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…
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?!
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.
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
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.
And these cow horn bracelets are so versatile! I learned that the community there utilizes the entire animal, with nothing going to waste. Amazing.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This carved ink blue jaisel square statement ring also shows the fabulous enamel work.
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.
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.
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.