For some reason, it seems so apropos to wear a signet ring as the leaves change colors and people head back to school. Perhaps it reminds me of my mom’s old class ring? Whatever is making the neurons connect in my crazy jewelry-obsessed brain, the fact remains that adding a signet ring to your jewelry box might be a fabulous idea right about now. (How is it that I don’t own one?!)
Signet rings are certainly nothing new, in fact they date back to 3500 BC! Though they historically have been used as a person’s “official mark,” they are now simply a personal expression of style. I’ve been keeping my eye out for stylish signets, both modern and vintage, and I have a few to share with you. In no particular order…
As you can see from this handful of examples, there’s a wide range in styles of signet rings — from bold to more dainty, from sleek to more ornate. Perhaps there’s one that suits your personal style? Do tell.
Many people associate sneakers with the gym or uber-casual clothing, but I’m here to tell you that you can really elevate your sneaker look. A few years ago, I spotted many stylish sneaker looks on women in Stockholm and Copenhagen. With the increasing popularity of sneakers here in the States, I even started a whole Pinterest board last fall called Sneaker Chic.
The key to looking pulled together is pairing them with an outfit with clean lines and in predominantly solid neutrals. Slip-on styles appear a bit dressier than lace-up options. And yes, you can even wear them with skirts and dresses if you’ve got the formula correct.
With fall merchandise now arriving in the stores, I’ve noticed many pairs of bejeweled sneakers on the shelves. Since I’ve often written about how blingy shoes and bags definitely count as jewelry in an outfit, I thought I’d give you some ideas of how to incorporate this trend into your wardrobe. And of course, both of these outfits I’m going to show you can easily be worn with a simpler, non-jeweled pair of sneakers as well.
First of all, here’s a sampling of what I’ve seen coming in at a variety of price points. Definitely jewelry for your feet, right?!
Now that you’ve got an idea of what’s out there, I first want to show you how to pair them with pants. I’d choose a slim (but not too skinny) pant that hits a couple inches above the ankle. J.Crew has a nice option in stretch black wool. This is a weight that’s suitable most of the year here in California. (note: Wear the sneakers either bare-foot or with peds — you don’t want socks showing, or it’ll wreck the look.)
This would look great with a long vest, or as some retailers are calling them, “sleeveless coats.” I think the cut and neutral color of this one by Alexander Wang is hot. If this isn’t your color, there are many other options out there. (I just saw a couple at Zara last week.) Even a cool blazer would work if you prefer sleeves.
If it’s still warm, then you can easily wear this with a black tank. If it’s a bit cooler, or you’d like to make it more work-appropriate, then wearing it with a simple knit, such as this one from Vince, is a nice option.
Now that you’ve got this base of solid colors, then it’s time to add some jewelry (My favorite part!). But I don’t want it to be too complicated or distracting, as then it’ll detract from the sneakers. I saw these silver egg necklaces by Sophie Buhai online, and I’m sort of obsessed with them. They come in two lengths, and I think the longer one would be ideal with the long vest.
I like the idea of a menswear-inspired watch to go with the vest. Shinola (made in the USA!) has a classic design called the Runwell.
The finishing touch is a sleek clutch by Alexander Wang. I like the touch of grey to add some dimension to the outfit and resonate with the crystals on the sneakers. It makes everything not so matchy-matchy.
So now let’s take it a different direction — how to wear sneakers with a dress. Again, I’m going to say keep it simple and clean with the outfit. This will make you look modern and sophisticated. For the dress, I chose this Rag & Bone ribbed stretch-wool design.
You have options for necklaces. You can either go with a shorter necklace with some punch, or a longer silhouette. I opted again for a longer style, this one by Erin Considine, as I like how it elongates the visual line and gives a little texture to the ensemble. I also like how the gold warms everything up.
These Amber Sceats earrings are a homage to the Dior originals, which do in fact appear to be coming a classic. (Who knew?) They are meant to be worn with the larger ball behind the ear.
The result of all these pieces put together is a sophisticated, urban woman-on-the-go. Is this your personal style?
If you could see yourself creating some sneaker ensembles, I encourage you to go play in your closet a bit and see what you can come up with. Use these ideas, and the looks on my Sneaker Chic board as inspiration, and then see how you can adapt it to your own style.
Keep your budget in mind, and remember the cost-per-wear principal. If it’s something you’ll wear a ton, then the cost-per-wear will go down and it’ll be a better investment. If it’s an item that will be worn infrequently, then see if you can find a less expensive version that will give you the same look.
