Hope Wissel

Campus style: College fashion bag trends

I know High schoolers and younger are not thinking about going back to school BUT I am sure the college students are gearing up for their new life.  The summer Belinda went off to college was a whirlwind of craziness….

Of course, changing colleges just two weeks before heading off for the first extended trip away from home did help either.  She went from attending Johnson & Wales in Charlotte to Western Carolina University in Cullowhee.  I wasn’t sure how it would work out but it was the best decision she ever made.  I miss her like crazy since she is 12 hours away but I am so proud of the woman she has become.

From backpack purses and messenger bags to slouchy totes and crossbody wallets, this year’s hand-picked campus trends will take you back to college in style. Read on to discover the hottest bag fashions designed to be super-functional, keeping you organized semester after semester.

Trend-right mini backpack purses

A small backpack purse is the perfect combination of hands-free and on-trend. Choose one with sturdy hardware and plenty of pockets – the one you pick will need to hold a ton and stand up to your busy daily routine. Don’t go too bold with this one: choose a solid color in an elevated finish to maintain wearability and lend a timeless air to an of-the-moment style. Thirty-One Gifts’ own Boutique Backpack comes in a luxe, faux-pebble fabrication in your choice of four colors with contrasting striped handles for a pop of fun!

Brand new for Fall 2018, our version of this fashionable, hands-free bag is available early (and at a great price!) to Customers who invite their friends to shop Thirty-One Gifts together this July! Connect with me to learn more about shopping and sharing this great style when you host a party. And as always, personalization is free on Hostess Specials – so make your backpack really stand out with an embroidered monogram or initial in color-coordinating thread.

Campus fashion tip: Wear it over a flowy floral top or dress, and tie a light cardigan or denim button-up shirt around your waist for those college lecture halls that seem to perpetually blast the AC.

Hands-free crossbody wallets

Whether you’re biking to class in the morning or hitting the town at night, hands-free is where it’s at. Choose a sleek and slim crossbody wallet to keep your phone, credit cards, ID and other essentials close at hand. And if you find one with a removable strap like our chic Tons of Funds, snag it – these styles easily transform into an everyday wallet for your larger bag, or clip on a Wristlet Strap for a cute clutch. Three great uses – all without unpacking your things!

Campus fashion tip: Skip the jewelry and sling a brightly colored crossbody wallet across a simple striped tunic and leggings to add a trendy visual pop.

Versatility is key when you’re selecting an everyday tote for class. Our slouchy and stylish Retro Metro Collection features a few stand-out pieces perfect for campus life: Try the Retro Metro Hobo Crossbody in black-and-white, vintage-inspired Twill Stripe. The long, flexible handle means it can be worn as a crossbody, or knot the strap to shorten the handle drop for a relaxed shoulder bag.

Need something with more room and a bit more structure? Our Retro Metro Fold-Overshares the same comfortable styling and durable construction, but features a shaped base and reinforced square corners for more of a messenger bag look. It’s available in cotton or canvas, perfect for toting textbooks, tech and more.

Campus fashion tip: Pair a slouchy bag with a fitted blazer or jean jacket to balance the casual vibe.

What better way to achieve exactly the campus style you’re looking for than by designing it yourself? For a true messenger bag in a chic, upgraded finish, check out our Studio Thirty-One Modern purse. The large magnetic flap is removable so you can switch up your look from semester to semester…or even day to day!

We love the classic sophistication of a monochromatic Caramel Charm Body and Flapwith a stylish pop of black-and-white webbing in the crossbody strap. And be sure to check out our Studio Thirty-One flaps from the Global Inspired Collection featuring bright, graphic prints.

Check out even more hot Studio Thirty-One combinations, or jump right in and start designing your own! Bonus: Each one of these purses is polished enough to take you from class straight to your internship. (Grown-up points!)

Campus fashion tip: Wear it with an olive green military-style jacket and cute ballet flats to punch up your favorite jeans-and-tee combo.

