No Offense To Thomas More, But...

It's winter. That usually means we put away our pretty, brightly coloured bags and haul out the dark leathers - the espresso, the black, the red if we're crazy (that last would be me). But doesn't it get...depressing? Winter is dreary enough as it is in most parts of the world, especially here in the east. I would much rather carry around something colourful and pretty, no matter what time of year! Then again, my spring and summer bags do look a little odd with the wool coat, if you get my drift.

That's why I am quite enamoured of this very pretty Chloe handbag from Queen Puff Puff. It's mostly black, so the more snooty fashionistas won't have a heart attack, but it's also covered in pretty, bright flowers in gold and pink to add some cheerful colour to your day. I think my favourite touch, though, is that splash of teal from the dupioni silk sash and straps. And the white buckle in front. So chic!

Designer Nicole Vasbinder has made this lovely goodie from printed cotton and lined the bag in satin. The white buckle on the front is vintage plastic, and there's a pocket inside for your cellphone & lipstick, as well as a magnetic snap to keep it all safe.

Really, this bag is, well, one for all seasons. Queen Puff Puff has all sorts of cute stuff from bags to belts, so check it out!

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So Luscious, I'd Be Tempted To Eat It

Oh, wow. Is this delicious-looking or what? Honestly, it makes me think of cherries and cream - something rich and yummy. In reality, however, this beautiful treat of a necklace is garnet and a creamy yellow aventurine. Honestly, I think my husband will be getting a "hint, hint" nudge tonight. Can you blame me?

Artist nutraj has created this pretty piece. The necklace is 15" long, but can be made longer if you'd like. Visit her shop to see more truly scrumptious goodies, from brooches to bracelets, earrings, and beads!

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Lusterbunny Swank

Last month, my husband and I went to Pittsburgh's Handmade Arcade, a great little art fair featuring all sorts of indie artists. One thing that I had to buy - as in we fought our way back through the thick mass of humanity to get to her table - was one of these pretty teardrop necklaces from Lusterbunny. Mine is in pale green, and it was a difficult choice; her work is beautiful and unique, and she has all sorts of designs - florals, paisleys, chandeliers, squirrels, trees, even deer, moose and ravens!

Each pendant comes on a sterling silver choker chain. The pendants themselves are actually glazed porcelain, the image being permanently fused to the piece by being fired in a kiln at 1900 degrees. The decal won't ever come off! The pendant itself is about an inch and a half long.

I wore mine during much of Thanksgiving weekend - it's so pretty and quite different from what else is out there. Lusterbunny offers this in pink, pale green, white, light blue, or olive green. Definitely a nice treat for yourself, or a lovely gift for a friend - heck, I think that some hipper grandmas might like this! Lusterbunny's shop has all kinds of pretty stuff, from pendants and pins to magnets, so hop on over!

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It's Almost Unbelievable...
...that I've not featured any bracelets! I have more than I can count and love them - something about a pretty thing on my wrist makes me feel just a touch more graceful and ladylike.

That's why I'm excited to feature this lover-ly Delia bracelet from Bellaceti. It's just the kind of thing I love to wear - sweet and pretty with beautiful small touches.

This darling is made with faceted oval cherry quartz individually wrapped on sterling silver wire, with carnelian beads framing the clasp (my sister bought me a carnelian necklace once, and it's beautiful). The bracelet is 7" long, and adjusts to a length of 8.5" with the sterling silver chain and lobster clasp. Artist Linda even explains the history of cherry quartz - which isn't really quartz, but glass coloured so it looks like it is quartz. This particular colour happens to flatter all skin tones, so it has become very popular.

There are only twelve of these beauties available, so run over and snatch one up for yourself or a friend right away!

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I Say Nest, You Say Bouquet, We Both Say "Pretty!"

Today's offering is this lovely little ring from MoxieRings. Talk about a great stocking stuffer! Now, the Scottsdale-based artist says this is a bouquet, which I can see, but doesn't it look like a robin's nest?

Regardless, it's undeniably pretty. The stones are Peruvian Blue Opals, set onto a ring of sterling silver wire. This ring can come in any size from 5-10, and it's under $20! MoxieRings has plenty of terrific stuff at her shop, especially the jewelry. She offers web design, too. Check it out!

Since Thanksgiving is tomorrow, and most people will be at the crazy malls (mauls?) Friday, there probably won't be any posts until Saturday or Sunday. There are turkeys to roast and 'taters to mash, after all. Happy Thanksgiving!