And if your are so NOT a sneaker gal and you’d rather wear heels, then go for it! As with any fashion trend, it’s all about staying true to you!
On Saturday I popped into the city to meet Delphine Richagneux, the new CEO of Manika. Now as you may know, I’ve been a fan of Manika since they first opened on Maiden Lane back in 2006. Not only do they have a new CEO, but they have they moved to a chic space on Market St. in the Palace Hotel. Of course, while I was there I had to imagine that I once again had a bottomless wallet — what would I buy?? Here’s my five picks, in no particular order
Jenny Reeves Seafoam Cuff in oxidized silver, 18K gold, chrysocolla and diamonds
How great does it look paired with the two rings I was wearing? (by Zaiken and Arik Kastan)
Jamie Joseph grey moonstone necklace, because it’s perfect for layering
Kanwar Creations cabochon rings…couldn’t decide between the tanzanite or the spessartite garnet
Mary Ray Cactus Drop earrings of gold and diamonds — so fun!
Of course, I could have had 20+ items on my list, but I had a limited amount of time. Great meeting Delphine, Kira and Jenny! If you’d like to get to know the store, then definitely come out for a fun event they’re having on Thursday, July 16, from 5-8. Click here for more details. I’ll be there fore sure!
It was my last day in New York City before returning to San Francisco, and I wasn’t about to let the pouring rain deter me from hitting all the “must see” stores on my list. First up for the day was Urban Zen, an amazing concept store by designer Donna Karan. (Thanks to my friend, Michelle, for the hot tip!) When I spied this necklace through the front window, I knew I had found the place! This show-stopper is by Anna Srdic of South Africa.
Tucked into a chic space in the West Village, this store is a gift for the senses. I wanted to see, touch, and try on everything! I was expecting simply a clothing line, and I had no idea that there would be home goods, Balinese furniture, and amazing jewelry nearly everywhere I turned. I think I had to do at least three tours of the store before I started taking it all in. The neutral palate was exactly up my alley, and the whole vibe was exotic (yet accessible and wearable), and wildly feminine. Dare I say subtly sexy?
There were different jewelry lines, some by individual artists, and others crafted by the team at Urban Zen, using assembled pieces from Haiti. And then other pieces are made in Haiti, with 100% of the proceeds going back to them. Haiti holds a very special place in Donna’s heart. She founded The Haiti Artisan project, which “promotes economic development through job creation and vocational education, helps raise awareness and highlights the creativity of Haiti’s artisans.” (Click here to read more about the story.) Here are some of the statement necklaces from The Haiti Artisan project.
And these cow horn bracelets are so versatile! I learned that the community there utilizes the entire animal, with nothing going to waste. Amazing.
This necklace is also made of horn, though in the form of large beads.
There was a variety of cut leather pieces, all part of the Urban Zen collection.
Here’s a close-up of the cut-leather necklace.
I think my stand-out favorite from the Urban Zen collection was this leather masterpiece.
There were also many Anna Srdic necklaces on display throughout the shop. Their architectural genius is the perfect complement for the Urban Zen clothing line. And I must say, that they are surprisingly light, given their large size.
Taking a look through her collections on her website, you can really get a feel for the whole Urban Zen look, and I have to say…I’m a BIG fan!
I’m going to use everything I saw for inspiration in future curation of my own wardrobe. The way the clothing is comfortable, yet flatters the feminine figure, making bold accessory choices, and being aware of how my dollars are spent — because there’s nothing like fashion that gives back. Thanks, Donna!
I knew that title would get your attention! So the other day I found myself with a little time to kill between appointments in Union Square. So what’s a jewelry blogger to do with this time? Well… I decided to visit Neiman’s and take myself on a virtual shopping spree, where I could pick out the top five pieces I’d like to own, and with an open-ended budget — the sky is the limit! (It’s a great fantasy, right?!) I was so happy that Lea Kushnir, my go-to sales associate, had some time open as well, and she loved my idea! So off we went, and here’s what I picked out. (in no particular order of preference, by the way)
Chocolate and black diamond ring by Bessa, $13,750
I love when someone I’ve known for years follows their passion and goes full-force into what brings them joy. This is just what happened to Erin Stafford, and I’m happy to share both her line, Spire Jewelry, and our interview. ALSO…stay tuned for a fabulous giveaway of one of her necklaces, which will launch on Tuesday!! You definitely don’t want to miss this one!
So Erin, I remember meeting you quite a few years ago at an image consulting conference. How did you go about making the switch from image consulting to jewelry designer?
