Kerry O'Brine Womens Wear

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Ladies stylish, professional and practical 15.5″ and 15″ laptop handbags

If you want a stylish, practical handbag that fits your laptop and personal effects in then I’ve done the leg work and found a range of bags for you. Each blog entry in this mini series about laptop bags is about a different size of laptop.

15″ and 15.5″ Women’s Laptop bags

If you like a big screen laptop like me then there is less choice of stylish laptop bags that will fit your lovely laptop in. The following are the details and a breakdown of my top picks for handbags that hold 15″ and 15.5″ laptops. I have sectioned it by brand.

Milli Millu

I personally love all the Milli Millu bags. The Founder, Mireia Llusia-Lindh, has managed a very careful balance of attractive designs and practicality. My one criticism of the website would be the lack of filter to narrow down the bags by laptop size – this would have saved my disappointment of going through each bag and finding I only had one choice for a 15.5″, The Zurich.

For a 15″ laptop from Milli Millu you have the option of The Rio or The Zurich.

The Rio bag, Milli Millu

The Rio, from Milli Millu £395

The Zurich, Milli Millu

The Zurich from Milli Millu £495

Two very different options, The Zurich is very structured and The Rio has a much softer laid back luxe look. Both bags have a great shoulder strap length which makes them both perfect for wearing over the shoulder.
The Rio Handle drop: 23cm and The Zurich Handle drop: 20cm.
The Zurich is a perfect handbag for a busy professional with its five separate compartments for laptop/tablet, papers, pens, smartphone and a zipped pocket for personal items. It’s always good to think about the security of your items when commuting so the zip at the top that closes the Zurich completes this bag.

Knomo

Knomo is another great brand that has really focused on providing a more attractive bag combined with the practicalities we all require! For the 15″ laptop you will find a larger range of options.

Let’s start with the Great Portland and Portland Place – two very similar looking bags. The main difference is in the size of laptop you can fit in. The Portland Place can hold a laptop up to 17″ but only comes in black whereas the Great Portland can hold a laptop up to 15″ and comes in 4 colour options.

They are both made from lightweight and soft nylon. With EVA foam and a double stitched diamond quilting. Are you wondering what EVA foam is and why it is worth mentioning?!! Yes so did I …..

Benefits of Eva foam:

  • Impact and vibration absorption
  • Weather and chemical resistance including splash resistance to oils and fuels
  • Acoustic and thermal insulation properties
  • Buoyancy with low water absorption
  • Suitability for thermo-forming and thermo-moulding
womens blacg laptop bag

Portland Place from Knomo (black) £129

aubergine Great Portland laptop bag Knomo

Great Portland from Knomo £119

They both

  • Zip across the top to close
  • Have an internal quilted and padded compartment to protect the laptop
  • To fit in extra items – both sides of the bags unzip and expand
  • Soft padded shoulder straps
  • Internal pouches and zip pockets for all your extra bits

Hanna and Picton

These are probably my favorite bags from Knomo for combining style and function. Two stylish leather handbags that will both fit over the shoulder and easily carry your 15″ laptop and other belongings. Both bags have a quilted and padded compartment to hold and protect your 15″ laptop. The leather for both bags is quite different. Hannah is made from a soft pebbled leather and Picton is made from a hard durable Saffiano leather.

Picton, Knomo

Picton (in black) from Knomo £249

Hanna, Knomo

Hanna from Knomo £245

 

 

Picton

Inside the Picton there is a panel in which you can store items like pens, memory sticks or business cards. A front pocket on the exterior is great for items like your Oyster card that you want to grab quickly. There is also an additional interior zip compartment – maybe you can keep some personal items in here.  A nice long shoulder drop of 25 cm means Picton will easily sit on your shoulder.

Hanna (available in red, black or grey)
The sides of Hanna unzip for easy and maximum access to the main compartment. The handle drop is 24cm and will be very comfortable on the shoulder as they are made from padded soft pebbled leather. The top zip fastening adds that extra bit of security.

Aspinal of London

The Marylebone Tech

Navy, leather, bag, laptop, professional, women

The Marlyebone Tech, Navy £895

 Aspinal of London have obviously put a lot of thought into this bag design. With its mobile phone pocket and padded ipod compartment both designed with a cable path. The bag is designed to carry a battery charger for both mobiles and ipads, so you can charge on the go! But I wasn’t so impressed that this charger had to be purchased separately (£100).

