Tag Archives: what to wear to the office

25 outfit ideas for what to wear to the office

Getting dressed is supposed to be fun! Given that most of us have to get dressed for work more than anything else, figuring out what to wear to the office should be especially fun.

It’s usually not, though. Office outfits tend to be utilitarian, practical.

But my friends, practical does not mean plain. Here are 25 outfit ideas to try, so you can feel happy and confident everyday…yes, even on Monday mornings!


try upgrading your accessories

chevron tote from Holland Cox with leopard print accsesories
A plain bag is not as practical as you think. What use is something that makes you blend into the background? How can you feel happy and confident while you’re invisible?

The cassandra tote is a significant upgrade to the plain brown or plain black briefcase…big enough to carry all your work gear, but interesting enough to make sure all eyes are on you…right where they belong.

You could wear a plain brown belt and plain brown heels…or you could upgrade to an eye-catching leopard print!  Mixing prints is an awesome way to stand out, and it works in this case because the color scheme is the same.

(Subscribe to the Insider’s List to get more advice on how to mix prints.)


try dressing up a denim mini skirt

metallic leather wrap belt from Holland Cox with a denim skirt
You might think you can’t get away with a denim mini skirt in the office…but it’s all in the styling.

The jezebel wrap belt is bronze metallic leather, and can upgrade pretty much anything you wear with it! Along with great jewelry and a serious tweed jacket, your denim mini is ready for 9-5. The fact that everyone will be jealous that you can “pull it off” is just a bonus!

(Also shown: the anjelica 517 tote.)


try wearing your off-season clothes

Holland Cox infinity scarf with a sleeveless top
I never put away my clothes when the seasons change, I just re-style them for the new season whenever I can! This sleeveless blouse doesn’t need to be exiled to the back of you closet, you just need something warm to wear with it.

The naomi infinity scarf is lined in warm cotton flannel. It can give your outfit both a season-appropriate upgrade and a style upgrade with it’s bright and bold print, and subtle shine.


try bold graphics

the anjelica tote from Holland Cox with a striped blazer
This is the type of jacket you see in the store and love it, but then don’t get it because you think it’s not “practical.”

But, practical does not mean plain. In reality, boldly printed pieces like this are the perfect upgrade for all the plain things you already have!

A jacket this awesome effortlessly upgrades all your plain black (and gray) skirts and pants.

(Also shown: the anjelica 517 tote.)


try a denim dress

Holland Cox button scarf with a denim dress

The secret to wearing denim at the office is to pick a dark wash, a tailored silhouette, and of course, the right accessories.

The katherine button scarf is just such an accessory! The subtle black and gold print is sophisticated enough to elevate any denim dress…when paired with beautiful jewelry (yes, you can wear a necklace with a scarf!) and gorgeous boots, you have an outfit worthy of any c-suite.


try contrasting textures

the anjelica tote from Holland Cox with a leather skirt

A tweed jacket is a professional wardrobe staple! Whether yours is colorful like this one or more plain, it can benefit by being paired with contrasting textures.

That’s why I chose to style this one with a leather skirt, and the denim and vinyl anjelica 517 tote. Even in so-called “neutral” colors, the contrast elevates the outfit into something interesting rather than ordinary.


try a little edge

Holland Cox tote with leather and leopard print

Now here is a way to make sure every eye is on you! Leather and large-scale animal prints are guaranteed to be eye-catching, even in the most creative and fashionable offices.

Good thing you have a great statement bag like the cassandra tote to stand up to such a bold outfit – anything less would just be a waste!


try upgrading your plain trousers

the anjelica tote from Holland Cox with camel trousers

You probably already have a good pair of trousers in a color you thought was “practical” when you bought it – camel, gray, navy…et cetera. Instead of putting on a plain white blouse, why not pick a bright color?

Instead of a plain bag, why not something with more presence and style? The anjelica 517 tote is dark blue denim with classic gold stitching, perfect to set off your CEO-worthy jewelry, and upgrades your entire outfit instead of bringing it down.


try high style denim

high style denim

You’ve probably noticed I love designing and making with denim…I just love how versatile it can be!