My background is certainly not traditional. I’ve never really done things by the book…and I love that! I was a political science undergrad and gender studies MA who worked in digital media and advertising for years in London at an agency, and then at MTV.
I was always interested in fashion though, so when I moved back to Orange County from London, I got a gig as an assistant to a celebrity stylist in Hollywood and began my career in fashion. I eventually branched out on my own and worked as a stylist, image consultant, personal shopper, and fashion show producer for a decade. (I still do from time to time as well!) I also started working as a fashion journalist for a number of magazines, but mainly Orange Coast Magazine, where I’ve been their contributing style editor for about 8 years, and still am. In that capacity, I get to meet so many fun and creative people in Orange County. I am constantly scouting out new boutiques, talking with buyers and boutique owners, interviewing designers, and fashionable people in the area. It was during a few of these meetings that I was inspired to start making jewelry.
I took a few classes to learn the basics, but have mostly taught myself. I still take classes from time to time to learn a new skill or technique. I’m always looking to expand my repertoire and incorporate new materials and techniques into my designs.
I look at my design process the way a stylist would. A stylist doesn’t (normally) design their own clothes. They pull from a number of designers and stores to put the perfect outfit together for their client. In the same way, I buy beads, components, and supplies from markets and sources all over the world and put them together into fabulous pieces of jewelry. I am not physically out mining for agates and polishing my own stones, or creating molds that I then pour silver into to create a particular pendant. If I need something like that made, I have someone I use that brings my designs to life. But mostly, I love scouring the globe for interesting materials and supplies that I can incorporate into unique and fun pieces of jewelry.
While I know there are always challenges in starting up a new business, have you had any big “ah ha’s” or moments that really made you thrilled about being a designer?
Every day is a new adventure when you’re venturing into unknown territory. I feel like I’ve always been someone that jumped into things with both feet. Luckily my family is very entrepreneurial as well and have always been encouraging. I think my first ah ha moment was back in 2012 when I first started Spire. The collection wasn’t very cohesive, but I made a ton of pieces I thought were cute. Since I knew so many boutique owners from my life as a fashion journalist, I took my collection into their stores, and much to my surprise, they placed orders. It was crazy to me when one store said she wanted almost everything I had. She bought my samples right off me. I was like “Wow! I can actually do this! People like my designs and are buying them!”
There have been many other ah ha moments along the way, but that was the first major one.
How would you describe your line–what’s the aesthetic and who do you see wearing your pieces?
I always say that Spire is where the bohemian beach girl meets the city. I grew up in Orange County near the beach and am obsessed with all things turquoise and beachy. But I also lived in Europe for 8 years (Paris, London, Cambridge), so I definitely appreciate that chic, European, city vibe as well. Add to that my nomadic spirit and obsession with traveling to the farthest corners of the globe, and it’s really a mixed bag. Spire is without a doubt beachy and bohemian. But it’s also got a subtle and refined, sometimes edgy, twist to it.
The Spire girl is definitely a free spirt. Someone that speaks her mind, and isn’t afraid to be unique. But the longer I do this, the more I realize she’s any woman that wants to infuse a bit of elegant, beachy, edginess into her wardrobe.
I have these simple 18k gold vermeil spike earrings that sell like crazy. My mom, who is super classic and conservative in her dressing loves them and wears them constantly. She would NEVER be considered an edgy dresser, or someone that would gravitate towards anything spiked, but because they are so simple and understated, they work for her. Spire is transitional. It can be very beachy, bohemian, and edgy if you put it all together, or it can be elegant and refined if you wear it alone. I love that.
Where do you get inspiration for your lovely creations?
I’m inspired constantly by things I see and people I meet. I travel a lot and always come back with new inspiration. From the way I see someone put an outfit together, to beads I find in an open air market place, to adornments on a handbag, or the color of the local flowers in bloom. I’m always looking, and taking pictures of things that inspire me.
In general though, I’m very inspired by the beach and the ocean. I simply cannot get enough of that perfect aqua blue color of Caribbean or South Pacific waters. It is perfection to me. It’s not just the color of the water I love though, it’s the feeling you have when you visit those places. Life is slower. You’re relaxed. You’re not stressing about your hair and makeup. You’ve got beachy waves under a Panama hat. You wear your bikini with a sundress or linen pants. You live in flip flops and enjoy a cocktail on the beach. Comfort and fun are key. This entire notion of beach life – from the colors, the weather, the clothing, the beauty, and the vibe inspire me endlessly.
