February 2015


Ah, the clutch bag. A small, elegant purse, designed to hold a few items. However, when you clutch a clutch bag in your hot hand, the accessory is the first thing people notice. There is something about the way a clutch is carried that makes the purse a major eye catcher, even more so than the shoes on your feet.
A true clutch purse is designed to carry by hand, and therefore, will not have a handle or a strap. There are many different styles of clutches, which can vary between brands and seasons.
Whether your clutch is triangular or square, heart shaped or round, nothing works better for a night on the town.
When carrying a clutch bag, there is something about the way the purse falls near the hip/thigh that catches the eye. A true clutch will offset and personalize your outfit like a cherry on a sundae.
Clutch purses come in a variety of materials to match any ensemble: leather, vinyl, plastic, fabric, and can be decorated with beads, pearls, stones, fringe, tassels and loops, to name a few.
Are you going to a special evening event and not quite sure what purse will do? A clutch bag will work beautifully. For a more dramatic effect, have the bag match your shoe.
Clutch Bag Fun Fact: The history of purses dates back to the Babylonian era. The clutch purse went out of fashion in the early 19th century, but came back with full force popularity during World War II. With rationing, the smaller clutch required less material for the manufacturer and fit in well with a wartime mindset.
“But a clutch bag just isn’t practical,” you say. “I have too much stuff to carry throughout my day.”
“Fashion has never been about practicality,” I say. “Fashion represents style, magic, glamour and will always be here to stay!”
A true clutch can be defined as a strapless purse that is carried in the hand. Clutch also means to seize with or as if with the hands or claws, to snatch, hold tightly. Hence, the name!
Clutch Bag Fun Fact: Clutch bags are typically evening bags used to carry minimal items (i.e., drivers license, credit card, lipstick…oh yes, the lipstick)! May I fancy you in the prospect of carrying a fancy bag?
Clutch Bag Fun Fact: The modern clutch came about in England during the Industrial Revolution and the increase of travel by railway. Small cases were needed for travel that could hold women’s particulars!
And, being fashionistas, women wanted particularly appealing cases to hold their particulars!
Clutch Bag Fashion Tip: Since the clutch is gripped in your hand, people notice the bag right away. This little purse holds a powerful punch! Often times a bright colorful clutch will be just the touch needed for a dark colored outfit. Or, go the opposite route. A black clutch held against a flowered or pastel ensemble creates a cool contrast!
For someone like me who loves sparkly and bedazzled items, here is a never miss fashion tip for rocking results: If you are dressed in a casual pantsuit or skinny jeans and t-shirt, and you need one item to pull the ensemble together with pizzazz, carry a rhinestone or jeweled clutch. It’s the perfect leather and lace mix, so to speak!
The Clutch Bag: A small purse that draws major attention!
What is an item no closest should be without? Hint: It goes along the realm of the little black dress or the black patent leather pumps. Why of course, a black patent leather clutch! It is the constant answer for I need a purse that works with everything and anything, and I need it now!
“Holy cow, help! I need a purse now!”
“Never fear, I bought you a clutch. But as far as the dinner bill, we should go dutch!”
“Why, thank you very much!”
Nancy Mangano is an American fashion journalist and author of the Natalie North murder mystery book series, A Passion for Prying and Murder Can Be Messy. Visit Nancy on her author website, Twitter @, her fashion magazine Strutting in Style! at, and her Facebook fan page Nancy Mangano

When it comes to the face, the eyes have it! Sure, the mouth runs a close second, but as most people know, your eyes are the first feature that people notice when they look at you (even if they aren’t aware of it). When applying makeup, even minimally, for attention getting results, focus on the eyes. For starters and most importantly? Long eyelashes!
Extra coats of mascara help turn lashes into long layers of lusciousness, but false eyelashes bring out your eyes, and accentuate other facial features, in a way no other item can. False eyelashes kick every other makeup accessory to the curb!
False eyelashes are available in different shapes and sizes, from a more subdued, natural look to an over-the-top theatrical look.
False Eyelashes Tip: If you prefer a rounder, more symmetrical eye, have the lashes extend longer in the center. For dramatic, almond eyes, the lashes should extend longer at the ends.
How To Apply False Eyelashes:

  1. Select the size and length of lashes that work for you.
  2. If you want to add extra curl to the lashes, use an eyelash curler before applying the lashes.
  3. If using eyelash glue, apply a thin line to the lash strip from the tube. Allow the glue to dry for ten seconds. If the lashes already contain adhesive, you won’t need glue.
  4. Apply the strip of lashes so they lie against your own lash line (your fingers or tweezers work well to position the lashes). Pat them into place.
  5. Apply mascara if you prefer. This helps blend your natural lashes and false lashes together.

