What seems like many moons ago, I started my first company, Charm Ecole (a collection of vintage couture). Of course at 25 I wasn’t so sure as to how to do this. But, I was determined to teach myself along the way and failures became great lessons that I would use and implement in my future projects. Blessed to have the opportunity to study at amazing schools like Istituto Marangoni, FIDM, and Parsons, I had a pretty extensive knowledge of designers, past and present. Having such knowledge and understanding fabrics and draping helped me navigate through endless Estate Sales, Goodwills, Benefit Shops; you name it, I searched for designer, vintage pieces there.
I am still frequently asked how I find these coveted pieces and while patience is a large part of it, there are a few tips and tricks when it comes to shopping for vintage:
1. Know Your “Vintage Size”: Throughout the years, we have seen sizing change; essentially making us women feel like we’ve grown and sizes haven’t gotten smaller. A vintage size 10 can easily fit a size 6 in today’s sizing. Also don’t forget that anything can be altered so check for seam allowance if the piece is too small.
2. Do A Detailed Inspection: This to me is obvious, but it is imperative to look at your piece specifically looking for stains and holes that can not be fixed. There is nothing worst than coming home with something you can not wear.
3. Know Labels To Look For: If you don’t know too many past designers, I suggest giving yourself a quick history lessons. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve purchased a vintage Correges for example, not in my size, but to sell on eBay for a pretty nice profit.
4. Check The Label: If you are specifically looking for designer pieces, check the label to make sure the label has not been resewn on. For bags, every designer bag will have some sort of ID number.
5. Know your Era: Once you have found your pieces and are looking for ways to style them, try not to wear too many pieces from the same era. Unless you intend on looking like you are stepping out of a movie set. Mixing and matching of eras will actually give you an updated, current look. I found this white 1920’s slip at a vintage show in San Francisco. I love using vintage slips as a cover up during the summer. Belted and accessorized with bohemian jewelry, I paired my dress with a vest from the 70’s giving me an updated festival look for a day at the beach yesterday. Of course today, the fog is back. I am hoping for warm weather in Sausalito the next couple days for my shoot with Klozet.
Stripes are not just to express your love for anything nautical or Persian anymore. I have spotted the mixing of stripes on some of my favorite street starlets mixing this pattern for a mesmerizing look. It’s definitely bold and a statement that you are making when you mix two completely different stripes, but I find that if there is ever a time to be adventurous with your wardrobe it’s during the summertime and on a Friday! While looking through my striped pieces this morning I choose a comfortable jersey dress with beautiful draping and a vintage sweater to create my look.
I’m sure most of you are actually experiencing summer weather; as I have mentioned many, many times in the last few weeks, the fog has decided to hug the West Coast of California for what seems like moths now. Meaning, you would be insane to leave your bungalow without a sweater. Not to fret, for your resort wear you can easily accomplish this look with opposing stripes in lighter materials. I think they key is to have one color in your stripes that ties both pieces together. Here are some pictures for inspiration to help you bring out the bold stripes in your wardrobe:
Dress: S-Twelve | Sweater: A Milano | Wrap: Burberry | Short Necklace & Earings: vintage from India | Long Necklace: Pacific Gypsea | Clutch: Vintage Balmain | Sandals: Sam Edelman
These California winter days do have me wishing I was in Bali, or any other tropical location where the sand is warm and the ocean like a bath of magical healing water, for that matter. But, this post is not about my wanderlust spirit but about the graphic tee/ tank. While most do choose their tanks and tees to spread a message or represent a brand and not neceserally to pair it with pieces to create a look, the graphic tee/ tank has been around as a style statement before the current athleauire trend even hit the streets. This trend dates all the way back to the seventies, when pairing a graphic tee or tank with skinny flared striped bellbottoms or a tuxedo was the epitome of rock and roll chic. So besides displaying messages that make me smile, or feel a bit naughty perhaps, style wise, it has become a solution to breaking up dressier pieces and giving them a new day purpose. Layered with lots of jewelry, like a true Indian girl and paired with my favorite chunky knit, I was able to stay somewhat warm during my day braving the Camifornia June gloom. Perhaps this weekend rather than going out in your normal day attire, wear one of your graphic tees or tanks and try mixing it with an elegaant piece in your closet. Be playful, it is summer after all, even if the weather is saying otherwise.
