Friday, December 12, 2008

Q&A With Jessica Neumann, Designer of Jessica Catherine Clothing Line


Midwestern designers are few and far between. Milwaukee has a few talented designers here and there; Chicago has even more. (Do they ever—Chicago hosts the Gen Art Fresh Faces in Fashion show every year for the express purpose of showcasing Midwestern designers). But Madison? Where art thou, designers?
Madison-based designer Jessica Neumann is changing that with her clothing line Jessica Catherine. Her classy, yet sexy, line of silk party dresses was showcased recently at Atticus, Kristin Wild’s store on the Square. I must admit, I have a personal bias toward Neumann’s line—I wore one of her dresses to this year’s Best of Madison! I spoke with Neumann on her budding design career.
(Shown up top: Myself with Jess, the designer, in front of two of her dresses at her Atticus event. All dresses shown below are also from her Atticus event and are there currently.)

Tell me how you got interested in designing.
I was thirteen years old, and I started using my mom’s sewing machine. I would cut up old clothes I had and make it into new stuff. Whatever fabrics were around the house or clothes I didn’t like anymore, I would just change them. When I was younger I was always creating my own style and expressing myself.
I always liked clothing, and as I got older, I always wanted to change [my outfits].
I started making clothing because a good friend of the family and a person I looked up to got me into it. Now I work with her on projects. We’re working together, designing, right now.

What is your design background?
[My] schooling is a big part of how well my garments are made and the techniques I use. But most of my experience comes from jobs I’ve worked in as a seamstress. [Up until recently I] worked at Creative Energy. I was one of three seamstresses there. I made energy efficient window treatments.
[A few years ago] I moved to Ireland and was organic farming. [During that time] I found online an artist residence called Das Sproutbau (http://sproutbau.blogspot.com/2008/02/rubble.html). It was a four-week sustainable living experiment for designers. I had to explain what my project was going to be for an installation for a documentary. So how I was going to recycle and design a live-in installation. When I explained my project having to do with fashion, they accepted me.
When I worked at Das Sproutbau, I collected fabric around a condemned building and other pieces of plastic, hung all of it on a wall and painted it. I then took it down and used that piece to build a collection of dresses for a fashion show in Germany at Das Sproutbau.
I came back [here] and was looking for a project to work on. I wanted to work on something to benefit breast cancer. That was when I came across Milwaukee Fashion Week. I started designing dresses for my interview [for Milwaukee Fashion Week]. I applied, was accepted, and made eighteen dresses that would be ready for the runway show. I was prepared, but then the event was canceled. (Ed’s note: Milwaukee Fashion Week was scheduled to take place in Milwaukee October 3–6, 2008; organizers canceled the event due to lack of funding).
The organizer told me that my line and designs had won the [new designer] contest; actually, I tied with another designer. I never got a prize or anything, but I was told I was the winner!
The Milwaukee Fashion Week experience was a massive learning experience for me. I accomplished so much in that time, and it made me realize what I was capable of. It’s exciting to see what good things can come out of it.

What are your design inspirations?
Texture is a big part of it. Modernism is, too. I like modern clothing with simple lines.
I wanted to make party dresses that make people feel good when they’re wearing them. But also, [I want] people to feel like they have a special dress. I haven’t seen work like it. I want a woman to feel really good about herself when she wears one of my dresses.

What is your trademark? How would someone know a piece is your design?
It’s modern clothing. When you look at my line all together, the colors are very similar, and [so is] the structure of the dresses. There are about five [dresses] that are made of the same fabric but in different colors. And the way they are draped is different. I use dupioni silk and silk chiffon.
I also try to put some sort of recycled element in each piece if possible. I’ve used pieces of old wedding dresses for accessorizing a dress. I’ve taken pieces from old bridal dresses and used them to embellish a plain black dress. I use recycled zippers.
I like to add a certain element that’s little out of the ordinary to something that’s very sophisticated to make it more unique.

Why do you think women like your clothing?
They like that it’s silk. And they like the high collars on some of the dresses. Women like to show some skin, but still feel confident and covered up. And having a dress that makes you look sexy but not too revealing is really attractive. You can also wear my clothing from season to season. It’s nice to have piece like that that you can wear all of the time. And you can wear it with tights or boots or with heels. That’s important here because we have the change of seasons.

What designers are you inspired by?
I like this brand called The People Have Spoken (thepeoplehavespoken.com).
Another big influence for me is Andrea Crews. It’s a project that takes place in France. It’s a group of people who take in all of these recycled clothing and have exhibitions and fashion shows out all of these recycled things. It’s high fashion, but it’s out of the ordinary. (Photo: Kristin Wild, owner of Atticus, with Chris Berge, co-owner of Weary Traveler, Natt Spil and Magnus)

What’s the process of designing a dress or a line for something like a runway show? It must be a lot of work.
Well, I’ve found people who want to work with me and can do the same things skill-wise, so we work as a team.
I had a few friends who helped me out with the line. Basically I drew up a pattern. I had the pattern and the fabric ready, and then I explained to them how I would like the dress made. I worked with talented seamstresses and they know what they’re doing. There were two or three dresses that friends helped me with for Milwaukee Fashion Week.
In general though, all of the work is done by me. I’m excited to work on projects with others, but they have to be as skilled as I am too.
(Photo: Do you recognize that dress on me? That's right, that's Jess' design that she's wearing in the photo above! L–R: Myself, visual artist Angela Richardson and Madison Magazine editor Brennan Nardi).

How long does it take you to make one dress?
To make one dress, it depends on the fabric. Everything is timed in my workroom. A simple dress can take me two days, or about twelve hours.
Something that has a bodice, texture, boning or a different fit, or in general more tailored, will take closer to a week to be fully finished.

What’s the next big project you’re working on?
I just launched a line with Atticus. I hope that works out. I’d like to launch a spring line as well as do some work on Kristin’s [owner of Atticus] website.
I’m trying to keep the cycle going of new ideas and new outfits. My spring line will be a little more casual for summer, but still edgy and sophisticated. It will be casual enough to wear to work, but you could wear it out at night too.
I’m also designing some bridal wear for a photo shoot in Chicago Social magazine. It’s for a spring or summer issue.
This summer I’m going to do some more bridal dresses. There’s also a large possibility that I’m going to the Netherlands to design a dress for a woman there. I’m excited to be working on bridal wear. I like making party dresses (laughs).

Formalwear and recycled/sustainable accents in your designs seem to be quite different!
I want to stay somewhere in the middle. I’d like to keep doing formalwear while still accessorizing or adding embellishment with recycled materials as well. I think it adds a nice touch. Part of using the recycled elements gives me the experience of going to thrift stores and rummage sales and seeing what’s out there. I’m very inspired by vintage clothing.

What’s the best part of being a designer, and the most challenging part?
The best part is that I get to make something with my hands and I can work on it anytime I want. I can always put it down when I don’t feel like doing it too. It’s great to take a walk and then be inspired by something. I really enjoy it. It’s a job, but it’s also something I love to do.
The biggest challenge is deadlines and production. I have new ideas constantly. I think, ‘Oh, I’d love to make that.’ Or, ‘I wish I had this fabric.’ It’s a matter of having priorities and knowing what I can make. There are things I’d love to make, but I don’t have time right now. Certain things can take months to create!

