December 30, 2009

new year's inspiration from coco+kelley

I wish I could wear this outfit for New Year’s Eve tomorrow. A few months ago I told my friend and fellow fashion lover, Jamie Lee, that I was going to start a blog. She sent me to and it has since become one of my daily hits. Cassandra Lavalle is an interior design and fashion blogger based in Seattle and she posted the above ensemble back in October as her dream birthday outfit.

If you have yet to plan your NYE outfit, I suggest you pull out your favorite party dress (don’t worry if your friends have already seen it a few times, if you feel great in it that’s all that matters) and make a run to H&M, Forever 21, or Urban Outfitters for some festive accessories to refresh the dress or add some sparkle. Of course the stores will be packed, but at least you’ll be able to skip the dressing room line.

December 28, 2009

Cartier and America

photo: Nick Welsh/ Cartier Collection

If you have any suspicion that your boyfriend might be proposing to you sometime in the near future, you probably shouldn’t go see the Cartier exhibit at the Legion of Honor. After spending an hour marveling at the thousands of carats of gems adorning some of the most jaw-dropping jewelry ever created, you’ll be disappointed by anything smaller than the Hope Diamond.

The exhibit is extensive, as it should be for the $20 admission fee. It spans a century of Cartier’s legacy here in America and features a large collection of the famed Mystery Clocks in addition to the jewelry. I went today with my family and afterward my sister Maggie noted that eventually you become desensitized during the journey through the glass cases—the diamonds seem to lose some of their brilliance once you’ve reached the halfway point. I didn’t think it was possible, but it seems one can have too much bling.

Cartier and America is open now through April 18th.

photo: Nick Welsh / Cartier Collection

December 25, 2009

merry christmas

Today I’m curling up in the living room at my parents’ house with a book my mom gave me for Christmas, Who What Wear, written by the editors of the fashion blog with the same name. The blog is one of my faves and the premise of the book is incorporating celebrity and runway style into your real life wardrobe. If you enjoy my blog, chances are you’ll like this book too. Merry Christmas!

December 23, 2009

luxe wish list

If money were no object, I’d be asking Santa for these gifts under the tree. Instead I’m crossing my fingers that they’ll miraculously show up on Gilt Groupe for 90% off.

I saw this 3.1 Philip Lim printed silk dress at Barney’s and instantly fell in love. The gold rivets that start at the shoulders and dot the side seams are hard to see in the photo but they really make the dress.

These Pierre Hardy paillette sandals + the perfect LBD + some sparkly rhinestone jewelry= a knockout New Year’s Even ensemble.

A multicolored quilted handbag by Marc Jacobs has been on my dream wish list for a while now. They are unique enough to stand out in a crowd but versatile enough for everyday wear. I love the smaller crossbody styles, but this large Nickey hobo is so classy and timeless.

Lisa Salzer of Lulu Frost found fame after designing a line of jewelry using the former room numbers from the Plaza Hotel. Her latest collections feature more vintage elements and lots of layers.

December 21, 2009

Marissa del Rosario Handbags

Marissa del Rosario is a line of handbags by Marissa Gomes from San Jose who doubles as a nurse and a designer. Her latest collection features soft leather carry-all hobos and hip crossbody bags accented with exposed zippers. They’re so new they aren’t yet available for purchase on the website so email Marissa if you’re interested:

December 17, 2009

winter wear: driving gloves

I really want a pair of cropped driving gloves. I love them in rich colored leathers or black with rocker studs. I like the ladylike look of showing a little wrist. Luckily gloves can be more of a fashion statement than a necessity here in SF. These Warm Burgundy cashmere-lined leather gloves from J.Crew also come in colors like Yam, Ripe Avocado, Deep Violet, and Glazed Hazelnut.

Banana Republic Leather Driving Gloves in Irish Green

Miu Miu Cropped Leather Gloves

December 16, 2009

mission vintage: bianca starr

The Mission is home to many great vintage clothing shops, the newest being the month-old Bianca Starr on 20th between Lexington and San Carlos. I went last weekend and found the selection affordable and diverse. Many of the pieces are from the 70s and 80s but more current consignment items like Tom Ford sunglasses and Gucci handbags are also in the mix. DJs spin on the weekends and you can sip champagne while you shop on Sunday mornings. I especially like that there’s no thrift store smell when you walk in—everything is repaired and dry-cleaned prior to display.

