the ROW(S)...

my mary-kateandashley collection

mary-kate and ashley brand

This is the brand that started it all. The mary-kateandashley brand was a fashion line for young girls, released exclusively through Walmart stores. It was a runaway success and the brand would go on to expand their offerings into housewares, personal care, electronics and furniture. Some of the fashion designs were actually really good! Unfortunately, even the purses are child-size and pretty unusable for an adult in most occassions. I've collected a few accessories mostly for nostalgia and display, though I get some use out of a few of them. Here's what I have:

accessories

black and white logo visor

If I didn't know any better, I would guess that this was a recent collab with the twins and a street style brand. The bootleg logo look is eye-catching and fun. Unfortunately, the hat itself is a little too small for my head, but I want to try to finesse it so I can wear it as a statement piece.


bags

shiny denim look crossbody

My latest purchase, this cute crossbody has is made of a denim-like material with a shiny, vinyl-like coating that gives it a unique flair. Featuring two front pockets beneath the flap and a spacious interior, it's a perfect everyday bag that can hold all your essentials, but also works great as a going-out bag. It's my current obsession and I'm constantly looking for excuses to use it.

purple 3-in-1 rolling laptop bag and backpack

Featuring a sleek monochrome purple color scheme, several storage pockets and a divided interior for a laptop, this is the ultimate work bag. I bought it on Poshmark as a present to myself when I got my latest full-time job. I was so happy when it arrived. It was in such good condition, I almost didn't want to use it, but it's such a clever design, I couldn't help but bust it out a few times. In addition to its ample storage, it can also be rocked three ways — it has shoulder straps to be worn as a backpack, a removable crossbody strap and a retractable handle to roll it around on its wheeled bottom. I've started cycling to work, so I want to try using it as a backpack, but I am still worried about damanging it. I'm torn between accepting that these things are made to be used and wanting to preserve these as collector's items. I'm trying to strike a balance because I always feel so happy when I'm carrying around one of these bags.

mary-kateandashley brand peach bagquette bag

This was the first vintage mary-kateandashley brand piece I ever purchased. I hadn't realized it would be so small! This is a child's novelty item and is pretty unusable even as a makeup bag. It does make a cute display piece, and I currently have it on a shelf with a stuffed chihuahua poking out of it.

black faux alligator/crocodile mini barrel

This was the second vintage mary-kateandashley brand bag I bought. The faux alligator/crocodile material is actually kind of chic, but the bag is still comically small. Still, I've been able to make it work by adding a faux leather crossbody strap to the silver strap hoops and being strategic about what I put in it. It works on a light night out, when you just want something to hold your phone, wallet and lip gloss. I want to experiment with other ways to rock it. I'm thinking of looping my Juicy Couture belt through the hoops to rock it as a fanny pack. I'll report back.

Olsenboye

Launched in 2009 exclusively at JC Penney, the Olsenboye juniors brand marked Mary-Kate and Ashley's return to the racks. Targeted at a slightly older teen-to-twenty-something demographic than their Walmart line, the collection featured clothes, shoes and accessories in a number of trendy, contemporary styles. I was particularly fond of the bags from this line, and owned several when they were originally released. Unfortunately, I've lost all but one of them, though I've collected a couple more bags secondhand, and have several more on my wishlist. Here's what I have so far:

bags

gray studded bucket bag

Since I bought this at the JC Penney in my local mall, it's been a go-to bag for quick jaunts across town and casual nights out. The nice heather gray color is neutral enough to go with anything, but the metallic studs give the slightest touch of boho glam to make it work when you want to feel cute for a show or bar crawl. This bag has been with me through a lot of ups and downs and is one of the only things I've held onto from my youth back at home, so it will always have a special place in my collection, even as it continues to grow.

multifloral drawstring bag

When I saw the bold, oversize floral print on this drawstring backpack while scrolling on Poshmark, I knew I had to have it. The Olsenboye brand had a number of similar backpacks in their range in a number of prints and styles, but I had never seen this one before I found it online. The eye-catching pattern makes it work as a statement piece, but the multi-color florals also make it easy to tie into a variety of color stories. With an outer pocket and inner zippered pouch in the interior, it also has just enough storage to carry all the essentials for a day out in the city.


army green drawstring with empboridered detail

My first-ever purchase from the Olsenboye brand back in the day, I had to repurchse this versatile backpack when I found it for cheap on Poshmark years later. The rugged military vibes make it work as a casual everyday bag, but the cute embroidered details (a yellow star and red sequin heart) keep it from feeling drab. Unfortunately, this bag recently started fraying along the opening, rendering the drawstring useless. (Funny enough, my original version of this bag had also started tearing in the same area — the quality on some of these items is iffy.) I've been able to patch this one up with safety pins and am going to try to sew it because the muted green is surprisingly versatile and works almost as a neutral. Fingers crossed I'm able to patch it up!

// AMERICA'S DECLINE / MARY-KATE AND ASHLEY / INFLUENCE //