London Based Designer Tessa Packard Creates Jewelry With a Story to Tell

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Stories have historically come from predictable places. They are born from classic novels, cinematic masterpieces and tales passed down from generation to generation—they do not come from jewelry. However, Tessa Packard, a London-based designer whose debut label launched in April of last year, does just that. Within each of her refined pieces lives a tinge of edge in which narratives begin to take shape when read with the rest of the collection. Her lines vary from No Smoke Without Flowers, inspired by 19th century Chinese opium dens, to Mexicana, jewelry made up of geometric Aztec shapes. Each piece holds its own, yet tells a story when joined with its colorful yet classic partners.


With the success that Packard now enjoys due to her innovative jewelry collections, it is difficult to believe that she is a completely self-taught jewelry designer. Born in Brazil and raised in Britain, Packard studied Fine Art and History of Art throughout school before springing into the London commercial art world. However, something was missing after four years in galleries—she missed designing the fashion accessories she had done as a teenager. “I really missed being creative, and that urge I had when I was tiny for being a jewelry designer began to kind of creep in and manifests itself in the sense that I really couldn’t think about doing anything else,” Packard told The Shop at Bluebird. After spending 2012 into 2013 becoming her own businesswoman and preparing to launch her first collection, Tessa Packard London was born.


Still, it was no walk in Hyde Park. “I literally knew no one in the fashion world, so to begin with I had to make a lot of contacts,” she continued. “I spent the first 6 months meeting people, making connections, meeting press to show my face and show them sketches of where I was coming from.”

Her newest collection, Predator/Prey, which launched this year, proves that Packard certainly feels no need to mimic past designs. Featuring vivid gold and black, her jewelry incorporates contemporary shapes in ingenious designs including honeycomb rings and earrings, bees perched on top of gemstone rings and bright, dynamic bracelets mixing contrasting shapes.


So where does Packard draw her inspiration from? As with all dynamic artists, her designs can’t be defined by one source, but instead, are drawn from the culture, history and nature surrounding the narrative she wishes to tell. She creates her pieces with ideas of alluring fabrics, inventive architecture and antique ornamental objects made up of varying colors, form and composition. “I started looking at how you could translate the forms or the colors of the shapes into jewelry,” she explained. A believer in making all things locally, her designs are also entirely “homemade,” or manufactured and hand-finished by United Kingdom workshops.

So what will Packard come up with next? It could be drawn from anything from a misunderstood beast to a sparkling sweet in a candy shop. We’ll certainly be keeping our eyes peeled for what this up-and-coming artist has in store for the jewelry world.


How to Channel Your Creative Style Energy Into Life

As a fashion blogger and freelance fashion writer, I will say it:

Fashion isn’t everything.

Most of us do not work in fashion. We are lawyers, accountants, doctors, journalists, business owners and a million other things. We enjoy reading, hiking, bowling and movies. We go to book club on Wednesday and date night on Friday.

However, one thing that we can do is bring the joy and creative spirit from fashion into other parts of our lives as we go about our day. Even if we don’t head over to Vogue every morning at 9 a.m. and the style of our lives ends after we get dressed in the morning, the decisions and feelings that go into our fashion decisions don’t end there. Here’s how you can bring that into the rest of your day-to-day life.


1. When you go to the mall and you only purchase things that you really love. When was the last time you picked up a disastrously ugly shirt at the store and then decided to take it over the register? Hopefully never. Instead, you hold out for the best – that one thing that you can’t live without. Even if that means you have five pairs of jeans and four tops in your arms, you only pursue what makes you happy. This is how you should be making all decisions in your life. If it doesn’t make you excited to get up tomorrow (and get dressed…) then why are you doing it? Do what makes you happy, people.

2. When there’s a little extra strut in your step because you’re wearing your favorite outfit. Think about it. When you’re feeling your best and you’re hoping you’ll run into your ex-boyfriend that night, it’s because you’re wearing your favorite outfit – a simple piece of cloth. There is no magic in those heels or that dress. It’s all in your head. So why can’t you feel like that always? Get it in your head that you’re great, you’re beautiful, you’re smart and you’re interesting. You don’t need an item of clothing to prove it.

3. When you’re feeling pretty snazzy because you just put together an awesome new ensemble. You know when you wake up, feel a sudden pull of inspiration and you have the best outfit ever? You kind of feel like you just solved a great mystery of the world and you feel ready to take on the day. Bring this in everything you do by always trying new things. What fun is always eating the same meal, wearing the same outfit or taking on the same projects? Get creative, be courageous and try new things whenever possible.

There you have it, ladies. I know that you love to shop, you love style and you love fashion (or else you wouldn’t be reading this blog). Now, I want you to bring it to your lives.

