My HOLIDAY RECIPES

Shop — Wear — Eat — Drink — Make Merry — Plus Bonuses

Uniquely Gorgeous — Handmade & Vintage — Conscious Commerce Glamcentric Guide

 
 

This being the last (blog) issue—for a while—I want to give you something fun & easy, inspiring & thoughtful to take you through the end of the year. That’s been my mission with every issue. I wish we could all take a December hiatus, I really think we all—collectively—need it. Alas, most of us can’t ... there’s stuff to do and we gotta have fun doing it — may as well. I was going to give you lots more specific items, but I changed my mind … seeing that people have such a short attention span now (attributed to lack of time, but mostly due to distraction), I’m just going to give you a shortened version of my originally much larger list, which I hope you'll find useful + links you can explore on your own, at your leisure. Okay?

With Thanksgiving, (my fave holiday, hope yours was lovely), behind us, and with it black-friday, it’s officially shopping & party season. My advice is to take it easy, find ways to relax and enjoy without too much running around — which is why cyber shopping is so much more popular these days. And I will encourage you to exercise your ‘Conscious-Commerce’ muscles as much as possible, weather shopping online or off-line. #ShopSmall #EthicallyMade — it’s easier and more fun with practice. + SEE our discount shop code, below!

OK, onward — My Holiday-Recipe List — Shop & Make Merry.

*Make Merry—Do For Fun & Sanity > This may sound overly simplistic, but it’s amazing how many people forget … 1. Wear things that make you feel good — festive-pretty-comfortable. 2. Give gifts (buy things) that make you feel good, and the receiver, too. 3. Go to places that make you feel good … take yourself on dates. 4. Spend time with people that make you feel good — this includes yourself (your own company). 5. Make tasty treats that are fun.


*Eat—Make> Two fun-fabulous recipes for holiday cheer — make for home and/or take to parties.

My Mamma’s Biscotti — If you like baking, these are fun to make, fun to eat, not heavy, and they make great gifts and take alongs to parties. SEE full recipe below* You can also make a Gluten-Free version. We make & give them every year and everyone loves them.

Elegant Almond Pinecones for The Holiday Table> I got this from Etsy—they’re so cute! Decorative and edible, great for parties & hostess gifts.


*Drink—Make> My new favorite, easy, cheerful, drink that’s yum! But not loaded with sugar. Gin-Granetiny: 1-part gin, 1-part pomegranate juice, 2-parts tonic (or club soda/mineral water), orange rind (zest), pomegranate seeds. — Pour all liquids into tall glass & stir, Or pour into a shaker & shake, serve over ice, sprinkled with some of the pom seeds and garnish with a twist of orange-rind. (If you don’t like gin you can sub it for vodka.)


*Wear-Buy> It should be easy-pretty-festive-fabulous. Cozy knits with Silky pieces, maybe a little something Velvet, add unique vintage jewels with a bit of sparkle — These are few of my favorite things*

CLICK ON PICTURE TO SEE MORE.

 

*Gifts—To Give & Get> Chunky scarfs (these are unisex, both guys & gals buy & love them), Cashmere scarfs (other small luxury items like these), Unique Trinkets (like vintage jewelry & accessories), Silky things, Sparkly things that are useful/wearable.

*Also, baked goodies, jams & jellies, flavored oils (like rosemary olive oil), homemade jerkies (guys love this stuff). — I recommend Farmers Markets for these items. + Beauty & pampering items like facial mists made with essential oils, lovely soaps & lotions (be sure the receiver LIKES these scents). — I recommend Etsy for these items. + Of course booze! Unique alcohol beverages can be great gifts.

CLICK ON PICTURE TO SEE MORE.

 

Remember to check out Etsy Sale Fashion & Etsy Sale Vintage for fabulous, handmade gift items.

*Here’s a bonus Holiday Shop-Wide Coupon-Code for 15% Off: SAVE15 on anything in our Etsy Shop! 

SpeakEasyBoutique* Always check our Facebook page for the latest offers*

NOTE: It may be a tight deadline for Made-To-Order for Holiday items, but feel free to inquire if something really catches your fancy or if you want it for the New-Year, if we can do it, we will!

This is CIAO for 2016 — Wishing You ALL Happy Holidays & A Wonderfully Bright New Year!

Hope to see y’all next year and hope to hear your thoughts on anything … cheers!

I’m still avail for your questions and inquiries, so yay — Ask away!

PS — This is your bonus (article) to end this very interesting year on a Peaceful note. 

A Year To Clear What Is Holding You Back > from Daily OM

Biscotti Recipe

Makes approximately 2-dozen (24) cookies

Ingredients — 3 large eggs — 3/4 cup sugar (organic) — 125 grams unsalted butter (a little over 8 tbsp) soft, at room temperature — 2-cups flour (1-cup all-purpose, 1-cup whole wheat, is what I do) — 2-tbsp chopped walnuts or pecans, not too chunky — 2-tbsp raisins or dried cranberries, chopped not too fine — 1/8 or 1/4 tsp salt — 1/2 tsp vanilla (or 1-tsp if you like more) — 1-tsp baking soda (or baking powder)

Preparation — *Pre-Heat your oven to 325 degrees (fahrenheit)*

In a med-large bowl, mix together 3 beaten eggs + sugar. Add to this the softened butter + the vanilla + the salt & baking soda — mix well with spoon. Add the nuts & dried fruit — stir/mix to combine. Add Flour last — mix to combine with all the other ingredients.

Empty the contents of the bowl onto a floured surface —this is sticky dough— divide dough into 2-equal loaves and place them on a buttered baking sheet (cookie sheet)

 *Bake the 2-loaves for about 18 to 20 minutes @325 degrees. — Pull out the loaves and let cool for a few minutes (so they’re not to hot to the touch) — Begin to gently & carefully slice into the loaves —cutting out your cookies about 1/2” inch wide.

Increase oven temp to 375 to 400 degrees, depending on your oven and how hot it runs. — *Gently place the cookies —Flat— on the baking sheet and return to oven — baking until they are golden-brown, about 5 minutes on Each-Side. — Let cool & enjoy!

*NOTE: For Gluten-Free cookies you can substitute the regular flour for a combination of coconut + buckwheat + almond flours. — I usually do the following:  1-cup coconut flour, 1/2-cup buckwheat flour, 1/2-cup almond flour/meal. You can skip the almond altogether if you like and just use 1-full cup of the buckwheat flour.

The Pursuit Of HAPPINESS ... Is Not What It Seems ...

Food For Thought + Outfit Of The Month + The Interview + Etsy Sales Heaven

 
 

*Q: Is the pursuit of happiness creating more stress than joy?

Because we’re living in such…CRAZY times — I thought we’d address some ways of thinking-coping-living-being that may be apropos in this current climate, that may help us stay sane, and maybe to relax a little (yes, in spite of all the cray-cray) — Let's give ourselves a break, and others, too. More importantly, let us become freer, more independent thinkers and doers. — I’ll be referring you to some reading that may make you feel good, or at least better, about this subject.

 

*But First — I was interviewed by the E-zine ‘The Crazy Mind’ — here’s an excerpt and link to the interview. Check it out and feel free to share your thoughts. “Interview with fashion designer Ani Kiramichyan"

"Today our guest is Ani Kiramichyan from Los Angeles, CA. She is the designer of kaj.ani, high quality fashion-apparel, and also an advocate for conscious commerce. — She focuses on adding value, beauty, sustainability to the way women dress, by providing what she calls 'Fashion-for-Keeps'.

*Also — let me introduce you to the new thing on fb that some of us Etsy people have created called ‘Etsy Sales Heaven’ — consisting of several product specific pages where everything posted is on SALE. I'll get more into this in the next issue, but here's an example: Etsy Sale Fashion — Free to join and browse, it's an open group. Check it out, see if you like it, feel free to ask questions. + Below, I give you item of the month, expanded into Outfit Of The Month, that I hope you can sink your (glam-eccentric) teeth into.


*Happiness — I have in no less than 2-weeks come across similarly themed messages, while not particularly searching for them, but which have resonated with me to the point where I felt like the Universe was giving me a topic. Okay, I thought, even in a fashion blog this is a very worthy discussion. — Having recently heard the tail-end of an interview with author Ruth Whippman, who wrote The pursuit of HAPPINESS And Why It’s Making Us Anxious’. — When I heard her say — ‘it seems that the American obsession with finding happiness is driving everyone crazy’ — I thought, yes, she is likely right. It is national obsession, (I have a feeling it may go beyond just the u.s.a.) this constant pursuit, obsessive chasing after, goal-setting, etc. It’s friggin exhausting — So I encourage you to give it a gander.

Then, in the Laissez Faire daily newsletter (which I highly recommend for non-fashion related good sense) I came to read several good articles about similar topics of how to stay sane’ and ‘how to be happy’... (I've provided links, check out at your leisure)

How to be Happy: 15 Ways to Live Healthy, Happy and Free — here’s an excerpt from that article — “Gratitude is an important human strengths that contributes to subjective happiness. Grateful individuals are especially appreciative of the contribution of others to their happiness… Results imply reciprocal relationships among gratitude, subjective happiness, and good social relationships. Consequently, compared with unhappy people, happy people report close and satisfying relationships and feel more gratitude in their lives.”  Read on…

I also read — “Confession time: I believe happiness is hopelessly overrated. I know. I know. Sounds strange, right? What am I, neurotic? After all, I shared with you Dr. Axe’s How to be Happy guide, chock-full of 15 ways to live a happier, healthier existence. — While all of Dr. Axe’s tips were great, and I’ve incorporated many of them into my life with great results, to “find happiness” should not be the reason you take care of yourself. For some, it’s a good entryway out of a funk. But it’s never going to be the end-all, be-all. — Point blank: The pursuit of happiness alone is not enough to make you happy." ... "In fact, paradoxically enough… Happiness is what happens when you’re no longer striving to be happy. Happiness happens when you could live without it. Happiness is like a small child or a herd of feral cats. If you try to force happiness into your lap, it’ll simply run off. Or slice open your face.” — writes Chris Campbell.

I have to say I agree with this, too. — Now this may seem like a contradiction with the above (happy) advice, but no. I fully realize the connection, and you might also ... once you’ve had some time to read, contemplate, process, and surrender. — Concluding, perhaps, that Happiness as a pursuit or obsession is (or can get) kind of crazy. However, there are ways to choose to be happy, and the '15 Ways' list can be a good way to start...

I also recommend this > 3 Ways to Stay Sane in an Insane World > Take your time, it may be more enjoyable and enlightening than it first seems.


And now … Outfit Of the Month! … what I wore to my birthday dinner (and beyond). See my picture, below.

*I'm wearing: Liberty-Print Keyhole Dirndl Dress w/Obi + Chunky Wool Shawl-Wrap-Cardi-Sweater + Gray Suede Boots (had forever, but seldom wear, because heel is too high for me). Other details: Fabulous Vintage Leather Purse + Gray Pearl Dangly Earrings.

Here are the actual dress & sweater + similar accoutrements from fellow Etsy makers.

 

 

 

Note: This goes to show that one can wear these lovely dresses almost all year.  And the above items are definitely 'fashion-for-keeps.' Also, since being inspired by Simon Doonan’s book Eccentric Glamour — I am a designer, after all — I promised myself that I will dress more like the real me, beyond just special occasions (like my b-day). I’ll wear more of my fabulous ensembles for more everyday things/outings, thus making the ‘everyday’ less mundane. Harder than it sounds ... but do-able. And just because I wore this fab ensemble to dinner, does not mean it’s only for a special occasion, I can easily make this more of a ‘day look’ by skipping the high-heels, opting for flat boots, to go just about anywhere, beyond my morning walk or grocery shopping.

 

Do not conform to dumbing it down, Simon would caution. (You're not a dullard and neither should your look be.) Also, 'say no to ho', but do 'tart it up' — the latter is a glam thing. Apparently, back in the day, in the U.K. 'tarting it up' meant doing oneself up to look fabulous. This is not to be confused by what Simon cautions to be a diturbingly spreading trend of dressing like a 'hoochie'. — Insert laughter, because I see an aweful lot of this in Los Angeles. :-)

Hey, if you’ve got fashion questions — chime in. The above outfit works well with many different dress styles and is a great way to wear Transitional clothes, and make more of your clothes year-round wearable. I'll show more of these in upcoming issues.


fastfashioncrap.jpg

*Lastly — Some food-for-thought regarding Conscious-Commerce (or lack thereof).

The coming fast-fashion boom in the developing world spells big trouble for the environment.""A boom in cheap fashion is coming. And unless we change the way we produce and sell clothes, it's going to put massive strain on the environment and the people who make them.” (NOTE: every purchase is a VOTE with your wallet)

And not just the environment, but also labor — salve-labor, to be precise. The consumer holds the key to what is acceptable ... and this is just gross, most especially for those who claim to care about the environment, etc.


Okay, that’s it — I’m outta here — See y’all in 2-weeks, I hope. 

Meanwhile, please share our blog … with the world*

Ciao!

FASHION SHMASHION — Part 1 — 2nd Edition

Faves From Fashion-Weeks — Runways & Street-Style

Take Summer Into Fall — Style Inspiration & Ideas

Could You Be A Glamorous Eccentric? — To Ponder For Our Next Issue…

collage master.jpg

As I begin to compose this issue, let me tell you — it's been HOT! It was over a 100 degrees (F) earlier this week in LA … I want to be in my swimsuit and at the beach, instead of planning my fall wardrobe, even though it'll be cool enough in about a month. Q: How many of you still plan their wardrobes — seasonally or otherwise?

This whole ‘seasonless' fashion we’ve been talking about for the last 3 years has some serious legs, it’s a 'thing'. So much so that big names in the industry are jumping on the bandwagon — to make this ‘thing’ more relevant (Burberry is just one). This is why we (@kajanistudio) do light capsule collections with a few special pieces to ‘fill-in’ with your existing wardrobe. It makes perfect sense, costs less money, and lends itself more toward conscious commerce and sustainability.

Now, I’m sure most of you are aware that fashion-weeks have been happening across the globe, some are still going on — maybe too may, I can’t tell. — There are a plethora of style and fashion images to look through and maybe decide what you like, what you don’t, do you even care.

If you do care — stay with me for some recaps on what I mentioned above. Collections, street-style, eccentricity (this will be a bigger topic in a later issue, so think about what it means to you, we shall discuss, cause it’s fun!), and wardrobe planning — in the way of taking some favorite summer items into fall ... maybe that beloved dress you don’t want to put away yet. I might be able to show you how to “Fallify” (new word) those pieces, now and later on. Street-Style pics were full of this Summer-Fall inspiration, too.

