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Initial Here: Our Monogrammed Picks for Under $60

Clare Vivier Duffle

There may not be much time left to get your shopping done, but take a deep breath, gather yourself and your list and prepare to get a few names crossed off. There are a few things you can do to make gifting extra special. Toss in a little something extra like a lip gloss or a nail polish for the beauty obsessed, maybe dangle a Starbucks gift card for the caffeine dependents in your life or, if you’re looking to go the extra mile, give the gift of personalization. Adding a monogram to something makes any gift extra special and ensures that you’re not gifting something that’s typical or ordinary. And if you think that monogramming means big bucks or a long wait, then think again, because designers are in on the monogram trend, offering pre-made goods that are ready to be wrapped up. Not everything’s about instant gratification though, so plan ahead if you need to personalize — depending on where you go, it might still take a few days. Here are our picks, each one perfectly personal, all for under $60 each.

Gold-Tone Initial L 3-pc. Bangle Set

Jewelry is always a popular gift at the holidays, which is why the Gold-Tone Initial 3-pc. Bangle Set ($9) is a great buy for just about any girly girl on your list. (What’s that about good things coming in small packages?) While you could go and splurge on a real diamond and gold stack, we think it’s probably a better bet to go with faux on this one. Arm parties can get a little wild, and it’s easier to manage if you don’t break the bank trying to stack from wrist to elbow. This delicate set comes complete with three bangles, one of which features a disk decorated with a rhinestone initial, encouraging everyone to bling it on all year ’round.

Available at JC Penny.

Clare Vivier Tassel

Monogrammed goods can sometimes be be a little too preppy for some people, which is why the Clare Vivier Tassel ($20, plus $20 for the monogrammed disk) is perfect for those who prefer to leave polos, pink and lime and other prep staples out of their daily look. The tassel is made of the same artisanal leather used in Clare Vivier’s line of bags, duffles and clutches and just like her wear-everywhere zippered pouches, are ripe for monogramming thanks to Vivier’s signature disk emblem. Guys and girls alike will no doubt love how easy their keys are to find when they’re attached to this luxe leather key chain and you can gift it knowing that someone’s thinking of you every time they reach for their keys.

Available at Clare Vivier.

Bonnie Jonas Single Initial Earring

Monograms don’t have to be in-your-face (well, depending on the brand at least). If you’re someone who isn’t into flash or just wants a more subtle way to wear the trend, the Bonnie Jonas Single Initial Earring ($6 each) is just right.

Grab a matching set or go rogue by getting your initials and wearing mismatched letters. The small size — these are tiny — make these the perfect earring for those who have more than one piercing on their ears and trust us when we say these earring play well with just about anything you pair them with. Jonas offers different finishes on each letter, so you can go bold with a bright polished initial or opt for a brushed effect to tone down the bright gold finish.

C. Wonder Medium Ocelot Printed Pouch

C. Wonder is an emporium of monogramable and monogramed goodies. Grab a few initial mugs or trinket trays, stock up on jewelry boxes and belt buckles, you can get initials on just about anything in the store. But a one-size-fits all staple that’s perfect for gifting is the brand’s Medium Ocelot Printed Pouch ($44, plus $10 for monograming). Style guru Stacy London says that animal print is a neutral, so don’t worry about matching or mismatching this with your bag, luggage or anything else. Monogram it with a bright neon, a bold red or anything else you can imagine, because it’s sure to get loved by whoever you gift it to. It’s perfect for stowing stray makeup items in a bigger bag and trust us when we say it’s a lifesaver when you’re traveling.

Available at C. Wonder.

Kate Spade Monogram Pendant Necklace

Another option for the jewelry lover is a monogramed charm pendant, and the sweetest one we found is from Kate Spade. The Monogram Pendant Necklace ($58) is plain and simple, but makes a big impact whether you mix it in with a few other favorite necklaces or wear it on its own. Kate Spade New York is known for being saccharine sweet, so we don’t recommend it for the rebellious teen in your life, but if you know a girl who idolizes Taylor Swift and matches her bag to her Mary Janes, then this is the perfect present. And if you want to go all out, Kate Spade’s also got a matching bangle — that’s also under our budget — available, too.

Rebecca Minkoff Pouch – Cory Monogram

Another great go-to brand for gifting is Rebecca Minkoff. Not only will it make you the coolest gift giver around, Minkoff has such a wide range of goods — jewelry, shoes, ready to wear, accessories and of course, bags — you’ll find something for everyone. Minkoff is offering a few of her most popular pieces with pre-painted monograms (she’s toured the country with artists who hand-paint monograms for customers at various events), and one of our favorite pieces that she has on offer is the Rebecca Minkoff Pouch – Cory Monogram ($50). It’s great to keep your keys in check and perfect for everything from loose change to receipts and more. Plus, it’s small size makes it fit perfectly in any bag you’ve got, from the smallest clutch to the biggest tote. If you’re a tech geek, there’s a bigger size called the Jody that’s perfect for the iPad, too.

Available at Bloomingdale’s.

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Urban Outfitters Adds Activewear with New Brand Without Walls

Urban Outfitters Without Walls

Urban Outfitters is already your go-to for affordable, on-trend pieces such as oversized sweaters, jeggings and cute accessories, but the brand’s expansion (which includes their L.A. Rialto Theater store, expanded vintage offerings and music selection) is continuing in ways we never expected. Urban’s on its way to becoming a true lifestyle brand now, but we never thought that they’d be adding an activewear branch to their company. Coming March 1, Urban will be offering outdoor goods from their new line Without Walls and expanding their selection of activewear.

California locations (Hollywood, Costa Mesa, Santa Monica and San Francisco) and Urban Outfitter’s New York flagship will be getting the first look at Without Walls, but the stores will only carry a small selection of the new brand.

