Search Results for: label/bags and purses

Showing the Love: Adora Bags

Late last year, Adora Bags contacted me and asked if I’d like to try out one of their totes. Why not, I’m a bag junkie, I love having different totes and purses for every occasion and have been jonesing for one of those raw-edge totes everyone has been carrying. Once I received my Adora Tote I’ve used it weekly and know it will continue to be a favorite tote for years to come.

ADORA Bags Review

Adora Bags’ totes are not like all those other raw-edged totes everyone has been carrying. The 100% Italian full grain leather is supple, rich, and high quality. The bag is soft enough to feel comfortable slung over the shoulder or be easily packed into luggage but the leather and construction is durable enough that it has become the bag I use to cart supplies to Girl Scout meetings and work. The tote comes with a matching pouch that you can attach with a removable cord to be the place to hold small items and your phone, or you can unclip it and use it as a clutch. It’s big enough to be your carry-on bag for a flight but small enough to replace your handbag when you have a little more to carry.  Not shown in the photo, the tote has a hook and clasp inside that can cinch the top closed keeping your contents safe.

the adora bags way

All this, and Adora is a company with ethics. Adora Bags proudly show the faces of the skilled craftsmen who create their line in Vinci, Florence by the same artisans that worked for the highest quality brands in the world like Prada, Gucci, and Armani. Adora bags will never outsource production overseas because they want to be in control of the quality of their products, as well as the prosperity of the craftspeople of Tuscany. Pietrantonio Di Ienno (known as Piero) is the sixth generation of leather craftsmen his family and the creator of these bags. After more then forty years spent working the leather in Vinci, Piero and his assistant Renato still get light in their eyes when talking about their work. Adora Bags’ founders Matteo Gamberale and Matteo Gemignani both grew up in Tuscany but met in New York City in 2013. They were inspired to create a luxury bag line that celebrates the Italian passion for style combined with the quality of Tuscan craftsmanship. Bags of this quality would usually cost far more, but because they bypass retailers and middlemen they are able to bypass the associated marked up prices.

I adore my Adora Bag, and I think you would love these bags too! Matteo and Matteo have been sweet enough to offer Wardrobe Oxygen readers 10% off their purchase; use code WARDROBE at checkout for 10% off your entire purchase!

Giveaway is closed and the winner has been notified and received her gift.

What I Wore: Maximum Effect

Wardrobe Oxygen featuring an Ankara maxi skirt Gap denim shirt and clutch bag from Brynn Capella Wardrobe Oxygen featuring an Ankara maxi skirt with a denim shirt and Brynn Capella clutch bag wardrobe oxygen featuring an ankara maxi skirt from Etsy and a Gap western denim shirt wardrobe oxygen wearing an ankara skirt and denim shirt outfit of the day over 40 fashion blogSkirt: Etsy | Shirt: Gap (this year’s version) | Bag: c/o Brynn Capella | Earrings: Amazon | Bracelet: Had forever (similar)

I love my midi-length Ankara skirt and when I saw this maxi skirt on Etsy I had to have it! If you follow me on Instagram (which you should – more outfits and behind the scenes and life away from the blog) you know I wore this to work last week with my darker Banana Republic denim shirt. Typical Allie, I spilled on the shirt so I styled it with my lighter Western-inspired Gap denim shirt. I like this version, the snaps and the cool finish of the fabric is a nice contrast to the bold print.  If you’re interested in buying this skirt, please know it’s a very high waist.  I had my measurements done and my high waist is 32.5″; however I knew from my other Ankara skirt that there’s no stretch so it’s good to size up.  I asked for a 35″ waist and it feels as though it was tailored just for me.  I also asked to have pockets added.  I didn’t ask for a specific length but it’s perfect for me with a 2-3″ heel.  Please understand this seller is based out of Ghana and it can take up a month for the skirt to arrive.  However, the fabric and construction is phenomenal and the skirt has an exposed gold zipper in back which really adds a gorgeous touch.

the bynn capella nikki clutch bag made in the USA featured by Wardrobe Oxygen an over 40 fashion blog Brynn Capella reached out and asked if I’d like to style one of her bags. Brynn Capella is a Chicago-based handbag designer, and all her bags are also made in the same city. I was drawn to the Nikki in the Canyon color; I liked that the finish was a bit distressed and the color would work with black, brown, and denim. It comes with a detachable crossbody strap and the bag is big enough to hold an iPad along with all your purse essentials. Brynn Capella names all her bags after friends and Nikki is named after her rock & roll pal who loves music festivals; I think I picked the right bag for me! While I styled it here as a clutch, I’ve also worn it as a crossbody for the weekend. I encourage you to check out Brynn’s other great quality leather bags bags, especially The Lauren which is the perfect everyday bag!

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Vendor Review – MetStyle Bags

MetStyle is a very cool company concept, offering professional bags for women that are feminine and stylish while still giving the owner the respect she deserves in the business room. This is a hard task for any company, to have all the features necessary for your laptop, writing supplies and lipgloss without being boring and bulky like the carry-all that came with your computer, but not frou-frou and frivolous. In this day and age we all need to carry around our gadgets; we should ahve the ability to do it with style and class.

