La Belle Vie Girl

Musings Of A Stationery Designer

Tag: style

One | Room

Style Challenge With Bronwen Llewellyn

Ladies and gentlemen, I am supplementing my usual “Saturday Evening Post” on fashion with a little design bonus.  While perusing the web, I happened upon From The Right Bank and her “What’s Your Style in One Picture Challenge.”  Could I do it?  Definite my style in a single photograph?  Well, it took a little soul searching and a lot of room searching, but I believe this room captures the overall feel of my style.

Photo courtesy of Metropolitan Home

This room has a soothing, watery feel, balanced by a toasty fire in the granite fireplace (sure, it’s 95 degrees, but a girl loves a good fire…am I right?).  Of course any room I chose had to have my signature essence of grey, a classic ambience with a modern edge, and wide baseboards.  I love the oversized traditional artwork, the comfy-yet-clean-lined sofa, and the playful bookcase.  These are anchored by a watery glass table floating on a fluffy ocean of rug.  Finally, the “almost” color of the room is popped by the modern oversized lamp in a steely blue.  The room feels weighted, but not full, comfortable but not cluttered.  If I could change only one thing, I would replace the patterned wood floor with stained concrete in a similar color, but on the whole, I am ready to move in!

  • Share/Bookmark

Symbiotic | Style

Fashion + Sense with Bronwen Llewellyn

This week I was asked to write a little piece about what home means to me.  And while I want to lie to you, my readers, I have never been a great liar so I am giving it to you straight.  What home means to me right at this moment is two dirty dogs and cat hair flying, a long-half-completed flooring project, and paint swatches punctuating multiple rooms.  And this is the “light” version!  Home means trying to find storage for a sea of books, DVDs, clothes, and shoes.  It means I actually looked with interest today at a custom-made sunglasses case to hold another of my collections.  And it means that I constantly scour the internet for sources of inspiration to create my ideal minimalist home while I am, in fact, a maximalist accumulator.

I guess what I am trying to say is home, for me, is more of an inspiration than a realization.  And on my journey to de-clutter and arrive at the perfect home, I do a lot of window shopping.  Really what I should be asking myself is how in the world am I going to get a minimalist, sleek home when I am still looking for things to purchase…meaning more stuff coming in!  Two items are, I believe, the solution to my dilemma: a bulldozer and an unlimited cash flow.  If I had these items, what would my home want to look like?  Here are a few inspirations.

Photos courtesy of internet (source unknown) and Metropolitan Home

I am stuck between traditional architecture and minimalist contemporary.  Here the two are married in the most perfect of ways — six inch simple baseboard mouldings coupled with concrete flooring.  Allergies and a pet menagerie mean carpet is out of the running for a place in my ideal home (although it has staunchly maintained a place in parts of the current abode).  My style sense is a juxtaposition between two very different, yet oddly compatible, home “genres” if you will.  And while I would love to have a sleek, slick look, I know that I have certain leanings toward hints of tradition in the luxurious sense.  For example, the surprise element of an easel-turned-television stand lends an arty feel and acknowledges that the television has become part of our lives (rather than trying to hide it away in an armoire or cabinet).  These rooms show a perfect blend of fabulous (read “expensive”) amenities and architectural elements.

Photos courtesy of Photo courtesy of Restoration Hardware and Wisteria

These rooms have an elegant feel, but retain a simplistic vibe.  The paneling details are subtle but rich, and avoid the panelling stigma attached to seventies cedar walls while quietly embellishing the room.  The key to maintaining symbiosis between the styles is balance.  The wood-paneled walls are contrasted against simple bedding and a leather headboard.  Next door, the strong architectural details of the gothic console mix with a metal candelabra and an elegant etching in a contrasting color.  The interplay of these elements creates interest without creating fussiness.

Photo courtesy of Metropolitan Home

And finally, all of these parts can be combined into a single room…a luxurious leather-and-fabric bed ensemble, modern metal side table on one side, a modern round white table on the other, and heavy baseboards coupled with beams combine to balance the room.  Drapes soften while the bedside mirror retains a hard, unframed edge.  And my conspicuous love for the color grey pervades each of these examples, letting texture and architecture take center stage.  The round side table is a bit cluttered and could be edited in a perfect world.  Each of these examples depicts a soothing, tranquil environment where I would love to relax at the end of the day.  But I’d still like to know where to put my stuff.

*  A little about Pin it Forward and the “What Home Means To Me”  *

Pinterest is a great new tool I have been using to “pin” my inspiration to daily. It allows you to post or “pin” from all over the web and create fabulous boards to catalog inspiration and also allows you to share with others. Check mine out here! The Pin It Forward project is the second installment of Blog It Forward, a collaboration of unique inspiration blogs hosted by Victoria of sfgirlbybay.

The theme of Pin It Forward is “what home means to me”.

  • Share/Bookmark

Typography | Inspiration

I am still working-between-work to complete my studio move …. its going to be a typographical inspired room. I wanted to share a bunch of great letterpress and screen printed posters I am considering. How could you not be motivated in a room surrounded with this posters? I love it!