I’m still looking through the many collections ... deciding what I love ... wishing the models looked a bit more cheerful, less morose, thinking fashion should be fun, no?  Here’s what I enjoyed — mind you I have not yet seen everything, nor is there room to cover it all here — there may be more in 2-weeks. I haven't even seen Valentino, or Westwood...

*Let me say right off the bat that I love loved Etro! — Gorgeous fabrics, gorgeous dresses, fashion for keeps.

*A bit of Prada — maybe not the resurgence of those ’90’s prints, but some structured pieces and the flowy-floaty silhouettes, sans too many feathers.

*Missoni was light and fun and boho-pretty — smile girls! (Didn't love that extra tiny bikini)

*I really liked Burberry — usually do, and this time did not disappoint. Layers, loungy, seasonless.

*Of course I love the magic that is Dolce & Gabbana — I want to play with those clothes. 

*Also liked Tory Burch’s collection — pretty, boho, practical, fun. (some ‘similar’ items to our Liberty blouses and dresses.)

*Yes! I still liked Gucci - it is consistently and inconsistently fabulous under this new designer, not every piece of course, but still yes. Often, these storied houses turn out better collections with lesser known designers rather than the celebrity variety. *PS — as fabulous as they may be at first glance, beware of overly novelty pieces, lest you spend a fortune and get tired of the purchase in regret. (That goes double for gross fast-fashion.)

*Really liked the lovely, freewheeling, yet modern, styles at Chloe

*Naturally, I loved Dries! (Van Noten) Always a major fave, the proportions, the fabrics, the prints were fabulous.

*I did like Dior — under the direction of the new (female) designer. It was romantic and modern and lovely, albeit too big of a collection. About a third could have been edited out and it would still be wonderful.

*I did not love YSL under this new designer, not yet, nor did I love it under the previous one ... haven’t in quite some time. But I know it will again find its footing and become fabulous, they are big shoes to fill.

*Did not like the ‘bejewled’ Crocs at London Fashion-Week — If you like this look, buy a plain pair and DIY. Also didn’t love all the sourpuss models, why do they look so unhappy on those runways? — Are they just hungry or is fashion in a perpetual bad mood? Note to fashion-show stagers, scary (hungy or unhappy) looking models do not inspire people toward fashion love.

There are a LOT of collections still to see ... If I haven’t mentioned them, either I have not seen them or did not like them. You can do your own perusing and tell us here what you loved or hated, too. Would love to know what you guys think. I will cover more fashion-week presentations in the next issue as well.

*The Little Black Dress — the always classic, is resurging on the streets of Paris. To me, it is essentially seasonless and timeless (I’m sure I’m not alone). I don’t love all of them them here, but some are really great, see pic of my favorite one. And in the next issue I will say more about the LBD, like how to take these light little dresses into fall-winter.

*Street-Style from Milano Fashion-Week — Looking more authentic these days, with a spattering of contrived looks. Some of these marvelous get-ups may also give you good inspiration on how to take Summer into Fall. As you can also plainly see, there are no fashion-rules, just style; both of the personal and the paid for variety.


Now, Summer into Fall — Styling Inspiration I hope you can use.  I LOVE transitional clothes purely for practical reasons, but I also think that there’s no need to stow away some warm weather favorites just because Fall-Fashion is here. So here are some tips — there will also be more in the next issue. Do let me know how you like these and what you want to wear, or keep wearing. I can help! It's why I’m making this a 2-parter. Next issue I’ll cover more ideas, perhaps even beyond that...

*One of my most favorite ways to do a summer-fall combo is to wear light, silk or cotton, print dresses, especially maxi styles, with fall-winter coats, maybe belted. It looks so dashing and romantic. To make it even warmer, add a little cardigan under the coat. (Vogue covered this idea recently.) You can do it with other dress lengths if you get the proportions and fabric combos right.

*Since thigh high boots are oh so hot again — wear your summer minis, dresses and skirts, with tall boots and a ‘throw-on’ kind of little jacket in leather, quilted, wool, etc. You get the message, right?  Also loving dresses over pants, just be sure to get the proportions right, (this is tricky for short gals, like me) make sure the dress isn’t too long. Either at calf length, just below knee, or above, depending on your height — a wrap style is perfect for this kind of look, which we’ll get more into next time.

Now, allow me to demonstrate here a couple of possible options on how to mix it up and put it together.


1.  Solid Maxi Dress or Print Maxi Dress + Coat + Belt (+ loafers or boots + scarf) = Fabulous


2.  Tunic-Mini-Dress + Quilty Jacket or Leather Jacket (+ tall boots + dangly earrings + scarf) = Fabulous

Are these combos glamorously eccentric, you may ask — yes! Because you’ll be marching to the beat of your own style drum. These are merely suggestions (though there is never a bad time to have something fabulous made-to-order, because you'll wear it for a long time) ... feel free to mix it up, ask questions, make suggestions of your own — it’s a dialogue after all. We’ll get more into all this in future issues.

OK, this was a long one — plenty of take-aways and inspiration to hold you all, I hope, until the next issue, 2-weeks from now. Do feel free to share this with friends, comment below, and let’s have some convos.

Ciao! & Enjoy!

TRAVEL DIARY — CALIFORNIA DREAMIN’

(Take Me On Vacation — part 2 + A Little Fashion)

 
 

As promised 2-weeks ago — my much ballyhooed travel diary — where I shall regale you with lots of pictures, some stories and a bit of fashion (outfit ideas) — along our journey to central California, then on to Big Sur … to take in the glory of the redwoods and everything in that magnificently gorgeous place. I hope you find it fun-teresting (new word). And if you’ve checked Instagram then you’ve seen some pics already @kajanistudio (that's the corner of my face w/the buddha statue).

I know, I know — it’s ‘fashion-week’ and we’re doing ‘travel-diary’ — but everyone and their brother is currently gabbing about fashion-week ... so this may be a nice diversion. + Down below there are ‘street-style’ pics from NYFW, so there is something, and I'll have more to say later.

But first, I am NOT ready to let go of summer ... it appears that mother nature is forcing me :-(  It’s feeling a bit like fall in the air and Sept. is supposed to feel like summer, darn it — I want to go to the beach!  So I’m very grateful that I got to take this little holiday. Staycationing around LA was fabulous, but not quite enough. I did relax, now I’m ready to create, amidst ALL the other TCB I absolutely have to do.  Yes, I'll be making some new pieces, don’t know yet what they’ll be. I will recap ‘Fashion-Weeks’ and maybe recent red carpets (Simon Doonan style). There will be lots of fashion talk, ok? — But this is a Travel Diary, so read on…

 
 

First stop — the cottage house with the magical garden — chez Billy & Nicole, in Old Town Orcutt, central Cali, where we spent 3 lovely days with our dear friends. Arriving on late Sat. afternoon of Labor-Day weekend, we quickly commenced with our pizza party (they have an outdoor brick wood-burning pizza oven). Making pizza from scratch was really fun and delicious — while being serenaded by a neighbor friend who stopped by on his way to a gig. The nightly ritual there is to light a fire and sit around it having drinks and regaling each other with stories ... until late, or until the wine is no more or we’re too cold to sit outside any longer.

Next day — went wine tasting at the beautiful Tolosa winery and tried some gorgeously fancy wines in a beautiful setting. The entire weekend was eating-drinking-laughing ... I thought I couldn't eat anymore ... until we got to Big Sur.  Before then, we also spent a lovely afternoon in San Luis Obisbo — walking, shopping, eating. The winery from our previous day’s visit was also in this region. We stopped there again on Tuesday, on our way to Big Sur, for what I can easily describe as one of the best places I’ve ever had breakfast — Big Sky Cafe. I highly recommend.

 
 

Ahhh...Big Sur — I can write and write about how much I love this place, how it's a part my of spirit and soul and how I long to go there all the time ... our 5th visit in a span of 10-years. 

Upon arrival and check in (@Big Sur River Inn), we promptly went for a swim in the pool while it was warm and sunny. You never know when it’s going to suddenly get cold, as the fog rolls it, which it did eventually, and on days 3 and 4 it lingered. After a swim, we went to sit in the river — yes, in the river, on Adirondack chairs — taking in the glorious redwoods, reading, drinking cider (beverage of choice while in the river) ... Paul, of course, balancing rock sculptures, trying to decide where to dine. First night was dinner with the Redwoods on the deck of Fernwood pub (bar & grill) — sipping drinks, taking in the silence, the smell of the forest ... eating fish tacos. Seriously, it makes your soul sing.

Days 2 and 3 — Ate at the Big Sur Bakery, a lot! — breakfast and dinner (see intriguing whole Rock Cod photo), several times until we left. It’s our fave spot (this was a very food-driven trip) and I look forward to it so much. We did more River sitting, walked as much among those redwoods as we could (due to an ongoing fire Pfeiffer State Park was closed, no hiking, which is ok with me because I mostly wanted to rest and lollygag). Went down to the mysteriously, hauntingly beautiful Pfeiffer Beach — laying in the sand, people watching, nature gazing, reading, balancing rocks ... enjoying the company — see video of beach, below.

*Sitting in the River — if there’s a Heaven this is it — observing the variety of people. World travelers, campers-hikers-backpackers, families, hippie types, redneck types, locals, tourists from all over — all ages converging, coming together to take in this unique place (some more deeply than others). First timers — walking down and seeing people (shoes off) sitting in the river on the chairs — the look of subtle surprise and joy their faces, as they contemplate doing the same ... most get into the spirit of it all (some take a picture and walk away). Walking into that water is more enjoyable and therapeutic than I can put into words.

 
 

Last Day — Cool, foggy morning. Really don’t want to leave, so we drag it out, taking a morning walk, lingering over breakfast, sitting in the river for as long as we possible, then stopping by the Henry Miller Library on our way out ... it's a long drive home, so we had to leave by 3.pm latest. The drive down the mountain was partially submerged in fog with specs of sunlight here and there, gorgeous and slow ... taking us almost 8 hours to get home to LA, with a short dinner break in SLO, at Big Sky, of course. Exhausted from sitting in the dang car for so long, but nevertheless grateful for this excursion. Never take vacations for granted, no matter how big or small — they are a luxury to be relished and appreciated.

*Packing & Fashion — you know I believe in packing light, even for a week away, though I did overpack a bit. Not being able to quite predict the weather, I’d say I took at least 4 or 5 things too many. There aren’t many ‘outfit shots’ of me and certainly no glamour shots, but I’ll give you a quick lowdown of what I mostly wore — kaj.ani pieces (dresses, jeans, jacket, tops) with some vintage items, plus scarfs and basic tees/tanks. Should you have any inquiries regarding specific items please feel to ask. Items that are order-able now are the little green quilted jacket (worn while hugging giant redwood) is perfect for travel, no wrinkling, light, warm, goes w/everything. And the liberty-print maxi dress (worn w/vintage denim jacket en route to dinner), this one made w/out the ruffles. *BTW, everything in the kajanistudio (etsy) shop is currently marked 20% below retail for a VERY limited time (promo), prices go back to retail at end of month*

And that was our little journey — hope you guys likes the pics — feel free to chime in.


HERE> Some fab Street-Style looks from New York Fashion-Week*

Getting more maximal, more individual, less trendy, and it’s good (ok, there’s some cheesy, wanna-be, stuff here, but it’s mostly good). And let me say again how much I’m still and absolutely loving all the BIG pants and dresses. I LOVE no-rules fashion — as long as you aren’t dressed like a brand advertisement or a ho. ("Say no to ho and yes to eccentric glamour" — Simon Doonan)

I’ll bring you more of these as the fashion-weeks continue ... sometimes it’s better than runway.

 

 
 

That’s all she wrote — Ladies and Gents. See y’all in 2-Weeks — Ciao!


              As always, let me know what’s on your mind ... and share our blog, too.

 

TAKE ME ON VACATION...

 
 

Hello Dear Readers,

This is normally the time our newest issue would post — twice a month or every 2-weeks — but there will be a slight change in the regularly scheduled program, because, you see >> I’m On Vacation!  Yes, indeed, and I wrote this little tid bit for you right before gettin’ outta dodge. Yes, I’ve been staycationing here in LA, all along this lovely summer, while also working, but there’s nothing like actually getting out and away from the daily routine …

Instead, I'm giving you a quick overview, and re-posting (see link below) my very first blog issue — from June a year ago. Check it out. While you’re at it, if you have the time, peruse some other issues, like the recent Summer-Series … and let me know what you think, what you like, what you want to read about, what’s on YOUR ever lovin’ mind.

Take Me On Vacation — The Very First Blog-Post

Now, as much as I’d love to totally and completely unplug and disappear … I promised y’all a Travel-Diary.  So I’ll be documenting this little trip, trying to not drive my husband (nor myself) crazy while I do it. — No, I’m not going far far away, like I talked about wanting to in the fist blog post, not yet, not this year. I’m Holiday-ing right here in glorious Cali … just going a bit further north. First to visit our wonderful friends (in their fab little cottage) on the central coast — to cook and drink and go wine tasting and enjoy each other, then off to Big Sur, one of our most favorite places in the world.

Stay tuned for the photo journey and whatever else. If I’m really organized, I’ll post some some photos … maybe on Instagram @kajanistudio or on our fb page TheSpeakEasyBoutique. But if I happen to tune-out and relax so much that I don’t post anything — fear not — there will be a travel diary come the 18th of Sept. + Maybe some fashion highlights, too. If I’m fast maybe there will be some bits for the week of Sept. 12.  

So here’s to an endless summer … in our hearts and minds … hope you’re enjoying yours.

Ciao!

I’ll see you when I see you (write you).

PS> The Liberty-Print Sarong has been listed - at Last! (Under a 100 bucks!) It comes in 5-prints and I'll be taking it on vacation.

 
 

 

“I am to invite people drenched in Time to recover themselves and come out of time, and taste their native immortal air.

I am to fire with what skill I can the artillery of sympathy and emotion.

I am to indicate constantly, though all unworthy, the Ideal and Holy Life, the life within life, the Forgotten Good, the Unknown Cause in which we sprawl and sin.

I am to try the magic of sincerity, that luxury permitted only to kings and poets.

I am to celebrate the spiritual powers in their infinite contrast to the mechanical powers and the mechanical philosophy of this time.

I am to console the brave sufferers under evils whose end they cannot see, by appeals to the great optimism, self-affirmed in all bosoms.”

