Accessorize Me: Vince Suede Top

I was so happy to hear how much you liked my first installment of Accessorize Me, and I appreciate all the comments! So here we are with our second article. I did get quite a few inquiries about the different items in the last post regarding how much they cost and where to purchase them. Please know that each and every item has a link directly to the product, so if you’re interested in knowing more about a particular piece, just click on the highlighted link and it’ll take you right there. Easy-peezy.

One of my clients received a generous gift card for her birthday, and she decided to purchase something special that she normally wouldn’t have bought for herself — this beautiful Vince suede oversized top.

vince suede oversize leather tee
In order to make her purchase make sense, as it was certainly an investment, we had to make sure she could wear it a variety of ways. The rule is that the more you wear something, the lower the cost-per-wear will be. The first look we went for was one with a very casual, yet pulled-together beachy vibe. We started with a pair of Kut from the Kloth “Mia” skinny jeans. (side note: This is a great brand and cut for a curvy figure.)

kut from the kloth mia jean

Now comes the really fun part, selecting the right accessories to really express her casual, cool California style. The centerpiece is this fab necklace from Anthropologie. It’s definitely a statement in its scale, and the bold horn combined with the cotton cord creates a very bohemian, organic look.

anthropolgie legend & song daylight horn necklace
Adding this mixed metal ring and rustic gold hoops complement the neutral tones in the rest of the outfit. I really enjoy mixing metals, and I find it can really add some dimension to an outfit.

arhaus ring and sundance gold hoops
In lieu of a traditional bag, this metallic woven tote with these snake print sandals (only $39!) complete the ensemble.

anthropologie metallic weave tote
mia castaway sandal
But now how to step it up? She wanted to wear the same top to an upcoming outdoor cocktail party at a friend’s house, looking sleek and sophisticated. First step was to find a white pencil skirt. When wearing a fuller cut on top, balancing it out with a slimmer silhouette on the bottom works well. I also made sure the skirt was longer than the length of the top, giving the two pieces an uneven proportion, which is always more flattering than a half-half proportion.

David Lerner white skirt
For a more sophisticated look, I opted for streamlined gold cuffs (one on each wrist) and modern earrings by Elizabeth and James.

kristen elspeth gold cuff and elizabeth and james earrings
It’s always good to add a bit of texture, though, so this ring by Rebecca Minkoff does the trick. (It would also mix very well with the ring from the first outfit.)

rebecca minkoff earth eclectic open pave ring
For the finishing touches, these neutral bootie-style sandals (which would also rock with jeans) and a killer Jimmy Choo bag in multiple neutral shades, stylishly ties it all together.

sole society shoes and jimmy choo  candy clutch
Another thing I’m looking forward to, aside from creating more combinations for her for this season, is also transitioning this top into fall. It’s really something that can be worn 9 months of the year here in the Bay Area, which will continue to make the cost-per-wear go down. I would love to hear your thoughts on these ensembles!

Jewelry Box Basics: The Bohemian

Welcome to the second installment of “Jewelry Box Basics.” In case you’re just joining us, this is a 6-part series about what basics I recommend that you have stocked in your jewelry box, based on your personal style. I’ve come up with six different personal styles: the lady who lunches (who was featured last week), bohemian, rock star, minimalist, trendy and romantic. Again, I know that virtually no one fits into just one style box, so read this with an open mind, seeing what appeals to you. Also, don’t let the price point bother you — just take each piece as an example of a look, and then shop at the price point where you’re comfortable.

I’m pretty psyched to write this article, as it’s definitely where my heart lives. From the Navajo necklace my father bought me when I was 6 years old (yes, I still have it!), to the orange tie-dye dress that I lived in (against my mother’s wishes…orange really wasn’t my color), I’ve always had some version of the boho tune singing in my head. The interesting thing about this personal style is that it has a real range! It varies all the way from Haight-Ashbury hippies to what I call “luxe boho.” The examples I’ll showcase in this post definitely veer more towards the later look.