Have Your Cake Poster By Sweet Dee, $20.00

Everything Is Going To Be Alright By Rar Rar Press, $15.00

I Will Never Poster By Lure Design Inc, $10.00

Imagination Poster by Postal Press, $25.00

Live What You Love By Hikirik Studio, $30.00

Keep On The Sunny Side, By  Yee Haw, $200.00

  • Share/Bookmark

Swimsuit | Issue

Saturday Evening Fashion + Sense … With Bronwen Llewellyn

I am sitting at home with a cold on a rainy day, so what better time to review swimsuits!  The sun and fun of summer will soon be upon us, and all ladies love shopping for that one feel-good item, the swimsuit.  Am I right, ladies?  Of course I’m not…swimsuit shopping is positively dreadful.  Just the thought of a tiny dressing room in a poorly-lit department store and me trying to shoe-horn myself into a suit that may or may not fit makes me want to stab myself with my ice cream spoon.  I would much rather try to shoe-horn myself into something in the privacy of my own home, so off to the internet I go!  Now I’m not looking for anything too trendy, nor am I a Victoria’s Secret model, so let’s stick to the basics.

It’s itsy-bitsy, and pretty close to teenie-weenie, but the polka dots are white this time.  J. Crew’s “Breezy Dot Ruffle Underwire” bikini is practically a steal at $52.  If you have Kristin Davis’s body, you can rock this bikini.  However, if you look closer to the rest of us, something with a bit more coverage may be of interest to you.  Enter the jersey Lomellina Retro Bandeau Tank, also by J. Crew. With a ruched design and almost “boy shorts” coverage at the hips, this suit can cover a multitude of bodily sins without sacrificing fashion.  And full back coverage plus a tie at the neck means you can dive into summer without losing your top when you hit the water.

Next is Heidi Klein’s “Sea Stripe” bikini.  This suit puts the “naughty” in nautical! But let’s face it, if you don’t have the body of a fourteen year old boy (or Halle Berry), this may not be your best option.  An Anthropologie exclusive, it commands a whopping $128 per piece (top and bottom sold separately), but it is the epitome of adorable tininess.  Anthropologie’s ”Photo Shoot Maillot,” on the other hand, reminds me of old Hollywood glamour.  And with a price tag of $188, you may need an acting career to afford it.  A plunging v-neck allows you to accentuage the positives, while the self-belt minimizes the negatives.  Think of it as the high price of forgiveness.

And now, what I like to think of as something for the rest of us.  If you don’t have a model-thin body and $200 cash to blow on a swimsuit, look no further than Lands’ End for the suit of your dreams.  Always a leader in online/catalog retail (and you will not find better customer service anywhere on the planet), Lands’ End has been kind enough to devise a line of swim wear known as the “control” suit.  These suits are cute, timeless, AND slimming, with some guaranteeing to take ten pounds and visibly hide it in a clever construction of effortless style.  The “Slender Tunic,” available in four colors and a print, provides full coverage in a sexy suit that features boy cut legs, a tiny front skirt for extra coverage, and yes…SPF 50 fabric!

It is best suited (again with the puns) for ladies with a rectangular body type, and it features a soft cup bra and is available in a wide range of sizes and varying torso lengths.  (Lands’ End also features fabulous suits for mastectomy patients!)  If you prefer a two-piece but a skimpy bikini is not your métier, Lands’ End offers the “Valletta Bandeau Twist Tunic Tankini” (say that three times fast!).  Shown in dark slate, the tankini is available in six colors of pure fabulousness and a print.  It features slimming shirring on the sides, an underwire bra, and a very reasonable price tag of $48.50. And if you are on the e-mail list, there is a good chance that you can get either of these suits for 30% off and free shipping!

Happy almost summer shopping to all!

  • Share/Bookmark

Stylish | Maintenance

Three cheers for Alice Supply Co for making my weekend chores fun and stylish!

  • Share/Bookmark

Instant | Sunshine

Beautiful yellow-inspired images ran rampant on tumblr all day! Thanks girls….

  • Share/Bookmark

Modern | Retro

Saturday’s Fashionista Guest Blogger

-Bronwen Llewellyn

Like many women, I have had an ongoing obsession with finding *the* right pair of shoes for as long as I can remember. This stems both from a love of fashion and an ankle broken in four places my junior year of high school.

The upshot: No $500+ Manolo purchases since I can’t wear four inch heels. The downside: Cute, sensible shoes are hard to find.  I think the Kids In the Hall summarized it best in their “Thirty Helens Agree” skit where the Helens proclaim “you can’t pay too much for a good pair of shoes” followed by “my god, your feet are what you walk on!”  This has become my shoe-buying (read “shoe justifying”) mantra.  Since we’re on the subject of eighties pop culture, I thought this week’s feature should be a lovely retro style that I have come to adore — the bi-color wingtip: a study in three parts.  The first item hails from the glorious-yet-practical Ralph Lauren collection.

photo courtesy of Saks 5th Avenue

The Arina Spectator Pump is crafted in Italian leather with a 3.5″ heel, my ankle is breaking again just looking at it!  But it is stunning in its black and white gloriousness!  I can take or leave the peep toe, but I am definitely a fan of the t-strap that every girl knows is the solution to a shoe that is not a Cinderella fit. These shoes will not look good with ankle tape, or a splint, but for those readers whose foot has never been on backwards (a la Stephen King’s Misery), these may be a viable option!  Fortunately for me, I was able to find its more reasonable cousin and counterpart, the Magdesians Alex.

photo courtesy of Zappos

Available in multiple widths (thank you!) AND made in the U.S., the Alex cuts the Arina’s heel in half and the price by better than 75% without sacrificing style.  A closed, square-point toe means you can go without that pedicure when these are peeking out from under the cuff of your jeans…and your toes don’t have to contort themselves into a dog pile for fashion!

