Friday, February 27, 2009

My Spring Wish List (Part One)

… Because you never know if there'll be a spring wish list part two! Anyway, I’m getting bored of winter. You hear me, winter?! Go away! OK, so since that’s not going to happen I’m just going to sit and dream about my wish list for this spring and summer. The fashion websites I frequent (Who What Wear Daily,, InStyle, et cetera) have been reporting incessantly on Fall/Winter 2009 Fashion Week as well as rehashing Spring/Summer 2009 Fashion Week … and they’re making me antsy for new looks.

A maxidress
While I of course tout local, I still do shop at Target (hey, they’re still based in the Midwest, in Minneapolis!). I recently spotted some great maxidresses in beautiful, saturated hues of emerald and purple. I covet the purple one (especially because of the ruffle detail on the bustline!) and it’ll be perfect as my swimsuit cover-up. I’m hoping though, that I can wear it off the beach, too.

Pyramid-stud sandals
Part of the rocker trend, the ones I’m getting are bit more subdued—simple pyramid studs set on a crisp white flip flop. Of course that doesn’t mean I might not pick up some other items with some studs on them too … like a fab gladiator sandal or cute clutch. We’ll see.

Dressy denim
Perfect for spring and summer nights, I’d like to find a great trouser jean that’s a bit skinnier in the leg (in other words, nothing wide-leg) and looong (I’m tall) that I can pair with a cute top and blazer for spring into summer.

A ruffled piece
Hmmm, I already have this one covered—I have quite a few tops in my wardrobe with ruffles! I want more, though! A favorite detail of mine, I’m glad that ruffled items are in for spring. I’ve already picked up two affordable tanks with ruffle detail on the shoulder and plan on prowling for more when I see ’em. Ideally, I’d like to find a dressier sleeveless or short-sleeve blouse.

A tough handbag
It’s a rare instance where you would spot me with a black or brown handbag. I crave color, you see. My current handbag is fuschia. The one before that? A lovely shade of peacock blue. I’ve spotted a few handbags out and about that have made me crave a new one already.
Atticus carries an adorable fuschia clutch by Matt & Natt that’s on sale that I’d like to pick up. It would be PERFECT with most any outfit. For reals. It’s got a sort of rocker-ish look to it, with zippers and a fold-over front.
At Dazzle the other day I spotted a hot snakeskin-print pocketbook-style handbag. It’s got that perfect cocktail of ladylike chic (the pocketbook styling) mixed with rugged rocker (well, snakeskin, of course). I like the print most of all, which is hot, hot, hot for this spring.

A sexy tee
I have long aspired to be one of those model-types who look effortlessly hot in a T-shirt, jeans and cute heels. Since I don’t fancy myself a model anytime soon and I tend toward “dressier” fare in my wardrobe, I need to branch out! No more T-shirts just for working out! Bring on the T-shirts! Well, the fitted T-shirts, that is. I’ve always liked the screen-printed tees from Urban Outfitters. They’re soft, worn-in and sexy and have a nice V-neck. They come in a range of prints and they’re pretty affordable, at $24–$28 a pop.

A hot, heeled sandal
I was at Famous Footwear the other night and they had a really cute fringed sandal that fitted in cozily with all of the fringe stuff that’s en vogue for spring. I also covet chunky gladiator heeled sandal but we’ll see if that happens …

Trash to Treasure

I attended Fashion Fridays at the Cardinal this past Friday and part of the lineup included recycled fashions. Dresses and skirts made out of newspapers (the old paper I wrote for in college—The Badger Herald!), magazines, grocery bags and garbage bags graced the sleek white runway.

The first black garbage-bag fashions (Made by Rosalee Eichstedt) were actually very cute—I could imagine all of them made out of fabric. The first model sported a white tank and jeans and then her hair, wrists and shoes were adorned with fluffy black flower-like puffs. The shoes were quite cute, and I’d pick up a pair!

Other models wore incarnations of garbage-bag dresses including: a poufy garbage-bag skirt paired with a sleek black patent belt and black tube top; a black (garbage bag) figure-hugging dress with a ruffly neck worn with black leggings; a halter “carwash” dress constructed of black and white garbage bags; a white tank and black leggings paired with a flower-like newspaper “skirt;” and an incredibly detailed dress made out of either paper grocery bags or brown plastic grocery bags. Seriously this stuff was genius and quite Project Runway-worthy.

Another group of designers (Jonathan, Renee and Callie; their fashions were titled "Project Runway: Witte Style") constructed elaborate designs out of magazines with a feminine twist. The first, a sheath dress made out of Vogue magazines sported a creased, fan-like top cinched with a wide waistband. Again, I could imagine the dress made out of lovely fabric—say, a heavy dupioni silk or satin. The second style was a fitted strapless dress with a poufy newspaper skirt and the third, a highly constructed dress with a sweetheart neckline and a skirt that flared out slightly at the waist like a tulip skirt.

