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How to Get the Most Out of Your Fashion Investments
07 / 30

 

FROM HIGH STREET TO HIGH FASHION

 

I firmly believe in high performance investments. Especially when it comes to fashion. If you’re going to make an investment in a piece, you should make sure that you get the most out of it. It doesn’t matter if your investment is in high street or high fashion, the same rules still apply. The three most important things to consider when making those investments are: Versatility, Quality and Look.

 

VERSATILITY – FROM SUMMER TO WINTER

Versatile Pieces: From Summer to Winter

A mid-weight, tweed jacket and a good pair of white or cream jeans are wardrobe staples worthy of investment. Choose color combinations like black & white that move easily from Spring/Summer to Fall/Winter. With a few swaps (white tee or tank to cashmere sweater and open toe heels to boots) you can wear your investments a good portion of the year.

 

DOES THE AMOUNT OF INVESTMENT MATTER – A VINTAGE CHANEL BOUCLE JACKET

 

Not really… Whether you spend $200 or $2,000, make sure it’s of quality material and construction (see the timeless Vintage Chanel Boucle jacket below), and that it looks good on you. If it falls apart after 6 months or doesn’t really fit you, then it’s not worth the investment. I have an Alexander McQueen, black and white fitted tweed jacket that I bought six years ago. I can throw it over a tee or a cami and it instantly elevates whatever I have on. To me, it was definitely worth the investment.

 

The Little Bird on 1st Dibs

 

 

 

INVESTMENT PIECES FROM DAY-TO-NIGHT

 

Choosing pieces that can be worn during the day and that can make the transition easily to night, is another way to maximize the value you get out of your investment pieces.

 

 

 

Versatile Investment Pieces

 

 

1 – Nothing beats a pair of well-made, black cigarette pants that can be worn with a white button down during the day and a silk cami at night. What makes this transition possible? The fit and style of the pants (narrow leg, ankle length). What makes it a good investment piece? Its versatility and the quality of the material (100% lightweight wool) and the construction.

 

2 – Get more from a pair of black heels by choosing ones that can make the day to night transition. This pair from Lanvin has a closed toe and a hidden platform that work well for day. The pointed toe, ankle strap, and python texture provide enough edge to allow the transition to evening.

 

3 – I love this deep red alligator bag from Vintage Skins, an online boutique that has a large selection of beautiful vintage handbags in exotic skins (alligator, lizard, python, etc.). The silver chain detail on this particular bag makes it a great option for night without screaming “evening bag” during the day.

 

MAKE THE SWAP – DAY-TO-NIGHT

 

 

Day to Evening Basics

 

 

WHAT ABOUT JEWELRY?

 

The same rules of Versatility, Quality and Look also apply to your investment in jewelry. Get the most out of your investment by buying pieces that can be worn with either jeans or a cocktail dress.

 

 

Antique Paste Earrings

 

© Copyright Sugar et Cie 2013

 

 

Of course, not every piece you buy needs to be versatile to be worth the investment. It is nice though to have a handful of pieces that can be worn in multiple ways. A pair of antique paste or diamond drop earrings are a good example. They are simple, add a lot of sparkle, and always elevate your look.

 

 

Antique Gold Watch Chain

 

© Copyright Sugar et Cie 2013

 

 

An interesting antique gold or silver chain is another piece of jewelry that can be worn with almost anything. Mix and layer it with other chains, wear it by itself, or dangle your favorite pendant.

 

 

Antique

 

© Copyright Sugar et Cie 2013

 

 

If you invest in quality pieces that you love, you won’t regret the investment.

07 / 11

 

Our latest obsession is the swallow. It’s also our item of the week. This is an antique swallow brooch from the Victorian period that we have converted to a pendant. We carefully removed the silver brooch fittings and added a rose gold bale to the top of the wing. We’re big fans of pairing whites (white gold, platinum, silver, diamonds or pastes) with rose gold.

