April 29, 2010

Brahmin handbags.How do I love thee.

Mellie Flap Bag

Let me start off by saying that I am SO tardy for the party. Brahmin has been around for years (since 1982) and I'm just now discovering the beauty of their handbags. Simply put, they are the true definition of timeless style. My affinity with Brahmin not only stems from the fact that the handbags look WAY more expensive than what they cost but also the fact that the family-owned company aims to create high-quality yet completely functional handbags. Brahmin accomplishes this by teaming up with skilled craftsmen. That's right. Craftsmen, NOT machines.

The video below explains the history of Brahmin and provides an insider's view of the manufacturing and construction process. From the selection of the Italian leather to the stitching and attachment of hardware, it is evident that after 25+ years, the Brahmin family remains passionate about the brand and focused on delivering great quality to it customers.

With a price range of $200 - $400, these bags are aesthetically "rich" although they're priced far below that of most luxury brands.

Below are some of my favorites:

first row:
Jacqueline Tote
Amata Rose Flap Bag

second row:
Althea Zip Top Bag
Adora Satchel

third row:
Louise Rose Bag
Maddie Crossbody Bag

What designer do you know with THAT many fabulous bags in one collection?! To check out more, visit Brahmin.com. With so many styles and colors from which to choose, I must warn you that it will be a bit overwhelming. However, I honestly don't think you could go wrong with any one of them.

Be sure to let me know which ones are your favorites. I would love to see if our tastes are similar or completely different.


April 26, 2010

Fashion Fun at Dangerous Curves Ahead 2010

Tamika Martell of A-Line Style Services has done it again. The "Dangerous Curves Ahead" Charity Fashion Show and Women's Expo was a success! In its second year, this event was equally as fantastic as the last. The two major aspects of this event I truly loved? 1) It was an "All Sizes" runway show featuring designers of straight as well as plus sized clothing and 2) A portion of the proceeds were donated to the Primo Center to benefit homeless mothers and children.

Unfortunately, I missed my opportunity to peruse the 20+ vendors participating in the expo (I'm sure my wallet is grateful of that fact). However, I had a front row seat for the main event: the runway show. The show included several local designers, all of which had at least one item I wanted to get my paws on.

Here are some of my fashion favorites:

  • The wide leg trousers by Crescendo Apparel: I loved the casual chic look with the tank and lime beaded necklace.

  • The dresses by Chocolate Sushi Couture: The dresses with protruding hips were quite lovely. I really appreciated the headpieces used to accessorize each look.

  • The dresses by Think Pink Couture: Basket weaving, ruffle detailing and asymmetry were some of the highlights of this collection.

  • The skirts and dresses by Siobhan Apparel: The full skirt with the tulle underneath was fun and flirty. The peplum dress with the zipper detail was a crowd favorite. I would definitely consider adding it to my wardrobe.

  • EVERYTHING by Ra'mon Lawrence of Project Runway - Season 6: The standout pieces were the dresses and the trench coat. I would've bought that coat on the spot if I had the opportunity! High-quality fabrics, impeccable construction as well as the styling of the garments (ie: the dramatic choice of hairstyling) made this collection my favorite of the night.

The shoes, provided by Kham'ryn B, were perfect complements to the designs. There were two distinct pairs that included what appeared to be a diamond-shaped crystal wedged in between the heel and sole (one pair also had 3 crystals lined down the front of the shoe). The crowd went crazy over those and rightfully so. Those were some BAAAAD shoes!

I must say, I felt right at home surrounded by stylish Chicagoans and engulfed by the music selections of DJ Sean Alvarez. It was a fun time and I'm SO looking forward to next year!

**UPDATE #1**
It was announced at the show that all shoes were provided by Kham'ryn B. However, I was just informed that the shoes pictured above were not. I'm still awaiting confirmation on the designer. As soon as I receive the information, I will provide another update.