I received the Champs Elysees Hand Bag (pictured) in the mail this week and boy am I impressed! Do not let the photograph on the website fool you into thinking this is a utilitarian piece. The dark purple quilting has a slightly iridescent satiny finish that is chic yet professional. The hardware is polished silver, the trim and handles a high-quality faux leather that has the flexibility and sheen of the real thing. I am petite with thicker arms and I found this bag comfortable in my hand or over my shoulder. My Dell D610 fits comfortably (and my husband’s larger 17” Dell just fit if no notepad or accessories were included) with my portable mouse, USB, Blackberry, digital camera, a slim notepad and a few goodies like gum, powder and lipstick. Inside compartments keep everything organized and the slim look doesn’t resemble a purse in any way. I love the dark plum shade – very subtle yet adding a bit of panache to the subdued business suit ensemble. My husband even liked it saying it “looks very Art Deco and classy.”

Prior to this bag, I was using a black microfiber laptop tote from the Michael Graves collection at Target. I found the Dell shoulder bag that my company gave me to bee too heavy, bulky and useless. Not just that, but it was hard to carry around with my petite frame. I purchased the Michael Graves tote because it was a more feminine shape, but professional enough for the toughest client. I found even that seemed to be too bulky for business meetings and travel and desired something smaller. Usually smaller pieces were just a sleeve with a strap with no room for accessories or personal effects, or else they were too girly (my clients would not appreciate a glossy pink croco bag with a tassel). I found appropriate bags online, but they were often way over $100 – not appropriate to my budget.

The bags from MetStyle are a good price for the quality, they achieve style without compromising your level of respect with your colleagues, and they are made to really accomplish all the tasks of a true business bag – hold the laptop, the legal pad, the pen, the computer accessories, the wallet and the lipstick and powder for lunchtime touch-ups. Visit the site and find a retailer near you to check out this great new brand!

What I Wore: Monet

gwynnie bee spruce sage dress review hobo bag red leather clutch

outfit blog size 14 mom over 30 wardrobe oxygen

Dress: Spruce & Sage c/o Gwynnie Bee | Shoes: Nine West “Flax” | Bracelet: Nordstrom | Bag: Hobo Bags (similar) | Cast Cover: c/o CastCoverZ! | Lipstick: NARS Red Square

Emerson said this dress looked like rose petals underwater. I said it reminded me of a Monet, she quickly agreed which freaked me out because we haven’t really taught her that much about artists. A Monet fan in a past life? Besides the dress being a pretty print, it’s pretty comfortable too. It’s fully lined, but the lining is a bit stretchy and not as hot as a traditional acetate one. While this would look cute with a skinny belt or shoes in one of the great colors of the print, I decided to keep it simple with nude pumps and a fun little bracelet.  And this bag was a Hobo Sample Sale purchase that has given me years of happiness; it has a chain strap making it uber versatile and an unexpected classic.

This dress is a perfect example of why I love Gwynnie Bee; it’s a pretty dress that I kept for more than one wear, but it’s the type of dress I would purchase and then grow tired of before the season is through.  With Gwynnie Bee I can keep and wear as long as I wish and the return for a new dress to love!

Small Business Saturday: AlmaRose Bags

2014 for me was the year of the bag. I curbed my clothing shopping, I purchased fewer but better chosen pieces, but I fell hard for handbags. There was the Isabella Fiore tote, the blue Chancebanda, and a few bags I acquired before this year ended up getting more play in 2014 than ever before (hello Latico crossbody, Fossil satchel). I also received some amazing bags from amazing brands, and one is AlmaRose.

Almashea’ Spotser was a busy working mom who left Corporate America when her Navy husband was transferred to a new duty station. She took her love of sketching, and while pregnant with her second child, created AlmaRose Bags. Being a busy mom, Almashea’ considered this with her bag creation and made each bag a great merging of fashion and function. As stated on the brand’s site, “Each bag was created with the woman who happens to be a mom in mind first.”

almarose bags maxine

AlmaRose bags are diaper bags, and I am (thank goodness) a couple years past that point with Emerson. However, the brilliant part of these bags is that while they have have that function, they work so much further past diapers and wipes. AlmaRose was kind enough to send me the Maxine, which I saw to be a gorgeous statement-making weekender bag or work tote. I slipped out the changing pad to enjoy a quality leather tote with perfect pockets to store everything and find everything at a moment’s notice. The water and stain resistant interior keeps it looking gorgeous even if the cap falls off my lipgloss or I spill a bit of my bagged lunch. The feet on the bottom of the bag and the shape of the Maxine keeps it upright no matter the contents, making it a great choice for those of us who always seem to have their hands full when their phone starts ringing in their bag. I love the included Express Bag, which is a removable pouch perfect when you need to dash to the restroom or Starbucks but don’t want to take your entire tote; it also makes switching from day tote to evening clutch a breeze. There’s even a padded pocket to store my tablet or Kindle! And come on, who can resist the gorgeous green tumbled leather exterior?

almarose bag review

AlmaRose has two other styles of bags: the Claire and the Lydia. These totes are also classic shapes and come in classic colors making them either a chic alternative to most diaper bags, or a brilliantly-designed day tote. With the same great features of the Maxine, these have elasticized side pockets that can hold bottles, but are also great for stuffing in gloves, water bottles, or even your current novel. The leather is thick making all AlmaRose bags built for longevity.

Right now the Maxine is 50% off, making it only $145. Where else can you find such a beautiful large leather bag in such a beautiful color for such a low price? And at the time of writing this, AlmaRose is offering free shipping on their bags.

The Small Business Saturday series on Wardrobe Oxygen features US- and/or women-owned independent brands and artists that focus on style with substance and soul. Stay tuned to learn about more great small businesses, and if you know a business that deserves to be featured please share it in the comments!