                                                                                                    

                                                                   _ Ralph Waldo Emerson _

                                                  __ Ralph Waldo Emerson __   

LA SUMMER DIARY — STAYCATIONING & WORKING

Out & About + The Haps at kajanistudio + Copenhagen Street Style

 
 

            Wishing it were you floating in the sea, eating spaghetti and drinking wine? —

It's been a hot-busy-fun summer, so far, and I aim to give you a quick glance of the last month and a half or so. As every so often, I like to update you, our lovely readers and wearers of kaj.ani, on what I’ve been up to ... contemplating, working on, going, doing, wearing, etc. I will try not to prattle on too long. + I’ll be taking a short fashion-hiatus after the next couple weeks - returning after the 1st week of September. I hope to return rested, recharged, and inspired to create some new pieces for kaj.ani. Maybe I'll do a short travel diary about what I did and where I went. I also want you guys to chime in and let me know what you feel like wearing. What are you in the mood for? 

BTW — If you like this blog and know of others who might — please share it (then tell me). I want more readers to get aquatinted with our (slow-fashion) style journey and participate in the dialogue. Your loyalty will be rewarded — thanks!

So here’s what I’ve been up to — Week at a glance, during a month or so.

After what appeared to be an agonizingly slow and (wtf) stressful 2016 … things began to finally pick up, in a more desirable fashion, in the second half of this year. Thank goodness! I was going bananas trying to solve problems and stay calm, trying to learn SEO and other technical things. (What you do when you don’t have marketing or PR people. — ‘Everything I need comes to me, and without pain’ — Thanks, Rumi, that’s been my new mantra.

Average Monday-Tuesday: Check emails and messages over coffee (breakfast). Prepare to pack up and ship any orders, that came in the Friday before or over the weekend, that aren’t made-to-order, but are in stock ready to go. Change into walking clothes, take walk, drop off packages at USPS. Read newsletters, write notes on ideas, plan schedule for rest of week. Clear cutting table, prep to begin any made-to-order pieces. Have a quick bite and afternoon break. Change clothes (if I remember). Post something on SM pages: interesting articles, shop-faves, anything inspiring or newsworthy. Preparing to make a custom order, measure and layout fabric, sort pattern, sizing, etc. Message customer with any necessary updates or questions. Later, clear kitchen … get inspired to make dinner. Honey comes home from work, tired, hungry, while I'm preparing dinner. Have some wine, eat, talk, maybe watch a movie … exciting stuff and I love it.

*Wearing: walking clothes in the morning (yoga pants, tee, sneakers), maybe change into jeans (or sarong/skirt) and tee in the afternoon.

Midweek Beach-Day! — The best time to go (honey has hump-days off), but not until morning errands are complete. Grocery shopping and packing up for day at beach … throw on swimsuit and cover, go pick up Sis and niece, head to beach. It’s our special weekly summer ritual, especially when my sister is here from SF for a nice long visit.  Head to Malibu ... swim, sun, talk, read, munch on summer fruit ... while Paul balances rock sculptures and builds sand castles with niece — take pictures. Early evening, throw something over swimsuit, head over to Reel Inn for dinner (pick your fish) and toast this lovely summer. Do it again next week and on… 

*Wearing: bikini, sarong and tee, or jersey tank dress, or cover tunic, flip-flops, big sun hat.

Beach fun — followed by dinner fun

 

Average Thursday-Friday: Much like Monday-Tuesday morning — breakfast-emails-walk, sm posts. Afternoon, work at cutting table, begin newest made-to-order item, get it cut and assembled, ready for sewing. This can take 1-day or more — depending on the level of detail and labor, and if there are other tasks (and orders) to manage as well. Call to arrange pick-up or drop-off with one of my wonderfully skilled sample makers (sewers). If time, work on blog notes and ideas. In-between lunch break, change from ‘walking’ clothes into atelier uniform of sarong and tank or ‘green’ jeans and tee and flip-flops.  Evening dinner prep — maybe a mixed veg salad and lamb burgers. Honey is home. Eat, drink, talk … maybe movie… 

Unless there’s some evening thing happening, like drinks with friends, or family birthday dinner for my sister, or like last Friday — met Sis at HaHa comedy club in NoHo for drinks — listen to 5 male comics talk about their observations-hopes-dreams-neuroses and make you laugh out loud. I highly recommend this, after all, laughter is the best medicine + it helps to have some tequila (with guac and chips:-)

*WearingLittle black silk mini-dresssandals, shawl, for going out. Liberty-print swing skirt, black knit tank, black sandals, for family dinner, al-fresco.


Work in progress on the cutting table — custom orders of Liberty-print pieces — Quilt-waist dirndl skirt & Kimono wrap-dress.


Saturday: Try to sleep till 9…maybe, skip morning walk. After breakfast, to put some work into the next blog issue — sometimes I’m inspired, sometimes I procrastinate, or think what I want to ramble on about will not be as interesting to others as it is to me … sometimes it flows, other times I fake it till I make it, writing-wise. Will work until late afternoon if nothing else is happening, then go to LACMA concert, for which I'll pack a picnic — we eat a lot of salami this time of year.

*Occasionally there’s a ‘ladies luncheon’ (me, sis, cousin, nieces), not a weekly event. When we do, it’s so fun and worth blowing off work for, as it takes almost all day. Our last lunch-brunch thing started at The Hart and The Hunter, so yum! Then we took a stroll, then coffee and desert on Larchmont* Mostly we go to the ‘Latin Sounds’ outdoor evening concerts at LACMA — meet up with friends, family, whoever feels like joining — share food and wine, chill in the park with some good music … people linger till about 8-ish.

*Wearing: my fave Liberty-print maxi dress and sandals (for our ladies lunch), this works for morning to evening outings (events). If just going to concert in park, then a simple sun-dress, or baggy jeans and kaj.ani top, or bodysuit and Liberty-print sarong and sandals — see pic for outfit idea. This is great vacation wear, too.

Sunday: Pancakes for breakfast with my honey, it’s our Sunday ritual. Then, Farmer’s Market! — I try to never miss it, otherwise I get depressed — I love all the local farmers and all the beautiful produce and other goodies offered up, like fish, pastured eggs and meats, flowers, and so on… After a little clean-up or any other necessary errands, an afternoon siesta (nap). Maybe some light work, if there’s a blog issue to post, like now. Maybe we grill some veggies and meat for dinner, then watch a movie. Maybe friends are in town — like a few weeks ago — then we go out for a late lunch, followed by a nap, then stay in ... talking and drinks. Or dinner out with loved ones — last Sunday we went to The Old Place for the first time. I highly recommend it for the experience and location alone, the food is good too. 

*Wearing: baggy jeans and tee, for market, or jersey tank dress, sunhat, for day. For dinner out, super-light, gossamer silk dress, sandals, hat, shown below. (This dress is sold out, but there’s a little fabric for made-to-order.)

Waiting for our table at The Old Place

Waiting for our table at The Old Place

Liberty-Print Ruffle-Edged Maxi — my fave dress right now

Liberty-Print Ruffle-Edged Maxi — my fave dress right now

 Wearing vintage kaj.ani bodysuit, new kaj.ani Liberty-Print Sarong, Nikola Sandals, sun hat

 Wearing vintage kaj.ani bodysuit, new kaj.ani Liberty-Print Sarong, Nikola Sandals, sun hat

And this has essentially been our summer, so far. Mostly a nice combo of work and fun ... some unwelcome stress.  — Trying to get inspired about making (adding) new items to our repertoire. Not sure yet what those pieces will be ... but am excited about some new fabrics I’ve been looking at — getting ideas for some transitional pieces.

We make what I call ‘fashion-for-keeps’, we don’t do seasonal collections, but add small capsule groups and pieces that you can order regularly and wear for a long time, integrating them with your existing wardrobe. Do feel free to let me know what you’re longing to wear, are in the mood for, want to add to your wardrobe mix. I’m hoping to get some ideas down in the next few weeks and have some concrete designs to create sometime soon … maybe more inspiration will come while I take a short vacation.


Since there will not be a new blog issue until maybe mid September, I want to leave you with some more inspiration. I’ll return with a travel diary and more fashion ideas. For now, here are some wonderful images from Copenhagen Street-Style. I love all the variety of styles, no rules, lots of big clothes, long and short, tight and loose. It’s much cooler temps there and it reflects in the less summery apparel, but it’s inspiring, fun, beautiful, creative. My fave looks are #15, 20, 21, 23, 35, 45, 49. — I’m seriously loving all the (long-big-loose) dresses (and pants) the most. — Let me know what y’all are loving, here.

The Best Street Style From Copenhagen Fashion Week

 
 

Alright, I hope this will tide you guys over until I return...in a few weeks. If you have not yet read our Summer-Series check them out, there’s good stuff. Let me know if you have any questions. Thanks always for tuning in.

Here’s to a magical remainder of summer (about 4+ weeks) and a fabulous start to fall — Ciao!

PACKING FOR A WEEKEND AWAY — SOME TIPS

More Summer Series + How Gratitude Can Improve Your Well Being

 
 

Hot Summer — Beachy Getaway — Keep It Simple

Let me help you pack for your jaunt out of town — Because too much stuff ruins trips, really.

 

There are about 4 or 5 more weeks left of summer, officially, but summer can go through October in some places (like So-Cal). In this 5th installment of our Summer Series I want to give you some simple packing tips, so you can enjoy your getaway without being bogged down or confused by too much stuff. It should be easy-breezy and relaxed. Even if it’s a bit longer than a weekend, say a week, there's no need to take more than a dozen items, otherwise it becomes a hassle. You’ll have more fun with less stuff to pack and think about.

Weekend trip — 8 or 9 items. Weeklong trip — maybe 12 items. Combined, these will make multiple outfits and you’ll think less about what you’re going to wear. Note: I’m not including items like sunglasses or jewelry, towels, blankets, etc. Keep these to a minimum also. You should be able to fit everything in a large tote or duffle or carryall. Your other bag will serve as your purse and beach-bag, for daily essentials — a straw bag, light canvas backpack or smaller tote. I have covered so many wonderful summer must-haves and essentials in this series. We’ll revisit some of those pieces to use for your trip. Whether you’re going to Catalina, Santa Barbara, Nantucket, the Hamptons ... these items will work just fine, assuming that you're going to a warm place. And I’ve given you some lovely product links below.

Here we go — pack this — 9 items for your weekend away:

*The perfect little dress — you can wear day and evening (even beyond summer and vacation). I love the versatility of our Liberty-print mini dress. It comes in 5-prints and is made-to-order, it’s comfy, sweet, sexy, and will serve you long and well. But if it’s not your cup of tea, find something similar in whatever length you like, that serves the same purpose.

*1-piece swimsuit or bodysuit — in a tank or halter style. Wear as a top with sarongs, skirts, shorts, pants. Note: if you do not already have a great bodysuit — let me tell you they’re gonna make a comeback and even stay for a long bit. I think they’re fabulous. If you don’t have a bodysuit, (stay tuned) wear a 1-piece swimsuit that might work as well—bonus, you can swim in it. If you wish to travel even more lightly, skip the bikini below and just take one swimsuit, but I love having an alternate in case one is wet.

*Sarong or pareo that double and triples as a cover, skirt, scarf, top … I’ve covered the wonderfulness of this item so often in previous posts, no need to go on and on here again. If you still don’t have one—get one, they’re great!

*Beach shoes — yes, I’m talking flip-flops, because your nicer sandals shouldn’t trek through salt and sand if you wish to preserve them. I love these from VitelloSF. If you want to keep things even more simple and casual, skip the sandal below. NOTE: add sneakers if you’re going to a place where you may be hiking, etc.

*Sandals — that are comfy-pretty and go with most of your clothes. Flip-flops might be too casual to wear everywhere with everything. If you wish to skip the above flip-flops altogether and just take 1-pair of sandals, feel free. I love my new ones from NikolaSandals, they work with almost all my dresses and other summery items, but I would not want to get them wet and sandy.

*Sun Hat  This is truly a must for face protection and good style. Choose one that's foldable, so it’s easy to take anywhere. Because too much SPF can be irritating to have to constantly apply, I like a big brim hat, but then again, I love all kinds of styles — provided that they offer some face protection.

*Versatile shirt — an easy button-down or pull-on style, that can be worn casually over or with almost anything, like shorts, jeans, swimsuit, etc. I don’t have a specific reference here, but feel free to borrow one from your guy (or buy a men’s shirt), not too big. A light, not too long, tunic style will also work well. BTW: this will look fabulous with your sarong, (maybe) tucked in a bit and belted.

*Jeans or PJ pants — depending on your destination, hot-humid-tropical or more sub-tropical with cool evenings, may be too warm for jeans. Opt for light weight, easy pj-style pants, or maybe shorts. Use your best judgement. It’s good to have a solid pair of bottoms on hand, for those times when a dress or sarong won’t quite cut it. NOTE: this should easily work with your shirt, bodysuit, swimsuit, etc.

*Bikini (or 1-piece) this is for swimming and lounging in the sun — in whatever kind of style you love wearing. I love a 2-piece. Go with whatever floats your boat. If your above item is already a 1-piece swimsuit, not a bodysuit, you may not need another swimsuit. Bonus, less stuff. But like I said, I do like an alternate just for swimming.

 

The perfect-fun-sweet-sexy go-anywhere little dress. Take it on vacation and enjoy wearing it during most of the year, too.

Made-to-order and comes in 5 liberty prints.”

 

OK, that’s 9 items. You may omit what you like. It's more than enough for your weekend trip. If you’re staying a bit longer than a weekend add the following to the above list. Only if you want to.

*Another dress — add a 2nd dress, a maxi or caftan or whatever style you love, that will work for your trip. Something pretty and fun, maybe long and loose, in a cool fabric like cotton or jersey, that will look both dressed up and casual — that keeps you looking effortlessly cool. This paisley boho-maxi has been my fave go-to lately, it works almost anywhere.

*Light-weight cardigan — for cool evenings, that can maybe double as top. This should also work with most of your pieces — with dresses, bottoms, etc. If you don’t have one or can’t find one, take a shawl instead, or maybe a light denim jacket.

*A 2nd top — T-shirt, tank or blouse that pairs easily with your bottom pieces. Here’s a cool Tee from CausticThreads.

That ought to take care of your needs and keep you looking good and feeling light. Remember, heavy packing is a pain in the you know what. Keep it as simple as you can. You’ll enjoy your trip more, trust me. And while you’re at it keep your make-up and toiletries to minimum too, because your’e supposed to be relaxed and carefree, which does not include hours of primping and trying to figure out your outfits.

I’m taking my holiday in September. It'll still be summer, but it’s a quieter month. In the meantime, we (me and my small posse) are staycation all around LA — enjoying the beach as often as possible in our own special ways. Perhaps I’ll tell you about all this later in some sort of 'what I've been up to' segment or travel diary. But let me say, like I was longing to last year, in my very first issue, that I would LOVE to take a long holiday someplace far, far away ... someday soon.


