PRESS: Look great, buy less

PRESS: Look great, buy less


Here is Part 2 of our interview with local Marin resident and author of Fashion Dues & Duen’ts: a Stylist’s Guide to Fashionably Embracing Your Baby Bump, Katie Rice Jones. We asked style questions related to dressing your changing body from growing a bump to dressing your post-baby body.

Rachel Schohn of Petite Marin: (Q) I’m a big fan of the Lean Closet Movement as you talk about on your blog. It’s so much easier getting dressed with a few key, well-made pieces. As I’ve been scaling down my own wardrobe, I’m finding myself with cool basics, and old accessories. What should I be wearing to keep my basics current?

KRJ: (A) For those who don’t know the Lean Closet Movement, coined by San Francisco’s lifestyle brand Cuyana, is about paring down the closet so that one is left with only effortlessly stylish pieces that are loved. It’s a pragmatic dressing approach and it’s picking up momentum. While there may be a myriad reasons for its acceptance, I believe the foremost is a planetary one. These days thoughtful people aim to reduce their carbon footprint and buying less, of everything, helps ensure this.

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However my intimate introduction to the movement was not as noble in cause. It came to me by way of my first pregnancy. Maternity wear can be expensive and I didn’t have the funds to wardrobe my burgeoning bump as a fashion stylist would like.

The bigger I grew, the smaller my closet’s options got. Gradually my closet was pared down to only a handful of stylish maternity pieces.

After the birth of my daughter Evelyn, I highly anticipated a triumphant return to my closet plumb full of regular clothes. But once I finally got down to my pre-bump size and could wear the stuff, the return lacked luster. In fact living for 9-plus months with little to wear left me changed…

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Skirting the skin parade

Skirting the skin parade
539f2a6f2544e.imageThe early summer heat beats down on me like an impeding sense of doom. In my world, summertime means pool time and this year I am feeling skinny-fat. I admit my condition (or lack thereof) is a result of sheer laziness. I delayed my summertime “prep” workout until the word prep no longer made any sense as a descriptive. Now I am stuck with an untoned body and two little children who beg me daily to visit the Sleepy Hollow pool.
While I have little intention to hit the gym, nor little choice in avoiding the pool, this summer I have to get big-time creative to skirt my local pool’s skin parade. Luckily for me there has been a swim cover-up explosion. This season local stores are featuring fabulous cover-up options that can be worn in and around the pool, in addition to serving as sun- and ego-protection.  Here are just a few:
Kaftans and tunics
Diaphanous and open-weave kaftans and tunics are all the rage this summer—and look terrific poolside. However they don’t have to be relegated to the pool. In fact many of these throw-overs are chic enough to wear to the poolside restaurant.
Swim skirts and tees
While swim skirts have been mostly worn by retirees and swim tees by children, this year pool moms have assimilated these pieces into their swimwear repertoire. And it’s really no wonder. Swim skirts can create a retro poolside look while discreetly hiding full hips and rump. Tees provide skin protection while elongating and disguising a full midsection.
Sarongs and beach pants
Wet bodies need easy-on cover-ups. This is why women prefer the ease of sarongs and beach pants at the pool. This summer, both come in a multitude of colors, fabrics and designs to match your swimwear.
Sunny skies don’t have to mean gloom and doom for your ego. However if you think these cover-up suggestions still won’t  skirt your pool’s skin parade, you can always just dive in.
Piece originally featured in Pacific Sun 
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The long and short of it…

The long and short of it…

The 20 wintery-summers I spent in San Francisco did not make for a plentiful shorts collection. Yet my disparity of shorts mattered little in a city that frowned upon wearing them (as much as Paris does). Sure, I would occasionally spot a pair of running shorts jog by on the Marina Green or short-shorts on a regretful teenage tourist down at the wharf. However other than instances of exercise or hubris, donning a pair of shorts was as much of a San Francisco novelty as a warm summer night.

In Marin County, CA, that’s not so much the case. A move to San Anselmo (average summer temp. 89 degrees) in mid-July changed things for me in the short department. I had to get serious about how to wear shorts. Luckily for me, the timing was right. Shorts were starting to make a fashion comeback. This summer that comeback will be at its peak. Marin clothing stores will be exploding with shorts of all lengths, styles and fabrications. So to help you sort through which pairs flatter, here are some “short” considerations:

Fancy (short) Pants Adjustable boyfriend Clubbing it
PacSunShortsJC1 PacSunShortsGAP2 PacSunShortJC4
J.CREW-Collection sequin shorts with 3” inseam; Style Notes: The newest take on shorts. Pair with a blazer and heels. GAP1969-destructed sexy boyfriend denim shorts unrolled to 7” inseam; Style Notes: Adjustable inseam make shorts body type versatile. J.CREW-Floral foulard shorts with 3” inseam; Style Notes:Print gives shorts a classic appeal.


Short Consideration #1: Your Leg Shape and Tone – If you have shapely and/or toned legs, almost anything goes short-wise, so why not experiment with a variety of short lengths, styles and fabrications. However for those with less definition, it’s best to stick with short lengths that hit mid-thigh or at the knee to camouflage a lack of muscle tone.

Short Consideration #2: Your Leg Length – Long-legged ladies look great in most lengths. However short-shorts (inseam shorter than 2.5 inches) can be tricky, as little shorts on a tall lady can appear tween-sized. Short-gammed gals should steer clear of crop pants (yes, they are considered shorts), baggy or cuffed, and Bermuda-styled shorts, as they will visually make diminutive legs appear shorter.