Bravo for turning trash into couture-like treasure.

(Photos courtesy of Abby Schoofs, Avalon Sky Photography).

P.S.: Local designer Jessica Catherine's designs were also featured in the show—which I loved, too!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Stylemaker Q&A: Tim Lovejoy-Dailey

Up Spatique opened in August 2006 on the lower end of State Street with an innovative concept—tempt shoppers with clothing, throw in a mani-pedi area and delight all of the senses. In a world where shopping at chain stores can become an impersonal experience, Tim Lovejoy-Dailey's Up is the antidote to shopping blahs—literally and figuratively. Literally because once shoppers step into the candy-hued world of Up and spy the swimwear, scarves, and accessories one can't help but feel a little, well, "up"lifted. Figuratively Up's purpose is to make shoppers feel welcome and offer them something they can't find at the Wal-Marts of the world.
I talked to co-owner Tim Lovejoy-Dailey (wife Kelli is the other owner) about what's changed, what they've got on tap for spring, and of course, what it's like to be a guy in a girl's world …

You used to be called Up Spatique, and now you’re just called Up. Why the name change?
Up Spatique was half-spa, half-boutique. The spa part was good in the spring and summer, but it was really hard in the winter. The retail side was doing great, so we decided on [expanding] that; the issue became growing the apparel. We tried out [the spa side] like any store with our customers and thought we’d see how she’d respond, so we thought, ‘how do we grow?’ Because expanding in size wasn’t an option.

What is your general price range?
Fifty to one hundred dollars—that’s perfect for us. Just because of our experience in the market, there are these small companies that have great stuff for one hundred dollars instead of two hundred dollars. And [those brands have] a better value ratio for what you’re getting for the money.

What are your best selling brands?
In swimwear the most news worthy brands are probably LSpace and Ella Moss. LSpace has been getting a ton of press. I think because of that it’s been generating a lot of customer buzz. I get a lot of calls from customers asking if we have it. Ella Moss is a hot brand right now, she just launched swim, and we have the exclusive on it in town right now.
Once we got the reputation that we had a nice assortment of swimwear we had people coming in during Christmas asking if we had any swimwear, so we decided we should carry it year-round. Obviously in the spring the selection gets really big.
For sportswear, popular brands include Maxx Studio and we just introduced Ben Sherman from London, which is cool.
In denim LTB is an Eastern European brand. We’ve scaled back on the denim brands because the denim market has gotten soft nationally and locally. There has been a growing resistance in price to denim. When we first opened the store our philosophy was always to have a good, better, best assortment as far as customers go. There are a lot of cute things out there under one hundred dollars instead of under two hundred dollars. LTB is right around one hundred dollars, and over the years we’ve carried 1921 and Raven, and some other brands but LTB is always the winner. The customer loves the fact that it’s one hundred dollars. LTB is still relatively unknown in the U.S. but they are gaining notoriety. The market is looking for a better price point.

Who is your customer?
Our core customer is the young-minded woman and feminine. When contemporary got so big these last few years, style started to cross all boundaries, as far as age goes. With Sex and the City, we’ve seen everybody get a little hipper. Obviously we do have a tremendous amount of college traffic but we have a lot of downtown traffic, too. We do a lot of tourist business in the summer. But it’s gotten to the point where I get the young professional twenty-something and then I get the forty-something mom, and then they share a dressing room and they trade stuff back and forth—and they leave with a big bag of stuff!
Our store is more playful and feminine on purpose. We always said fun was going to be a big part of equation.

What trends will the store be carrying this spring?
Ruffles, tops with tiers and layers, lace and crochet. Everything is very feminine—which plays right into what we do.
The other thing is the maxidress—the maxidress is great. It’s hippie chic; the bohemian thing. We’ll have maxidresses in everything from casual tie-dye jersey versions to dressier silk versions. You have to wear it with a sandal. We’re a big flip-flop store and we’re becoming a Havaianas destination, because you can’t wear a heel with that look.
We’re also known for trenches. We have a spring trenchcoat which we carry from a brand called Tulle; they do great coats. We also have them by Ben Sherman, and a couple of other brands—bright, shorter trenchcoats.
You see a customers walk in wearing a trench with rain boots, and it’s just a great look.
The other trend that’s going to continue from an accessory perspective is scarves. We have so many different styles of scarves in linen, chiffon, silk—all summer-weight scarves. We’ve wrapped all of the poles in the store with the scarves. That trend is definitely going strong. You can wear it at night, but also take it and wrap it as a pareo or as a wrap. It’s a great way to add a little color.

