Spring wish list — OC lines I (we) need NOW

I love living and working here in Orange County. In the course of doing my job I get to visit the county’s best boutiques, meet all of local style mavens and I get a front row seat at the preview of the county’s newest lines. Of course, as a freelancer I don’t make enough money to purchase every amazingly cool thing I see on a daily basis but that doesn’t mean I can’t dream, right? What I’m dreaming about right now are two brand new break out lines by Orange County designers you should know.

The Finch by Beek, $260, at beekshop.com
The Finch by Beek, $260, at beekshop.com
The Lark from Beek, $320 at shopbeek.com
The Lark from Beek, $320 at shopbeek.com
The Sparrow by Beek, $300
The Sparrow by Beek, $300
The Sandpiper from Beek, $240, at shopbeek.com
The Sandpiper from Beek, $240, at shopbeek.com
The Wren from Beek, $280 at shopbeek.com
The Wren from Beek, $280 at shopbeek.com
The Starling from Beek, $260 at shopbeek.com.
The Starling from Beek, $260 at shopbeek.com.

First up, is Beek a line of mostly hand-made leather sandals out of Newport Beach. The line was co-founded by the former head shoe designer, Birgitt Klett, and Kenna Florie, former marketing veep, for Roxy. Beek features six sandal styles ($240-$320) named after birds — Finch, Starling, Lark, Sandpiper, Wren and Sparrow — rendered in burnished leather and sporting a molded arch in the footbed that makes the flats more comfortable to wear. They are stunning, simple and timeless, recalling long lazy days wherever a sunny shore can be found: Greece, Italy, Hawaii, St. Tropez, Ibiza, Laguna Beach. Their elegant and classic style could be worn with anything (short of a business suit that is, but, hey these are vacation shoes, weekend brunch on the terrace shoes not cubicle shoes!): the season’s wide-legged pants or culottes (that’s right! Culottes!), 70’s front button skirt, maxis or cut off shorts or ….   They would look excellent with the next line on our wish list: Aïe a small collection of dresses and tops by Laguna Beach dress designer Jessica Barkley and partner Isaura Gardner. With a simple silhouette that is also universally flattering the line, in modal with mesh overlay, is sexy without being aggressive, easy without being sloppy. I particularly lust after the racer front top, $94 and the long-sleeved dress in black, $156. I’d wear the dress with Beek’s Wren for just about any occasion. Ciao for now!

Jonas Studio’s pop up market in San Clemente TODAY!

Jonas studio

I love meeting new designers and recently I got to meet the mother-daughter team at Jonas Studios in San Clemente.

Liz and Christine Jonas make jewelry with a story — collecting beads, artifacts and materials from all over the world and fashioning them into statement pieces unlike anything you’ll see elsewhere.

Jonas Studios tusk and bead pendants and assorted styles by Liz Jonas
Jonas Studios tusk and bead pendants and assorted styles by Liz Jonas
Shorter necklaces from Jonas Studios -- the necklaces are meant for layering
Shorter necklaces from Jonas Studios — the necklaces are meant for layering

Their designs are in 20 stores all over the U.S. (including Blue Eyed Girl, Millie and 503 Found here in Orange County) and their jewelry was worn by cover girl Lupita Nyong’o in the July issue of Vogue.

Lupita Nyong'o in Vogue (July 2014) wearing Jonas Studio
Lupita Nyong’o in Vogue (July 2014) wearing Jonas Studio

Today they are holding a pop up market from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Casino San Clemente, 140 Ave. Pico (Behind Ellie’s table). They’ll be joined by friends from Rocket & Rosie, Todo a Mano Artistry, and artist Ale Germann (to name a few) and there will be a raffle benefitting the Nick Pasquale Foundation.

Stop by if you’re in the area, you can do good, support local artisans and maybe get a jump on your holiday shopping!

Ciao for now …

 

 

The Holy Grail of style: The Perfect Black Pump and Everything by Emerson Fry

Emerson Fry
Emerson Fry

Fashion fiends are like knights on a quest. We’re always searching for our version of the Holy Grail — that one artifact that holds all the mystery, secrets and wonder in our fashion universe.

For me that search for perfection is always summed up in The. Perfect. Black. Pump.