Short Consideration #3: Your Age – Balance your short choices with your age. It’s a fine line for middle-aged women—she can appear desperate to look younger in a pair of short-shorts, or just two steps away from the retirement community in a pair of pleated Bermuda shorts. Shorts with a 4-inch inseam are long enough to provide coverage while short enough to still be sexy.

Short Consideration #4: Your Short Size – It’s a little-known fact that sizing-up one size in the short department will make you appear thinner. On the contrary, smaller shorts with an uber-snug waistband will induce a muffin top and make you feel larger.

Short Consideration #5: Your Short Style and Formality – Short styles can range from modern to contemporary to classic to retro to romantic to cultural. Buy and wear pairs that reflect your unique personal style. Likewise, all shorts are not appropriate for all occasions—even if the weather permits. Given this, it isn’t appropriate to wear sequined short-shorts to your company’s softball game, nor cropped yoga pants to dinner at the club.

Originally featured in Pacific Sun

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A tale of designer castaways

A tale of designer castaways

Strolling by a resale shop in a nearby town, I spotted a pair of nude patent leather Christian Louboutin heels (you know, the red-soled shoes) displayed in the window and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to inquire about them. Upon further investigation I discovered the shoes were priced at a mere $50, in my size, and appeared barely worn. Stunned by the magnitude of the find (shoes currently sell for $650), I quickly cashed in on my good fortune and escorted the shoes out the door.

Now I am not chronicling this shopping episode to induce shoe envy (well, maybe just a little), but rather to point out that my experience is likely to be a somewhat routine one at resale shops located in wealthy locales.  People living in these areas tend to donate or consign high levels of status brands which in turn breeds fertile grounds for secondhand shoppers. Even with this kind of potential bounty, frequent resale shoppers, or “dealistas,” still say there is an art to hunting down the best finds. Here are a few insider tips for scoring a fabulous deal:

Make shopping your specialty

School yourself on what selling categories each reseller does best. For instance, one consignment store may have a truly signature shoe and accessories selection while a donation store just down the block has a fabulous assortment of contemporary dresses. Understanding the resellers’ best offerings helps focus your hunt.

Haggle until the price is right

Resellers consider a variety of factors when setting an item’s price, such as its brand name, condition, “vogue-ness,” seasonality and quality. Even so, pricing can be out-of-whack. Good news is, in the resale world things aren’t so darn pretentious. You are invited to haggle down wonky prices.

Be a label snob

From Mossimo to Missoni, there are labels of all status available at most resellers. Don’t waste your time/money on labels you could afford in the firsthand world, as their price savings at resale will be minuscule. Get more value by cashing in on the high-end labels’ massive price cuts.

Make friends (and a few enemies)

Beat out other dealistas by making friends with the sales associates at your favorite resale stores. Ask them if they would kindly put aside the newest, most special items just for your review.

Seek the unexpected

Donation stores such as Goodwill are great places for vintage home decor and hidden gems. When you browse a donation store, look for possible shopping scores in all its nooks and crannies.

Don’t hem and haw

If you see something you like, don’t hem and haw, buy it, otherwise another dealista will. In the resale world, inventory moves lightning fast. Get with the program or you will be left behind.

Don’t cheap out

Many items for resale are affordable, if not cheap, but price alone isn’t a reason to buy. A good deal isn’t a good value unless what you buy makes you feel/look like a million bucks.

Get a “NWT” steal

Dealistas love their “new with tags” (NWT) finds. There is little that feels better than getting a brand-new piece at a cut-rate resale price (and having the evidence to prove your massive savings).

When I was a girl, my mother liked to say, “Somebody’s trash is another’s treasure.” Years later, I find her mantra still holds true, especially when it comes to a pair of next-to-new nude patent leather Christian Louboutin heels.

Originally featured in Pacific Sun

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These boots are made for dinning

These boots are made for dinning

It should really be no surprise to discover that most Marin women have at least seven pairs of boots in the wardrobe. Around here boots are ubiquitous. We wear them with everything and for every season. We have pairs for hiking, pairs for working and pairs for dancing. Our plethora of pairs got me thinking: What makes for an excellent pairing?

When it comes to food and wine, those in the know look for a complementary pairing. In fact, a complementary pairing is sought after with many things and, to my mind, even down to the style of boots you wear to local hangouts. It seems that most Marin women intuitively agree with me on this fashion matter. For example, you won’t find many local women wearing hiking boots at Ross’ upscale Marché Aux Fleurs nor donning patent leather stiletto-heeled boots at Fairfax’s mountain biker haven Gestalt Haus. We know that these boot styles, although appropriate at other hangouts, don’t fit the spirit of the aforementioned eateries.

To make a harmonious boot-hangout pairing the boots’ styling, spirit, material and boot shaft and heel heights should be considered. To that end, I have selected the newest boot looks from San Anselmo’s Junction Shoes ( and paired them with complementary Marin eateries and hangouts.

ParisianBoot JapaneseBoot MotorBoot
San Anselmo’s L’Appart paired with Everybody’s vintage Parisian ankle boot, $190 Sausalito’s Sushi Ran paired with Eric Michael’s retro-modern wedge boot, $170 Larkspur’s Silver Peso paired with Eric Michael’s motorcycle mama calf high boot, $190


Piece originally featured in Pacific Sun

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