**UPDATE #2**
It has been confirmed that Ra'mon Lawrence designed the shoes pictured above. Now, I'm awaiting a price quote since they clearly belong in my closet. :-)

Labels: , , , ,

April 20, 2010

$1 Brian Atwood Platforms - The Story of a Shopaholic

Die-hard fashionistas are fully aware of the 1-year Anniversary Sale that ocurred at TheOutnet.com on April 16th. Every item included in the sale was priced at $1!!

A little background...

To participate in the sale, one had to RSVP by April 11th. No one was aware of what time the sale would start nor what items would be included. The only information disclosed was that an email would be sent as soon as the sale started and buyers had to be ready to login and make a purchase (only 1 item, of course) as quickly as possible to avoid missing out on the deal.

The story of a shopaholic...

I arrived home in the early morning of April 16th after attending a late night concert. I logged on to the computer to see if there was any news about the sale and learned that it had already started in the UK at 7am GMT. Some of the issues encountered by the UK consumers were lack of understanding on how to access the specific page for the $1 sale items, inability to logon to The Outnet's website for up to 3 hours and items being sold out by the time users were able to login.

I must say that this little bit of knowledge helped me out in the long run since I learned that one could only access the $1 sale items by using the link provided in the email and not by visiting the site directly.

Being that the UK sale started at 7am GMT, I set my alarm for 5:45am CST to give me enough time to wake up and be prepared with my finger on the trigger (or keyboard, if you will). As soon as the alarm went off, I received the email stating that the sale had started. This was MAJOR!! If I hadn't set my alarm for 5:45am, I know with 100% certainty I would've slept through the sale.

Half sleep and in a dark bedroom (I didn't want to waste time turning on the light), I grabbed my netbook (which was on the side of my bed already switched on) and accessed the sale. My original plan was to head straight to handbags but when I was unimpressed with the selection, I went to shoes and searched my size. Talk about pressing my luck. Lo and behold, there was a lovely pair of Brian Atwood Leopard Platforms staring at me. I clicked buy, grabbed my credit card and made the purchase all within a matter of 5 minutes!

Many US consumers experienced the same issues as the UK ones. Therefore, I know I am one of the lucky few...especially since none of it would've happened had I not coincidentally set my alarm clock for the exact time of the start of the sale.

I received the shoes yesterday and must say that they are simply gorgeous! I know that when I finally wear them, I will have an extra kick in my step knowing that I only spent $6 (including shipping) for a $665 pair of shoes.

I must say, my shopaholic tendencies really paid off this time. I still need some intervention though. :-)

So tell me, did anyone else score some great items from The Outnet's $1 sale? Did you stay up all night? Did you take shifts with your fellow shopaholic pals? Please share details and pictures, if you have them. I would love to hear YOUR shopaholic story!

Labels: ,

April 19, 2010

Art of Jewels Bangles = Wrist Bling

Bangles, especially enamel and crystal embellished ones, are the perfect way to accessorize an outfit. The versatility of blinged out bangles is proven by the fact that they work just as well with jeans and a tee as they do with a little black dress.

Art of Jewels, a small family-run business best known for its customizable jewelry, currently has a great selection of bangles. They are adorned with crystals, cabochons and handpainted enamel. What makes them even more appealing is the fact that majority are hinged (see below). We all know this means there is no need to worry about whether or not you can squeeze your hand through the opening. Just snap it on and you're ready to go!

Here are some of my personal favorites (price range $99 - $149) :

Now, what's better than pretty bangles? Pretty bangles on sale! Thanks to Art of Jewels, ChiTown Fashionista is offering a 20% discount on anything at ArtofJewels.com! Simply enter discount code NKAQ111 at checkout.

It's the perfect opportunity to purchase more than one for yourself (if you like stacking bangles like I do) or for someone else (Mother's Day is right around the corner *wink, wink*).

Happy bangle shopping, kiddies!

Labels: ,

April 14, 2010

Modern Vintage Chicago is Baaaaa-aaack!!

