Don’t Knock Coach. Coach is having a complete brand revival, and we should listen.

Earlier this year, I  bought my third Coach handbag in a one year period.  For the bag snobs out there, hold on a second — all of my other bags are Prada, Fendi, Lanvin, etc.  However, Coach has had an absolute brand revival.  They’ve gone from being the equivalent of Shop Rite [or insert any average grocery store], to Whole Foods, in only a few years.  Coach was a struggling and deeply asleep brand.

Coach, before…  Before this revival in the past few years, Coach was doing a lot of canvas bags, lots of logo bags, steep discounts, and out of touch with the consumer.  (Meanwhile all types of similarly priced brands cropped up.)  Coach didn’t seem to be focusing on handbag fashion, and it was definitely not seen as a luxury brand.  Coach has taken a lot of measures to improve their rundown brand image.

New people in charge.  There are two notable key players at Coach.  The first is Victor Luis, the CEO, who had a great vision and idea of what he had to do to revitalize the brand during his leadership.  The second is Stuart Vevers, who is the Executive Creative Director, and has previously designed for Bottega Vennetta and Burberry to name a few.   In fact, Stuart Vevers recently won “Accessory Designer of the Year” award from Council of Fashion Designers of America, Inc. (CFDA) — well-deserved!

New boutique and merchandise strategies.  Some of the biggest things the brand has done is remove a lot of their merchandise from department stores, and close a lot of Coach locations.  Instead, they have shifted their focus on the quality and prestige of Coach boutiques.  Deeply discounting merchandise, has also become a thing of the past.  The brand has had to re-educate and re-train consumers on why it is worthwhile to pay for Coach.  Below are some pictures from the NYC flagship:img_5157

 

Fresh and revitalized products.  Now, Coach is focusing on their classic glove-tanned leather craftsmanship.  They are trying hard to turn themselves back into the luxury American brand that they used to be quite a while ago.  They are trying to keep up American tradition while bringing some European elegance to their products and collections.

Collaborations and brand image.  Coach has collaborated and obtained partnerships with fresh, vibrant, fashionistas.  The brand collaborated with the Mulleavy sisters, designers of the edgy brand Rodarte on their collection.  For those of you who have been living under a rock, Selena Gomez is the brand’s main model.  She has been featured in the advertising, as well as representing the brand by wearing it to the Met Gala, for example.

Market timing and new demands.  Right now is a great time for Coach, when prices for handbags are in the $4,000 – $6,000 and above range for premier designer bags.  The US consumer is more conscious and looking to invest in good quality handbags and items, without having to spend thousands.

Most recent purchase. This grey bag was my most recent purchase, and I always get so many compliments on this bag.  People are always so puzzled when they find out it’s Coach.  They usually guess Chloe and Celine.  What I love about the bag is the discreet and interesting closure, and the fact that the decorate portion is not comprised of sequins, but of actual beautiful leather.

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Here is the second bag I purchased around December 2017/January 2018 to wear on casual going-out nights.  It has interwoven leather, and the chain can be worn in two different ways — long and short.

They had two versions of the black bag that I was deciding between when I bought it:img_5140

I’ve gotten some good mileage our of this one:

This bag is the first one that I bought in 2017.  I also could not help but buying the leather black dinosaur bag charm called “Rexy” which has become an icon for Coach.  There is actually a giant dinosaur in their Fifth Avenue NYC flagship location that is made of handbags, wallets, etc.

I’m also not the only one who has been enjoying Coach.  My husband seriously can’t get enough of his backpack.  This backpack has been around Arizona, Florida, and is always parading around Manhattan!  There he goes with his Saks bag and Coach bag lol  This must have been the day he got the backpack!

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This backpack is always relaxing in nice places…

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I’m excited to see what else Coach brings to the table.  Cheers to many more backpacks, bag charms, and handbags!