The chic bohemian still loves her bling, yet is a bit more casual than the lady who lunches. This watch by Brera really hits that note. The leather strap and visible screws have a great juxtaposition with the diamond-encased watch face. And the strap is interchangeable with other colors, so the boho girl can really mix it up with her bracelets.

Casual, understated bling
Casual, understated bling

Speaking of bracelets, the bohemian woman is the queen of stacking bracelets and bangles. There’s no doubt that “basics” in this category range from beaded, elastic bracelets to jewel-encrusted bangles. This polki diamond bangle from Ross-Simons is a fabulous basic. The raw, organic feel of this type of diamond is the perfect representation for this style. And don’t worry if your metals don’t match. With the eclectic combinations created, it all comes together harmoniously.

Luxe and organic at the same time
Luxe and organic at the same time

Here’s a great example of the elastic-beaded bracelets that I referred to for stacking. This stunning bracelet is by Rona Pfieffer, one of my fave designers.

Natural neutral
Natural neutral

There is no room for a minimal ring for the Boho girl, unless it’s part of a big stack of slim rings. Rather, a large statement ring is her basic. I’m loving this teardrop quartz ring by Peppina. It’s the perfect neutral to blend with any outfit, and it really resonates with the natural feel of this personal style.

Absolutely lovely design!
Absolutely lovely design!

Once again, hoops are the basic go-to earring of choice. In comparison to the lady who lunches, the bohemian’s hoops are likely to be even larger in scale. A varied array of metals and embellishments are sure to be found in her jewelry box. These slim, yet large hoops by Jennifer Meyer (love the singular diamond station!) are fabulous.

These would blend easily with any outfit
These would blend easily with any outfit

This is where things get a little complicated, as the bohemian style really doesn’t lend itself to just one necklace. Layering necklaces is really intrinsic to this style, so her basics will likely include at least two necklaces. One should be a bolder, long piece, and the other a daintier necklace that can be worn harmoniously with the other one. This shark tooth necklace by Givenchy (yes, it’s on my jewelry lust list) would be a very versatile choice.

A chic statement
A chic statement

If you pair this with a shorter necklace, like this pyrite and natural diamond one by Jemma Sands, then you’ve really created quite a look. And of course, either necklace can certainly be worn separately.

Perfect layering necklace
Perfect layering necklace

But I have to go just one step further with what a boho woman would consider basic. One of this woman’s favorite things to do is travel, and she undoubtedly picks up singular pieces along her adventures. It could be a scarab ring from Egypt, a buddah charm on a bangle from Bali, or a piece of history from the southwest, as in this amazing Native American squash blossom necklace.

This CAN be a basic for the bohemian style!
This can be a basic for the bohemian style!

Whether this jewelry collection made you say, “Yes!!! That’s SO me!!” or, “There’s no way I’d ever even look twice at these pieces!” it’s all good. This is what makes the world go round. The key is to learn what speaks to you and develop that jewelry signature. When you have a solid sense of your style, things just fall into place and shopping gets a lot easier!

Jewelry Box Basics: The Lady Who Lunches

This is the first article in a 6-part series about what basics you should have in your jewelry box, based on your personal style. In my many years as an image consultant, I’ve spent countless hours working with clients and their jewelry, helping them to carefully select the pieces that really enhance their outfits and express who they are. I’ve come up with six different personal styles: the lady who lunches, bohemian, rock star, minimalist, trendy and romantic. For those of you who are wondering where the creative style is, don’t think that I’m neglecting you. Instead, I’ve learned that there really aren’t any “basics” for the creative type! This personal style likes each piece to be a work of art.

Granted, no one fits exactly into one “box,” but hopefully these articles will at least give you a framework of where to start in building your jewelry wardrobe. Personally, though my own style definitely veers towards the bohemian esthetic, there are elements from each style that I love (and have in my jewelry box!). In each article, I’ll be showing an example of each item, but don’t let the price point bother you, whether you think it’s too high or too low. Just use the example as the general “look” and then shop at the price point that you feel comfortable with.

