Dress Like Coco

In honor of Shakespeare Loves Chanel turning two this month, I’m doing a special themed blog post on Chanel-inspired looks! From quilted handbags to tweed outfits, I’m sharing ways to channel classic Chanel style at a variety of price points.

P.S. My lovely Chanel-themed cake was made by my sweet step-sister for my birthday last September! 🎂

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. See my full disclosure here.

Note that if an exact item is no longer available for purchase online, then I link similar styles.

Quilted Handbags

Quilted handbags are an iconic part of Chanel history. One of the most recognizable–and most coveted–is the Chanel classic flap. However with its steep price point, the classic flap is definitely an investment piece (and the price does vary depending on bag size and type of material).

Since Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel first designed the quilted flap bag back in 1955, this elegant and versatile purse has proven the test of time. It’s not a trendy bag that will go out of style next season or even next year–it’s one of those rare fashion pieces that truly embodies what it means to be timeless.

The interlocking CC logo wasn’t added until the 1980’s, under the late creative director Karl Lagerfeld, and is the classic flap that’s still produced today. There are also quilted flap bags called the 2.55, which are fashioned after Chanel’s original design and don’t have the CC lock.

In 2017 my husband and I visited Chanel’s flagship store on the Rue Cambon in Paris, which first opened in 1918. Being a longtime Chanel fan, it was a fashion dream come true to shop for my classic flap bag at this historic location.

Whether you’re on the hunt for a rare purse or are a fan of vintage styles, my favorite website to buy vintage or pre-loved handbags/accessories is The RealReal. I love their high standards of authentication, their wide selection of designer goods, and their excellent customer service.

I’d been eyeing the Chanel Medallion Tote for a long time but after Chanel discontinued them, I started looking on the RealReal and found one in great condition (pictured above). About five years have passed since then, and I’m still extremely pleased with my purchase; the bag has held up so well and is something I use often!

Shop similar quilted bags here.

However, if you’re looking for a brand new bag without the Chanel price tag, there are several contemporary designers I definitely recommend. Tory Burch, Marc Jacobs, Rebecca Minkoff, and Kate Spade all make lovely quilted handbags in a variety of sizes, colors, and styles. My Kate Spade mini quilted backpack pictured above is something I got a great deal on recently (under $60!), during one of the Kate Spade Surprise Sales.

Unlike Chanel (which never goes on sale), the aforementioned brands have sales throughout the year and are perfect opportunities to find a lovely quilted handbag (often for under $200). I also frequently check both Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack’s apps to see when these designers go on sale!

Tweed Outfits

Coco Chanel first started using tweed fabrics in her designs almost 100 years ago, after being inspired by the tweed menswear worn by the Duke of Westminster, whom she was in a relationship with at the time. In the century since then, tweed has been an integral part of the French fashion house.

I bought the red tweed dress pictured above from Shein last year. Unfortunately it’s no longer available, but I linked similar styles here. Details like the white collar and neck tie also evoke that classic Chanel aesthetic.

Shop similar tweed jackets here.

This tweed jacket from Nordstrom Rack is an elegant option that would be just as perfect for a professional setting as it’d be with jeans on the weekend. I particularly like the contrasting trim on this jacket and the subtle metallic gold threads.

My Chanel brooch pictured above is an upcycled piece from the Designer Jewelry Finds. They repurpose authentic vintage buttons and charms from luxury brands like Chanel, Louis Vuitton, and Gucci and turn them into jewelry and accessories. Not only do they extend the life of vintage pieces by transforming them into wearable art, their price points are far more affordable, since most of their items cost under $150.

Shop similar styles here.

Though it’s on my fashion bucket list to one day own a Chanel tweed skirt suit, this matching set from Zara is such a chic alternative! Black and white color palettes always remind me of Coco herself, so as soon as I saw this set a few months ago, I knew it would be the perfect addition to my closet.

I love how versatile it is because I can wear the jacket and skirt together for more of a statement look, or easily mix and match with other items (more on that in a future post!).