This outfit is an excellent example. Stella McCartney trousers, Louboutin booties, and very expensive designer jewelry look great together, and are perfectly set off by the denim and vinyl anjelica 517 tote – but only because of it’s unusual style, classic stitched details, and bold red accents. A plain denim bag could never do that!

(Stella would definitely approve of the vinyl on the back!)


try mixing warm and cool together

the sofia tote from Holland Cox with a plaid skirt

The sofia 517 tote is a mix of black, gray, and bright blue, so you might think that only cool tones could be paired with it.

This delightful plaid skirt proves that a warm gold can fit in just fine! Don’t be afraid to mix tones like this, especially if you have a spectacular piece (like the skirt or the necklace) that does all the heavy lifting for you.


try metallic leather

metallic leather wrap belt from Holland Cox with a gray skirt

What could be more deadly boring than a plain gray skirt and a plain white sweater? This is not an outfit that says “I’m the boss,” or that is likely to make you feel confident enough to take charge.

The sheba wrap belt is the perfect upgrade – pewter metallic leather means that it can make even the plainest outfit into something extraordinary.

Pearl jewelry and the eye-catching gloria tote (with a hand-drawn mandala motif) completes the look. Your plain sweater has never looked this good!


try wearing the color of the year

the raina crossbody bag from Holland Cox with a ultraviolet blazer

According to the Pantone people, ultraviolet is the color of the year, and you have to know that I’m thrilled by this. Purple (in all its manifestations) is always going to be one of my favorites!

The raina crossbody bag is a great way to wear it! Even though you’re going to see ultraviolet everywhere this year, you probably won’t see much of it on metallic leather, and certainly not on a bag as practical and useful as a crossbody…it easily fits inside your briefcase or tote bag, and seamlessly transitions to your weekend outfits, too. What’s more practical than that?


try adding stripes

the trinity bag from Holland Cox with a striped blazer

I’m a firm believer that stripes go with everything, and that black and white stripes in particular are a great way to break into wearing prints…a gateway drug, if you will. An easy, painless, and fool-proof way to make any outfit more interesting.

And here’s the proof: this striped blazer will go with literally everything you already own…it’s just like wearing a solid black or a solid white blazer, only much more interesting!

The trinity everyday bag matches this purple sheath dress exactly, but is certainly interesting enough to stand on it’s own (more on that, next)…you could really wear this outfit with any color dress!


try letting your bag be the star

the trinity bag from Holland Cox with a striped dress

A bold color-block bag like the trinity everyday bag is the perfect type of bag to be the star of your outfit – it almost doesn’t matter what you wear with it. Especially if your closet is already full of lots of red and purple, or full of lots of neutrals…it will work either way.

That’s the benefit of finding “your colors” and sticking with them…you can find bold and bright accessories that work with your entire wardrobe!


try wearing red

the moira tote from Holland Cox with a red sweater

I know you already have a black pencil skirt. Instead of pairing it with something else “neutral,” why not bright red? There’s nothing like a deep, saturated red to make you feel confident and fearless!

The moira tote is mostly black and white, but has some red accents that make it a perfect accompaniment, and certainly more interesting than a plain black bag.


try wearing a necklace with a scarf

the cassandra scarf from Holland Cox with a long necklace

The secret to styling a necklace and scarf together, is to make sure both can be seen. That means with an infinity scarf like cassandra here, you need a long, pendant-style necklace.

With a longer scarf, you might want a shorter necklace that follows a the line of a crew neck, or even a choker. Don’t be afraid to experiment!


try a monday dress

the moira tote from Holland Cox and a Monday dress

The “Monday Dress” is the dress you can wear without thinking about it – it fits like a dream, it’s your favorite color, and you always look great in it. That’s what makes it perfect for Monday…painless, effortless, and foolproof. Everybody needs a Monday Dress!