Many designers have a very distinct personal style. What’s your personal style?
It’s constantly changing, like my designs. I love Miss Sixty for shoes; their boots and shoes are really cool.
I wear a lot of simple, black clothing. I like wearing something simple but pairing it with great shoes. It’s all about the shoes! If I can wear a dress out, I will. That’s probably why I make dresses, because I wish I could wear them all of the time!
Speaking of shoes, I should probably get more (laughs).

Do you see yourself designing full-time in the future?
I see myself pursuing design very seriously. If I have a chance to move, or do international work, I’ll take it.
Ideally, I’d like to design full time. My goal is to work as wardrobe coordinator for the film industry, wherever that will be. Hopefully what I’m doing now will build my portfolio and show what I’m capable of. Sometimes you just have to accept where I am right now. There are a lot of things coming up that are to my advantage. I’m just going to work with them and see what happens.

Jessica Catherine’s designs range from $195–$350 and are available at Atticus, 18 N. Carroll St. 204-9001. jessicacatherine.com

Thursday, December 4, 2008

New Shopping Content!


We all know everyone's crazy about their dogs. Whether you've got a Lab, greyhound, poodle or anything in between, our December issue is for you. So I hit the streets for the best in dog outerwear. After all, our furry friends need to stay warm too!

Check out the Style Sheet page (above) and behold our four adorable dog models. Behind the scenes our "models" were quite un-diva-like; after all, they'd do anything for a treat!

Our photo shoot went like this:
-Each dog came in separately with their owner. The dog would be unclipped from their lease and then they ran around the studio like crazy.
-We let them burn off some energy running around, then got down to business. We got them dressed and posed them against our white background. Then each model was asked to sit, lay, stand sideways, stand sideways the other way, stand on their hind legs, et cetera. After each of them calmed down, they did great!
-The owners prodded, cajoled, and rewarded their pup with treats. Our photog snapped away and got some really great outtakes, seen on page 34 of the print magazine.

Do you see why I love this job?

Also read my column this month on Liz Perry's Nutzy Mutz and Crazy Catz store on Lakeside Street. A haven for passionate pet owners, Perry makes each customer (and their four legged pals, of course!) feel right at home.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Stylemaker Q/A: Matt Jelinek


Frustrated about the lack of swimwear options in Madison? Matt Jelinek, swimwear manager at Middleton Sports & Fitness, is trying to change that. Starting this month he’s revamping the store’s swimwear department to not only carry popular swim brands Speedo and TYR, but more fashion forward looks from Gottex, Jantzen—even Dolce & Gabbana. Since they’re known for carrying “sportier” swimsuits, I asked Jelinek about the planned changes, and how they’ll market their “new” segment of fashion swimwear.

Q: When did you join Middleton Sports & Fitness? What had you been doing before and what attracted you to this job?
A: Prior to joining Middleton Sports in April of 2008 I was running my own company, which is a very part-time job that I continue to do. I also consult for a local publishing company as well as [work for] a property management company.
The opportunity was offered to me and the prospect of providing exceptional customer service and purchasing in the swim department while also facilitating new marketing and merchandising efforts with this locally owned company was very appealing. I’ve always been an advocate for small business and this was another way for me to become more involved with other local businesses.

Q: What do you do on a day-to-day basis? What are the responsibilities of your job?
A: Our customers come first—from our young customers who are on a swim team for the first time, to our in-store customers, to our customers from middletonfitness.com. Daily purchasing is also important to ensure that we have our most popular items and styles in stock and available, which includes special orders for customers. Oftentimes I travel to meet with our teams and large customers. Middleton Sports also has two traveling stores for our teams and customers as far away as Reedsburg, Milton, Johnson Creek and Iowa.

Q: You are introducing a new swimwear/cruisewear component to the swim department. Why did you decide to do this and what physical changes are you making to the store?
A: Middleton Sports has always been a leader in offering the widest variety of swimwear. With annual inventories of more than $250,000 in the springtime, we want to continue this tradition by offering an entirely new lifestyle feel to our customers. We will be changing the look in one section of our swim department to include different lighting and a more intimate feel to the store, which will include specialized training for our employees to ensure the best look and feel for customers.
The new component brings with it a potential to reach out to new customers while also providing customers with items that they would otherwise only be able to order online.

Q: What are you looking for in what you’ll carry in this new section? What brands will you carry?
A: We’re already working with some of the largest names in fashion swimwear including Gottex for women and Andrew Christian for men. We’re still working on negotiating a purchasing agreement with Dolce & Gabbana and hope to be offering their 2009 line by early spring for both men and women.

Q: What do you think the Midwestern shopper is looking for in swimwear that’s different from other parts of the country, and how is the store catering to that?
A: It’s been my experience that Midwesterners are looking for something that is stylish, but more importantly, fits their personality and something in which they will feel comfortable in any setting. Anticipation of these needs is driving us to purchase suits in all sizes for all shapes. Whether our customers are looking to accentuate a certain aspect of their figure or to draw attention away from other areas (as one of my good friends says, “If you can’t hide it, decorate it!”), we’ll offer something for everyone heading either out of town or to our local beaches and pools—including kids. In other parts of the country these suits or replicas of them are easily found and sometimes sizes are available; sometimes they’re not. But [these brands] are much easier to find. We intend to ensure the highest quality of swimwear to fit any individual’s style and comfort while making sure we have their size available. Special orders cost nothing extra to our customers unless there’s a rush. And if the suit doesn’t fit, the customer doesn’t pay.

Q: You also emphasized carrying suits that would appeal to the gay male. What are they looking for as swimwear consumers, and what brands will you carry?
A: Gay men are very particular about what they wear. They want to be fashionable trendsetters and are often early adopters to new styles in fashion. To this end, having the latest and greatest in what is being introduced to the market on the coasts and overseas is essential. We’ll offer Andrew Christian, Jocko and Dolce & Gabbana.

Q: What pieces are you most excited about carrying?
A: Gottex has a phenomenal line of swimwear for 2009 that will be very appealing to a large portion of our current customer base as well as college students. I think that this line will bring about a change in how women feel about their bodies. Particularly because this trend-setting company offers larger sizes that are extremely fashionable and accentuate the most appealing shapes in all sizes of the female form.
For men, I’m really excited about the Andrew Christian and Jocko lines. Nike is offering some new sporty looks that are sure to please our more mature client base as well. And when we get Dolce & Gabbana in, I’m sure we’re going to be quite busy.

Q: Any services or special offers you’ll be offering to the swimwear customers?
A: We’re going to start a mailing list for customers to receive coupons through email. Additionally, with the new lines, [we] will help customers get fitted properly and ensure that specific items are available to them when they are needed.
We plan to provide every customer with a very relaxed, comfortable shopping experience and are committed to helping customers to find something that they’re proud to put on their bodies—something that makes them feel proud of their body, no matter their size or shape. Vacation is about being comfortable and that’s what we aim to facilitate with what our customers wear.

Q: What is the price range of suits you’ll have?
A: For women, we’ll have separates and two-pieces starting from $39.95 up to more than $260 for separates and single-piece suits from Gottex.
For men, we’ll have suits starting at $39.95 for Nike, Speedo and Andrew Christian up to $180 for Dolce & Gabbana, when that line comes in.