What are a couple of your current faves in your line?
I’m really excited about my new collection, Glimmered Hope. I have been wearing my Tassel necklaces almost daily and have been getting such great feedback on them. They are perfect for summer and are so easy to layer with shorter necklaces as well.
I’m also loving my gold leafed driftwood Glimmer necklaces. They are so unique and definitely conversation pieces. They are just the right mixture of beachy and glam. They’re also so lightweight that you almost forget you’re wearing them.
What’s the general price range for the Spire line?
My simple stretch bracelets start at about $20 and my necklaces go up to roughly $250, but I’d say most pieces are in the $50 – $150 range.
So I know my readers are going to want to know where they can buy a piece from Spire, so do tell!
The best place to find Spire jewelry is on my website www.thespirelife.com. It links to my Etsy store where most of my pieces are available. I ship worldwide. A selection of my pieces can also be found at Twig and Willow in Long Beach, CA, West End Napa in downtown Napa, CA, and a few other stores around California. I’m always looking for new stores, and am actually doing my first trade show later this summer, the San Francisco International Gift Fair, so I’m hoping to be in many more stores by the end of the year.
Erin, I so appreciate your time with this interview, and I can’t wait to launch our giveaway tomorrow!!
I have been a fan of Isharya jewelry for years, in fact ever since I bought my first piece on Gilt group way back when. Emma Roberts is among the many celebrity fans, and she rocked their blue lapis goddess power cuff at the Tribeca Flim Festival.
Well meeting Radhika Tandon, one of the co-founders of the line, at a recent event in San Francisco was fantastic! Not only is she smart, stylish and beautiful, inside and out, but she also has an extremely welcoming personality. I was invited to visit their California headquarters and showroom in San Jose. (Their other main office is in Mumbai, India.)
I didn’t know where to look first, with shelves and beautiful displays of jewelry everywhere.
Isharya is the creation of Radhika and her sister-in-law, Gauri Tandon, who runs the Mumbai office. While neither started out in the jewelry business, they both have a love of sparkle and bling. Radhika told me that it all started when she would have jewelry designed and made for herself in India. Back in 2004, a friend borrowed one of her pieces, who then showed it to someone else, and next thing she knew, she was being featured everywhere from Daily Candy to Lucky and In Style magazines! Clearly she was on to something. Here’s a close-up of the blue lapis goddess fringe necklace Radhika was wearing at our meeting.
The first thing I tried on, because you know I couldn’t contain myself, was this abalone tentacle cuff. The shades of the sea were lovely on my wrist!
Knowing that the stones in the jewelry are all real (amazonite, lapis, labradorite, and more–click here for a list of materials they use), I was curious about how they keep the prices so reasonable. There’s nothing in the line over $498, and a large percentage of the pieces are under $100. The answer is that they use gold-plated brass. And I can tell you that the result is just beautiful! The jewelry is, “inspired by India’s intricate and vibrant style…each piece is designed to fuse an effortless California chic aesthetic with the glamour of Bollywood.” There are various collections, and each has a distinct vibe, ranging from very complex design, to items with cleaner, more Art Deco lines. In other words, there’s something for everyone, no matter what your personal style.
Radhika explained how much time and effort they put into each and every aspect of design and production. For example, they spent 8 months perfecting their enamel process so that it doesn’t chip. Here’s a lovely enamel example in the teal and turquoise jaisel floral statement cuff.
I also tried on this royal filigree tassel lariat, which can be worn different ways. They come up with a new filigree print each year, so there’s always something new to look forward to.
The matte finish on this black pyramid luxe bib necklace was killer. It’s surprising lightweight, and it would be a perfect centerpiece for some of today’s minimalist looks.
A couple of the gals who work at Isharya also showed me how to wear some of the body jewelry. So feminine and on trend!
This body chain would be fantabulous over a black strapless dress, don’t you think?
All the pieces, no matter what their size, are definitely for the girl who wants to make a statement!
These amethyst moon bali earrings certainly have more of an exotic, Indian style. I can picture wearing them with a flowing caftan and gold sandals, poolside.
Of if you’re looking for a more streamlined earring, then these purple druzy three stone drops are beautiful. (They also invested a lot of time perfecting how to set druzy so elegantly.)
And finally, because snakes are one of their signatures, I couldn’t resist trying on this serpent scale wraparound cuff. So unique, and I love the colors!