GRATITUDE … can go a long way … read on.

Can feeling gratitude influence your health? According to a number of studies, the answer is yes.  According to Dr. P. Murali Doraiswamy, an expert in brain and mind health.

How Gratitude Can Improve Your Health and Wellbeing — "If [thankfulness] were a drug, it would be the world's best-selling product with a health maintenance indication for every major organ system.Link to article


That's all for now, my lovely readers. I’m keeping it brief. It’s a hot and busy summer and I want to make the most of it, even while I’m working. Until next time — Ciao & Enjoy!

PS — Tell us what you did, have been doing (and wearing) so far this summer. Ideas, tips, questions…anything. I'll see you here in a couple of weeks.

Summer Beach Reads + Some Tips On How To Keep Your Cool

 
 

It’s H O T — Let’s make it as fun as we can — Summer series continues

(+ The usual bonus of questions, inspiration and humor)

We’re talking books — my recommendations and a few others. How to stay cool in 90+ degree weather — some handy style tips. + Artists that inspire & How copycats can suck. And that should do it for round 4 of our summer installments. There are more coming, trust!

 

Summer Reading  — Light, Funny, Mysterious, Serious and In Between — Here’s 11.

Books I have read and am recommending.

  • Barrel Fever - Because it’s David Sedaris, and I think this is his funniest book. I've read almost all of them.

  • A Walk In the Woods - Because you’ll learn a lot and you'll laugh. And if you’ve never read Bill Bryson, this is an excellent place to start. (I also love - In a Sunburned Country)

  • Nasty - My Family and Other Glamorous Varmints - Because it’s Simon Doonan. He's so very witty, spins some good, humorous, familial yarn, plus style tips.

  • The Forgotten Garden - Kate Morton’s best — if you love a good tale, this will suck you in and keep you riveted. It would make a great film.

  • A Devil In Paradise - If you’ve never read Henry Miller’s lesser known books, this is a good story about an ungrateful guest — setting is Big Sur, Ca.

  • The Rise & Fall of Great Powers - No, it’s not a political drama, but a uniquely interesting story of fiction by a uniquely interesting writer, Tom Rachman.

Books I have not read, but am going to, soon.

  • The Girl On The Train - It looks so darn riveting ... friends have said how good it is, the movie is coming, and I want to read it before then.

  • Eccentric Glamour - Because reading Simon Doonan is always fun + bonus style-tips.

Books others have recommended.

  • Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything? - When Celebrity Culture and Science Clash - Because it sounds funny … and informative.

  • Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend - This came from my bff ... about a boy who's a little different than others. Did any of you have imaginary friends in childhood...or now? I did, a whole group, and my niece does too.

  • Liberty for Women - Freedom and Feminism in the 21st Century - A little controversial, mostly interesting and vauable, certainly not typical thought ... Wendy McElroy is an intelligent and fascinating woman, as are the other contributors. - 'The contributors to this important new collection offer a vision of contemporary feminism that runs counter to and goes beyond the dominant attitudes of the feminist orthodoxy.'


How To Keep Your Cool — Try these ideas — Very few product links this time, I’m going to encourage you to use your wonderful imagination and ask questions...

  • Sarong! I have already (many times) sang the praises of sarongs and really feel that they’re indispensable items in summer. And it’s not just for the beach or pool. Read on…and see below for many ways to wear.

  • Keep your big-brim summer hat on hand to keep the blazing sun off your face. I love the kind you can fold and put in your bag. I gave you links and tips on this in the last 3 blog issues — check them out*

  • Have on hand a small scarf or kerchief or bandana — fold and twist into a headband like shape — tie from under your head toward the top, with a knot in top of your head, tuck in the knot — to keep hair off your neck and face. You can also lightly dampen said scarf and stick it in the freezer for a bit to add extra coolness to your head. Bonus: it works around your neck and wrist and can provide coolness at pulse points. Perhaps a Liberty-Print skinny scarf will work just as well*

  • Have a small spritzer of water (or essential oil infused water) in the fridge at all times — take it with you when you go out. It provides hydration and refreshment to hot and bothered skin. Try the small Evian containers for face misting, at Sephora, or a Lavender Facial Mist.

  • Minimal make-up. Wear as little make-up as possible, just some tinted moisturizer with SPF, if you can, and a hint of lip color. Because summer heat and full make-up are not a great combo. It’s my theory that make-up actually makes your face hotter and stickier. Less make-up can be very liberating  (speaking from experience). PS - Instead of antiperspirant try cornstarch, it works fairly well, sans the questionable chemicals. Be sure it's pure conrnstarch. Also works to absorb excess moisture form slightly sweaty hair. You know what I'm talking about ... our hair (scalp) can get a bit of summer-heat sweat, it can be annoying when you've already washed your hair then step out into the heat and voila, sweaty hair. Wait a few minutes...sprinkle a little cornstarch into your hands, rub together gently, then rub into your hair at the roots. Your hair will feel a lot less damp and gross. I think it's better than dry shampoo, just make sure all the whiteness is well distributed and absorbed.

  • OK, this might seem very controversial, but it appears that it is now acceptable to wear socks with sandals — not kidding. And I’m not talking the granola look of Birkenstocks (although that’s ok too, even a little trendy). I’m talking about socks with cute-sexy sandals, flats and heels. Yes, you can wear little ankle socks with those fave sandals to keep your feet from blistering in the heat, so don't be afraid to do it. If you hate this idea ... might I suggest wearing the softest most comfortable summer shoes you can find, likely without heels, at least during the day. 

  • Lastly, besides plenty of water, drink lovely, organic, herbal ice teas — hydrating and full of anti-oxidants + they’re yummy. Make your own special mixes with lemon, cucumber, watermelon, or whatever else you like, and take it with you, (save money = bonus).

 


In addition to this handy diagram, you can also wear your sarong ‘city-style’ with a shirt, belt, and sandals. With a boy-short and simple tank, you can wear it like a strapless dress — so chic and sexy*

*If you don’t have a Sarong yet … we’re making them now in Liberty-prints … seriously, what are you waiting for? It’s the perfect thing to own for summer — it works as a scarf, shawl, skirt, turban, even a strapless dress — for goodness sake! (We’ll make you one in a few days and ship it to you where you live.) Feel free to ask us about it … or wait for the next issue, we’ll have an official link to buy.

These are all 5 Liberty-London prints we’re making the sarongs in. It will measure 34” inches long by 53” inches wide. We can also customize it to your specs whenever possible.

Don't let SUMMER make you crazy —  kick it in the nuts and have fun!                                                              

I hope our Summer-Essentials series will guide you, inspire you, make you laugh. Have you read them all? 

Bonus Video> Remember to laugh...


 

— Bonuses —

I fell in love with this artist’s photographs and her project — The Atlas of Beauty a project by Mihaela Noroc. 

“I photograph women around the planet and I’m amazed every day. Let the world know that diversity is our greatest treasure.” - Video Here

Ok, are you guys dying over her fabulousness or is it just me?


AND > What Is The Real Cost of Copycats — Most people wear knock-offs without ever really giving it much thought, because copying in fashion is a given. There’s nothing we can do about it, but speaking from experience, it does not feel very good for the designer/artisan being copied, especially by the fast and cheap crowd. Creatively inspiring one another in an industry or field can be a great thing … after all, nothing is really all that original anymore … but straight-up copying an artisan or designer solely for financial gain is gross and uncreative and just fuels (an unethical slave labor market) unsustainable fast-fashion. #FoodForThought

Modern fast fashion behemoths like Zara and H&M have built global empires by offering cheap copies of high-end fashion.” — Let me say that it’s NOT just the big designers that are copied, very often it’s the little guys (like us). We have no recourse and a loss of business. — “Do knockoffs harm the fashion business? Or does copying keep the wheels of the industry turning?” — Both, because it’s not that simple an answer. So the better question would be; just what kind of ‘wheels’ are turning in the industry?

Check out Business Of Fashion - Copycats

 

Okay — Ladies & Gents — that’s it for this issue. As always, I love it when you engage, that way I know what’s on your mind … so ask me anything. And I shall see you here in 2-weeks with more summery stuff…

SUMMER BRIDES + SUMMER WHITES + SUMMER HATS

Be A Vision In White — Even If You’re Not The Bride

 (Wedding Fashion & Beyond Bridal + Funnies & Inspiration)

 
 

  I’m not going to ask — Are you ready for the beach (or summer)? — I gave you so many fabulous summer essentials in the last two issues, you should be well covered. And I may give you a few more style tips as summer goes on…it's a long season. *This issue is about wedding fashion, fabulous summer whites and lovely hats to go with them. + Some bonus stuff — below.

 

Summer Whites — Bridal & Beyond

 It's that special time where everything in white looks extra lovely and shines like a bright color. It’s also when many weddings tend to happen. I think it is a perfect opportunity, as the bride, to wear something more relaxed, less structured, more easy-breezy — maybe even in cotton eyelet fabrics. This works especially well if any portion of the wedding is outside, the ceremony, the reception, or both. Think how lovely a white cotton eyelet dress will look at a (non-fussy) garden or beach wedding — either on the Bride or on the bridesmaids. This type of dress will look fabulous at pretty much any special occasion as well. That’s the beauty of summer-whites, they are so versatile. I believe you can wear white to a wedding if you’re not the bride, as long as you’re not competing with what the bride is wearing. (If you’re not sure, ask. Get a sense of the tone of the wedding party.)

 If a cotton dress is far too casual for you, consider a lovely ivory lace number with a ruffled-boho-style, like in the photo above. (We’ve never met a ruffle we didn’t like - say the gals at MR.) Or maybe a short 1960s inspired style, the most favorited dress in our shop. Perfect if you love to show some leg. More ideas to explore below…

Beyond-bridal whites — I call them everyday clothes, elevated. Imagine walking into ... anyplace, wearing something spectacular in white ... I say spectacular because most others won't be wearing white, and you'll have selected to wear something in a really great fabric, (not a tee shirt, if you get my drift). It can be causual or dressy (you or the event), but you will be a standout nonetheless. Be it for a party, to the office, on holiday (vacation), for any occasion or non-occasion —  whites just look so wonderful now.

 So consider it — fear not — even just one piece to get the hang of wearing white.  If you’ve been afraid to before, you will feel special. I promise. Maybe start with a pretty skirt that works with a lot of your simple tops, or a blouse that looks great with your jeans, like the one shown above — then you can transition into a dress…or two.

 This is also a perfect time to don some fabulous summer hats. Somtimes I love vintage ones (in good condition), more. Suffice it to say that I am a summer-hat lover! — I cannot do without them. They shield my face perfectly, saving me from having to constantly slather on gunky sunscreen and they make almost any outfit look more chic and fun. I love vintage hats and these guys, Edamamacita on Etsy, have some good ones, like the Straw-Porkpie shown above — larger brim ones are my fave.

 
 
 

Flashback: As my partner and I celebrated our twentieth wedding anniversary this year...I never thought, back then, that I’d be making wedding dresses for other brides, (it seemed so fussy and complicated to do bridal), even though I made my own wedding dress. It was a clean, slightly minimalist, renaissance inspired empire-waist style dress in silk shantung, lined in cotton — for a hot-humid, outdoor summer wedding party. At the time there was so much to do that it was a little stressful finding time to fit myself close to the date. I was doing so many other things … by the wedding day, my dress was slightly big. I had lost a little weight without noticing, but there was nothing I could do about it then — just laugh it off and get married. (It was laid-back and everyone had a ball!)

Over the years I’ve had occasional ideas for wedding dresses, but never did anything about it. I would always think how needlessly fussy weddings and wedding dresses are, and how most dresses looked uncomfortable. I always thought things should be a little easier in the bridal department … low and behold, things have shifted a bit in that direction.

The dresses I design have that easier feel, but keep the specialness of handmade-to-order, and you don't have to stuff yourslef into them. — They are romantic, pretty, modern and comfortable. They’re not overly complicated and do not require insane fittings, most of the time. Two of my favorites are the Swingy 1950s style (reminds me of a modified Dior), and the Glam Empire-Tank style.

I had this crazy idea that maybe some of these dresses can even be worn beyond the wedding day...with some alterations. Why not? Of course this idea is not for everyone, but it’s out there for your consideration. (Alternate fabrics and some customization are available, for made-to-order, upon inquiry.)

Note: Summer Wedding Season goes through September, ends in October. Also, because summer is not a particularly busy time in fashion, we have shorter lead-times to MAKE your wedding dresses — what normally takes 6 to 8 weeks, will now take us about 4-weeks — depending on fabric selection, customization, etc. Something to consider…

As always, I’d LOVE to hear your thoughts on this topic.  Are you a lover of whites — Are you getting hitched anytime soon? Do you have any questions? — Feel free to ask away! And if I haven’t said it already, happy summer! I shall see you in 2-weeks.

Ciao!


Bonus: Amy Schumer and Anna Wintour swap lives … A funny for the July Vogue issue.

 

 
 

What Are You Wearing

 

I Love getting photos of YOU wearing our creations! — The fabulous Katie Keating of Fancy, NYC, (on the left) wearing our sparkle-dotted Tunic Mini-Dress at an industry event.


 

 

 

PS > Supporting craftspeople and artisans is vital* In this globalist, mass-produced world, we need these niche makers and creators, for they (we) create better commerce and healthier economies within manufacturing and beyond… And if everything were mass-produced that would pretty much suck.

HELLO SUMMER!

Essentials — The Beachy Stuff + Handmade vs Sharks of Big Retail

June-Gloom has been firmly in tact here in So-Cal ... but things are about to get beachy! This weekend is H O T, caliente! It's official, summer is here — July is round the corner — it’s about to get real good. Outdoor concerts have begun, lots of al fresco dining, dashing about on day trips, sipping cocktails outside, and beach time! Swimming and sunning and joys of everything oceanside.

So, on with our Summer-Essentials list, part 2. This will be a 3-parter now, and I’ve got the goods for you. Hope you liked the first essentials list and got yourself a few fab items from it. If not, you may wish to revisit and find some wonderful things you may need and love — you have time. I gave you some of lovely options for dresses, shoes, bags and other great summery things to get, that you'll enjoy for quite some time. Note that I am highlighting fellow Etsy makers — my agenda is to promote conscious commerce, cause that’s how I roll — there’s so much great stuff and so many of us, lovely makers, that once you start buying from artisans you will not miss the other stuff, I hope.

Essentials List (part 2) — Another lucky 7 items to peruse, ponder, and purchase.