Skirt: Joanna Mastroianni | Tank: Forever21 | Belt: Lara Bernasconi | Jewelry: mix of Pacific Gypsea & vintage Indian pieces | Boots: Chloe | Purse: vintage Finesse, La Model |. Sweater: Peter Som
Most of my weekends tend to be about comfort as part of owning a business means working 7 days a week (and with my back as I’ve mentioned many times now) I tend to live in cashmere sweaters and joggers. While I did do a fair amount of work, this last weekend was a bit more “wild” than normal with an impromptu party on my stoop, which has been named “Le Stoop”, a lovely date, and a very disappointing and emotional soccer match. With a weekend like that it was safe to say I woke up wanting not just the comfort of clothing but comfort food as well.
I am asked quite frequently what my favorite Indian restaurant is, which was always so impossible to answer as I was spoiled with a Mom who cooked like an Indian chef. But, since her passing, I do seek out Indian restaurants more than I used to as it is definitely one of my versions of comfort food. So of course, after a busy morning as we are uploading new products to the Pacific Gypsea website, my business partner and I thought it best to have a much needed Lychee Martini lunch at Ambrosia India Bistro. How could we not pick a restaurant whose name, in Hindi, translates to the food and drink of the Gods in Hindu mythology?
Outfitted in a very comfy pair of silk pants and a vest to hide the amount of food I was prepared to consume from the buffet, my Monday thankfully turned out to not just be about the comfort of my clothing but comfort of food as well. Which growing up in my household was very important and remains that way.
Ambrosia was everything I could have asked for out of an Indian restaurant; for a moment I felt like I could walk past the green gates of their outdoor garden/ eating area and I would be dodging scooters and rickshaws in Bombay after my meal. Every bit as traditional as most Indian restaurants but with a unique ambiance, I would recommend this restaurants location to anyone looking to spice up their palates while on the Central Coast of California. The pictures above are mixed with pictures from my last trip to India as my after lunch siesta had me dreaming about going to my mother’s land.
Ambrosia India Bistro | 565 Abrego Street | Monterey California
Pants: Marabelle | Top: M Missoni | Vest: Diane Von Furstenberg | Necklaces: Pacific Gypsea | Belt: Linea Pelle | Earrings: from Argentina | Sandals: Sam Edelman
When I was younger every summer as my friends packed their trunks for Camp Kennolyn, I was usually packing to go to India, Argentina, or some far off land. Even though I hadn’t had the normal/ traditional camp experiences that most pre teen & teenagers were going experiencing, my attire for my families summer adventures typically did involve some of the classic pieces one would take to camp: a chunky knit, a bikini, denim cut offs, a flannel shirt (it being the 90’s), and what I like to refer to as the camp shoe. While there have been many styles of this shoe that have been stacked in their boxes in my closets over the years, this particular pair comes from the collection of vintage Ferragamo shoes my Grandmother has passed down to me over the years. With my back being the way it is these days and literally not being able to wear stilettos, footwear has been quite the style challenge even for moi, and this despite trends like athleisure. The camp shoe while having a slight stacked heel, is still comfortable and there is also just something I love about mixing a rugged piece with something feminine, like my tiered skirt. I am actually waiting for my knit camel pencil skirt to come back from my seamstress so I can pair that with these perfect, brown, suede camp shoes. This summer I have a feeling I will be channeling my inner traveler and pull out my pieces that take me back to adventurous far lands. “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one…”
Sweater: Salvatore Ferragamo | Blouse: Tocca | Skirt: Zadzig-Et-Voltaire | Necklace: Pacific Gypsea | Bracelets: Mix of silver bangles & Pacific Gypsea | Bag: Lambertson Truex | Shoes: Vintage Ferragamo