Is it difficult as a guy owning, doing the buying and working in a women’s store?
I was with Union Bay as the senior design director, so I’ve been a designer my whole life. Whether you’re on the men’s side (which I’ve been on) or the women’s side, quite frankly, you work with women almost four to one throughout your career. So personally speaking, women’s wear is two things: it’s more exciting and it’s more trend-driven.
With menswear, right, wrong or indifferent, it’s gotten more classic in the last ten years. And that is what I wear, but women’s wear is more challenging, fun, exciting—and I just enjoy it more.
Women’s wear is a bigger part of the industry. Guys don’t spend as much money on clothes. They spend their money on girls! It’s simplistic, but that’s the way it is! Girls are willing to take more risks, more confident and there are more choices.

What’s changed in the retail industry since you started?
I’ve been in the business for twenty-six years. Anytime we go through an economic downturn two things usually happen. The customer becomes more price-sensitive, which is obvious, but at the same time, the customer also looks for something special. It’s not just about price. You can offer them something new and beautiful that’s just a “wow” dress.
Overall I’m sure every retailer you talk to in America will tell you there’s price sensitivity. As a specialty retailer with a stand-alone shop you have to offer something that’s special. Department stores and mall stores have gotten so price-competitive and they battle each other for price. If your store is in a field with the same stuff those places have, you can’t compete. You have to work harder to sell special products, brands and cute stuff you can’t find anywhere else. What I look for are small brands that have a good value ratio that makes sense. Just because it’s cute you can’t demand $350 for it.

What’s the best thing about being a small business owner?
Two things: the relationships with customers. When you’re in corporate like I was, you don’t really get to interact with your customer. You’re in your office every day, creating a product, and once the product is done you’re on to the next season. You’re always designing for the next season.
The other thing is the freedom. You can make those decisions; design and execute your vision and see it all the way through.
Oh, and the store is so colorful, fun and bright right now. I walked around the mall and the other shopping areas in the city and felt like no one else was even close to us in that regard. You can shake off that cabin fever if you walk in the store right now—it’s so fun!

Up, 619 State St. 256-7777.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Frostiball Pics!

What is there to say about Frostiball? In short, lots of fun, and for me, the fashion is the most important part!
Because of our “mid-sized Midwestern city” status, we’re not known for being the most adventurous city in fashion. This was no more obvious at Frostiball, where I was surprised to see the sheer amount of black cocktail dresses and long gowns that were worn! The group I attended with shrugged off the confines of black—we were a colorful bunch. As you can see in the photo we wore blue(s), red, pink and white!

My theory is as such: Although black is a standard cocktail party-frock color, I think that some people pulled out their older or previously worn dresses and wore those again. With the economic downturn (aren’t you sick of that phrase yet??) my feeling is that spending money on a new fancy dress might not have been in the budget. Hey, it doesn’t hurt to be thrifty!

The standouts I saw: a few red dresses here and there, some pretty blue gowns and a forest green cocktail dress. One gal accessorized her classy white dress with red accessories—love, love, love that. I posted images of some of these standout dresses I refer to, namely the woman in red and blue, and the lovely white dress/red shoe combo. (photo credits and names below).

I accessorized my hot-pink silk gown with turquoise chandelier earrings and chunky turquoise cocktail ring ☺ because well, I always have to stand out. Or, as a certain person in my life always points out, I frequently tend to wear two bright colors together, like a yellow shirt and blue shoes (trust me, it doesn’t look weird). He doesn’t understand that—why they don’t perfectly match—but I figure life’s too short to play it safe with clothing and match exactly all of the time. Pick up any major fashion mag or peruse a style website and you’ll see that pairing color combos is trend-right.

What I propose for next year’s Frostiball: let’s all take a little risk and don some color!

Top photo courtesy of Tiffany Thom. Second from top photo by Kris Ugarriza. Rest of photos by Adriana Gross.
Photo credits start from top; all people left to right:

1. Sarah Andler, Tiffany Thom, Shayna Miller and Katie Vaughn
2. Shayna Miller, Katie Vaughn and Nazia Husain
3. Steve and Laurel Brown
4. Anna Thiel
5. Katie Vaughn, Connie Lanter and Peggy Howard Moore
6. Bob and Toya Ablove, Milanie Cleere and Jason Oliver
7. Randy and Kate Whitson
8. Elizabeth Wewerka
9. Melissa Fellows
10. Sarah Andler and Grant Frautschi

Your Wear-Everything Piece

I subscribe to, a website and email newsletter that offers shoppers tempting deals on brands from Gucci and Missoni to smaller indie handbag, jewelry and clothing lines. The other day I spied a deal on Leigh and Luca scarves. Leigh and Luca are Australian-born entrepreneur Gillian Leigh and European designer Susann Luca, and their scarves are hand-woven on antique looms and made out of silks, cottons and cashmeres.

