Santa Cruz Style, Part One

22nd Sep
Does Santa Cruz have a style? I will wax lyrical about the way people dress in cities like Paris, Milan, London and New York. I expect to see sophisticated street style in LA and grunge in Seattle. But when it comes to Santa Cruz, California, I've had a hard time defining the style. So, when a friend invited me to FashionART Santa Cruz (California) this weekend, I only thought it might be a nice diversion. Although I had modest expectations, I realized during the show that Santa Cruz definitely has its own style(s). While opening, mistress of ceremonies Kim Luke pointed out that Santa Cruz helped inspire countrywide acceptance of Birkenstocks. A street photographer friend living in New York City told me regarding people she saw during the recent Fashion Week there, "People wear Birkenstocks now. It's okay to wear them!" Birkenstocks are even touted by Vogue! Although I don't take much stock in trends, I find this influence kind of exciting. Of course, we may have had a little help from Berkeley - the should should have been named Berkeleystock! - and Portland, Oregon. But their popularity definitely seems to have resulted from a grassroots movement from laid back towns like ours. To give you an idea of Santa Cruz, it is an enclave, separated from Silicon Valley by a curvy (somewhat treacherous) mountain road. Its style influences include the hippy movement, feminist movement, beach/surfer life, artists and a contingent of world travelers or people simply interested in ethnic/cultural influences. (While visiting a village in Guatemala in the late 80's, I ran into 13 Santa Cruzans in a single day!) You also see people whose style is edgy or nostalgic. Naturally, a fashion show in Santa Cruz would have to be called a fashion/art show, and the aforementioned influences were all there. Here are some noteworthy looks from FashionART Santa Cruz. 1) The hippy influence. [caption id="attachment_212" align="aligncenter" width="370"] Long, flowing fabric, a retro hat and the long chain necklace are so reminiscent of the seventies.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_226" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Love this camelot-like tie-up waistband and vest, harkening back to the late 60s, early 70s.[/caption] Santa Cruz is famous for its easygoing style. The University of California campus has been known for experimental practices such as written evaluations in lieu of grades (no longer in use.) And a graduate degree called the "History of Consciousness". No wonder the town still shows influences of the hippy era! Super cazh (anti-fashion) clothing is ubiquitous: T-shirts, shorts and flip-flops. Here are a couple photographs I shot while out and about town. [caption id="attachment_233" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Sarah's look is a blend of ethnic and bohemian.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_219" align="aligncenter" width="400"] Crocheted pants are definitely a flower child touch.[/caption] 2) The artistic element [caption id="attachment_228" align="aligncenter" width="370"] Ellen Brook's "SILK TATTOO" collection[/caption] [caption id="attachment_227" align="aligncenter" width="600"] This Ellen Brook fabric looks like it could float![/caption] [caption id="attachment_210" align="aligncenter" width="370"] Another beautiful piece from Ellen Brook's "SILK TATTOO" collection. Each piece is hand painted![/caption] Santa Cruz is home to many artists, musicians, writers, dancers and other creative types. It might not offer as much exposure to great performances or exhibits by world famous masters. But the beautiful surroundings (ocean, mountains and redwood forests) and distance from the "rat race" make it ideal for many who wish to concentrate on these pursuits. As you would expect, I spotted a couple of women with artsy styles of dress right in the audience of the fashion/art event. [caption id="attachment_364" align="aligncenter" width="450"] Love this Escher-esque coat.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_221" align="aligncenter" width="540"] This wonderfully whimsical coat is by local designer I.B. Bayo.[/caption] I hope you have enjoyed this perusal of Santa Cruz fashion/art. Stay tuned for some more looks from FashionART Santa Cruz and of regular Santa Cruzans. Can you see yourself being or having been inspired by these influences? Make sure you check out "Santa Cruz Style, Part Two"! XO, Janea [line] [jetpack_subscription_form title="" subscribe_text="If you enjoyed this post, you can get free updates from this blog by simply entering your email here. We promise to never spam you!" subscribe_button="Get updates!"]




Navy stripes

Made in New York with recycled Lycra from Italy!


Tips for professional dress with a bun in the oven (and saving dough!)

19th Sep
When you are pregnant, there are so many things to plan. As a result, you might not want to bother so much with your wardrobe. At the same time, you want to look professional at work. My colleague Heather (pictured below) mentioned it is simply too costly for her to go out and buy maternity suits she would wear only a few months. Even if you could find suits to fit your budget, the purchase might not be how you really want to spend your "mad money". Here are some of her money-saving tips/tricks to look professional at work while you are pregnant: 1) In the first few months, stretchy professional dresses with a blazer are an ideal combination. The jacket can be worn open (unbuttoned), while a dress with "give" will often accommodate to a larger belly. Hopefully, your closet already contains some of these dresses, as it happened with Heather. If not, you can at least reduce your spending by buying dresses in a stretchy fabric which match or coordinate with jackets you already own. 2) A jacket can be buttoned at the top and unfastened at the bottom. Heather fastened only one button in the look pictured below. As a result, the jacket is fitted from the collar and shoulders down to the top of the waistline, highlighting her slender frame. Clothing which is fitted in areas other than the belly is infinitely more flattering, in my opinion, and looks more modern and distinguished than garments which loosely drape over the entire body. 3) Since skirts tend to be larger in the hips than in the waist, you can often pull up a suit skirt to cover your bump. If you are trying this at home, be prepared to end up with a shorter skirt, but as you can see in the photo below, it can still be a decent length and flattering. Heather did have the advantage of a concave belly in her pre-prego days. If that weren't the case or if she gets considerable larger further into the pregnancy, some tailoring can provide more room in the belly area, although this does require a bit more from the pocketbook. 4) Lastly, you need not tuck in your top. Notice that Heather's blouse is untucked to cover the "jerry-rigging" as she calls it. If you want to try this, it is best if the blouse closely matches the suit color. A contrasting color would draw attention to the pregnant belly, and this can be cheeky and fun for casual dress, but the subtlety shown in the example above projects a more sophisticated, professional image. Even before "showing", I noticed Heather often wore untucked tops with suits, so that details of a top were visible between the jacket and skirt/trousers. It is an unconventional look which does work when done the right way. The exposed top is almost an accessory, adding spice and a little extra color. For a great article regarding this look, check out a posting on Commandress here. If I had not been made privy to Heather's clever fitting tricks, I would have assumed her ensembles were put together at a special boutique for maternity wear. So you see, you truly can expect to carry style into your pregnancy without breaking the bank. Do you have any tips for maternity dressing to share? XO, Janea [line] ???? [jetpack_subscription_form title="" subscribe_text="If you enjoyed this post, you can get free updates straight to your inbox by entering your email here. We promise to never spam you!" subscribe_button="Get updates!"]

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