Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

What are your plans for New Years Eve 2009? Every year since college, my friends and I spend less energy planning our night out for New Years, and try to involve the least amount of traveling, money, and hoopla. My first New Years as a New York City resident was quite exciting, but the $150 tickets we all bought to spend the night in a cramped 'hot spot' with weak drinks and loud music was much overrated. This year, my husband (who has to work tomorrow) and I are having some friends over for a little champagne and hor'dourves, followed by a late group dinner in the West Village.

Regardless of the venue, the most important part of the holiday for me is choosing the perfect outfit. It's the perfect excuse to pull out the sequins, the frills, and the oversized jewelery. Since the employment fairy has still not paid me a visit, I can't afford to to what I would usually resort to- buying a new top to pair with a pair if slim pants or a skirt. This year I'm forced to shop my closet, and though this inspired another purge, I managed to find a silk tiered racer-back blouse in cream and tan. It'll go nicely with a multi-strand necklace and the David Yurman bracelet Santa was nice enough to bring this year.

Another important decision when trekking out in the City on New Years Eve is appropriate footwear. Do not count on getting a cab no matter what time you're trying (flash back to my friend Megan and I walking home barefoot from West 19th street and 8th ave to my old apartment on 47th and 3rd ave several years back). Plan on walking great distances, or roughing it on the subway (which usually requires much walking as well, especially if you have friends like mine that seem to love the West Village). I like to go with a pair of low heel ankle boots that are a few season old, so I don't freak out when a pal pours her champagne on my feet, or when I misjudge the amount of momentum I need to hop up to the curb to avoid the puddle.

Have a stylish and fabulous New Years, whatever your plans!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Apple Pie

If you stop and think about fashion, like cuisine, the French and Italians come to mind first. Whether your mind goes to an haute couture gown by John Galliano for Christian Dior, or haute cuisine by Eric Ripert, the Europeans have seemingly cornered the market. But if you take a trip down memory lane to the 1980's (when I was wearing rompers and onesies) American designers really set the stage to take over a seemingly undiscovered part of the fashion market: sportswear.

One can hardly think of American fashion without conjuring up images of Ralph Lauren's ads, complete with American flags, horses, and women donning velvet trousers in cornfields. And what would 20-somethings wear if not for sportswear? This year, in the last few days before Christmas, I can't help but stare under our mini tree at the iconic navy Ralph Lauren gift box with green watch plaid bow peeking out at me. I've picked it up for weight, gently shaken it for sounds of cashmere, but I can't figure out what jewel lies beneath the preppy exterior. My closet is mostly a mix of what makes American sportswear the world staple that it is- denim, boots, pencil skirts, fine wool, cashmere, blazers galore, and touches of leather and exotic skins in the form of belts and shoes. Anything from Ralph would be a welcome addition. Michael Kors and his campaign of cruise-worthy advertising is also irresistible when dreaming of Americana. A killer wool sheath with sky-high stilettos, tortoise bracelets, and printed scarf, and you've got the Kors woman in the flesh. I think Ralph dressed me head to toe in college, and perhaps Michael has been lending a hand in the days that followed.

American sportswear has left an indelible mark on the fashion world. Just as Tom Colicchio has reconceptualized new American cuisine with his assortment of Craft restaurants, American designers have been re-carving the fashion landscape since the 80's and show no signs of slowing down for SS10.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Mid-Week Shopping Spree

Since one week from today I have a 3rd round interview for a job I really really want, I have already started putting together possible outfit choices. In my quest for the perfect mix of modernity, style, edge and prep, I realize that one major piece is missing from my wardrobe-the perfect black pump. I'm as surprised as you are to hear there is actually something lacking in my closet, and I don't know how I missed such an essential staple.

The wish list pumps would require Santa's help. These iconic Louboutins are pretty much perfect. Regardless of the abundant impostors painting their soles red, there is no mistaking the trademarked Louboutin. Also a fine choice for the quintessential dress pump are these Manolos. I think owning your first pair of Blahniks is a rite of passage for a New York City gal.

The more attainable choices are still delicious. These Weitzmans have a slight platform, which in addition to being uber modern, makes them slightly more comfortable for walking. (My wedding shoes from Weitzman were very foot-friendly, even after 7 hours of walking, dancing, and very little champagne to numb the senses.) I'd also be thrilled with a pair of these Cole Haan heels, with Nike Air for supreme wearability, and a little patent detail for interest.

