December 4, 2013
I’ve been asked quite a few times if a Vera Bradley bag can be part of a chic ensemble. These women took the color scheme of their bag and built their outfit around it – clever and eye-catching!
Capsule wardrobes inspired by art and nature
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I love it! I love it! I'm a HUGE Vera Bradley fan…and I know that the prints get poo-pooed by some fashionistas. But, I wear so little prints, color or 'sass', that I truly love my bags. They're just fun and you cannot help but smile.
Where, pray tell, are women wearing puffer coats with coral loafers? Nowhere where there is a foot of snow! To my eye the photos (especially the upper ones) look off, the bags too summery for the coats. I would prefer a bag in leather; colour would be great but the fabric florals look like the woman has only one bag and has to carry it.
Janice Riggs says
A lot of people here in Chicago break out the down coats the second the temperatures drop below 50F. We've only had snow once, and it was on the ground for only a day. It's possible here to avoid wearing boots almost completely, if you're downtown. Maybe once or twice a year the snow removal is incomplete, but for most of the winter the sidewalks are bare, and often dry.
Fly Away Home says
I'm a Chicagoan and can vouch for Jan's explanation.
I might have to move to Chicago when I retire, then! Here in SE Michigan, sidewalks are dicey for days at a stretch, and I'm resigned to wearing snow boots from January-March.
Hmm. My parents and two preceding generations, plus many relatives, are Chicagoans. They did wear winter boots.
I love the respect with which Janice and others responded to Duchesse. I have seen in the past where someone gave their opinion and they weren't safe to do so. Janice always responds with respect and is not threatened by differing opinions. Thank you for setting that example for all of us Janice! And thank you Duchesse for asking your question. Linda
Both of the above points have validity. But I'm just glad to see you show how a Vera Bradley bag MUST coordinate with other items you're wearing to look chic. Too many ladies carry their patterned bags with little regard to the clothing/accessories they're wearing at the time. Hope this post makes it to a Vera Bradley Pinterest board.
Actually, I meant I hope Janice's post makes it to a VB Pinterest boear.
The print and structure of these bags remind me of a diaper bag I had some twenty years ago. Also, I agree with Duchesse, that they look very summery.
Wow! Why are people so snarky about Vera Bradley's products? The comments here seem a lot like the comments about the summer wardrobe made entirely from LLBean clothes. I have a few VB bags and absolutely love them. They are very well made and last forever. No, I don't use them them when I'm wearing patterned clothing, but then most of my clothes aren't patterned, and I only buy prints that coordinate with my basic wardrobe. I have leather bags but it gets soooo boring day after day dressing just like everyone else. Why not do something different?
The criticism of the Bradley bags isn't snarky — it's that some posters think the bags look better with summer clothing, that's all. I'm not a fan of Bradley myself, mainly because the bags seem impractical for the very reason illustrated — that unless they coordinate with the rest of your outfit, they can clash awkwardly. Too much trouble for me, especially if you have to coordinate with both your coat and the outfit underneath.
Fly Away Home says
VB bags are not my style preference but I found myself quite drawn to them in this post. Jan, you've done a simply aaahhh-mazing job of showing VB lovers how to pull them into a winter look. You make it look easy!
I think they add a little fun to a somber outfit. Like most of us, 90% of my wardrobe is neutral. I've carried a makeup bag and glasses case (a red and black print) in my black leather bucket bag–they make me smile when I look in and I can actually find them in that cavern. But, now I may be brave enough to get a printed purse to go with my black down and black dress-up coat.
Which reminds me of a request–Janice, how about a travel wardrobe that can make the change from cold (Chicago) to a warm weather vacation in January (Florida, Arizona, or a cruise?) I can manage Europe or New York, but the transition from cold to hot stumps me–and what do you do with the (necessary) warm coat?
Perhaps compared to Chicago, southern Arizona will be warm in January, but it will not be hot. Check the weather before you pack. You are still likely to need a cardigan or jacket of some kind, especially at night. Desert, you know. As to what you do with that coat you had on in the frozen north? Wear it on the plane and leave it wherever you are staying. We had the reverse situation last spring. We flew from 90+ temperatures on April 2 to rainy, cold Amsterdam. We took our heavy jackets on the plane and wore our heaviest clothing. We looked ridiculous in the Tucson Airport, and in the Atlanta one, but perfectly normal upon arrival in the Netherlands. We were also very thankful we wore what we had on, especially our coats. And if you are coming to Tucson and want a Vera Bradley, the stores are chock full of them in all patterns, sizes, colors and styles right now. It's gotta be the sun. I find it odd that people tend to wear the dreariest colors in the dreariest places, when just a little color can brighten their days, like you mentioned. Whereas those of us who live in sunny, warm places tend to wear brighter and more smile-worthy colors year round. It's a totally different aesthetic. Try as I may, I simply cannot make most of my wardrobe the traditional neutral colors. It makes me feel dowdy.
