Inside Stitch

The official Vera Bradley blog

How-to: Host an Outdoor Party

Throwing a summer party
We believe that the best thing about summer memories is making them. There is nothing better than a beautiful backyard, a warm night and a cool bottle of your favorite wine (cheese helps, too).

Hosting patio parties is one of the items on our annual summer bucket list. This year, we pulled together the three essentials for hosting the perfect al fresco experience. Bucket list? Checked!

1. Set the mood.

Do you want an elegant soiree or a laid-back barbecue on the lawn? The mood dictates the style of the evening, the food you serve and the spirits you drink. We went for a casual ambiance, using our latest pattern, Lilac Tapestry, as inspiration for the atmosphere. The galactic-inspired tapestry provided the perfect color scheme for ladies’ night at twilight.

Throwing a summer partyShop the Throw Blanket in Lilac Tapestery

back patio style

2. Dine al fresco.

If you’re hosting an outdoor party, you’ll need to have food to fit the atmosphere. Will you have dinner by candlelight or a charcuterie board with string lights? We chose the famous cheese board filled with fruits and finger foods that can be easily eaten in between laughter and rosé.

Throwing a summer party

3. Select your spirits.

Cocktail chic or vintage with vino? We think there is something lovely about sipping wine with your best girlfriends surrounded by twinkling lights. Whatever drink you choose, greet your guests with it at the door. Pro tip: Everyone loves a striped straw or fun fruit in their drink. Wine isn’t your thing? Stir up another of our favorites.

Throwing a summer party
Shop Napkins in Lilac Tapestery

There are so many summer evenings left to spend with girlfriends enjoying great conversation. If this party isn’t your style, see How to Host an Outdoor Party like an Instagram Goddess.

Whatever you choose, toast to making summer memories.

Throwing a summer party

How to Style Your Backpack

Now that college has ended, you were probably thinking your backpack days were over. Think again. Backpacks have become more mainstream for twentysomethings in recent years. The versatility of an all-in-one bag is appealing for millennials who are constantly on the go. Backpacks have the ability to work triple duty: purse, work tote and overnight bag. We’re sharing our favorite new backpacks that you can use all summer long.

Preppy Poly Backpack

1. Preppy Poly Backpack

Summertime is made for lounging poolside and afternoon bike rides – and so is this Preppy Poly Backpack. This backpack is incredibly lightweight, so you won’t feel weighed down with all-day wear. You can fit your necessities inside, with a secret pocket in front to stash your phone (and your sunscreen). It’s also water resistant, so feel free to ride your bike through that sprinkler. Our social media team loved using the Preppy Poly backpack for the local biking pub crawl.

Preppy Poly Backpack

Campus Tech Backpack

2. Campus Tech Backpack

If you’re notorious for working on the weekends, the Campus Tech Backpack is the one for you. With all the functionality you could ever dream of, this backpack has pockets and compartments galore. It has a separate laptop sleeve to keep your computer secured, plus a front zip pocket for easy access to your phone, keys and snacks. Our favorite part of this backpack is the tech outlet to feed your headphones through so you can discreetly jam to Beyoncé on your morning walk to the coffee shop.

Campus Tech Backpack

Leighton Backpack

3. Leighton Backpack

For weekends spent with your girlfriends in the city, you’ll want something that feels as fierce as your calf-hair sandals. Fashionistas will fawn over our new Leighton Backpack. This leather backpack has plenty of functionality and a luxurious exterior. Bring it on your next girls’ getaway, and check out our packing tips for a weekend trip.

Leighton Backpack

Shop Backpacks online and in Stores

Pack Like a Pro: Overnight Stay

Campus Tech Backpack
Summer is packed with opportunities for short getaways and weekend trips. For many of us, summer is also an extremely busy time between work, countless weddings and happy hours al fresco. Sometimes you need to get away, but don’t have the entire weekend to give up. For these quick trips, you need to pack much lighter.

