Style Graduate

Professional style on a graduate student budget.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

My "It" Bag

Oh, this is my first time doing Carnivale of the Couture! When I saw the question - what would your #1 big-name designer "it" bag be - I didn't even have to think about it!

In general I'm not one for "it" bags, mostly because I don't have thousands of dollars to spend on accessories, and even if I did, I'm pretty sure shoes would come first, then the fancy handbags. But I can still easily answer the one and only has always been the Fendi Baguette from the mid 90s:

Soooo pretty! Where to begin emoting about the baguette? First, it's very small, which I love (which I'm sure you can tell by the handbags I design myself). Secondly, I would definitely get a baguette like the one pictured, one of the hand-stitched ones with rare silks, feathers and crystals embroidered on it, not one of the standard logo-embossed leather ones. It's like a little piece of jewelry for your arm!

The great thing about the baguette is that when they debuted in '97, ALL of them were limited edition - a whole new collection came out every six months. And given that the most popular bags of the time were the devastatingly dull black nylon boxes from Kate Spade and the equally boring black nylon Prada backpacks, these little darlings stood out from the pack!

A little Googling shows that the original retail price on these little guys hovered in the $2,500 + range, which in the grand scheme of "it" bags isn't too bad, I guess.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Dream Bag Carnival

Designer Ella over at Pursed Lips poses two questions for the Carnivale of the Couture; I'm going to answer question #2:

If you were given $10,000 (ooookayyyyyy, $20,000 if you’re a superdiva) to buy only ‘IT’ Big Name designer bags, which dream ones would you buy (or just one perhaps)? (You can save some of the cash left over for something else not to be mentioned.) Yes, please do try to keep track of general prices, and authentic and real-life eBay prices count if you would opt for auctions (although if you can’t tell authentic, skip the lower-priced ones, natch!).

Yikes! That's tough, because the idea of spending $10,000 (yes, that's ten thousand dollars!) on a bag, or even several, seems crazy to me. But I'll try!

I like bags from Coach, although nothing with that big logo print - tacky! There's a Coach store near me, and when I walk by I always ogle the purses in the display. Let's start with this commuter bag, which looks big enough to hold my laptop. $428. Then I would get this purse (top left) for my mom; it's just the size she likes. It's $328, but I'd get her one in black, and in brown, so $656. Then I'd get myself this hobo bag, it's not too big, and looks classy. $178. I also like this flap-closure bag, because I like the big buckle. $218. My big splurge would be this pony hair satchel (bottom left). $798. I don't know when I would use it, but it looks nice. Maybe it would be a good carryon? So that's $428 + $656 + $178 + $218 + $798 = $2278, leaving me with $7,722 to sink into investments. If you were wondering, that comes out to an average of just under $380 per bag. That price is antithetical to the entire spirit of this blog! Even if all the bags were 1/2 off, it would still be too much! I guess it's a good thing this money is all imaginary!

P.S. Interested in being a member blogger here at SG? Say so in a comment to this post, and I'll get in touch with you!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Teacups of love

I love these sweetheart teacups, found via weddingbee. You can buy them (or similar ones) at keith + lottie, for $29.00 AU a pair; at The Paragon, for $12.99 each or $9.99 each for two or more; or at WeddingThings, $48.00 for a set of six (with heart-shaped saucers!). These make great engagement or wedding shower gifts, and would be wonderful at a bridal shower tea party. They are also lovely anniversary, birthday, or Valentine's Day gifts for die-hard romantics.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Letters in one piece

I write a lot of letters. A lot. You do not want to know what my monthly postage bill is, believe me. But I have never written a letterfu letter, although that is about to change. Letterfu is a folding technique that lets you write your letter on a single piece of paper, fold it up, seal it with just the postage stamp, and post it. You can print out pre-made designs, or, if you've got some mad photoshop skillz, make your own. In fact, if someone wanted to make a Style Graduate letterfu design, that would be awesome, and we'd feature you in a future post! As long as you keep the fold lines where they should be, you're set. I recommend a heavier paperstock than normal.

Much more on envelope and letter folding can be found here.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Holland Cox sale!

From now until 4:59 PM you can get 35% off at Holland Cox. Details are available here. My choice would be this gorgeous "la princesa" evening clutch, which is just $39 with the voucher!

I'm so glad to have such a talented designer blogging here at SG!

Etsy favorites is an online marketplace featuring all handmade items. Each seller has their own store, and their search functions let you look for items based on color, material, location, or type of product. Here are some of my recent favorite items available; note that these are generally sold in limited quantities, being handmade.
  • Animal postcards from ohmycavalier's shop, $6.63 for a set of nine, including shipping. These are delightfully unusual designs for postcards, and a cheap way to stay in touch with friends.
  • Maple and birch ring from craftsman's shop, $34.00 including shipping. This is a lovely ring, a great conversation piece, and wood feels so smooth and comfortable! The item is listed as sold, but you can still order it in whatever size you want.
  • Monkey doll from joom's shop, $10.00 including shipping. This is one crazy looking moneky, and a great gift for a relative, a friend's kid, or yourself.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Underoos on sale

Do you remember calling underwear "underoos"? It seems to me that that was big in the 80s. Nowadays I refer to women's underwear as "panties", which is what Bare Necessities does as well; their current promotion is called "Get your panties in a bunch", which is appropriately cute, escept that it applies to men's underwear as well. Hmm. The sale is a buy 3 get 1 free event, and it incudes a wide range of styles and prices.

