Tag Archives: practical does not mean plain

three ways to wear the crossbody bag this weekend

The crossbody bag is the newest addition to the Holland Cox family. I designed it to be big enough to use everyday, but not too big…it’s still quite compact and petite.

So while it’s a stylish and hands-free way to carry your essentials during the day, it’s equally awesome at night…it’s actually the perfect day-to-night bag!

Here are three times when the crossbody bag could be the perfect accessory for your night out:


date night

the Holland Cox crossbody bag for date night
I know you love to wear black on date night…but that doesn’t mean your outfit has to be basic black! A lacy top and some dramatic jewelry go a long way to elevate a little black skirt into something spectacular.

The calliope crossbody bag is the perfect compliment, with it’s subtle shine, and polka dots that are a little too bold to be sweet.

Why carry a plain bag when you could have this look instead?


ladies’ night

the crossbody bag from Holland Cox for ladies' night
When you’re out with your besties, you want to look good, but you also want to be at ease. What’s more comfortable than your favorite jeans? That was my inspiration for this outfit.

A stripey blouse is an awesome way to add some interest to your outfit (imagine this with a plain top instead), that is also completely painless. You don’t have to worry about what it matches, since stripes go with everything.

Jeans plus a stripey top is a great beginning for all sorts of outfits, but here I added the bold and colorful felicity crossbody bag to create the perfect ladies’ night outfit. Sexy shoes and playful jewelry complete the look, and you’re good to go!


a night at the theater

the crossbody bag from Holland Cox at the theater
As much as I love denim, you will never catch me wearing jeans to the theater! I’m old-school that way, I firmly believe you have to dress up for certain occasions. And what’s more dressy than black and gold?

I bet you already have a solid colored dress that is more-or-less plain (is it black? you can tell me, I won’t be mad), that is just dying to get dressed up to go out. It might even be a dress you’d normally wear to the office!

Just pile on some shiny, eye-catching accessories and you’re ready for the best seats in the house! The phoenix crossbody bag is a dramatic black and gold damask that can instantly make any outfit worthy of your box seats.

(Also shown: the naomi infinity scarf)


As always, I want you to think about versatile and practical in a new way.

What could be more practical than your new favorite bag making you feel confident and happy all day and all night? 

Check out the rest of the crossbody bag mini-collection, and think about what you’re going to wear this weekend!




the story of my perfect tote bag

So, I have this tote bag. I’m not going to post a picture, because it’s not much to look at: it’s navy blue, with navy blue straps. It’s big, it holds lots of stuff, and it is one of the first things I ever made for myself…therefore I carried it whenever I needed the space. Lately, that meant anytime I went to the studio to teach.

But it was making me sad. It was so plain.

plain black tote bags


My dissatisfaction with this bag made me think: why should something be plain just because I plan on using it every day?

(I know that was my thinking when I picked out that plain fabric way back in 2003…I was afraid of prints back then, if you can believe it.)

I decided I would make myself a new tote bag, one that was perfect for me. It would embody all the things I love, and therefore I would love using it every day, not like the sad navy blue thing I had been suffering lately.

chevron patchwork from the wrong side


The front is a chevron patchwork of bold prints, and the back is purple velveteen (one of my recent acquisitions). The straps are dark blue denim with gold sparkly leather, and the lining is bright red. There are four massive pockets, all lined in contrasting fabrics.

As you well know (unless you’re new here), those are pretty much all of my favorite things! I’ve been working on it for a while, but I finished it this week, and I couldn’t be more in love!

Valerie's custom chevron patchwork tote bag


Now clearly, this bag is not for everyone. But it is perfect for me, and that’s what matters.

(the best part is that each fabric in the patchwork reminds me of a specific time or place…better than a scrapbook or a photo album!)

It occurred to me, while I was walking down the street, smugly toting my perfect tote, that this is exactly how you pinpoint your personal style. What makes you happy? What do you feel good in? What do you reach for without thinking about it?

Or conversely: what is wrong with that thing you have that doesn’t make you happy?

zip pouch in progress

I’ve known that I don’t like to wear plain things for a while now, ever since the end of my office job meant the end of “business casual.” Over the years I’ve changed out the stuff I use for more interesting versions, as well: my wallet is purple (surprise!), my makeup bag is gold leather, my keychain is an art deco print, my luggage is bright orange, and my rain boots are leopard print…you get the idea.

Why should your everyday items (like the gold and red zip pouch in progress above) be plain just because you plan on using them everyday?

Since when does versatile or practical have to mean plain?


zip pouch with hand drawn details and velveteen


I think those words mean something different: whatever it is that makes you the happiest. That’s what you’ll use the most often, and what you’ll turn to time after time. Why would I ever use the plain navy bag again, when I have my perfect tote? I wouldn’t – that plain navy thing is now completely impractical.

The things you use the most and surround yourself with should be the things you love the most. If plain navy thrills you, then by all means, go for it. But if you require a bit more stimulation, figure out what makes you smile, and then seek it out!