Holiday Gift Guide 2017: Bag Edition

“It is a known fact that a woman do carry an evening bag at dinner time.” Now this famous quote from the now iconic documentary Paris Is Burning holds more truth than people think. However, the quote should be interpreted by the fact that any outfit always feels a little more complete once you add a stunning bag to it. The perfect bag also has the ability to boost one’s confidence and mood. Allowing the wearer to express their personal style with a bag of their choosing. And for that reason, we here at Novella feel that choosing the perfect bag for that perfect someone is always a great gift giving choice for the holiday season. However, choosing the right bag can sometimes be extremely hard and with so many bags and personalities out there, having a guide on what to get is often very helpful and time-saving.

Forever 21 Faux Leather Crossbody Bag: $33.90

Photo: Forever 21

As fashion grows and progresses, so does the need to use it as a form of self-expression. Unlike the conventional bags most people are used to seeing. Today’s purses are no longer about functionality and stand more as a test of creative integrity and self-expression. One big trend that really encompasses this idea is the mini bag, while it may not be the most functional bag to its size, this Forever 21 mini faux patent leather bag is all about visual appeal rather than functionality. Sure you may not be able to fit everything in there. But this bag does hold its own perfectly fine as a party bag or evening bag. And its punchy mix of fire engine red and shiny metal hardware give this bag an edgy 80s personality that’s been all the rage the past few years.

Chanel Boy Bag: $7175.00

Photo: Chanel

The Chanel Boy Bag may be the bag to end all bags. With its iconic silhouette and chain strap. The Boy bag has become synonymous with Paris upper echelon. However, with a name like Chanel on the bag, the cost is automatically going to be quite astronomical for a purse. But its the quality of materials and craftsmanship that really makes this bag an extra special gift. Rather than purchasing your special someone a regular black Chanel Boy bag. Opt for this glittery sequined version. Which mixes the perfect amount of after-dark glamour with the conventional look of an all black bag.

Zara Knotted Bucket Bag: $49.90

Photo: Zara

Zara has a long-standing reputation for creating fashionable high-quality clothing and accessories that merge the high fashion appeal of the runway with functional everyday attire. This simple black shoulder bag is the perfect for someone who’s always on the go. It’s roomy design and thick strap are bound to last for those who can’t help but carry everything but the kitchen sink with them. What sets this bag apart from regular leather totes is its fresh design. The bag itself is very architectural. With the knotted straps creating a very angular silhouette that compliments the triangular shape of the bag.

Maison Margiela Patchwork Pouch: $2660.00

Photo: Maison Margiela

For those who want something more interesting than the average bag, Maison Margiela created this unconventional clutch. Utilizing the brand’s love for deconstruction. The clutch is decorated with pieces of Margiela staple patterns and fabrics. Creating an entirely unique look for those daring enough to wear it. Another interesting aspect of the bag is its shape. Rather than opting for a traditional square or rectangle clutch. The brand created an exaggerated and extremely elongated rectangle clutch that breaks the boundaries of what bags and clutches should look like. While this may not be the most functional option on the list, it does stand alone as a very interesting statement piece.

Aldo Wenang Light Blue Women’s Crossbody: $70.00

Photo: Aldo

These days bags can be whatever you’d like them to be and often, the more colourful and fun they are, the better. This fairytale Aldo bag brings the punch of colour many are looking for in the new year. The pastel colour scheme and embroidery is fun and playful without being juvenile. Which is often a very important thing for the purse aficionado on your holiday gift list. What makes this bag really special is how all of the colours and hardware work perfectly together. Rather than being jarring, the bag compliments itself. Especially the blue to pink gradient that makes of the colour of the bag.

Tried and tested- holiday party outfit (anything but a dress)

As we get closer to the holiday season, we find ourselves looking for the prefect glam outfit to go with the holiday spirit. Normally, we associate the festive season with the Little Black Dress and, sure, there is no doubt that the LBD will always be a safe choice. But what if we feel the urge to pull off something bold and experiment with colors and textures. I believe the LBD deserves a little break once in a while. So I decided to find creative ways of putting together an outfit with ensembles that feature anything but a dress. Whether it’s a fancy jumpsuit, a metallic pleated skirt, or a tuxedo-inspired look, the following 5 pieces will not only get you into the festive mood, but also let you shine at any holiday cocktail parties.

Glitz and glam

Shiny pieces and metallics define the holiday season. They can definitely function as the ultimate neutral at any holiday party. For a festive punch, I opted for a pair of bold pants with a luxurious damask jacquard prints, which evoke a sophisticated feel. I paired it with a silky blouse with a metallic sheen and ruffle details along the neck and sleeves. This statement piece adds a touch of glam and gives a feminine twist to the holiday dress code.