1. A Tunic-Like Pull-Over Type Mini-Dress Kind of Thing. — Confused? It goes like this: Something easy, pull-on-and-you're-done, super cute and sassy — that can go to the beach, al fresco dining, out for cocktails, summer concerts, etc. You get the picture. A couple of suggesionts here: Liberty Mini-Dress with pockets! & Sparkle Tunic Mini-Dress. One has sleeves, one does not, both are groovy and sexy.

2. Cool Espadrilles — I LOVE these 2-tone neutral ones from maslinda, because they'll work with a lot of stuff. Picture these with the Sparkle Tunic Mini Dress, so fabulous! I like the paisley ones too, handmade and a great price. I don’t like mass-produced ones from big retailers, (slave-labor), and the high designer ones are a bit too pricey, (like 300 to 900 bucks). These are a happy medium, and you can get more than one.

3. Fun Flip-Flops — for the beach and other casual places. These floral ones from FlipFlopHungary really hit that unique sweet spot. They‘ll look great with more than just swimwear and there are other cool designs to chose from.

4. Swimwear — I love a two-piece, so my recommendation is such, but there are some great one-piece swimsuits on Etsy,too. (A one-piece can double as a top with a cool dirndl skirt)* I dig this colorful zig-zag patterned bikini form NaluTribe.

5. Colorful Summer Jewelry — These multi-strand bracelets, (will look great with your kaj.ani Liberty dresses), have that groovy vibe of summer, from maslinda are so lively.

6. Uniquely Pretty Top — that goes well with and livens up all your jeans and shorts. It’s hot, so pick one in cotton. Something in a great print, pattern, or fabric — this super cute Liberty-print pull-on is easy and perfect and makes a great statement piece.

7. Beach & Poolside Covers — A sun hat is an absolute must! I like a big floppy one to really shield your face, and you can put it in your bag and it won’t get messed up. This one from FunnyweeShop will serve you well.  + A multi-use sarong that works wherever you wrap it — at the waist, above the bust, round the shoulders. This block-print wrap from RusticLoom is a good one. (+We can make you one in a Liberty-print, upon request).

I’ve given you a little more than 7 items, but it’s up to you to pick and chose and get what works best for you. Technically, let’s call it lucky 7*

And that does it for part 2. Summer is a long season, (in So-Cal and other places) so our essentials list is on the longer side. Enjoy shopping for your fabulous new items and have lots of fun this summer. Tell us about it HERE, if you like, don’t be shy.


Where does your stuff come from?  In my unending desire to promote conscious commerce, I ask — will it prevail? — I really hope so. Last time we talked about preserving traditional craftsmanship, its need to survive, and dare we hope, thrive. This time we delve into retail — small-biz, boutiques, purveyors of handmade goods.

"She lamented the fact that no sooner did the item hit her shop and she promoted this item, that her competition like larger retail outlets etc copied the exact same thing, shipped the design overseas to sweatshops and the like and undercut her terribly to the extent that she now says no to getting any more interesting pieces for her outlet as she said she would love to do business with her designers but now knocks them back just to stay afloat”

"Small retailers hit by big business copycats: “It’s ruining businesses”

*Let’s all give more LOVE to small-biz boutique and e-commerce retailers who carry handmade and ethically manufactured goods — slave-labor products have enough customers. For me it is just one more reason not to shop big retail, if slave-labor is not reason enough, nobody needs that much cheap crap — As a designer, I’ve had it happen to me — ideas knocked-off and turned into cheaper goods. There’s nothing we can do about that, but as customers we can at least not buy this stuff, or do our best to minimize it.

OK, that’s my rant ;-)  Hope you’re enjoyed this post. Summer is a long season and July is a long month, hence the next post will be coming in 3-weeks, instead the usual two. Meanwhile, you have a lot to keep you fabulously and stylishly occupied. See you in 3-weeks — Ciao!

 

*Bonus - Fabulous Fashion Humor <Watch Maya Rudolph Brilliantly Impersonate Anna Wintour

Summer is Coming! — The Excitement Is Palpable

 
 

Let’s Talk Summer Essentials, part-1 + Preserving Craftsmanship

Do you get as excited for summer as I do? — Just chomping at the bit to wear open-toed shoes, sundresses, tank-tops, fun skirts … swimsuits and them some. I love everything about it (save for extreme heat), the clothes, the shoes, all the summery accouterments.

     “We are all stars, and we deserve to twinkle” ~ said Marilyn Monroe. Indeed, it’s time to shine!

I am officially tired of sweaters, I want to push them to the back of the closet. May has been a cool month (it’s called ‘May Gray’ for goodness sake) and I’ve been in layers … can’t wait to bust out my warm weather favorites and add some fabulous new ones to the mix as well. This is the time of year that I enjoy shopping most. Yes, So-Cal is a warm place by comparison, but it’s not exactly summery yet. May and June are usually overcast (June Gloom) and I’m so ready to bask in the sun, you know, before it gets so scorchingly hot that I’m complaining about it ;-) 

So, let’s talk SUMMER STYLE — All the fun, wonderful, lovely, things it includes — My list of essentials part 1. This is a 2-parter, (maybe a 3-parter) with more essentials to come. This gives us time to prepare and do some shopping, the most fun kind.

Round 1 of my summer list — The Lucky 7 — Also, push forward into your summer style, the following basics: favorite jeans, overalls, jackets (all things denim), light-weight cardigans, heels and flats (that aren’t wintery), plus any kind of pashmina or silk shawls.

  • 1) A Versatile Shirt: something kind of loose and easy to throw on with jeans, shorts, skirts; tucked in or worn out. Like a button-down, tunic or bib or henley style, pull-over blouse, or a smock-like asian inspired kimono style — for something new & different. A mens shirt works too, if it’s not too big. White or light colored cotton is the easiest to wear with a lot of things.

  • 2) A FUN Skirt: Cotton is best here too, but you can do silk if you prefer. I love and recommend a full-cut, but if you love slim cuts more, go for that. Get one with a little pizzaz, in a fun color, print, pattern — a dirndl style or something swingy half circle — or this unusual zip-off style, that’s both mini and midi (there’s only one). A fun skirt is such a great statement piece and so easy to pair with simple, basic, items like tops & sandals. *SEE other skirt options below*

  • 3) Summery Sneakers: Think low-top Converse — that’s what I’m loving. They’re classic, cool, and easy to pair with a lot of items. If you don’t like converse, find a style you love that pairs well with your clothes. Whites and neutrals will work best, but red can be pretty fun.

  • 4) A Boho Maxi Dress: Can’t get enough of these (get more than one if you can, you'll wear them a lot, trust me, they're worth it). These dresses will serve you long and well, pull-on and you’re done, says Vogue. So easy and kind of boho-glam. You guys know I love Liberty-prints, but I love solid colors too, with lovely details. These dresses aren’t going anywhere ... but they're going places, so enjoy them.

  • 5) Versatile Sandals: I love slides and thong styles, you might love more strappy styles. Solid colors, whatever shade you favor, work best because you can wear them with a lot of items. I love Nikola Sandals, handmade in Greece, variety of styles that’ll look great with all your kaj.ani pieces. Stylish, classic, versatile, you can easily get more than one pair to go with your summer wardrobe. Note: Comfort is key.

  • 6) Summer Bag: Be it a tote style, basket, or back-pack — whatever floats your boat. Something that’s fun, meets utility, and maybe more roomy. I love a leather-canvas combo that’s not too big, but big enough to fit your essentials, maybe a jacket, shawl or small blanket, plus water and snacks — If it’s going to be with you all day, pick something that you can handle carrying around comfortably. I like this kind of back-pack, this classic leather tote, that’ll be with you for a long time. I also love this sea-grass basket tote — it’s feminine and practical.

 

  • 7) Summer Whites! Are a must, at least one piece, a gorgeous, crisp white (or slightly off-white) item. I go for skirts the most (so easy to wear with simple tops), but I LOVE white dresses and can’t live without white tanks. You choose what you like most — don’t fear getting it dirty, that’s the worst reason not wear white — just get some Oxyclean and wear with confidence! My suggestions in eyelet are extra special and won't go out of style.

 
 
  • 8) BONUS: Remember good basic Tees! These are staples that’ll work with most of your bottoms; skirts, jeans, shorts, etc. Have some good tanks and tees on hand from your favorite makers.

 *Check out a few more items below — tops and skirts — they are real bargains. I hope you like and find this list helpful. As always, feel free to ask me anything. Stay tuned for more of the Summer Essentials list — things will get more beachy.

*Some additional options to the above essentials list — Tops & Skirts*

White Eyelet Blouse * Liberty Print Pull On 

Yellow Striped Fishtail Skirt * Embroidered Quilt Waist   

PS > If you missed the Spring 20% Off Dress-A-Thon — Find out, by asking me here or via email, how you can still get shop-discounts.


Part Two: Preserving Craftsmanship — Continued from the last blog post — What we can do. Every little bit helps. >> "How can traditional craftsmanship survive in the modern world?”

It's not easy, I know … but there are things we all can do to help preserve craftsmanship. The simplest answer I can give is:

1. Support the MAKERS by opting to purchase items they create. They may cost more, but they're worth it! Don’t get sucked in by cheap & deep price tags and mass-market (often slave-labor) goods. Buy less stuff, buy quality. You will not regret it.

2. Maybe learn some kind of craft yourself. You might acquire a nice skill and a greater appreciation of craftsmanship and its value, which may lead you to more easily support the work of other craftspeople.

When we value things they stick around longer. *BTW, cheap, mass-products also negatively impact small-biz boutique retailers that carry handmade-handcrafted goods. Their business suffers at the hands of (big retail competitors that sell cheap copies) knocked-off, mass-produced, slave-labor goods … more on this in the next post. Suffice it to say that it is up to each of us to vote with our wallets, to show what we value, or things could get pretty gross. — That’s my 2-cents. Have a beautiful June and I’ll see you in 2-weeks.

Ciao!

Wardrobe Essentials … Esteem & Compassion … Saving The Craft

 
 

 “Dressing Down Is A Crime Against Humanity” -- Simon Doonan

Could not find inspiration for this one (#25) — Too many ideas, nothing concrete, nothing I was juiced up about — then it happened, kind of suddenly, but not easily. The quote from Simon Doonan made me laugh and want to say something good. Then I came across the compassion article, then saw a post about craftsmanship, possibly dying … and I had myself some interesting tid bits to discuss with you all. Don’t know just how many people read our blog posts, or what people who do read them think of them, but I will keep writing until it no longer makes sense.  ;-) THIS is a slow-fashion journey blog, but it is so much more ... I hope it's fun to read.

The current topics: wardrobe building continued, self-compassion, the survival of craftsmanship. Read on …


Self Esteem is overrated — Self Compassion is where it’s at. It's what I read recently, must say I agree. — “The self-worth that comes from being kind to yourself is much more stable than that which comes from judging yourself positively.” - says Kristin Neff in an article by Olga Khazan, titled ‘Why Self-Compassion Works Better Than Self-Esteem’ — “Boosting your ego won’t make you feel better. Instead, try talking to yourself like you would your best friend.” Khazan interviewed Neff (a psychology professor at the University of Texas) about how self-esteem has failed us — “Though self-esteem continues to reverberate as a pop-psych cure-all, the quest for inflated egos, in her view, is misguided and largely pointless. There’s nothing wrong with being confident … The trouble is how we try to achieve high self-regard. Often, it’s by undermining others or comparing our achievements to those around us. That’s not just unsustainable, Neff argues, it can also lead to narcissism or depressive bouts during hard times.” — Truth. Comparing oneself is often a waste of time and mostly riddled with negativity. “Neff proposes a better path: Self-compassion. In other words, treating yourself just like you would your best friends, even when they (you) screw up.” — writes Khazan   

Can we do this? Yes, of course we can! Self-compassion is so much kinder, and don’t we all want to live in a kinder, gentler world?

There ya have it. What do you guys think? Here’s the whole article — read on and decide for yourself.


Wardrobe Building Continued … Dressing Down Is A Crime Against Humanity” — a quote that rings true to some, but not very many. Those who live by it, I reckon, don’t need much style advice, just some ideas on fabulous finds, most likely. — However, to most of us, whether it’s unfortunate or not, we live in a dress-down world where leggings are pants and other similar style tragedies. (Jeans don’t count, denim is fabulous when you're selective.) So, we’ve got to, kind of, play it where it lies and perhaps try our best to improve upon it, should the spirits of better style move us to do so. *NOTE: Building a wardrobe has much to do about style vs. trends. For a truly fabulous and versatile and self-serving wardrobe you’ve got to favor style instead of trend.

In the last post I wrote that it is infinitely better to stand apart from the heard … but the heard is so big, sometimes overwhelmingly so, and we blend in whether we like it or not. And in our effort to nurture personal style and build a fabulous wardrobe … we must push on, happily and inspired by life and beauty. — Let’s go!

I’m gonna give you a few essentials here — in no particular order. And will continue to give you what I think are essentials in ongoing posts. Remember, I’m here to HELP — feel free to ask questions. Now, if you already have these (the items I'm suggesting, below), either stay tuned, search for some new essential pieces, do nothing, or start editing your wardrobe and ridding it of things you don’t want or need.

These are 3 recommendations to explore — with good details included. I’ll give more in the next post.

A dramatic dress — that will work and wear well for a long time. A style you can likely go from day or evening … something that stands out beautifully, but does not scream too loud. Made in a high quality fabric, and that you can wear almost any season. It should work with a few different types of shoes, like pumps, strappy, boots, etc. Is easy to throw a cover over, like a shawl, blazer, cardigan, coat. It’s a tall order, but this dress delivers. I can recommend other style in future post.

A Good (tailored) pant — in a easy to wear, season-less fabric. A solid color that you can wear different kinds of tops with. One you can dress up and dress down as needed, and of course, it fits you nicely, whether it's fitted or loose. I recommend light weight wool, denim, viscose blends, wool blends. (No poly - it pills, it does not wear well.)

A fitted jacket/blazer — that works with a lot of stuff. Go for quality fabric, the cheap stuff is just not worth it, take it from me, it looks cheap too. A fitted shape is more versatile, believe it or not, it goes with more silhouettes, but if you prefer looser, if it flatters you better, then go for it. It should work with pants, skirts, dresses, (not everything, but a lot of things). Choose color according with what you have in your wardrobe. Start with solid, later you can always add a print or pattern. It should have some structure, but not be too stiff. Light enough to wear a lot, but not flimsy.


As we get nearer to Summer, yay! You will get my list of Summer Essentials, yay!
However, I will keep up these wardrobe building ideas — they’re ongoing, so keep reading.