But you don’t have to go through a website to buy them (ideeli is invitation-only and their sales are limited-time) Leigh and Luca is sold locally, believe it or not, at Gatherings on Regent Street. Owner Terry Hoard sells the exquisite purple/orange flocked cotton scarf shown in the image. It’s no doubt a statement piece and you’d be able to wear it year-round. It retails for $165.

Gatherings, 2134 Regent St. 236-9497.

My Buy of the Week

I heart the Marc by Marc Jacobs store in Bucktown. It’s got a nice range of price points (everything from $5 jewelry up to thousand-dollar handbags) and carries urban, yet feminine looks (they carry men’s items, too). Items that can be mixed and matched, like a sequined zip-up paired with this spring’s drapey, deconstructed pants, or a cute ruffled top paired with skinny jeans and heels. I could build a whole dream wardrobe out of pieces by Marc by Marc Jacobs (locally, Marc by Marc Jacobs is sold on, FYI).

Don’t get me started on the handbags: my current handbag is a quilted raspberry oversize pocketbook style that looks eerily similar to his quilted “Bonnie” in fuchsia (that retails for $1,300). Oh, Marc, can’t you make your handbags more affordable than $1,300?! His current crop of spring handbags ring in at (um, a bit more) affordable ($400+) and are patent leather satchels and hobos in sunny yellow, beautiful navy and cool gray.

Since I’m not holding my breath that I’m going to win the lottery or a cash prize of any sort soon, I settled on some cheap and chic bangles ($5 apiece! see image) from Mr. Jacobs on my store visit. They’re perfect for this spring’s rocker glam look that’s still en vogue. I also snagged a cute silver necklace with a key charm.

Now if I just could’ve picked up that gold clutch dotted with pyramid studs I would’ve really been rocking … alas, another time!

Marc by Marc Jacobs, 1714 N. Damen Ave. 773-276-2998.


The Moxie Stimulus Package
When: Through February 14
Where: Lady Moxie, 6706 Odana Rd.
Details: “Old-fashioned retail therapy with a side of luxe pampering” is how owner Elizabeth Wewerka describes it. Lady Moxie will give the first three shoppers who spend $100 or more at the store a gift certificate for a free one-hour massage.
More info: 826-4268

Free treats and refreshments
When: February 14
Where: Three Orange Doors, 2789 Fitchrona Rd.
Details: Well…free treats and refreshments, of course! See new pendants and jewelry for Valentine’s Day as well as mercury glass votives and soy candles. New spring and Easter décor has arrived, too.
More info: 848-3336

Valentine’s Day at AttiKISS
When: February 14
Where: Atticus, 18 N. Carroll
Details: With every purchase customers get to draw out of Cupid’s candy bowl for a chance to win prizes and discounts.
More info: 204-9001.

Fashion Fridays: Stylista Runway Show
When: February 20
Where: The Cardinal Bar, 418 E. Wilson St.
Details: “Four teams of indie fashion, makeup and hair stylists will show collections that inspire creative ways of looking fabulous on a budget,” per the show’s PR flyer. If you liked October’s installment of Fashion Fridays: London Calling, then you’ll most likely be interested in this show, too.
More info:

VIVO store opening
When: March 2
Where: 702 N. Midvale Blvd.
Details: Do you remember Studio Snaidero located in Portofino Place? They’ve changed their name and location! President Todd Huschka told me this transition has been in the works for a while. VIVO LLC is now the parent company of Studio Snaidero Wisconsin. The new location will showcase Snaidero kitchens and over seventy different luxury home product lines.
More info: 662-0448.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Madison Magazine on J LaMore's blog

Check out all of these fun blog posts on photos taken at J LaMore ... Mad Mag is mentioned and so is my blog!

Sarah Botham/Ryann Petit-Frere mention

Ryann Petit-Frere photos

Sarah Botham photos

Shop for Valentine's Day!

MMoCA Museum Store Jewelry Sale
When: Through February
Where: Madison Museum of Contemporary Art Store, 227 State St.
Details: Take fifteen percent off on jewelry throughout February. Treat yourself—or, ahem—nudge someone you love to something you'd love to get :)
More information: 257-3222.

Be My Baby Sale
When: Feb 7 (10a–4p) and Feb 8 (11a–3p)
Where: The Bohemian Bauble, 404 W. Lakeside St.
Details: The entire shop is fifteen percent off and gift wrapping is free.
More information: 333-BOHO.

Share the Love Sale
When: February 12, 5–9p
Where: Bunky's Café, 2827 Atwood Ave.
Details: A night of local shopping. Check out goods from: Absolutely Art, Cha Cha Tea, Cocobelle Jewelry Designs, Dolci Italian-American Sweets, Herb & Oyster Handcrafted Soaps, Pamplemousse Preserves and TerraSource Gourmet Chocolates (yum!).
More information: Josie Pradella, 221-0588 or or