Usually, evening bags play a supporting role to the main attraction, which are the clothes. But fall 2017 collections were rife with eye-catching sidekicks that could easily become the star of the show. Balenciaga's Rear View Mirror clutch looks so out of place that it's likely to get a double take, unless your fete happens to be in an auto body shop. Judith Leiber's blindingly fun crystal embellished clutches take all sorts of forms, including small dogs (terriers, poodles, even Chihuahuas), rotary telephones (Google it, kids) and lipstick, for a touch of kitschiness. — Annys Shin
Perhaps the explosion in high-end designer sneakers for men was inevitable. For decades, sneakerheads have elevated the humble athletic shoe to the status of fetish object. In fact, men's fashion bibles such as Esquire and GQ have started tutoring men on which sneakers to pair with suits. They've even shown up on the red carpet. None of this means you have to upgrade from your Chuck Taylors. But the difference between a pair of Converse and a pair of Common Projects is the latter is handmade using primo materials such as calfskin leather. With so many high-end designers such as Givenchy and Gucci, as well as smaller independents such as Common Projects on the scene now, there are styles to satisfy every taste, from minimalist trainers to sequin-studded high-tops. — Annys Shin
Barneys has been carrying jewelry made by renowned Washington-based visual artist Julie Wolfe for more than two decades. She creates them in her studio inside her Capitol Hill rowhouse where tiny vessels of gemstones and found bits of vintage jewelry surround her workspace. That magpie sensibility is reflected in her jewelry, which often juxtaposes rough, organic textures with sleek ones such as antique Victorian-era cameos and coins with tough-looking chains. "There's this contrast of beauty and destruction or the ugly with the beautiful that I love," she says. Over the years, her collections have ranged from bohemian to minimalist. Her current collection, a mix of faceted and rough-cut gems dangling from delicate wires, echoes the Alexander Calder show at New York's Whitney Museum of American Art as well as her own paintings of varicolored shapes connected by thin lines. There are also mismatched earrings — a trend, she says, that so far seems to go over better in Manhattan than in Washington. "This is a beautiful thing," she says. "If you lose an earring, it's not a big deal — it's like we've been waiting for this for years." — Emily Heil
There's something delightfully old-fashioned about sending a Christmas card. In the age of texts and tweets, the simple fact that someone takes the time to wish you good cheer, address the envelope, buy a stamp and mail the card is a small gesture that can have a surprisingly big impact. And there's nothing more timeless than an engraved card. For decades, members of Congress and the Cabinet, ambassadors and VIPs such as the Kennedys and Henry Kissinger have ordered their Christmas cards from Copenhaver, a stationery shop in Dupont Circle founded in 1896. The cards can be as simple as a greeting and a seal of office or more elaborate with a custom sketch and a handwritten message. (Prices for engraved cards start at $4 each.) Owner Mark Garrison says his customers typically order about 100 each year. He sends cards, too, but his list is much smaller. Who makes the cut? "If you send me one, you're definitely on the list." — Roxanne Roberts
People celebrating a special occasion often reach for a bottle of Moet & Chandon or Veuve Clicquot. But sommelier Brent Kroll, founder of the Shaw wine bar Maxwell Park, calls them "commodity champagne." "They're tailoring it for millions of palates," he says. "If they can make enough wine where they can fill Costcos, you're not getting the most artisanal champagne."
Kroll prefers grower champagnes, which he calls "really cool and under the radar." Instead of sourcing grapes from all over the region like big houses do, they use grapes grown on their own vineyards. He particularly likes Agrapart's 7 Crus Brut ($45), which uses chardonnay and pinot noir grapes from villages around Avize, France, and Pierre Paillard's Les Terres Roses ($55), a dry champagne he calls "a more opulent style."
He is also a fan of Chateau de Lavernette Granit ($27), a sparkling blanc de noir from Beaujolais. Although not technically a grower, Granit gets its mineral character (and name) from the soil. For a bargain, there's Fiorini's Corte degli Attimi ($17), an Italian Lambrusco. The pink wine "reminds me of a slightly weightier Provence rosé," Kroll says. "This is the best charcuterie pairing in the world." — Fritz Hahn