Q: When will you have everything in?
A: The changes to the swim department will occur throughout the month of November. We’ve already started receiving Nike, Speedo and TYR cruise/beach lines. Andrew Christian, Jocko, Gottex, Perry Ellis, Jag, Jantzen and the others should start arriving in the first few weeks of November. Dolce & Gabbana will be arriving around February. New arrivals for all of these manufacturers will come in during October and February annually after our launch in early December 2008.

Middleton Sports & Fitness, 6649 University Ave. 836-3931. middletonfitness.com

Events

3rd Annual Atwood-Winnebago Winter Festival
When: December 5, 5–9 p.m.
Where: Particpating Atwood-area businesses like Absolutely Art, bad dog frida, Bunky’s Café, Café Zoma, Milio’s, Sugar Shack Records, Tex Tubb’s Taco Palace and more.
Details: Explore over twenty businesses in the Winnebago-Atwood neighborhood. Live music, free samples and door prize drawings will also be available!
More information: winnatwood.org

Holiday Jewelry Preview–Recession Beater Prices
When: November 15–26
Where: Fanny Garver Gallery, 230 State St.
Details: Handmade gold and silver jewelry, freshwater pearls and more will be in-store. With prices between $25–$250, prices are just right.
More information: 256-6755. fannygarvergallery.com

Indocara 3rd Anniversary Party
When: November 20–23
Where: Indocara, 540 W. Washington Ave.
Details: Have you been to Indocara? If you still haven’t gone, here’s your chance to check out this modern global furnishings wonderland. New items have just arrived! Celebration events throughout the day on November 20 include Cha Cha tea and cookies from 2–4 p.m., and a cheese and wine reception from 4–8 p.m.
More information: 251-7711. indocara.com

Premiere Couture Prom Sneak Peek Party
When: November 23
Where: Premiere Couture, 1921 Monroe St.
Details: For those attending Prom here’s a chance to check out the hot styles for 2009. Rate each design as “hot” or “not.” Snacks and prizes will be there, and one lucky girl will win a free prom dress. If Mom attends, she’ll receive a free gift, too. Pre-register for the 1 p.m., 3 p.m. or 5 p.m. time slot.
More information: email info@premierecouture.com to pre-register. 255-1921. href="http://www.Premierecouture.blogspot.com" target="new">premierecouture.blogspot.com

Ebony Fashion Fair
When: December 7, 8–10:30 p.m.
Where: Monona Terrace Convention Center, 1 John Nolen Dr.
Details: A fashion show you don’t want to miss: I attended last year and was totally wowed. This New York-style fashion show showcases the hottest designers in fashion today, like Roberto Cavalli, Anna Sui, Missoni, Vivienne Westwood and more. Proceeds from the event benefit The Madison Links Annual Student Recognition and Scholarship Program.
More information: Madison Links: 277-8548. ebonyfashionfair.com

Friday, November 14, 2008

What I Look for in Great Stores

Recently one of my friends asked me: “What do you do if you don’t like a store? Do you write a bad review?”

My answer to that: No
, I don’t write a bad review (technically, I don’t do “reviews” at all…rather, columns, but that’s beside the point). Madison is a small city, and I’m not interested in putting down any stores that aren’t, well, top-notch. If anything, these stores just need some prodding in the right direction. Or, if they’re really terrible, customers won’t want to go in for some reason or another and the storeowner will eventually “get it.” What I won’t do: endorse a store that I’m not fully OK with sending magazine and blog readers to. If I strongly dislike a store or feel that their customer service isn’t excellent, I won’t write about it.

The good news: I’ve rarely encountered any stores and storeowners that I haven’t liked and that I haven’t felt were worth writing about. Although some people might lament that Madison is small, there are upsides to being small: forging a personal connection with your favorite storeowner and getting first pick on cool items are two shopping advantages. I once had a storeowner tell me that the reason their online store did so well was because online customers from the coasts discovered that the Midwestern stores were the ones to hit up because all of the really popular stores in the big cities sold out the popular denim brands so quickly—whereas stores like Detour in Milwaukee and Context in Madison, for example, had A.P.C. or Nudie Jeans in stock.
On to the topic at hand: stores I love. (Disclaimer: this list is not all-inclusive.)

Monroe Street Shoe Repair and Cecil’s Shoe Repair
As every fashionista knows, your favorite shoes and handbags don’t last forever. At least they won’t without a little—sprucing up—yes? That’s where these folks come in. I have frequented both of these places and they’ve always done a top-notch job. Handbag strap need to be reattached? Stiletto heel tip need to be replaced? These places deliver with fast, inexpensive results. Recently I bought an adorable pair of shoes but a snap on the strap was missing. Enter Cecil’s. I bought the tiny snap from next-door Jo-Ann Fabrics and brought it over to Cecil’s. He squinted at my shoe, scurried away and came back five minutes later with a fresh snap in place, my shoe ready to wear. When I offered to pay him, he waved his hand and said, “Just come back in another time. Don’t worry about it.”
Old-school customer service? You can’t go wrong with that!
Monroe Street Shoe Repair, 2612 Monroe St. 238-3171.
Cecil's, 6717 Odana Rd. 833-5010.

Fair Indigo
Fair Indigo’s execs founded the company with the belief that fair trade clothing can be made affordably and the people that make it can be paid a living wage. In other words, no sweatshops allowed. Although the company started out as a mail-order catalog, their only storefront is here in Madison—cool. If you’ve ever bought something from the store, not only is the staff in-store friendly, but the company follows up with you via email by asking how your store experience was. Plus you can look up in-store or on the website stories about the people who made each item—like their cashmere sweaters or a silver bracelet. It personalizes the shopping experience even more.
Products range from baby clothing and toys to clothing for mom and dad—plus accessories and bath and body items. Many are organic. All are fair trade.
Fair Indigo, 570 N. Midvale Blvd., 661-7662. fairindigo.com

Movin’ Shoes
I am not a triathlete. I do, however, fancy myself as somewhat of a runner—you know, the kind of runner that dabbles in a few miles per week, but nothing major. Nothing Ironman-worthy, certainly. The employees at Movin’ Shoes don’t care about that. They care about getting you fitted for the right shoe. I went there on a warm August day seeking new kicks. You see, my first shoe-buying experience there a few years ago was positive, so I went there once again.
Instantly, a friendly employee approached me and asked what I was looking for. She asked me to walk without shoes on to figure out if I walk inward or outward. Then she brought out quite a few pairs of shoes for me to try on that worked for my walking style. Our search yielded the perfect shoe and I purchased them. I even had a coupon for the place—and the employee (and the owner)—gave it back to me after applying the discount, saying I should come in again. And I was welcome to use the coupon again, too. I sure will!
Movin' Shoes, 528 S. Park St. 251-0125.

Patricia Shoppe
It’s obvious that Patricia Shoppe carries cute things. Their retro-chic décor and overall polished, classy pieces emanate good taste (at good prices!). What I like most, though, about owner Jessica Meyer is that she’s not just a savvy storeowner but a nice person. When I needed to borrow a steamer for a photo shoot, she lent it to me, no questions asked. We needed somewhere to shoot our November Style Sheet page and I thought of her store. Of course we could stage the shoot there, she said. When I needed to borrow some items (mannequins, among them) for a TV segment a few weeks later, Meyer dropped them off here at our building for our use.
Patricia Shoppe, 137 W. Johnson St. 256-1111. patriciashoppe.com

I probably have a nice story or anecdote to share about each interview I’ve had with local storeowners; far too many to share here!
If you’ve noticed a common theme amongst these stores, it’s that they all offer quality goods—with that crucial puzzle piece, friendly and knowledegable customer service. Many of them go above and beyond the call of duty to help their customers find exactly what they’re looking for—whether it’s running shoes, a recycled fleece coat or repairing a zipper.