Bonus accessory trend: Lightweight scarves

Want another great college-friendly fashion tip? Think beyond the bag! A square, rectangular or infinity scarf is a key element in your back-to-school wardrobe. Tie it on your bag to add stylish flair and a shot of color, or wrap one loosely around your neck to make a fashion statement in any season.

There are as many ways to wear a simple scarf as there are prints available in our long and lightweight Avenue Scarf: a quick search on Pinterest turns up tons of creative tying methods, from simple knots to fancy braids, head wraps and even belts!

Campus fashion tip: It’s easier than you think to turn a rectangular scarf into a stylish kerchief: you’re just seconds away with this four-step tutorial we love!

Thank you ThirtyOne for today’s blog post.
Hope Wissel

On the Road Again….

monday morningActually, it is time to head to North Carolina.  I have been waiting for this day for what seems like FOREVER!  Rob and I are packing the car and heading out…

Okay, so technically, we leave in tomorrow morning – unless I can convince him to start driving down this afternoon.  We are headed to see Belinda, Ashley and the 4 grand-fur babies.  I LOVE road trips but honestly, I just LOVE to travel.  Anywhere.  Any time.  This one is even more exciting because we are unplugging or at least as much as I can when it is the end of the month.  No plans except for sitting on the porch, playing with the dogs and going to a football game.  Books are packed.


The car will be packed full with things for NC as well as some of our stuff.  The best part is I will be OPEN for business as we travel the highways.  I will be able to share the gift of Thirty One with EVERYONE and ANYONE who even smiles my way.The car will be a billboard of the many uses of all of our totes.

Okay, so it may be a little extreme.  The truth is as much as I advocate stepping out of your comfort zone, I am always a bit hesitant.  You know the inner gremlin starts telling you “no one wants to hear about YOUR stuff” or “really, who do you think you are?” – I have him under control.

The BEST way to move ahead in your business or your life, is to step out of our individual comfort zones.  It is a step of faith, trusting God will lead you where he wants you to be and he has the next step planned for you.  If you aren’t stepping out, you are spinning your wheels – burning energy by staying put, in other words STUCK!

OUCH!  Did you feel the smack on the back of the head.  How many of you have given up on progressing in your life?  Maybe you figure “I will never have XYZ” or “I will never be able to ________”.  These thoughts keep us stuck.  There are the thoughts that keep us from growing and moving forward.

So, I am challenging you to let go of the things you’re holding on to because they are comfortable.  I challenge you to take your next step of faith, trusting God will be there to lift you up.  I challenge you to step out of your comfort zone. Join me as I step out of mine.

I would love to hear what happens.  Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Home Organization

Ready for College?


As many kids are getting ready to go back to school, some parents are facing sending their kids off to college. I have to be honest, sending Belinda off to school wasn’t so bad – I mean I was a single mom and she had been in daycare/ preschool since she was 6 weeks old (no judgements, please).  I also knew that she would be home at the end of the school day. Sending her to college was a whole different ball game.

I thought it would be a piece of cake, of course being a workaholic I thought would make things easier – WRONG!  As we drove to what seemed like the end of the earth – western North Carolina – I tried to maintain my calm. Mom (grand mom) was struggling, Belinda was anxious (or maybe it was excitement) about being so far away from home. On a map, North Carolina didn’t seem so bad. Twelve hours didn’t seem so long. Then the reality sunk in as we made that trip for the first time.

The toughest part for me was driving away – leaving my baby girl.  Mom cried most of the 12 hours home and was furious that I left her there.  Belinda was ready to come home right away BUT momma stood tough.  I told her she made the decision so she had to stay for 1 semester – then if she wanted to change, she could.  Well, as they say the rest is history!  Belinda stayed at Western Carolina University for 4 years, graduated from Honors College, got a job in her field (Social Work), earned her Master’s degree, got married and is still living in Sylva, NC.

Okay, so why I am reminiscing about all of this? A blog written by The Joyful Organizer called “Dorm Room Ready” appeared in my “time hop”  Here are some of her suggestions for heading to college:

Cubes are a great way to organize just about anything; toys, clothes, accessories or even office supplies. Thirty One’s Your Way Cube has all the options you want in a cube; handles, a sturdy bottom and even a window so you can see the contents. It can also be embroidered so when you’re headed off to college, it’s already labeled for you! Fun patterns and colors mean you can match this to your dorm room style. The tote even has an optional lid to keep the contents protected, contained and dust free.


