I am always on the hunt for the perfect summer bag. I tend to look for classic pieces that will stand the test of time without being pigeon holed into a trend. Few things are as classic and timeless as the quintessential summer straw bag. Whether it’s wicker, sea grass or rattan the look is perfect for warmer weather. Straw bags can be found in many styles from cross bodies to totes and classic clutches. I love that they pair nicely with a pair of jeans or a linen shift.
Lord, knows I don’t need another bag, but it’s fun to look. Am I right? Here are a few cool summer straw bags I’ve uncovered and may actually have to treat myself to one or two. Each of these will last you from one summer to another. I have to admit my favorite is the Tory Burch clutch, most likely because I have one very similar from J.Crew.
Our story begins with Jackie Kennedy and a trip she took. She discovered a sandal and fell in love. She brought the sandal back to a cobbler in Palm Beach and asked him to recreate it. Well, it became a popular summer sandal among the Palm Beach elite including the princess of preppy beach style, Lilly Pulitzer, herself. Eventually, every preppy closet boasted a pair or two of Bonanno’s.
A short while later, another company based in Miami, Jack Rogers, started to mass produce a similar style shoe. Jack’s were, in fact, the original knock off’s, while Bonannos were the “go-to” brand. Bonanno’s were sold locally to those wintering in Palm Beach while Jack’s became readily available to those less fortunate to winter anywhere warm. Without Jack’s, the coveted Palm Beach Sandal sandal may not have enjoy such wide appeal. Both summer sandals have a cult following, with people loyal to one or the other and rarely do fans switch sides.
Interestingly, a few years ago Bonanno’s seemed to disappear from the radar. Things got crazy after their semiannual sale. Customers bought sandals from them and unfortunately never received their purchases. This event created quite a distrust of the brand leaving those faithful fans to take to the blogosphere, twitter and any other social commentary site they could to trash the company. No matter how many calls were made, no one managed to either be refunded their money or receive the sandals they purchased. It left a lot of loyal customers pissed off and scratching their heads trying to understand how a brand as iconic as Bonanno’s could screw over the customer.
As this was playing out, I spotted Jack Rogers on sale at RueLaLa and treated myself to my first pair of Jackie inspired summer foot wear. For a while, I kept an eye out for Bonnano’s and discovered the website had been taken down and there was no trace of this iconic brand anywhere. I always wondered what had happened, as so many the blogs I followed at the time were loyal to the brand.
I recently purchased a pair the iconic summer sandals made by the Palm Beach Sandal Company at DSW. Honestly, I thought I was buying a a cheap knock off of both Jack’s and Bonanno’s as it wasn’t a familiar brand to me. My fear of buying a knock off of a knock off sent me to Google to find the origin and backstory of this brand claiming to be the authentic Palm Beach Sandal. What I discovered was a bit sad to say the least. Bonanno’s were no more, gone was the sixty year old brand made famous by Jackie O.
There was a divorce and Steven Bonanno had to turn over the entire business to his ex-wife. Can you imagine having to give up the company your family built to your ex? Bizarre! As most divorces go there may have been quite a bit of animosity that led to the trashing of the Bonanno brand. This didn’t stop her. She apparently rebranded the company as Palm Beach Sandal Company. She set up a new website, did away with the custom sandal widget and started to sell to retail outlets.
Now that I have both brands, I am not sure I prefer one to the other. The differences are simple. Jacks are available at Nordstrom’s and Palm Beach Sandals are an online purchase only, unless you frequent Palm Beach. The soles of Jack’s are rubber, while Palm Beach uses a full leather sole. Jack’s uppers are painted leather while Palm Beach dies their uppers. Both brands have similar price points, making price a non-issue. Jack’s are made overseas, and Palm Beach Sandals are made in the USA.
Do you have a preference, if so, why? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Certain scents can bring back fond memories or burn new memories into our psyche. The smell of fresh cut grass evokes memories of summer time. The scent of salt wafting through the air may remind us of a trip to the shore, fresh pumpkin could leave us recalling a crisp autumn day or the clean smell of lavender may remind us of grandma’s garden. Scents are as much a part of our lives as colors and textures are. They appeal to our senses and create imagery for us. I think we can agree we all have a signature scent, either one we wear or one we favor.
Whether it’s floral, or musky, subtle or strong, a signature scent plays up our personality just a bit while evoking emotional ties. Most women wouldn’t dare leave the house with out a quick spritz of their signature scent. It sets our style and enhances our appeal.
Coco Chanel had her Chanel No.5, Audrey loved her Givenchy, and Kate gave us Twirl. Twirl is floral fun and flirty, while Chanel No.5 is a bit more dramatic in my opinion. Scents identify us to our friends and family a bit too. Walking by a woman wearing a fragrance a scent a dear friend may have worn can instantly take you back to a memory.
One would think picking a signature scent would be easy, but maybe it is more complicated than one thinks. There are 14, yes, 14 different categories of scent ranging from floral notes, to oriental notes, fresh notes to woodsy notes. Within each of these main categories are sub categories, such as soft florals, fruity florals, oriental florals, oriental woods, dry woods and citrus and water.
There is probably nothing more personal than picking a signature scent. We tend to be drawn to familiar scents within the families of scent. Some may favor the oriental undertones of Calvin Klein’s Obession, or be drawn to the fruity floral found in Clinque’s Happy Heart. Then there’s the woodsy amber scent of Burberry Body, offering a bit of sensuality.
Over time our choice my change too. I noticed living up north I was drawn to stronger scents like Ralph Lauren’s Safari and Lauren, but moving to a tropical locale, my preferences switched to lighter more floral scents like Kate Spade’s Twirl, or Ralph Lauren’s Romance. Both fit my low maintenance style and approach to life. I can’t say I actually have a signature scent. Each day I am inspired to spritz what ever suits my mood. It could be sporty, romantic or sensual.
I was chatting with friends last night and the topic of signature style came up. The conversation had me thinking about how to define signature style. Does it apply only to how one dresses or does one’s home decor play a role? Style itself is defined as a manner in which to do something, and a distinctive appearance. With that in mind, it’s safe to say a signature style is both how we dress and how we decorate. Which, if you think about it does ring true as we tend to decorate with our personal style in mind, don’t we. We will talk more on that later…..
Having a great signature style, to me, is being true to who you are. If you are one who follows the trends but adds your own twist to the latest fashion you are being true to yourself. If vintage or classic appeal to you, wear it well.
If asked to define my own signature style it would be difficult. There are times I love to dress up and others when a pair of jeans and t-shirt are just the thing. Casual sophistication could describe me quite well. I am inclined to dress up a pair of jeans with pearls, and cute loafers.
Or…. clean up nicely in a dress and heels. Truth be told, if I could dress up everyday I would. It’s just not practical.
There’s a song that says “you are never fully dressed without a smile”, well I am never fully dressed with out my pearls. No matter if I am wearing a fancy dress or a pair of shorts and a polo, without my pearl studs I feel naked.