News



Have you heard of Oompa? If you haven’t—you will soon. The child-friendly store opened in Middleton November 1, and it is, simply put, awesome.
Owner Milanie Cleere’s motto: “No batteries. No blinking lights. No cartoon-themed toys. Period.”
The store specializes in European children’s toys and room decor. Check out adorable all-natural wool stuffed animals, beautiful artwork, wooden toys and room décor, all for an uber-fashionable Junior. Heck, I don’t even have a child and I coveted many of the items because they were so beautiful.
Cleere founded Oompa.com in 2004 and she’d been running the business in L.A. After visiting a vendor in the Madison area a few years ago, Cleere and her husband fell in love with the area and moved here a year ago to open Oompa’s first storefront.
More on Oompa soon…
Oompa, 1970 Cayuga St., Middleton. oompa.com

Events

Dane Buy Local Fourth Annual Holiday Kick-Off Event
When: November 18, 8–10 a.m.
Where: Forrestal’s Gallery, 2904 Parmenter St.
Details: Mingle with Buy Local members! Just in time for holiday shopping the kick-off will feature holiday gifts, refreshments from Middleton restaurants and holiday music.
More information: danebuylocal.com

Holiday Earring Show
When: November 18–December 24. Opening: November 29, 5–8 p.m.
Where: HYART Gallery, 133 W. Johnson St.
Details: A show featuring over thirty artists from around the country and the UW School of Art. They’ll feature—you guessed it—earrings.
More information: 442-0562

Sarah’s Hope Jewelry Trunk Show
When: November 20, 11 a.m.–6 p.m.
Where: Goodman’s Jewelers, 220 State St.
Details: Meet owner and designer Sarah Smith, and see her new fall collection. Sarah’s Hope contributes ten percent of net profits to fund business micro-loans to women business entrepreneurs.
More information: 257-3644

Thursday Disco
When: Thursdays until Christmas
Where: Three Orange Doors, 2789 Fitchrona Rd.
Details: Save 10 percent on your entire purchase from 5:30–7 p.m. Wine will be served and the disco beats will be bumping. Christmas décor and jewelry and gifts will be available.
More information: 848-3336

Ladies’ Night with Champagne and Chocolate
When: November 21, 5–9 p.m.
Where: Chalmers Jewelers, 6202 University Ave.
Details: What isn’t going on? Chocolate and hors d’oeuvres. Chair massages by Haven Spa. A Fashion Show with items from J. LaMore, door prizes and a silent auction! Whew!
More information: 233-4700

MMoCA Holiday Art Fair
When: November 21–23. November 21, noon–6 p.m., November 22, 10 a.m.–5p.m., November 23, 11 a.m.–3 p.m.
Where: Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, 227 State St.
Details: Handcrafted, artful gifts from jewelry to décor and everything in between. Enjoy MMoCA’s current exhibtion while browsing!
More information: 257-0158, mmoca.org
(Photo: Renee Roeder Earley, Hats-O-Fancy, courtesy of MMoCA)

Friday, October 31, 2008

Going Green Plus My Best Buys


The catchphrase “going green” is all but overused these days. You might even be sick of hearing it. But let’s face it: using fewer resources and reducing the amount of trash that hits the landfill is always a good thing, even if you’re sick of hearing about it!
And retailers are still going at it, selling more green products than ever. Take Fair Indigo’s recycled fleece pullovers, jackets, hats, scarves and mittens. Baby can even get in on the act with the recycled fleece buntings!
According to Fair Indigo’s newsletter, “Our fleece reduces oil consumption, toxic emissions and keeps soda bottles from filling up a landfill because it’s made from 50 percent post-consumer plastic.”
I think it’s so fascinating to know the former lives of some of the green products on the market today—a fleece made from a soda bottle? A cosmetic brush made out of bamboo and recycled aluminum (check out EcoTools at Walgreen’s)? A handbag made out of rice paper (but looks like leather, found at Atticus)?
Since green products are becoming so pervasive these days we might not even notice if a product is green—and that can be a good thing. Items are becoming so fashionably made that a T-shirt out of organic cotton or reusable shopping bags (so much more chic than paper or plastic!) are just, well, everyday things.
Like a fleece that once housed your Coca-Cola. (Above: men's recycled fleece jacket, $59)
Fair Indigo, 702 N. Midvale Blvd. fairindigo.com

With Epoch now closed, Anthology is carrying one of the vintage shop’s best-sellers, items by local artist Rebecca Light. Talk about green: Light makes pins and rings out of vintage buttons as well as embellished sweaters out of vintage fabrics and embellishments. Example: on a visit to Epoch a while back I spied a Banana Republic orange cardigan with cute ribbon sewn down the front. And a pair of men’s polyester pants sewn into a chic pencil skirt. And another pair of seventies-ish plaid pants that were made into a really cute A-line skirt. Who knew “old man” stuff could be turned into a hot outfit?
P.S.: If you didn’t read my November column on Anthology, read it here.
Anthology, 218 State St. 204-2644.

So don’t accuse me of being behind the times: I know Sephora opened in July. And I visited it a while back, only I forgot to include something about it on my blog! The shop at West Towne Mall is quite a bit smaller than other Sephora stores I’ve been in; but that’s OK, because we have a Sephora! Yay! I don’t tend to write about chains much but Sephora is very exciting because it’s a one-stop shop for all of the hot cosmetic and fragrance brands out right now, many of which cannot be found elsewhere in Madison (Sephora brand products, Make Up For Ever, Smashbox and NARS, for example).
I use NARS blush and bronzer so when I spotted a two-for-one blush and bronzer palette for $37 my eyes bugged out. You see, the bronzer alone is $29; the blush, $25. For all of you who can’t imagine spending that much on makeup you might want to skip the rest of this entry ☺
For the rest of you: I’m telling you, these products are worth it. NARS’s Laguna and Casino bronzers are universally flattering. The blush choices are either Sin or Orgasm (Orgasm is their best-selling blush). Each product delivers the right amount of bronzy color and peachy-pinkness, with a bit of shimmer. Pick from either the Laguna/Orgasm palette or the Casino/Sin palette. It’s a sure way to perk up your skin this winter. And for $37 the product lasts quite a while so you get a good value for your money. There, I’ve justified purchasing them now.
Another product worth trying out: face primer. Top makeup artists use primer underneath makeup to make makeup “stick” and last longer, plus, primers cut out shine, which is essential for photo shoots that can last all day. But you don’t need to be a model to use primer, try one out from Sephora. They were courteous enough to let me sample two of their Sephora brand primers: one gave my skin a lumiscent glow, the other cut out shine and gave my face a matte perfection.
Laura Geller is known for her primer, as is Smashbox. If you want to find one that’s less expensive, try Sephora’s “Tricks of the Trade” perfection primers ($17). They too, work very well.
Sephora, 71 West Towne Mall. 827-5958. sephora.com