How To Transition Your Summer Business Closet to Fall

Not all of us have a complete arsenal of fall fashion just rearing to go as soon as October comes around (although we certainly wish we did). Although we’re always more than ecstatic to pull out our fall riding boots, cozy sweaters and classic jackets, our closets can start to look pretty empty if we simply packed away all of our favorite summer and spring pieces. However, packing all that stuff away simply isn’t necessary since many pieces can easily be brought into fall. Here’s how.

1. Pair darks with lights. 

In the summer, wearing white jeans with a salmon is perfect for a workday. Unfortunately, this simply won’t work anymore once October shows its face. Instead of packing away your white or pink pieces, pair them with darker pieces instead (such as white pants with a burgundy top or light blue pants with a black top).

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2. Throw on an interesting blazer. 

I’ve been wearing many of my summery, floral tops in the fall simply by pairing them with a classic blazer. Blazers don’t have to be boring – instead, stand out with hounds tooth, stripes or a bold color to completely transform an otherwise summertime look. Also, always remember, especially when layering, that accessories must match to pull a look together.

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3. Put some tights on. 

Not all dresses need to retire in the fall. Those in darker shades can follow through to fall with opaque black tights. To keep from looking like your grandma, wear solid booties or other shoes made for the autumn. Stay away from flats as well to avoid looking like a schoolgirl lost in your office.

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4. Accessorize with a scarf. 

Paired with a scarf and a cardigan, most tops that are in classic styles (not too summery or flowy) can transition from your spring closet to your fall. Grab a cozy scarf and tie in the way that most complements the outfit. Obviously, for sleeveless summery tops, a cardigan or other kind of laying is usually necessary to complete.

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5. Utilize classic accessories. 

Summer is for all those wild and crazy accessories that your mom balks at. Fall is for classic pieces like pearls and more subdued and neutral colors. If you pair these classic accessories accordingly with more summery pieces, a summer outfit can easily transition into the autumn, no purchase necessary.

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How I Made My Hair Healthier, Silkier and Stronger

I shudder a little when I think back to high school when I would shower at night, blow-dry my already thin, fine hair, then get up early to straighten or curl it before heading off to first period. This was also simutaneous with my color treatments, including red dye, highlights and lowlights every three months. When I now peer in the mirror, a little disappointed over the result of my careful air-drying of my naturally colored hair which I have been sporting for the past three years, I often wonder if my sad locks are the result of my poor habits early on.

However, I don’t really think those days caused my non-ideal hair today – instead, my hair stylist, Rachel, insists that my brown hair is not damaged at all, instead, it’s just naturally thin and fine and it’s just the luck of the draw that some can do color treatments every six weeks and heat styling everyday without any impact. Rachel herself straightens her color-treated hair everyday, and it’s still so thick that she shaves off the underbelly of it just to make it more manageable. It’s still so thick that you would never wonder if anything was different.

After years spent anguishing over my unfortunate luck, I went to Rachel again to get some easy at-home treatments to help thicken up my head. Although I will never have obscenely long-flowing locks like Rachel or exotic actresses in magazines, I have seen significant impacts. Here’s what I did.

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1. I use a hair mask about once a week. On Saturday mornings when I wake up, I make a mixture of two raw eggs and two tablespoons of olive oil and mix them together in a bowl. Then, I pour it over my hair in the bathtub, grabbing the remaining bits that pool into the tub and re-scrub them into my head. After working it in, I tie my hair up and let it dry for 30 minutes before washing it out with normal shampoo/conditioner. Although I’ll admit that I don’t smell great for the day (maybe I would be better off doing this on Sundays…) after it’s done, my hair is incredibly soft, smooth and rejuvenated.

2. I rinse my hair with cool water, always. Hot water causes your hair follicles to open while cool water causes them to close, protecting them from damage. So when you’re done showering, it’s always a good idea to rinse with cool water – it doesn’t have to be freezing, just cool enough. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, take a whole shower with cool water – it’s better for your skin, too.

3. I sleep with my hair tied in a loose braid. When you’re rolling around in your sleep, your hair crunches under you, damaging it. If you loosely tie your hair in a braid, it will keep the ends together – safely – and protect them from damage.

4. I sleep on a satin pillowcase. Sleeping on a cotton pillowcase is rougher on your hair while sleeping on satin or silk is much softer on it and will make it prone to less damage while you sleep.

5. I always use a heat protectant spray before styling. When my hair is completely dry (NEVER straighten or curl your hair when it is still wet and prone to damage) I spray it with Tresemme Creations Heat Tamer Spray and then it dry again (will only take about five minutes) before using any type of hot styling tool. Also, once I’m done styling, I use Chi Silk Infusion on the ends to prevent them from frizzing out.

6. I only use heat styling once a week. Technically, someone who has non-color-treated hair can safely use heat styling three times a week, while someone with color-treated hair can do so once a week, however I try to limit myself to one heat style per week.