What I Wore: Wrap it Up

OVer 40 fashion blogger size 14 work fashion OVer 40 fashion blogger size 14 work fashion OVer 40 fashion blogger size 14 work fashion over 40 fashion blogger size 14Dress: Loveappella (comes in two other prints, two solids, regular and petite) | Shoes: Nine West (lower heel version) | Bag: Hobo (similar) | Bracelet: Had forever (similar) | Necklace: Etsy

Gosh I love a wrap dress, and to find one with an orange-based print? I just couldn’t resist! And not only all that… it has POCKETS! Woot!  I love wrap dresses, they’re so easy, travel great, dress up and down nicely, and are flattering on so many figures!  While I love me some DVF dresses, they don’t love my body, or more specifically, aren’t big enough for my body. It’s nice to find brands who offer fun prints and a classic fit and for a reasonable price!

Shop My Picks for Wrap Dresses:

Ask Allie: Durable Commuter Bags

I have been finding it a challenge to find a work tote/satchel that can handle all of my work items (iPad, shoes, book, and occasionally lunch) without having the handles break. I am preparing to take my latest two off to the great purse surgeon for some love and repair and am wondering if you can recommend a great tote/satchel for work that can carry all of the above and handle the weight of it all? I’d like to stick to a price tag of no greater than $200.

Some things I think are worth the price – well-crafted tall leather boots, a winter coat, and a work tote. It’s very hard to find a decent tote that can handle wear and tear without looking like crap. Honestly, few bags can carry all that on a regular basis and survive nicely unless you purchase a heavy-duty tote. While I recommend a black tote for business, for your commute a bag like the L.L. Bean Boat and Tote or Lands’ End Canvas Tote is a brilliant choice since it will hold up with a lot of weight, wear, and tear and won’t be worn outside of the commute. The version with elongated straps will fit over your shoulder even if you have on a heavy winter coat, and they have options with open or zip tops and storage compartments. Choosing a darker color will be better for public transportation and city life as these totes can’t be thrown in the washer and do best when spot cleaned.

I often carry multiple bags instead of stuffing my work totes to preserve their condition and shape, but it’s still great to have a bag that doesn’t look sloppy and can carry both your Kindle and your bottle of water without bursting at the seams. My two favorite work totes were both purchased on sale and would have been over $200 otherwise.

However, price doesn’t equal a good work tote – you want to look for heavy straps that are sewn into the body of the bag (even better if they wrap around the body of the bag), metal feet to protect the bottom of the bag, and a bit of structure so it keeps it shape over years and random contents. The two bags I have are leather with leather straps, fully lined, and one has a center dividing compartment which keeps the shape and structure of the bag, even when seated on a table or the floor. While a crossbody can seem convenient, I find that if you plan on stuffing a bag, a crossbody can be hard to carry, dig into your shoulder, and put far too much wear on the straps.

The bags I suggest below have not been seen in person and I cannot vouch for their quality and appropriateness; their style and fabrication lead me to believe they would be good choices and are all around $200:

Love the canvas boat bags but yearn for something more polished? Lands’ End has you covered with this brown leather tote with brass feet and organizing interior pockets. Reviews are positive and show owners use it for everything from hauling books back to the library to packing for a trip. Supple leather, classic design, smart styling and less than $200!

No frills, but who needs them when you’re trying to cart your work essentials via mass transit? Plenty of pockets, full grain leather, and a variety of subtle shades make this a great commuting tote. The reviews are positive and seems many use this to lug around heavy 17” laptops with no issue. A classic style and less than $90 makes this bag a great option.

The best thing about this tote are the straps that continue through the body of the bag – this will keep your straps in one piece far longer. Generously sized, and fun yet work-friendly fabrics and colors. Currently on sale for less than $140 and free shipping.

I have a Brahmin and can attest to the fact that they are sturdy, well-made bags. My tote has a thin crossbody strap but easily supports a bag full of heavy things like leftovers and bottled water. Though the straps aren’t sewn deep into the body of the bag, they are wider at the bottom and secured all the way around for a strong foundation. Metal feet, interior organizing pockets, and a variety of conservative and fun colors make this a great work bag. While it is a bit over $200, it’s a classic style that should give you years of wear and is polished enough to use for corporate meetings and conferences and work travel. In fact, if you’re interested in splurging, the larger ‘Melbourne Large Anytime’ tote has a padded compartment inside just for your iPad.

I feel inauthentic recommending a brand I wore strapped above my fanny in the ‘80s, but LeSportsac is known for high-quality, sturdy, and lightweight bags that last forever. The Travel Tote is famous for being the perfect tote you didn’t know you needed. Lightweight, durable, expandable, and not covered with overly visible logos or prints, this is a LeSportsac that can fit with most any personal style and will comfortably carry everything from your gym clothes to your netbook with ease. Less than $100, and many say they are still happily using the same LeSportsace Travel Tote that they purchased over a decade prior.

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Fab Bags For Spring Under $100

The best way to update your wardrobe each season is with accessories. It’s an easy and lower-cost way to incorporate current fashion trends, and it’s more likely for that accessory to be wearable past the trend (or when the trend returns) than a garment. Right now is a great time to buy accessories for many are on sale to make room for new merchandise. But that doesn’t mean the sale merchandise is outdated. Knowing current trends or your personal style (which transcends fashion trends) can help you score some great deals for less. Below I share some fantastic bags I’ve seen online, and all are under $100!