Never mind that I have scores (maybe hundreds; I don’t know, I haven’t counted lately) of pairs of shoes — some of which were dubbed to be “perfect” by me in the not too distant past. But, styles and tastes change and, lately, all I have been dreaming about is a modern-day perfect black pump; one that I can wear with anything, one with a dreamy silhouette but with enough edge that I still maintain my rock&roll style, but also one that looks a little more grown up to match my, ahem, age and one that I can  fit (well, lets say “cram”) into my supposed-to-be tight budget.

See, I while I have always loved a pointed toe pump– and in an inky black said pump is the equivalent of a wardrobe’s core: it holds everything together and looks great — my cache of black pumps could use an update. Some, like my beloved Jimmy Choos, look too much like the year I got them in; others, like my suede d’Orsay Manolos are still wearable style-wise but they have seen better days and others, like my peep-toe Diors are not pointy-toed enough to be basic (in the best sense of the word).

So, for the last year I have been searching for THE ONE.

And I believe I have found it — the D’Orsay heel from Emerson Fry (cue heavenly choir).

 

D'orsa heel in stealth black, $345
D’orsay heel in stealth black, $345

 

It is everything I want in a wear-everywhere pump. Updated from stiletto to chunky heel; a lovely toe that’s not too pointy but not round and with a profile to die for.

Figures though, because I want virtually every item on the Emerson Fry website from the awesome coats …

Tailored Coat in Fawn, $475
Tailored Coat in Fawn, $475
See how nicely the pumps go with this drop shoulder wool coat?
See how nicely the pumps go with this drop shoulder wool coat?

to their sweaters and tops …

The Perfect Tee... $78 .. Really I got one and it is perfect.
The Perfect Tee… $78 .. Really I got one and it is perfect.

Drop sleeved shirt, $198

Big Cable Knit sweater, $378.
Big Cable Knit sweater, $378.

 

to their studded belts ….

Studded belts in chrome and jet, $118
Studded belts in chrome and jet, $118

to their bags …

Overcoat in  variegated tweed,  $548; Luxe Emerson Crewneck   $98, Pencil pant in double-faced Jet, $228, Emerson bag in waxed tactical, $625
Overcoat in variegated tweed, $548; Luxe Emerson Crewneck
$98, Pencil pant in double-faced Jet, $228, Emerson bag in waxed tactical, $625
Emerson-Fry carrier bag, $375; Intrepid Parka, $970; Onitsuka Tigrt By Asics Ultimate 81 trainer,  $75.
Emerson-Fry carrier bag, $375; Intrepid Parka, $970; Onitsuka Tigrt By Asics Ultimate 81 trainer,
$75.

to their boots …

Trooper boot, $595

Midi boot, $425

Wrap boot $425
Wrap boot $425

Since I discovered Emerson Fry I cannot stop thinking about it because it is the fashion equivalent of heaven — filled with Holy Grails; it is perfection.

… at least until I start the search for the perfect pair of sandals.

Ciao for now …

Style at any age: Trendsetter clutch bags for under $100

A chic and roomy clutch is an easy (and inexpensive) way to work a trend. All of these cost under $100.
A chic and roomy clutch is an easy (and inexpensive) way to work a trend. All of these cost under $100.

 

Keeping your personal style, being on trend, as you get older can sometimes be a challenge. It can also be a challenge no matter your age if you are not an heiress to a large fortune or a globe-trotting supermodel whose entire closet of designer duds is “gifted”. (Not bitter, I swear, I am not bitter!)

So the double challenge of being, ahem, under-employed and, let’s face it, a little bit of a trend whore, has forced me to become more strategic in my shopping. Every buck I spend must make a bang stylistically and, because I am well past my 20s, look more expensive than it was.

I have found that the easiest way to amp up your style is with accessories and lately my  style-amping accessory of choice has been the clutch. For me it’s the day clutch. I mean, it doesn’t take a genius to rock a beaded clutch or shiny minaudier for evening but to work a big scrunchy, one-of-a-kind looking bag under your arm like a fashion boss? That takes some skill.