Another shop I haven’t written about: American Apparel on State Street. This long-anticipated retailer is finally open so you can get your fill of striped tube socks, V-neck tees, leotards, leggings and more. Yes, many of the men’s and women’s items appear a bit … eighties to me, but that’s AA’s aesthetic: funky, updated versions of classics like an off-the-shoulder tunic and a striped rainbow T-shirt dress. Regardless, I own American Apparel gear and I like their stuff a lot. Their basics appeal to me: the long, fitted tanks, workout sweats, T-shirts and polo dresses.
The stuff that I won’t be picking up: the multicolor disco ball-esque shiny bodysuit, their teeny tiny swimsuits and a polyester pullover dress that looks like it was constructed out of hospital scrubs.
One thing to applaud American Apparel for: all of their garments are made in the U.S. under fair working conditions (despite the affordable prices). Employees make fair wages, have subsidized health insurance, free onsite massages and more.
(Above: What I won't be picking up: the "Shiny Bodysuit," priced at $34).
American Apparel, 502 State St. 250-8100. americanapparel.net

Upcoming Events

Atticus Holiday Open House
When: November 6, 6-8 p.m.
Where: Atticus and JTaylor, 18 and 18 ½ N. Carroll St.
Details: Come kick-start the holidays. Atticus will offer 20 percent off of dresses all day plus 20 percent off owner Kristin Wild’s top ten gift ideas. Champagne, cheese from Fromagination and homemade fudge will be on hand. Next door, John Taylor will serve single malt scotch and food.
Contact: Atticus, 204-9001.

Macha Election Night Art Show
When: November 4, 6 p.m.–?
Where: Macha Teahouse+Gallery, 1934 Monroe St.
Details: Check out Craig Grabhorn’s exhibit titled “The Winning Voter.” Attendees can meet the artist and hang out at Macha to wait for election results. Personally, I’d go for the cupcakes: their pastry case features a pumpkin cupcake with cream cheese frosting. Yum!
Contact: 442-0500. machateahouse.com

Madison Holiday Market
When: November 7, 10 a.m.–8 p.m.
November 8, 10 a.m.–6 p.m.
November 9, 10 a.m.–3 p.m.
Where: Alliant Energy Center, 1919 Alliant Energy Center Way
Details: With over 120 merchants in one place, shoppers can browse apparel, crafts, food items, décor and more for holiday giving. Proceeds benefit the Madison Ballet. General admission is $7.
Contact: madisonballet.org

Midnight Madness Event
When: November 28-30
Where: Johnson Creek Premium Outlets, 575 W. Linmar Ln., Johnson Creek
Details: It’s the outlet’s biggest sale of the year. Stores are offering additional savings off their everyday low outlet prices. Stores will have extended hours and savings for early shoppers, like at the Polo Factory Store. Shoppers will save 20% on a purchase of $150 or more from midnight to 10 a.m. on Friday, November 28.
Contact: 920-699-4111. premiumoutlets.com/outlets/outlet.asp?id=53

Downtown Madison Holiday Open House
When: November 29, 10 a.m.–6 p.m.
Where: State Street and the Capitol Square
Details: Free holiday trolley rides, gift bags, caroloers special offers and complimentary refreshments at more than forty shops and restaurants. Kids’ activities include gift wrapping, cookie decorating and holiday photos. The free weekend trolley will continue every Saturday in December.
Contact: 443-1974. visitdowntownmadison.com

Fourth Annual Holiday Craftacular
When: December 6, 10 a.m.–6 p.m.
Where: Madison Masonic Center, 301 Wisconsin Ave.
Details: Those of you who loved The Glitter Workshop will have the chance to peruse goods from local artists, many of which still sell at local retailers since The Glitter Workshop closed. Find cute gifts and stuff for yourself.
Contact: Naomi@glitterworkshop.com

Friday, October 24, 2008

Fashion Fridays


Here's a pic from the Fashion Fridays event on October 17.
Pictured with me is Suzanne Smelcer, a former Madison Magazine intern, now an editor with shopbop.com. Her outfit was by BCBG from Macy's and her shoes by Loeffler Randall from (where else?) bop.
My outfit was also from bop: the dress was by Alisha Levine and shoes were by Ruthie Davis. The shoes were really fun, by the way: they were nude T-strap patent leather heels with mirrors under the heel! Very fun!

State Street Changes

Just as our November issue came out on Thursday (10/23) I found out from Sachi Komai (owner of Anthology) that Epoch at 214 State St. would be closing for good this weekend. In my November column, I mentioned State Street's 200 block as having a mini retail resurgence: Anthology opened, Little Luxuries relocated to a bigger space and Epoch took over Little Luxuries' old space.
Epoch's last day will be October 25.

New Shopping Content!

From our November 2008 issue:

Window Shopping: Put it on Paper
Anthology on State Street is a labor of love for sisters Sachi and Laura Komai. Having worked together at Little Luxuries for years the sisters always knew they'd open up their own shop. What they didn't know is it would be on the same block as their old employer—Little Luxuries.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Weekend Events

Everyone should really hit up our Food and Wine Show this weekend. I mean, really, there are no two activities better than eating and shopping, yes? And you can do both (yes, I said both), at the Food and Wine Show. That means sampling cheese while sipping on a sample of Wollersheim’s Praire Fumé. Or nibbling on some pumpkin ravioli while watching the Dueling Chefs competition. I look forward to this show all year, and you should, too.

Madison Food and Wine Show: October 17, 5–9 p.m., October 18, 12–7 p.m., October 19, 12–4 p.m. $37 advance/$42 DOS. Alliant Energy Center, 1919 Alliant Energy Center Way. madisonfoodandwineshow.com

Fashion Fridays is tomorrow night so dig out your plaids (for the night's theme, "London Calling") or your next most fashionable frock and don it for tomorrow night’s show. See you there!
Fashion Fridays, October 17, 7:30 cocktail/shopping reception, 8:30 runway show. The Commercial Penthouse, 2450 Rimrock Rd.
9:30 p.m. after-party at Cardinal Bar, 418 E. Wilson St.
madisonfashionweek.com">madisonfashionweek.com

Hot Buys

I may not have shared my love of Fontaine, a home furnishings and accessories store, on this blog before. Owner Barry Avery’s eye for smart design and well-edited selection of looks ranging from organic to Hollywood luxe can tempt any shopper.
Avery is carrying a new product line, Lollia, which consists of bubble bath, hand crème, soaps and candles. I’ve seen Lollia products at other stores (not locally) and have admired their beautiful packaging and heavenly scents. Avery’s carrying the “Inspire” scent (also called 1000 Flowers) in shea butter hand cream and bathing salts and the “Wish” scent (Sugared Pastille) in hand cream, fragrance spritz and bubble bath. He’s also carrying the Poppy Nectar candle.
Featured in national mags like Bazaar, InStyle Weddings and Shape, now Madison can indulge in these yummy scents, too. Prices range from $6.95–$59.95.

Fontaine, 811 E. Johnson St. 310-8002. lollialife.com

Looking for a cute baby gift or a holiday gift for a special tyke? Check out the Joobles collection from Fair Indigo. Made of organic cotton and eco-friendly dyes, these one-hundred percent adorable stuffed toys, hats and mittens, and cotton cardigans are sure to be a hit. I love the vibrant colors. And you can’t beat the construction practices behind them; according to Fair Indigo’s website, “The Joobles are made fairly in Lima, Peru, at a family-run facility where dad grows the cotton and mom runs the sewing operation.” Sounds like a family affair! (Top: Jiffy the giraffe hat and mittens, $39; bottom, Icy the penguin, $29).

