Tag Archives: persephone motif

why a statement bag is the most practical bag in your closet

Practical just means something that you can use and wear all the time…so how did we start thinking that practical has to mean plain?

Here are six outfits I styled around the persephone 517 tote, to show you how a bold, bright, and unusual handbag might just be the most practical accessory in your closet!

(Imagine how much more dull and ordinary these outfits would be with a plain bag…)

 

with your trusty navy dress

a statement bag from Holland Cox as your work bag
You probably have a navy dress (or one in brown, gray, khaki, or white?) that plays a key role in your professional wardrobe. It could be solid, striped, polka dotted, tweed, or in houndstooth. It’s probably the dress that you default to when you know you want to look sharp, but you don’t want to spend too much time thinking about what to wear.

I call this the Monday Dress! You roll out of bed on Monday morning, and put it on without thinking. It looks great, it makes you feel great, and it’s a painless way to kick off an awesome week.

Why would you wear your awesome Monday Dress with a plain, boring bag? Why would you want to undermine it’s power like that? A statement bag like the persephone 517 tote can only add to the style and professional impact of your Monday Dress, and it’s just as easy to wear!

 

with trendy denim & accessories

a statement bag from Holland Cox with trendy denim
I styled this outfit with several trendy elements. Patchwork jeans (with an asymmetrical hem), embroidered boots, and tassel jewelry are all huge right now.

A bold, colorful bag like the persephone 517 tote can stand up to trendy accessories, and coordinate perfectly with them. But, it’s classic lines and colors (red and denim will never go out of style, friends!) mean it won’t look tired and five-minutes-ago when you get bored with your tassel earrings and patchwork denim.

 

with statement jewelry

a statement bag from Holland Cox with statement jewelry
Statement jewelry is not a trend. Long before Coco Chanel piled on ropes of pearls, or Edie Sedgwick wore earrings that brushed her collarbones, women have been adorning themselves with eye-catching jewelry, and that is not a tendency that will ever go away.

I styled this outfit to show that just because you’re wearing one outstanding item, doesn’t mean everything else you’re wearing needs to be plain! Every part of this outfit is a showstopper, even the solid, khaki-colored top…the modern silhouette and over-sized cuffs make it much more interesting than any plain top could ever be.

The overall effect is bold and impressive: you couldn’t help but feel confident in an outfit like this! It would be impossible to fade into the background.

 

with your LBD

a statement bag from Holland Cox with your LBD
My friend, I hope you don’t think you can only wear black with your LBD (little black dress)!

Your black dress goes with everything, yes? So why pair it with a plain bag when you can wear it with an eye-catching superstar instead? My favorite color is red, so I’m always going to want to pair red accessories with my LBD. What’s your favorite color? What color makes you feel happy and confident every time you wear it?

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(Also shown: the veronica button scarf)

 

with your favorite t-shirt

a statement bag with your favorite tee shirt
What could be more versatile than a bag you can wear whether you’re casual or formal? I styled this outfit with a t-shirt and jeans to prove the persephone 517 tote can do both.

Sure, a plain bag might be able to do both, but would you look as good? Would you stand out, or fade into the background?

(Also shown: the lola mini pouch)

The most practical parts of your wardrobe will always be the parts you want to wear again and again…and who wants to wear something plain every day? How could that make you feel happy and confident?

Imagine your favorite outfits, and how you might give them a little boost with some bold and bright accessories!

 

 

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sneak peek of the new crossbody bag

The newest addition to the evolution collection is a completely new handbag for me, but I think you’ll recognize the bones of it as very much Holland Cox style. You’ll also see plenty of evidence of my love of texture and color!

I wanted to design a casual, pretty bag that you could use everyday. Something a bit smaller than the everyday bags, but not so small that your daily essentials wouldn’t fit. I also wanted a long, cross-body strap that was as good looking as the bag itself!

 

a sneak peek of the new crossbody style bag at Holland Cox

 

I began by expanding the perfect pouch, and then I added pockets – a flat patch pocket on the inside (perfect for your ID cards, a pack of gum, a pen, a pack of tissues), and a welt zip pocket on the outside (the exact size of my iPhone 7 Plus).

Gold hardware and brass zippers were a no-brainer, since I’ve been in love with shiny gold for a while now (not sorry!!!). Ultrasuede zip pulls (with a hand painted bead on the main zip) finish off both zippers, because I love the look of them, and they are a great way to add another little bit of color!

 

the back pocket of the crossbody pouch

 

I’ve decided the back pocket is critical on any handbag I carry! I really like having a place that is instantly accessible, that I can just reach into without removing the straps or opening the bag.

I actually didn’t plan on the pocket being iPhone-sized, I picked a 7″ pocket because that’s what made sense to me, based on the size of the bag (11″ wide and 7″ tall, with a 9″ zipper). But I figure it can only be a good thing if your phone is within easy reach!

 

removable crossbody strap

 

The strap is 48″ long, just long enough for the pouch to sit right on your hip, making it easy to slip your hand inside either zipper.

I know most bags like this have adjustable straps, but I didn’t want to do that for my design, for two reasons. First, I hate buckles (random, but here we are…I actually have an aversion to excessive hardware on handbags…an unpopular opinion, I know).

Part of the reason I don’t like buckles on straps, is that I don’t believe that most people want an adjustable strap; what they want is a strap that is the exact right length for them! 

So you’ll be able to order the strap for your crossbody pouch in a custom size if 48″ isn’t right for you!

