lovely book Agates & Jaspers, a photo-intensive look at this gorgeous gem.

 

Susan McNeill is a wife, mother, author, fashion blogger

 and sales manager for the WHIMSY jewelry line. Susan

also writes for http://mcneilldesigns.wordpress.com and

http://successwontwaitinc.wordpress.com.

Charming (and affordable) necklaces!

Monday, August 24th, 2009

Life Sentence necklace by Charmed & Dangerous

 

One of the most popular jewelry trends right now is the charm necklace. These incorporate two or more different charms, hanging together on a chain, and this style is everywhere. The best part about the trend is the necklaces can be worn with a tank and jeans or with a little black dress—versatility is a highly valued asset these days!

 

Shell Shocked necklace by Charmed & Dangerous

Besides having the cutest pun of a name ever, Charmed & Dangerous has adorable charm necklaces at great prices. Most are made of non-precious metals, some are gold-plated or gold-filled, and there are a few sterling silver pieces, too. This keeps the prices around $35, with some slightly more or less. I loved the Buddha charm on the Buddha’s Blessing necklace, and I found Gun Shy to be very tongue-in-cheek and totally my style. The Griffin necklace immediately made me think of Harry Potter—in a good way. If you’re into the super-popular trend of key motifs—like I am—then you’ll have a few options to choose from. My favorite is Life Sentence, which has both lock and key charms with onyx and rose quartz beads for color. And since I absolutely love the beach, Shell Shocked immediately stole my heart.

 

Etsy.com is a treasure trove of all things handmade and crafty. The website is a place for artists who make everything from jewelry to furniture to sell their creations and get inspiration from each other. And since all of the products are handmade, they are unique and most are one-of-a-kind. A search on Etsy for “charm necklace” yields hundreds of results. I found (how ironic) this Lost and Found Necklace from a seller named SmallShinyObjects that would look great with a cozy jewel-toned cardigan. Or this brass acorn and leaf necklace from chainchainchained can help you get in the mood for fall. You can feel very “Twilight” (or “Snow White”) in this necklace with apple charm and red bead dangle; it is made by a seller named FallenHearts. This lucite bead necklace by Dalim comes in citrus-y bright colors on an antiqued copper chain for an exotic look. So cute!

 

All of the products I’ve listed here are under $50. So get out there and find something charming to hang around your neck!

 

-Keri 

Keri is a 23-year-old aunt, blogger, editor,

wanna-be fashionista and marketing chick

who loves M&Ms way too much and reads

(real) books.

 

Win a sterling silver bead ring by WHIMSY

Friday, August 21st, 2009

Are you ready to be fabulous for fall? We’re here to help!

 

Enter now to win a sterling silver, interchangeable bead ring by WHIMSY™ and a striking, collectible Murano glass bead by Chamilia™. A $150 value!

 

WHIMSY rings by designer R. Craig Whitten are an exciting new way to showcase the hottest jewelry trend of the year – striking, collectible Murano glass beads. The rings accommodate the majority of the glass beads made by all of the major bead manufacturers including Trollbeads and Chamilia™. Their interchangeability allows the wearer to express their individuality and easily change the ring to match an outfit, complementary jewelry — even a mood.

 

Because precious metals and gemstones are finite resources, the WHIMSY™ ring is crafted entirely from reclaimed materials. Today’s consumers expect more from the products they purchase — merchandise that is created responsibly.

 

Ready to win? Simply enter a comment below. Winner will be randomly chosen. Contest runs from August 21 – 30 and winner will be announced on Monday, August 31.

 

Good luck!

 

Susan McNeill is a wife, mother, author, fashion blogger

and sales manager for the WHIMSY jewelry line. Susan

also writes for http://mcneilldesigns.wordpress.com and

http://successwontwaitinc.wordpress.com.

Fashion tips for the average (but stylish) woman

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

If you’re feeling backed into a corner when it comes to popular fashion, you’re not alone. The pages of most fashion magazines show super-thin models who look good in just about everything. They can pull off tight clothing because they don’t have little rolls here and there to hide, and they can pull off baggy styles because—let’s face it—a size small looks purposely loose and flowy.

 

I know I’ve encountered many-a-style that looked great on the size 2 mannequin display but just absolutely ridiculous on my size 8 body. Even the “Street Chic” page on Elle.com, which consists of photos of fashionable New Yorkers, makes me think that no one in NYC really eats or wears/needs a bra.