So for your edification, I present …

If you love rocker style:

First the age thing. I still like my rock and roll/punk edge but lets be real, I’m too old to be tricked out in leather skinny jeans, fringed scarves and studs everywhere … unless I want to look like an old woman trying too hard (or Steven Tyler, which is really the same thing, ammirite?) But I am not too old to wear this uber soft black be-fringed beauty from Deux Lux with everything from a black sheath and heels to (tasteful) black skinnies, a soft sweater and an oversized wrap coat …

A so soft pouch with just enough fringe on the sides to make it trendy but not too ...Deux Lux faux leather fringed pouch, $75.
A so soft pouch with just enough fringe on the sides to make it trendy but not too …Deux Lux faux leather fringed pouch, $75.

I got mine at Nordstrom, Fashion Island but you can get yours here.

More rocker clutches …

Chic Nova studded clutch, $47.

If you love animal print:

Who doesn’t love leopard or cheetah print? Once relegated to a certain class of overdressed lady, animal prints (for me it’s specifically, leopard print) have crossed into the realm of iconic neutral. But if you’re of a certain age, too much of such a good thing can tip from kicky and fun to tacky and frumpy in less time than it takes to say “I’ll have a chardonnay”. Ladies like us have to be careful not to go overboard, but instead add animal as an accent. Also, just carrying a leopard print bag — or just wearing a very classic leopard pump, but not both — (for the love all things holy, NOT BOTH) is the great way for the style-timid to try something wild.

A minimal silhouette in good materials such as the clutch below (which I got at Chico’s the first and only time I ever shopped there) should do the trick …

In the past few years leopard print has moved from kicky print on the edge of tacky to iconic neutral. Chico's leather and and leopard print pouch, $99.
In the past few years leopard print has moved from kicky print on the edge of tacky to iconic neutral. Chico’s leather and and leopard print pouch, $99.

More animal print clutches …

Zara Printed leather clutch, $99.90 

If you’re a bohemian at heart:

The boho look has much to recommend it: fun, floaty, forgiving silhouettes, a casual chicness perfect for the SoCal climate; it’s a look that says you don’t try too hard, you’re just chill. But … also, the jeans short and floaty kimono with leather booties is tad young for a grown woman (as well as kind of played out here in O.C.).

And, say, you’re boho but you can no longer in all good conscience go out in shorts, opting for a maxi with chunky organic jewelry has it’s own pitfalls. For one, you risk looking like grandmother Tippy Toes (as my mom would say) in voluminous long skirt and flats because no one does boho in heels.   As we get older, or rather, wiser, shouldn’t we aim to also be more sophisticated and not so much Stevie Nicks?

 

One solution? Wear your fave, worn boyfriend jeans (no holes please, I hate that look. Holes in jeans are fine for struggling, just- getting-started-in-life 20-somethings but by 40 you can afford to buy new jeans before the knees go out) low-heeled booties, a soft-as-you-please v-neck tee, classic-cut blazer and a bag like this  …

Woven and beaded fringed Neli clutch, $56 at Luna B in Huntington Beach.
Woven and beaded fringed Neli clutch, $56 at Luna B in Huntington Beach.

Other Boho options …

H&M Faux fur clutch, $35.95

If your style is quirky gamine:

Being a gamine, pixie dream-girl is only for the young.

Sorry, ladies, but even Zoey Deschanel isn’t trying to pull that off anymore and the original “gamine”, Audrey Hepburn (pause to reflect on the meaning of Audrey’s style) aged out gracefully while maintaining that sparkling look. In fact, if you think about it, her most famous character, Holy Golightly (Breakfast at Tiffany’s) wore fairly classic items: LBD, belted trench, kitten heels … It was only her accessories that were quirky: Tiara, eyelashed sleeping mask,  cat eye sunglasses (for modern reference see Karen Walker’s line) and a top-knot bun. (Her home decor was quirkier: suitcases as end tables, a bathtub as a couch, zebra rug).

So if you still grave a bit of wit and whimsy, try a bag that makes a statement (it’s also a good replacement for the ironic graphic t-shirt which really should be reserved for youngsters) …

Bam Forever "Faster Better and Stronger" denim pouch, $25 at Miel in OC Mix, Costa Mesa.
Bam Forever “Faster Better and Stronger” denim pouch, $25 at Miel in OC Mix, Costa Mesa.