 

Antique: Victorian Paste Swallow Silver Pendant

 

 

Antique Paste Swallow Pendant Victorian Antique Gold Pendant with a Buckle Motif

© Copyright Sugar et Cie 2013

 

This antique swallow pendant, from the Victorian period, is comprised of white paste stones set in silver with small red cabochon paste eyes. We love the swallow’s long graceful wings and the symbolism associated with these charming creatures.

 

Because the swallow chooses one mate for life, to the Victorians, it was a symbol of enduring love and loyalty. The swallow also represents a safe return home. Sea voyages during this period were long, arduous, and dangerous. When a sailor spotted this land bird, he knew that land and home would not be far off.

 

Do as the Victorians did. Send a swallow as your message of love (wedding day present, anniversary, Valentine’s Day) or give it to a loved one who’s setting off on a trip or a new adventure (e.g. graduation, new job).

 

Antique and Modern Style

 

Here’s our twist on Romantic with an edge.

 

Give Romantic A Modern Edge

Romantic:

 

Black blazer, from Zara – puffed shoulders, narrow waist

Antique swallow pendant, from Sugar et Cie – antique patina, curved and graceful lines

 

Modern:

 

Skinny black jeans, from Rag and Bone – part motorcycle (horizontal seam below the knee) and part rocker (laced-up ankle detail)

Black, pointed-toe stilettos, from Alejandro Ingelmo – sharp angles

Basic white tank, from the Row – clean simple lines

 

06 / 21

 

Marie Antoinette’s Style Inspirations

 

Marie Antoinette, the Dauphine of France from 1770-74 and the Queen of France from 1774 until 1792, was a trendsetter as royals often were then, and some still are now (e.g. Kate Middleton). Princess Eugenie, Napoleon’s wife and Empress of France (1853-70) almost one hundred years later, was somewhat obsessed with Marie Antoinette’s style. Eugenie collected items that belonged to her, commissioned diamond pins that were based upon Marie Antoinette’s dress ornaments and posed for a portrait in 18th century dress said to be similar to one of Marie Antoinette’s. The Empress was not alone. Other women in the 19th century were also enamored with her style and collected paste buckles, memorial rings, and lockets from her reign.(1)

 

We are still obsessed with the romance and the extravagance of Marie Antoinette’s style. Prices continue to soar for jewelry from the period as well as items purported to have been owned by her. Last year a pair of her white silk mules, adorned with tri-colored silk ribbon, sold for $57,000 at auction in Toulon, France.

 

Below is a collection of evening shoes inspired by her style. They include actual examples of 18th century evening slippers, a few from French designers circa 1950/60 (Roger Vivier for Dior), and a handful from current designers that we think represent the spirit of her style: studded with “strass”, woven with lace, and adorned with silk flowers.

 

 

Style Cues: Marie Antoinette

 

 

Item of the Week: Paste Buckle Cuff in Versailles Blue

 

We’ve created a modern collection that incorporates the beautiful workmanship and sparkle of the 18th and 19th century paste shoe buckle and the color and luxury of Alligator. The latest addition to our Spun Sugar Bracelet collection is the Antique & Modern: Georgian Paste Buckle and Alligator Cuff Bracelet in Versailles Blue. Keep reading and we think you’ll see the connection.

Georgian Paste Buckle on Alligator Cuff

© Copyright Sugar et Cie 2013

 

 

Marie Antoinette’s Style Portrayed via Film

 

The most recent incarnation of Marie Antoinette by Hollywood was in 2006, directed by Sophia Coppola and staring Kirsten Dunst as the Dauphine. It is worth watching for the extravagant, candy-colored imagery alone. You can see why the film won the Academy Award for best costume design. Annie Leibovitz, in another feast for the eyes, captured a slightly edgier version of Kirsten as Marie Antoinette for Vogue, in September of the same year. It’s worth taking a minute to see the entire layout still available on their site.