Even if your Monday Dress is not red, you need an awesome bag like the moira tote to go with it. The whole point of the Monday dress is effortless style. A plain, boring bag just isn’t good enough for the kind of impact you need on Monday mornings!


try a maxi skirt

the rosetta scarf from Holland Cox with a maxi skirt

Even though I’m short, I love to wear maxi skirts! Even one with a dramatic, full silhouette like this one can be appropriate for the office, especially if it’s in a sober and traditional tweed, or a classic print like windowpane check.

I know you’re afraid to wear so much skirt with anything but a plain black top, but that’s okay. To keep warm, and to add a little something special to your outfit, try a boldly colored scarf like the rosetta button scarf  – a tonal print is always going to be easier to wear than a multi-colored print, and the traditional roses pair beautifully with the classic windowpane check.


try a button scarf

the natalie button scarf from Holland Cox for the office

The button scarf really is the best type of capsule accessory…that is, the type of accessory you add to your capsule wardrobe to make it more versatile and interesting! It can be worn in so many different ways, that it’s like having several accessories in one.

The natalie button scarf in particular is great. The book marble print is subtle but interesting, and easily works with so many of your neutrals: gray, black, white, and navy.

(Also shown: the gloria tote.)


try upgrading your gray

the sofia tote from Holland Cox with gray pencil skirt

It’s so easy for gray to look faded, dingy, or boring…and I’ve already shared several ideas on how to avoid that.

Whatever strategy you choose, you’re going to need a great bag, and the sofia 517 tote is perfect. Subtle color and an interesting silhouette save the day!


try adding texture

the sibyl bag from Holland Cox with a ruffle blouse

The sibyl everyday bag is a great example of how texture adds interest and style. The black stitching and the red ultrasuede turn the plain gray denim into something extraordinary.

The same can be said of the red blouse – you could wear something plain, but pleats, ruffles, embroidery, or other surface design are so much more interesting, and will guarantee you won’t look like everybody else!


try a bold print

dragon print button scarf from Holland Cox upgrades a plain office outfit

The lucille button scarf pairs an extremely bold dragon print in black, white, and gray with bright red for a truly unique accessory. It is the perfect upgrade to a plain black skirt and a plain gray blazer.

Without the scarf, this is the type of outfit that will have people mistaking you for hotel staff, instead of recognizing you as the keynote speaker.

(Also shown: the moira tote.)


try a sweater dress

the sofia tote from Holland Cox with a sweater dress

Like the Monday Dress, a sweater dress is a great short-cut to an awesome outfit. If your sweater dress is a tad too casual for your office, adding a jacket with stylish lapels is the easiest way to upgrade.

Sophisticated jewelry and a great bag like the sofia tote finishes the look. Now you’re dressed to impress!


try a bright color

the sofia tote from Holland Cox with bright blue pants

Even if you’re brave enough to regularly buy bright colors, I bet you rarely think to try brightly colored pants.

But they’re really not any harder to wear than anything else…I know you already have a ton of black tops to wear with them (don’t lie!). Add some stripes and a great bag like the sofia tote,  and you’re guaranteed to stand out from the crowd of gray trousers and black pencil skirts.


try mixing prints

how to effortlessly mix prints with Holland Cox handbags and accessories

Wearing a print is a great way to upgrade your outfits, but mixing prints is definitely the next level.

The absolute easiest way to do this, is to keep a tight color palette. No matter the scale or the nature of the motifs, you’ll always look put together. In this outfit, the fitzgerald button scarf ties all the colors together, and keeps you warm, too!

(Also shown: the the sofia tote.)


I hope I’ve inspired you to experiment with your wardrobe, and try upgrading the outfits you already have with some awesome accessories.

Need some inspiration? Subscribers to my Insider’s List get a series of posts on style experiments to try, including ideas on how to find “your colors,” how to mix prints, and much more. Click here to subscribe.





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?

need help finding your colors?
Subscribers to the Insider’s List get an exclusive series of posts from me, all about easy style experiments to try, to help you figure out your personal style.
Click here to subscribe!

(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!




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!






upgrade your basics with a button scarf

The button scarf has been the best seller at Holland Cox since I introduced them in February 2016, and it’s easy to see why! They are bold, colorful, easy to wear, and are the perfect capsule wardrobe accessory: they can make anything you already have in your closet look amazing!