Thirty One’s Stand Tall Bin is perfect for laundry. It’s light weight and easy to carry back and forth from the laundry room. When it’s not in use you can fold it up and store it under the bed. The pattern is easy to distinguish from other’s bags and the flat bottom allows folded clothes to stay folded. This is a great bag to bring things back and forth to school as well; particularly linens, large winter coats or pillows. It’s also great for plush toys, linens and beach towels in the summer, you’ll find a thousand uses for this bag.


Need help getting organized at home? Is someone heading off to college?  Let me help you get organized and send them off in style.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Hope Wissel

Bucket List

Good Morning!  I am back in my office “unofficially” trying to catch up on things from being away for the last 5 days.  It was an AMAZING weekend.  The best Birthday/ Mother’s Day gift a girl could ask for – a weekend away with hubby visiting our daughter, Belinda.  I know, you are probably tired of hearing it but I have to share how dreams (and prayers) came true this weekend…..

First, this was our first trip since Rob had congestive heart failure last year so we were not sure what to expect.  The 12-hour ride was our first concern but that went off without a hitch on Thursday.  First obstacle accomplished!  Friday was a lazy day with running errands, visiting the local farmer’s market and dinner made by Belinda.  Rob was shocked because he thought all she knew how to cook was mac and cheese or chicken nuggets.  It was a great dinner along with hours of just talking and playing with the dogs.

Saturday was a DREAM COME TRUE!  Yes, we went to the circus which may not seem monumental to anyone else but Rob was having another GREAT day!  A yummy breakfast at Biscuit Head where we had a chance to meet some of Belinda’s friends.  We headed out to the circus early because Caleb (American Idol fame) was making appearances in Asheville (his home town) and we wanted to make sure that we didn’t get caught up in the traffic – no we didn’t get a glimpse at him but we did see the motorcades that were taking him from place to place.

On line to get into the circus, Belinda is interviewed by Animal Right Activists who are protesting the circus.  She was her usual outspoken self and defended Ringling Brothers then asked them for proof that THIS circus was abusing animals. No hate mail please.  To say the least, they went on their way.  As we entered the circus, we got there early enough to enjoy the pre-show on the floor of the circus as well as mingle with the performers.  I don’t know who was more excited me or the girls.

2009-12-31 23.00.00-35 I got to be a princess in the circus while Ashley tried on the Ring Master’s coat.  2009-12-31 23.00.00-42 You think we could be clowns in the circus?

Belinda was on a mission – she wanted to see Duchess up close and personal.  She LOVES elephants.  As we are looking at the animals backstage – she thinks she recognizes the girl working with the dogs.  She hesitated but after some nudging from me – she asked her if she went to WCU?  YES AND she remembered Belinda.  Theresa told Belinda that she would talk to her as soon as she was done.  Can you feel the excitement mounting?  As soon as Theresa got done caring for the dogs, she came and got ALL of us to take us backstage to meet Duchess.  OMG!  Duchess is 43 years old and has been with the circus since she was 3 years old.  Belinda realized that she has been watching this elephant grow up every year that she has attended a circus.

It was AWESOME!  Theresa applied for the job with the circus as a Vet Tech on a whim and she got it!  She LOVES it!  Travels 46 weeks a year with the circus (and her dog) and is based in Florida.

 2009-12-31 23.00.00-38  2009-12-31 23.00.00-39

Just an hour before, Belinda was interviewed by an Animal Rights group only to find out that one of the Vet Techs is a WCU alumni who LOVES animals.  The girls made plans to stay connected through Facebook so that they can visit with each other again in either NC or Florida.  Another item off Belinda’s bucket list!

So, the moral of the story – besides having an AMAZING unforgettable day – reach for the stars for you never know who may be there to help you along.  Dreams do come true no matter how silly they may seem to someone else, they are YOUR dreams.

Share YOUR dream…Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!