 

metallic denim, painted canvas, and stitched ultrasuede

 

In a few weeks, I’ll be introducing a mini-collection of the crossbody pouch (only six of them!), featuring some of my favorite fabrics and motifs from the current collection. Felicity (painted polka dots on natural canvas) will definitely be featured, and of course persephone in red and blue (my favorite abstract petal motif).

I’m also going to be using lots of this delightful dark, midnight-blue denim with gold metallic threads that I am absolutely in love with.

(I’ve already bought up every yard I can get my hands on.)

But at least two of the mini-collection will feature some of the metallic leather I got in NYC recently…I can’t wait to show the finished bags to you!

denim with gold accents, purple metallic leather, gold polka dot suede and metallic denim

Get on the list, because subscribers to the Insiders List always see the new collections first, and they get an exclusive introductory price (which means if you’re an Insider, you never have to pay full price)!

 

 

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how to shop smarter this fall

Even if you’re not technically going back to school, this time of year is still about starting fresh! You might be eyeing your closet right now with a mind to update, but without having an idea of how to go about such a thing…here’s some ideas to get the most out of your “back to school” shopping!

The bottom line is, remember that practical does not mean plain. Next time you go shopping, walk right past the plain, “neutral” basics and try these three strategies instead:

 

shop for interesting textures

 

the cassandra tote with an embroidered top and dark blue jeans

 

The easiest way to escape from the trap of plain is to look for interesting textures when you go shopping. You might find this easier and less intimidating shopping for bold prints or bright colors. In fact, you can be totally monochromatic with an interesting texture, and you’ll still probably be the best dressed in the room!

The outfit above assumes you already have a pair of jeans you love, and cute booties to wear with them. Instead of shopping for a new, plain top to wear with them, how about something with embroidery, applique, beading, lace, or some other kind of surface design? A top with more visual interest will instantly elevate anything you wear with it, and will coordinate with more things in your closet than a plain version ever could.

I love the effect of an interesting texture, which is why I designed my latest handbags with high-relief quilting. The cassandra 517 tote is shown above, featuring my favorite chevron wave motif stitched in black thread on natural canvas. Click here to see more details on the cassandra tote, and think about what plain thing from your closet you could replace with a textured version!

 

shop for your colors

the persephone tote with navy trousers and a printed blouse

You probably already have navy pants, and a pair of “nude” pumps from a few years ago when everyone insisted you must own a pair. When you’re out shopping for a way to update them, think about color instead of more plain. What colors do you like to wear? Which colors look great on you? What colors make you feel happy and confident?

If you’re afraid of bright colors, an accessory is a great way to experiment. I would totally feel comfortable wearing the outfit above with a bright red blouse, but maybe that’s scary to you! A bag like the persephone tote is easier to wear than clothing in the same colors. If wearing red makes you happy, now you have an awesome bag to carry everyday that will get much more use than a plain black bag. See how that works?

 

shop for interesting silhouettes

 

the sofia tote with a black bell sleeved dress

 

I can hear some of y’all complaining but Valerie I love wearing all black that’s ~my thing~ and you can’t make me stop! Good news my friend, I am not going to tell you to stop wearing black!

But next time you go shopping, how about looking for new and interesting silhouettes?

The bell-sleeved dress in this outfit is an excellent example. Dramatic sleeves have been a thing for a while now, and I don’t think they’ll be going away anytime soon. This same dress with plain sleeves would be absolutely nothing to write home about, and not a way to make yourself feel happy and confident when you get dressed in the morning! The interesting sleeves make all the difference.

This is what I was thinking when I designed the 517 totes…I wanted a simple tote design that was nevertheless dramatic and interesting, and worthy of being your new favorite bag. One of the ways I chose to do that was to make them a slightly unusual shape: they are slightly taller than usual, and have gentle curves where most totes are built on straight lines.

You can do the same thing with your fall shopping! Just remember that practical does not mean plain, and you’ll end up with a new wardrobe that will make you much happier than anything basic ever could!

 

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elevate the everyday

I believe the otherwise-mundane things you use every day should be pretty and colorful, and make you feel happy and confident.

the small perfect pouch from Holland CoxIf you carry a big bag every day, you probably have several little pouches inside to organize all your daily essentials. I hope you are not settling for something plain or “neutral”!  You deserve something that reflects your personality and style, and I’m willing to bet you are neither plain nor neutral on the inside.

 

The perfect pouch will soon have several companions, starting with the small perfect pouch shown above.  It can fit much more than the few things shown here, but I wanted to give you an idea of scale. Mine swallows up my sunglasses as well as lots of other bits of handbag detritus, in the cutest way possible!the perfect pouch family from Holland CoxIn addition to the small perfect pouch, the mini pouch and the 19th street wallet will soon be available as well, individually and it lovely gift sets. Get on the list to be notified when each new item gets added to the shop!

 

The 19th street wallet is a slim, double sided card case that I have been making for at least a decade…I must have made thousands of them by now (that is a lot of blind stitching)! The 2017 version is a tad bit bigger, so you can fit more cards/cash/what-have-you inside, and is made with heavier fabric on the outside, to guarantee a longer life.

the mini perfect pouch from Holland Cox

The mini perfect pouch is my evolved change purse…a bit bigger (actually big enough to keep your 19th st wallet inside if you like), and with much more style and personality. These are so cute, I’ve been giving them away as little prizes for my best customers, and gifts to anyone I want to impress. Next time you need to stock up on hostess gifts, get a stack of these instead of cheap wine from the grocery store!

The small perfect pouch is coming out first, but soon there will be a whole family of perfect pouches the main collection. Subscribe to the Insider’s List so you don’t miss the big debut (and you don’t have to pay full price on your favorites)!

 

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