Blush is the hot color this spring and looks great on more skintones and with more personal styles than you would think. I love it with denim and chambray, paired with white or cream, but it’s also gorgeous as an accent with black or even a jewel tone like ruby or teal. A blush clutch is a great choice for spring weddings, giving a fresh look to your LBD; a blush wristlet will hold all your essentials and look adorable with boyfriend jeans or a floral dress; blush is on trend yet looks professional enough to pair with a business suit.

You all know I love a touch of hippie chic in a wardrobe, and it’s the perfect way to infuse spring into your wardrobe. Be they paired with a band tee and cutoffs, a sundress and slip-on sneakers, or even boyfriend jeans and a lightweight blazer, boho-inspired bags are more versatile than you think for the everyday as well as for a concert, wine festival, or picnic in the park.

Black and white are classics that work year-round; paired it is a fashion trend that won’t quickly look dated. It’s also a trend that is office appropriate. A structured tote or large bag can carry your purse essentials as well as lunch, a laptop, or commuter shoes. Classic ladylike shoulder bags are back in vogue and look smart with business suits and work dresses; a cross body that’s structured with metal details looks crisp enough for the workplace. When it comes to basic black and white, any colors pair nicely.

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Ask Allie: Purses, Bags, and Totes

Dear Allie,
I don’t go out a lot, but each time I do I wish I had something other than my big day purse to take with me. What would be a good choice of bag that I can have for when I get invited to a bachelorette party or a wedding or my husband’s office Christmas party?

To have a bag that works for all those situations and to span seasons (and years) you will need to either go very simple, or choose something really unique.

As soon as I read your email, I thought of my patchwork clutch from Novica. It’s a mix of cotton and leather and it contains most every color in the rainbow. The bag is so unique and eye-catching it can dress up and down pretty easily – I have paired it with a LBD, and as you see in this post, wore it with a chambray shirt and wool skirt. A clutch is a smart choice because it’s a more timeless silhouette – bag shapes and sizes come and go but clutches have maintained popularity over the past decade and will continue to be popular and stylish.

Nicole Ritchie shows how a snakeskin bag can work with all sorts of colors and styles

Something out of snakeskin or leather (real or a quality faux) is a classic choice and will hold up over the years; however don’t rule out an unexpected finish. A twill or canvas bag with beading or feather detail can often be just as versatile. If there is a variety of colors, a print, or a statement color, you can have it work with most anything (even if the color of your dress is not in the bag).

If you would like something more classic, you can’t go wrong with a soft black leather clutch. Classic size (around a foot to 18” in length and slim) and silhouette (pouch or envelope). The leather should be soft, buttery, no funky glazes, no flashy details. This is the type of bag you can wear today and 20 years from today. You may have to pay more to find such a bag (or search vintage boutiques), but it will be a wardrobe staple for a lifetime.

Hi Allie–
I was advised by my physical therapist to consider wearing a cross-body bag, rather than a bag with a shoulder strap (to help with my neck/shoulder problems). However, I’m busty and feel uncomfortable with the ‘boobage issue’ created with a cross body strap. Any thoughts on how best to work with a cross-body bag?

Like you, I shied away from cross-body bags for years because of my large bust. They always seemed to accentuate them, falling right between the breasts, often pushing them to the side. However, once I became a city commuter, I realized how very necessary they can be. Now I have several cross-body bags in my collection. A few tips:

Be picky about the strap. My Brahmin handbag can be carried in my hand, worn as a shoulder bag, or the strap lengthened to become a cross-body. More often than not, it is worn across my body when I go to work so I can have hands free to hold onto a support bar on the Metro, read the paper, or hold a cup of coffee. The reason this bag works so well is because it is very narrow (about a half an inch), yet extremely sturdy (no chance of it breaking or cutting into my neck). The combination of narrow yet thick/sturdy helps with comfort… and it also helps with the ‘boobage’ issue by being too stiff to really slide between and under the breasts.

For smaller cross-body bags (I like to use these when going to concerts and festivals), I go the opposite route with a very lightweight strap. By being so lightweight of a bag and strap, it doesn’t fall between the breasts causing separation.

Reese Witherspoon in a Crossbody Bag

For a large heavy bag (daypacker, to carry your laptop), there are bags made with an usually wide strap which ends up working more like a sash across your body.

Adjust the strap. Sometimes one inch can make all the difference with a crossbody destroying the line of your figure. Look for an adjustable-strap bag so you can play in front of the mirror to find the perfect length for your body. For me, I find a longer strap (bag hitting lower on the hip) works better with my bust if the bag is heavy and large; I will do a shorter strap for smaller crossbodies.

Minimize. A big problem with current handbags is the size – the larger a bag, the heavier it will be, and the more room to hold everything except the kitchen sink. The heavier the bag, the more likely it will divide your body.

Look for the absolute smallest bag you can handle – if you need a bag to carry your laptop or iPad, find a slimline style to minimize bulk. If you don’t need a bag to carry your electronics, shrink the size all together. Seriously look over your bag contents – do you really need 5 lipsticks, 2 paperback novels, and that travel umbrella even though there isn’t rain on the horizon for weeks? I find it’s easier to organize and pare down when I keep my bag contents in smaller bags – one for cosmetics, one for purse essentials such as safety pins and gum, my wallet, and then my phone etc. When it is already compartmentalized it’s harder to justify a random addition.

