As some of you know, the Bellas is a small group that meets once a month. In case you don’t know who they are, let me introduce you. There’s Bella Marj who lives in Contra Costa County and has red hair. There’s Bella Lynn who’s grown her hair out to its natural silver gray color (Marj and I LOVE it!) and she lives in Marin County. And then there’s me and I live in Sonoma County. We’re all image consultants and fashion lovers.
We had such a great time together this month; I just wanted to share highlights with you. I’ll bring you some of the beautiful things we saw, the fashion item that got our closer look (and the one we all went home with!) and some store decorations that might inspire you at home.
Ladies who lunch and talk about fashion
We met on Sunday at Marj’s house, exchanged gifts and then went to Il Fornio for a leisurely lunch. During our lunch we talked about all things fashion and then some. I was interested in their fashion hits and misses for the year. Ankle boots came up as hits. Marj and Lynn feel they’ve become so versatile and add style while still being comfortable. The lower cut booties don’t visually cut the leg. They hug the ankle more and don’t gape like earlier versions did.
Misses included expensive handbags that don’t have design elements that will give the bag longevity like feet at the bottom of the bag so you can set it down and it won’t touch the ground directly.
I brought up a pet peeve of mine which is when you go into a store and experience no hospitality. It even happened two months ago when the Bellas were shoe shopping at Neiman Marcus. Sales people stood around on their iPhones, or you’d see a cluster of sales people talking to one another having what looked like a private, juicy conversation. It’s not a great feeling to get no attention when you walk into a store!
Lynn added perspective. She said, “There used to be people who really knew the merchandise and had product knowledge that they shared freely. Now in most places people working in stores are just cashiers and dressing room cleaners.”
I miss the old days but it made it clear how important professional image consultants are. We’re studying and keeping up with things all the time! We have brand and knowledge and know how to help our clients find the right thing in a sea of possibilities; things that will last. And with that, we went shopping!
Marj introduces us to the new Walnut Creek Anthropologie store
Since we were in Marj’s county, it was up to her to plan the day. She’d told us about the new Anthropologie store and wanted to show it to us. Lynn and I expected we’d be there an hour but it ended up that we spent nearly three leisurely hours there!
I was on the look out for people wearing jeans as I’m working on the jean guide you guys asked for. I spotted Hannah above. She’s wearing skinny jeans tucked into ankle boots.
As image consultants we swooned over the colors she was wearing and how great they repeated her natural coloring. Isn’t she gorgeous?
Handbags at Anthro
I went a little coo coo over these wonderful clutch handbags with grosgrain ribbon and bows. I checked the price: $275. We decided it was best to see if they go on sale.
Paper goods galore
Anthropologie has great paper goods like calendars, cards, stationary, and art prints. I love fashion the most but next to that it’s all about paper goods. I asked for help ordering a calendar that was out of stock. The sales associate, Lynn and I were sharing our love of paper products.
I asked her if she followed Rifle Paper Co. on Instagram. She said, “Yes. Do you follow Anna Bond?” Turns out Anna Rifle Bond is a founder and owner of Rifle Paper Co. I pulled out my phone and started following her. In the pic below, you see her Instagram feed (@annariflebond) on the left. On the right are pics from @riflepaperco.
Decorating ideas at Anthro
Anthropologie has amazing displays. My eye went right to these green glass vases. What a collection!
Here’s one of their table displays. I loved how the vase of wild organic plant life was placed on a small sheepskin rug. It’s all so organic and sensual!
Researching the frayed jean
Because I’m researching jeans for the jean guide I’ve promised you, I couldn’t help but notice tables full of frayed jeans. Now they’ve been around, of course, but until Sunday I hadn’t been interested in them. We were talking to Wendy, a sales associate on the first floor about jeans. She’s around “our age” and she said, “You have to go upstairs and talk to Roz. She knows everything about these jeans.” She insisted “women our age” could wear them so we headed in search of Roz, the expert.
A note: Remember that conversation the Bellas had over lunch about a hospitality drought in stores? It was not in effect at Anthropologie! We were having lively conversations with interested and interesting people who just happened to work there. We were collecting new best friends along with great ideas.
I tracked Roz down. She’s a personal stylist at Anthropologie. She heard my questions about frayed jeans and took us directly to her secret dressing rooms. She brought us all kinds of frayed jeans to try on. It was a jean jam. By the time we left we had all three purchased the same frayed culotte jean by Pilcro. We decided we’d wear our culotte jeans at our next Bella meeting. I can’t wait to see how everyone styles them!
An opportunity to come and play with us next year at Anthropologie
We’d had such a good time with Roz, it was hard to say goodbye! She planted something in our ear. She offered to do a fashion event for the Bellas and anyone who’d like to join us sometime in the New Year. How much fun would that be? Do you want to be on the guest list? We promise to provide the Prosecco and Roz promises to bring the latest fashion ideas. No sales pressure, just fun! I’ll keep you posted!
Katherine CramerDecember 6, 2016 at 1:28 pm
What fun! I’m glad the Bellas found some hospitality in the greater East Bay Area. EB/CC gets some things right! Yet, I know what you mean about Hospitality Deficits. At age 60 and with my grey hair coming in–I sometimes feel invisible while shopping. I have retreated somewhat and shop online in reaction to that unwelcoming experience. Something is missing when shopping from home since in-store shopping offers all those delights that you never expect and really miss. Another parallel is declining bookstore options. Reinventing the shopping experience is the new wave in successful marketing. Inclusivity and adding value/knowledge–is the goal for many shopping and Life threads. All that, takes vision and commitment. I think it is well worth the extra effort and shakes out the successes.
BrendaDecember 6, 2016 at 7:59 pm
I agree with you. What you said about being 60 now is true too. I especially love finding stores that have people are age working there. I’m really curious to see where the retail experience goes in the next couple of years. Everything seems to be in a state of flux! Thanks, Katherine. Also want to mention that there’s a Madeline Albright exhibit of her pins and brooches at the de Young Museum. I’m going to go on December 18th and take the 2:30 docent tour. Anyone want to join me? Like you?
Katherine CramerDecember 7, 2016 at 4:12 pm
I’m honored and I’m in! I just saw your post and switched a concert date to meet up for the Dec. 18th tour. Madeline Albright’s book looks fabulous as is her brooch collection. She must love hearts, fleur de lis, bugs and telling a story with her fashion choices as much as your many of your Readers. Synchronicity! I put together a Beauty Bundle this morning featuring a beloved brooch. Do I reserve ahead with the de Young?
BrendaDecember 11, 2016 at 8:17 pm
Katherine, I ordered tickets online. It’s $15 dollars and gets you into the Legion and the de Young. There is no extra charge for the exhibit. The woman I spoke to said you don’t have to reserve a spot to be on the docent tour. But she said they do limit it to about 15. When you get there, be sure to put your name on the list. I’m going to be there around 2 or 2:15 at the latest. I’m so excited you’re coming! Maybe you could wear that Beauty Bundle!!!
Laurie OstermanDecember 6, 2016 at 7:56 pm
I want to go! Sounds so fun and relaxing! LauriePOP2
BrendaDecember 6, 2016 at 8:00 pm
That would be fun!
ChristineDecember 7, 2016 at 7:35 am
Goodness, I wish I still lived in Napa, I’d love to hang out with you! (I was the Pilates expert at Sonoma Mission Inn 2001-2003 — I loved teaching at all the spas in both valleys)
BrendaDecember 11, 2016 at 8:18 pm
Wow, well that would have been fun!!!