Blouse and pants: Alice And Olivia (Nordstrom)

The velvet suit

This menswear-inspired look offers and alternative way to mix things up. Simply trade in your classic tuxedo suit with a velvet one. I chose this set because the shimmering kimono-like jacket paired with matching pants keep everything sleek and sexy. Velvet is my favorite formal fabric during the holiday season because it provides a warm sense of luxury. For those that fear an all-velvet look, you can break things up with a silky top, a contrasting texture.

Jacket and pants: Zara

The ultimate jumpsuit

I always feel drawn to jumpsuits for some reason. The overall is an unexpected option when you need to look instantly put-together on casual days. It’s not only an easy to wear piece, but also one appropriate for special events. Choose a tailored and formal-esque jumpsuit — look for a balanced fit and avoid silhouettes that are too baggy. I love the idea of a monochrome jumpsuit that can flatter any body type. So I chose this burgundy piece and paired it with a statement necklace and a tailored coat with subtly metallic details.

Jumpsuit and coat: COS

Rise and shine

Metallic skirts can be the go-to perfect option once the holiday party season is in full swing. You can wear it during the day in the office and at a cocktail party after work. Simply by switching to stiletto and adding a furry or a snakeskin clutch, you can elevate the look. I love how the shine factor is mixed with other textures and unexpected combinations. A black top with little frills was the first thing popped into my head. It’s delicate and feminine. Plus, you can layer it with a cool leather jacket for an edgy twist.

Skirt and top: BP (Nordstrom)

Fairy tale story

A maxi tulle skirt is a great substitute for a traditional dress. The luxurious fabric creates a fairy tale look and will help you stand out in a crowd. There are so many options when it comes to tulle. For a full glam effect, you can pair the voluminous skirt with an embellished or sequins top. For a classy look, pair it with a basic blouse an a statement accessory. I paired the tulle here with a silk fabric with dotted mesh and lace details, and finished the look with red pumps.

Skirt and top: MassimoDutti

Trading Places: Leather Jackets and Floral Dresses

As much as I hate to say it, I shop at Zara and I wear all black. I’m basic. Nothing against Zara, I think it’s one of the trendiest places to shop without having to shell out all your savings. The all black may have stemmed from character- or just plain laziness. It doesn’t require much effort and it’s safe. When I pick something off the rack, there’s a guaranteed eye roll coming from whomever I went shopping with that day. I don’t have what they call a “summer wardrobe”.

My clothing choices are predictable and almost always funeral appropriate. Needless to say, it’s now a lifestyle. So when I was paired up with Adina, who comes into the office wearing floral prints and coloured blazers, I knew I was going to have to get out of my comfort zone. I had the peace of knowing it wouldn’t be too crazy with mixing prints and all that, but it would still be difficult. Who knows, I might take something from this. Baby steps people.

DAYTIME OUTFIT:

Adina: I don’t think I’ve ever worn a sheer top before, so this was a new adventure for me. I liked the floral detailing on it a lot, but sheer plus the camisole is not my usual cup of tea. That being said, I think I’d be open to trying sheer things now that I know I can kind of pull it off. The pants were pretty comfortable actually, and I would wear them everywhere. I could have slept in those pants. I wasn’t totally sure if I put the shoes on correctly, to be honest. They were cute but confusing and squished my toes a bit.

Helen: Ok. Because we shop at some of the same stores, I didn’t think our styles would be a total contrast. I knew Adina would put me in patterns and colour, both of which are foreign for me, but I thought I would be fine.  I was entirely wrong, and a little, (a lot) uncomfortable not being in head to toe black. Jeans and a button up top shouldn’t make someone feel this strange but as simple as it is, this was not an outfit I’d ever pick out myself. For one, I don’t own an actual pair of jeans. However, I might go pick up a pair now that I’ve been reintroduced. The top was really comfortable but I still don’t see myself standing at checkout with it. And the wretched yellow bag- sorry Adina but that was painful.

NIGHTTIME OUTFIT:

Adina: You can’t tell in the picture, but those were some seriously high heels. I felt like a baby giraffe trying to walk for the first time. The highest heels I own are not even two inches tall. They made the whole outfit feel pretty fancy, but I can’t imagine walking anywhere in those shoes. The dress was more low cut than I usually wear, but since it was loose it didn’t feel super exposing. The leather jacket was my favourite thing out of both outfits. It looked badass and gave this whole outfit a bit of spunkier edge.

