Crave, a verb:
1. To long for; want greatly, desire eagerly
2. To require; need
A few months ago I debuted the first edition of CRAVE with a compilation of my virtual hoardings. You know all those pictures, articles, and posts you Like on social media? What happens to them? How many articles have you Liked and actually read? Did you ever buy that great new product you Liked? Most times, the answer is no. So, I began periodically reviewing my likes and bookmarking the information in a folder called Cravings.
In this edition of CRAVE, I’m sharing some of my latest cravings from a Saturday of shopping around New York City. A couple weekends ago, I was hosting some out-of-town company. We walked through the park, hopped onto the subway, and ventured out onto the streets of Soho with one destination in mind: The Reformation. Coincidentally, we’d both been eying dresses from the sustainable LA-based boutique. Next, I suggested we shop for accessories at Erica Weiner, a Brooklyn-based antique and vintage-inspired jewelry brand with a shop on the edge of Little Italy. After that, we let or instincts guide us and roamed based on the flow of the crosswalks. This landed us at our final destination: a below-ground shop with an interesting window display and a name we couldn’t resist: Fair Folks and a Goat. As we explored the wares, I was reminded of that spark you get when a store window catches your eye, you wander inside, and touch, feel, or taste things as opposed to just reading reviews or looking at images on a screen. It was then I realized how much I’d been craving a shopping experience offline.
Not in NYC, don’t worry! All of these retailers are all available online as well.
Pining for… the perfect LBD to take from day to night? Head to The Reformation and check out their collection of ribbed stretch jersey shift dresses. I opted for the Arly Dress in black. No matter which style you choose, it can easily be dressed down for daytime with flats and a crossbody or dressed up for nighttime with wedges and a clutch.
Yearning for… a unique conversation piece to wear to your next event? You need a Heartbeats necklace by Erica Weiner. I wore my Heartbeats necklace featuring the Talking Heads lyric “This must be the place” to a garden party a week after purchasing it, and nearly every person I chatted with that night remarked on the necklace and the quote.
FAIR FOLKS AND A GOAT
Longing for… the most functional bag to carry in the city or on your next trip? Let’s start a movement to revive the fanny pack, which has now been rebranded by Herschel as the hip pack. If you’ve ever lived or traveled in an urban environment like NYC, you know it’s essential to have a great bag that is functional and fashionable. I typically turn to my crossbody or occasionally a backpack, but I have to admit, the hip pack is the most aptly designed for pedestrian, city life.
Still craving more? Check out CRAVE: First Edition!
Athens, GA, 2008
ME: That’s an awesome leather bag. Where’d you get it?
JULIE: Thanks! Actually, my friend Elke made it.
It’s hard to forget a name like Elke. So, when my friend Julie shared that By Elke had recently launched a new site, I had to check out the latest designs from the maker of the bag I’d coveted seven years prior. Within a few clicks, I fell in love all over again.
NYC, Upper West Side Trunk Show
One of a Kind Summer Bags, Accessories, and Jewelry
By Elke & Kim Clary Designs
Please contact me for details as this is a private event
It was a beautiful spring day on the evening of the trunk show. When I arrived at the Upper West Side high-rise, I was greeted by a doorman who directed me to the elevator. I entered the third floor apartment warily and walked toward the buzz of chatter and laughter. The spacious living area was lined wall to wall with handbags, satchels, totes, and cross-bodies galore. In the center were tables decorated with clutches, wallets, and other small accessories. The smell of fresh, supple leather permeated the room. Some women were holding up the bags, inspecting their insides, and discussing the various colors and styles. Others were modeling prospective purchases in front of a large wall-mounted mirror.
I kept walking, through a threshold and into another open space with tables of beaded baubles. In this room, women were piling on stacks of bracelets and layering varying lengths of necklaces, contemplating the perfect combinations.
At first, I was overwhelmed. I was standing in the midst of a trunk show in a home on the UWS with a porch larger than my entire East River-adjacent apartment. I was wearing jeans and my comfortable city shoes because I’d walked across town nearly three miles since “the weather was nice” but really to save on cab fare. I was surrounded by some of the most beautiful handmade leather bags and beaded jewelry I’d ever seen, and dozens of well-dressed uptown women were whirling around me, modeling bags and jewelry in the midst of their own personal fashion shows. I needed a drink to diffuse my insecurities.
After hitting up the spread of refreshments in the kitchen, I was ready to shop. First, I composed a bohemian arm party by pairing beaded bracelets by Kim Clary Designs with By Elke’s leather bangle. Then, it was onto the handbags! Once I spotted this woven clutch (similar here) with tassel detail, I was smitten. After I made my purchases, I took one final moment to bask in the beauty of the spacious UWS home before heading back across five avenues, twenty blocks, and through Central Park to my humble East River-adjacent apartment.
Photography by Sonali Prabhu of So Narly
My grandparents moved into the house on East 33rd Street in February of 1968. My mom was about to turn six, and her younger sister was only a month away from being born. My mom always says she remembers it vividly: my grandmother eight months pregnant, sitting under the shade of the awning on the front porch, directing the movers.
Forty-three years later, my grandmother decided it was time to leave this home and its original avocado-green fridge. I spent every Christmas in that house, even my first Christmas at one-month old. So for the Christmas of 2010, my family and I went there one final time.