Since this purchase needs to be made in order to actually land the job, it will likely require a price tag south of $150. Not to fear, some scrumptious shoes hover in the of $100 range. I always like Steve Madden's more classic Steven line for mid-market selections. This pair of pumps has a more moderate heel, and slightly elongated toe for a slimming affect. Nine West is also a good go-to for affordable heels, like these, which are similar to the Cole Haan style (but not in a copy-cat way). Always have the basics in your wardrobe!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Celebrity Buisness

I may be one of the few (or many?) who dislikes the celebrity culture. It was Anna Wintour who, back in the 90's, dreamt up the idea to replace fashion cover models with celebrities as the face of Vogue. Of course all other magazines followed suit, and thus ushered in the age of the ubiquitous celebrity. You can hardly walk down the street today without spotting an of-the-moment star plastered across newsstands, vouching for the latest herbal energy drink, or announcing a new clothing line.

Where exactly is the line between film actor and omnipresent, pervasive social phenomenon? In the past decade, whatever once existed in the way of boundary seems to have evaporated. It appears that anyone of celebrity rank can become a fashion designer, and the title of 'style icon' is handed out like candy (not to mention it is in most cases the stylist behind the star who actually deserves the credit). A perfect example of the disastrous consequence of handing designer reins to an unqualified celebrity idol is Ungaro's heinous collection, created by Lindsay Lohan in October of this year. I can't remember the last time a fashion house received such overwhelmingly abominable press.

There are a few exceptions to my utter distaste for celebrities posing as designers. The Olsen twins have 2 lines, and I find Elizabeth and James to be exceptionally well executed, inspiring, and even wearable. Veteran stores such as Bloomingdales and Intermix offer a fairly large selection of items such as blazers, party dresses, and the boho chic pieces known as the twins signature look. The actress/model team of Milla Jovovich and Carmen Hawk have a sweet line called Jovovich-Hawk. I haven't seen anything for spring 2010 yet, but assuming its as romantic yet LA-edgy as their last 3 lines, I'll be a fan. In the meantime, I'll try not to trip and fall over the next celebrity disaster a I make my way around the City.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

After smacking my head against the door frame of my tiny apartment earlier today, as I ran from the kitchen to the coffee table (in an attempt to answer my phone before I missed a call from a potential employer) I haven't gotten off the couch or been able to focus my eyes until now. I'll leave you with a simple yet telling quote from Christian Dior, circa 1954:

"I hate detail. I love accents or little touches but they must always be important--not insignificant. The small detail is something very cheap and not elegant at all. Although detail has another meaning--you must be elegant in every detail of your dress from head to toe. Then detail is important."

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Legally Speaking

Today, a post on law, since it's my lawyer Husband's birthday (happy 28th!) January's Harper's Bazaar breaks the usual monotony of winter fashion magazine issues. In addition to bountiful photos from London's fashion week, there is an update on the ongoing fight against counterfeiting, which Harper's valiantly supports.

But how far is too far in the fight? New methods to counteract fakes include the attachment of 'microscopic nanoparticles' and 'genetic material' which will form a unique signature (akin to DNA for purses). Don't ask me the logistics of this new tactic, but I watch enough Law and Order and CSI to know that's some heavy duty science, probably better suited for murder than fashion. The type of enforcement I can get behind is the increase in 3rd party civil suits (suing those who enable counterfeiting, as in real estate lessors, material vendors, etc). I mean, if it were up to me I'd start making citizen arrests of the misguided folks toting putrid impostor bags around town, thinking they were fooling anyone besides themselves.

A lot of fashion critics (as in those who are critical of the fashion industry, not those who critique constructively) feel the anti-counterfeit movement is fueled solely by a group of upper class prunes who are more concerned with chilling the less wealthy from infiltrating the force-fields around their social cast than they are with terminating child labor and terrorism. Some stifling stats might dissuade them. IP theft is a $600 billion a year global industry, costing legitimate U.S. businesses $250 billion annually, and costing 750,000 American jobs each year, according to the report in Harper's. And it can be not only dangerous for your style to be caught with a fake, but a threat to your health as well (reports after raids include finding bacteria and other noxious ingredients in bottles of fake perfume, such as urine. Ew.)

