Tag Archives: denim dress formula

versatile style: six outfit ideas featuring the cassandra 517 tote

I wear my favorite outfits over and over again because they make me feel happy & confident…they feature my favorite patterns, my favorite colors, and cuts and styles that make me feel good!

That’s the secret to solving your ‘what to wear’ problems forever…falling in love with your favorites and sticking to them. But how can you fall in love with something plain?

Check out these outfits I’ve styled around the cassandra 517 tote, to show you practical does not mean plain. None of these looks would be nearly as great with a plain bag!


with a sweater dress

the cassandra tote from Holland Cox with a sweater dress
Fall seems like it’s finally here, so you can pull your sweater dresses out of your closet! This one is a perfect match for the cassandra 517 tote, but your sweater dress can be in any color and any pattern.

I designed the cassandra tote as an interesting and bold way to wear neutrals – black and off-white go with everything, but that doesn’t mean they have to be plain. The stitched details and unusual silhouette guarantees it stands out from plain and boring tote bags. I picked the other accessories because they do the same, even though they’re all in neutral colors.


with a floral motif

the cassandra tote from Holland Cox with florals
This outfit has a floral theme going on – the blouse and jewelry all feature different botanical motifs, that work perfectly together because the colors coordinate. When mixing prints, I always say that stripes + florals are a foolproof way to go (because stripes go with everything)!

Chevron stripes are in fact stripes, even if they’re wavy, like on the cassandra tote. Want more ideas on mixing prints? Subscribe to the Insider’s List and I’ll send you a short series of posts all about style experiments to try!


with another chevron print

the cassandra tote from Holland Cox with a chevron skirt
The chevron wave motif on the cassandra 517 tote is one of my favorites, and has kind of become my signature. I always start by hand-drawing on the fabric, and then stitching over my drawing with heavy duty thread. It’s a modern and unusual take on the chevron pattern, but it still coordinates perfectly with more traditional chevron stripes!

Imagine this outfit with thick tights, and you’ll definitely be the best dressed at any fall or winter event. Mixing the same print in different scales or colors is a really sophisticated way to style your outfits.


with a spot of red

the cassandra tote with a circle skirt and black sweater
This is a pretty bold skirt. You might be tempted to think only plain accessories could accompany such a skirt, but I think the opposite: something plain could never be good enough for a skirt as awesome as this one!

Letting bold motifs and accessories play off one another is what turns individual pieces into outfits, and what turns clothes into fashion. When you start with accessories that are bold and bright instead of plain, it practically happens automatically. What’s better than effortless style?


with a bit of gold

the cassandra tote with a metallic black and gold blouse and jeans
Who doesn’t love a little bit of shine? Metallic accents are very trendy right now, and the black and off-white of the cassandra tote will look amazing with all of them. Warm tones like gold, bronze, and copper will look just as great as the cooler tones of silver or platinum.

The best part is, when you’re tired of the metallic trend, your tote bag will still look amazing with whatever comes next!


with the denim dress formula

the cassandra tote from Holland Cox with a denim dress

The denim dress formula is this: a denim dress + an awesome bag + any shoes = instant awesome outfit. The beauty of the formula is that denim dresses come in so many styles and fabrics these days, you can find one for any occasion!

This one is perfect for the office. A sheath dress with clean lines is all-purpose and all-season, and can be made to work even in a conservative work place. The cassandra 517 tote is sophisticated enough to double as a briefcase, and will surely outshine your colleagues’ plain black and brown bags!


Imagine any of these outfits with a plain bag…would they be as eye-catching? Would they make sure all eyes are on you (where they should be)? Could you fall in love with these looks enough to make them your go-to outfits, your favorites that you can depend on, so you don’t have to think so hard about getting dressed in the morning? Click here to see more details of the cassandra 517 tote, and imagine her with your favorite outfits!






how to wear gray, part 2

Most of the time, plain neutrals can be too dull to make you feel happy and confident.

But there is definitely a way to make neutrals amazing, and to wear them without fading away (check out part 1 of how to wear gray)!

Here are a few more ways to wear gray (starring the simone 517 tote) that will make you feel fabulous, not like you’re fading away!


choose a contrasting color


how to wear gray: with bright red


The last thing you want is to look dingy or dull, and gray paired with other neutrals can lead you right down that horrible path.

What you need is something that pops against the gray, and nothing pops like bright red! The simone 517 tote is backed with bright red vinyl, and is lined in red quilted cotton, so clearly red is my favorite color to contrast with gray!

The McQueen tartan suggests gray without matching it exactly, and the peplum top echoes one of my suggestions from the last post about choosing interesting silhouettes.

Wear this outfit to the office, and everyone else wearing black and gray and brown will be the ones fading into the background!


play with patterns and shapes


how to wear gray: with contrasting prints


One of the best things about the 517 tote is its unusual shape – gentle curves instead of straight lines make it a bit more stylish than your average tote bag, and the radiating lines of the simone tote in particular are both eye-catching and oddly demure.