Truth be told this blog post is not actually about my leather tennies that I have blogged about before, or the lovely (in an extremely sarcastic tone) shades of purple, green, black & black my body sustained from the accident; despite what the title implies, this post is actually about the sweatshirt dress. I was never really one to wear my sweatpants out to class in my teens or twenties. Even in my thirties I have tried to avoid making appearances to the grocery store or out running any errand in them. However, thanks to the athleisure trend I have so happily embraced, the sweatshirt dress is another shape I was very excited to add to my weekend wardrobe. And like any piece of clothing, you can find this shape at any price point, the difference will usually be in the feel of the fabric and the fit; That being said, never be afraid to embrace less expensive brands, ever! I opted for an edgier sweatshirt dress with perfectly placed cut outs at the shoulders and a fit that is not too tight and not too loose from Forever21. I also tend to lean towards neutrals when picking out my leisure wear as it gives a bit more options, I feel, to be playful with your accessories and look depending on your mood. As summer is here and many of your are looking for last minute pieces to travel in or pack up in your suitcases, I think the sweatshirt dress is a must have for your wardrobe. Even just paired with espadrilles over your swimwear… I literally can’t stop thinking of the options!
Dress: Forever21 | Sneakers: Belle by Sigerson Morrison | Beaded Necklace: Pacific Gypsea | Silver Necklace: from a trip to Norway | Cuff: Forever21 | Hat: Eugenia Kim
To say the past couple days have been traumatic is an understatement. After what was a beautiful stay at my Dad’s ranch, on my way home to my bungalow by the beach, I was involved in a hit and run while stopped at a red light. As I saw the large white van in my rear view mirror coming at me way too fast to slow down (honestly) the first thought in my mind was that I have been working so hard to heal and bare the pain of a current injury, how was I going to deal with more pain??? Well, that and to put my arms up to protect my head from hitting the dash. As I slammed into the SUV in front of me I realized then that I was being hit again as the guy was fleeing the scene. This has definitely been an intense month with success in my work life; but this hit and run was pretty similar to my last relationship with the X Mr. Maharaja and a not so healthy breakup last month.
Laying in bed the past couple days, trying to recover from the accident and doing whatever I can to keep my mind of the pain has actually allowed me to stop and reflect and make a solid plan moving forward with the amazing growth we are happily seeing with Pacific Gypsea; and of course, in times like this I feel blessed for my friends and family who show me tremendous love and support, as everyone needs that in a time of trauma.
As I’m looking through pictures that were intended for blog posts of country air, shotguns, and warm evening walks, I am at least thankful that I am here (even if it is in bed) writing a post.
I packed my country essentials for the trip last week: my riding boots from Argentina, cut offs, vests, and a hat. These simple basics can add endless options and a light packing list; which if you’re anything like me, you will need as I have a tendency to find treasures to bring home with me. Little does the guy who hit me know, he hit a trunk full of steel parts for tractors and other farm equipment. I’d like to believe the damage done to his front end and the evidence police collected were in part because of the treasures I collected. But back to fashion, the truth is, in the country you are going to get dirty and tall boots help while exploring certain terrain. Vests easily transform a long jersey dress into a bit more stylish evening look when headed into town for dinner. And the cut offs, I think that’s a pretty fashion obvious if you are anywhere near farm animals. Points being, your country attire should rarely resemble anything you would wear in the city but actual comfort and sensibility with the perfect touch of personal style.
Vest: Diane Von Furstenberg | Top: Forever21 | Necklaces: Pacific Gypsea | Belt: Ralph Lauren | Cut Offs: Citizens of Humanity | Boots: Arandu Argentina