Glam Dresses!
When I started this blog, I thought Pretty/Modest would be a cute name, if not oxymoronic. It's easy to find darling accessories, but finding modest clothing (defined by me as covering from bust - no falling-out cleavage, thanks - to the knee) that is also pretty, attractive, and flattering was going to be a tall order. Finding formal dresses that fit the bill would be even more difficult. I've nothing against bare arms or shoulders (being the always over-warm type myself), but would rather not have to throw a napkin over my knees because of a too-short hemline or pin something to the bodice because I don't want some boor trying to take a peek at the girls, if you get my drift. Ladylike formalwear is tough to find these days, much less stuff that is attractive and pretty.

So I was absolutely thrilled yesterday, when a post on the Modestly Yours blog directed me to not one, not two, but a whole gaggle of pretty dresses that also fit the 'modest' bill, all from Shade Clothing. In fact, a couple of these are very glamorous dresses. Check 'em out:

Pretty, aren't they? There are quite a few more, and the website is well worth visiting. When you click "Purchase" at the top, you are taken to the store site, and you can view each dress in a larger photo individually - in fact, click here and then click on the name of each dress to take a closer look.

The dresses aren't cheap, but nor are they any more than you'd pay at a department store. Nearly all have a very flattering cut (although I'm not a fan of empire waists a la "Sense and Sensibility") and are made from nicely draping fabric. Great job, girls!

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Black Velvet

Check out this beautiful black velvet handbag from AO3 Designs. Not only would it be a wonderful finishing touch to a party dress, the "Annie Rose" would also really jazz up a pair of jeans. The red roses applique makes a statement, and the pretty button closure is a vintage-style silver piece with crystal center. It looks like there is a fun red and white lining inside, too. This pretty bag is certain to draw quite a few compliments!

AO3 has quite a few beautiful bags, many made from velvet, brocade, microsuede, and other beautiful fabrics. She really has an eye for luxury, and styles from fun and funky to elegantly sophisticated. If you are picky about your handbags or have a hard-to-please friend, I can't imagine that you wouldn't find something at this shop!

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Simple Beauty

There is something wonderful about simplicity in fashion - like a little black dress, or a sweater set with pearls. I'm all for glamour and flair and glitz, but sometimes the simple route is the best, isn't it?

This pendant, by Almond Tree Designs, is a perfect example of beauty and elegance in simplicity. The black polymer inset has a lovely inset of delicately handcoiled silvertone copperwire to add a subtle glow to the jewelry. This would make a wonderful gift - for a friend or yourself! And since black and white never go out of style, this inexpensive pendant is an all-seasons piece you'll go back to time and again.

Almond Tree offers many, many beautiful pendants of all colours; some are glass, others polymer, and all feature the artist's wonderful, elegant wirework. You'll find earrings and other jewelry at the shop as well, and everything is under $20. I think this shop will be featured here - the work is beautiful and I've a hard time thinking of anyone who wouldn't like at least one or two things from the shop.

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Accessories Are King (...Queen?)

Sometimes, the best part of one's wardrobe are the smallest things - a pretty necklace, the perfect pair of pumps, an elegantly worn scarf. It's the little things that not only pull an outfit together, but reveal an enticing hint about one's personality, her mood that day, even her feelings about the event she's attending.

Today, I offer you this cute, funky belt from CBStitches. Jazz up a pair of jeans, or add a little extra to that fall dress or woolen skirt. The modern paisley print is particularly appealing, especially with that brightening little touch of raspberry pink. The belt is two inches wide, well-interfaced, and backed with a pretty goldenrod-coloured bow. It's 41" long, but creator Cynthia is happy to make belts of custom length for you.

She also has this lovely pink and brown satiny belt, which makes me think of Christmas ornaments (and flattering vertical lines). Too cute!

Best of all are Cynthia's prices - the belts are ridiculously well-priced (let me just say that Target could reasonably sell these for more than twice what Cynthia is charging). Any of them would be a great addition to your wardrobe, or a fabulous Christmas gift for a friend or stocking stuffer for a daughter or niece. In fact, it would also be a terrific Secret Santa gift - it is well under most Secret Santa price barriers without being, oh, ugly, cheesy, or a complete waste of money that will end up in someone's trash basket. Hmm....who do I know who would love one of these...

This belt and many, many others - for all tastes - are available at CBStitches. Cynthia's profile says she is big on providing high quality at a great price, and she most certainly does.