I chose this top (instead of something plain) for this outfit because it achieves the same effect.  Black and white gingham is a subtle but interesting pattern, and the ruffled half-sleeve is an unusual silhouette in a world of three-quarter sleeves and cold-shoulder tops.

This outfit wouldn’t be the same with a plain t-shirt, would it?


wear a denim dress

how to wear gray: with denim


The whole point of the denim dress formula is to get you thinking about denim dresses the same way you think about your jeans: your go-to thing for effortless dressing.

Since this dress is slim fitting with very clean lines, it compliments the sleekness of the simone tote beautifully!

Classy gold jewelry and red d’orsay heels give this outfit a very ladylike look. But both the dress and the bag would work just as well with more casual accessories…such is the power of a great bag and a denim dress!


Check out my Pinterest boards for more outfit ideas on how to wear prints and high style denim!.




how to experiment with color: red and purple

If you’ve seen my latest collection, it’s no surprise to you that red and purple are two of my favorite colors, and that I love mixing them together!

Maybe the idea of mixing these bold, confident colors is daunting to you? Here are five ways you can give it try, starring the simone everyday bag from my latest collection.


try a print


The easiest way to wear two colors is inside the same print, of course! Purple and red are neighbors on the color wheel, so it’s not just me who says you can wear them together, it’s science.

When you pick an interesting print, all the work of creating an interesting outfit is already done for you! Just add awesome accessories like the simone everyday bag, and you’re done.


let your bag be the star of the show


It would be so easy to wear a plain black bag with this outfit. But if you’re interested in creating outfits that make you feel happy and confident, maybe a plain black bag just isn’t good enough.

Purple is one of my favorite colors, so wearing it gives me an instant confidence boost. For anyone with the same love of purple, the simone everyday bag is the perfect addition to this (and any!) outfit.


Want some help finding “your colors”? Click here to subscribe to the Insider’s List, and I’ll send you a short series of posts on how to define your personal style, including one on experimenting with color!


coordinate, don’t match


The great thing about this outfit, is that nothing matches. 🙂 The blouse isn’t even really purple and red – it’s a very dark navy blue with wine and light gray pinstripes. Paired with a great pair of jeans, it is already making a pretty awesome outfit!

There a many bag/shoe combinations you could wear with this striped blouse and skinny jeans, but I chose bright red booties and the purple simone everyday bag to prove to you that coordinating is so much more interesting than matching.

In fact, if you love red and purple (like I do), you could wear your red booties and your simone bag with everything. That’s how you create a signature look, rather than looking like everybody else!


mix it up


Mixing prints is a great way to create an interesting outfit, and therefore guarantee that you stand out in a crowd. If you’re the boss (or just want to be), blending into the background is not an option!

The easiest way to mix prints is to start with a black and white stripe, because stripes go with everything. And windowpane check, like on this awesome blouse, is just another way to wear stripes, after all.

The scarf brings everything together, in the form of a contrasting pattern and coordinating colors. Eye-catching shoes and gold jewelry finish off the look, and you are ready for the C-suite!


the denim dress formula


The denim dress formula to creating a great outfit is simple: a denim dress, an awesome bag, and any shoes. The wool and ultrasuede of the simone everyday bag make it a perfect candidate for a winter iteration of the formula. Suede boots (and maybe some tights) add texture as well as bold color, and your favorite jewelry and hair accessories make the perfect finishing touch. Easy!

Have I inspired you to try a new color combination? What do you have in your closet and what outfits do you like to wear that could be elevated by pairing it with a bold and colorful bag like simone?




the denim dress formula: work and play

denim dress formula: casual friday



Sometimes you want to wear something a little more fun to work, because you have somewhere very interesting to go after work…

For this version of the denim dress formula, I chose a dress with a more flirty silhouette. The felicity tote is the obvious companion for such a dress, with her hot pink metallic suede and hand-painted polka dots!

Why does this still work for the office? The clean lines of the dress and tote bag, and the elegant black and gold jewelry (that is still pretty enough for date night).

Do you have trouble styling outfits that can go from work to play? Get on the Insider’s List for some style experiments to try! Subscribers get outfit inspiration, style insight, and first look at my new designs sent right to their inboxes.




the denim dress formula for the office

the denim dress formula for the office


The denim dress formula works for practically any occasion! All you need is a denim dress, an awesome bag, and any shoes. For a professional look, you can follow the same guidelines as styling a miniskirt for the office.

Just like wearing a miniskirt to work, clean lines are a must when you choose denim for the office, and this sheath dress from J Crew is a perfect example!

I styled it with the regina tote and a pair of killer red heels, because I think red and black is the ultimate in power color combinations.

Are you afraid of wearing denim to the office? It can be done! Check out the denim dress formula tag, and my Pinterest board all about high style denim for some styling ideas and inspiration.

Get on the Insider’s list for more style experiments to try, and be the first to see my new collections!





the denim dress formula: how to wear red to the office

how to wear red to the office



Sometimes you need a little pick-me-up, a shot of something to get you through the (work) week. Wearing red is the perfect fake-it-till-you-make-it hack for looking and feeling energized when you really just want to take a nap!