Here are some outfit ideas showing how a button scarf can upgrade your wardrobe basics, and create outfits that make you feel happy & confident, and not like you’re fading into the background!


your basic black pencil skirt

upgrade your plain black and gray outfits with a dragon print button scarf
You probably have a plain black pencil skirt, because you figured it would “go with everything,” and you’d get lots of wear out of it.

You probably also have lots of plain, solid color tops because of the same reason. Unfortunately, now you have lots of outfits that are just plain. See where I’m going with this? Enter bold and bright accessories to save the day!

I’ve styled this black pencil skirt and plain gray top with the lucille button scarf, which features my absolute favorite dragon print fabric, and bright red flannel.

The trinity everyday bag finishes off the outfit, because a plain black bag would just be too sad at this point.

The lucille button scarf is a perfect example of how black and gray don’t have to be boring…they can be bold and bright as well (when you mix them up just right)!


your fall/winter outerwear

blue book marble button scarf with a gray pea coat and a black 517 tote from Holland Cox
Remember that your button scarf can coordinate with your favorite coat and gloves, too! The winter scarves are lined with cotton flannel, so they are warm enough (and stylish enough) to serve as your outerwear scarf and as an accent to your outfit.

The fitzgerald button scarf is all about shades of blue, so will look amazing with a wide variety of coats you probably already have…from the denim jacket and khaki trench coat you wear in the fall, to the  wool pea coat you bring out when real winter arrives!

(Also shown: the sofia 517 tote)


your go-to sweater & jeans outfit

purple book marble button scarf with a gray sweater and jeans
Everyone has a cozy sweater and favorite jeans that are the backbone of their fall/winter casual wardrobe. Wouldn’t it be nice to elevate your go-to outfit a bit? Turn it into something that makes you feel confident and stylish, not just comfortable?

The button scarf is designed to do exactly that! This is the natalie button scarf, in a classic book marble print that looks great with all your favorite neutrals: black, navy, gray, even brown and white.

(Also shown: the simone everyday bag)


What do you have in your closet that could use a little boost? What favorite outfits of yours could be even better with a little bit more color, and a little bit more style? Check out all the button scarves and imagine how they could elevate your everyday!




versatile style: the anjelica 517 tote five different ways

Your most versatile accessories are never the plain ones. Your favorites get worn the most because of how they make you feel. How can you feel happy and confident in something dull? How can you fall in love with something plain?

Do yourself and your wardrobe a favor, and pass by the plain! Here are five different ways you could wear the anjelica 517 tote…proving that practical does not mean plain.


with distressed jeans


denim 517 tote from Holland Cox with distressed jeans and peasant top

The anjelica tote is all about the classic look of gold stitching on dark blue denim. But it’s also bright red on the back (Click here to see all of anjelica’s details)…don’t think that means you can only wear it with red!

Denim anything can be treated as a neutral (you wear your favorite jeans with practically every color, right?), and the anjelica tote is no different. The windowpane check and gentle curves give it a very classy look, but that doesn’t mean you can’t wear it on the weekends, too, with distressed jeans and a cute tank top!


with an embroidered mini skirt


denim 517 tote with embroidered mini skirt and tank top

Intricate embroidery is very trendy right now, and depending on what motifs you go for, those items may not last too many seasons into the future.

You don’t have to worry about that with the anjelica tote…there’s no motif more classic than a windowpane check, and classic means it never goes out of style. So break out your trendy miniskirts now, and when you’re tired of them, you’ll still have an awesome bag to wear with whatever comes next!

I’ve also styled this outfit with the small perfect pouch and mini pouch in a vintage black and gold damask, which echoes the embroidery trend (and coordinates with the skirt) without being too matchy.  The perfect pouches are designed to work with the 517 totes to corral your smaller goodies, and look great doing it! Check them all out here.


with a ruffly maxi skirt


denim 517 tote from Holland Cox with ruffly maxi skirt and blouse

This outfit is all about contrasts. The voluminous skirt and fluffy blouse are very romantic, but the knee-high boots and the anjelica tote are much more modern (I like to think the accessories are a little of both!).