Fair Indigo, 570 N. Midvale Blvd. 661-7662. fairindigo.com

Our Food and Wine Show is this weekend, but you can continue to celebrate and savor cheeses and other exotic foodstuffs long after we close up shop. Fromagination, the Square’s yummy cheese shop, is hosting events throughout November and December to help customers select cheeses for holiday parties and items for gifts.
November 13, 4–7 p.m.: Let the cheesemongers at Fromagination help you create the perfect cheese plate for Thanksgiving.
December 4, 11, 4–8 p.m.: Get a head start on holiday shopping at the Gift Fair. The shop will have tables set up so customers can walk around and talk and taste while they shop.

Fromagination, 12 S. Carroll St. 255-2430. fromagination.com

Who is the most famous “T” you can think of? Personally, I’d say Mr. T (“I pity the fool!”) or Ice-T. There are others, though, like Ford’s Model T, or maybe a T-bone steak. But I digress. Macha Teahouse has a wall of Famous T’s because…they’re a teahouse! They want customers to guess who their new “Famous T’s” are on the wall (and yes, Mr. T is already up there). Customers will be entered to win a teapot and one pound of their favorite tea.
Customers are also encouraged to tell Macha in one hundred words or less what the teahouse means to them. All customers will be given something for entering and the top three entries will be featured on their website—not to mention awarded prizes!
Both contests are to celebrate the teahouse’s one-year anniversary.

Macha Teahouse, 1934 Monroe St. 442-0500. machateahouse.com

Holiday gift ideas are already landing in my inbox, folks. We in magazine land can quickly get tired of the holidays since we cover them in October and November, and then experience them yet again in December…ha! Not to sound like Scrooge, because shopping for others is fun.
Two places to look for art-inspired gifts: MMoCA’s Museum Store and theartfulhome.com. With gifts in a variety of price ranges, you can get something for anybody, whether she’s a fashionista (jewelry and handbags), a kid (kids’ books and art) or foodie (artful kitchen accessories).
Both retailers have kept price consciousness in mind and are offering gifts for less; Artful Home’s “100 under $100” keeps your wallet in mind and MMoCA’s large variety of inexpensive gifts under $25 can satisfy most anyone on your list.
Artful Home has even gone one step further and categorized gifts into easy sections like: “Customer Favorites and Ornaments” (plus the 100 under $100 section); a “Shop by Personality” section; and “More Ways to Shop,” including by Price, Recipient, Occasion and “In Time for 12/25”—a selection of artist-made items that can ship in time to arrive by December 25.

Terry Boehner, the Museum Store’s marketing assistant provided me this list of gifts under $25 that include:
Cute animal-shaped banks, $18.
Wood bud vases, $13.50. “Really popular,” says Boehner.
Buddha Boards, $11.50. (“A Zen art concept: image appears when you paint water on the board, it disappears when water evaporates,” says Boehner.”)
Don Drumm pewter leaves, $17.
Wind-up salt shaker, $20.50.
Singerman & Post earrings, $22. (Designs of colorful Mylar film transferred to light metal.)
Kids’ books, $6–$8.

MMoCA Museum Store, 227 State St. 257-3222. mmoca.org theartfulhome.com

Thursday, October 9, 2008

News



I was at an event the other week talking with another attendee. Naturally, we got on the subject of clothing. “I’m a handbag girl,” she said. “But my best friend is a shoe girl.” Folks, I’m a shoe girl. Reason being, switching handbags every day just gets too time-consuming. For special events I’ll work in a cute clutch, but for everyday use I sport the same handbag all season. Switching shoes every day … a lot easier. Especially if you have patent shoes in pink, yellow, blue, black, red and nude like myself (among many other pairs that I have). I mean, you’ve got to show all of the shoes equal love!
Those of you who are shoe people will want to attend the “If the Shoe Fits” auction and fundrasier to benefit The Center for Patient Partnerships on Thursday, November 6.
Seriously, you have to check out the shoes that will be up for auction (cppiftheshoefits.org). Designed by artists from across the nation, these fantastical works will surely fetch some bucks as a one-of-a-kind sculptural piece for the home.
A coworker and I have jokingly said that we’re going to install shelves in our respective apartments to display our favorite shoes. If you buy one of those beauties from the auction, you’ll probably want to do just that.
(Photos: Top, "Arc en Ceil" by Mark Evans; bottom, "Spike Heel" by Charley Brown).

If the Shoe Fits Auction and Fundraiser (to benefit the Center for Patient Partnerships), November 6. 5:30–8:30p. Nakoma Golf Club, 4145 Country Club Rd. 265-6267.
cppiftheshoefits.org


Anyone who hears the words “Fashion Week” and “Madison” might scratch their head. Whaaat? Madisonians, fashionable? C’est vrai! And what better way to showcase Wisconsin retail and our city style than at Fashion Fridays, an event being held next Friday, October 17, in the “Commercial Penthouse” at the Novation Campus, 2450 Rimrock Rd.
The event is a runway show and shopping shindig for those with a passion for fashion. Participating retailers include Patricia Shoppe, N.e.w.d. Clothing, Maverick Clothing and Milwaukee-based Fred Boutique and Red Heel.
The theme is “London Calling” and press materials share, “The third installment calls on the looks of London as the season’s hottest trendmakers including plaid, houndstooth, equestrian, military and punk.”
Indeed, Kristi Moe, producer of Madison Fashion Week and Fashion Fridays, is even handing out a “Best Dressed” award at the Cardinal Bar after-party to the person that best epitomizes the “London Calling” theme.

Moe has shared this schedule of the event with me:
7:30-8:30 Shopping reception
8:30-8:45 First runway show (two fashion lines)
8:45-9:00 Live music set
9:00-9:15 Second runway show (two fashion lines)
9:00 Doors open at the Cardinal Bar for the after-party

Tickets range from $15 (reserved seats) to $200 for a table. I will attend the event and report back to you on my thoughts and what looks I liked.

Fashion Fridays, Friday October 17. 7:30 p.m.–? Runway show: The Commercial Penthouse at Novation Campus, 2450 Rimrock Rd. After party: The Cardinal Bar, 418 E. Wilson St. madisonfashionweek.com

I attended the Madison Symphony Orchestra League’s “Overture of Style” event on October 2 at the Edgewater Hotel. (If you’d like to view pics, here’s the link). As emcee of the show, I was fortunate enough to get a sneak preview of the fashions earlier in the day. Woldenberg’s provided all of the ready-to-wear, evening and fur coat fashions that were featured. I coveted a deep purple sweater with baubles sewn onto the neckline and cute color-block skirt, both by French designer Sonia Rykiel, and a spangly Badgley Mischka flapper-inspired cocktail dress and a deep emerald green silk blouse with ruffles down the front. The show went off without a hitch and the models did a nice job showcasing Woldenberg’s fashions.
Shown here is a picture of me in the David Meister cocktail dress Woldenberg’s was kind enough to lend me for the event. Constructed of silk with a one-shoulder silhouette and pleating at the waist, this dress would be appropriate year-round for a daytime or nighttime event. Now, if I could just convince the boutique to let me keep the dress … ☺

Woldenberg’s, 702 N. Midvale Blvd. 233-4300.