PS — Here’s just one problem with trends — “If you can’t stand to look at one more off-the-shoulder top… We’ve got three cool alternatives for Summer” — is what I saw recently in another blog. Gotta say, stuff like this kinda makes me cringe … I know we cannot fully get away from trends, but they're unsustainable, costly and mostly foolish. I’ll leave it there … as people ponder what to do with that (off the shoulder or whatever) trendy item now that they're sick of it cause everybody has one and it looks lame. Clue: don't head off to fast-fashion bastions like forever 21, H&M, etc... please. Save your money for something good, that you'll enjoy for longer than a season or year. Good clothes serve you better.


How can traditional craftsmanship survive in the modern world?

I believe, YES! We can collectively save it, if not all, then at the very least half or better, because we can do better …  “Around the world, the beauty and cultural wisdom of age-old craftsmanship is on the verge of extinction. Highly-skilled craftsmen and women have become an endangered species as more young people have chosen other career options. This, and the proliferation of merchandised, globalized production has brought many traditional, craft-based businesses to their knees. Those that remain are often small, family-run enterprises, without the financial resources to attract and develop new talent and without the skills to create sustainable business models. How can traditional craftsmanship survive in the modern world?” Read More.

What's The Answer? TBA — in the next post. For now, please ponder what this could mean and the consequences of dying arts and crafts … perhaps some ideas will come as to how to help.


      Until then — 2-weeks from now — Ciao & Happy Dressing!

PPS> Mercury is FINALLY out of retrograde! It’s been a trying time that has tested our patience and our faith. Here’s to far more fabulous times ahead … peace, harmony, prosperity to us all!


What Are You Wearing?

Fabulous Stefanie at work — in kaj.ani silk blouse & good-ass harem pant. Pant: Made to order. Blouse: one left here.

*The Happy Diet — Building a Wardrobe — Minimalism vs. Maximalism*

(+ Bonnie Cashin —Rule Breaker + Wear What Now)

 
*Happy (model) in my fav Liberty dress* Classic-Bold-Artful — Fashion for Keeps.  

*Happy (model) in my fav Liberty dress* Classic-Bold-Artful — Fashion for Keeps.
 

 

This is #24 — and each time I still get nervous posting the newest blog. I wonder if you all will like it, find it interesting-inspiring-fun-provocative-boring-whatever ... well, not whatever. I always hope for more engagement-dialogue-feedback from my readers ... that you might oblige because it'll be more fun and would mean a lot. After all, I’m a designer (not a professional writer), and I’m trying to bring you what I hope is creative-practical-interesting perspective a couple times a month — on style, creativity, consciousness, and other things related. So, come on, I know you have a voice…

 

*Before we Begin>> Sending Love To All The Beautiful Mamas, Everywhere -- Beyond Mothere's Day*

 

The HAPPY DIET? Why, yes, there is such a thing! And I did not invent it, but I’m going to do it. (Have been trying to implement it, but this past week has been a bit rough, and I've dropped the ball and forgetten on a few occasion.) Try this — especially if you’ve been feeling overwhelmed and uninspired by all the ‘to-do’ lists, often stripping your daily life of the joy you deserve to experience in living it. Getting caught up in absolutely everything we have to do and forgetting to live is no fun at all. Institute a new practice — whereupon YOU get to do something you enjoy, one thing, big or small, every day, or at least a few times a week. Even little things can have a big impact. It is nothing less than actively acknowledging wonderfulness, no matter how small — be it flowers or pizza.

Some Ideas: (or your definition of what I’m describing here)

  1. Take yourself out to lunch to a place you’ve been wanting to try and haven’t. Meet a friend there, or fly solo.

  2. Go to a favorite coffee spot … take a break, relish the time, read something you enjoy, or just people watch.

  3. Treat yourself to some favorite flowers. Sometimes nothing is lovelier than fresh flowers.

  4. Take time to make a meal you love … can’t cook? — Get take-out of a favorite meal.

  5. Spend some time browsing in a bookstore …find something fun or inspiring to read.

  6. Call or see someone you really like, maybe haven’t been in touch with lately — catch up with people whose company enjoy.

  7. You’ve got errands — take at least a 30 to 60 minute excursion to do something you enjoy. Like, taking a walk in a park ... sit on a bench, with a snack, day-dream, dwell in possibilities ...

  8. Sneak off to a movie, by yourself. Enjoy some popcorn and get lost in a story for a little while.

OK, these are just some ideas. Everyone’s life and schedules are different, I’m certain you can come up with some on your own plans and ideas. IF you try the Happy Diet, do let us know how it went.

 
 

Building A Wardrobe — Minimalism — Maximalism (part 1)

Plain & Fancy Building Blocks: Trends are less prominent, or obvious, these days, and that's a good thing. Elements of both minimal and maximal are in the air — there for the taker of whatever aesthetic they prefer. You decide, (as is said on lame stream media), which camp you are in. Can’t decide? You don’t have to … it is possible to have the best of both, a marriage of minimalism & maximalism, in today’s world. (Things are so kooky anyway.)  And, if like me, if you happen to enjoy both ends of the style spectrum, go for it, build that cool and chic and quirky wardrobe … just make sure it serves you well, really make it your own, put in your special twist. In a world where leggings are officially considered pants — and almost every other woman I see is wearing them that way — it is better to stand apart than be part of the heard. *Feel free to ask me questions.

There is something wonderful about not blending in … carving out your own niche is infinitely more interesting. So don’t shy away from some statement pieces, dramatic, yet trendless, they can serve you really well — year after year, season after season. A fabulous print or pattern, bold color, unusual fabric, embroidery, sparkle ... Coats, dresses, jackets, blouses, etc. These statemnt pieces will make your basics better. — But they gotta be good clothes, well made, made-to-order, good vintage. You get where I'm going with this. Just like anything else, bolder pieces take a bit of practice. It may feel weird in the beginning, but you’ll go from novice to style maven in almost no time, and you’ll feel really good about it! This, in turn, will contribute to your happiness factor. You might get so good that you’ll even be able to mix prints and patterns with aplomb.

Of course you cannot build a fabulous wardrobe without good basics. (Note: building a good wardrobe has little to do with buying what’s on sale or what’s trendy, it is more about being thoughtful and selective) I’m talking about classic trousers, simple shirts, good tees, jackets, jeans, LBDs, etc. — These are the canvases for your statement pieces. They are often classics that last, that you continue to build upon. — And this can be that marriage of minimal and maximal. *I’m here for style tips* Now, if it is your aim to just blend-in, forget my advice. And let me tell you, I am often guilty of this ‘dulldom’ myself, since I work from my abode, I get lazy and don’t make an effort. When I do make an effort I feel fantastic! So, in honor of the Happy Diet, I shall make more of an effort to get dressed-up, because, truth be told, I have a fabulous wardrobe that gets very lonely. Time to stop ignoring all those items that bring such joie de vivre.

Note: These suggestions are inclusive of shoes, but a good wardrobe is not built on shoes alone. Basic jeans and tee with fancy shoes is not very interesting, trust me. Perhaps one of these days I’ll invite my good friend Nicole to write a shoe segment. Perhaps I’ll even do an accessories segment featuring other makers.

Meanwhile, I hope you got something useful out of this segment. I know it's not very detailed … but I’ve covered lots of details in previous posts and will continue to do so going forward. Plus, I'm counting on you to use your imaginations, and always encourage you to chime in, participate in whatever way you like.

*Items Of The Month: These pieces encompass that interesting combination of basic & statement — minimal & maximal. A classically modern blouse in an arty print. A bold skirt in a basic, neutral, classic color. They have endless possibilities. See where I’m going here? Wear them with existing items in your wardrobe and wear them together, top with bottom. The blouse is great with jeans, the skirt is great with simple tank or tee.

 
 
 

This Is Part One: I challenge you >> WEAR that one thing in your closet that you never wear, but keep hanging on to … can’t get rid of, because it’s there for a reason, dang-it! And one day you’re gonna wear it. Now is your chance. Put it on — send me a picture, via email or social media — I will help you put it to rest, either make use of it with some ideas or tell you that it truly is no good and you should donate it* Are YOU up for the challenge? I’m offering my ‘stylist’ services — gratis. IF you’re too shy, just show me picture of the item, sans you.
*PS — This is the last month of our Spring Dress-A-Thon. Your 20% Off Dress-Purchase-Discount ends May 31* ShopCode: DRESS20 — Don’t miss it. Something you’ll love and wear for a long time. @kajanistudio & @SpeakEasyBoutique


I’m recommending this even before I’ve read it … but I am going to.

Now hear this! >> Bonnie didn’t play by the ‘fashion-rules’ and neither do we. It’s not easy, but the fashion rules so often suck. — A book about the late-great Bonnie Cashin is coming soon, and I aim to read it. In this age of ‘fast-fashion’ — it’s nice to go back in time to when things were more sensible, more intimate, more civilized. When creativity was much more than a commodity ... Plus, I love that she started her label at 43! “Bonnie Cashin as Revealed by Author and Archivist Stephanie Lake”Article HERE.

 

That's all folks! -- Have a glorious month of May and I’ll see you all in 2-weeks.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this post.

Ciao!


*What Are You Wearing?

Me at the cutting table -- decided to make some chic little Liberty scarfs toadd to the shop mix @kajanistudio -- wearing my trusty, chunky, charcoal sweater and Liberty-daisy swing-skirt with metallic flats. (It gets cold and warm on a minute by minute basis here in May) Sweater and skirt - kaj.ani, shoes - Jeffrey Campbell.

 

EAT — GLOW — WEAR — Crazy April Continues …

(Feel Good Food — Eat Here + Wear This + Make This — Purple Sadness)

Mercury is going retrogradge, along with 5-other planets. Sounds crazy, no? — You’d think we were already there… This month, so far, has been crazier and more complicated than it needs to be. I will not go into a “dear diary” moment here, telling of all the bull$#it that I’ve already encountered, quite needlessly. I will say this — keep calm, lay low, think positive! — Because there is another perspective: “If our collective consciousness looked at a retrograde event as something purely positive, it would have a much different effect on humanity as a whole. Retrograde has never been something negative or something to fear; it is a time for us to grow into ourselves more, and sometimes growing can be a bit painful.” — Get all your loose ends wrapped up by the 28th, if you can. Then, chill out. See article

*GOOD News — Summer is around the corner! You can wear your fabulous new dresses now, until it gets too cold. DRESS20 is the shop-code for your 20% Off made-to-order dresses @kajanistudio & other dresses @SpeakEasyBoutique.

OK, let’s talk Food! — Food for your skin — Places to try if you’re in LA. Some fave eateries + What to wear when there (I know LA is notoriously casual, but try to refrain from wearing yoga pants and cut-offs everywhere). It is well worth pulling yourself together and making a bit of an effort.


For Healthy Skin, Feed Your Body Right

List of beauty foods that pack a lot of punch. Healthy fats are #1, get your omega 3 fats — Fish high in omega-3 while being low in toxins like mercury include wild-caught Alaskan salmon and small fatty fish like sardines and anchovies. Another option: A high quality animal-based omega-3 supplement, such as krill oil or wild Alaskan salmon oil. Both have the added advantage of naturally occurring astaxanthin, which helps protect your skin against UV radiation damage. — Other healthy fats: Coconut oil, avocado, olives and olive oil, and raw nuts. Macadamia, pecans, brazil nuts are higher in healthy fat, lower in terms of carbs and protein, good source of selenium, can help protect against sun damage.

For Radiant Skin, Boost Your Vegetable Intake — Fresh vegetables are essential for creating healthy skin — (ideally organic, to avoid toxic pesticides). Vegetables are high in both water and nutrients, and promote optimal functioning of your natural detoxification systems.

Vitamin C Promotes Tighter, Clearer Skin — Aids in your body's production of collagen, which is the protein that forms the basic scaffolding of your skin. It also helps with skin healing, if you’re struggling with any kind of skin problems. — Foods high in C include citrus fruits, papaya, kiwi, strawberries, red bell peppers, broccoli, and brussel sprouts. Citrus fruits also contain limonene which is associated with a 34 percent lower risk of skin cancer.

Green Tea and Dark Chocolate Also Boost Skin Health — An excellent source of antioxidants, green tea is packed with vitamins A, D, E, C, B, B5, H, and K, manganese, other beneficial minerals such as chromium, zinc, and selenium. — Dark chocolate is another source of valuable antioxidants. Cocoa flavanols in particular have been shown to boost skin hydration and improve blood circulation, ideally 70 percent cacao or higher.

Preventing Sunburn and Skin Damage With Nature-Made Sunscreens — Lycopene and astaxanthin are two other nutrients that can offer protection against UV radiation damage by acting as internal sunscreens. Tomatoes are a prime source of lycopene. + Vitamin D, which is metabolized when UV rays strike your skin, has been shown to reduce your risk of melanoma.

Read full article HERE

 
 

  — If You’re In LA — Go Here > Eat > Wear —

Here: A few of my favorite places to eat in Los Angeles. (I have more...for another time) Yes, there are a million-gajillion restaurant guides out there — from all the experts — I’m not trying to be one of those, but I know what I like, so I thought I’d share some places with you. Most often when you read reviews for restaurants they refer to the dinner menu, but I LOVE day-time dining, (sometimes more than dinner), both casual and more refined varieties. I think it’s good to know some offerings out there for fans of lunch, business and pleasure. If you have eaten at any of these, then try other places, or ask me for more recommendations. So if you’re a lover of day-time dining — come with me and wear something nice!  LA is quite a food town with many wonderful eateries. I’m giving you 4 to try now.

1. Market Provisions (formerly Cooks County, mid-city) One of my fave places for brunch, lunch, dinner — can’t go wrong with their delicious farm-to-table menu. I’ve eaten here a lot and have never been disappointed. (Sometimes they can be a little heavy handed with salt) For brunch, try the polenta and egg dish, all the hashes are always really good. Menu is seasonal, sometimes things change. I’ve yet to try the ‘hangover special’, but it looks so good. Almost the entire lunch menu is pretty darn great, but you gotta try the burger, it’s BIG, so be hungry. If less hungry, try the grilled asparagus. They always do great fish dishes, too, my fave is the trout, not currently on the menu. The happy hours are also good. Wear: casual, but on the dressier side. Wear something NICE that makes you feel good, a pretty dress, skirt and top, good jeans with nice blouse, even something sleek and chic, but not over the top.

You can tell I’m no food blogger, because I start eating, enthusiastically, before I photo the food…no good ;-)

2. The Rose (Venice) It took me a while to eventually get to this lovely, open and airy cafe. It’s big, with a big menu to match. It’s very California, very laid back, very yummy. For lunch, I love the grilled asparagus with egg, roasted avocado salad, chicken liver mousse is my fave, the burger — all so yummy — wash down with a glass of prosecco, (other stuff I’ve yet to try all sound good too). Farm-to-Table goodness. Wear: I said laid-back, but not sloppy. There’s nothing I dislike more than seeing people dining out, dressed like slobs. Making an effort is perfectly civilized and does not need to be uncomfortable. Throw on an effortlessly cool dress, a casual tee with a nice skirt, jeans and a button-up, etc… you get the idea.            