My mom and I slowly made our way through the house, identifying the things we wanted. One night we were going through the mid-century modern highboy in the guest bedroom, her room growing up. In the bottom drawer, we came upon a treasure trove of costume jewelry my aunts had somehow missed. Among the baubles was a gold bangle.
In the summer of 2011, I was at my parent’s house, packing to move from Georgia for the first time, across the country to Madison, WI. In the background, I was re-watching Mad Men. I looked up from the pile of clothes I was folding and placing in boxes, dropped what I was doing, and darted toward the T.V. I paused the episode and immediately called my grandmother. Joan was wearing the gold bangle.
As silly as it sounds, I’ve come to treasure the bangle even more ever since I discovered Joan wearing it. I always knew the bangle was genuinely vintage, but for some reason, knowing costume designer Janie Bryant deemed it worthy for Mad Men makes it all the more authentic.
Note: I attempted to remember and locate the original episode in which Joan wears the gold bangle, but unfortunately, I wasn’t able to do so before publishing this post. Now I have a good excuse to re-watch the entire series and report back! However, Joan wears the bangle again in the final season, episode 12.
In New York City, real estate is a precious commodity. Tucked between drugstores and coffee shops, there are unmarked doors that lead to barren hallways. If you don’t know where you’re going, you could easily assume you’ve stumbled into an abandoned building, but in New York City, there are rarely vacancies.
Of a Kind, Suite 810
I walked toward the elevators, arrived on floor eight, and headed toward the hum of laughter and chatter. As I entered the Of a Kind headquarters, I bypassed the bag/coat check and bee lined straight for the studio.
Like many small businesses based in NYC, Of a Kind’s offices are quietly nestled in an unassuming high-rise. The one-day event, Edition Subtraction the Sequel, gave loyal followers a rare opportunity to peek inside the walls of the carefully curated online boutique.
The studio was buzzing with conversation and friends contemplating their potential purchases. I started with a cocktail from the pop-up bar before mingling with the crowd. As I strolled through the rows of tables decorated with select editions up to 75% off, I tried on custom-designed rings and admired hand-knit wares. Ultimately, I landed at the $50 and under table and found myself fixated on a Smiley Cuff by NYC-based designer Anna Sheffield of Bing Bang. I admit, I was in need of some extra smiles in my closet.
I continued to contemplate the cuff as I took a few more laps around the space, grabbed another vodka-lemonade, and engaged in casual chitchat with other patrons. I struck up a conversation with Of a Kind co-founder Erica Cerulo, and we commiserated over the screen that separates us from our customers. I thanked her for creating an opportunity to put a face to a name.
The event was winding down, so I tossed my empty cocktail cup and made my purchase. I walked toward the elevators, knowing that Of a Kind would soon close its doors and return to being just another well-kept secret behind an unmarked door in New York City.
Just because Small Business Saturday is behind us doesn’t mean you have to stop shopping small this holiday season. No matter what day of the year, it’s always important to support small businesses!
In Part I and Part II of my 2014 Holiday Gift Guide advocating shopping small, I shared two of my favorite small businesses: Native Bear (based in my hometown, Atlanta, GA) and Woodbury Lane (founded by fellow blogger Katelyn Kosinski of Katelyn Now, located in Milwaukee, WI). Today, I’m showcasing gifts from another small business that is near and dear to my heart: the Chicago-based brand Must Love Sparkle.
You may have seen some beautiful jewelry from Must Love Sparkle in previous posts on ARTicles of Clothing blog. Specifically, I used MLS jewels to style singer/songwriter Erica Bryan for one of her shows last summer.
If you’re hoping to give the gift of jewelry this holiday season, look no further than Must Love Sparkle! For a limited time, use the code shopsmall50 for 50% off all orders or subscribe to the MLS mailing list for 10% off your first order.
M U S T L O V E S P A R K L E
I must admit I was skeptical of the two-finger ring until I tried this poetic and adorable tortoise and the hare ring from MLS. It’s surprisingly comfortable and incredibly unique and fun. Great for a gift or stocking stuffer.
The palace cuff is the ultimate lightweight statement bracelet. It’s cute, comfortable, and instantly completes any girl’s outfit. I used this cuff while styling singer/songwriter Erica Bryan, so it’s performance approved! Whether you’re looking for something stage-worthy or just a great gift for everyday, the palace bracelet is perfect!
These are two of my favorite pieces from MLS. This necklace and bracelet are part of the Jocelyn Negron Collection, a group of pieces fashioned by Jocelyn Negron, jewelry designer and founder of Must Love Sparkle. This collection has a stunning design and exceptional quality. A truly beautiful holiday gift for any special woman in your life.
About the Business:
Must Love Sparkle is a Chicago-based a jewelry destination characterized by a unique aesthetic, exceptional quality, and attainable prices. Jewelry designer and founder Jocelyn Negron has a keen eye for buying and designing, which has allowed her to curate a diverse collection of her own jewelry designs as well as that of other designers. The MLS girl likes to mix it up by wearing hoodies with high heels or Nikes with fur. However, at the end of the day, MLS is for anyone who wants to shine, no matter your style.