The Advent of Boot Season (Wait! They’re already here.)

27th Sep
A friend recently told me she is eagerly awaiting the rainy season, because she looks forward to wearing boots again. I, having grown up in western Washington where it rains 9 months of the year, had a pret-ty hard time figuring that one out. I mean, I live in California because I like sunshine, I like light, I like warm weather - even hot weather! I am not looking forward to frigid temperatures: for me, boot wearing is a concession for having to put up with it. Yes, official boot season is near...but now that I think about it, haven't I seen booties all over the place this summer? Just about everywhere I went this summer, I saw booties. I spotted them in the San Francisco Bay Area, Norway (during a July heat wave) and the Milan airport. Yes, booties are worn year round. Why not? After all, if I want to wear a delicate high heeled sandal in the winter - provided there is no snow on the ground - I will. Wouldn't you? So, let's say we're pulling out our booties from a spare room closet - not! - and we're about to start donning some high boots or even the over-the-knee variety. This seems like the perfect time to reflect on a few examples of boot wearing at its best and its not-so-great? [caption id="attachment_372" align="aligncenter" width="280"] This woman is modeling designs by Ann Chang at FashionART Santa Cruz.[/caption] The booties featured above are sexy and perfect with bare legs. The top exposes the contour of the model's ankle and so, it accentuates the shapeliness of the leg. Of course, these babies would be torture if she were standing or walking for extended periods, but the style is very flattering. By the way, they would also serve as a great weapon of self-defense! The woman pictured above was very elegantly dressed. The booties pictured above are very lovely and beautifully match the leather of the skirt, but they unfortunately gape a little too much in the front to work with bare legs (or stockings). Because of the roominess at the top in addition to their height on the leg, they break up the silhouette. On the other hand, they would look perfect with a pair of tucked in skinny pants or jeans. The bootie pictured here (above) hits about the same spot on the leg as the previous shown boots, but they taper to the ankle. Doesn't it look smart with this outfit? The willowy Kate Middleton look-alike shown above is wearing skinny pants tucked into her booties. You will notice that there is a slight gap between the boot and her slender legs, but I don't think it is really a problem. I love the way she put together this look, with black skinny pants tucked into her matching shorty boots for a long continuous line. I also like the striped top with just the right sized stripes: not so big that they break up the silhouette but not so small that they blur into grey from a distance. The boho look pictured above is not sexy, but it definitely has character. The riding boots were passed down to this young wearer by her beloved grandmother. They are about a century old. So, they're practically a walking museum piece. The cropped, cuffed jeans with a tear for effect are a perfect accompaniment to the boots. This pair (above) are a modern version of the old-fashioned riding boot. A frontal view shows how cheeky they look with bare legs. See the side view below. The young woman shown above has an adorable bohemian look. Her slender legs go on forever, and so wearing a higher bootie is a non-issue. The handbag with long fringe also draws the eye downward to elongate the look, and coincidentally, her long locks create the same effect. I would recommend just one minor modification here: a pair of socks of medium thickness, artfully bunched up at the top of the boot to provide a transition between the boot and leg. What I have to say about the next pair of boots pictured above is: overboard! When a platform goes beyond a certain height, the look goes from sexy or glamorous to overblown and maybe even trashy. The occasion for wearing these was a fashion/art show, and so, exaggerated makeup and platforms are to be expected, but I wouldn't want to wear these elsewhere. The style below by Stuart Weitzman is of the same idea, but more refined and of this world, don't you think? So far this year I have not yet seen a wide range of high boots or over-the-knee types. I look forward to the pleasure in coming months. I did, however, manage to find one inspiring wearer of tall boots this summer. Our last muse (below) exemplifies a fine job of combining boots with pants. The closeness in tone of boots and pants allows for a continuous (long) line of the legs.   I am a big fan of wearing three main colors, by the way. It is often just enough variety for interest without looking too busy. The three shown below were well chosen: blue and orange are complimentary colors but are of muted tones here; so, they aren't garish. The brown color of her handbag and boots are of the same tone as the blue and burnt orange and so, they coordinate with the outfit and in fact, frame it. The colors here also compliment this woman's features; the brown matches her chestnut colored locks, while the orange of her pants bring out her reddish highlights.   I have to say that I love women's boots. I love just about all kinds of boots, especially sexy boots. There are, however, two kinds for which I have no love: cowboy boots (I'm not a cowgirl) and rubber galoshes. [caption id="attachment_387" align="aligncenter" width="500"] These rain boots are a rubberized version of cowboy boots. I'm sure you can wade through puddles in them, but they're definitely not my cup of tea.[/caption] No, I am not a fan of rubber boots, unless they are wellingtons designed by Jimmy Choo (yes, they exist!) worn by Kate Middleton. Otherwise, if you were to ask for my advice/opinions on the topic, I would have to say, "Leave them on the rack. Do not pick them up. Do not try them on, and whatever you do, do not buy them!" That is, unless you intend to wear them through slushy streets just to the office, where you plan on changing into something presentable (stylish). What do you think of these looks?




Navy stripes

Made in New York with recycled Lycra from Italy!