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Now, This is Creative!
Originally, I was looking for something warm and snuggly to share with you on a chill Friday, but saw this bracelet cuff and couldn't resist!

Created by Mary Andrews of Brooklyn, this is a one of a kind bracelet made from an antique silver fork. Not only is it lovely, it's also one size fits all. It's the perfect accessory for holiday party dresses - not to mention a definite conversation piece! And if you ask me, it's a steal at $20.

Just to fit the bill today, I also note the Winter Moss scarf, also by Contrary (lucky girl, she gets a twofer today). Not only is it a delicous colour that will coordinate beautifully with many other colours, it is a scarf lightweight and pretty enough that you'll want to wear it around the office (as Michiganders are wont to do in the cold months) instead of hanging it up with your coat. Warm, snuggly, and pretty - what's not to love?

Visit Contrary for many more goodies - this is a very creative, talented lady, with items ranging from jewelry to paintings and paper goodies. And free shipping - I repeat, free shipping! - has never hurt anyone.

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Hair Pretties From Sprout Studio
Once again, I display bias, because I lovelovelove Sprout Studio. Not only do I (sort of) share a name with the proprietor, but her stuff is just darned adorable and chic.

Money has been spent here. And it will continue, believe you me.

A newer item from Jenifer are these loverly hairpins, featuring glass - yes, glass - cabachons in a luscious shade of green. And such fortuitous colour and timing, too, with Christmas right around the corner.

Having these pretties tucked in your locks, perhaps paired with a fabulous red holiday dress? Subtle and surprising, and oh so sweet. Available at Sprout Studio.

By the way, Jenifer also makes darling earrings, very unique, and many of them are on sale, so check that out too. I have these, and get lots of compliments on their wonderfulness.

Shop away!

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Some Things Are Just Irresistible
Things such as this beautiful, elegant shrug from April Dawn Reigart. The sweater is 100% hand-loomed alpaca, and she's knit all of the ribbing by hand as well. This is just beautiful!

Normally, I'm not a big fan of shrugs, but the high neck in back (perfect for winter walks and Christmas-light gazing) and the ruffly edges caught my eye. The neutral colour will compliment many a lady's wardrobe, and it's so well-made and detailed, I think it could go casual or even semi-formal. Wherever you wear it, rest assured that you'll look fabulous in this stylish sweater! Available at April's Etsy store.


Vintage Cute
I love all things retro and vintage. And Cat Bishop of Artsy has my number in so many ways it is scary. Chances are, on those days I just don't feel like looking, she'll be the one of the ones I turn to as an backup.

Her new "Blue Corn" earrings are made with green czech glass flowers, and the little ears of corn are vintage glass. Aren't these adorable?

Cat makes beautiful things, but she's definitely a wonder at making earrings. Check out her shop for more goodies, including her darling and chic vintage robots, such as Gladys Got Soul here.

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A Little Fishy...

...but only in the best of ways. Blossom Boutique (one of my favourite places to spend money on others and myself) has just introduced this fab double-sided pendant from TVTrayArt. One side features koi on blue, and the other on green. It's so simple and pretty, and practically a two-for-one deal at that. Switch sides with your shirt color before going out at night, or just to see if your co-workers are paying attention.

Snap one up now, though - it's a very limited edition. As in there are only three available!

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Mmmm, Corduroy!
Remember corduroy pants? And that fabulous zip-zip sound they made? Yes, me too. And that's why I stopped wearing them, preferring instead to sneak up on my victims.

Of course, skirts are a whole different story, and now that colder weather has set in, it's time to break out the warm snuggliness of cord skirts. Paired with a sweater and knee-high boots or a soft, pretty cami and heels, cords are versatile day-to-night all through the briskness of fall and bone-cracking cold of winter. Not only will you look wonderful, you'll feel warm and snuggly.

Just in time for holiday dinners and parties, india*romeo offers this pretty corduroy skirt - with sweet lace trim on the hem. Isn't it lovely? If this doesn't fit the definition of pretty and modest, I don't know what does.

So, you see, there's no need to banish girliness to summertime only. And in these cords, you won't have to fear catching fire during a rush to get the last thirty-dollar 42" flat-screen TV on Black Friday, either.


On Pretty/Modest
So, why "Pretty/Modest"? A few reasons, I suppose.

For one thing, I'm female. As such, I like pretty and cute things. I suppose it is some quirk God programmed us with, but do we really mind? Honestly?