I managed to score a pair of these for $94 (regularly priced at $115), and I can attest that they are beyond adorable.  And that the patent leather toe is unbelievably soft, which is a nice surprise.  I have managed to successfully totter around the house in these on at least two occasions, so they could make a public debut any day now.  And while I don’t think they are well-suited (no pun intended) for a day of standing at the courthouse, I think I could manage them in the office or a night out.

photo courtesy of Zappos

For those who want to go *really* sensible, or for men who want to get in on the bi-color wingtip action, Dr. Martens has released a version, as well. The Doc 3989 is available in sizing for men or women, and features standard Dr. Marten construction with an Air-Cushion sole.  While these may take a week of breaking in, the end result is always worth the effort.  These remind me of an inverse form of the saddle shoes I wore in Catholic girls school, only minus the brick red soles (replaced with something much more foot-friendly).

I recently had a pair of Dr. Martens sandals finally separate where the leather upper meets the footbed.  They were purchased sometime around 1992, and so far they are the only pair that I have ever had an issue with.  If you are looking for something with comfort, flair and an eighteen year lifespan, Docs are the shoes for you!

You can find the Arina at Saks, and the Alex and Docs at  Enjoy!

  • Share/Bookmark

Inspire | Britain

via iamreeh

via carouselinparis

via ellipsed

via ellipsed

via morethanoneword

Inspired by all of the design around the Union Jack.

  • Share/Bookmark

Bike | Crush

  • Share/Bookmark

Bold | Prints

via amber apple

  • Share/Bookmark

Buy Quality | Cry Once

If you ever read my blog, I am sure you know I am an art geek with little fashion sense.. wait.. its the whole starving artist thing that I like to blame that on! So.. I have a great new guest blogger to help out on the fashionista front… labelleviegirl welcomes Bronwen!

About | Me

My name is Bronwen and I am a shopaholic.  I am also a wife, mother, lawyer, design enthusiast, makeup connoisseur, animal lover, handbag fanatic, sometimes student, and occasional personal shopper.  Since I stay more than reasonably busy (and live in a state with limited shopping options), I have learned to shop online.  I subscribe to the “Vimes’s Boots Theory of Socioeconomic Unfairness” which can be briefly summarized by the old adage “buy quality, cry once.”  Consequently, my purchases need to provide value for my money…they should be functional, beautiful, durable, or produce results.  My goal here is to introduce you to (or reacquaint you with) a few fabulous items.

Treasure | Me

Welcome to spring!  The “Treasure Me” is the latest design from the fabulous Jackie Cawthra of Belen Echandia handbags.  Despite recently giving birth to a beautiful son, Jackie and her team also brought out two new bags for spring (and still make time to talk directly to customers).  Following a shoulder injury last year, I have had to reevaluate my bag carrying standards.  This led to the quest for the perfect cross-body bag – probably the only handbag I will buy in 2010.  After debating the Louis Vuitton “Bloomsbury PM” and “Odeon PM,” the Marc by Marc Jacobs “Petal to the Metal” and “Natasha,” and a handful of Coach debuts, I found that I could not commit.  Photos of Reese Witherspoon with an unidentified brown bag caught my eye ….

via just jared

…but many hours of investigation revealed a Marni bag of years past…no longer available, and way outside of the price range I am willing to pay for a bag these days.  So I decided to create an ongoing Ebay search and bide my time.  Well, this week the reveal of Belen Echandia’s new leather courier ended my quest.  The “Treasure Me” is available in two matte leathers, tan (shown) and nutmeg, and pebbled leather in natural, a cream-to-nude color.

At approximately 14″ wide by 10.5″ high, the “Treasure Me” is the perfect size for daytime carry.  It has an adjustable strap, a perforated logo, and Belen Echandia’s signature fuscia lining.  My vote goes to the nutmeg matte leather.  If you have never handled BE’s matte leathers, this is an absolute treat — it rivals “new car leather” for fabulous leather aroma and ages beautifully, softening to a leather puddle over time.  BE is also a small enough design house to still provide personal service as well as quality products.  And if you don’t find exactly what you are looking for, you can order a bespoke bag in the color and options of your choice.  Jackie can even tell you the name of the artisan who creates your bag!  All BE bags are made by a small Italian atelier.

You can explore the possibilities at  Enjoy!

via Jackie Cawthra

  • Share/Bookmark