Celebrating the Small Crossbody Bag

I’m a satchel and clutch gal, and generally not into crossbody bags. I like the visual vibe of the crossbody, but I normally find them uncomfortable on the neck and shoulder. They bruise my hips and feel cumbersome to carry on my side. But I’ve changed my mind about the crossbody after finding a very specific silhouette that works for me. 

Two years ago I came home with a darling little crossbody from Amsterdam because I loved the tomato red and the dressy gold chain-handle shoulder strap. I realized that I do like crossbody bags when they’re relatively small, structured, somewhat classic, and have some glitz factor.

Unless I’m traveling, my bag’s contents are minimal. This makes it easy to swap out my bag to suit my outfit. As long as I have my wallet, lipstick, tissues, keys and large iPhone — I’m sorted. The lightweight, small crossbody doesn’t aggravate my neck, shoulder or hips like larger styles do. It adds a relaxed urban touch to my outfits, and I enjoy being hands-free. 

Since I reached for that little red crossbody from Amsterdam a lot more than I expected (creating an effective complement with red shoes and scarf), I decided to add a couple more small crossbody bags to my handbag capsule. A dear little pet in blush to match blush loafers and belt, and a rock star in olive with guitar strap to incorporate into an olive capsule I’m creating for Fall. The exact items are represented in the collection below. 

I’m enjoying my wildcard crossbody bags. It feels good to sport something fresh for my style after years of satchels and clutches. I was in Salt Lake City for ten days earlier this month, and the small crossbody bags with dressy chain-handle straps were very popular there too. They were styled into dressy and very casual outfits, and looked fabulous. Some were sporting them with a work tote, satchel or case as their second bag. 

Who else is celebrating the small crossbody bag with me?

My Sunburn Story

As a pale-skinned Nordic teen in the ’80s, I envied the girls at school who were tanned because that was perceived as attractive. Thank goodness that dated way of thinking is history, and protecting your skin against the sun has become a priority. 

My Mum was ahead of her time when it came to protecting your skin from the sun. When the rest of the world slathered themselves in coconut oil, baking their skin in the sun, she went in the opposite direction. She told me as a teen that it’s not about what you look like now, it’s about what you will look like decades from now. If you want healthy skin, you have to start protecting it from a young age. Yeah, yeah, I thought. It IS about what I look like now, and how could Mum not care about that? None of this made sense to me. 

In the ’70s I was the little child slathered in white sunscreen who never got burnt at the pool or on the beaches of Hong Kong. My little tanned friends sometimes made fun of my bright untanned skin, and on some level, that did affect me. 

As I got older, Mum had less control over my skin protection because I went to the pool and beach without her. Before I left, she would remind me in a not so gentle way to make sure I put on sunscreen. I dutifully yet doubtfully complied, until one day I decided to defy her.

It was a glorious hot and sunny Summer’s day in Cape Town and I was 15 years old. A friend of mine and I decided to spend the day at the beach. My Mum dropped us off at 10 a.m., and we spent the day sunning, swimming, and hanging out until my Mum’s friend fetched us at 4 p.m. I deliberately left off sunscreen because I wanted to tan. By 1pm I could feel that my skin was burnt. By 2 p.m., I put my clothes back on and went to find shade while we waited for our ride.

For the first time in my life, I had bad sunburn. 

When I got home my Mother took one look at me and shouted in Dutch: “WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?!”. “Oh, it’s not that bad,” I said, but the mirror in the bathroom revealed otherwise. It was very, very bad. 

My Mum couldn’t speak to me for two days, she was THAT angry. She did take me to the doctor, where I got some after-sun lotion. I lay on my bed with slices of cucumber over my body to help sooth the sting. I was very uncomfortable for days, unable to sleep, and had to stay out of any type of sun for weeks. My skin blistered and peeled TWICE. I also felt terrible about how I had disappointed my Mother.

It took my Mother a couple of days before she could speak to me calmly. I didn’t get sympathy for my sunburn. Instead, she implored me to use sunscreen in future. For a while she made sure my skin was extra moisturized, because sunburn chronically dries out your skin.

I learned the hard way, but I’ve been vigilant about protecting my skin since that day in 1985. I’ve had a few minor burns since then, but nothing serious. At age 47 my skin is in good shape, and according to my dermatologist, I have minimal sun damage.