 

 

Photographed by Annie Leibovitz, Vogue, September 2006

 

 

Items of the Week: Antique Paste Earrings and Vintage Diamond Rings

 

Marie Antoinette was not only famous for her style but also infamous for the amount of sparkle she managed to incorporate into her wardrobe. You may not know that she liked to mix her paste jewels in with her diamonds and other precious gems. She literally sparkled from her head, pinning paste pieces into her sky-high hair, to her toes (paste buckles on her shoes).

 

 

Antique Paste Earring on Blue Ribbon

© Copyright Sugar et Cie 2013

 

 

Why not take a style cue from Marie Antoinette and mix antique paste and vintage diamonds? Wear our Antique: Double Collet-Set Antique Paste in Silver, Drop Earrings, with a stack of your favorite vintage diamond rings on your first finger. Browse through our Stacking Rings Collection.

 

 

Vogue Shoot by Annie Leibovitz Topic the film Marie Antoinette

Photographed by Annie Leibovitz, Vogue, September 2006

 

A Vintage Diamond Ring on a Candy Stick

 

 

 

Vintage Diamond Rings on a Candy Stick

 

© Copyright Sugar et Cie 2013

 

 

Sources

(1) “Jewellery in the Age of Queen Victoria,” by Charlotte Gere, Judy Rudoe, The British Museum.

H1: Evening Shoes, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, House of Dior, 1957, Designer: Roger Vivier (French, 1913–1998).

H2: Slippers, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1780–89, European, Medium: Silk.

H3: Slippers, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1720–39, France, Medium: Silk and Leather.

H4: Evening Shoes, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, House of Dior, 1960, Designer: Roger Vivier (French, 1913–1998).

C1: Flora, by Charlotte Olympia.

C2: Swan, by Manolo Blahnik at Barney’s.

C3: Embroidered Lace Point-Toe Halter Pump, by Rene Caovilla at Bergdorf Goodman.

C4: Pigalle Strass, by Christian Louboutin. CL appears to be a fan of the sparkle of paste – Strass is the French word which translates to paste, also associated with the jeweler that developed its reputation for quality in 18th c. France.

C5: Au Hameau, by Christian Louboutin. The silver is sold out, but a gold version is available at Barney’s. CL appears to also be a fan of Versailles/Marie Antoinette. Hameau de la Reine was built for her.

06 / 04

 

Double Down: The Double Cuff

 

Wearing matching cuffs, one on each wrist, or a pair of cuffs on the same wrist is, without question, a bold fashion statement. One that has been favored by 20th century fashion icons like Coco Chanel, Daisy Fellowes, Gloria Swanson, Diana Vreeland, and Kate Moss.

 

Antique and Modern: Black Stingray Cuff with Antique Paste Slide

 

Double Down: Cuff Bracelets - The Perfect Pair Part 1

 

Gloria Swanson and Cartier

 

Gloria Swanson also favored the double cuff. She purchased her’s from Cartier in 1932. The cuffs, comprised of rock crystal, platinum and diamonds, looked like two circles of ice embedded with diamonds, floating on her wrists. She wore them in both her personal life and on the screen (see Sunset Boulevard). Item 4 below, is another example of a cuff by Cartier. It was a part of Elizabeth Taylor’s Jewelry Collection and sold at auction by Christie’s in 2011 for $146,500.

 

Double Down: The Cuff Bracelet (Diamond Cuffs) Part 2

 

Coco Chanel and Verdura

 

I think it is safe to say that Coco Chanel loved her Verdura Cuffs. There are numerous pictures of her, that span several decades, wearing her cuff bracelets each embedded with a jeweled Maltese Cross created by Vedura. She had a matching pair and wore one on each wrist. This design became a signature for Verdura and many were made out of different materials (e.g. ivory, gold and enamel, jade etc., set with a variety of gems). Count Fulco di Verdura sold his stake in the business in 1973 and in 1985 the firm was purchased by Ward Landrigan. You can see the current version, based upon designs in the Company’s archives of Coco’s original on their website. Item 6 below, is another version of Coco’s original. It was sold by Sotheby’s in 2012 for $28,750. It doesn’t say whether it was created during the Count’s lifetime.