I wasn't familiar with Vera Bradley bags and they're certainly not my cup of tea, but I think the best way to wear them might be to go all boho and flower power and match their mood in your outfit rather than trying to tone them down with more classic clothes resulting in a mismatched outfit.
I live in Hawaii, where it is just too hot to wear scarves most of the time. I love my Vera bags, which I use to add color and pattern to my outfit, the way those of you in cooler climates use your scarves.These are not all purpose bags that "go" with everything, and I cringe when I see women who use them as such. Used as Janice shows them here, thoughtfully coordinated with the outfit, they really brighten things up.
Jean S says
VB is still extremely popular in the South. I think I would do a double-take if I saw one of those bags here in Oregon, even in July!
I live in Hawaii, too, but travel to the mainland several times a year so I "need" scarves for those trips.:) My lifestyle is mostly casual but I like to wear a neutral dress or pants with colorful cardigan or top for church, etc. I'm all for floral bags, even when traveling to colder climates, because as someone else said, they make me smile. My favorite is a black satchel with berry-colored flowers that are subtle but beautiful. I don't think I would feel comfortable wearing it to an office but anywhere else it seems fine to me.
If VB brings a bit of happiness to someone then I'm all for it. We all need to learn to dress for ourselves and give less care to the judgement of others. I am working on trying not to pass judgement on what others wear unless it is a positive judgement. If I find myself thinking negative thoughts about what someone else is wearing then I try to turn off the thought stream and move on. Wasted time.
Please bring me something other then Vera Bradley Bags. This may be the saddest sit down I've had with your wonderful blog.
A faithful follower
Squirrels Girl says
So basically you're saying:
Dear person who provides — for free! — a blog that I greatly enjoy and appreciate,
I do not like what you posted today. Don't do that again.
Really? You couldn't just say "huh, not for me" and check back again tomorrow?
thanks for the post, Janice — not my style, but interesting to see what you've done, as always!
It is completely irrelevant if we like the VB bags or not. The point is, if we do, Janice shows a great way do so. I hope those readers who can't relate to this post don't feel compelled to follow all your other excellent suggestions. I, for one, was unfamiliar with the bags. However, it could be a fun umbrella, a fun jacket pattern, etc. The point is how to tie in a pattern with a solid wardrobe and make it work. Thanks!
I love my VB bags, but I usually put them away with my spring/summer clothes in September. I coordinate them with my outfit. I have a lime green/fuchsia print and a lime green/fuchsia plaid jacket that I wear together and I get tons of compliments. Other than that, my clothes are solid colors, so having a print bag is the perfect accessory when it's too warm to wear a scarf.
Thank you, Janice, for showing us such a wide-range of "looks".
I have a few VB bags (mostly hand-me-ups from daughter who went through a brief phase). You can still get some that look like Provencal prints. And they are blessedly lightweight. That is why they are favored by women who can't carry heavy bags.
i prefer black or gray nylon for a lightweight bag, but I do occasionally use the Veras. I don't like them much, but they bring a lot of compliments!
I live in FL and see these on a daily basis. Since we hardly ever get below 50 degrees they are appropriate for the locale. Not my style sure, I prefer leather tote bags myself since I use them as a caryall. Half the women in my Sunday School class have the bags and every accessory known to mankind. They look very festive when I see them.
Janice, do you know a blogger who does something like you for hotter climates? Time and again people have asked for warmer wardrobes but I think you have a mindset of seasons. In FL we have 2-very hot and for 2 weeks mild. I don't need wool sweaters or boots or puffy coats. I own them but they are packed away for when I go skiing. Can you help me find someone who can dress me for MY temperatures?
Have you tried making item-for-item substitutions? I've done this a few times when the capsules were lovely but more formal than my lifestyle requires. There is a method to Janice's genius and it translates into whatever style you need. Keep the same color palette but swap the items. For example, in this post would it work to substitute sundresses for the coats, sandals for the shoes, necklace for the scarves? Keep the VB bags and you've got the same look, but appropriate for warm temperatures.
I've been reading your blog for a few months now and really appreciate your take on things.
Thanks SO much for showing how chic the VB bags can be if thoughtfully added to one's wardrobe. I carry them because of a medical condition that prohibits me from carrying a heavy bag, and it's really nice to see that I can be chic while taking care of myself, too.
Thanks in general for inspiring me to 1. keep to a limited color palette which 2. helps me have a smaller wardrobe overall. Even in the few months that I've been reading, I find myself being more discerning when I make a purchase.
All the best to you, Janice!
Lghtweight microfiber or nylon bags are essential for those of us who have neck and back conditions, or other physical limitations. Good brands I've found: SportSac, the Longchamps Pliage series, Bensimon, Bagellini, Hervé Chaplier and a brand I found recently, HIghWay. I am always on the lookout for a well-designed one that does not look dull.
Thanks for sharing all the bag resources. I am off to check them out.
Duchesse–You are a genius! Those Bensimon bags look very nice. I think you did a post on lightweight bags a while back–perhaps you could do another?