Ok, so here goes…”the lady who lunches” is very prevalent here in the Bay Area. Active with their children’s schools, always involved in various charities, and with a booked social calendar, this woman needs jewelry that will take her everywhere.

I recommend a high quality watch in the metal that looks best on you. You may even decide on one embellished with diamonds, if your style and budget support that. I think this one by Philip Stein is very versatile, and I love the unique shape of the face.

Just the right amount of bling
Just the right amount of bling

Three to five bracelets in the same metal color as your watch are perfect for stacking. They can be worn on the same wrist as your watch or on the other arm. Personally, I’m a big fan of Ippolita. Her bangles come in just metal, or embellished with diamonds and semi-precious stones. The bangles don’t need to all be by the same designer, either. Just look for harmonious design elements in your grouping.

I like using bangles in odd numbers
I like using bangles in odd numbers

A colored stone, worn in the largest scale that you’re comfortable with, really goes a long way. It’s appropriate during the day, and can also add a lot to a cocktail outfit. This blush colored sapphire ring by Jill Alberts is lovely.

Subtle, yet still a statement
Subtle, yet still a statement

If you’ve been following my blog, then you know that I think hoops are about the most versatile earring on the planet. I’ve yet to find a person, no matter what their personal style is, that doesn’t resonate with the perfect pair of hoops. For the lady who lunches, I really think she needs at least two pair — one, in her metal of choice, and then another with diamonds. (Can you tell that this is a pricey personal style to have?!) Of course, this look can easily be achieved with cubic zirconia as well. This pair by Roberto Coin is just lovely.

I have a cz version of these
I have a cz version of these

I find that various strands of pearls in different lengths, colors, and textures, are definitely a basic for the lady who lunches. Now these are NOT your stuffy, old-lady pearls we’re talking about. Instead, imagine multiple layers, various scales, and even interspersed with metal chains. No need for real pearls, either. There are plenty of man-made pearls at various price points. Here’s a very cool take on a multi-strand necklace by Alexis Bittar.

I love the metal & sparkle details
I love the metal & sparkle details

With these five elements in your jewelry box, you’ve got a good base on which to build. A jewelry collection takes time and money to create, so just enjoy the process. Invest in pieces that you LOVE and that really appeal to your personal style, and you can’t go wrong.

Vanessa Leu: Designer

Vanessa Leu is another uber-talented designer I had the privilege of meeting at the Couture show in Las Vegas. Born in Taiwan, Vanessa spent years as a journalist in Vietnam…not your typical background for going into jewelry! She came to the states in the 80’s and enrolled in the Gemological Institute of America. Well let me tell you, I’m thrilled she made this career change, as her designs are quite fabulous!

vanessa leu jewelry
Meeting Vanessa

Here’s one of the first pieces that caught my eye. It’s a sculptural cuff made from re-claimed metal and conflict-free stones, as is her entire collection. In fact, she is so adamant about fair-trade working conditions, that she actually visits where the jewelry is being made to make sure everything is up to par.

vanessa leu cuff
Simple, yet striking

Vanessa has a strong spiritual side to her, with a life-long Zen practice and following the teachings of the philosopher Lao Tzu. She truly strives to show a meeting of east and west in her designs, which “marries the beauties of two cultures and transcends the soul.” With minimalist lines, she really gets this feeling across in her line. Here is an outstanding pair of earrings, which I’ve spied on more than one celebrity recently!

vanessa leu earrings
I love the elongated marquis shape!

In fact, here’s Nicole Scherzinger at a London movie premier wearing these dramatic dangles in another color.

Nicole Scherzinger in Vanessa Leu earrings
This really shows you the scale of the earrings

Not only is Vanessa a very eco-conscious designer, she’s also got a big heart. She donates a portion of her profits to charity, really paying it forward. What a cool lady!