7. I take extra supplements of Biotin and B12 everyday. These vitamins have proteins in them which will promote healthy growth of your hair and nails. I take pills of these everyday (in addition to a multivitamin).

9. I take Silicon droplets everyday. Every morning, I take fifteen drops of JarroSil Activated Silicon in a small glass of juice (usually you can’t even taste it). Like a protein, this also promotes healthy hair and nail growth.

10. I use organic shampoos. Organic shampoos are free of many chemicals that weigh hair down. I use Organix Shampoo and Conditioners – which I also really like because there are an endless amount of types (in which I plan to try every single one).

11. I use Moroccan oil after air-drying my hair each morning. Since my hair is fairly thin and straight, my hair is nearly dried after about an hour and a half. At this point, I take a pearl-sized amount of oil (I like Organix) and sift it through the ends of my hair to prevent frizzing.

12. I massage my head throughout the day. At random points, I’ll massage my scalp with my fingertips, which promotes hair growth. It also feels awesome.

13. I switch my part everyday. By switching your part, you are exposing and healing different hair follicles.

Now I feel sort of crazy.

What You Need for Fall 2014

Alongside pumpkin picking, apple picking, haunted hay rides and trick-or-treating comes the inevitable, and much-anticipated, fall fashion. The time has come to unpack our dusty fall boots, sweaters and scarves and get ready for this very fashion-forward season. However, amongst this gleeful unpacking comes a familiar feeling of need – the need to get back on track and pick up the latest trends for the season.

Obviously, the classics will stay – the tall, black leather boots with gold details, the plaid scarf, the off-white knit sweater. However, here are the items that you need to add to your growing collection this season.

1. Matchy-matchy sets were slowly becoming a staple back in spring and summer, and they are here to stay. Pick up a set of matching skirts and tops, preferably with a little skin showing to eliminate the grandma effect. Go for strong pieces in solid shapes, especially those in busy, yet classy, prints.


2. Leopard has always been a part of many a woman’s closets, and it is back in motion for fall. Pick up a leopard scarf, booties, and other accessories to avoid overdoing it for everyday life. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, don’t be afraid to pick up a long leopard coat or a ladylike skirt.

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3. Mini dresses are feminine pieces that can be taken to the office with a nice pair of boots, especially while summer is still transitioning to fall. This is a great option for those days that are remaining in the 60s and the 70s. Pair a mini dress with a scarf and flats to make it known you are here for fall.

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4. Leather skirts are another fine transitioning piece since they can paired with a long sleeved shirt or jacket with boots for a fall look. Get a leather skirt in a slightly longer length to take it from club to professional and mix it up by trying leathers in other neutral colors besides black such as blush or tan.

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5. Eccentric faux furs because fur doesn’t have to be boring. Mix up your faux fur sweater or jacket with prints utilizing more colors and patterns while keeping nice and cozy warm in the chill, too. Faux fur, always a classic staple, has gotten a slight mix-up this season.

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Fall is Here: So When Can I Wear Boots?

Ah, the age-old question. School has officially begun, the leaves are falling and we are planning our Halloween costumes as fall gets underway (officially). We go through days where the wind is blowing and we’re left digging for our winter coats shoved back in the closet and days when we can still drive down to the shore for the day. This is all fun and good, but… when is it appropriate to wear boots?

September is a funny month in that it retains the last strains of summer yet we’re left wanting for fall, asking ourselves when we should unpack the vests and the jackets. Today, I posed the question to my friend Megan, who had a pleasingly specific answer:


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After October 1st when the temperature dips below 70 degrees. 

Being that I live in the northeast where we, too, get quite the chills once fall is underway, I do not think that wearing tall boots before this time is ever OK. Unless there is a blizzard or something. If you must, put on the short boots, but stick with open-toed shoes or flats by all means possible since people (i.e. me) are still hanging out on the beach and all.

This Week’s Haul: Century 21

I can’t get enough of Century 21, the discount department store with locations throughout New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Century 21 is sort of like a Marshall’s, full of discount designer clothing, but just… better. Unlike Marshall’s or other discount stores, it’s obviously much bigger at department store-size and they have a much larger selection of high-end brands. This week, I picked up a couple of nice accessories for fall:

Steve Madden $98 Handbag at $45


I really like this bag because I love cross body bags (who wants to carry a bag…), I like the leopard (obviously), but I don’t think it’s overwhelming because the entire back of the bag is in solid black (with the Steve Madden logo).

Steve Madden $70 Flats at $35


I don’t even usually buy Steve Madden stuff but I couldn’t pass up a classic pair of flats which I was lacking. I like the more demure, pointed toe as well as the patent leather. I’ve worn these a couple times already and they’re pretty comfortable too.

Michael Kors $45 Belt at $24