Though there may be some clout to the argument that many fear the lower class appearing as if they are members of the designer bag club when they in fact are not, I can't believe an entire movement is founded on such arrogant (and haughty) grounds. The true motive behind the anti-counterfeit front is probably a hybrid of self interest, elitism, and global well being. But regardless of one's intentions, IP theft is a federal crime, a crime against fashion, and a venture in self-degradation. Stay away from the fake.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Mid-Week Shopping Spree

One of the best things about winter is the opportunity to wear opaque tights (that's right, tights, not leggings). It's a throw back to elementary school in a way, reminiscent of those poly-blend pairs your mom would coordinate to match your wooly sweaters and plaid skirts. But modern opaque tights are anything but juvenile, and add a fun twist to any ensemble from work days to party nights.

Like all things, even tights come with a range of wish-list to easy to obtain price tags. These by Wolford are probably at the high end of the wish-list, at $52. They come in more subtle hues and are a nice way to ease yourself into a pair of colored tights. Everyone either owns or has worn a Spanx on at least one occasion in their lives (my friend's D.C. wedding in fall 2006 when I had gained 10 pounds in my first semester of law school). The brand has really unique tights in all sorts of patterns, with that famous girdle-like suction at the waist.

For middle market luxury, Hue offers saturated and semi-sheer shades for prices in the mid $20's. The brand famous for barely there underwear, Commando, offers opaque tights that will last through many washings and wearings, and remain inconspicuous under fitted frocks.

An array of very affordable tights are offered in a variety of bright colors and interesting textures. I love Ann Taylor Loft's tights in charcoal gray, paired with black pencil skirts to lighten the overall look and keep something as professional as a pencil skirt young. Also try a ribbed or diamond pattern pair with a basic dress or skirt (they are currently offered 2 pairs for $20 in store). Hanes presently has a sale on their already cheaply priced tights, making them an irresistible $7.99. I am planning to stock up on a few pairs for Christmas Eve with the in-laws and New Years Eve at my friend's new house.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Dossier of the Day

The classic plaid-lined trench is perhaps the most recognizable statement of London's ubiquitous fashion culture. The reins of Burberry could not find better hands than those of creative director Christopher Bailey. He has taken the over 150 year old house to new heights, soaring beyond iconic outerwear to create a brand that is sure to weather the economy, fickle critics, and fleeting trends.

My very first experience with the Brit brand was about 15 years ago, when my dad took me shopping for a 7th grade report card present (a Long Island phenomena). We ended up at the Americana in Manhasset, minutes from my private school, and before I knew it, I was in love with a small leather tote with the classic plaid skin and brown top handle. It was just large enough to fit my lip gloss and a pocket mirror, which was all I carried anywhere in 1995. Since then I've amassed a collection of scarves, coats, hats and belts, and with the exception of one t-shirt I caved in and spent $110 on several years ago when I had a job, no actual clothes. Too bad that now, all I want from Burberry is the clothing!

Founded in 1856 by Thomas Burberry, who invented gabardine (a water resistant fabric) and had it patented in 1888, the brand produced mainly outerwear, and the iconic trench was the result of a commission by the War Office in 1914 to make officer's attire more suitable (the now trademarked plaid lining came in 1920). Since its conception, the check (originally the Haymarkert check) gave birth to the Novacheck (which adorns my many accessories) and in 2006, Bailey introduced the Housecheck, an even larger more modern cousin to the archetype.

Bailey closed London Fashion Week with modern updates on the classic Burberry stalwarts. The trench silhouette appeared in dresses and separates, and the nude khaki hue that is universally flattering (and everywhere for spring/summer 2010) was rampant. Bailey was named designer of the year by the British Fashion Council last week, and Burberry was named the brand of the year. My closet could definitely use an infusion of khaki accented with Housecheck for spring.....

Friday, December 11, 2009

Trials and Tribulations

Interviewing is like dating, and I am good at neither (regardless of what my Husband might say). The process for both ventures is the same- grueling, brimming with vulnerability, and often seeping with desperation.

Step 1: getting dressed to impress. You must get inside the head of someone else, and anticipate their likes and dislikes. You will probably try on at least 4-6 outfits, and summarily dismiss each before you finally land on the perfect mix of personal style, seriousness, and a touch of individuality.