Accessory Artists: Online Boutique

Who needs a store front? Marcy Roth certainly doesn’t, and about a year ago she founded one of the coolest jewelry boutiques around, Accessory Artists,…online! I had the pleasure of meeting Marcy at her trunk show at Manika Jewelry. (I know I seem to mention them quite a bit, but honestly, it’s an amazing store. If you live here in the Bay Area and haven’t visited before, get on it!)

Marcy of Accessory Artists
Hangin' with Marcy

Marcy brought a sampling of various designers she carries, and the range was amazing — fine jewelry to costume, large scale to delicate, bohemian to urban edge. I have no doubt that ANY jewelry aficionado will surely find something right up their alley on this site!

Kara Ross Necklace
Exquisite necklace by Kara Ross

She carries over thirty artists, the majority of which are based here in the United States. Her research background really helped lay the groundwork for her “jewelry sleuthing” where she tracks down up and coming artists. This is not the place to find mass-produced lines. It’s where you’ll find unique pieces that you won’t see coming and going.

Oblik Atelier earrings
Modern designs by Oblik Atelier

Brooke Gregson labradorite necklace
My fave was this labradorite necklace by Brooke Gregson

So just because you may be stuck at work right now, sneaking a peek at this blog post while the boss isn’t looking, it doesn’t mean you can’t go jewelry shopping. Indulge and treat yourself to something sparkly!

Liseanne Frankfurt of LFrank

I found myself once again at a deliciously gorgeous trunk show at Angela’s in Menlo Park. The designer herself was there to showcase her LFrank collection, which was so beautiful, I didn’t know where to look first!

LFrank designer and Amy Roseveare
Liseanne Frankfurt and me

Discovering that we were both UCLA alumni (where she began her business her sophomore year) just added to the instant bond I felt with the hand-finished collection. Liseanne works with rose or moghul cut diamonds, colored stones, and pearls set in 18K yellow, white and rose gold. You’ll also find her incorporating some other materials, such as shells, vintage beads or wood.

What first caught my eye was a bust of layered necklaces. They seemed to glow with their matte finish and I could instantly see each piece being worn separately, layered with things I already owned, and worn day to night. It’s clear that her inspirations include travel, art and architecture.

LFrank necklaces
Stunning array of necklaces

Soon, though, a wide ribbon full of stud earrings drew my attention. Studs may not always be the most “exciting” part of a collection, but they can certainly be one of the most useful elements in any jewelry wardrobe. Finding out-of-the-ordinary studs can be a challenge and the following are examples of some truly unique designs.

LFrank studs with grey diamond stripe
Rose gold with grey diamond stripe

LFrank quak cluster studs
Yellow gold with 4-diamond cluster

LFrank pave disc studs with grey diamonds
Grey pave diamond disc studs

All her jewelry is made in her studio in Los Angeles. She works with a third generation goldsmith in creating each unique piece. Even her findings (things like clasps and chains) are made specifically for her, so there’s nothing “common” whatsoever about her products. You are guaranteed to have a high-quality, exquisite piece with amazing detail.

Now if you just MUST see this line after reading this, you can always visit her store on Abbot Kinney Blvd. in Venice Beach. Or, cruise through her chic online store on her website. The diversity in her line will please a variety of personal styles and includes jewelry in many scales — so odds are you’ll find something that makes you go, “ooooo!” Happy shopping!

5 Tips for Buying Jewelry as a Gift

Black Friday is right around the corner, so you may be thinking about what to buy certain people for the holidays. Though many people think jewelry is too personal of a gift to pick out for someone else, I disagree. It’s definitely doable with some careful consideration to certain points. So here goes:

1. Think about the personal coloring and skin tone of your recipient. Do they have warm, golden skin and cool blue eyes? Then a mixed metal necklace might be just the ticket. A cool, creamy complexion with jet black hair may just adore some striking sterling silver earrings.

