Welcome to Style A to Z
What’s in your bag?
Pocketbook. Pair of glasses. Pack of gum.
A not-so-hidden message?
For today’s woman, the bag is the new business card.
Just as an embossed logo on rich, thick cardstock suggests that you are a businessperson who pays attention to quality and details, a business card printed on a sheet of looseleaf paper at home conveys the opposite.
The handbag is a lady’s new way of letting other people know who they are dealing with whenever she walks into a room. It says a lot about you. And whether you are a label-conscious person or not, it’s the style of your bag, the cut of your bag, the quality of your bag — and even the color — that describes who you are.
Obviously, the quintessential bag for the quintessential lady is the Kelly bag by Hermes — so-called because of its affiliation with actress Grace Kelly, who epitomized elegance as the princess of Monaco. Keeping it in the Hermes family, the coveted Birkin bag (pictured above) was designed for English actress Jane Birkin. While this bag is designed to hold more, it remains structured, and if there is such a thing, this bag would be it. Despite its price — upward of $60,000 in some cases — the Birkin bag is infamously in high-demand, with a subculture devoted to tracking down the seemingly mythical status symbols. A recent study even found that Birkin bags have increased in value 14.2 percent a year — making them a better investment than gold.
About those labels, ladies. Whether you chose to show them off also speaks volumes about you. Discerning women don’t need to read the label to spot a designer handbag, making the more subtle approach an understated assertion of power.
But labels aren’t the only message your handbag is sending. Carrying a Stella McCartney as you walk down a New York City sidewalk? Chances are you are vegan, or at least sensitive to not wearing animal skin, because the designer only manufactures items with vegan leather.
How bold are you? Do you venture away from the blacks and beiges, opting for a power red or pop of green? Walk into a meeting with a green Birkin, and what does that say? Fashion-forward minds are no doubt sent racing. How many Birkins does she have? If she’s got the green, she must have the earthtones covered. I wonder if she has a red one?
Style, shape and how you carry your bag also conveys personality. Is your handbag structured? Does it slouch? Do you sling it over your shoulder or carry it on your wrist?
So shoppers, remember: Every time you purchase a new handbag, you’re adding a line to your appearance resumé. You are setting your stage for who you are and where you’re going. You’re telling others who they are dealing with, and if that’s important to you, then you need to pay attention.
Just like you wouldn’t hand someone a flimsy business card, don’t send someone the wrong message with the handbag you’re carrying.
Originating in India 5,000+ years ago, yoga emerged as a way to prepare the body for lengthy meditation. Here, in Western culture, we often think of yoga as a form of exercise…and it is; however, utilizing yoga therapeutically allows practitioners to address certain health conditions and regain the mind-body connection that we tend to lose as we run on the “hamster wheel” of daily life.
Many clients have contacted me with the desire of regaining mobility and working with their special conditions and limitations. Together, we discuss their goals and evaluate how they move, where dysfunction in the body is occurring and use yoga poses to address these concerns and help heal the body.
When a client comes to me, I use restorative and therapeutic techniques that I have learned from my teachers, including Leeann Carey of Yapana Yoga, Brian Legere of YogaWall® and Christopher Harrison of AntiGravity® Fitness to address their specific needs. We can use props like the bolster, blanket, strap, block and chair to support the body bringing stretch as well as release. The Great YogaWall ® allow us to provide strength and stretch through the application of traction. AntiGravity® techniques give us the ability to move freely through all planes of space while giving us the accessibility of a zero compression inversion to relieve stress and compression on the spine.
Together, we work in the studio privately to address the client’s needs; however, I also give the client suggestions that they can do at home between appointments allowing for them to feel relief in between sessions as well.
Some benefits that my therapeutic yoga clients have described include:
- Decreased pain
- Improvement of physical limitations
- Improve flexibility
- Reduced stress & anxiety
- Improved sleep
- A greater sense of wellbeing
- Improved posture
- Better overall quality of life
The relationship between the client and yoga teacher is one that is built on trust and respect and the mutual desire for improved health and wellness. For me, using yoga as a complimentary aspect to enhance someone’s life is a gift. Being able to watch someone improve their mobility, regain confidence and feel better is a pleasure and privilege that I am grateful for each day.
Lisa Muehlenbein, E-RYT 500
To live or sleep like a Viennese
To live or sleep like a Viennese Hapsburg in modern times has become somewhat realistic thanks to some luxury hotel chains in Vienna, Austria. The Hapsburg Dynasty is known for it’s opulent and luxurious architecture all over Europe. Along with the architecture came the craving for the arts and music to fill their masterpieces thus creating one of the most important royal houses of Europe…in life and in death.
As the wife of an Austrian Diplomate
As the wife of an Austrian Diplomate, I have become to love the Austrian culture and Vienna rates as my #1 must see places in the world. With cooler weather, wine harvest season and Halloween around the corner I thought I would highlight some of the “not so obvious” things to do while in Vienna, Austria during the fall!
Let’s start with your hotel stay. Whether you book the presidential suite or just take a stroll thru their grand lobbies…these hotels should certainly be on your tour schedule in between the museums, concerts and coffee shops!