The bag is made of navy pebble textured Italian calf leather. The handle drop is quite short at 5.5″/13.5cm. So to me this is more of a grab tote or crook of the arm bag than an over the shoulder handbag.

In addition to the padded ipad compartment and phone pocket there is a large main compartment and two external hidden pockets. The large main compartment means you should be able to get a laptop in too and potentially fit up to 17.3″ laptop in there – but I would check with Aspinal of London first. For added security the bag closes with a full length zip.

Also available in deer (beige shade), black or black and cream. Or the option is there Marlyebone Tote which is the same size but doesn’t have the option to carry the charger or have the cable paths. It comes in brown or black.

Bobelle

Another brand I am totally loving at the moment is Bobelle. Although the designer has not done a many work bag/laptop bags the styles and designs are gorgeous.

Handbag, leather, London, laptop

The Rivington, Bobelle £315

 The Rivington
Spacious enough for a tablet or small laptop (up to about a 15″ laptop), wallet and other accessories.
The lovely suede lining is quite different to all the other grosgrain linings other handbags are wearing!
The bag has a lockable external pocket, an internal zip pocket, an internal mobile phone pocket, pen holder and spare holder. The handle drop of 21cm is perfect for wearing over the shoulder.
Kate Spade
This is a smart looking laptop bag from Kate Spade. This is a padded nylon bag so it’s light and it has some smart patent leather trims. I really like the fact you have the two strap options – the long (23″/58.5cm) adjustable strap for across body or shoulder wear and the handheld handles (5.25”/13cm). The bag fits a 15″ laptop and you have room for more items in there too with an interior double slide pocket and middle divider.
The bag style is more your traditional laptop case than all the others but it is smart and has a more subtle stylishness!
black, nylon, bag, laptop

Kate Spade, black Nylon

Other brands for colour and patterns!
You could go for a bright colour or nice pattern to jazz up your commute. Try Marc by Marc Jacobs or Orla Kiely. Some practical bags with some nice bright and interesting covers.

Orla Kiely, handbag, laptop bag

Orla Kiely: 15″

Marc Jacobs, work laptop bag

Marc by Marc Jacobs: Gamma Ray 15″

Marc Jacobs, work bag, laptop

Marc by Marc Jacobs: Red Bag 15″

 

So to sum it up, my laptop is 15.5″ laptop (screen size): is 27cm height and 38cm length. Really there aren’t many options at all for a stylish handbag for a 15.5″ laptop… it’s the Zurich from Milli Millu or the Marlybone Tech/tote from Aspinal of London. Hopefully your laptop is a 15″ or less! All my favorite Milli Millu bags come in smaller sizes! Please Milli Millu do one of your bags bigger because my laptop is a 15.5″ but won’t fit into your Zurich bag!

15.5" and 15" ladies laptop bags


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Buying your work wardrobe for A/W 2014 – inspiration from the catwalks!

christian-dior-couture-aw14-fashion

Christian Dior Couture A/W 14

christian-dior-couture-aw14-Fashion

Christian Dior Couture A/W 14

It’s almost time to start thinking about our Autumn wardrobes! Noooo, I hear you cry!

A sad time for our lovely light summer pieces, but I love Autumn Winter styles and fashions just as much.

If you’re looking for inspiration for new work wear purchases or new ways to use pieces you already have you might find something of use here.

5 ideas for A/W 2014 work wardrobe from the Fashion Catwalks

1. Add a bright collarless coat or jacket to an all black outfit as seen on the Dior catwalk. The black polo neck and trousers is great, sleek and easy look to create. You might just need to purchase a new colourful collarless jacket to update it.

alexander-wang-aw14-fashion

2. Alexander Wang A/W 14

alexander-wang-aw14-fashion

2. Alexander Wang A/W 14

Celine A/W 14

2. Celine A/W 14

2. Wear a large collared shirt underneath a long top/jumper/dress. Whether the model is wearing a very short dress or a very long top in the pictures to the left, this feels a very sharp and fresh look! You could easily style this with some slim fitting trousers. Both looks by Alexander Wang use tones of the same colour in each look i.e. dark plum top over a red-plum shirt.

If nothing else get yourself a large collared shirt to update your professional work wear wardrobe.