I met Tanatnan Chaipang the other week at our “Sips and Shops” event. Chaipang recently opened Eastside Bazaar, a store on East Johnson Street. Chaipang told me she sells her own handmade jewelry, as well as wall hangings, masks, purses, paintings and more. According to her website (eastsidebazaar.com) Chaipang’s merchandise comes from West Africa to Southeast Asia. I plan to stop in soon and when I do, I’ll let you know!

Eastside Bazaar, 836 E. Johnson St. 260-0244. eastsidebazaar.com

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

New Window Shopping Video

Click here to watch a TV segment on Atticus, the store I featured in my September column!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Fashion Fun

In the category of “there should be more events like this in Madison” was Atticus’ fall 2008 fashion show last week. Owner Kristin Wild dished up some hot looks that she’ll be carrying this fall including those ever-popular leggings, tunic-like tops, a full skirt, delicate, feminine blouses, skinny jeans, men’s cardigans, T-shirts and much more.
The store’s sensibility is basics that are stepped up a notch. Stuff like a long, fitted, striped cardigan teamed with skinny denim and cute platforms. Or a cute dark denim mini paired with a beautiful black party top and edgy booties. Guys were dressed casually but in a laid back, yet still thoughtful, way.
The models were friends of Wild’s and all did a stellar job selling the looks. In fact a few pieces were bought after the show, according to Wild. The intimate venue (the store) was perfect for audience members to view all of the looks up close and personal.
And in true celeb fashion, all attendees got a goodie bag filled with fun stuff like samples of her apothecary items, a notebook, a Samantha Ronson CD and best of all—a gift certificate for the store.

Atticus, 18 N. Carroll St.204-9001. Atticusshop.com

Fair Trade Friends

When I strolled into SERRV’s sixth-floor offices on State Street last week I wasn’t sure what to expect. When I spoke with marketing director Renee Kalvestrand, she told me that some of MarketPlace India’s artisans will be visiting and I will have the opportunity to interview them—through an interpreter, of course.

I’ve written about SERRV before, that is, when their storefront on Monroe Street was called A Greater Gift (see my May column). A Greater Gift recently changed their name to SERRV, which is their parent organization.
Says Kalvestrand on the change: “SERRV has had a long history—over sixty years. That’s really who we were and having two names was difficult. Going forward we want to be this one strong organization.”
SERRV’s general description is a “nonprofit alternative trade and development organization,” per their website (serrv.org). The SERRV storefront on Monroe Street sells fair-trade items handmade by artisans around the world, from Mexico to Vietnam. With the name change also came a move next door to 2701 Monroe St. The shop gained five hundred square feet of space.

When I arrived for the interview I saw four beautiful Indian women sitting in an ordinary looking conference room. Sunanda Zunjar (to my right) wore a hot pink sari with gold embroidery and a wristful of bangles; Shardha Ghadge (to my left) wore a lovely green sari with purple and gold accents and Nooreen Dossa (closest left) donned a simple white and red tunic with a red wrap. I felt so ordinary in my “western” clothing! Seeing Zunjar, Ghadge and Dossa was like seeing that first tulip pop up in spring in your barren yard: unexpected, yet quietly beautiful.

From talking to the artisans it’s clear that MarketPlace India, a group of women’s co-ops, has made a huge difference in these women’s lives. Says Zunjar, supervisor at the Arpan Cooperative: “In the last twenty years, the guts we have now … we may not look strong from the outside but we’re strong on the inside.”
Shardha Gadge, tailor at the Cooperative, agrees: “The skill training has brought about change in our own lives and benefits the people around us.”
I asked Pushpicka Freitas, president of MarketPlace India and Nooreen Dossa, assistant director of SHARE, about the fifteen-year-old co-op and their trip to the U.S., as well as spoke with Renee Kalvestrand, marketing director for SERRV.

When was MarketPlace started?
Pushpicka Freitas: In 1980 in India, and in 1986 in Evanston (Ill.). We started very small, with three people.

How does the co-op work?
Freitas: It’s really leadership building work. The women run their own co-ops. They determine their cash flow, fabric to order and more. That’s the basis of their leadership development.
They do the quality checking and then it’s shipped over [to Evanston]. In Evanston we manage the shipping; in India, they execute all of the orders.

How do these co-ops affect the women involved?
Freitas: In their identites. [In India] women are identified by their relationship to a man. Women tell us they’ve been helped by [the co-op] because they say they can now make decisions in their families. The artisans also take life-skill enhancement classes.
From 1980 [when we started], there are still some of the same women in the co-op. At that time, they wouldn’t look you in the eye when they talked to you. Now they tell you what to do!
One woman told me that her in-laws started to arrange a marriage for her fourteen-year-old daughter. She talked to her husband, asking him to talk to his parents to prevent it. He told her, “You talk to them; you go to all of these meetings and talk to people. I want you to talk to them.”
It’s that confidence—they’re becoming role models and leaders in their communities.
Nooreen Dossa: [The women] can provide education for their children. The school dropout rate is lower. They are taking professional courses—like computer engineering. They are now thinking long-term about education.
Freitas: No one is getting rich, but they are getting comfortable. The women are now contributing in addition to running the family.
Zunjar (interpreted through Dossa): Now we get out of the house. We use public transportation and travel independently. In March, we had a cancer checkup for the artisans and people in the community. So we took a group of women to the checkup, which was outside of Mumbai. The women are more confident and active now and would not have been able to handle taking the public transportation alone.

How has your experience been in the U.S. so far?
Zunjar (interpreted through Dossa): There are no words to describe the feeling I have—I see one exciting thing, then another exciting thing. We visited the shipping agency and we saw where our catalogs are printed. It’s very important for us to take in this experience, so we can give a good picture of what our lives are like as well as let the let the other women in our group know what it’s like over here.
Renee Kalvestrand: These women influence other women they know—and that all happens because of the value of employment and they’re empowered that way.

P.S.: Check out our shoes in this picture! Clockwise from top left: Zunjar's gold flats, Ghadge's fashionable striped shoes, Dossa's comfy bronze numbers and my leopard pumps.

SERRV, 2701 Monroe St. 233-4438. serrv.org

Friday, September 12, 2008

Fall Fashion: The Six Items You Need

Sorry for my hiatus last week, things were busy with magazine deadlines! I’m back and ready to talk to you about what to pick up for fall. Now don’t get me wrong: these are simply suggestions for what I’ve been seeing as smart buys locally at shops and nationally in fashion mags and through my own research. These items for the most part are ones I will (probably) be picking up (or already have!). As always, I suggest adapting these items and looks for what suits you—and no one else. Style is all about what you make it to be, and no one can tell you what you like and don’t like!
One of my recent posts addressed recessionistas; namely, a woman who is able to look fashionable in tough economic times by budgeting smart and saving on trendier items. Take note: all of the pieces I outline below can be bought for big bucks or little bucks. Prioritize what you like the most, spend the majority of your money on that one (or few) item and pick up trendier things that are less expensive, like a piece of jewelry or a jewel-tone item.
If you saw our fashion spread in the September 2008 issue many of the items I outline below we used in that shoot.