Also, there are a lot of ridiculously talented people out there creating beautiful, exquisite things: jewellry, purses, clothing, home decor goodies - and they're doing it as individuals, or maybe with a friend or two. That means it isn't mass-produced - it's unique. I have no quibble with mass production in most cases: it makes things more affordable (try to imagine how expensive even the lowest-level car would cost if it were made on a car-by-car basis). However, like most people, I find something wonderful about special items that few others have. Why blend in with the crowd and look like everyone else? Frankly, I think a lot of mass fashion is silly (skinny jeans again?) - and the followers tend to look like lemmings, not to mention each other. It's so tiresome to see pretty girls looking just like each other! We're all individuals with different personalities. Indie designers offer an opportunity for us to express our own self, and often at a very reasonable price.

Keep in mind, though, that some of the items are more expensive - because the designer may have spent two hours making that pin, or a few days making that dress. They often can't buy the supplies in bulk the way Target or bebe or Express can.

As for the 'modest' part...well, I'm kind of a 'classic' girl, tending to dress more like Audrey than a Britney. In fact, Britney isn't even part of my dialect. There's some Marilyn thrown in there, but I tend to be of the persuasion that a woman can be sexy without revealing cleavage, bellybutton, buns, long stretches of leg, or any combination thereof. Head-to-to prairie rat wear is out of the question: one can dress attractively without leaving so little to the imagination as most women today do. If I find pretty things that are also 'modest' - as in, they cover attractively - I'll mention them. Gladly. It's not quite as hard to find lovely, fashionable clothing that is still ladylike as some would have you believe.

"Modest" does not have to mean "ugly". And frankly, that "modest" stuff sticks out like a sore thumb in public, not in a good way - and a lot of the people wearing it are, honestly, anything but modest about wearing it.

Some people - mostly Christians - think that 'pretty' and 'modest' just cannot go together. I heartily disagree and find these arguments rather sickening. Any God capable of creating such beautiful things as a cherry blossom tree in full bloom, a vibrant sun conure, an animal as magnificent as the horse, the shimmering arrow of fast-moving tropical fish, breathtaking vistas of ocean or desert or rolling hills, or (to round things out) an oak tree aflame with vibrant colour in the waning days of fall is most certainly a God who doesn't mind seeing humans wearing pretty, attractive things.

(Warning: some Bible stuff ahead, but it fits in with the thesis and shouldn't offend anyone of any faith or non-faith. But feel free to skip.)

The Proverbs 31 woman clothes her family and herself in rich, beautiful clothing. God set down very detailed rules for what his priests should wear, and it wasn't even close to being plain, believe you me. There's a lot about dress and appearance in the Bible, more than many would like to admit, and it's pretty detailed. Even Christ Himself is described as wearing a robe of "fine linen" - as are all the saints. Fine linen isn't cheap, and while it can be simple, as anyone who has seen anyone else wearing a very nice linen suit knows, it just screams "I am well made, and I cost money money money." He tells us to look at the lilies of the field and how well He dresses them, and lilies aren't a favourite flower because they're plain. I think pretty and modest can go together beautifully. Besides...ugly can be ostentatious (remember the 70s?).

I'm a Christian woman, but I get regular trims to my mane, wear makeup daily, like perfumes, and looooove my scented moisturizers. My closet is full of cute clothes (of course, I never have enough, but other people seem to think I spend a fortune - if only!) that is attractive yet ladylike, and even (*gasp!*) reveals...shoulders and bare arms! And my neck! And calves - even ankles! Gaaaah! That gets me condemned right there. I give myself weekly manicures and a biweekly pedi.

To my non-Christian/Catholic/whatever faith readers, have no fear. I will not be telling you to buy a full, floor-length skirt (well...if it's made of satin or silk, or has some lovely embellishments...because there's something about a ballgown, you know?). Or to wear nothing but turtlenecks and to throw out your blowdryer. Never ever. I also don't plan on preaching at all. But I figure all of us can use some defense against the long-skirts-and-sleeves-only crowd, faith-type or not!

So, that's the plan. Scoping out pretty things, and if possible, modest things. I enjoy sharing things I like with others, and hope you enjoy seeing them as well. Of course, if you see anything lovely, feel free to bring it to my attention!


As Fall Wanes...
Just because the beautiful leaves are nearly gone doesn't mean that you can't keep the memory of yet another beautiful fall with you. Feisty Elle offers this gorgeous wool brooch that will add a wonderful splash to your coat, favourite hat, or a pretty sweater.

$40 at Feisty Elle.