3. Go geometric if you want to add some interest and pattern to the daily grind.

Giorgio Armani couture A/W 14

3. Giorgio Armani couture A/W 14

This Giorgio Armani jacket is a great example of how to wear pattern in a smart and not too girly way!

4. Add a pop of colour on your feet. On the Dior catwalk Raf Simons added shoes in a nice bright orangey red or a striking indigo blue. The pairing of the indigo blue with the red trousers in the Dior looks smart and interesting. Coloured shoes with coloured trousers is an idea to consider when putting an outfit together. Alternatively you could use pops of red. Giorgio Armani uses red for shoes, gloves bags and you also get a glimpse of a red top beneath.

Giorgio Armani Couture A/W 14

4. Giorgio Armani Couture A/W 14

christian-dior-couture-aw14-fashion

4. Christian Dior couture A/W 14

Christian Dior

4. Christian Dior Couture A/W 14

5. There seems to be a lot of contrasting in textures/finishes for AW 14. For example on the Versace catwalk you see a lot of blocking in satin next to matte.

Versace 2014

Versace Couture A/W 14

Versace 2014

Versace Couture A/W 2014

Versace AW 14

5. Versace A/W 14


Images from Elle. With thanks

Dog tooth suit JPG


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Don’t miss these Art and Fashion exhibitions!!

A list of inspirational fashion, art, textiles and clothing exhibitions for 2014 (London, NYC and Paris)

This is updated with some great upcoming exhibitions including the not to be missed McQueen….

Don’t Miss Out!!:

LONDON:

The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk (9th April 2014 – 17th Aug 2014)

I really enjoyed this exhibition and the cocktail bar! Read more…image

 

 

 

 


On NOW for a While:

LONDON:

Colour (18th June-7th September 2014) – National Gallery: Each room of this exhibition will be dedicated to a different colour. Trace the history of colour in art.

Henry Matisse: The Cutouts (17th April – 7th September 2014) – read my experience

Matisse The Cut-Outs

The Parakeet and the Mermaid 1952

Fashion Rules Exhibition (till July 4th 2015) – Royal gowns on display at Kensington Palace

Wedding Dress 1755-2014 (3rd May 2014 – 15th March 2015) – V&A:  If you are interested in bridal wear and the way key designers have treated this subject.

On Holiday in St Ives, Cornwall? A little note about the Barbara Hepworth Studio and Gardens in St Ives. This is a must see for anyone who loves art, is curious about seeing an artist’s studio or loves a garden with sculpture. I really enjoyed my visit.

PARIS:
Dries Van Noten – Inspirations –  Les Arts Décoratifs (March 1st-November 2st 2014)

Fashion in France 1947-57 - The Palais Galliera Museum of Fashion (July 12th -Nov 2nd 2014)

NYC:

Exposed: A History of Lingerie - The Museum at FIT (June 3rd – November 15th 2014)

The Paris of Toulouse-Lautrec: Prints and Posters – MoMa (July 26, 2014–March 22, 2015)


 

UPCOMING Exhibitions:

NYC:

Killer Heels: The Art of the High-Heeled Shoe – The Brooklyn Museum: Robert E. Blum Gallery, 1st Floor (September 10, 2014–February 15, 2015)

Dance and Fashion – The Museum at FIT (Sept 13th 2014 – Jan 3rd 2015)

If you can’t make it to London to see the fantastic Henri Matisse art exhibition or the Jean-Paul Gaultier Fashion exhibit but New York is more convenient. You are in luck because they are both heading your way in October!

Henri Marisse: the cut outs – MOMA (Oct 12th 2014 – Feb 8th 2015)

Matisse exhibition Tate Modern

Lydia Delectorskaya and Matisse at Hotel Regina, Nice c.1952
Cover of the Tate Modern exhibition booklet

The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk – Brooklyn Museum 200 Eastern Parkway (October 25, 2013–February 23, 2014)

Jean Paul Gaultier Cocktail bar Barbican London

Death Becomes Her

Death Becomes Her: A Century of Mourning attire - MET Museum (October 20th 2014 – February 1st 2015) This sounds fabulous. The title is borrowed from the 1992 film. Which I remember enjoying a lot at the time! It has Goldie Hawn and Meryl Streep in it – a must see if it past you by!
Egon Shiele Portraits  – Neue Galerie (Oct 9th 2014 to Jan 19th 2015)

LONDON

Horst: Photographer of Style – V & A (6th Sept 2014 – 4th Jan 2015) – A retrospective of Horst’s work (photography)

Rembrandt The Final Years (15th Oct 2014 – 18th Jan 2015) – Bringing together 100 works from museums across the world – showing is creative work in the final years of his life.