December 15, 2009

winter wear: coats

As the winter chill has crept its way into San Francisco over the last few weeks, I’ve already found myself getting sick of my basic black wool coat. Here are some styles that will keep your winter wardrobe interesting while remaining staples for years to come.

I love this houndstooth coat from Anthropologie. The pattern is stylish and gray is a nice alternative to black.

If you just can’t let go of black’s practicality but still want something different, look for a unique accent, like the ruffles on this Wool Ruffle-front Coat from J.Crew. I highly recommend their coats—great quality and enduring styles. Look for ones with thinsulate lining for extra warmth.

A couple of years ago my mom made me an awesome houndstooth cape for Christmas and I still love it. Many designers like Burberry and Derek Lam showed capes in their fall lines. I wear mine with skinny pants or a pencil skirt to balance out the voluminous top. If you’re not lucky enough to have a mom who also occasionally doubles as a seamstress, try this Aubin & Wills Bankfield wool cape. I’ve also seen some cute ones at Club Monaco and Anthropologie.

Teal is a good option if you want to add some versatile color—it looks great with both black and brown. This Marc New York Double Breasted BouclĂ© Coat also comes in a pretty eggplant color.

There’s no doubt that a long down coat is one of the warmest articles of clothing out there, but the reality is they aren’t always flattering, especially on curvy women. If you’re concerned you might look like the Michelin Man, go for down coats with belts or cinched waists. Burberry Taffeta Down Jacket.

December 14, 2009

this weekend: renegade craft fair

This weekend I’ll be going to the Renegade Craft Fair for the first time, but anyone who has ever been has told me it’s not to be missed. Renegade started in 2003 and is now an annual show in Chicago, Los Angeles, Brooklyn, and San Francisco. 150 DIY crafters from across the country travel to the events. Can’t make it? Here’s a sampling of the artists’ goods available at the organization’s online shop, Renegade Handmade.

Birds in Flight, women’s tunic: Pinecone + Chickadee

QR Coding woven scarf: Loomlab

Twig Necklace: Twigs and Heather

Denim Heart Purse: Pat & Cake

juleselin organics

I met Novato based designer Julie Burnbaum of Juleselin Organics at Appel and Frank last week. Her line of organic fabric coats is her signature style (see below) but I especially like the Jenny Dress (above). I love dresses like this that you can wear during any season: it works with a colorful belt and sandals in the spring or pair with tights and layer a long sleeve tee underneath for winter. Buy Juleselin at or at Eco Citizen on Vallejo at Polk.

The Elin Coat

The Soley Jacket

December 11, 2009

tonight: mission holiday block party

Check out the Mission Holiday Block Party tonight for music, food, drinks, and late night shopping. Participating merchants include Bianca Starr, Candystore Collective, Dema, and Belljar. Find event details at Get Local SF.

December 10, 2009

local gift guide: jewelry

Jewelry is my go-to gift when I’m looking for something unique for my mom, sisters, and friends. I feel especially compelled to shop local this season after reading this in a New York Times Style Magazine article on holiday shopping: “Stores overcrowded and chaotic? Leave. Consider places that are dying for your business, dying without your business; patronize mom and pop shops. Your target gift has sold out? It’s overpriced? Cross it off the list - regroup.”

Molly M Designs, Mabel Chong, and Joy O Designs are three local designers whose jewelry will make special, memorable gifts.

Molly M Designs

Molly McGrath is an architect who found that laser cutters have potential beyond architectural models. Molly transforms AutoCAD renderings into laser cut earrings, pendants, and prints. Each style comes in a variety of sizes and many pieces are made from sustainable materials. The photos above are part Molly’s Botanicals collection. You can buy Molly M Designs at or at stores like Doe on Haight, Lavish on Hayes, Picnic on Polk, and Wink SF on 24th St. in Noe Valley.

“Drops 2” from Molly M’s new Layers collection.