I was lucky to also check out their upcoming fall line. While I can’t share any photos with you (YET!), I will say that you will be wowed. I’ll be sure to share highlights with you come fall. If this line intrigues you, then definitely check out their website. They also have retail presence in the US and in 50 other countries around the globe! (Click here to find your nearest location.) I hope that you’ve enjoyed this visit to Isharya as much as I did!
I have to say that interior design is my second love after style and bling, so anytime I find a killer home store, I have to check it out! Abode is the best interiors store you’ll find on the San Mateo County coast, and I can attest to the quality, as I have a few pieces in my place. They have a mix of modern and vintage, AND they have a nice selection of baubles as well.
They carry between six and eight different designers, and the price points range from around $45-$300. During my last visit, they were celebrating their 10th anniversary — cheers! I was drawn to many pieces by San Francisco designer, Denise Heffernan. I loved her organic style and mixed metals.
One of the delights is how the pieces are displayed in the store. Take a gander at these necklaces on a little wooden dress form.
I also found a great interpretation of the bar necklace trend by The Urban Smith, another local SF company. Rachel, the owner, told me that you can order them with different words, and you can also get the bars hanging vertically.
These unisex vintage leather belt cuffs with Victorian pressed brass centerpieces by Bombshell Betty are definitely a statement! If you’ve got a boho/rocker style going on, then you may just need one of these.
Each time I visit this shop, I’m not only happy to see what’s new and exciting, but I love catching up with Rachel, owner extraordinaire. (…and she is my lovely cousin to boot)
Next time you find yourself in the vicinity of Half Moon Bay, definitely stop by and check out Abode. And if you want to include lunch during your visit to the coast, then I highly recommend Pasta Moon — the bread alone is worth the stop.
For both myself and my clients, Babette on Sutter Street near Union Square has been one of my go-to boutiques for years. Their modern, often pleated, clothing line is just fantastic. It never goes out of style, and I’ve yet to have one of their pieces wear out — now that’s saying something! Well imagine my delight when I recently entered the shop to see a jewelry case right in the middle of the store!! Knowing how unique the clothing is, I was sure I’d find some treasures that I’d never seen before, and I was definitely right!
While I like to think that I’m pretty in the know about different designers, I must admit that each and every designer shown was new to me. Wow! Elizabeth Shypertt is the curator of the collection, and has the pieces on consignment at the store. One of the first items that jumped right onto my wrist is this killer silver bracelet by Elisa Bongfeldt.
Then there’s a group of jewelry made from smooth river rocks by Terri Logan. Take a look at this stunning necklace and bracelet. Though they are made of stone, they are still light-weight and very comfortable.
If you’re into color, then these ball necklaces by Rosario Merola will be right up your alley. The red beads are made of lava rock!
I know that people who wear a more autumnal color palette and have a creative personal style will want to try on the collection by Brooke Battles.
And how unique are these necklaces by Kristin Lora made with brushes as pendants? These would definitely be a conversation piece!
There’s much more for you to see, so I encourage you to stop by the store and try things on in person. Have fun!
I recently returned from a girl’s weekend in Seattle with my cousin Rachel and my “cousin-to-be” Megan. We had a blast, despite the rainy weather, exploring this beautiful and friendly city. Since they were hanging with me, a professional shopper, I know that they weren’t surprised when I pulled out my page of hand-written notes on all the shops I wanted to visit. And bonus, Megan had a rental car! So off to the Fremont neighborhood we went, which is about a 15 minute drive from downtown Seattle.
One of the shops on my “must see” list was Essenza, which is a unique combination of jewelry, bath/skincare products, sleepwear, and some kid’s items. I knew I liked the store before I entered, which was painted in a pale aqua-blue (my favorite color).
And my thoughts were confirmed as I entered this charming store, with a central fountain surrounded by beautiful cases of jewelry.
I was excited to find a new men’s jewelry line, The Blue Hound. It’s so rare that I see a men’s line represented at a store like this, and I loved it! It was very industrial, and had a great price point. Here’s some bad-ass skull cufflinks and a couple edgy bracelets.
If you’re in the Seattle area this coming week, then it’s the perfect time to stop by the store. They will be hosting an Anne Sportun (oh, how I love her and her line!) trunk show. Here’s the details on the show.
I hope that the next time you’re in Seattle, you’ll make the effort to visit Essenza. I met Wendy, the owner’s sister, and she was just charming. And in a typical small world style, it turns out that she used to live in the San Francisco Bay Area and knew tons of people in common with my cousin. Go figure! I love how the universe keeps connecting us all in that special way.