 

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Yukie Beauty Spa: A Midtown East/Upper East Side Nail Art Salon

My friend at work was going to get nail art, and it reminded me how much I love getting nail art.  Now that the weather is finally starting to warm up, I’m getting excited about wearing more colors and bright nails are definitely on my horizon soon.  I have a favorite Japanese nail art salon in midtown called Yukie Beauty Spa.  For months, I was going there consistently, but I was working in a conservative environment and I felt like I was pushing the outer limits with my nail designs.  A little about Yukie Beauty:

  • The salon uses Calgel and BioSculpture Gel which is thick, lasts long time, and can be used to slightly lengthen nails.  Most other gel manicures are thinner in comparison, and are not used to extend nail length.  (There are other gels and regular nail polish available at Yukie, but their true skill is nail art.)
  • The nail technicians can do anything that you request with your nails.  They truly are artists.  They can create shapes on your nails, they can paint them with specific designs, and they can also adhere stones and little objects.  I recommend bringing pictures of what you want, because it’s easier to communicate what you’re looking for visually rather than verbally.  (Especially, since many of the technicians that I’ve had mainly speak Japanese.)
  • The gel manicures have lasted me about 3 – 4 weeks without chipping.  The issue is that by that point your nails area so grown out that you have to get them redone.
  • My manicures have run me about $60-$70 depending on the amount of nail art.  This is reasonable in comparison with some places that start a little higher.
  • The salon space itself is small, and has about four spots available for manicures.  (There is also a connected hair salon, but I have not been there.)  They offer you a water, tea, etc. when you’re there.  One thing I really like is that they have a basket right next to your chair for your handbag.  I never put my bag on the floor!
  • It is located on a second floor walk-up right off Madison Avenue on 58th Street.  It’s right by Tao Uptown and the Four Seasons.  If you’re meeting someone right after, or have a significant other waiting — I suggest the bar at Tao.

This is my first gel manicure from Yukie.  I tried it right after Christmas, and right in time for my birthday:img_5102-2-2603144411-1519516169962.jpg

Here is one time I requested nude beige-toned nails, and a lotus shape flowed with a spec of gold in the middle:img_5512-1

This is a nautical design that I had during the summer.  It had navy stripes, and a small red heart accent:

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This is a more simple peachy-tan colored design, with a small printed black and gold line on the accent nails:img_6924

This an example of when they painted little leopard spots that I requested on my ring fingers.  Please excuse how grown out my nails are in this photo.  This is when I was completely overdue to change my nails at four weeks.img_5449-1

This is a pink and rhinestone racecar-like design I got right before a summer Europe trip:img_6253

Now that I don’t work in a conservative environment, I cannot wait to dream up exotic and neon designs!  The sky is the limit!

Link to reviews:

Yelp 4.5

Beyond Proper by Boston Proper: A Catalogue Fashion Company with Great New Summer Clothes

I have never heard of this website/catalogue called Beyond Proper by Boston Proper, but I’m really loving their stuff.  (It seems like one of those online-only boutiques, with lots of cute more trend and seasonal items.)  I just got this catalogue in the mail, and some of their items really have me excited for spring, summer, warm weather, and traveling!

This is the cover of the catalogue:img_5517

Here are some of the pieces that I really like, but would obviously have to try on! 🙂

I love how this bathing suit is low cut in the bottom, and has a very interesting and woven rope-like design deep into the back.  The skirt on the right, I could just imagine being loose and flown, and easy to match with a lot of simple tops in white, black, and maybe even grey.img_5507

Here’s the same skirt shown with a different top below:img_5505

I love this slinky bathing suit top that turns into night.  I could totally see this worn with high-wasted pants for a dinner date.  I think this could be a fun top if your pool time is going to turn into happy hour time.  At the very least, I like the idea that this is a bathing suit, and when you feel like wearing something sparkly you can actually wear it in a city setting without a pool or beach.img_5500

I love the chic design of this bold striped bathing suit, and I think it could be one of those pieces that’s very slimming.  My picture definitely doesn’t do it justice!img_5503