2. Think about the scale of the person’s physical features. This includes taking note of the size of their eyes, smile, and how tall they are. The most inherent jewelry for a person will be one that’s in harmony with their own scale. I guess the exception to this rule would be diamonds…they can never be too big, right?!

3. What’s the personal style or jewelry signature of the giftee? For people who know me, they know that they can’t go wrong with a piece with a bohemian luxe vibe: horns, tassels, buddahs, polki diamonds, etc. Someone who really thought about it would never think of giving me a necklace with a pink crystal bow on it — it just wouldn’t be me. Really think about the jewelry the person already wears, and try to picture if what you’re giving her would work seamlessly in her collection.

4. What’s their lifestyle like? A mom with babies or toddlers will love to look at those gorgeous dangling earrings, but really, when would she wear them? Just not practical. So think about what activities (sports, travel, work) the person is involved in and choose accordingly.

5. Finally, think about the “noise” factor and snagability. This piece of advice really goes for all jewelry purchases, not just when giving it as a gift. Certain pieces just make too darn much noise, like earrings that jingle every time you turn your head. Can we say annoying?! Even more so if one works in a quiet environment. Also, think about what would happen if the piece of jewelry rubs against a delicate knit or silk chiffon. Prongs that stick out, rough stones and the like may wreck havoc on the wardrobe.

So keep these tips in mind when heading to the mall on the November 25th. Bring those, patience and parking karma, and you’ll be all set to find the perfect gift for that special someone in your life.

The gift of jewelry!

How to build a watch wardrobe

I don’t know what it is with the men in my life, but both my boyfriend and my brother don’t wear a watch. What’s up with that? Not only is a watch useful, but it’s a major fashion accessory in the jewelry world. I mean really…who would turn down a chance to bling it up a bit more?!

So the first watch every girl needs is an everyday watch. This is a timepiece in a medium scale, preferably with a metal band. If you’re wondering what metal is best, remember that cool skin tones look best in silver tones and warm with yellow gold. If you’re a combination, like I am, then a mixed metal watch might just be the ticket. And don’t be scared of having diamonds on your daily watch–diamonds are never wrong.

Two-tone metal watch

Now let’s say you have to go to a cocktail party, and you actually want to know what time the main course will be served without pulling out your iphone. Well for that you will most definitely need a dress watch. What distinguishes a dress watch from it’s everyday counterpart is basically the scale. Dress watches are much more petite, and in my (dream) world are encrusted with diamonds. Bedat & Co. makes some great evening watches with interchangeable bands. You can opt for the black satin band one night, and the silver the next.

Bedat & Co. dress watches

So what’s this about interchangeable bands? Well let me tell you, they are tres chic. The first one I discovered was quite a few years ago in Nordstrom. My mom and I were shopping and I fell in love with this Michelle “Deco” watch with a camel faux-alligator strap. Knowing this wouldn’t coordinate with my entire wardrobe, I was thrilled to find out that it could be easily switched out with a stainless band. So if you can find an “everyday” watch with an interchangeable band, you’ve just really enhanced the breadth of your watch wardrobe. Personally, I’m just dying for a stingray (otherwise known as shagreen) band. Not only is this one of the most durable materials around, but they are just GORgeous!

Michelle "Deco" watch with silver stainless band

The other watch that I cannot BELIEVE that I’m recommending is a sport watch. You may have read about this in my post about hiking jewelry. The Baby G has become my friend…not just when hiking, but also when doing anything where my regular watch might get damaged, like babysitting, lounging by the pool, or hunting for beach glass in Fort Bragg. Now if only I could find one with diamonds, I’d be set….

Stephen Dweck: Designer

When my younger brother, Scott, was married 10 years ago, my mom was all aflutter about her mother-of-the-groom outfit. Her personal style meant that none of the traditional silk suits or conservative dresses would suit her at all. Instead, she opted for a beautiful pair of flowing black pants, a silk shell, and chiffon kimono-type top with a water lily print that was simply art-to-wear. The crowning glory, though, was the magnificent pair of yellow-green Stephen Dweck earrings she invested in. Though the outfit may have only been worn a couple times since the event, the earrings have been worn like crazy.