3. Republique (mid-city) A big, beautiful, light-filled, place with a nice menu. Dinner is of course fab here, but the breakfast and lunch menus are pretty darn great. I hear the shakshuka is fantastic, but I’ve yet to try it. The bread is wonderful, and I’m not a big bread eater. The breakfast potatoes are yum, perfect if you’re a bit hungover, too. I love the smoked salmon tartine, the daily soup is always good, the omelette, croque madame, mushroom toast … good stuff … with wine or coffee. Wear: I always spot unfortunate ensembles wherever I go, this lovely place is no exception. So pull yourself together with a pair of loose-comfy-chic pants and a nice top, jeans or skirt with a nice jacket or top, a good dress. Be comfortable in a civilized way.

4. Pine & Crane (Silverlake) I have BIG love for this place and get insane cravings for their food. The menu is partly seasonal, but does not change between lunch and dinner. The place is casual and very delicious. Families gather, neighborhood hipsters are there, others from further away come to this much beloved place. The line for seating can sometimes get very long … it’s worth the wait. I love all the simply prepared fresh veggies from their farm. The Taiwanese cabbage is my fave, but I love them all. LOVE the woodear mushrooms and I’m all about the small plates. Favorites: Scallion pancake, potstickers (both veggie and pork). The dumplings are good, but not as good as the potstickers. I don’t think anything here is not good, but I heart the small plates most. Wear: A cute dress with a cardi or denim jacket. It’s very casual here, but plenty of people dress nicely, along with those who dress slovenly, it’s a mix.

5. TheSpeakEasy (mid-city) — That’s right, make an appointment and come to SpeakEasyBoutique @kajanistudio atelier. You can actually shop us IN PERSON, by apptointment. Try on whatever you like, get a fabulous archive piece (on sale!), or order something made for you. Details HERE


Two HOT Items To Consider — Wear to any luncheon or daytime outing. The question is, are you a fancy-top girl or a fancy-skirt girl or both? Either way, we've got you covered.


*BONUS … The easiest pancake recipe! (from scratch)

Healthy, delicious, and grain free. This equation serves 2, multiply for more people. You will need a blender. (I use my “magic bullet” and it works great) Here are the essentials and the suggested embellishments.

Essential Ingredients: 2 Eggs, 1 Banana, Pinch of Sea Salt, 1/2 tsp Baking Soda, Coconut Oil (for cooking)

Embellishments: 1/2 tsp.Vanilla Extract, Pinch of Cinnamon or Nutmeg, 2 Tbsp of Coconut Flour — Extras: fruit of your choice, grass-fed butter, raw honey — to drizzle. Substitutions: can sub the coconut flour for buckwheat flour if you prefer hardier pancakes with more body.

 

Instructions: *Put all the above ingredients into a blender gingerly, blend until smooth and combined. *Heat your skillet or stove top griddle (these are the best and I highly recommend having one) on medium for about 2 minutes — be sure you have a hot & oiled surface for cooking your pancakes — heat your oil, depending on the size of your surface, anywhere from 1 to 3 teaspoons, all at once or a little at a time. *Ladle out the batter, about 2 to 3” inch size circles, (a little smaller or bigger makes no diff). — Takes about 2 minutes per side, to cook, give or take — check to be sure they cook but don't burn. They are light and delicate and tend to cook quickly. Makes about 4 to 6 pancakes, depending on size. Serve: Hot off the stove with some grass-fed butter, fruit of your choice, drizzle of honey.

 

 I hope you’ve enjoyed this FOOD segment. Let us know below. I’m happy to oblige with more food stories. As always, feel free to ask me questions. See you all in 2-weeks.
                                

Until next time … Ciao!

 Tag us on Social Media — some hashtags to consider — #WhoMadeMyClothes, #FashionForKeeps, #ConsciousCommerce #HandamdeToOrder


*His Purple Majesty — Prince — has shuffled off the mortal coil. Taken from us much too soon. An immensely and fabulously talented artist and humanitarian that will be tremendously missed. He touched our lives in many ways … I hope he’s inspired us all to be more and to dress-up more. PEACE Be Still & Thank You For Being.

When Doves Cry

So many amazing artists have left us this year. It’s not fair … time for the Universe to start whisking away some of the scum of the earth, like war-criminals, instead … because things appear to be a bit out of balance.


*PS — As it is April 24, it's the 101 year anniversary of the Armenian Genocide*

Remembrance
 and Commemoration

 
 

_ A Mixed Bag For Crazy April_

DIY Denim — Spring Dress-A-Thon Continues — As does your discount!
      (A Video Message + Fashion The Year You Were Born)

Left panel: Keith Haring - Untitled 1984.    Right Panel: Keith Haring - Untitled 1983.   Center photography by Loren Philip

Left panel: Keith Haring - Untitled 1984.    Right Panel: Keith Haring - Untitled 1983.   Center photography by Loren Philip

FASHION — after all, is a form of self expression — let’s make it GOOD. Also, there's something about warmer weather that makes you want to own something new, pretty and fun.

DIY — Demin lovers, unite! — This segment is especially good for crafty-creative types, even (kind of) punk-rock types … heck, just about anyone can do this thing in one form or another, if they wanted to. So, this isinspired by a recent Vogue post, (plus, earlier this year I had seen another fashion-post about a much ballyhooed Marc Jacobs denim jacket, as a must have item, going for like $995 bucks), where I thought — once again — what a perfect DIY project! Here’s a picture, the link and some tips, so you can see for yourself just how do-able this is.


DIY Denim

DIY Denim

The year’s coolest denim (apparently worth over a grand, seriously!)

Keith Haring - Untitled 1985

Keith Haring - Untitled 1985

I’m loving Keith Haring inspired ideas — but feel free to use whatever kinds of styles you love.

Get Inspired, denim lovers, then do this.

  1.  Scour your local Goodwill and other such thrift stores — in search of some decent vintage pieces you can customize to make your own — bonus, no one else will have one like it! (Jackets, pants, etc.) Maybe you already own some old denim pieces you can work with.

  2.  Head to your local craft store for supplies for this masterpiece you’re about to create. Get fabric paint, stencils (if you’re not a free-hander), spay-paint, studs, sparkles, glitter, whatever you like.

  3.  Try the piece on in order to get an idea of where you want your art-work to go, legs, arms, back, pockets, etc.

  4.  Come up with some art-work to put on said denim, draw it our on paper first so you get an idea of what it’ll look like. Trace or draw the art onto your denim with pencil or pen, lightly, for placement.

  5.  Pick your colors, then go to town on that denim! Make it yours. Let dry — then wear and enjoy. Et voila!


                                         Spring Dress-A-Thon — Go on, get one, already!


Did you LOVE the 7-day 7-dress selection from the last post? Did you get yourself a new dress ... or are on the verge of doing so? Well, I love dresses, as do countless others, often they are the perfect and easy thing to wear and I want to encourage more women to wear them more often. *Plus, the warmer weather makes you want to own something new and fresh, after months of gloomy cold, you totally deserve to. As the world feels new and green again, here are 4-more fresh picks + a couple of archive bargains (below) that you should grab if they’re your size — seriously. Order now and have it in a few weeks — wear all spring-summer and into fall. Remember your shop-discount for 20% off code: DRESS20 (just for dresses).

*BONUS — when you subscribe to & share the blog, you get another 20% off discount-code to use all year on anything you want — that’s right! (We’ll email you the shop-code.) Current subscribers, ask us how to get your bonus discount. We're happy to oblige anyone who gives us a hand.


 

Liberty Shirtdress — Perfect for weekends, outings, office — change up your shoes to make more dressy or casual. Cover up with a light cardigan, blazer, denim jacket, or shawl.

 

New Keyhole-Maxi—Perfect for a weekend date, summer cocktail parties, posh picnics, vacations, etc. Best with sandals, flats, mid-heel pumps. Cover up with shawl, cropped jacket, cardigan. We also make this style in all the Liberty prints, and we can make it shorter if you like.

Liberty Kimono Dress — Great for the office, perfect for dates, outings and vacations. Wear with or without the obi-belt. Polished with pumps, more casual with sandals, even great with strappy heels. Cover up with shawl or a little jacket.

 

Liberty Ruffle-Edged Maxi —  excellent party dress, very boho-sexy, day or evening. Dressier with beaded obi, more casual without — keep shoes simple with slip-ons, or strappy sandals, flats are best. Cover up with light cardigan, little jacket, or shawl. (If you like the keyhole style more, go for it)


Two Archive Bargains You’ll Wear Forever … or just about.

Green Silk Sheath — goes effortlessly from office to party, day to evening, spring or fall — wear to work with fitted blazer, cardigan, pumps, boots — then wear for evening with heels, flats, shawls, denim jacket — you’re golden. (There’s only one in size small and it’s a screaming bargain at $85 bucks!)

 

 

Striped Silk V-Dress — this sweet crepe de chine number is full of charm and beautiful details (the flower pins are removable) — wear to work with a little blazer and pumps (or flats) — wear on a date, or to a party, with some strappy shoes, a shawl, denim jacket, cardigan. Now right into fall. (Only one, $105 an absolute steal!)

 

If after all this you’re still not a dress person ... I’ll guide to a couple of great tops & shirts to wear with your jeans, (in an upcoming post issue) ok? -- Plus, you can still use the shop-discount code for any item you wish. (Easy 20% Off just for Signing-up & Sharing)


Video Message:  — Let’s make 2016 another year we get closer to conscious consumerism and loving kindness. I know it’s not easy, but with some practice it can be easier. It’s like asking; would I prefer to go to McDonalds all the time, or to a nice restaurant once a month? More often than not it’s about patience, mindfulness, values, preferences, less about affordability than one might think. (1 great meal vs. a lot of cheap ones — one great handmade garment vs. a lot of fast fashion — what are we investing in?) Every purchase is a vote and your apparel should cost more than your lunch. Not always an easy choice, but well worth it in terms of global & local good.

Take A Trip Down Fashion-History Lane: What People Were Wearing the Year You Were Born

PS — Soon I’m going to a do a segment about food ... in some capacity. About the enjoyment of eating (real food), the bonus of nutrition, treating your skin right with foods, places I love to dine, what to wear when there, etc. — maybe even a recipe or something, but for now that’s all she wrote.

Hint: if there's a topic you'd like to read about in these posts, let me know.

Happy Dressing! —  See you all in two weeks — Ciao!

keith Haring - Untitled 1981

keith Haring - Untitled 1981

SPRING HAS SPRUNG — Let’s Dress!

 

I know it’s Jeans World, but … Dresses are so compelling! — Read on…


(A Dress A Day + The Great Dress SALE + Sustainable Fashion? + Vote…on Next Topic)

 

Pretty dresses are life enhancing and we can all use more of that.

“Betty saw her vanity as a component of good manners. It was life enhancement for everyone. No charge! According to her, we owed it to each other to make an effort. She did not engage in deranged attempts to turn back the clock. For Betty, beauty was a positive thing, a life-affirming, creative force.”

— wrote Simon Doonan about his remarkable mother in the book Nasty, (I highly recommend).

In this post (and perhaps others), I will aim to help and encourage you wear more of them, more often. I’m going to show you some and even wear some for you, (bear with me, I’m NO model, and I'm 5 feet). I’ll also answer ALL of your pressing questions, really any question, and help guide you if you like. — I expect you to chime in, whatever way you wish, even send me your photos!

Let’s do it — The Dress-A-Day Challenge (7-Days 7-Dresses) — Celebrate Spring and all things pretty. Most of these will to serve you from Spring through Fall, many seasons and years, I think. That’s what I call fashion-for-keeps. I may break this post into 2-segments. There are so many offerings to choose from and the timing is perfect for a Dress-A-Thon!

The Great Dress Sale! — All month long, until April 30, I’m giving you 20% Off your first purchase. 

*Use shop-code: DRESS20 for your discount in both our shops. @kajanistudio & @SpeakEasyBoutique

BONUS — An additional 5% (that’s 25% off) for anyone who Subscribes to blog + shares this post and our shops with friends and family. (Early-Bird Special is good until April 30) Already a subscriber? Then share widely and tell us about it to get your 25% off. Word of mouth can be everything, and much appreciated by small-makers like us.

I Get Ideas … wear dresses with ease and comfort and feel pretty darn lovely. It’s a bit chilly now, you may need to layer and I’ve got tips for that.


 

Day 1: Liberty-Print Mini-Dress — wear to office and any place casual — with long-sleeve Tee under, boots & knee-socks (or tights), layer with chunky sweater (cardigan or pull-over in a solid color), for extra warmth or instead of the Tee. When it’s warm and summery, wear with fave sandals, that’s all. (Comes in other Liberty prints.)


 

Day 2: Hand-Painted Blue Rainbow Silk — wear for occasions, weddings, dates, parties, etc. — Wear to work with Little Blazer (belted optional). Also a demin jacket, shawl, light cardigan in solid color, midi-pumps, sandals, flats, tall neutral color boots. For those who are taller, try it with a Car Coat, it’ll look fabulous.


 

Day 3: High-Neck Sheath in Antique-Floral Silk — perfect for specails occasions, date night, luncheons, weddings, etc. Can also be great for office — with Blazer, long-cardigan, short-fitted cardigan, car coat (belting optional, but good) heels, flats, boots in neutral or reddish color.


 

Day 4: Liberty Daisy Swing-Dress — wear almost anywhere (for daytime), to office, parties, picnics, dressy and casual — with little cardigan, fitted blazer, denim jacket, chunky sweater, all kinds of shoes, heels to flip-flops. (Comes in 4 other liberty prints too!)


Day 5:   Vavoom V-Dress     Another go-anywhere style; office, occasions, daytime to casual evening — wear with a little cardigan in gray or black, a fitted blazer, denim jacket, pumps, flats, sandals. A contemporary classic you wear and wear.

Day 6: Liberty Open-Keyhole Dress  Let the sun shine on this loveliness. Wear on dates, occasions, to work — wear solo (it’s got long sleeves), with sandals or pumps. Chilly? Throw a cardigan over, or denim jacket, and you’re golden.

Day 7: Liberty Pleat-Dress w.PocketsRun for this very chic, pretty dress. Versatile for day into evening, and to work — with small black cardigan and some great ballet flats, heels, sandals, in a solid color of red, black, turquoise, etc. It’ll serve you well.

