Saturday, April 18, 2009

Accessorizing for a design show

Pearl bracelet by Carolee; Handbag designed by Jane Skelley;
Dress by Max and Cleo; Shoes by Tahari; Floral overcoat by Vertigo Paris;
Background damask fabric is
Clayton Ocean from Calico Corner

With the Tablescape Design Show that I will be participating in at the Wenham Museum coming up in less than a month, I am thinking a lot lately about what I will wear to the preview party (isn’t that half the fun?) and what I have worn to shows in the past.

Last September, I helped my friend, interior designer Patricia Finn with some styling for The Newbury Bath, a room that she designed for The College Club of Boston. I was able to join her, and the many other talented designers and artisans who revitalized spaces at the Club, for the gala event celebrating the completion of the project. Since Pat had chosen a gray palette for her sophisticated bath renovation, I decided to wear a gun-metal gray cocktail dress that, if it came in any other colors, I surely would have bought them all (it was one of those perfect fit, perfect price moments)!

After finding this fabulous frock (I am not showing the whole dress because I will wear it again!) and then a perfect pair of pumps, I called my talented friend, handbag designer, Jane Skelley to see what she had available to complement my ensemble in her custom-made collection. She quickly emailed a few photos from her inventory, and the one shown above was just what I had in mind. Since I always receive so many compliments when I carry one of her bags, I decided I had to share her work on my blog.

Here are some stylish totes from her spring collection ... contact Jane at to snag one for yourself (shipping is available). Each bag is unique, featuring a different combination of fabrics, trims, handles, shapes and sizes. They are “perfect for any occasion, day or night” and for you girls out there who *adore* fabric as much as I do, they are the ultimate accessory to decorate an outfit! Ask about hosting an at-home handbag party (how I was first introduced to Jane) or visiting her at an upcoming shopping event. The hardest part is deciding which one to pick. Here are some of my designer tips to help you in your quest for the perfect bag ...

If you are fashion-forward ...

#524 Red Velvet ... $55.00
14 1/2 in. wide x 9 in. high (plus handle)

If you are traditional ...

#527 Cranberry & Seafoam Floral ... $28.00
6 in. wide x 7 in. high (plus handle)

If you like traditional with a twist ...

#538 Red Floral with Gold Trim ... $45.00
10 1/2 in. wide x 7 1/2 in. high (plus handle)

For the preppy at heart ...

#534 Pretty in Pink Plaid ... $50.00 *SOLD*
14 in. wide x 8 1/2 in. high (plus handle)

You are “at home in the modern world* ...

#536 Modern Girl at the Park ... $48.00 *SOLD*
16 in. wide x 6 1/2 in. high (plus handle)

*Photo featured on

You are wild about animal prints ...

#491 A little leopard ... $30.00
8 in. wide x 6 in. high (plus handle)

You love the classics ...

#520 Tootsie ... $50.00 *SOLD*
16 in. wide x 6 1/2 in. high (plus handle)

You are an all American girl ...

#540 Shining Star ... $55.00
14 1/2 in. wide x 9 in. high (plus handle)

You are easy-going ...

#487 Blue ultraSuede Beauty ... $45.00
10 1/2 in. wide x 8 in. high (plus handle)

You just want to have fun ...

#532 Spring Fling ... $28.00
8 in. wide x 6 in. high (plus handle)

And just as one black piece of furniture can add visual balance to a room, here are a couple of wardrobe must-haves that will make any outfit look complete ...

#528 The Little Black Bag ... $30.00
8 in. wide x 6 in. high (plus handle)

#537 The Bigger Black Bag ... $50.00
16 in. wide x 6 1/2 in. high (plus handle)

My clients are always saying, “I love this fabric so much I wish I could wear it!” With a beautiful handbag designed by Jane Skelley, now you can!

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