Dressy Denim
My research has concluded that there’s not only one must-have, to-die-for style of jeans. Which is good, as some looks aren’t great on everyone (skinny jeans, anyone?). What I am seeing is classic and refined looks in dark washes. (Side note: yes, I know Katie Holmes and every other celebrity in the world is wearing those darn slouchy, baggy, pegged boyfriend jeans and we’re not going there. Just don’t. Unless you’re painting the house, or something.)
Anyway, where was I? Ah, yes. The trouser jean is the ticket. More refined than the high-waisted, wide-leg look of the summer I say trouser jeans are the way to go. I’m planning on picking up J. Crew’s High Heel Jean (with a remarkable 36” inseam! Yay! The “regular” inseam length is 33” so these are definitely high heel jeans).
I also want to pick up a skinnier-leg jean that I can tuck into boots. I haven’t decided where I will buy those yet but I’m excited to see what’s out there.
Pick up your jeans at: Atticus (shown in picture), Bop, J. Crew, J LaMore, Twigs.

Juicy Jewels
Summer was all about brights: red, yellow and green. Fall’s refined looks are giving way to more sophisticated shades of fuchsia, emerald, sapphire, teal and rust. These shades are showing up in everything from handbags to sweaters. See page 29 in our September issue for a beautiful example of a fun, pumpkin orange cashmere sweater that would be a perfect complement to any outfit. Or check out the Botkier for Target fuchsia handbag I will be sporting this fall (above). The hobo shape and metallic studs are trend-right for any look this season.
Look at page 26 (shown) or page 27 of our fall fashion spread: a rich teal cocktail dress or silk blouse with a geometric, funky honeycomb pattern in jewel tones (teal, fuchsia, eggplant, et cetera) shows how the look can be evening-ready or work-appropriate.
Buy it: Whether it’s H&M or Bop, the look can be found anywhere.

Rock It
So it might be a bit much to show up for work in a pair of strappy, high heeled gladiator sandals or patent leather ankle booties. That’s why you save those for your nights out ☺! Seriously though I’m loving the “refined rocker” look, as I like to call it: pyramid studs, leather, bomber jackets and more. Eighties rock rears its (hair band) head in bits of animal print, but in a quieter way: perhaps you’ll wear a zebra belt or leopard kitten heels. Nothing overboard—sexy, yet classy. Or you could be ridiculous like me and wear your favorite leopard-print high heels to work anytime you feel like it. I’m just saying.
Check out the photo (below) of the belts I’ll be working into my wardrobe this fall. The yellow number has a luxe snakeskin look (what’s more rocker than snakeskin?!), and the leopard and black stretch belt with pyramid studs will all add bits of stylish rocker chic in my life. In case you’re wondering, the hot yellow and leopard belts are from the HospiceCare Thrift Store! Go there, already!
I also love the tough bomber jackets I’ve seen. Most recently a stop into Express yielded several very cute bomber jackets in solids and prints, in leather and other fabrications. J. LaMore is also boasting quite a collection of leather jackets and vests, the epitome of classic.
Buy it: Dazzle (accessories), Express, HospiceCare Thrift Store, J. LaMore.

Make a Statement
Have I talked about how much I like the HospiceCare Thrift Store yet? I’m kidding, I mention them all of the time. In fact I was just there the other week and picked up a piece of statement jewelry myself: a long chain necklace for pennies. Ninety-nine pennies to be exact, pre-tax. That’s right! Statement jewelry is found everywhere from a consignment store to well, a “real” jewelry store.
Look for bejeweled pendants, layers of pearl necklaces, ribbon accents and chains.
Buy it: Any consignment store, Atticus, Dazzle, Patricia Shoppe, Twigs.

Nail It
So let’s say you don’t want to wear leopard print heels. Instead, kick up your look with an edgy nail color (right). If you hate it, you can always take it off!
Trendy colors this season include navy, burgundy, eggplant, black and metallics: gold, silver and gunmetal. A cheap and chic way to take your look up a notch. Sally Hansen offers an array of trendy colors for only $2.49 a pop at Target.
Buy it: Target.

Ladylike Luxe
Whether it’s a feminine frock, ruffled blouse, satin trench coat or pencil skirt, options are endless in what you can find. If you hate dresses, wear a tie-neck blouse with wide-leg trousers. Want to class up your outerwear? Get thee to Target where they sell a fuchsia satin trench coat for—gasp!—$39.99. I’d buy it myself if I didn’t already own a black satin trench coat that I adore. Want a pencil skirt with edge? J LaMore’s wool leopard print combines both.
Locally, Patricia Shoppe always does a wonderful job of incorporating classic feminine looks in updated fabrications.
Or pick up something at a consignment shop. Lady Moxie has new designers as well as affordable and higher-end consignment pieces. Pink Poodle has twelve thousand square feet chock-full of clothing just waiting for you to get your hands on.
If you want real vintage check out Epoch (below) on State Street for hats, gloves, clutches and prim dresses.
Buy it: Bop, Epoch, J LaMore, Lady Moxie, Patricia Shoppe, Pink Poodle, Target, Twigs.

Bop, 222 W. Gorham St. 255-2570. shopbop.com
Dazzle, 8426 Old Sauk Rd. 826-4455.
Epoch
, 214 State St. 255-2385.
HospiceCare Thrift Store, 122 Junction Rd. 833-4556. hospicecareinc.com
J LaMore, 2701 Monroe St. 238-2119. jlamore.com
Lady Moxie, 6706 Odana Rd. 826-4268. ladymoxie.com
Pink Poodle, 5918 Odana Rd. 276-7467. thepinkpoodleonline.net
Twigs, 1925 Monroe St. 255-4363. shoptwigs.com

Upcoming Events

Atticus fifty percent off summer items sale
When: Now
Where: Atticus, 18 N. Carroll St.
Time: Regular store hours: Mon–Fri 11 a.m.–7 p.m., Sat 9 a.m.–6 p.m.
Information: atticusshop.com

Go Red for Women TV Premiere Party
A party celebrating women’s heart health. Red carpet reception, fashion and an exclusive preview of the Go Red for Women NBC special.
When: September 18
Where: Sundance Cinemas, Hilldale Mall, 702 N. Midvale Blvd.
Time: 5:30 p.m. red carpet and reception; 6:30 p.m. fall fashion preview; 6:45 TV premiere begins.
Information: uwhealth.org/gored

ShopBop Warehouse Clearance Sale
A clearance sale liquidating items from shopbop.com that’s already seventy percent off.
When: September 19–21
Where: Concourse Hotel, 1 W. Dayton St., first floor
Time: Sept. 19, 12–8 p.m.; Sept. 20, 8 a.m.–6 p.m., Sept. 21, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.

Madison Symphony Orchestra League “An Overture of Style” Fashion Show
What: Fundraiser and fun fashion show for the Madison Symphony Orchestra.
When: October 2
Where: The Edgewater Hotel, 666 Wisconsin Ave.
Time: 5:30 p.m. cocktail and hors d’oeuvres; 7:30 p.m. New York-style fashion show.
Information: madisonsymphony.org

Fashion Fridays: London Calling
A seasonal runway show featuring fall’s hottest looks from Madison and Milwaukee retailers.
When: October 17
Where: TBD
Time: 8 p.m., after-party at Cardinal Bar.
Information: madisonfashionweek.com

Madison Food & Wine Show
With over 150 exhibitors showcasing the finest local and regional gourmet products, expectations are high for the seventh annual show presented by Madison Magazine.
When: October 17–19
Where: Alliant Energy Center, 1 Alliant Energy Center Way.
Time: Oct. 17, 5 p.m.–9 p.m.; Oct. 18, noon–7 p.m.; Oct. 19, noon–4 p.m.
Information: madisonfoodandwineshow.com