Style

3 Essential Leather Goods From Madewell

Whenever I am in need of any type of leather good, Madewell is the first stop on my search. The three items we will be discussing in this post were acquired in a similar manner—rather impulsively.

Let’s begin with the chain crossbody bag. I’d been attending a particular holiday party once a year up until Covid. Selecting the dress and the shoes was easy enough, but my quest to find a clutch always proved difficult. My luck changed the year I discovered the chain crossbody bag. The gold-toned chain can be worn around the shoulder or tucked inside the bag. A hint of the chain—a detail too beautiful to hide—is left exposed at the top of the flap when it’s tucked. This bag has attended every holiday party since the year that I purchased it. It’s also been to the opera, the ballet, countless plays, Riverdance, and a wedding. The chain has come in handy when I’ve needed the use of both hands. My mobile, keys, and cards fit inside, and I never have to ask anyone to keep an eye on them while I’m on the dance floor.

The pouch was my second leather purchase from Madewell. It was August 2018, and I’d just gotten my first iPhone. I needed an everyday pouch that would accommodate it along with my keys and cards. I usually place this pouch inside of a larger bag, but it can easily be carried solo on a quick errand. The brass-colored zipper provides a pop of color.

I purchased the card case in December 2020 to accompany me on brisk walks. Oftentimes, I don’t like to carry a pouch or a large bag when I’m on a mission to get my steps. This case holds my identification card, credit card, and the public transport card of whatever city I’m in. It can also hold a key provided it’s not on a ring. I prefer to shop at Madewell in person rather than online. (I like to hear the click of my heels on the wooden floor.) All three of the aforementioned items were purchased at the Walnut Street location, which seems to always have something in stock to meet my urgent, bag-related needs.

Works Sighted

Madewell chain crossbody bag; Madewell card case; Madewell pouch

How to Steal a Million: Nicole Bonnet’s Wardrobe

Nicole Bonnet (Audrey Hepburn) is the stylish daughter of art forger Charles Bonnet (Hugh Griffith). She drives a little, red compact car and isn’t afraid of wearing all white or a boldly-lined eye. She and burglar Simon Dermott (Peter O’Toole) initially cross paths under rather impromptu circumstances in How to Steal a Million (1966). When they meet for the second time at the bar of the Ritz Paris, he orders a Scotch, and she follows suit.

Works Sighted

Givenchy dress; Akris dress; Gucci jacket; Gucci skirt; Stella McCartney dress; Ralph Lauren Collection dress

Cartier watch; Cartier earrings; Cuyana clutch; Cuyana clutch; Madewell belt; Prada sunglasses; Estée Lauder eye pencil; Estée Lauder mascara; Estée Lauder lipstick; Jimmy Choo slingback pumps; Jimmy Choo suede pumps; Rupert Sanderson pumps; Gingerlily silk robe; Cuyana silk slip dress

Catbird

As I stated in the previous post, August 2019 was a pivotal month in my journey as a jewelry enthusiast. It was then that I bought real gold for the first time. I’d purchased a few costume pieces in the past, but they weren’t sentimental or of lasting quality. I became an official customer at GLDN (which I’ve previously discussed) and the New York brand Catbird. The latter was started in 2004 by Rony Vardi, a determined woman who made her dreams come true. A CFDA article that was published in 2019 opens like this: At age 34 with $16,000 of savings and a desire to be her own boss, Rony Vardi launched Catbird.

The number of shops has grown from one to three since the company’s inception, but all of the jewelry from the brand’s own line is made in the Brooklyn studio on Bedford Avenue. Although other brands are represented on the website, I usually spend the most time looking at pieces made by the Catbird crafters. The gold is ethically sourced, the stones are conflict-free, and every piece is suitable for daily wear.

The collage above features items that appear in my personal collection and some that beckon to me from my wishlist. I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions, but I do believe in marking my successes with jewelry. May you look back at the end of 2021 in awe of how much you’ve accomplished. Don’t forget to reward yourself along the way.