Piet Mondrian - Tate Liverpool (June 6th – Oct 5th)

Constable The Making of a Master -  The V&A (20 September 2014 – 11th January 2015)

Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty – The V&A (14th March – 19th July 2015) – This is a must see exhibition. I loved it when I was lucky enough to see it NYC. I may even see it again whilst it is in London! I’m so pleased it has made it across to London where it belongs!!


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Diary Update – of a fashion designer business!

We’ve been very busy! Only now have I had the time to sit down for this little diary re-cap.
We held a great competition with Pinstripe & Pearls giving everyone a chance to win a dress of their choice from our Silk Line Collection! The lucky winner was drawn 12 days ago and we sent her a lovely parcel. She chose the Ava dress.

The Winner’s Prize all packed up!

Ava dress

Ava Dress

We’ve moved into a new studio space. It was built especially for us. But this has taken a lot of energy and lugging stuff about. Only just getting sorted now a month later! See the build process here.IMG_4783

New Studio just after we moved in

Our sale has started on the website. Don’t miss out on some great price points for designer silk jersey dresses. All our pieces are made in Britain in our studio. See my top 4 fashion sale picks!

Rosa Blouse – a top sale pick!

I’ve been working on new collections – I have a very cosy new corner that I’ve covered in colours and images. I’m calling it Inspiration Corner!

Inspiration Corner

Last but not least we are launching a new range of scarves. The first one has landed and it is covered in beautiful Flamingos. Get your mittens on our limited edition 100% Spun Viscose scarves with my Flamingo print. I hand painted the Flamingos and then they were printed onto the scarves. We have only got 4. Once these have gone we won’t be able to get the Flamingos printed onto the Spun Viscose again. A shame, it’s a nice soft fabric.

Close up on the Flamingos

Oh and on a personal note, I’ve got a bit obsessed with my icecream maker and it’s been homemade gelato literally everyday! I’ve been using the allotment fruit. The raspberries and strawberries have made amazing gelato and sorbettos!

Yay homemade gelato

Yay homemade gelato

Watch out for more scarves on the way, new collections and other bits and pieces!!


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Styling a Navy Dress

Styling a Navy Dress

Navy is a great alternative to black. If want to add colour to your wardrobe, navy pretty much goes with any colour. Styling a navy wrap dress for work and professional environments and situations is easy to do. In the picture above I have added a small selection of accessories and colours to give you some ideas. But there are really endless choices opportunities to personalise and style your working professional wardrobe.

Navy itself is very flattering on most skin tones. For more mature skin tones you will find navy a perfect alternative to black. The depth of colour won’t wash you out.

Colour choices:

1. I have chosen a burgundy red. Using this deeper darker red takes the colour pallet into more Autumn winter. Brighter lighter reds work equally well with navy.

In this style selection I have added gold as my metal of choice. This golden tone works nicely against navy and burgundy red.

2. Navy and grey are a lovely combination. As I would class them both as neutral colours, having them both in an outfit will give you a very smart, corporate and calm look. Make sure you go for the grey that works for you. Some people suit a pale grey and others a darker shade. There are so many greys out there and some tend to be bluer and others greener. Wearing silver jewellery works well with a navy and grey combination. The reflective nature of silver lifts and lightens an outfit.

3. Cream or white with navy are a classic, sophisticated and summery combination. Here I have picked a pearl necklace as my jewellery of choice – always professional and sophisticated. If white is too harsh against your skin tone try other colours like ivory, cream or blush. Keep it business like by avoiding any sailor references!

4. Yellow might not be your cup of tea but it can look really nice next to navy. If a whole yellow dress is too much, picking out and highlighting with yellow in an outfit can be a more subtle and professional way to go about it. In the picture I have selected a lemon yellow shade but yellow in any shade works very well next to navy. If you prefer a mustard, go with mustard.

For more help on understanding colour and colour matching

Accessory style and shape choices:

Jackets and cardigans

When you are dressing for work you can either go for a jacket or a cardigan. Depending on what your dress code is at work or what your position is you will pick one or the other.