I’m so grateful to my late Mum for instilling her skincare and protection and discipline in me. I wish I could thank her in person, but I’ll have to be content with her looking down on me from her big fluffy cloud in the sky knowing how thankful I am.

Crisp Dress with Floral Flair

A new outfit from Veronica Popoiacu of Bittersweet Colours, whom we introduced to YLF in August 2013.

Veronica is still very much into dresses and sported this charming drop-waist number for a visit to New York City. The bright-coloured floral appliqués are the first thing that caught my eye. They make the dress look like a delightful Summer-y work of art. The crisp white shirt dress is tailored on the shoulders and arms, which creates structure before flowing out into an oversized A-line shape. Breezy for hot weather! Veronica’s nude low-heeled pointy toe slingbacks lengthen the leg line, and further temper the volume of the dress. The wicker basket bag amps up the relaxed Summer vibe, and complements the colours in our blogger’s dress and shoes. Delicate gold jewellery adds subtle shiny polish. White cat-eye sunnies are the glam finishing touch.

Bittersweet Colours - 1

Bittersweet Colours - 2

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Roundups

Summer Items

Some fab frocks, necklaces and tops.

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Tops & Bottoms

Fun Summer items for a range of body types.

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Summer Items

A selection of warm-weather items that covers a range of body types.

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Summer White Tops

An assortment of white tops across a range of price points and silhouettes.

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Violeta & Jackets

Larger sizes and some fun toppers make this week’s roundup.

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Assorted Items

Fun stuff to add to your wardrobe for Spring and Summer.

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Olive: Neutral or Not?

Black, shades of white, shades of dark blue, blue denim, brown, taupe, tan, toffee, shades of brown, and shades of grey are neutrals. They can be combined with non-neutrals to create visual harmony because of their grounding effect. Of course, neutrals can also be combined with other neutrals to create visual harmony

And then there’s olive, which is a dirty and muted shade of green. Sometimes it’s a very brownish green. Some think of it as a neutral and others as a non-neutral. I’ve found that generally, clients who wear neutrals almost exclusively, think of olive as a neutral. Clients with more colourful wardrobes tend to think of olive as a non-neutral. Clients with very neutral wardrobes can easily combine olive into their outfits. Clients with colourful wardrobes find it a little harder, and prefer using black, white, navy and grey as neutrals. 

I do think of olive as a neutral, and have unexpectedly added more olive to my wardrobe this year. For my own style, I like olive when it’s combined with black, a shade of white, navy and blue denim best, thereby keeping the palette completely neutral. Something white or cream — even if it’s just my pearls — will accompany an olive outfit as a way of brightening and refreshing the dirty shade. I also like olive combined with tomato red and chartreuse and will, again, add a shade of white to the outfit to keep the appearance crisp and fresh. 

Over to you. Do you think of olive as a neutral or non-neutral? Do you wear it, and if so, how easily can you combine it into outfits?

Swollen Feet in Hectic Heat

Greg has been working in Salt Lake City, Utah, part of the time. So recently Sam (our Yorkshire Terrier) and I joined him there for nine days. We road-tripped down from Seattle and it was great fun. Sam is a Road Trip Rockstar. Very portable at 6 pounds, and as good as gold. He got lots of attention because he makes people smile. 

I’m also smiling because I finally had what I call a PROPER Summer, with regular daytime highs of 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius.) It was a very dry heat, so not sticky and quite manageable. Sam and I were out and about for a lot of the day, walking around in the hectic heat with intervals of air conditioning. We LOVED the weather. Sam isn’t worried about the heat as long as he stays hydrated. Trooper!

My travel capsule worked out well. I had excellent resistance to the heat and stayed covered with the right fabrics for sun and heat protection. My footwear — the most important part of my travel capsule — was fabulous too. These are the shoes that I packed for the trip:

I’m not used to walking around in these types of Summer temperatures anymore because it’s usually so much milder in Seattle. I’d forgotten that my feet swell in the hectic heat when I do lots of walking, which made the snug fitting Paul Green Margo Cross Strap Flats the least comfortable shoes that I packed. The sneakers, sandals and loafers, on the other hand, were sublime because they’re roomier. The Margo flats are fine back in mild Seattle — I recently wore them for a 14-hour NAS shopping day in air conditioning without a problem.

Over to you. Do your feet swell in the extreme heat? Do you have specific shoes that work better than others in the extreme heat? Do you go up half a size for Summer shoes to accommodate swollen feet?