They all work together because each piece is quite dramatic, even if they achieve that drama in very different ways. This is not what a wallflower would wear!


with a preppy dress


denim 517 tote from Holland Cox with striped sun dress

The anjelica 517 tote is automatically going to look amazing with anything in black and white – denim, red, and gold all set off black and white beautifully, so you can’t lose.

This cute little dress is especially a great fit because of it’s shape. Its A-line skirt and fitted bodice echo the gentle curves on the tote, making them perfect for each other!

Girly accessories like sky-high scarlet heels and a flower for your hair round out this cute and flirty outfit. Check out the matching small perfect pouch as well, to hold all your goodies inside your tote!


with tailored trousers


the anjelica tote from Holland Cox with tailored red trousers

Finally, the anjelica 517 tote makes an amazing work bag. Miles away from the basic black and boring brown briefcases your colleagues will have, anjelica guarantees all eyes will be on you (which is exactly where they should be).

It’s stylish enough for the C-suite, but practical enough to elegantly haul all your office gear around.


Knowing all the other ways you can wear it, what could be more versatile? Can you imagine any of these outfits being as eye-catching and interesting with a plain bag?





denim high style

You’ve probably noticed I love to design and sew with denim. I have used it in every single collection since I started Holland Cox in 2004! I’ve used it on every accessory and every style of handbag.

I use it so much because I love to wear it, and I truly believe it can work for nearly any occasion.

Here’s some outfit ideas that epitomize high style denim:


at the office

how to wear denim to the office: with the anjelica 517 tote
What to wear to work is a constant worry for anyone who doesn’t have a uniform or a home office…it never ends! The anjelica 517 tote is a great example of a denim bag that is sophisticated enough to coordinate flawlessly with a professional outfit.

Here I’ve paired her with a crisp white shirt, an asymmetrical skirt, and polished details like amber jewelry and a silk scarf. The back of the anjelica 517 tote is bright red vinyl, so red accessories are the perfect finishing touch. A plain brown or black bag just wouldn’t look as interesting!


on date night

how to wear denim on date night: with a cute denim clutch and mini skirt
Everyone counts on denim to be casual, but it can be cute and sexy, too! This date night outfit is built on a classic denim pencil skirt. Along with a cute top and killer shoes, all you need is a stylish clutch, here in the form of the Holland Cox perfect pouch.

The simone perfect pouch is only 8″ wide and not quite 6″ tall, so it can easily double as a petite clutch that sits in the palm of your hand. Perfect for your wallet, keys, phone, and lipstick!


on the weekend

how to wear denim on the weekend: with a stylish handbag
One of the things I love about denim is that it will effortlessly mix with absolutely anything, including any and all shades of blue. This casual weekend look is proof! Black, navy, royal, cornflower blue, and gray all easily coordinate with the denim on the holland everyday bag.

You should never feel the need to match, but it’s especially not necessary with denim. What could be more versatile than that?

Check out my Pinterest board on high style denim for more examples of how versatile and stylish denim can be!




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!



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?




how to wear gray without fading away

Gray is a neutral that is often hailed as being softer than black but just as versatile…which is true, but I think it can very easily look deadly boring as well.

(sometimes even a little dingy or dirty…nobody wants that.)

Here’s five outfits I’ve styled starring the sibyl everyday bag, with five ways to wear gray that will highlight your style, not make you fade into the background.


choose a print


The best way to make any outfit interesting is to choose a print, of course! Think how boring this outfit would look with a plain t-shirt and a plain cardigan.  The sibyl everyday bag isn’t printed, but the design stitched in has the same effect…much more eye-catching than solid gray.

This outfit is also a great example of the versatile style of the sibyl everyday bag  – even though it has a very sophisticated air, it works just as easily with super casual weekend wear.


choose interesting tailoring


By “tailoring” I mean both the style and shape of a garment, as well as how it fits. Wide leg jeans are definitely coming back in style, but you don’t see them everywhere yet – you’ll still stand out in a crowd of skinny jeans and baggy, boyfriend-style jeans. When you don’t blend into the background, it’s so much easier to feel confident and stylish!