Both cardigans and jackets can work over a wrap dress like the one in the picture. To choose a coverup you need to first think about the lines and shapes of the dress. The navy wrap dress in the picture has a high waist line. In my selection 1 I have chosen a short burgundy cardigan which picks up on the line of the dress. Again in selection 4 I have selected a short lemon jacket which will sit just above the waistline.

The longer jackets in selection 2 and 3 I have chosen because their necklines do not conflict with the neckline of the dress. The dress has a v-shape neckline due to its wrap over style and the grey jacket reflects the v-shape neckline. The cream jacket on the other hand is a high round neck that will completely cover the neckline of the dress.

All of the jackets I have selected have long sleeves in common. The dress has mid-length sleeves and so your cover-up piece (cardigan or jacket) will need to have longer sleeves. This will mean your outfit continues to look smart and professional yet keep any air-conditioning chill off!

Jewellery

The jewellery I have selected all keep in mind the v-shape neckline of the dress. They all hang vertically down the chest area, creating the illusion of more body length/height (this tip works well for shorter stockier ladies).

The biggest necklace I chose was a pearl v-shaped collar type. Although bigger it is not too showy. Although jewellery is a great area to add personality to an outfit we need to be careful not to step outside the professional/work guidelines or unspoken dress codes!

A general guideline for necklaces is: the bigger and bolder the necklace is, the simpler and understated the outfit should be.

If your not sure whether you have too much jewellery on: just stick to one thing in one area i.e.

Go for earrings or a necklace. Wear bracelets or a bold ring.

And as Chanel said “when accessorising always take off the last thing you put on”

 Featured clothing:

Weekend Max Mara red top
matchesfashion.com

Miss Selfridge jacket
missselfridge.com

Altuzarra grey blazer
$1,475 – harveynichols.com

Isabel Marant wool jacket
matchesfashion.com

Jimmy Choo yellow pumps
$845 – profilefashion.com

L.K.Bennett suede pumps
$360 – lkbennett.com

Gianvito Rossi pumps
matchesfashion.com

Rosantica chain necklace
matchesfashion.com

Sterling silver necklace
daysjewelers.com

Chloé pendant jewelry
$740 – selfridges.com

Great Portland
$205 – knomobags.com


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Endless combinations

Endless combinations
Multiway bras are a great option to maximise what you get out of the bra. You can wear the straps of this Lepel ‘The Multitasker Bra’ in an extensive choice of ways.
If you have an evening event for work then having a multiway bra like this in your drawer will keep you from last minute panic. I’ve bought a nice and unusual dress before for a smart professional event and realised I’ve had no underwear that works with it! Sometimes the key to a dress looking smart and sophisticated for a work or social event is the underwear you choose to go beneath it.
 This bra would be perfect for the Michael Kors dress pictured with its unusual one shoulder strap across.


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Be a racer

Be a racer
Finding the right bra for a racerback dress
This unusual looking bra is the Calvin Klein The Perfectly Fit multiway bra. You can put the straps in four different ways and you have two different options for a racerback (see one option above).

The Perfectly Fit Multiway Bra has smooth cups with front closure. This front closure is quite unusual but it does give you one big positive aspect: the back of the bra is very smooth. This means if you are wearing something where it’s got a feature at the back and you need a smooth finish you won’t get any lumps and bumps from the hook and eye closure.

Being able to remove the push-up pads makes this bra go from being a push up bra to an everyday casual bra.

The dress: Helmut Lang Racer-back jersey maxi dress £235


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Sweetheart inside and out

Sweetheart
If you have a top or dress that has a sweetheart neckline and no straps your best off with a bra that reflects this shape.
I can personally recommend this Wonderbra strapless bra. I purchased it because I needed a strapless bra but at the time I wasn’t too fussed about a sweetheart neckline. I’m glad it has that lower sweetheart feature neckline as I can wear it with more things.
For me the fit was really good and the anti-slip band is actually anti-slip! The structure and design inside the cups gives very good support and uplift (although if you have very big lovely boobies you may not be able to get all the support you need). The band fastens with 3 hook and eyes which makes for a very sturdy back. As well as being very practical the bra has some pretty lace on top!
 
STELLA McCARTNEY bustier corset top
$340 – brownsfashion.com

Lacy bra
$61 – figleaves.com
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