Santa Cruz Style Continued, Part Two

24th Sep
As I touched upon in my last post, Santa Cruz Style, Part One, Santa Cruz, California is an enclave. It is a haven for artists, nature enthusiasts, political activists, world travelers, hippies, feminists, surfers, tattooed ladies/men, people who commute to Silicon Valley for work and a myriad of other interesting well as some ordinary folk. Naturally, the styles of many Santa Cruzans draw from one, some or all of these influences. In the former post, I shared examples of hippy-esque and artsy styles. This time, I want to concentrate on ethnic, edgy/nostalgic and beachy casual looks. I am including shots from last weekend's FashionART Santa Cruz along with photos of regular Santa Cruzans going about their day. Hope you enjoy the sights and musings! 3) Ethnic [caption id="attachment_213" align="aligncenter" width="450"] This is an I. B. Bayo creation. He was taught to weave and dye by his mother and taught to sew by his father, who made clothing for royalty in Nigeria.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_223" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Another stunning (regal looking) gown by I. B. Bayo.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_259" align="aligncenter" width="500"] A dress by Ann Chang shows Chinese inspiration with a modern twist.[/caption] Santa Cruz is home to a fair number of world travelers and people who seek to learn about other cultures. The town abounds with community-based foreign language classes, exotic types of dance (flamenco, African, belly dancing) and Eastern philosophy/meditation/yoga workshops. It even has its own institute of Chinese medicine. While Silicon Valley's neighborhoods are home to software engineers from China, Russia and India, many Santa Cruzans - just "over the hill" - simply enjoy the rich, colorful fabrics and styles of dress from those countries as well as other far away travel destinations. [caption id="attachment_351" align="aligncenter" width="412"] This ethnically-inspired dress is perfect for Indian summer weather.[/caption] 4) Edgy and/or nostalgic [caption id="attachment_224" align="aligncenter" width="500"] This dress by I. B. Bayo looks pretty goth to me. Don't you agree?[/caption] [caption id="attachment_353" align="aligncenter" width="640"] No-holds-barred fashion-art piece by Rachel Riot of Manic Designs - a tribute to the late Chuck Schuldiner, "father" of Death Metal[/caption] Santa Cruz, having been for some time a counterculture mecca, fully embraces the culture of piercings and tattoos. Edginess can vary from tattered jeans all the way to studded black leather with tats, nose ring and a fluorescent dyed mohawk. Below are examples of people with a bit more edginess than most. [caption id="attachment_303" align="aligncenter" width="400"] Store managers with this presentation are nothing out of the ordinary in Santa Cruz. Kenji here is very approachable and solicitous, by the way.[/caption] At the same time, some residents opt for a retro look and/or even combine the two influences. The town itself is full of nostalgic sites, including the oceanfront Santa Cruz Boardwalk, California's oldest surviving amusement park with an ancient wooden roller coaster and equally ancient carousel. There is a lovely restored movie theater, originally built in 1936 and a market for nostalgic eateries, such as the Saturn Cafe and Betty's Burgers. Retro and rockabilly looks might not be as prevalent as other looks, but it does show its face from time to time, oftentimes with a soft edge to it. [caption id="attachment_267" align="aligncenter" width="400"] This ensemble is by local designer, Kiki Barrett. Her designs are "...for the girl with just the right amount of wrong".[/caption] [caption id="attachment_266" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Another Kiki Barrett outfit, illustrating a "quiet edge"[/caption] [caption id="attachment_287" align="aligncenter" width="400"] The coat is by I. B. Bayo - beautifully edgy.[/caption] 5) Casual/Beachy [caption id="attachment_344" align="aligncenter" width="500"] More gorgeous wearable art by Ellen Brook.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_270" align="aligncenter" width="400"] Jill Alexander's designers have been featured in New York's and London's Fashion Week. She creates comfortable and chic boho clothing from size 2 to plus sizes.[/caption] Lastly, we must not forget the beachy/casual style of this "Surf City." The town teems with surfers of all ages and stations in life. A surf museum and bronze surfer statue on West Cliff Drive are testaments to the culture, and ties to island culture are celebrated in the annual Aloha Outrigger Races and Polynesian festival. Of course, there are tons of other reasons to hit the beach: evening bonfires, romantic strolls, boogie boarding, running on the sand, beach volleyball, and beach parties with live bands to name a few. T-shirts, hoodies or Hawaiian shirts with shorts and flip flops are standard fare among the beach-goers. [caption id="attachment_271" align="aligncenter" width="450"] This dress is from Zen Island, a local store for "island-inspired" goodies.[/caption] Just as with individuals, places have their own style...or styles. Of course, not everyone in Santa Cruz dresses according to the styles I've mentioned: hippy/boho, artsy, ethnic, edgy/nostalgic and beachy/casual. We can choose the attitude "when in Rome..." or we can do our own thing. I have to admit that while I love Santa Cruz and appreciate all of its interesting style influences, I tend to do my own thing. [caption id="attachment_349" align="aligncenter" width="480"] I wore a Tadashi Shoji dress for FashionART Santa Cruz 2014.[/caption] Is your style influenced by your surroundings? XO, Janea

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