You can’t beat Haider Ackermann for interesting tailoring, and this jacket is so eye-catching that it almost has to be in unassuming gray to really show off the design. Way more interesting than a more conventionally styled top!


choose interesting texture


Texture can elevate any outfit in the same way a print does – by adding visual interest, and providing a little escape from the ordinary.

It’s why I added stitched details to the sibyl everyday bag, rather than just creating a bag in solid gray and solid red.

Texture can be added to plain fabrics with techniques like embroidery or applique, or can be a part of the fabric itself, like the eyelet lace of this top (or the nubby texture of wool tweed, for example).


choose outstanding accessories



It is absolutely okay to have your handbag (or some other awesome accessory) be the star of your outfit!

These pants are pretty amazing on their own (the interesting design details is what does it), but imagine for a moment plain gray trousers, and this feature-less black top. Pretty dull, and not something that’s going to help you feel confident and stylish when you wear it.

But add a great handbag like sibyl and some gorgeous pearl jewelry, and it’s a completely different story!

This is the whole concept behind a capsule wardrobe, of course. The key to making your capsule wardrobe work is having versatile, interesting accessories that work for lots of different looks!


choose to not wear gray at all




Remember friends, coordinating and matching are not the same thing! This outfit is a great example of how neutrals can be mixed and matched together indefinitely. It’s also another great example of making your handbag the focal point of your outfit.

The gray and red are actually the accents of this outfit, rather than the starting point. With everything else black and white, the bright red of the sibyl bag really stands out!


Have I given you some ideas on how to experiment with your style? For more ideas, subscribe to the Insider’s List and I’ll send you 7 Style Experiments to try right now, and you’ll never feel like a wallflower again!




five ways to dress yourself between seasons

Even though the magazines and stylists and organizational experts say I should, I never “turnover” my closet when the seasons change. Instead, I re-style! Let me show you a few ways you can do the same, starring the trinity everyday bag from my latest collection.


add a layer on top



The easiest way to make your summer clothes work for the fall is to add a layer. I especially love a denim jacket for this! Denim looks great with nearly any color and any fabric, and works with any complexion or coloring.

If you need a more formal look, choose a dark wash, and more tailored details (something that looks more like a blazer than a motorcycle jacket), and you can even wear your denim jacket to work!


add a layer underneath




Global warming means weather is more unpredictable than ever, and can be strangely severe at the most unexpected times. Around here in the DC area, it is no longer unheard of to hit 80 degrees in November!

But 80 degrees in the fall does not feel like 80 degrees in the summer! You’d be cold in just a tank top, but it’s way too warm for a jacket or sweater. The solution? Layer your lightweight garments for the perfect in-between effect.


remove a layer



You might be saving your sweater dresses for the serious cold weather, when we’re past this transition time and truly into winter. But you can totally wear them now.

Instead of piling on a chunky scarf and wearing thick tights with your sweater dress, skip the scarf and go with bare legs. You’re only half-way to winter, so you can totally wear a half-wintery outfit!


switch out your shoes



This one’s easy: take an outfit you might normally wear with flats, sandals, or open-toed shoes, and wear it with boots (or ankle booties) instead.

You could also try wearing tights or socks with shoes you normally wear bare-foot. You’d be surprised how much warmer your whole body feels when just your feet are covered up!


mix it up



Why not try taking one element from your “winter” wardrobe and mixing it with one from your “summer” wardrobe?

This outfit is built on a wooly pencil skirt, that you might normally wear in the winter with a sweater, or a blouse and a jacket. In between seasons, try wearing that same skirt with something from your summer closet. Maybe something that you’d normally put underneath something else, like this lightweight ribbed top.


Are you inspired to look at your closet in a new way? You can always get more out of your favorite clothes if you get creative about styling, and have the right accessories! Then you can make your capsule wardrobe work year-round, and still have plenty of different outfits to express your personal style and make you feel happy and confident.

Visit the shop for more on the trinity everyday bag, and think about how it might make the favorites from your closet look new again!