Hi, Allie!
I have recently started a new job in the finance industry at a more “corporate” location as opposed to “business casual.” With my new position my manager wants me to bring my work laptop home with me each day. I have been carrying both my purse and small laptop bag each day, along with a water bottle, and if I pack my lunch a lunch bag. I’m looking into consolidating it all into just one bag. Do you think it would be better to get a laptop/tote bag with a padded section for the laptop and carry all my necessities in it, or should I get a basic work tote that would be large enough for all my stuff and buy sleeve to protect my laptop? Do you have any suggestions for a work bag that would accommodate carrying a laptop daily?

I guess it depends on you and your lifestyle. I personally have a laptop bag that I use for everything when I need to carry my laptop. My work laptop is pretty large and integral to me being productive at work, so I have chosen to have a bag that best supports and protects it. It’s not glamorous – it’s black microfiber and clunky, but it keeps my bag safe and looks professional for onsite client meetings.

If I had a smaller standard-size work laptop, I would consider a sleeve, but the problem is that a sleeve can slide around in a non-structured bag, making it feel heavy and clunky and possibly stretching out your purse. I have carried my netbook in a sleeve in my structured leather J. Crew tote – the netbook and sleeve fit perfectly in the large center zipper compartment leaving plenty of space for my personal purse contents. I can then slip out the netbook and carry a lighter bag to after-work events or a lunch meeting.

As for your lunch… it may be hard to find a bag that can carry that and everything else. My laptop bag is the size of a piece of carryon luggage and I still can’t seem to fit more than a Lean Cuisine in there, and if I do I don’t have room for a water bottle. With all the padding to protect your laptop, it becomes hard to carry everything in one without dragging around a bag the size of a small child. It may less cumbersome to just carry your lunch separately.

Before you decide you need to consider:

  • The size of your laptop – is it standard (meaning it’s easy to find a sleeve and easy for it and the sleeve to fit in a standard-size bag)
  • How often you need to carry your bag sans laptop (lunch or client meetings, after-work events where you can slip your laptop in the trunk of your car, etc.)
  • How much walking will you be doing – would it be more practical to get a rolling laptop bag? I know my laptop with it’s cord and extra-large battery is ridiculously heavy and I have considered getting a rolling bag to transport it and all my other essentials. With such a bag, also carrying your lunch wouldn’t be an issue.

A few laptop bags I have seen that are stylish while being professional:

The MobilEdge Milano Tote

MobilEdge Milano Tote – This bag holds a lot without looking bulky or as though it was purchased at REI. Online reviews state the faux croco finish looks quite nice and expensive in person. The strap is long enough to fit over your shoulder even while wearing a winter coat. While the version I link to fits a 17” laptop, there are other retailers (like this one) who have the same bag for a 15” laptop. This is regularly rated as a top choice for professional women (if you like it, Google it to find the best price as it is available on a variety of online shops).

McKlein “Deerfield” Laptop Tote – A very sleek modern look, Italian leather, and a variety of amazing colors makes this 17” laptop bag a winner. Special compartments for business cards and pens, while still having room for essentials such as a wallet, cosmetic bag, and bottle of water. The dark red would be quite elegant with classic gray and black suiting, while the choice of other colors could be a fun choice for more creative offices.

Piel Multi-Pocket Laptop Tote – This one even has a side pocket specifically for a water bottle! This bag gets rave reviews from business travelers which means it would have all the space and organization for one who wants to use this in place of a separate purse. Available in classic brown, black and cognac as well as a few subtle shades that would also work in most professional settings.

Royce Leather Cosmopolitan Computer Brief – Very simple style, tons of pockets for all your essentials, and a size to fit most standard-size laptops. While black is a safe bet, I really like the red to add a conservative pop of color to a corporate wardrobe.

While there are thousands of different types of bags out there, I chose ones that were pretty conservative in silhouette and made to be primarily a laptop bag. If you find that a sleeve or a rolling bag is more appropriate for your needs, do check out these sites that have a great variety of bags:

  • eBags – a fave of mine because of the extensive customer reviews
  • Kolobags – amazing variety of fashionable bags designed for laptops and other technology
  • McKlein USA – laptop bags specifically designed for women
  • – quite a large selection of work-appropriate laptop bags
  • – I have a laptop bag from there that I got at 75% less than a similar (and same brand) bag at Macy’s. If you know what you want, this site is worth a gander.

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What I Wore: Slither

Wardrobe Oxygen wearing a snakeprint Karen Kane dress via Gwynnie Bee Wardrobe Oxygen wearing a snake print dress from Karen Kane via Gwynnie Bee Wardrobe Oxygen featuring a snakeprint scuba knit fit and flare dress from karen kane via gwynnie beeDress: Karen Kane c/o Gwynnie Bee (standard size, plus size) | Bag: HOBO (similar)  | Earrings: Amazon | Bracelet: had forever (similar) | Shoes: Nine West | Lipstick: ‘Justice’ via The Elixery

When I stopped by the Gwynnie Bee Inspired By You Tour last month, I had the chance to try on this dress (this is an 0X).  I liked it so much I raced home and put it in my virtual closet.  The fabric is a heavyweight scuba knit that gives the dress a great shape.  I like it styled this way for a “desk to drinks” sort of look, but this dress also looks great paired with a blazer or cardigan.  If you want to check out Gwynnie Bee, use this link for a 30 day free trial of the program.

This lipstick has become a fave for fall; this limited edition color from The Elixery is the perfect burgundy for the season, not too cool but not too warm.  Not only that, 50% of the purchase from this specific color goes to support Lady Parts JusticeThe Elixery is a Minneapolis-based cosmetic house that handcrafts their lipsticks and other vegan and cruelty free products.  This lipstick is an amazing formula; it’s creamy but it stays put far better than many of my Sephora-brand lipsticks.  And the case!  Gosh there’s something awesome about whipping out a gorgeous lipstick tube for touch-ups, and this vintage inspired gold case will have people asking what brand you’re wearing.  I bought this lipstick to support LPJ, but now that I’ve tried the brand I know this will not be my last purchase from The Elixery.