Step 2: trying to get picked as 'the one'. You will try for the entire length of the rendezvous to be witty (which is exhausting). You will smile, not too much to appear like an add for BriteSmile, but just enough to show you are affable, approachable, and all around pleasant company. In the face of inquisitive questions on a range of topics (Where are you from? What are your passions? What are your flaws? How would your best friend describe you? How might your worst enemy depict you?) you'll try to strike a balance of honesty, openness, and mystery to create a sense of consternation that will keep them wanting more.

Step 3: waiting. Though the meeting may take place on Tuesday of one week, you know better than to start expectantly checking your email and phone until at least that Friday. By the following Tuesday, still with no correspondence, you will begin frantically toting your Blackberry with you everywhere you go (bathroom, gym, lunch with mom). After 2 full weeks of nothing, you will declare to friends and family that you've given up and are 'so over it', but secretly you will still furtively check for any sign of communication. After about a month, you will admit defeat to yourself, and dejectedly drag yourself to your computer to scour the sales at J.Crew, or Facebook for any status updates that might take your mind off rejection for a while.

Rough business!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Please Don't Launch Their Line

I'm not sure that anyone besides me has even seen an episode of Bravo's newest fashion competition show, Launch My Line, Wednesdays at 11pm (unemployment leaves me ample free time for all sorts of wasteful frolics). But if you haven't, consider yourself lucky. Though I was initially curious, and even perhaps a little delighted at the thought of watching hosts Dean and Dan Caten (the brother duo behind chic fashion line Dsquared2), my anticipation was misguided. After 2 weeks and 2 episodes, I think I've thrown in the towel.

The backdrop of the show is a bunch of people who love fashion (choreographer, journalist, music executive), but who have never touched a needle and thread in their lives, team up with design 'experts' and work to create a clothing line. The ultimate prize includes editorial coverage in Lucky, and selling their line on Rue La (which I had never heard of before the show). Each week, they create a new piece for the line, and one unlucky fashion neophyte is voted off the island by a panel of admittedly talented judges (perhaps looking to make ends meet in this bitterly chilly economy by agreeing to appear on the show).

This show is another example of why the fashion industry can sometimes get a bad rap. Showing America that anyone who loves style and clothing can be a 'designer' is simply bad business. (I love fashion and all things shiny, but do not profess to be a 'designer' waiting for my big break. I can write a legal brief better than I can create a bias draped cocktail dress.) There are copious numbers of people worldwide who can create beautiful, inspirational pieces but don't have the financial means to bring their skill to fruition. Throwing money, spotlight, and a pair of veteran sewing hands at the situation does not a designer make. One particularly nauseating scene included a wanna be designer complaining in the face of criticism, "What do you want from me? I've never done this before!" My point exactly. Step away from the mannequin.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Affordable Luxury

Nothing makes me happier than news that a high-end designer is rolling out an affordable line (except maybe news that I was getting a quilted Chanel bag for Christmas). For the ultimate high punch without the usual high pinch, several designers have collaborated with mainstream mega-stores like Target (please don't pronounce it 'Tar-jay') and Swedish giant H&M. Former success stories have hit record sales and sold out in mere hours. A few of my past favorites include Erin Fetherston for Target in 2007, Commes des Garcons also for Target in 2008, and Matthew Williamson (formerly of Pucci) this past summer at H&M.

I've always been a fan of Temperley London, and now Alice Temperley will be introducing a pocket friendly line called 'Alice' that will be available at The line will feature pieces in the $150-$350 range, chocked full of menswear stripes, edgy accents and feminine details (for a preview, see page 44 of Marie Claire's January issue). H&M debuted a fanciful collection of lingerie by Sonia Rykiel this past weekend, and though I'm not in need of anymore lingerie after my bridal shower this summer, I couldn't help sneaking a look on a precious break from CLE training in Times Square. The rain didn't hamper the enthusiasm, and the crowds were maddeningly thick. In February the chain will feature a knitwear line by the designer.

Some high to low collections to anticipate include feisty California sister duo Rodarte which will be available at Target from December 20th through January 24th, and Zac Posen's Target line beginning April 25th. (I'm also excited about Zac's new lower priced line, Z Spoke, with prices south of $100, available at Saks this spring. Hopefully I will have found a job by then, because either way, I'm buying some Zac!)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Little Light Afternoon Reading

While you munch away on your carrot sticks and other healthy lunchtime snacks, here are some interesting articles from around the web on fashion, fakes, and lawsuits:

NY Magazine Trends (the comments are right on target, thank you Christine!)