Shakespeare Loves Chanel has been such a passion project for me the past two years, and I’m excited to keep growing it! I’ve truly loved connecting with so many inspiring individuals and businesses. Thank you all for your love and support! ❤️

From Work to Weekend

So far on my blog I haven’t shared much of what I wear to work! My day job as an executive assistant means that most days require professional attire (or at the very least, business casual). As such, in today’s post I’m sharing how to style workwear and make it work for you in multiple aspects of your life!

The way I accomplish this is by choosing pieces that go effortlessly from work to play and from day to night. The white blazer I’m wearing above is the perfect example of that.

It’s in a chic, windowpane print and is from the collaboration the brand J.O.A. did with LA-based influencer Chriselle Lim (Currently this blazer is on sale for under $40 on Nordstrom Rack’s website!). It looks so professional with black ankle pants and a simple white blouse.

My structured Prada bag has classic appeal, and the glossy, patent leather adds a luxe feel. My black suede shoes are by Halogen and have a low heel that is perfect for running work errands downtown (similar here).

Blazer: J.O.A. White top: Soprano (similar) Black pants: NYDJ (similar) Purse: Prada (similar size) Bracelets: Natasha (similar) Sunglasses: Ray-ban Clubmaster

If I’m going straight from work to dinner or an event, these simple additions take this look from office attire to out on the town: a bold lip, some wrist bling, and favorite sunnies. I love brown lipsticks for fall and winter!

Graphic tee: Eleven Paris (fun tee options: here, here, here) Jeans: Topshop (similar) Boots: Sam Edelman (similar) Purse: Prada (similar)

This is how I style a blazer from work to weekend. I start with a fun, graphic tee that complements the tones or print of the blazer, like this Kate Moss tee by Eleven Paris that’s been a fave of mine for years. I’ve linked some fun graphic tees above, since I could only find this exact Kate Moss option on sites like Poshmark and eBay (I bought mine at Kitson several years ago).

I then choose a great pair of skinny jeans, like this high-wasted option by Topshop that I’ve purchased in both blue and black because they’re so comfy (the style is called Jamie, and they come in a variety of colors and lengths)!

I finish it off with shoes and accessories: a great pair of black booties, a chic purse, some wrist bling, and sunglasses.

I love the contrast of mixing something fun like a graphic tee with a classy blazer and a structured purse. It keeps the look modern but still polished.

On a different note, I just started reading Crazy Rich Asians and am loving it! The entire series is definitely on my fall reading list. I will do a more thorough post on the novel when I finish it.

It’s also that time of year for Vogue’s iconic September issue! I’ve been reading Vogue since high school, and I love seeing all the fall fashion in their biggest issue of the year.

What’s on your reading list for fall?

Happy Friday, everyone! I hope you have a wonderful long weekend! ❤️

Endless Light

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Happy Mother’s Day Weekend to all the moms out there! Doing a special post today to share last-minute gift ideas and what I’ll be wearing for an afternoon of lunching and shopping with my mom and my grandma! I’m so thankful to have them both in my life–they are truly strong, intelligent, and kind women, and I wouldn’t be who I am without them.

In keeping with the Paris theme this week from my travel series, I wanted to start out with a book recommendation. If your mom loves to curl up with a phenomenal book and enjoys historical fiction, Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot Seewould make a wonderful gift. I mentioned in an earlier post that this Pulitzer Prize-winning novel was on my spring reading list. I finished it recently, and there is so much to say about this moving story, I scarcely know where to start! I don’t want to give away the ending for anyone who has yet to read it, so instead I’ll share a quote, a major theme, and my overall impression.

“Color–that’s another thing people don’t expect. In her imaginations, in her dreams, everything has color… Bees are silver. The huge cypress trees she and her father pass on their morning walk are shimmering kaleidoscopes, each needle a polygon of light. Her father radiates a thousand colors, opal, strawberry red, deep russet, wild green… He glows sapphire when he sits over his work bench in the evenings, humming almost inaudibly as he works, the tip of his cigarette gleaming a prismatic blue.” 

The reason I chose this particular passage (especially when there are SO many gems to choose from) is because light is such a recurring theme in this novel; it truly is at the center of this World War II story, the thing that everything revolves around. Light is in the title, of course, but it’s also a constant presence.