Other quirky girl options include these adorable clutches from Rebecca Minkoff and Betsey Johnson at Nordstrom …

Rebecca Minkoff floral "Leo" envelope clutch, $98 at Nordstrom
Rebecca Minkoff floral “Leo” envelope clutch, $98 at Nordstrom
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Bestsey Johnson cat clutch, $58 at Nordstrom

 

 

 

 

Etro goes West and so should you

 

 

 

During the Fall shows I identified — as did others — a strong western trend (some called it folk-  or global-chic  as both the trends overlap on details such as yoke blouses, fuller longer skirts, lots of fringe and layering to name a few).

Apparently, the trend is still in play if Etro’s Spring 2015 show at Milan Fashion Week (see video above) is anything to go by.

And, recently, items reflecting the Western trend — either literally or in oblique references through profile or silhouette — have been finding their way into the stores.

I’ve found ponchos and blanket wraps at Nordstrom and boutiques such as No Rest for Bridget in Huntington Beach.

 

Spotted a while ago at Nordstrom; click to find similar
Spotted a while ago at Nordstrom; click to find similar
Blanket wrap from No Rest for Bridget, $69,  in Huntington Beach will go with everything as soon as the weather cools down.
Blanket wrap from No Rest for Bridget, $69, in Huntington Beach, will go with everything as soon as the weather cools down.

IMG_3554

Cowboy inspired boots are everywhere and even pumps are getting the western treatment like these from Gianvito Rossi ...

Gianvito Rossi Western pump, $995 at Neiman Marcus
Gianvito Rossi Western pump, $995 at Neiman Marcus

 

Etro’s Spring 2015 reflects the West from a more Native American point of view than lines such as Tibi, Michael Kors, and Philipp Plein did in February but it’s still channeling the romance of the Old West albeit in a modern way.

It’s no surprise that Western sensibilities and aesthetics (also referred to as Cowboy Chic, Southwestern and Americana in current fashion literature) has come back. The details of cowboy gear are classic and timeless: slim silhouettes, lots of leather and stitching and awesomely cool last-forever boots.

Hand made boots and other cowboy gear at Burns 1876 at Fashion Island, Newport Beach.
Hand made boots and other cowboy gear at Burns 1876 at Fashion Island, Newport Beach.

 

OUT Incorporated: Stylish, fierce fitness wear for the gym and street

OUT Fitness tanks
OUT Incorporated One-Night Stand racerback tank, $90.

My friends have heard me whine about seeing other women looking cool and stylish in their gym clothes while they are running their post Body Combat or boot camp errands – (why doesn’t their hair look like a manic cat attacked it the way mine does after a hard workout? And why aren’t their clothes soaked and gamey like mine are after a good sweat? Why?!?!). It’s a conundrum I think I might have solved with //OUT Incorporated — one of the coolest and most sophisticated lines of workout gear I’ve ever seen.

OUT is an O.C./Australian line launched by three women with long resumes in the fashion, fitness and beauty industry (they worked for such companies as Sephora and Lorna Jane) who were basically looking for clothing that would do it all i.e.; take them from the gym to the street to the office and out to drinks if need be. When they couldn’t find it they created it (“Sisters are doing it for themselves!”).

I recently had a chance to meet two of the founders/creators — Leah Hundsness and Libby Amelia (the third founder Lauren Gill was in Australia) — and, here I am gonna go all fangirl, they’re awesome. Their mission and enthusiasm for helping busy women look great while working out and going through their day is contagious. Each piece is consciously designed to look fashion forward but still holds everything in place during a workout or while dropping off the dry-cleaning.   I mean, who doesn’t wish they could look fit, fabulous and fashionable without a ton of effort? No one, that’s who.

I wore the Fiancee sports tights on a lunch date with my hubby (I added a sheer backed  Trouve tee, gold Birkenstocks, a sheer cropped blush windbreaker with gold accents and fringed black clutch to complete the outfit) and also to pilates and they were the most comfortable – yet super stylish – pants I have ever worn. Bonus: I didn’t look fat in them.