Mabel Chong

I stumbled upon Mabel Chong’s shop at Church and 25th a few months ago and immediately fell for her delicate gold necklaces. Mabel’s jewelry is classic yet modern and she will tailor some pieces to your preference (I asked her to put a light blue stone on the necklace above and extend the chain a few inches). Bring a canned food item to the store by this Friday and receive 10% off your purchase. Watch out for the limited hours though: Thu-Sun, 2-6pm. You can also shop online at

Joy O Designs

Joy Opfer’s flagship store, Studio 3579 at 18th and Dolores, is just two blocks from my house so I often find myself admiring her jewelry while waiting in line for Bi-Rite ice cream. Not only is she a hit with the locals, celebrities like Anne Hathaway and Cameron Diaz have been spotted wearing Joy O’s hammered hoops and simple thin cuffs. The necklace above is from her new sustainable line, Kyler, which is all handmade from recycled and recyclable materials.

December 9, 2009

winter wear: camper boots

If you have never tried on a pair of Camper Shoes, go down to the store on Grant Ave. asap. I’ve admired this Spanish shoe company since I studied abroad in Madrid where I purchased a pair of slightly mismatched wedge sandals from the Twins collection. Their line is always fashion forward, unique, well worth the money, and very comfortable. Yes, even the heels.




December 8, 2009

local gift guide: for men

I just found my new favorite men’s clothing store in San Francisco. UNIONMADE on Sanchez at 18th opened three weeks ago and I’ll definitely be buying a few Christmas presents there over the next few weeks. The style of the store is Americana, which seems to fall where hot, rugged lumberjack meets urban hip. It features a large selection of high quality, casual men’s clothing: knits, wool jackets, t-shirts, leather goods, scarves, ties, and denim. I asked my stylish roommate, Liam, to pick out a few items at UNIONMADE that he’d put on his wish list.

Liam especially liked this navy merino wool cardigan by Danish designer SNS Herning.

Also on Liam’s list was the red selvedge chambray tie (above middle) from The Hill-side.  At left are lightweight scarves and handkerchiefs are on the right.

My boyfriend might get one of these soft yet masculine scarves for Christmas, mostly so I can borrow it.

Button downs, t-shirts, and sweatshirts

Leather goods from Il Bisonte

Filson luggage made in Seattle

December 7, 2009

winter wear: party dresses

Dresses might just be my favorite article of clothing. Lately I’ve been wearing them to work a lot because they’re so easy to throw on in the morning with a pair of tights instead of picking out multiple pieces for an outfit. I especially like party dresses and there are plenty of excuses to wear them this season. In the next two weeks I have two office holiday parties to attend so I’ve been looking at cocktail dresses and thinking about ways to accessorize them. If your dress happens to be online, take note of how the store styled it for inspiration.

I saw this dress over the weekend at House of Hengst on Valencia at 20th. It’s well priced at $184 and it also comes in equally saturated pink and purple. The draping is really flattering and the solid color allows you to play with fun accessories. Wear it with a long pendant necklace or dangly earrings and a sexy pair of heels.  Susan Hengst is a local designer whose fall collection was inspired by Mata Hari, the exotic dancer and courtesan who was executed for espionage during World War I. She shows the film adaptation at the boutique every evening starting around 7pm.

I always have luck at Bloomingdale’s when I’m looking for party dresses and they have a great selection if you’re pressed for time (not to mention good sales). Below are some of my favorites with ideas for how to style them.

One Shoulder Metallic Print Dress: Aidan Mattox. One shoulder dresses are very popular right now and they look great on all different body types. I think they look best with fun earrings and lots of bracelets.

Sweetheart Gold Dress: DKNY. Reese Witherspoon wore this dress on the cover of last month’s In Style Magazine with a multiple gold chain necklaces at the collar bone, a fitted black blazer with the sleeves rolled up, and red nail polish.

Fleur Fern Dress: Tibi. Flutter sleeves are a nice alternative to strapless. Dresses with these kind of details don’t need many accessories.

Organza Dress with Overlay: Jill Stuart. Silver accessories go best with the purple grey in the dress so try a few chain bracelets and rhinestone earrings.

Marina Silk Dress: Catherine Malandrino. This boat neck is perfect for a long but simple necklace that hits at the chest.