What I Wore: Dobbin Fangirl

dobbin clothing dress review 2015 dobbin clothing dress review size 14 2015 dobbin clothing review 2015Dress: c/o Dobbin Clothing | Belt: Hobo (similar) | Shoes: Nine West | Bag: Love,Cortnie | Bracelet: Had forever (similar)

How do I love Dobbin Clothing? Let me count the ways. Actually if you just click on this link you can count the times I’ve featured this brand on Wardrobe Oxygen. Sure, sure I got this dress for free but I wear Dobbin Clothing on a weekly basis because the brand fits, flatters, and has good people and good ethics behind it.  I’m short, I’m soft, I’m overweight with big breasts and a big booty yet for some reason Dobbin dresses fit me as well as my tall slimmer pear-shaped friend and my average height buff athletic build friend.  There’s something about the high quality ponte knit, the strategically placed seams, or maybe the amazing women behind the brand that just make these dresses love women’s bodies.  To add to the awesomeness of this dress, these pictures were taken at 6pm and I put this dress on at 6am.  This is how the dress looked after 12 hours of wear.

This is not a sponsored post.  Dobbin does send me clothing from time to time because we’ve built a relationship over the years, but the choice for me to feature it in this outfit post is all mine.  I got home from work last Monday, checked myself out in the mirror and was amazed I didn’t look like a disheveled mess.  Fluffed the hair, reapplied lipstick and told Karl to get the camera!

What I Wore: Old Hat

Wardrobe Oxygen, DC based fashion blogger featuring a dress from Gwynnie Bee Wardrobe Oxygen wearing a Corey floral dress from Gwynnie Bee with Vince Camuto sandals Wardrobe Oxygen wearing a Gwynnie Bee dress, Maxwell Scott bag, and ADA Collection belt Dress: Corey c/o Gwynnie Bee | Belt: ADA Collection (similar) | Shoes: Vince Camuto (similar, low heel alternative) | Bag: c/o Maxwell Scott Bags | Sunglasses: Ray-Ban | Hat: Bought decades ago (similar)

I borrowed this dress from Gwynnie Bee over a month ago and haven’t wanted to send it back.  In fact, this is the other dress I currently have that I am seriously considering purchasing from Gwynnie Bee.  This dress feels like silk but is machine washable.  Lined, pockets, and a drapey cut that is comfortable on a hot day.  While I wore it here with a belt the wide elastic waist looks nice on its own too, it gives it a more casual look.

Alison and Karl

I’ve had a Panama hat from J. Crew Factory for a year, but I never really liked it. It always seemed to lie wrong on me, always looked a bit crooked. My mom has been cleaning out her house and found this hat; I remember going to Loehmann’s with my mom and her friend and buying this hat, I think it was 9th grade. This hat is so much better of quality than my J. Crew one and isn’t all wonky! It was perfect for a very sunny and hot day in DC with the family.

What I Wore: It’s Myne

myne heidi dress hobo bags clutch zippers myne heidi dress review

Dress: Myne | Bag: Hobo Bags (similar) | Shoes: Nine West | Glasses: Zenni Optical | Bracelet: Had forever (similar) | Lipstick: Revlon ‘Certainly Red’ | Ear Cuffs: Etsy (here and here)

I wrote about this dress in this post. A lot of you wanted to see me in it since I am a very different shape from the model, but it has been too cold to bust out this lightweight silk dress until now. When I bought it I figured I’d style it with peeptoe ankle booties and my wide silver metal plate belt, but once spring arrived I decided I liked it a bit more stripped down. The dress is by the brand Myne, and each time I read the label I say, “It’s MINE!” in the whiny voice I use when I read Emerson her book, The Boy Who Wouldn’t Share.  As an FYI, this is a size 10; I originally got a 12 but found it too long for my petite stature.  The 10 fits comfortably but the belt that came with it is too small (no biggie, the belt is kind of ugly and cheap looking).

If you signed up for my monthly Style File newsletter you know that I recently got these glasses. They’re huge, they’re bright, and they’re a lot of fun for a very low price (hello prescription lenses under $30!). I’ve been wearing a lot of red lately – I’ve been doing a red lip almost all winter and have been choosing OPI’s Big Apple Red as my nail polish of choice for almost a year. It made sense if I was going to buy some funky glasses to have them in my current signature shade!

What I Wore: SSDD

Wardrobe Oxygen Size 14 fashion blog Talbots Flawless Five Pocket Bootcut Review Wardrobe Oxygen Wardrobe Oxygen featuring Talbots Flawless Five Pocket Jeans in BootcutBlazer: Vince Camuto (plus size version) | Tee: Anthropologie (plus size option) | Jeans: c/o Talbots | Shoes: Nine West (lower heel version) | Bag: Hobo (similar) | Bracelet: Had forever (similar) | Necklace: Etsy | Sunglasses: Ray-Ban

SSDD: Same Style, Different Day!  You know me, blazer, tee, jeans, and pumps are my go-to.  Talbots sent me their Flawless Five Pocket Jeans to check out; I chose a 14 regular of the Straight Leg and they were way too big (I am a 14 with Gap and LOFT).  I visited the Annapolis Talbots to exchange them where the staff was amazingly helpful. I tried several different cuts and sizes of the Flawless Five Pocket collection.  My favorite was the Ankle in Oyster; I usually shy away from ankle jeans because they’re usually too slim in the thigh and calf but these were amazing… except they didn’t have my right size in stock (the 12 regular would have been best).  The stores are still getting in Fall stock, so if you stop by and they don’t have your size yet come back a week later!  I went with the Bootcut in Deep Oyster; these are a 14 Petite in the non-curvy cut.