The line (which is being snapped up by celebs and is selling out online) of mostly black, gray, gold and white tights, drapey moisture wicking tees, super sexy laser cut swimsuits  you can wear to cocktails as a body suit with a skirt, asymmetric bras designed to keep the bounce factor to a minimum and beautifully constructed jackets is reminiscent of Helmut Lang and Rick Owens (in fact these Rick Owens Adidas would look awesome with their sports tights) but it’s all machine washable and workout friendly.

//OUT Incorporated Starlet coverup, $180 and Femme Fatal body/swimsuit, $250
//OUT Incorporated Starlet coverup, $180 and Femme Fatal body/swimsuit, $250

 

//OUT Incorporated "Choreographer Defiance" jacket, $240
//OUT Incorporated “Choreographer Defiance” jacket, $240

//OUT Incorporated’s fall line is available now online, at their boutique at 423 31st St. in Newport Beach, at Fred Segal on Melrose and through the end of this month at their summer store at Fashion Island where they recently held a reception in conjunction with Irvine-based cosmetic company Too-Faced (featuring the yummy Chocolate Soleil bronzer) and jewelry from 503 Found in Newport Beach.

Now if only I could do something about my post workout hair …

Ciao for now…

 

 

Shopping made easy

I like to get a lot done in a short amount of time … for instance right now I am doing laundry, preparing for a house guest, working on a freelance story and blogging … just a typical day.

That’s why I get very happy when I can go shopping somewhere with a variety of places to hit up. It’s why I am a bonafide, unapologetic mall rat — I mean, really, what could be better than a place that offers a million stores to shop in under one roof?

But sometimes, even I venture out into sun. The last time I did that I happened upon Newport Coast Shopping Center where I found three pretty cute boutiques:

  • Jeanni Champagne – an updated version of the 30-year-old Champagne boutique at Westcliff plaza this gleaming storefront opened about a month ago and stocks everyone from Diane von Furstenberg to Ted Baker; a fully stocked store that includes old favorites from the previous iteration and newer designers like Gillian Julius.

Jeanni Champagne

  • The Passionate Collector — two doors down from Jeanni Champagne is the third version of a well known Orange County boutique. This store, which opened in December, is gorgeous with warm oak floors and individual cases full of one-of-kind jewelry. The walls are lined with unique bags (my favorites were a trio of  Crayon-colored fold-over clutches decorated with graffiti) and other accessories. The most covetable? The jewelry collection by French designer Herve Van Der Straeten … (how awesome are those earrings?)

Passionate Collector IMG_2942

  • Pink Laundry — A nice, slightly younger, casual counterpoint to Jeanni Champagne and Passionate Collector, this long-time O.C. boutique stocks casual chic brands like Chan Luu, Rebecca Taylor, Parker, Haute Hippy, Elizabeth & James and BCBG.

I can think of no better way to spend a beautiful summer day than poking around in these three pretty boutiques for a couple of hours; you should too …

Previously on My Life In Shoes …

Looky what I found

Sometimes life calls for a flat shoe

New Shoes

 

Check me out on Tumblr, Facebook and Pinterest 

Looky what I found …

My view, Saturday, July 26

Beautiful Saturday morning here … too beautiful to sit for a whole day in front of the computer but I had to share some fun things I found online today …

  • Ships on a skirt! Made in the USA of vintage drapery fabric at a great price … So cute.
  • Speaking of  “made in the USA” this site is a great resource if you only wanna buy American-made products: The Americanologists.
  • I love reading my favorite fashion blogs for outfit inspiration (like for today — I have lunch with friends at a new place I have been dying to visit — The Packing House — and have been planning my outfit all day. Still haven’t found it; stay tuned …) and one of my go-to blogs Who What Wear compiled the inspiration for everyone today. Check it out for your own inspo.
  • This is from earlier this week, but I found it totally helpful. Lucky’s All-In Guide to Animal Prints.
  • My get for this week  — because I cannot resist a beautiful pair of pointed toe pumps — is “animal print”: Croc embossed deep blue Topshop pumps I scored at Nordstrom Rack for $36…

Blue Croc pumps

 

  • Maybe I will wear this today ….

Garden Party DressHave a great weekend … Ciao for now.

Previously on My Life In Shoes …

Sometimes life calls for a flat shoe

New Shoes

Check me out on Tumblr, Facebook and Pinterest