The Chloé Paddington bag can be rented from Swap's Grace collection.
Kari Kalgren had a dream -- a dream that designer handbags could dangle down the arms of women all over Charlotte, even in the wake of an economic recession. Pairing a love for labels with a desire to save money, Kalgren launched Swap, a local sample-and-switch approach to handbag shopping, without the steep price tags.
Swappers rent, rock, and return purses each week or month depending on their package. With Hollywood's leading-lady fashion icons as the inspiration, handbags from designers such as Gucci, Chloé, and Tory Burch fall into four categories: Graces, Jackies, Marilyns, and Audreys.
Swap features authentic arm candy at reasonable rates (package prices start at $95; go to swaphandbags.com for details). Membership is free and includes $100 insurance for each rental and free shipping. Plus, customers can check out bags at private "Swap Sessions," "Junk in the" trunk shows, or "Swap By" appointments. Love it so much you can't give it up? All rentals are available for sale, as are those that have endured a little wear and become part of the "Gently Loved" collection. —V. R.
(Photo: The Chloé Paddington bag can be rented from Swap's Grace collection.)
Found: Noelani Designs Jewelry
After moving from Myers Park to her mother's home state of Hawaii, jewelry designer Noelani Love still stays connected with the Queen City through her bright, tropical accessories. We found these gems -- Noelani's "Ligia" gold earrings, for $64 -- at Isabella. Isabella, 715 Providence Rd., 704-377-4919 —A. M.