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False Eyelash Fun Fact: You can go to any beauty supply store and purchase individual lashes and create your own row of eyelashes. Also, eyelash extensions can be applied to save you the time and effort of putting on fake lashes.
The longer the lashes – the more popping the peepers!
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Whenever I see someone wearing false eyelashes, their eyes look beautiful and I notice them right away. Your own eye is just drawn to the gorgeous aura that it radiates. Long, splendid eyelashes bring out your face in a way nothing else can.
I’ve said it before, as a fashion gal who loves wearing makeup, if I could only pick one item to apply, it would have to be mascara! (Long, fake lashes look even better). Lipstick or lip gloss runs a close second!
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False Eyelash Tip: Another fun way to make your lashes stand out is to apply coats of colored mascara. Blue, purple, yellow, pink…you lashes look lovely, give me a wink!
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When you’re ready to remove the lashes (“But I don’t want to!” you say) oh, well just put them back on another day! Apply warm water to a wash cloth and dab the water on your eyes. Grasp the outer edge of the false eyelash strip and gently pull the strip from the corner.
False Eyelashes Not So Fun Fact: Don’t pull the false lash strip too strongly or you might pull some actual eyelashes out as well. Ouch!
When you wear false lashes your face will be a hit – because as any fashion diva knows, the eyes have it!
Powerful pizzazz those peepers!
Yes, you’ll never go wrong when your peepers are decorated with lashes oh so long!
Watch for Nancy’s next book in her award winning murder mystery series, Deadly Decisions – A Natalie North Novel, coming to bookstores and online bookstores in February  2017.
Nancy Mangano is an American fashion journalist and author of the Natalie North murder mystery book series, A Passion for Prying and Murder Can Be Messy. Visit Nancy on her author website, Twitter @, her fashion magazine Strutting in Style! at, and her Facebook fan page Nancy Mangano

What’s  your preference? Drinking tea with a piece of cake in front of the television? Teeing off at your favorite golf course? Neither? Then many I suggest a different T:
The T-Shirt Dress!
T-Shirt dresses are the perfect choice of dress as they combine comfort and style for an on the go look that is quick to put together!
A shirtdress is a style of dress that borrows details from a man’s shirt, generally with buttons up the front and long sleeves that button at the wrist. Often, these dresses are made up of crisp fabrics including cotton and silk, much like a men’s dress shirt.
Enter the T-Shirt dress, a variation of the original shirtdress.
T-Shirt Dress Fun Fact: T-Shirt dresses began being produced in the 1960s, and are simply an elongated version of a T-Shirt.
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T-Shirt dresses can be dressed up or down, depending on the shoes and jewelry that you use to accessorize. You can turn a sporty T-Shirt dress, worn with tennis shoes or sandals, into a chic T-Shirt dress by adding a belt around the waist, and taking off your sensible shoes and sliding your feet into high heels or, better yet, knee high boots or thigh high boots! Okay, ankle boots look fantastic too!
T-Shirt Dress Fun Fact: Since most T-Shirt dresses are typically cut without a seam at the waist, these dresses often have a looser fit. This makes the T-Shirt dress an ideal clothing choice when your dinner includes an overflowing buffet table!
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Shirtdress Fun Fact: Shirtdresses were at one time called “shirtwaist dresses” when they first became fashionable during the 1950s. The 1950s version of the shirtdress was launched as part of Christian Dior’s post-World War II “new look” couture designs.
Your shirt is too long, you say? Why let a good shirt go to waste? Wear it as a dress for great fashion taste!
Sidebar Comment: For those of you who follow my fashion/style/beauty/book blog (and thank you!) you know I haven’t posted new updates in a while. I’ve been busy writing another Natalie North novel, which I finished! (Well, with edits and rewrites you feel like you never really finish a novel). Anyway, I’m back to style and fashion posts, and let me tell you, as I write this T-Shirt dress post:
I’ve missed writing about the topic of fashion that I love so much, and I’ve missed bringing new style and beauty material to all the readers!
I suppose I should be wearing a T-Shirt dress as I write this post, but I’m not. I did, however, buy a darling T-Shirt dress last week (black and white stripes) that I will definitely get my money’s worth out of in the spring and summer months.
Bring it on summer, the glorious season can’t come fast enough for this hot weathered gal!
I must confess, you’ll never look a mess wearing a T-Shirt dress!
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“Would you like to get together for tea?”
“I”m a diet coke girl myself, but I’ll still join you. I’ll wear the T!”
Now that’s my idea of a grand T-time!
Always look your best in a T-Shirt dress!
Cool, confident, classy!
Author Nancy Mangano is the author of two riveting murder mystery novels, A Passion for Prying and Murder Can Be Messy. She  has blended her love of detective work and her passion for fashion. Visit Nancy on her author website, her fashion/style/beauty/book blog, Twitter @nancymangano and her author Facebook fan page Nancy Mangano.