Wardrobe Oxygen featuring Talbots Flawless Five Pocket Jeans in Bootcut
At my size, I usually go in Anthro and only look at the housewares.  At my budget, I just look and don’t shop.  Twice in my retail days I interviewed for Anthro and received an offer to be a visual merchandiser and both times I declined and stayed with my current company.  I justified it by saying I’d spend my entire paycheck there, but honestly I think I was scared to try something new.  That pretty summed up me back then, I’d regularly pass on great opportunities for fear of change or failure.  One thing I love about blogging is almost daily I am forced out of my comfort zone.  I push through writer’s block, I believe in myself even when I receive criticism, I’ve become comfortable with public speaking, social engagements where I know not a soul, and pitching myself to brands.  And when I walked into Anthro the day I bought this tee I didn’t think about how I can’t afford or fit in most of the store and just enjoyed exploring.  And through that exploration I found a few things I felt would fit, and this tee (this is an XL) was one of them.  While $68 may seem cray for a tee, it’s a linen blend with metallic threads that shimmers in an elegant way, drapes in an elegant way, and is that thing that works with a pair of jeans (or denim shorts like I did for the Lenny Kravitz concert last week) to make that “not trying too hard” look for a concert, movie, or a couple drinks with friends at the local bar.  I like that it looks equally good untucked (or half tucked) with denim as it does fully tucked into a pencil skirt.  I’ve wanted something like this tee for a long time but have never been able to find out that fits right; sometimes it’s better to spend a bit more for  the right thing.  And sometimes… well more often than not, it’s good to get out of your comfort zone.

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What I Wore: Foxcroft (plus a giveaway!)

foxcroft collection sweater
Sweater: Mixed Stripes Cardigan c/o Foxcroft | Tee: c/o SixTwenty | Jeans: NYDJ | Boots: DUO (similar) | Bag: c/o Fossil (similar)

foxcroft collection shirt
Shirt: Mixed Sateen Stripe Non-Iron Blouse c/o Foxcroft | Skirt: c/o CAbi (similar) | Shoes: Nine West | Bag: c/o Adora Bags

I’m proud to be partnering with Foxcroft again. For over 25 years, Foxcroft has provided impeccably made, well-constructed clothing that makes style simple. I’ve featured their clothes before, styled a photoshoot for them, and have gotten to know the people behind the quality brand. I’m excited to introduce the latest looks from Foxcroft, that’s now helmed by head designer, Laura Poretsky-Garcia. Laura, a CFDA member since 2007, has brought a chic, updated attitude to the brand while continuing to give women easy, wearable fashion.

foxcroft collection giveaway review resort collection

Stripes and dots – in bold, sophisticated colors – are the key themes for Foxcroft’s resort collection and all pieces in the collection are under $100. Foxcroft understands a woman’s body, creating clothing that flatters curves and comes in regular, petite, and plus sizes. Foxcroft sent me two pieces from the resort collection – one of their famous shirts and a sweater. The Mixed Stripe Blouse is a silky cotton that feels luxurious and doesn’t wrinkle. Foxcroft has different cuts of their shirts; this one is tailored to fit the figure, making it a great choice to wear tucked in and under blazers and cardigans. Their Mixed Stripes cardigan is a new favorite. The strategic stripes and waterfall front flatter the figure and make quite a statement – when I wore it to work I received many compliments, even from strangers. I wore it with a simple black shell and trousers to the office, but liked it for the weekend with a white tee and boyfriend jeans. Learn more about Foxcroft and their latest collection by following them on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.


If you like the pieces that I’ve featured in this post, Foxcroft is offering one Wardrobe Oxygen reader this shirt and this sweater in the size of their choice (if items are not available in your size, we will work with you to find replacement pieces at the same or lesser price).  Giveaway is open to residents of the United States.  Winner will be chosen by random and contacted via email.  If winner doesn’t reply within 48 hours of receiving email another winner will be chosen.  Giveaway ends December 30, 2014.

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What I Wore: Air Flow

wardrobe oxygen what I Wore Gap Real Straight Jeans Karen Kane Messh Top Nine West Pumps wardrobe oxygen what I Wore Rough Tumble bag Ray Ban Aviators Nine West Flax wardrobe oxygen what I wore Gap Real Straight Jeans Karen Kane Top Rough Tumble Bag

Mesh top: c/o Karen by Karen Kane (similar) | Tank: c/o J.Jill | Jeans: Gap | Shoes: Nine West (similar) | Bag: Rough & Tumble | Sunglasses: Ray-Ban | Bracelet: Had forever (similar) | Lipstick: MaryKay ‘Mystic Plum’

If you follow me on Instagram you know I wore this look to work Friday. Karen Kane was sweet enough to send me this awesome mesh sweatshirt this spring but then the whole cast situation made it impossible to wear. Once the cast came off this was one of the first long-sleeved tops I made sure to wear.  The jeans are the ones from Gap I mentioned in this post; after some weird years I find Gap to again be a destination for quality but reasonably priced denim.