By now, my readers know that I'm a HUGE fan of the Randolph Street Market here in Chicago. What started off as a market only available once a month in the summer has expanded to nearly every month during the year!

This weekend Modern Vintage Chicago is back!! Sponsored by the creators of the Randolph Street Market, this event is going to be even bigger and better than the first (check out my post about the first one).

Coined as the "Spring Fashion and Jewels Explosion", please believe there will be a large, yet well-edited, selection of items to purchase. So be prepared to be tempted by at least one item from each booth...or maybe that's just me. :-)

Besides shopping, below are some additional event facts that will entice you:

* Caroline Ashleigh, from the Antique Road Show, will be onsite signing copies of her new book, Warman's Shoes Field Guide. This is perfect for shoe collectors!

* Nena Ivon, the Randolph Street Market's new Fashion Director, will host a shopping party and private reception on Saturday morning that will also include a fashion show which will utilize the balcony and staircase as a runway.

* Silver Moon will be onsite with custom designed wedding gowns as well as seamstresses who will be able to alter any purchases you make at the event.

If that's not enough, you will be able to sell your unwanted gold at the event. That's right! Get some money back and use that towards your purchases.

Be sure to make your way over to Modern Vintage Chicago this weekend! Purchase tickets online to save $2...that extra bit of money could go towards a purchase too, you know.

For more information and to purchase tickets, click the image above OR visit the Modern Vintage Chicago Facebook Event Page.

I hope to see you there. I'll be the one buying up every vintage brooch in the place!

Labels: ,

April 12, 2010

Stay Tuned...

Hello, my lovely readers! Just wanted to quickly post something to let you know that I have been on a bit of a blogging hiatus due to my hectic schedule. I'm in the midst of hosting/entertaining/shopping with a friend from London as well as planning a huge birthday bash for hubby!

Don't worry, I will have some product discounts, reviews and giveaways to make up for my absence. :-)

So, stay tuned...

April 9, 2010

Handbag Swoon - B. Makowsky Las Vegas Bags

Perfect for outdoor concerts and festivals.

Just. Perfect.

(top) B. Makowsky Las Vegas Cross-Body - $158
(bottom) B. Makowsky Las Vegas Large Hobo - $278


April 1, 2010

The Uniform Project Update - Get Your Hands on the Dress!

I can't believe that Sheena Matheiken's year-long mission, better known as The Uniform Project, will be coming to an end in May. What started off as a $10,000 fundraising initiative has now raised over $68,000! Since June 2009, I've followed her journey and provided updates of my favorite outfits along the way (check out my most recent post here).

For those unfamiliar with The Uniform Project, it is a year-long fundraiser that was created by Sheena to assist the Akanksha Foundation in funding uniforms and educational expenses for children residing in Indian slums. Her mission was to wear one dress for an entire year to showcase sustainable fashion. Through many accessories donations and her own great personal styling, Sheena has managed to achieve this goal and look fabulous while doing so! I continue to be amazed at the varying outfits she has created. Below are some of my favorite looks from the past 3 months.

Needless to say, when I received word that THE dress was now up for sale, I was elated! This unique dress was created by Eliza Starbuck and made from breathable cotton that makes it equally wearable in warm and cold weather. It has a button front (or back depending on how you choose to wear it) that also adds to its versatility. So, not only is it a dress, but it can also be worn as a jacket.

As of now, only 365 will be made (custom-order in sizes XS-XL). The number 365 was chosen because it allows buyers an opportunity to 'own' one of the days within the year of The Uniform Project. What comes with ownership? Well, your name and comment will appear under Sheena's photo on the site on the day you select, for as long as the internet exists. How cool is that?! Also, a portion of the purchase price will be donated to the Akanksha Foundation. So, this is your chance to donate to The Uniform Project as well as own a piece of it.

Visit theuniformproject.com to purchase the dress. It will be one of the most meaningful purchases you've ever made.

Labels: ,