September is the time of the year for wine harvesting. There are many festivals and a perfect time to head into the neighboring hills of Grinzing and Klosterneuburg where you can sip Sturm, Zweigelt and Blauburger while enjoying a beautiful view of the city and the Danube. Wondering what Sturm is? It is a semi-fermented grape juice from the first grape harvest of the season. It’s low in alcohol and marks the official start of autumn!
With Halloween around the corner what better way to spend October than visiting the final resting place for the members of the Habsburg Empire known as The Imperial Crypt (German: Kaisergruft). It is located beneath the Capuchin Church and monastery, which is located on Neuer Markt square (Inner Stadt), near the Hofburg Palace. The bones of 145 Habsburg royalty, plus urns containing the hearts or cremated remains of four others, are here, including 12 emperors and 18 empresses. The metal caskets or sarcophagi styles range from simple to the über exuberant rococo.
Last but not least one must take a stroll or a horse drawn ride thru the Vienna Central Cemetery (Central Freidhof). It is so large that it hardly seems possible to be able to discover all of its intricacies and renowned burial sites. Be sure allow time for this must see spot. Fall is perfect when the temps start to chill the air. Austria’s most famous artist and musicians are buried here.
I hope you have enjoyed just a small sampling of what awaits you in Vienna, Austria. Sleep like a royal…
St. Barths known for it’s jet-set travelers, celebrities, yachts, lux villas, fine dining and insane shopping was the perfect destination for a recent southern girls get away. When deciding where our group would take a much needed break, St. Barths was the obvious choice. We loaded our Louis Vuitton luggage, Hermes birkins & Celiné clutches and off we went to spread a little Southern Charm!
Packing & Shopping 101: Less is more…the shopping there is crazy chic and if you hit in May you can grab some great deals. I scored many silk #Pucci caftans and fun cover-ups. I am ready to take on any lux fashionista with a southern attitude. One of my favorite things to take home from the island is its famous oil & lotions St. Barth Ligne…yummy.
Dining 101: If your renting a villa, as we did, go ahead and give Maya’s Catering a call or your villa concierge at St. Barths Properties can assist you. This is a sampling of our dinner reservations. Don’t forget to hit Nikki Beach for a little extra fun!!
- Bonito Friday evening 7 or 7:30
- Ti for 9:00pm show Saturday evening
- La Playa Sunday evening 7-7:30
- Bagatelle for Sunday brunch
Accommodations: We rented a three bedroom villa with all king size suites from St. Barths Properties. Highly recommend their services. There are also many beautiful hotels on the island. Some of my favorites are Eden Rock and Hotel Le Toiny for an über chic stay.
We look forward to hearing about your stay in St. Barth’s. Please leave us a comment on your favorites spots in St. Barth!
The latest styles to hit the streets are “HOLY”, you know the kind with holes that show just enough skin that makes you yell #Hallelujah. From prints to lace to sheer…the newest trend that’s changing the game in fashion is holes, grommet and dots creating an incredible illusion. Tattered boyfriends jeans lined with holes are becoming the most needed piece of clothing to perfect that effortless street style. Diane Von Furstenberg is creating adorable dresses with grommeted detail and the polka dot illusions with a stain finishes. Other designers such as Mulger, Alexander Wang, and Proenza Schouler are also digging the new trend, and it’s only a matter of time until the “Holy” effect takes the fashion scene by storm. My favorite right now is Self-Portrait. Goggle them and you will find out why!
Thanks for dropping in…until next blog…ARZ
If you’ve ever wondered who that gorgeous woman behind all the Couture Closets ads is, you’re in luck! She doesn’t just model for us, though we wish she would. Clarka Wickliffe is a personal friend and a social-media maven! Seriously, we could all learn a thing or two from her, especially in the blogging arena. That’s why Style A to Z would like to share her blog with you! Head on over to www.thechicw.com and read about Clarka’s jet setting lifestyle, her fashion advice and product reviews for items we all love. Every post is filled with tips that are SOOOO useful for the modern woman. Check her out! We know that you’ll love her… and her blog just as much as we do .
Did you miss me? Because I sure missed sharing my life with you! It’s been a whirlwind year already, but now I have some time to focus on one of my favorite things again, Blogging. I wanted to apologize for my little hiatus, we’ve been busy moving the store to a new location. But I am happy to report that we have a bright and brand new showroom right on Main Street. If you’re in the Spartanburg area, stop in and check out our new store front and tell us what you think!
Many of you know that my family spends the summer in Austria, so for now, these posts will be coming to you from my home in Klagenfurt. I hope to share some exciting news and fun times with you all, so get ready for #AmysAustrianAdventures! As always, follow me on my other social media sites and make sure to like Couture Closets on Facebook and Instagram. Please share this blog with your friends, especially those who enjoy travel photos, lifestyle tips and luxury living.
The Holiday season is upon us, whether we are ready for it or not!
Here are some of my tips for last-minute decorating on a budget, to ensure that your life and home are ready for every family gathering and elegant dinner party!