And this bag I continue to adore; no need to buy a trendy brand name to enjoy high quality and style.  I found Rough & Tumble on Etsy and am thrilled to see they are growing, now with an e-commerce site.  A woman-owned business with everything made here in the USA?  Yes please!

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Festie Frame of Mind

Dress: Seafolly Saltwater Crush Maxi c/o | Necklace: Had forever (similar) | Sandals: Softspots | Sunglasses: Kentucky gas station (similar) | Bag: HOBO Bags (similar)

The weather is getting warmer, we’ve bought tickets for Forecastle and Americanarama and I can’t help but be in a festie frame of mind. InStyle Swimwear was kind enough to send me this fabulous tie-dye maxi dress from Seafolly and I just KNOW it will be worn to at least one festival or outdoor concert this summer! Lightweight cotton, comfortable, and adjustable straps to boot! I was also thinking it would look cute with my denim shirt tied over it, and I also liked it cinched with a vintage brown leather belt (expect to see that combo on the blog later in the summer!).

Update on the hair: what I am doing to get it like this is I am applying Paul Mitchell Surf Spray and Rusk Thick on my hair, blowdrying it in a haphazard manner or letting it air dry.  I then put big sections in my curling iron, curling away from the face.  Finger comb, and then a bit more of the surf spray to have it piecey and messy and more casual.  So far, so good and it works well in the heat.

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My Wardrobe Today – Tuesday

Jacket – Caslon (similar) | Tank – Ann Taylor (similar) | Necklace – Found at a boutique in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware | SkirtHalogen | Shoes – Payless (similar) | Bag Sabina

It’s raining, it’s pouring… you know you’re a blogaholic when you stand in the rain for your outfit photos! And you know your husband loves you when he stands in the rain to take your blog photos!

I have to give my 50,000th shout-out to the Revlon ColorStay shadow quad in Neutral Khakis. If I could never buy another eye shadow again, I would be okay if I had this palette. A matte ivory for highlighting, a golden khaki that is a great warm neutral for lids, a deep chocolate for contouring (or use wet as a liner), and then an olive. I buy olive colored clothing just so I can get all matchy-matchy and wear an olive smokey eye with this shadow. Oh, and the color really DOES stay. I will be heading home with just as smokey of an olive eye as I did leaving the house today. Fabulous!

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My Wardrobe Today – Thursday

Olive cargo jacket – Caslon (no longer available – similar) | Navy and white stripe knit tank – H&M (similar) | Dark stretch jeansJag Jeans | Black and cork heeled sandals – Payless (no longer available online) | Black leather studded bracelet – picked up in a boutique in Rehoboth Beach | Pumpkin Leather Purse Hobo International “Libby”

Just as I had my stride with getting my personal style back after having a baby… a hurricane tackles my closet. While most clothes are salvageable, they still need to be cleaned and most need a professional to handle it. So I am working with a shrunken closet and I feel that the result isn’t the consistency I like. Ah well, a challenge for me to overcome! So for now, I look as though I am going to a wedding one day, and game night at a friend’s house the next!

The biggest reason why I went casual today is because tonight my husband and I are going to see The Hold Steady at the 9:30 Club. I haven’t seen them before, so when they came to town I had to get tickets!  I needed something that would work for a quiet day at work, dinner, and then a general-admission show.  How awesome to find comfortable enough heels for this day from Payless!  And this bag from Hobo International is one of my best buys in a long time – it can fit my phone, my smallest point-and-shoot camera, lip gloss, ID and cash with no problem – the perfect concert bag!

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What I Wore: Summer Breeze

Eileen Fisher orange dress with turquoise bead necklace on Alison Gary of Wardrobe Oxygen Maxwell Scott handbag review via Wardrobe Oxygen Wardrobe Oxygen outfit post featuring Eileen Fisher, Born Shoes, and Maxwell Scott handbag What I Wore Orange Eileen Fisher Linen Knit dress with yellow sandals from Born via Wardrobe Oxygen Dress: Eileen Fisher (plus version, similar with sleeves) | Sandals: Born ‘Myndy’ (similar, similar) | Bag: c/o Maxwell Scott Bags | Necklace: c/o Allison Dayton Jewelry (similar, similar) | Bracelets: cuff had forever (similar), c/o Lifetherapy, c/o Pura Vida Bracelets | Sunglasses: Ray-Ban

It’s hot, it’s humid, and the last thing I want to do is wear something fitted or structured. The color of this dress from Eileen Fisher appealed to me, but the breezy fabric and loose style is brilliant for sticky thick DC summer days.  This necklace is one of the first gifted pieces of fashion I received as a blogger and still one of my favorite pieces; I love the contrast of the turquoise against the orange and I love non-metal necklace when it’s so hot out.

Maxwell Scott Bags reached out and asked if I’d like to experience a piece from their line.  I must admit I hadn’t heard of the line before their email but now I am a fan.  Maxwell Scott isn’t trying to create the next “It Bag;” all their pieces are designed to be classic, timeless, and improve with time.  Handcrafted from the finest materials sourced in Italy, Maxwell Scott bags have a 25 year warranty.  I chose the MedollaM Medium Saddlebag in brown, a bag I know I would have loved as a college kid, find chic now, and know will love for years.

UPDATE: Maxwell Scott has been kind enough to offer Wardrobe Oxygen readers 10% off their purchase. Sign up for Maxwell Scott’s newsletter (link in the middle of their homepage); then click this link and automatically get 10% deducted in the shopping basket.  Valid until the end of August 2015.

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