Campus Tech Backpack

For overnight stays, we like using something a little smaller with a lot of function. Our Campus Tech Backpack is the perfect size for a night at the lake house. There are plenty of pockets to tuck away your toiletries, as well as a separate laptop compartment if you need to stay plugged in for work. Spacious for its size, this backpack can fit a change of clothes with room to spare.

Campus Tech Backpack

Overnight trips can be really simple to pack for, so it’s best not to overcomplicate. The best way to save space is to minimize what you bring altogether. Be mindful of your traveling outfit and try to get the most out of what you’re already wearing. For example, it would be a big space saver to use the same shoes and shorts both days. This just leaves packing pajamas, a swimsuit, undergarments and a top for the next day. Pro tip: Roll the clothing you do pack – it takes up less space and resists wrinkles.

Campus Tech Backpack
For anything besides clothing, we recommend using cosmetic cases to keep it all neat and organized . These cases are not only spill proof for your liquids, but they also fit everything from your hairbrush to your sunscreen.

If your short getaway happens to include a plane ride, you’ll want to use these tips for packing a carry-on.

Campus Tech Backpack

Now it’s your turn! Name your savviest packing tip below in the comments.

Pack Like a Pro: Weekend Getaway

Pack like a pro: Weekend getaway
Summer means long weekends by the lake and short weeks in the office. Taking a vacation day on a Friday or Monday to extend your time away from work makes the weekend feel luxurious. A weekend getaway is one of our favorite ways to make the most of the long days of summer. Our least favorite? Packing a bag to fit all of the outfit choices you need for three days. We’ve compiled the best travel tips for what to pack and how to fit it all in for a stress-free weekend getaway.

First, find your bag. We recommend one The Lighten Up Ultimate Sport Bag. Whether you’re planning to squeeze in a work out while you’re away or just planning to work on your tan, this bag doesn’t discriminate. It’s lightweight enough to carry up the steps at the lake cottage and large enough to fit your sandals, wedges and your tennis shoes (just in case you decide to go for a run).

Pack like a pro: Weekend getaway

If your weekend getaway involves a road trip, we love this list of foolproof hacks to make traveling just as fun as the destination.

Pack like a pro: Weekend getaway

Shop Travel online and in Stores

Pack Like a Pro: Seven Day Trip

You’ve been counting down for months and it’s finally here: summer vacation. One week of no-stress, carefree, soaking-in-the-sun “you time.” You love the idea of relaxation and getting away for the week, but the idea of packing? Not always the case. Choosing what to pack for an entire week can be difficult. You want to be prepared for any weather or occasion that may arise, but you often end up with half of your closet on the floor, trying to zip your overflowing suitcase shut. Note these space-saving hacks for your next big trip.

Pack Like A Pro: Seven Day Trip

The first way to up your packing game is to find the right bag. For a week-long trip, you need space and functionality, enter: The Lighten Up Large Wheeled Duffel. This lightweight rolling luggage doubles as a duffel and packs in plenty of function (pun intended).  When you’re traveling by air and don’t want to check your luggage, you’ll want to use these tips for packing your carry on.

Pack Like A Pro: Seven Day Trip

1. Use your clothes to store your clothes.

Find unique ways to use what you’re already bringing to help pack smaller items. For example, fold your bra in half and put your underwear between the cups: it saves space and helps your bras maintain their shape. Or, stuff your socks in your shoes to eliminate losing a pair.

Pro tip: Wear your sunglasses while traveling, so you can use the empty sunglasses case to store cords like chargers and earbuds.

2. Roll when you can.

You’ll only want to do this with items that don’t wrinkle as easily (i.e. T-shirts, pants, pajamas). For button-down shirts and lightweight dresses; stick to folding.

Pro tip: Use tissue paper between layers when folding to prevent wrinkles.

3. Keep your jewelry organized.

It takes a lot of time to untangle necklaces, bracelets and earrings after they are tossed in one bag. Invest in a travel organizer that will keep pieces separate and neat, while lying flat in your suitcase. Headache averted.