I think this black bathing suit is fun, and could look good on a lot of different people.   I also think you could easily mix-and-match this bathing suit with other bathing you already own.  I also think the flowy top of the bathing suit would be something really fun to wear with shorts for a sweaty bike ride!  img_5508

I love textures and things that have movement.  At first glance this looks like a dress, but it’s actually a two-piece skirt and top that can be worn separately.  I love that there are a lot of outfit options here, and the top can be work with jeans or silky pants, and the bottom can be dressed up in a variety of ways.  The catalogue gives you one idea of wearing it with a white button-down and denim jacket.img_5504

This blue dress is so perfect for a tropical vacation.  I’m ready to pack my bags!img_5506

These two sweetheart off-the-shoulder tops are definitely items you can incorporate into a vacation wardrobe as well as your city wardrobe.  I love that you wouldn’t need a bra with these tops, because when you’re packing, it’s annoying to have to remember the correct bra for every outfit variation.  One less thing to pack here!

These sequined sweatpants are just cool, and I really want a pair.  I would feel totally comfortable wearing these sweatpants to Whole Foods, and enjoying a casual day out.

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These last two items are also notable, and I’d have to see how they fit when I try them on.  Sometimes items like these can be bulky and make you look bigger than you really are due all of the fabric.  From first glance, these items might be better on someone very petite, but would definitely need to try them on.

Can we start counting down to hot weather already???  I can’t wait!!

A Statement Coat: What is it? A Closet Staple and Perfect Wintercessory

It’s seriously cold in New York — I mean “bomb cyclones” happening on the East Coast?  With so much drab weather, I love adding some fun and fashion to winter.  I saw this Ted Baker coat and thought to myself — perfect STATEMENT coat!  I tried to buy it online but could not find it in my size.  I’m a month or so behind on looking through my magazines.  I have subscriptions to Glamour, InStyle, Vogue, Elle, and the list goes on.  It’s hard to keep up!  (Note: I traded in all my American Airlines and United miles for subscriptions to magazines with a program called “Mags for Miles.”  No one has my credit card number so I have not been charged as the subscriptions expire.  I highly recommend doing this if you don’t fly with particular airlines.)  Anyway, back to statement coats…

What is a statement coat?

A statement coat is a coat that is very visually prominent, bold, and has flair.  It is not your average Monday through Friday black pea coat that you’re wearing to work.  It’s louder and more elaborate than what you would typically wear.  Think of this item as your “glass slippers” effect coat that you wear to get that extra outfit “oomph.”  The “statement” can manifest itself in a variety of formats — loud colors, interesting textures or furs, embellishments and adornments.   This is an oxymoron, but it’s a practical accessory; it keeps you warm in frigid temperatures, and it’s also an accessory that pulls together your outfit.

Why buy a statement coat?

  • A statement coat helps make a boring or monotone cold weather outfit more interesting.  During the fall and winter, we tend to wear a lot of neutral and dark colors such as black, navy, gray, and tan.  A statement coat can help you add that pop of drama.  It’s an easy way to add interest to your outfit and make your ensemble more unique.
  • You’ll have ample opportunities to wear your statement coat.  There are a lot of holidays, parties, and outings in the colder months where people dress more festively.  Depending on the coat, you can continue wearing it right up until spring time.  (I wear mine from November to March.)
  • A statement coat can be a quick outfit upgrade from casual to dressy.  If you’re wearing something very daytime, like jeans and a shirt, or a simple dress, throwing on a statement coat is quick way to transform from informal to formal.  This is the same concept as putting on that special pair of stilettos to elevate your otherwise downright dowdy jeans look.

Four tips on buying a statement coat:

1.  Buy a shade that you really like but wear sparingly.  If you love the way red looks on you, but wear a navy coat everyday because it’s practical — get a red one.  Don’t buy a bright green coat just because it looks great on a hanger.  Try it on!  Speaking of red, here’s a great red coat I saw when I passed Giorgio Armani on Fifth Avenue yesterday.  This is just an example, no need to spend thousands of dollars!