Helen: I’m in a dress. I’m wearing pink flowers. I also think my hair got even bigger from being stressed out about all the colour. Ok, that might’ve been a tad dramatic. It’s just that the handful of dresses I own are all the same, a black number with clean lines. This was not that.  I feel like this ensemble makes me look younger, and honestly, I probably would’ve bought this whole outfit if I was past me, before I found myself. I also don’t usually wear denim but this jacket I didn’t mind. You can’t see it in this photo but there was also a dainty rose gold necklace that tied this whole look together, which I would totally wear outside of this little experiment

Final Thoughts:

Adina: I think the only time before this that I’ve ever worn so much black at once was to a funeral. I guess I’ve always thought of black as being boring or for those who are more on the punk or goth side than I. That being said, I was pleasantly surprised to find that both outfits had more personality than I expected and that all those black pieces look good together. Both outfits were also much fancier than I normally wear, but it’s opened me up to more fashion possibilities. I’m also gonna go back to Zara when it gets colder so I can buy that jacket.

Helen: Adina’s style is approachable and not too crazy so I didn’t think I would have a hard time leaving the all black uniform for a few minutes. But I still felt a bit self-conscious stepping out of the shadows with that lemon yellow shoulder bag (because people could def see me now). Other than that, I didn’t mind the denim and could probably do with some jean additions in my closet. That being said,  I’ll leave the girl-next-door look to Adina and stick to my Addams Family attire.

What’s In Store? End Of Season Transitional Sale Items

The excitement of end-of-season sales, especially for a shopaholic like me, may lead to unnecessary purchases. However, the temptation to buy dozens of trendy pieces, just because it’s related to two magic words, final markdowns or clearance sale, will ultimately make me end up with a closet full of unworn clothing, hanging there with the price tag still attached and a real guilty feeling.

Before going on a shopping spree, there are a few things you should be aware of. The most important thing is trying to focus on the items worth buying, like fashion pieces that you can still wear next season or basic garments that will never go out of style. One way to control an impulse buy is to ask yourself whether you would wear this piece more than once and if would you consider owning this item if it wasn’t on sale.

To help you approach sales in a smart way, here are five outfits I have tried, from the summer collection, that are worth the investment and will make the transition from summer to fall more smoothly:

Rock ‘n’ roll vibe: Zara

If there was ever a garment that can be worn all season long, while maintaining a cool vibe, I would definitely say it belongs to the rock ‘n’ roll tee and the leather jacket. They are both versatile pieces that look great with classy high waisted trousers, as well with a denim mini or skinny jeans. A leather jacket is a timeless piece for any wardrobe and it’s also an integral part of our fall wardrobe. To make a statement, you can wear it with red jeans, that infuse colour into your everyday wardrobe and can works for multiple occasions.

High quality pieces: Club Monaco

The best time to buy quality and value piece is during end-of-season sales, when the prices are affordable. It’s better to look for trans-seasonal pieces which you can wear now by itself or layer later, when fall arrives. Here is my pick from Club Monaco, a lightweight, 100% silk dress with a unique paisley pattern and a versatile day to night silhouette. You can pair it with flat sandals or sneakers for an effortlessly casual look, or wear it with high heels and a fancy clutch for an after hours look.

Back to basic: COS Store

Buying trendy pieces for half price at the end of a season is tempting, however investing on timeless minimalist pieces will be the smarter option. Try to focus on clothing that will last for a longer period of time and can take into the early days of fall. COS is the perfect place to find clean-lined classic pieces, that will always keep you looking sophisticated. I opted for relaxed fit trousers with pleated hems in green and paired it with a basic top.

Black and white with a little twist: Topshop

You can never go wrong with clean and modern black-and-white look, especially when it’s organized into patterns like checkered or stripes. Since black and white goes with everything, I paired the striped crop top and lace skirt with a furry pink sandals, which injected some fun vibes to the polished outfit. The fluffy material continues to be a big hit for fall 2017 and it also allows you to get in the mood for coziness, that resembles the fall days ahead.

Florals Forever: French Connection 

Floral print, especially tropical ones seem to always be attached to spring/summer collections. By adding cool neutrals, the print can be transferred easily from summer to fall. Additionally, floral print is no longer exclusive to the blooming season, so you can carry your favourite prints into the cooler weather. These statement skinny jeans are definitely suitable for a chilly climate. Simply wear it with a cozy sweater or with a cropped puffer jacket and finish the look with an ankle boots.