 

Most of us will never reach a waifish figure (and that’s totally fine as long as we’re healthy and happy!), so we’ve got to learn what works and what doesn’t for how we’re built, which can be a daunting—and often frustrating—task.

 

Find a signature style. Whether you rock skinny jeans to show off your legs, racer-back tanks to show off toned shoulders or you layer on long strands of pearls, find a style that you love so much you want to wear it all the time. I knew a girl who stacked a ton of jingly silver bangles on one wrist, and I always thought it was such a defining look for her.

 

Accentuate your assets. Have a great bottom half? Wear booty-hugging jeans with embellished back pockets or short shorts with high heels. Great top half? Show it off in a low-cut halter or partially unbuttoned blouse. When you accentuate your favorite body part, you focus less on the features you aren’t as crazy about and you exude confidence, which other people can sense.

 

Buy one in every color. When you find a top or a pair of jeans that you absolutely love and that makes you feel hot, buy one in every color. Make them look different by adding embellishments and accessorizing them so they always look fresh.

 

Avoid what doesn’t work. The ultimate cure-all for fashions that just won’t work for your body type is to just avoid them altogether. Buy yourself a cute new necklace or brooch or handbag—that’s my strategy to liven up my wardrobe if I come out empty-handed after a shopping trip for clothing. Just don’t fill your closet with clothes you wish looked great on you—it’ll make you feel bad about yourself, not to mention it’s a huge waste of money.

 

Have any other shopping suggestions? Comment away!

 

 

-Keri

Keri is a 23-year-old aunt, blogger, editor,

wanna-be fashionista and marketing chick

who loves M&Ms way too much and reads

(real) books.

Pearls of wisdom

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

I first noticed it at the Hollywood premiere of The Ugly Truth in July. Katherine Heigel, resplendent in an ethereal gray Lanvin dress was sporting a spectacular thick choker of pearls and chains in multiple sizes and colors. (This turned out to actually be two necklaces cleverly paired together.)Next I listened as the new issue of InStyle Magazine trumpeted the return of “ladylike style” for fall complete with the requisite pencil skirt, twin set and of course, pearls.

 

Finally, just today I saw an ad for Chicos — the model was heaped in ropes and ropes (and ropes!) of pearls twined with chains and beads. Slightly edgier, many of these strands of pearls were strategically placed at “stations” along a length of chain.

 

Is it inspiration from our elegant First Lady and her famous triple-strand or maybe Mad Men has instilled a secret desire for a return to 50’s housewife glamour (minus the girdles)? Whatever the reason, pearls are a resounding “yes” for fall, which is good news because most of us have a strand or two (or more) languishing in the jewelry box!

 

Whether real or faux, there are many ways to wear pearls that look fresh right now. These are some of my favorites:

 

A la Coco Chanel with masses of chains. Simply find the strands of pearls and larger chains that you may not have worn in a while. Multiple sizes, shapes and lengths all work together! Since this is a real attention grabber, keep all other jewelry to a minimum or eliminate altogether.

 

Anchored on the side with a vintage brooche. One or two strands work well with oversized costume  jewelry from the 50’s and 60’s. Even some of the colored rhinestone pieces from the 80’s look great. Be careful you don’t overload the pin back!

 

Surrounded by preppy grosgrain ribbon. This is an easy fix with a quick trip to your local craft supply store. Balance the width of the grosgrain with the mm size of the pearls. Twist along the length, and finish off with a bow (worn on the side, or hidden in the back). Ribbon can also wind through several strands of pearls and chains – in this case it’s best if all the strands are the same length.

 

Doubled (or tripled) and worn short as a choker. Instant elegance for a strapless dress for evening or a simple white blouse and jacket for work.

 

Need more inspiration? The upcoming film, Coco Before Chanel (coming to theaters in New York and Los Angeles, September 25, 2009) chronicles Chanel’s incredible rise in the fashion world. The costuming itself is enough reason to go!

Susan McNeill is a wife, mother, author, fashion blogger

 and sales manager for the WHIMSY jewelry line. Susan

also writes for http://mcneilldesigns.wordpress.com and

http://successwontwaitinc.wordpress.com.