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2.  Don’t get something that is overly trendy.  For example, the 1970’s bell sleeves made a comeback recently, but they’re a trend that is bound to disappear again.  The coat should have a long shelf life in your closet considering that you will wear it less.  My mom has a burgundy and fur Givenchy coat that only makes an appearance a few times a year, but she’s had it for over a decade now.

3.  Don’t buy a statement coat if you do not already have a good everyday coat.  You should be practical and have solid everyday items, before buying things that are worn more sparingly.

4.  January is a great month to buy this item at a deep discount.  Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, and all  run-of-the-mill stores are running promotions to get rid of their winter merchandise.  Generally, all of the less traditional items are leftover from the winter collections at stores.  Bright or non-neutral colors, non-traditional patterns and textures are leftover and on sale!

Here is my favorite statement coat that I own!  I bought it for less than $200 at an end-season-sale.  I’ve had this coat for about four years and I love it!  Happy shopping everyone!

Mule Trend + Velvet Trend = Velvet Slippers

I have been trying to capitalize on the mules/slides trend.  Traditionally, I’ve thought of mules as really old fashioned kind of comfort shoes.  However, this season there are so many dazzling options.  Just go to any store or browse online, and there are tons of choices for trendy mules.  Some of them are very of-the-moment, and others are arguably more “classic” styles.  I personally love the ones with fur and the ones with velvet, because I love texture.  (FYI:  I love texture so much, I only buy 3D cards from Papyrus lol)  Another trend I really can’t get enough of is this velvet trend.  I’m all about velvet accents, velvet shirts, velvet booties — I love it!

When I came across these burgundy velvet mules on Neiman Marcus Last Call, I thought I hit the jackpot.  I wasn’t looking to spent too much money since I thought of these as more of a “trend” purchase rather than a long time closet staple, and at around $100 these are perfect.  They are such a statement piece, and they add pizzazz to so many fall and winter outfits.

I bought these, and what did I see the next day in Glamour magazine?  AHEMMMM!!!!  A little blurb on how velvet slippers are a great way to incorporate the velvet trend into your wardrobe this season!  Win and win!

Now where is my wine….

Everyone was in the New York Fashion Week Spirit Today

I took a walk all the way from downtown today.  I must say that everyone was in #NYFW mode.  People’s outfits were better than usual, and everyone seemed to be taking pictures.  I walked through the Flatiron neighborhood, and Banana Republic had a live show going on outside.  Fun and loud!  The set-up was interesting.  The models were walking up onto a platform and posing, facing the opposite side of the street.  Then across the street a NYC TOUR BUS was loaded with all of the photographers!  I was WONDERING why the models were facing the other direction…  At first, I thought it was a promotional fashion show put on for shoppers, like they do sometimes in big stores and malls.  However, I guess it was half promotional half campaign. 

Here are some pictures below:The tour bus load of photographers:Check out the special lighting installation they brought in (upper right corner of the photo):A little further uptown there was a model being photographed in front of the Flatiron building and it was causing a stir:I told you everyone was in the spirit.  Look at these different pairs of ladies taking glamour shots:More commotion in a tent across the street:Alright if you insist, I will take a selfie too lolLet fashion ring!  Welcome to autumn!

Lanvin Mini Sugar Handbag: A Splash of Fun

Ughhhhhh!  Where did summer go?  I was able to wear my Lanvin handbag these past two weekends in a row.  The weather is cooling down fast in NYC this year though.  Normally, around Labor Day weekend it’s still hot and summer clothes are fair game–not so much this year!

I love this little green bag.  I got it almost a year ago, and I kept forgetting about it.  The leather is so soft, and it’s such a gentle feminine bag.   Obligatory pre-departure selfies when I like my outfit:Finally out in action at a rehearsal dinner for my friend:Yep, there’s me texting summer “goodbye” and wondering where all of the warm weather has gone!See you in 2018, summer!