1. Don’t overlook IKEA- IKEA is a fabulous one-stop-shop destination for all of your holiday decor needs. Introduce some seasonal inspired furnishings to your dining and living spaces, pick up some cozy faux-fur throws, or browse the wide selection of textured and fabulous area rugs to add warmth and holiday charm to your home. With unbeatable prices and wide selections, you are bound to find some pieces you will love!
2. Pull out the Sterling- Nothing says winter like sterling silver! Shimmering and sleek, sterling instantly adds seasonal flare to any space. Be it sconces, candle holders, flatware or otherwise, you shouldn’t underestimate the decorative value of a sturdy sterling piece!
3. Browse the local Dollar Store- It may seem counter intuitive, but you will be pleasantly surprised at the level of quality and selection of decorative items available at the dollar store! You can find awesome glass jars that when filled with decorative Christmas balls, become instant center pieces!
4. Deck the Halls!- Garnish your stair case and mantle with traditional pine boughs for a festive and inexpensive look! Save your own tree-trimmings and check the Pinterest boards for inspiration and techniques for getting the most out of the tinsel!
5. Get Creative!- The Holiday season is just as much about family and friends as it is about expressing yourself! Let your home be an extension of yourself. Deck the halls with all of pieces that make you happy. Consignment shops, antique stores and craft stores can give you inspiration to let your creative side show and can offer some really unique and affordable ways to spice up your winter decor!
Kiss of Couture,
Creamy agate, spiky raw amethyst, quartz, onyx, moon stones, turquoise… these are just a few of the dazzling elements you will find in our premiere Colibri Collections fashion jewelry line…
What started as a dream between me and longtime friend, Angie Comer, has since become a blossoming reality. Our collection, named for the light and illusive hummingbird, captures the space where nature and beauty meet. The iridescent earth minerals, set in an array of shimmering designs, add elegance to any ensemble and are guaranteed to capture attention.
Each piece in our collection tells a unique story, inspired by the adventures that have taken us across oceans and continents in search of all the love, joy and beauty that this world has to offer. Make a statement with our bold and daring designs that exude excitement and travel, and make your own memories with them in time.
Our signature alligator cuffs are perfect for day-to-evening wear, and pair gorgeously with our varied selection of earrings, necklaces and rings. We offer premier, hand-crafted pieces that compliment every season, all styles, and any event.
You can browse our collection at the Couture Closets storefront on Main, or attend one of our trunk shows, events that will be featured on our Facebook page.
Be sure to check out Angie’s new website, angiecomer.com, for the latest news in style, nutrition and all things Colibri, and continue to follow us here for all that we have to offer, style A to Z.
Kiss of Couture,
Remembering Oscar de la Renta
The fashion world suffered a tragic loss Monday, when news that renowned clothing designer, Oscar de la Renta, 82, had passed away at his home in Kent, Connecticut.
The celebrated artist left behind a legacy that spanned nearly 6 decades, with memorable designs donned by the world’s elite. His prolific career produced some of the most iconic designer pieces in the industry, as his gowns and garments were truly a vision of fairy tale.
La Renta came to fame in the sixties as one of the premier couturiers to beauty and power icon, Jaqueline Kennedy. This monumental period in his career led to a high-profile and lasting relationship with the ladies of the White House. Rumors spurned that Oscar de la Renta was the personal designer of the Presidential party, and every first lady, including very recently, Michelle Obama, have been photographed in La Renta designs. Even royalty donned the designers dresses, among them the vision of beauty herself, Princess Diana.
This classic era of his career spawned some of the most memorable pieces of the time, and left a lasting imprint on the industry.
He went on to become arguably the most decorated and philanthropic fashion designer in the world, winning countless awards and accolades throughout his career. In 1973 he was inducted into both the Coty Hall of Fame and the American Fashion Critic’s Hall of Fame respectively.
In 1990, Oscar de la Renta received the CFDA Lifetime Achievement Award.
Later that decade, a La Renta dress was featured famously in the prized television series, Sex and the City. The image of Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker), carefully undoing the black silk bow, opening the lid of the big white box, and unveiling the pink full-skirted dress with patent leather bow belt which she had been pining for in an earlier scene, became an instant classic. Every girl watching that episode immediately set out to find herself an Alexander Petrovksy- Oscar de la Renta- dress gifting beau.
It has been speculated that Parker, who is a symbol of beauty and fashion in her own right, is the muse that inspired much of La Renta’s later works.
In his later years, the world-renowned designer continued to produce an impressive catalog of works, featuring modern and elegant designs at the New York and Paris Fashion Weeks annually. He recently lent his expertise to the high-profile nuptials of George and Amal Clooney, as we covered in our latest blog. Alamuddin lived out every girls dream when she was fitted for her jaw-dropping wedding gown, designed and tailored by La Renta himself, on site in Venice, Italy.
Oscar de la Renta was an incredible force of nature and will be celebrated as one of the world’s greatest artists for years to come.
“The great thing about fashion, is that it always looks forward.” –Oscar de la Renta
Kiss of Couture