For this edition of the denim dress formula, I picked a dress with simple, clean lines. The anjelica tote was the obvious choice for the awesome bag portion of the formula, because of it’s classic windowpane check and bright red ultrasuede.

Retro-style shoes with a low heel and another shot of red round out the look, along with some other red accessories, to keep your energy level up all day (you might as well make color theory work for you)!

What’s your go-to outfit for giving yourself a confidence boost? If you’re not sure how to put together something like that, check out my 7 Style Experiments, which you can get by signing up for the Insider’s List.  Subscribers get regular styling ideas and outfit inspiration, as well as the first look at my new collections, so don’t miss out!



the denim dress formula: amber and indigo

the denim dress formula: amber and indigo



The denim dress formula is only three parts: a denim dress, an awesome bag, and ANY shoes.

But what if you want to add accessories?

For this styling idea, I was inspired by the classic combination of dark, indigo blue denim and gold stitching (a combination I love and use over and over again in my designs). I chose the cassandra tote because its organic cotton twill is that exact goldenrod color of the stitching on vintage jeans.

Jewelry in amber and lapis lazuli echo those colors and that classic color combination without being too matchy-matchy.

Together with this vest-style dress, they create a look that is classy and office-appropriate, and interesting and stylish enough for any other time.

Get on the Insider’s List for more styling ideas, and inspiration on how an awesome bag can elevate your outfit!




the denim dress formula: in black and white

the denim dress formula: black and white


The denim dress formula works because denim dresses come in so many different styles and colors. Don’t limit yourself just to dark indigo blue!

This dress has the lines of a traditional collared shirt, which means you can style it just like any button-down.

I wanted a dramatic look that was a little fancy and a little sophisticated, so of course I styled this dress with the moira tote. Its bold windowpane check hits all those points.

Chanel flats and ropes of pearls finish off the look, and also perfectly coordinate with the black denim and natural canvas of the moira tote bag.


Do you have a denim dress in your wardrobe you’d like to experiment with? Get on the Insider’s List for more outfit inspiration and style ideas like this, as well as sneak peeks of my new collections.




the denim dress formula

the denim dress formula: with purple and pearls



LBDs get all the press for being the most versatile dress in your closet, but what about a denim dress?

Try the denim dress formula when you’re in need of a short cut to being effortlessly stylish.

All you need is:

That’s it! I added dark pearls to finish off the look because I love them (but also because I’m using some dark gray denim in my next collection, and it’s been on the brain). Pearls make any outfit instantly classy, and also office appropriate. What’s not to like?

Want more styling ideas like this? Get on the Insider’s List to get style insight, outfit inspiration, and sneak peeks on my newest designs sent right to your inbox!



how to look awesome, effortlessly.

Fashion is supposed to be fun, remember? Getting dressed shouldn’t be a stressful thing. You shouldn’t be worried about “doing it wrong.”

I’ve styled a few outfits using the regina tote bag to illustrate three different strategies you can use to put together fun outfits that make you feel happy and confident every time.

Check them out and let me know what you think!


strategy #1: start with a print

how to wear shorts



Wearing a print automatically makes any outfit more interesting! Since most people are afraid of them, you’ll always stand out (in a good way!), and people will be impressed with your confidence and style.

Instead of wondering how to make a print fit into your plain, solid outfits you already wear, what about starting with a print and building your look around it?

Let’s say you find the cute little tank top shown above, and you’re drawn to it because of the colors. But you have no idea what to do with it.

Here’s the thing, though: you were drawn to it because you like the colors. That means you probably already own something that coordinates (remember it doesn’t have to match exactly)! Put that thing on (in this case, a cute pair of shorts) and then grab your favorite bag and you’re good to go!

Yes, it is that simple!


strategy #2: the denim dress formula

the denim dress formula: weekend casual



This is exactly what it sounds like, a fool-proof formula: Find a denim dress you like. Get an awesome bag. Wear it with literally any shoes. BAM instant awesome outfit!

With the relaxed fit of this particular dress and the sandals, this is a casual weekend look.

The formula works because denim dresses come in so many shapes, sizes, styles, and colors that there is one out there for pretty much any occasion. With an awesome bag and your favorite shoes, you are guaranteed to stand out from the crowd of plain black, ratty jeans, and boring t-shirts!


strategy #3: let your bag be the star

the regina tote and black and red



When you have a truly awesome and eye-catching accessory, there’s no reason you can’t make it the star of the show. In this case, the regina tote bag is interesting enough to make this outfit bold and bright all by herself!

Jeans plus all-black accessories make this outfit totally effortless to put together. I couldn’t resist picking a top with some interest and red jeans, but this outfit would absolutely still work with regular ol’ blue jeans and a plain top. That’s the power of an awesome bag!


Do you want more ideas on how to put together looks that make you feel happy and confident? Click here to get on the Insider’s List to get style insight and styling ideas sent straight to your inbox!