Style

Santa Cruz Halloween Style

4th Nov
Santa Cruz has a reputation for being weird, similarly to towns like Portland, Oregon and Austin, Texas. Because of a common penchant for expressing creativity through dress/costume, it is an ideal spot for a Halloween evening stroll. A couple of my earlier posts featured everyday Santa Cruz style. This one shares that Santa Cruz character/weirdness on steroids. I hope you enjoy the following shots of immense creativity and street theater of Santa Cruzans in costume. Halloween or All Hallows' Eve is a remnant of a Celtic festival (Samhain) which originally entailed disguising oneself as a spirit in order to confuse those spirits returning to roam the earth between summer's end (harvest) and winter. Animal heads, skins or masks were worn to avoid being bothered by wandering souls, and hollowed out gourds were lit from the inside to help friendly/family spirits to find their way. Although the holiday carries different meanings for us today, I can easily imagine some of the costumed muses pictured below scaring off a variety of spirits. This lovely lady pictured would more likely lure supernatural beings closer with her jellyfish get-up.  Below, a pair of merry spirits engage in some live improv. Costume-wearing seems like the ideal opportunity to express or even amplify a part of ourselves which lies relatively dormant the rest of the year (at least in public), don't you think? This next woman represents the famous Mexican skeleton caricature, la Calavera Catrina. La Catrina illustrates a rich amalgam of folklore from pre-Columbian times to the present. During the Mexican revolution, she represented impending death of the privileged class (eschewing her own culture in a fancy French hat). Here in California, Mexican Day of the Dead celebrations with Catrina effigies are a big hit even among non-hispanics. In case you are unfamiliar, the day's preparations include flowers, drink, food and candles set on an alter to offer nourishment and delight to visiting departed relatives and loved ones. The corpse bride's eery beauty is an eye-catcher. Notice below a band of chums resembling skeleton figures found in Day of the Dead displays. Their symbolic representation of the cycles of life and death mark the beginning of the dark months. I love this lady's solemn, powerful facial expression as she walks down the middle of the street with ginormous black wings. Any spirits roaming the earth who encountered this damsel surely scurried straight back to the Otherworld. A cool - and creepy looking! - cat pictured below demonstrates an amazing job of face painting. And a gentleman centaur below got just as much attention as a nearby group of ghouls dancing to "Thriller." The woman pictured below seems to be "in character" all evening. I can't help but wonder if this reveals her shadow side. I wouldn't want to cut her off in traffic! The evening was perfect for role-playing. Santa Cruz's proximity to Silicon Valley makes this Halloween contraption regionally appropriate. Dork-reepy! This final costume was spotted on a woman walking in San Francisco one Saturday in the beginning of October (not Halloween). As a friend put it, "I don't know how she put all that together, but I'm feeling like it works!" Yes, it is extremely odd, but there is something about it which makes it captivating, don't you think? I have to wonder what it would be like if as adults, we just played dress up when we felt like it. This is pretty much what I would choose! [caption id="attachment_1116" align="aligncenter" width="310"] Maybe we should add San Francisco to the "weird" list![/caption] XO, Janea

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Navy stripes

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Style

Style profile: Celia (Gentlemen, take notes!)

1st Nov
Women have been wearing pant suits for eons. The website for Elle magazine features a darling 1961 picture of Brigitte Bardot walking the streets of Rome in a pant suit. And how can we forget the signature styles of Catherine Hepburn and of Diane Keaton as Annie Hall? Nonetheless, I will bet you have not come across anyone like the woman featured in this post. (Okay, I mean in real life. Frida Kahlo doesn't count.) The following post is a style profile about a woman who takes suits to a whole new level: meet Celia. [caption id="attachment_1059" align="aligncenter" width="350"] This woman outdresses men in their own garb![/caption] Celia is a dandy. I'm not the only one who delights in seeing her peacocking (simply by virtue of her appearance, not behavior) in spectacular haberdashery adapted to fit a woman's body meticulous attention to detail and color coordination. Anyone who encounters her recognizes the woman has S-T-Y-L-E. The reactions she gets? While walking around San Francisco, where she lives, she receives compliments like, "Great suit!" or "Nice tie!" Cosmopolitan men with a daring command of color show appreciation for her aesthetic. Some, on the other hand, look startled or even regard her critically for going against the grain. All the same, she remains true to her style, her taste and how she chooses to express herself. [caption id="attachment_1058" align="aligncenter" width="520"] This photo shows the degree of detail in Celia's finery. Notice the contrast stitching of this button hole on her jacket.[/caption] I recently chatted with Celia to uncover some secrets on how she came about her very individual style. The first thing she mentioned was being authentic. Hey, isn't that what style is all about? On the heels of that principle, she expressed that "color is a way to express who we are." And patterns are also of great import to her aesthetic. Style Evolution The flowering of Celia's style began 15 years ago when she first began wearing suits to work in a San Francisco law firm. Later, she began incorporating neckties. For her, ties are like scarves, an object around which she can organize/coordinate the rest of her outfit. Hence, all her ties must be multi-colored with interesting patterns. [caption id="attachment_1056" align="aligncenter" width="320"] Check out the beautiful palette here, including the uber cool glasses frames and lipstick hue.[/caption] In her next phase, Celia began purchasing pants with buttons to support braces (British term for suspenders). How many men do you see who achieve this level of sophistication? From there she moved onto french cuff shirts (a favorite of mine and mentioned in our necktie post) in order to wear cuff links - multi-colored is her preference. [caption id="attachment_1061" align="aligncenter" width="700"] Notice the interesting socks, purple shoe laces and ultra English looking footwear.[/caption] Accessories One obvious feature of Celia's style is pure enjoyment of accessories. In Celia's case, forget warnings regarding over-accessorizing; she breaks the rules with success and panache. Her latest must-haves are brightly colored socks, eyeglasses, and shoelaces to her looks. And of course, a coordinated color of lipstick! [caption id="attachment_1057" align="aligncenter" width="380"] I love the blues, turquoise and green in this ensemble.Although normally I don't care much for shoes with monk straps, this pair is awesome.[/caption] Designers and shopping venues (Take notes, gentlemen!) When I asked her about favorite designers, Celia mentioned Paul Smith and Ted Baker. She spoke of a time in which the English couldn't dress for shit, but at one point became very fashion forward, and the aforementioned designers were part of that. For neckties, it's Robert Talbott's Best of Class collection. Her socks are predominantly Paul Smith. For shoes, she prefers designs by another brit, Jeffrey West. She wears men's shoes, because they are simply made better. [caption id="attachment_1060" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Just one of her many awesome cuff links. Notice also how the lining of the suit matches the tie![/caption] After taking a gander at a few of Celia's looks, I imagine you get the idea. There are women who don androgynous apparel, and then there is Celia. What makes her special is an extraordinary flair for combining colorful patterns and an ability to pull off a look of full cut menswear with - okay, I admit I am stereotyping - what I can only describe as a woman's touch. Don't you agree? What I know we can all conclude is that her style is refreshingly authentic. Brava, Celia! XO, Janea

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