Article on Piracy

Coach Lawsuit

Mid-Week Shopping Spree

This season, wrists are getting a lot of attention. My favorite adornment is a substantial, statement cuff. You can add one over a long sleeve top, or to a bare forearm poking out from underneath an elbow length sweater. When choosing a cuff, think of it as its own outfit, as you will need no other accessories to complete the look.

On my wish-list are a few stunners that are priced north of my budget for
most things. This classic David Yurman cuff is sleek and simple, with his trademarked twisted cable design enlarged for effect. Elizabeth and James (the Olsen Twins' line launched in 2007) has this really chic silver leaf cuff at Bloomingdales, and I couldn't resist trying it on during a recent trip uptown. I'm always a fan of Swarovski (they made many of the crystals that adorned the belt on my wedding dress) and this smoky quartz cuff is no exception.

Some really unique cuffs priced in the $100-$200 range look even more expensive. This abstract gold-plated item and this pearl, moonstone, and peridot cuff, both from Anthropologie, are another shining example of why I love the store for finds that are seemingly one of kind, without absurd prices. I could see either cuff over a plain white long sleeve t-shirt with jeans and heels. Delicate Raymond is a great source I stumbled upon last year for vintage and Native American inspired pieces. This monogrammed bracelet is more delicate than a cuff, but just as statement worthy.

If you want one of the season's must-haves without breaking out the plastic, these leather wrap bracelets are really cute, and have a little biker-chic appeal that, if added to a sweet ruffled dress, create a nice balance. This Banana Republic embellished cuff is south of $50 and will dress up any party outfit. As a much cheaper alternative to the Elizabeth and James cuff I swoon over, Urban Outfitters has this cute silver number. For additional affordable choices, visit the holiday shops at Bryant Park and check out Friction Jewelery, located on the 6th avenue side of the park. Each year I return for gifts for friends, and an irresistible piece for myself as well of course.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Dropping the Bar

The weekend hardly seemed to have existed, as I withered away in 18 hours of continuing legal education (CLE) lectures, hosted at the same center where I took my bar exam prep course. (Passing the bar is only one of several hurdles to maintaining that sacred law license.) My insides felt like crushed tomatoes as I entered the classroom and flashed back to my summer and the endless sample questions, monotonous lectures, and anxiety ridden existence of a law school grad who must surmount the bar exam. But the mood was unmistakably lighter as I found a seat next to a few friendly faces, since we were all there because we had in fact successfully tackled the bar.

Granted it was the weekend, and registration began at the unholy hour of 8:30 am, but I was still astounded to see the vast array of fashion follies littered throughout the room of new professionals. Given that the lecturers were veteran lawyers in all areas of practice from around the country, one might consider looking as if they made it to the shower, and turned on a light when dressing to ensure that they didn't grab their sorority t-shirt instead of a fitted sweater. Aside from the many neophytes dressed as if they were headed to the college dining hall after a big night out, there were some that actually made an effort to get dressed, which I appreciated, though it was terribly misguided.

One woman I couldn't stop staring at appeared to be in her early 30's, and a size 12 (though I am admittedly bad at guessing sizes). She had a tight, short, denim mini skirt with a flowing, sheer, teal top that could have been from Contempo Casual (where Alicia Silverstone as Cher in the 90's hit Clueless shopped), paired with black, leather, military issued mid-calf boots, which made her legs look like ham hocks. I'm not sure which element of the ensemble was most mystifying, but the overall effect was one part befuddlement, one part putrid. Another young man about my age, who chose to sit front and center, sported obvious bed head (and not in the chic way Nate Archibald does it), a dandruff flaked, black, ripped long sleeve t-shirt, and a down coat circa 1995 complete with white flecks of feathers escaping from the seams. Hopefully he wasn't seeking employment guidance from any of the guest speakers.

On a brighter note, my friend Liz was perfectly dressed for the occasion, in a cream sweater, slim pants, boots, and topped off with her new Chanel bag (a law school graduation gift). Though she already has a job, I'd hire her even if she wasn't my friend.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Finale at the Tents

Once the holiday season has been packed away in storage bins and dreadful acrylic turtlenecks have been exchanged for oodles of sale cashmere, there will still be something to look forward to. Fall Fashion week will be upon us before you can say 'pass me my parka'. Sadly, as most of you know, the Fall 2010 fashion shows will be the very last at the famous Bryant Park tents. February 11th through the 18th promises to bring a smashing display of artistic creation on as large a scale as the economy can balance. Expect masculine knits, killer heels, volume, and punches of color, crazy hair and over the top makeup.