The majority of the collection will be available online at www.withoutwalls.com (separate from Urban Outfitter’s main site) along with complementary labels such as Newline, Asics, Onzie, Seea, Alternative, Columbia, Mowgli Surf, Poler, Vans, and Patagonia. The brands were chosen because they were in line with Urban Outfitter’s current lineup of clothing and accessories.

Currently, you can check out preview videos from the new sub-brand or follow them on Twitter at @GoWithoutWalls. The website is set up to take your email address so you can get notified as soon as the line makes its online debut. Urban Outfitters plans on expanding Without Walls to Oregon and more New York stores as the year progresses.

For more information, visit www.withoutwalls.com.

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Salute the Stars, Stripes and Studs: Top 6 Patriotic Picks for the Fourth of July

Prepare the 21 gun salute, ready your fireworks and get in the patriotic spirit. While we don’t favor holiday dressing– as in Christmas sweaters– we can’t help but get in the spirit every time Independence Day rolls around. Whether it’s due to the summer heat or our patriotic pride, there’s nothing better than a dose of red, white and blue to accompany a Fourth of July barbecue. We’ve got the best of the season’s patriotic picks so you can earn your own salutes this Fourth.

American Beauty by Claiborne Swanson Frank

Jenna Lyons

Erin Fetherston

Dress up your coffee table with Assouline’s American Beauty ($75), a tome celebrating classic American style. Lily Aldridge (new mother and Victoria’s Secret angel) graces the cover and inside, Claiborne Swanson Frank has collected photos of everyone from fashion designers to artists, titans of industry and musicians.

Naturally, our fingers flip right to the ladies of fashion. Peek into first lady of J. Crew Jenna Lyons’ closet and Erin Fetherston’s dreamy New York apartment while you skim through quotes from greats such as photog Mario Testino and the big names from the masthead at Vogue.

American Beauty is available at www.assouline.com

Current/Elliott The Snap Star-print Stretch-denim jacket

Speaking of Lily Aldridge, we could picture the Victoria’s Secret angel wearing the Current/Elliott The Snap Star-Print Stretch-Denim Jacket ($295) backstage at a Kings of Leon concert or heading to and from her L.A. haunts. The new mom’s known for infusing rock and roll style into her sig Cali cool, and we think this star-printed staple is perfect everywhere from Coachella (where she met her hubby Caleb Followill) to post-baby yoga classes in Santa Monica.

For mere mortals, the jacket’s a statement piece that will amp up any summer sundress or bathing suit. But don’t keep it for the after-sunset summer chill. Wear it all year round and you’ll earn gold-star worthy style. Like all of Current/Elliott’s designs, the Snap boasts the perfect blend of cotton and stretch for comfort from the very first wear — no breaking in necessary.

Available at www.Net-a-Porter.com

Lacoste United States Polo

Lacoste United States Polo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For fellas who want to show their patriotism, the no-nonsense Lacoste Short Sleeved Pique United States Polo ($165) takes a staple and gives it an all-American makeover. Part of their Country Flags collection, which includes a veritable United Nations of countries such as Italy, Spain, Japan and of course, France, the stars and stripes are a bold way to keep cool in this year’s record breaking heat (the pique fabric was originally designed to keep tennis player Ren© Lacoste cool while he was on the tennis court). Cut in Lacoste’s new slim fit, the shirt has all the trappings of the prep staple, including the brand’s signature croc logo and side vents for comfort on and off the court.

Available at Lacoste boutiques and shop.lacoste.com

Vanessa Traina in Givenchy

Miu Miu studded leather headband

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When Vanessa Traina — the fashion designer/editor/stylist and the spawn of American author Danielle Steele — wore a gleaming silver Givenchy studded headband in 2009, it caused the entire blogosphere to pull out their glue guns and attempt DIY versions (especially since the version that went into production later in 2010 was nothing like Traina’s sci-fi Lady Liberty tiara).

Instead of trying to cobble together our own, we’re opting for the more sedate (read: wearable) Miu Miu Studded Leather Headband ($230). It still gives a hint of Lady Liberty while toning down any notion of a pageant queen. The dove grey leather boasts two-toned studs, cones and dots — it’s an accessory that will make a huge impact with hardly any effort, the signature of a true fashion it-girl.

Available at www.Net-a-Porter.com

Sperry Top-Sider Men’s 3-eye Boat Shoe by Band of Outsiders

What’s better for the Fourth than an American staple like Sperry? Mashup an American heritage brand with L.A.’s hipper-than-hip label Band of Outsiders and you’ll get a double dose of Americana. The Three-eye Boat Shoe by Band of Outsiders ($175) is the latest in the labels’ years-long collab (it started back in 2009, also the year of the Lady Liberty headband) and for summer, the range includes patchwork denims and this all-American red, white and blue plaid. Sure you’ve got standard brown leather and maybe a riff or two on the Nantucket standby, but you don’t have anything like this.

Available at www.sperrytopsider.com

Eddie Borgo Gold-plated Northern Star Bracelet

If you’re not feeling bold picks in bright stripes of red and blue or you just want a more delicate way to show your American spirit, the Eddie Borgo Gold-plated Northern Star Bracelet ($375) lets you wear the trend on your wrist instead of on your sleeve.

NY-based jeweler Eddie Borgo is already gracing the wrists (not to mention necks, fingers and ears) of New York’s fashion set — Lauren Santo Domingo, Anja Rubic and more. Known for punky cones, arrows, spiked hearts and his silken tassels, the stars are a ladylike departure for the downtown label.

Available at www.Net-a-Porter.com

Photos courtesy Assouline, Net-a-Porter, Lacoste, Sperry Top-Sider, and Style.com