 

Trading Places – Crisscrossing Black and Yellow

After four years of Fashion School, I came out with two things: limited job prospects and a wardrobe consisting of black clothing. Depressing as it may seem on the surface, a black palate is both practical and flattering. And frankly, black goes with everything. Win-win, I always thought. Working at Novella, however, I was alarmed by my stylish colleague, Liat, whose brazen wardrobe appears effortless and playful — and terrifying when I envision it on myself.

For the past six years, my new year’s resolution was to methodically incorporate at least one item of colour into my wardrobe. I’d start off slowly by adding just a pop of colour in limited doses, so as not to overwhelm my psyche. So far I have veered into white and light grey — it has been a trying process. New year’s resolutions often become distant memories. Each morning, in a rush and with excuses, I end up wearing black and hoping texture will somehow spice things up. So obviously, the office took one look at me and decided that my funeral-like appearance required an upgrade. So for our second Trading Places article, Liat and I partnered up to revisit basics and wear outfits with colour — even yellow.

DAYTIME OUTFIT

Michelle: The average person simply cannot wear yellow and not look like Big Bird. But, for Liat’s sake, I really tried to like this top. I was pleasantly surprised to see how flounce sleeves could make the yellowness seem intentional and I liked how they added some texture and a playful vibe, which, to be honest, I don’t have. Next, I tried on the gingham trousers, which at first glance reminded me of a picnic table. I have to say though, that these pants were both soft and stretchy and on-point with this season’s trends. Incorporating some black made me feel like I could actually wear them. In general, my daily uniform includes black skinny jeans, and I noticed how much more mobility I had with these pants. I was fresh, youthful and a literal beam of sunlight. Unsurprisingly, I did end up buying the pants to wear with more black. The yellow will have to wait till 2018.

Liat: As a fashion blogger, my biggest fear is looking boring. And for that reason, the oversized sweater didn’t look appealing to me. My first thought was: This is not my cup of tea. But at the same time, I was curious to see how it will make me feel when I pull it off. As for the jeans, I was satisfied with what Michelle picked for me. I adore the fringe details on the buttom because of the uniqueness they add. The boyfriend fit along with the oversized sweater made me rethink my fancy style, especially when it comes to my busy unglamorous life as a busy mom. I love colours, prints, and feminine details like ruffles and lace, but for a casual weekend look, like a day with my kids at the park, I can never go wrong with such a comfy outfit.

NIGHTTIME OUTFIT

Michelle: I’m just going to start off by saying that I hate dresses because they require a certain femininity that I do not possess. Rompers or jumpsuits are just their awkward and unappealing half siblings because when you have to go to the bathroom, ain’t nobody got time for all that work! Needless to say, this romper was a challenge, both physically and emotionally. It was also a full-on floral print with a ribbon tie back, paired with a Supreme Deluxe pizza purse. There was a lot going on. My petite frame was fully submerged and drowning in colour, pattern, and print, and quickly moving through the five stages of grief. Initially, I was in denial thinking, “maybe this works.” I quickly moved to stage two and three, realizing that I had put both legs in one leg of the romper but bargaining with myself that no one would realize my error. I then became depressed, realizing that colour was not for me and finally accepting that only Liat would ever be able to look cool in this outfit. This outfit was way too far out of my comfort zone.

Liat: The black top featuring a built-in corset belt was extremely comfortable and it’s definitely something I see myself wearing with a colourful flowy skirt or high waisted pants. I love the idea that this corset is already attached to the shirt, which saved me the time of figuring out what to wear. Plus, it’s super trendy this season. Pairing it with black skinny jeans and oversized shirt makes it too casual for my fashionista soul, especially as an evening look, since I am the type of person who is always trying to mix things up and create an unexpected combination. Also I was afraid that that the button up shirt looked quite boyish. Even so, it’s not an outfit I’d normally pick for going out. But I must say it looks great together and I am willing to adopt it as a day look. I was really satisfied with what Michelle picked out for me and I think it’s also flattering to my body shape.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Michelle: Despite my pessimistic attitude toward all things colourful or peppy, I have to admit that I had a lot of fun with Liat and this exercise. It made me realize that society does not care what you wear as long as you own it. I learnt to be less anxious about colour and more willing to try something new, so next time I see colour on a rack, I will at least give it a shot. But, I am not sure if I’d ever wear yellow again, so don’t hold your breath.

Liat: As a fashion addict, I am always willing to go on a shopping spree. For me this experience was pure fun. I noticed how I am always looking for outfits that will let my individuality pop up, which leads to a closet that lacks basic pieces like plain t shirts or simple black jeans. I realized that I need to increase the causal department in my closet. It also made me realize that I have too many girly dresses, which I got just because I couldn’t leave them hanging in the store. At the end of the day, I bought the black corset top Michelle offered me because of it versatility.

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