Future fashion weeks will trek across town to Damrosch Park in Lincoln Center. (Since my own law school graduation was held at Lincoln Center, I know it is a fabulous venue.) If you have always dreamed of attending fashion week inside the tents at Bryant Park, but, like me, are not quite fabulous enough to score an invitation, you can roll the dice and register for the event as of December 7th. I plan to throw $65 at the situation and register as an industry individual (I will have my full law license next month, so how does 'Christina V. Esq, fashion blogger and legal freelancer' sound?) Once the registration is complete, designers receive a copy, and from that list they send their invitations. Though they will likely stick to big name buyers and PR reps, perhaps they'll see my little name and send an invite my way. If not, its a small price to pay to gamble! I'll be at my computer screen December 7th with crossed fingers and my credit card handy.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Legally Speaking

With trade dress suits springing up like May flowers, which seems to be the most promising way for designers to protect their recognizable creations, it feels like a good time for some legal speak. Some people may not know that currently, a bill sits with Congress that would extend copyright (different from trademark law, of which trade dress is a subset) to the fashion industry. The bill is H.R. 2196, The Design Piracy Prohibition Act (for you law nerds like me, here is the text of the bill as introduced before Congress.) As of June 12, 2009, the Bill was referred to the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security where it currently remains.

In a nutshell, the bill would create a species of copyright law applicable to the fashion industry. The protection would require designers to register their original designs within 6 months of introduction to the public (what constitutes 'introduction to the public’ promises to spur its own series of litigation) and limits protection to 3 years from date of registration.

While this would protect designers from having their creations copied and the resulting loss of sales or brand integrity, it also risks having an anti-competitive effect. Copyright law in its conception was designed to promote innovation by offering incentives to those who create. It could be argued that protecting designs under this bill will hinder the free competition in the industry, in terms of resources and price. Some critics of the bill argue that, since the fashion industry is thriving (aside from the economic tsunami currently ravaging the business), there is no need to raise protective force fields around creative designs. I think the limited 3 year scope of protection will not seriously encumber any competition, as might be the case if the time period was as long as that of regular copyright (which is currently the life of the author plus 70 years, after the Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998 was passed). I'm all for knocking off copy cats with the same force that they knock off originals. What comes of this bill is matter of being patient (just like trying to find a job!)

Happy birthday Mom! You don't look a day of 35 (thanks in part to my style mentoring).

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Mid-Week Shopping Spree

Today's coveted must-have: the clutch. Though they have been on the scene for decades (my mom has a raffia envelope style from the 70's that I am always trying to borrow) clutches have made an enormous entrance for themselves this season. Their small size enables them to be bling-adorned without creating a costume effect, while still allowing you to stylishly stash a night's worth of essentials.

The wish list contains several buttery soft leathers clutches that I would gladly (and necessarily) forgo multiple meals to obtain. This Gucci bag is reminiscent of the Studio 54 era, and would brighten any ensemble. I am drawn to a small bag with some kind of vibrancy to it, like this Jimmy Choo magenta number which would certainly pair with most evening looks not containing red. Even on Bluefly, this LAI python clutch must sit on the wish list and be admired from afar.

For day to night, I love this Botkier ruffle clutch, whose price tag wouldn't hurt the wallet too deeply. Always a fan of Marc Jacobs and his more affordable Marc line, his handbags are no exception. This bright cobalt messenger bag can be converted into a clutch so it serves as 2 different bags. It has a distinct 80's vibe which I usually avoid at all costs, but paired with a modern ensemble, it could work. For a little taste of vintage, this Anthropologie clutch adds sweetness to an otherwise edgy party look. Speaking of vintage, everyone is by now aware of my indelible affection for the 1920's. This J.Crew Marabou bag takes me back to flapper dresses and fedoras.

If you are opting to shop for this season's parties from your own closet, this sequin box purse that converts into a strapless clutch will spice up any frock and leave you ample funds for New York City cocktail prices. For a little more, this J.Crew distressed metallic number is just rugged enough to escape being branded as prom-wear and land itself on the list. Complete with removable wrist strap, this Steve Madden ruffled clutch will be easy to hold on to once the 80's dance tunes begin blaring (plus Zappos always offers free standard shipping). Good things come in small sizes!