Pro tip: If you’re packing multiple necklaces, use this straw hack to keep chains from tangling.

Looking for more? We love these space-saving hacks.

Styles to Outfit Your Week

For many, summer seems to slow down a bit, but not you. Your busy schedule keeps you on your toes, but you wouldn’t have it any other way. Between work, your favorite workout class, happy hour with the coworkers and that last-minute weekend trip, your summer schedule is jam-packed through the end of August. Your calendar is filled, now all you need are the perfect bags to get you through the summer (and this week).

Bag for Work

Leah Tote

For most of us, work doesn’t go away in the summer, which means our Monday mornings require a lot of coffee and the work tote to get us through our 9 – 5. Our Leah Tote is up for the task. Part of our Sycamore leather collection, this tote has been dubbed the “Mary Poppins” bag by Blogger Jess Keys for its ability to hold everything you’d possibly need. Not only is it laptop friendly, but it also features a secret pocket to stash your phone. If you’re needing inspiration on what to wear to work, we’ve got you covered.

Bag for Every Day

Triple Zip Hipster

Just because you’re out of the office, doesn’t mean you stop moving. For the weekends, you need a bag designed for the girl on the go. Our Triple Zip Hipster has three compartments for maximum organization, all in a hands-free style perfect for running errands. How pretty is it in our newest pattern, Lilac Tapestry? See the inspiration behind the textile-inspired pattern here.

Bag for Gym

Preppy Poly Yoga Sport Bag

Although it can be difficult to find time to stay fit with work and a full social calendar, you always make the effort. Our Preppy Poly Yoga Sport Bag may be the only gym bag you’ll ever need. It has a side pocket that’s the perfect size for storing your shoes, plus adjustable side straps to hold your yoga mat. If you weren’t already sold, this bag is also carry-on compliant, so you can exercise on the go for your next business trip.

Bag for Weekend Trips

 Large Duffel 2.0 Travel Bag

Whether you have a romantic trip planned with bae or a weekend at the lake with the squad, you need a smart bag that is spacious enough to fit everything you need. The Large Duffel 2.0 Travel Bag has more than enough space for a weekend trip, plus you’ll have room for that extra pair of shoes. We love this duffel in our new Northern Lights pattern. The colors will transition seamlessly from summer to fall, so you can enjoy it for seasons to come.  See the inspiration behind the pattern here.

Bag for Date Night

Vera Bradley Ultimate Crossbody

For a night out on the town, you need something sophisticated that can fit your essentials. Our Ultimate Crossbody is the perfect size to fit your cards, keys, iPhone 6s and favorite red lipstick. It has a removable strap, so you can choose whether you want to wear it as a crossbody or carry it as a wallet. Our new hue, Claret, is chic and the perfect accent to your LBD.

Shop our new arrivals

A Closer Look: Northern Lights

As June comes to a close, we’re anxiously anticipating the arrival of our new patterns and styles. Launching on Thursday, July 7, Northern Lights is a simple and chic print with a nod to the Mod 60s. Influenced by black and white graphic prints accented with pops of rose and gray, this print is reminiscent of hand-printed textiles. If you’re looking for something a little more geometric, Northern Stripes will be perfect for you. With pops of orange in addition to rose and gray, this pattern is a mix of prints to create an eye-catching design.

Vera Bradley: Northern Lights
Vera Bradley: Northern Lights
Vera Bradley: Northern Lights
Vera Bradley: Northern Lights

Vera Bradley: Northern Lights

Style your tech
Dress up your phone, tablet or desktop screen with our new pattern:

Download: Northern Lights

Download: Desktop | Tablet | Mobile

See the inspiration in pictures. Visit our Northern Lights board on Pinterest.

If purple is your thing, you’ll love our new Lilac Tapestry which launches the same day. See the inspiration behind the print.

Shop the entire collection when it arrives, online and in stores, Thursday, July 7!