Ladies can start with these J. Lo thongs , a steal at $2.99 (down from $18.00), or just $8.97 for four, and go all the way up to these Versace bikinis at $150.00, or $450.00 for 4. Yikes! My favorites are these Rampage hipsters, shown left, which are $7.50 each or 4 for $22.50.

Gentlemen can choose from boxeris, briefs, boxerbriefs, and thongs, among others, but I don't think their selection is as good, nor are the prices as nice. But look around, and see what you like.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Substance is style

Even though August is winding down, it is still summer, and you still need some fun stuff to read. If you haven't read the Harry Potter books yet, they make good bedtime reading. I think the series is overhyped, and I like the earlier books better, but they're fun. You can buy them on the cheap at amazon, but I never did. Libraries all have a billion copies, and and some of your friends certainly have copies they could lend you.

Another good choice is The Life of Pi, by Yann Martel, which is intriguingly written and a delightful story. I don't know of anyone who read it and didn't like it. This one is definitely worth investing in!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

let there be light

I've always had this thing for lamps. I have this urge to collect light fixtures, but there's really no practical way to do that, unless you have a gigantic house, or can devote a whole room into a showroom-like homage to your collection.

Right now I'm looking for some stylish lamps to upgrade from my dorm-like halogen lamps that I've had for way too long. Surfing along at some of my favorite mod-but-affordable online shops, I've come up with three options, one splurge and two steals.

west elm cb2

I love the squat little shape and the slightly oversized shade on both of these, but the West Elm version in silver is $199, while the CB2 (Crate & Barrell's secondary line) version is a wonderful $19.95! That's cheaper than Target! Plus, I think I like the gentle slope of its base better anyway. And since my living room couch is slipcovered in black, it would match better too (it looks sort of brownish, but the online catalogue says is black, so I believe them).

Finally, we have this cute little blue number from Ikea. It shares the same squat shape (and also comes in white), but the shade and body are a single peice, and is a ridiculous $12.99.

You usually can't beat Ikea for a deal!

I believe in miracles...

Okay, you clearly need some hot chocolate to go in those wonderful Ikea mugs. Despite the title of this post, I'm not talking about funky 80s music, but instead about actual, delicious, chocolatey goodness. My favorite brand is Ghirardelli, but I don't begrudge anyone a different favorite, so if Hershey's is your thing, go for it.

Two things will make your hot chocolate way, way better: peppermint extract and cayenne pepper powder. Just don't mix them.

You can get delicious hot cocoa mix at your local grocery store, or from amazon's gourmet food section.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Ikea mugs

I'm back on my Ikea kick - I just wish more of their stuff was available for online purchase!

I love this six piece mug set - two ceramic mugs with wooden spoons and coasters ($7.99). It comes in a floral pattern (shown left) or in plain white. This would make a great housewarming or hostess gift, but I'd much rather get a set for myself. They can't be purchased online; if you don't have an Ikea near you can order by phone or catalog.

Friday, August 11, 2006

New Member!

Valerie has joined the Style Graduate team! Valerie designs and makes wonderful handbags, which she sells over at Holland Cox, and she has a great fashion blog of her own as well. I'm so very happy that she has decided to contribute to SG, and can't wait to see what she has to say!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Casting Call!

Style Graduate is looking for some more bloggers to join the site! If you are interested, and can commit to at least one post a week, comment on this entry, or email

EtA: You don't need to be a student, or even have a restricted budget of your own. I'm just looking for bloggers to write about affordable style. Your posts can focus on home decor, clothes, jewelery, paper products, finances, or whatever!

Contact info

I hate the fact that I don't have business cards; it makes it so tedious to exchange contact information with colleagues at conferences. Networking should not be hard! In many departments, graduate students typically do not get business cards, but I got around this by ordering free ones from Vistaprint. I only had to pay shipping, and now I have hundreds of cards! Enough to last through more conferences than I even want to think about, and certainly enough to make it to graduation and a real academic job, where I will get real business cards! There are plenty of designs to choose from; I chose one that looks fairly official and staid, but that's just me. Go get some cards!

P.S. Vistaprint has several other free offers, and they regularly post deals and discounts on lots of other products, so it's a good site to keep an eye on!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Worth it or not (no.5 )

A pair of great, stylish, versatile pants is not strictly necessary, but certainly recommended. For a really fabulous and all-around useful piece, investments are generally warranted. So if you can get it (whatever it is) for $20, wonderful, but you should be prepared to shell out a bit more.

Here are two pairs of blue pants, both around $125. Which is appropriate only for a deranged colorblind $cientologist, and which is wearable by a regular person?

If you guessed that the top pair of pants is utterly inappropriate wear for anyone over the age of 6, you appear to have not lost all vestiges of common sense. And if you feel the bottom pair is suitable only for muppets, you too appear to be in command of your faculties. It turns out that neither atrocity is worth even $1.25, nevermind 100 times that. Instead, you should go for a gorgeous pair of pants like these blue and green lovelies:

$93.49 is a bit much for a pair of pants, but these are great pants.