 

Double Down: The Cuff Bracelet (Daytime Jewelry), Part 3

 

The List

 

1: Antique & Modern: Black Stingray Cuff with Antique Paste Slide, available at Sugar et Cie

2: Long-Sleeve Mermaid Jersey Gown in Black, Donna Karan at Neiman Marcus

3: Diamond Cuff Bracelets, by Tabbah, Sold at auction by Christie’s

4: A Diamond and Gold Cuff Bracelet, by Cartier, Sold at auction by Christie’s

5: Coral, enamel, and diamond bangle, David Webb, Sold at auction by Sotheby’s

6: 18 Karat Gold, Colored Stone and Diamond ‘MALTESE CROSS’ Cuff Bracelet, VERDURA, Sold at auction by Sotheby’s

7: Look of the Day, from Who What Wear

05 / 17

 

Our Item of the Week

 

This week our featured item is this eye catching, Georgian Paste buckle in the form of a stylized lovers’ knot on an alligator skin cuff in a deep pomegranate glaze. So many delicious things come in this shade, among our favorites are pomegranate and blueberry pate de fruit, Louis Vuitton’s Alma bags in Rouge Fauviste and Amarante, Chanel nail polish in Provocation (the newer version of Vamp), and the list goes on.

 

Delicious Pomegranate - Alligator Cuff Bracelet in Pomegranate

 

Item 5 – More About the Buckle

 

The buckle is antique, from the Georgian period. It is paste set in silver with steel buckle tines. The pastes have black dots at the base of the stones, which is one of the characteristics of pieces from this period. Each paste has been hand shaped so the stones fit closely together. This ensures that the only thing the eye sees is a flowing, uninterrupted glittering expanse which provides a great contrast to this deep and rich color.

 

 

Alligator Cuff and Antique Paste Buckle

 

© Copyright Sugar et Cie 2013

 

 

The Lovers’ Knot

 

A lover’s knot is a symbol of love that was often used in jewelry from the Georgian and Victorian periods. It represented two people intertwined, “an emblem of true love without an end.” This quote is from the other lover’s knot, called the True Lover’s Knot, which is a love note comprised of an intricate hand drawn maze. When read in different directions or patterns, it yields different message of love. Here’s an example a true Lovers Knot.

 

Find the Items Pictured Above

 

1: Louis Vuitton Alma (and Alma BB) Bags in Rouge Fauviste and Amarante, the ones pictured are from ebay listings as of today, but they are also currently available at Louis Vuitton’s online boutique.

2: Cartier Tutti Frutti Bracelet 1930’s not currently available – from Sotheby’s April Auction of Magnificent Jewels

3: Chanel’s Le Vernis Nail Colour in Provocation available at Nordstrom’s

4: Ladurée Macarons in raspberry. Image from thusbeautiful.blogspot.com. It’s not possible to purchase them online, but I believe if you call the New York store they will ship them to you.

5: Antique and Modern: Georgian Paste Buckle and Alligator Cuff in Pomegranate Glaze available at Sugar et Cie

6: Deborah Lippmann Nail Color JUST WALK AWAY RENEE available at Deborah Lippmann

7: diptyque candle in Tubéreuse Rouge available at diptyque paris

8: French Jellies Raspberry Pâte de Fruit the ones pictured are available at the etsy store, Zukrboutique.

Alternative: You can also purchase Pâte de Fruit from my favorite candy store in San Francisco: the candy store.

9: Roger Vivier Fall 2012 via Pinterest (Kathy Mills)

Alternative: Sebastian Milano Feather Puff Pump available at FarFetch

 

Note: At the time of publishing this post, all of the items were available or otherwise noted. As items sell out, they may be removed by the retailer resulting in a page not found error.