Works Sighted

homespun ring; classic hammered ring; angel hair diamond studs

smallest love letter charm; adjustable sweet nothings chain

twisted stacker ring; tiny corsage bracelet; threadbare ring

GLDN

I started my jewelry collection in August 2019. Advancing age had finally compelled me to consider what heirloom-worthy items I was going to leave my future grandchildren. I hadn’t been a jewelry wearer prior to that noteworthy month, but I immediately took to a few pieces whilst browsing online. One of these was a necklace from a company called GLDN. Chrissy, the brand’s founder, started her business on Etsy in October 2012. The Etsy shop is still active, but I prefer to browse the impeccably-designed independent website. It wasn’t difficult to select my first piece from the handmade offerings.

My GLDN journey began with the Yue necklace. Since I didn’t know what length would flatter me or if I’d like the product, I ordered it in 14k gold fill with a disc void of personalization. When the package arrived, I opened the padded mailer to reveal a grey box. The dainty necklace inside had a brilliant glimmer, and I knew in an instant that I was meant to have the 14k solid gold version instead. After trying on the initial piece, I was able to determine the appropriate length for my neck. I also came to the conclusion that the necklace wouldn’t be complete without an engraved letter M. Returning the product to La Conner, Washington was simple, as was reordering the Yue necklace to my specifications. I also acquired the pleine lune necklace in 14k solid gold. Each necklace arrived with a special handwritten note from their makers, and I still admire them from time to time.

Dear Reader, I hope that you make 2021 special in your own way. May the year ahead shine brightly for you. Bonne année.

Works Sighted

GLDN Yue necklace

The L.L.Bean Boat and Tote

The L.L.Bean Boat and Tote was originally designed for hauling ice but is an ideal carrier for endless combinations of items: notebook/pen, towel/sunscreen, salad/apple/Perrier, package/shipping label/tape. It is a stylish sidekick for busy days. The sizes range from small to extra-large, which enables the buyer to select a style with dimensions that suit the task(s) to which it will be designated. The handle’s color and length are customizable, as is the color of the monogram. Oh yes, you must get it monogrammed. The only time I ordered a Boat and Tote without one was when I gave it to a friend and didn’t know if she would prefer her initials on the side. I’ve given this canvas bag as a gift on three occasions. The medium, open-top tote with short, navy handles is my go-to style in these instances. But it also comes in a zip-top version, which I’ve found useful. L.L.Bean will occasionally produce variants of the classic tote, but I don’t recommend that you explore them until after you’ve become acquainted with the original.

Works Sighted

L.L.Bean Boat and Tote (medium, short handles in navy, red monogram)

Parka Weather

It is impossible to enjoy the weather if you do not dress for it. When the temperature reaches a degree that warrants a parka, it makes sense to wear one. (Puffer coats are also permitted.) You feel and look uncomfortable when you are cold, and that is not becoming.

When I wear my parka, I feel like a caterpillar in a freshly-spun cocoon: cosy and good spirited. I refuse to use inclement weather as an excuse to stay in, unless the weather is actually inclement. In the Mid-Atlantic states (or at least in PHL) we generally like to use the threat of snow as an excuse to close schools and nonessential businesses. However, things may look different this season due to the Covid work-from-home/study-from-home policies currently in place. Taking a walk every day is vital to maintaining good health. If you work from home, it may be the only opportunity you have to be active beyond your commute to the opposite end of the hallway.

You don’t become exempt from your daily walk just because winter has set in. You weren’t exempt from your commute when you were going into the office. If you prefer moderate weather, don’t worry. All of the seasons take their turn. For now, bundle up in your insulated, water-resistant coat and get moving. Count your steps if that works for you. Let’s not go downhill this winter unless we’re on a sled, tube, snowboard, or skis. In fact, a Christmas walk sounds gratifying.

Merry Christmas to you dear Reader. May you find health and happiness in 2021.

Works Sighted

J.Crew parka (old); J.Crew Martie pant; L.L. Bean boots