Two big reasons for that have to do with the novel’s protagonists: Marie-Laure and Werner. Marie-Laure is a blind Parisian girl, who flees the City of Light with her father upon the German occupation of France. Even though she is physically incapable of seeing light, her mind imagines the world in the most vibrant of colors (as illustrated in the above quote). Throughout the novel, her intelligence, perception, and intuition make her notice things that others often don’t.

In contrast, Werner grows up facing a different kind of darkness. He’s a German orphan boy who grows up in a small coal-mining town, and in his early teens, he’s sent to a school that trains Nazi soldiers. The terrible darkness that he faces is the spread of Naziism in Germany and Europe, and the horrendous realities of World War II.

This novel spans the course of several decades and explores the darkness in this world– but also the ever-persisting light. It asks us to think about the things that can’t be seen literally, but still exist: love, strength, hope, bravery, and the resilience of the human spirit.

Doerr’s elegant writing style and mastery of metaphors paint the most vivid story that is equal parts beautiful and heart-wrenching. The contrast between his eloquent, graceful syntax and the dark subject matter is truly memorable and poignant.

Another Paris-inspired novel that I just delved into is Nina George’s The Little Paris Bookshop. It was gifted to me by my mother-in-law, and the story’s premise captivated me instantly. It’s the tale of a man who owns a bookstore on a boat that sails on the Seine in Paris. He’s a literary doctor of sorts and prescribes specific books to those who are in need of them. I’m really excited to see where this charming story goes, and I’ll share a more detailed review in a future post when I finish reading it!

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Here are some more gift ideas for the moms in your lives!

Does your mom have a favorite perfume? My mom loves the original Juicy Couture scent (pictured above), and my brother and I take turns replenishing her stash for her birthdays and holidays. My grandma and I both adore Chanel’s Coco Mademoiselle, and I know a lot of ladies who really enjoy this fresh, floral scent.

My mom is a big coffee drinker, so my brother and I often give her adorable mugs! I love getting mugs at TJ Maxx, Homegoods, and Target, and I’ve linked some great options (the following mugs from Target are online and available in store at select locations: “Monogrammed Floral,” “Mama Needs Some Coffee,” and “Mom’s the Boss“).

My mom and I are huge fans of the candles from Bath and Body Works. Our all-time favorite is the Mahogany Teakwood candle and is perfect for those who love woodsy scents. Yet lately a candle we’ve been loving is their Watermelon Lemonade–it’s a yummy, fruity scent that’s perfect for spring and summer!

Another great gift idea (or to wear yourself to brunch, or shopping, or on vacation!) is a striped dress. I love black-and-white stripes because it’s such a timeless color combo (I own several because they’re so versatile–knee length, maxi, jumpsuit, long-sleeve, sleeveless, etc). There are so many silhouettes out there for a variety of tastes and personal styles. The one I’m wearing was a TJ Maxx find (have you guys noticed yet how much I love TJ Maxx?), so I’ve linked some stylish options that are all currently on sale.

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Panama Hat: J. Crew  Striped Dress: Monteau (great striped options all on sale: here, here, here, and herePurse: Chanel Classic Flap (similar structure/style here and hereMules: Topshop (similar here and hereWatch: Marc by Marc Jacobs (similarSunglasses: Chanel (similar) Lip Color: Birthday Suit by Tarte

For this particular look, I paired my striped dress with a classic Panama hat (mine is from J. Crew and is a constant warm weather companion). I also wore a pair of mules that are by Topshop and are a recent purchase from Nordstrom Rack (I linked some comparable styles). I’m so happy mules are trendy again! My sunglasses I’ve had for awhile and are Chanel, so I’ve linked a similarly shaped option.

Continuing the Parisian theme this week, my Chanel classic flap bag was purchased at the flagship boutique on 31 Rue Cambon (which Gabrielle Chanel first opened in 1918). It’s such a timeless and elegant style and has been a dream bag of mine for many years. I’ve also linked some fabulous black purses with a similar structure and aesthetic to the Chanel classic flap.

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Happy Friday! I hope you all have a wonderful weekend celebrating the moms, grandmas, step-moms, mothers-in-law, and honorary moms in your lives. My mom and my grandma are such sources of light and love in my life, and I truly cherish the time I get to spend with them (below: one of my favorite pictures of the three of us from my wedding).

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