I was very honored to meet Stephen Dweck at a recent trunk show in San Francisco (where I did in fact tell him about my mom’s earrings). He’s currently celebrating his 30th year in business, and from what I could tell, he was just as enthusiastic (or even moreso) than he must have been when he launched his line with his three brothers all those years ago in Brooklyn.

Hanging out with Stephen Dweck

Stephen’s jewelry is inspired by nature, in all its forms. He travels the world collecting amazing stones, and then comes back and sets them in gold, silver and bronze. He has many coveted one-of-a-kind pieces which are marked by a little beetle, named Adam. (You can read more about Adam on his website.)

Stephen’s jewelry is on the chunkier side, making it ideal for clients looking for that scale. Just look at this stunning necklace and these cocktail rings! It was all I could do to leave the show without a new ring on my finger!

Large scale pieces by Dweck

I also love Stephen’s use of color–he’s certainly not afraid of it! At the trunk show, there were groupings done by hue, creating a virtual rainbow on the jewelry counters.

Delightful color!

Not only is this line versatile in the variety of stone and metal colors, but I really feel it’s multi-generational. I have clients in their 20’s wearing some of his amazing statement rings and a client near 70 who adores her bracelet in all shades of purple and amethyst. When I brought up this aspect to Stephen, he said that it’s not unusual for him to work with the daughter, mother and grandmother all at once.

Throughout his career, teaming up with everyone from Donna Karan to Oscar de la Renta, Dweck has kept his factory and production in Brooklyn. Score two points for that! I also feel that he has kept his genuine passion and talent alive, while remaining a lovely, grounded person.

So when you have the opportunity, be sure to stop and try on some of his attention-getting pieces. They may just be exactly what you’re looking for and didn’t know it! 🙂

Jewelry that gives back

While I certainly never need a reason to go jewelry shopping, I must admit that when I find out that part of the proceeds from my purchase will go to charity, then I’m doubly happy! I’m encountering more and more designers who do give back, and I’d like to tell you about three that I’ve found right here in the Bay Area.

First is Joan Hornig. I first saw a stunning necklace of hers at Philanthropist on Sacramento Street, but now even Neiman Marcus has picked up her line. And get ready for the shocker…100% of the profits from each purchase are donated to the charity of your choice–it’s almost too good to be true!

I would describe her line as modern chic, with pieces ranging from chunky to more streamlined. You’ll find both silver and gold, either on their own or combined with color and neutrals. Her larger scale necklaces are sure to be conversation starters!

Joan Hornig butterfly necklace

I think this pair of earrings would be just as beautiful with a cocktail dress as they would be with jeans and a sweater.

Joan Hornig earrings

While in Manika Jewelry recently, I was excited to see and learn about Jeanne Johngren’s line. She donates a portion of her proceeds to various charities, some of which focus on children, education, and health literacy. Jeanne combines her background in art and cinematography to create stunning pieces in silver, gold, and gemstones. Two circular pendant necklaces specifically jumped out at me while in the store.

Gold medallion with diamond starburst

Mandala inspired necklace by Jeanne Johngren

Finally, I have to tell you about a jewelry line that I’ve had a long-time love affair with…Love Heals. This family company (mom, son and daughter) is based right here in California and they have 10 trees planted for every piece they sell. How amazing is that?! This organic, bohemian-flavored line is just divine. I find their simpler, long necklaces are ideal layering pieces, and their more ornate pieces are stunning on their own. Here are a couple examples of their design:

Love Heals necklace

Double layer necklace

Love Heals sells at a wide range of stores and boutiques. I often find a nice selection at the various Margaret O’Leary boutiques in the Bay Area.

So with these designers in mind, go hit the stores with a happy heart, knowing that your new treasure will be helping others as well. 🙂