Hope you’ve enjoyed these selections. Perhaps we’ll do more in the next segment, or other posts. It was hard to narrow down just 7 dresses, many others would work just as well. Feel free to pelt me with your questions, I’m happy to offer style tips. + Explore the shops, there may be other styles you might like more than these.


Sustainable fashion? — I’m glad this topic is growing in the number of people who wish to know. It’s a tough question and many don’t want to explore it further. That’s OK, enough of us do to make it another compelling topic. Well, it is and it isn’t — it’s never totally sustainable because it's “stuff". BUT, and this is big — it CAN be much more sustainable than it is currently.  Here’s what I read by another person (designer/creator) asking this question—on a quest to live more sustainably, but not have to give up a love of fashion.

HERE WE GO: is it possible to be committed to social and environmental ideals and to love fashion? — Asks Nadine Farag, (as written in MR). Skip to — “a first-year PhD student delving into the challenges facing our global community … Meanwhile, my love for fashion never waned. But the more I learned, the more I felt that fashion directly collided with my values. From an environmental perspective, the cycle of consumption and waste generated by fashion’s churn taxes an already-strained climate. On the human dimension, clothes are often manufactured in developing countries that lack sufficient labor laws to ensure that workers receive fair pay and work under safe conditions. So I explored different ways to maintain my relationship with fashion.” (Then) “Instead, maybe fashion — the clothes I buy, the things I choose to wear — could be another way for me to put my beliefs into practice. For better or worse, consumption is a powerful act. We vote once every couple of years, but we spend money, in some form, basically every day. So instead of rejecting fashion, I decided to embrace it with a sense of greater respect than I had before. — I’ve learned that approaching fashion from this place of higher consciousness can mean, well, anything you want it to mean. At times, the conversation around sustainability can feel like an exclusive discussion that you can’t weigh in on if you don’t know how leather is tanned or whether fair trade is effective. Of course, it’s useful to understand the issues, but sustainability isn’t — and shouldn’t be — about a one-size-fits-all definition. In order for sustainability to mean something to you, it has to work within the context of your life. In the mean time, here are a few ideas to get started.”

  1. Slow down your relationship with fashion—buy less, invest in timeless pieces. Why this matters: One of the main reasons our modern relationship with fashion is so unsustainable is that we buy too much. Fast fashion fuels this with prices that are often so low, we don’t have to question whether we really need or truly love that thing we’re about to buy. Low prices may seem like an advantage, but they have negative effects on both the environment (we buy more and waste more) and the workers who make our clothes.

  2. Support artisans, buy handmade. Why this matters: Handcrafts are endangered all over the world as artisans can’t compete from a price standpoint with goods that are mass-produced. This has two adverse impacts: the loss of employment in artisanal trades, and the threat that traditional crafts and techniques will be forgotten. Buying handmade doesn’t just support a process, it often gets you a better end product — one that is more intricate and special, one that will last longer than its machine-made counterpart. (Etsy is a great source)

  3. Find a tailor. Why this matters: Our clothes have a life cycle. Over time, they get worn in certain spots, their buttons fall off and they get ripped and snagged. When we pay very little for a piece of clothing, we tend to throw out or donate our clothes when they’ve had some (even minor) wear and tear. Practically, this generates waste and leads us to buy more clothes. Philosophically, we become at risk of viewing our clothes as disposable. And any true fashion lover knows that clothes are anything but disposable.

“No matter how you start, the first step to being a more conscious fashion lover is curiosity, which involves cultivating an interest in where our clothing comes from, where it goes after we no longer want it and who is impacted by the decisions we make about what we wear. Once we start asking ourselves these questions, the answers are never too far off.”  — There ya have it.


VOTE! — On the next blog topic. — Go on with your bad-self and tell me what’ll be fun to read.
Possible options: 1. Food —what do you love to eat— we’ll give you some ideas, maybe an easy recipe, or fabulous places to try dining. 2. Our Spring Must-Have List—more fashion—can’t get enough! 3. Meet other artisans & makers (series). 4. Books (or films) —faves and recommendations and inspiration. 5. Add YOUR own topic.  Let me know below in comments or email kajanistudio. (Note: the Dress-Segment will continue)

That’s all she wrote — see you all in 2-weeks — Ciao!

~ B E A U T Y ~

Do Beautiful Clothes Make The world Go Round?

 
Saying goodbye to Downton Abbey

Saying goodbye to Downton Abbey

 

(Wrap-Up Fashion-Month + Farewell To Downton + Mood Change + Must-Have Dress)

Beauty Is Truth, Truth Beauty” said Keats. So, Can Beauty Heal? Perhaps. Is it true that—when you look good you feel good and when you feel good you look good? Much of the time, I’d venture to say, yes. Fashion is self expression, but beauty is so much more than fashion, beautiful clothes are more than just fashion, too. — Beautiful is useful. I know I’m philosophizing, but hear me out. (Not talking about pretty girls in fashion mags, movies, media.) Beauty does the heart and soul good, in so many ways, on so many levels, we need beauty. The beauty of one's soul, the beauty that surrounds you, the beauty of objects, etc. ... Beautiful clothes are an extension of the very beauty we (humans) need in our lives. It takes up good space and it helps us feel good. Therefore it can, and often does, have the power to heal. So there it is — Yes, Beautiful is Useful. (Like our campaign said, a while back.)

OK, let’s talk fashion-shows, Downton, changes, clothes … more b e a u t y.

Saying goodbye to Downton Abbey — I don’t know what I’ll miss most. — The CLOTHES! For goodness sake, I don’t think a program/film/show has ever had so much beauty with which to captivate me totally … I mean, pure gorgeousness, at every turn! My eyes experienced so much joy, and thus my heart did as well. Mamma Mia - talk about getting dressed! I often wish that life was such that I could wear these things today. But it wasn’t just the glorious clothes, and that’s saying a lot. The spectacular story-line, the superb characters, the wonderful acting I can go on and on… I’m certain you may know that millions of viewers felt this way. I will miss it so, and it’s another goodbye that makes me sad. And the one character I shall miss most of all is the Dowager Countess. How perfectly marvelous this character, and Maggie Smith. There was something extremely special about this show that satisfied on every level. *The Rules of Style according to Downton — Always dress for dinner. Always dress for breakfast. Always dress for luncheon. Always dress for any occasion, location or outing—period. (Kind of makes these days quite underwhelming, no?) — I will leave it there and give you some fab links to explore.

Some Deliciousness from the Downton finale> Masterpiece Theater/ Downton Abbey.

+ Fabulous photos> vanityfair.com/downton abbey fashion

A mood of change is in the air, you may know, with all things fashion (industry). People are trying to figure out which way to zig and which way to zag … what’s right, what’s wrong, when to show, what to hold back, etc. The answers, I feel, are mostly individual, or should be. Because fashion-rules are changing, trends becoming passe, because there are fewer rules and more rule breakers, apparently. There's no need to follow a herd mentality. We must judge what is best on a more case-by-case level, rather than waiting for a collective decision to come. Some have patience, some want it NOW, but instant gratification can be overrated. In my opinion, we can all wait a bit and be more thoughtful. Patience is a virtue, after all, lest we all lose our collective attention spans … ADHD would not be a good thing, especially in the long run. Have a piece of chocolate to satiate yourself and wait for the clothes. I say this because of an article I read in Vogue. — Numerous opinions and desires were expressed, and I shall give you a sampling below. Myself, I’d love to see more seasonless fashion, fewer collections, less devaluation of the craft, fewer mark-downs, more mindfullness, far less (or no) fast fashion—but that’s me, and this is how we do @kajanistudio.

A sampling—regarding fashion, shopping, shows, etc.

Excerpts from Vogue: “Maybe the whole idea of clothes pegged to a particular season has evaporated?”

  • “I don’t like fashion that feels too throwaway> If I own a piece from a current collection and they show something that feels close to it the next season, that makes me happy.”

  • “I do the bulk of my shopping ahead of time” — The emotional investment in putting down a deposit on an item and waiting four months means that when it arrives, you’ll feel that connection to it.” (Buy-now-wear-now has a return rate of 50% - no good.)

  • “I now buy a more diverse range of fashion due the vast inventory online.”

  • “I want it now, no one is willing to order in advance and wait, the industry needs to change.” (Uhm, that’s called fast-fashion, dear, it’s instant and immediately available.)

  • “It would be nice if fashion spoke more to the present season so I could wear the clothes immediately. I like a little instant gratification.” (Like what's in store now?)

OK, so there you have it. A samlping of what’s on the minds of buyers of fashion. What's YOUR take? What do you care about? Don’t be afraid to tell us.

Fashion-Month continued and concluded (if you care to know). Some notes on fave collections from Paris and Milano. — There are designers (collections) that I always look most forward to seeing.  Dries Van Noten, Valentino, Dolce & Gabbana — these are usually my top faves. There are often many others I love (I showed some the last time), but not every time, not every collection, for mostly personal reasons. Either they’re too contrived, trying too hard, too silly, too big, boring, too trendy, or whatever… But the three I mention above have seldom let me down, even if I don’t always love every piece in the line-up, or think the collection is too big and can be better edited… Most collections can be smaller and better edited, but that’s not up to me. I also loved Bottega Veneta—no nonsense, wonderful clothes. Some highlights here + links.

Photos by Giovanni Giannoni

 

Bottega Veneta RTW Fall 2016  Photo by Davide Maestri

Lastly — Spring is but around the corner and it may be time for a New Dress! (In the next post we’re doing the ‘Dress-A-Day Challenge’ —to welcome spring and celebrate prettiness. Stay tuned for that. In the meantime, let me recommend the newest must-have dress—the Kimono wrap-style. It’s old-school meets new-school and you’ll get a lot of wear out it. Made to order and worth every penny. + Can be had in multiple Liberty prints. DRESS:

 
 

PS - Those silk PJ pants I mentioned in the last post—trust me when I say they are a must. You’ll wear them a lot—lounging at home, to work, out for cocktails, etc. They can also be made in other fabrics. PANTS

WAS THAT GOOD FOR YOU? — What would you like to see in this blog? Let me know, below, in the comment section … and I’ll see you 2-weeks hence.
                                     

Ciao!

Maggie Smith - Downton Abbey

Maggie Smith - Downton Abbey

FASHION WEEK — STREET STYLE — WHAT WE’RE LOVING NOW — #19

 (+A Kindred Spirit & Challenge Continues for Shop-Discounts! +Bonus)

Happening Now - Fall 2016 Ready To Wear (photo: Vogue.com)

Yes…Fashion-Weeks! — Some have concluded, some still in progress … but are we collectively getting bored of this ritual? There is disenchantment in the air ... it's not too serious, but there are fashion journalists and editors who’ve been cranky and complaining. Dare we say the thrill is gone, or fading? (In our last blog post we covered some of the changes taking place in the industry, and this is likely just one of the reasons why.) It’s too cold…it’s too early…and so on. The issue isn’t all the beautiful clothes, because there are plenty of them! The issue is the ritual of fashion-weeks and how relevant they still are. — Anna Wintour was apparently disappointed, she did not exactly say how…just mentioning the collections she did like, for taking risks, apparently. Buyers in London were impressed with craftsmanship (always a good thing in this world of too much fast-fashion). And Paris (the whole city apparently), announced that they would not be joining the ‘showing close to retail-season’ bandwagon. People are also weary of too much social-media at shows, bloggers might soon have to put away their iPhones during runway presentations ... a lot going on … or maybe not that much, yet. Mark my words, it's not done.

There was, of course, some really great stuff on the runways. Gucci is still all the rage—I get it, they’re on a roll right now. So, I’m not going to be a bummer here, I’m going to give you some highlights from the collections, then you can decide how exciting, inspiring, it still is. (SEE links below) Yet, I LOVE it when fashion-rules are broken, (being a rule breaker), they need to be broken from time to time, and this is a good time.

DIY Tip: make yourself a simple little corset (a la Prada), wear it over a bunch of things. If you can’t—ask us, we’ll make one for you—custom. Also, start fraying your jeans at the hem, this is now de rigueur, or so we're told. Look Here.

               That + Street-Style + A Kindred Spirit we discovered in England. Read on…chime in!

 
Bowie — I call this, STYLE, and not just for the clothes.  

I call this, STYLE, and not just for the clothes

 

 

Street-Style, during said fashion weeks, had become a bit contrived. But now, apparently, street-style is personal again. Everyone, attending the shows, it seems, is doing their own thing, marching to the beat of their personalized fashion-drum, and that’s a good thing. Far more interesting to watch and get inspired by. No longer does it appear to be a ‘who’s cooler’ contest, at least we hope. Now we kind of know how to spot those, right? And it really is looking more fun out there, certainly more diverse. There is still a bit of the ‘trying too hard’ by certain folks ... for the most part it’s a style-bazaar with lots of individual and original takes. It is good to see so much VARIETY! You know what that means? Another nail in the coffin of dreaded trends, which sadly, the fashion-machine relies on so heavily … just another of the changes occurring. Good stuff, especially for NY, this is where there’s more individuality now, than before, shinning through. Other cities already had a bit more. See for yourself, below.

 

Backstage at Thom Brown—always cool.

Denim—always fabulous, but trends are lame, and this photo speaks volumes…

1. Denim—always fabulous, but trends are lame, and this photo speaks volumes…

On the streets of London—fashion week

 
 

Backstage at Burberry

Photo by Giovanni Giannoni and Jimmy Bae

Photo by Giovanni Giannoni and Jimmy Bae

On The Streets Of

NYFW: >> WWD fashion news - Barcelona   LONDON: >> WWD fashion news week street style

COPENHAGEN: >> WWD fashion news Copenhagen   MILANO: >> Vogue slideshow Milan

MADRID: >> WWD fashion news Madrid

A Slow-Fashion Kindred Spirit: (My sister brought this to my attention). We’re in Los Angeles, she is in England, (London, I’m supposing). She makes slow-fashion, like we do. Although our styles are vastly different, the idea—the process—the thought behind the clothes is very similar, very close to what we’ve been doing at kaj.ani. (I’m still wearing, as I’m sure are some of my earliest customers are, pieces I made 18 years ago, from my first year.) -- HERE: Meet Carin Mansfield — check out her story.

She says: “The problem is that all the Primarks and these types of stores on the high street have given people a false sense of how much work goes into garment making. I call it ‘fast food’ fashion. My clothes I would call ‘slow fashion’. Customers have come back to me who have bought stuff 20 years ago that I made and they still come in wearing the clothes. Every one of my pieces takes a machinist who has been on the machines 40 years a day to make. Each garment is made one by one…”  *(Many people don’t get it, some never will, there’s nothing we can do about that).

Question: how did people manage to, afford to, get dressed before ‘factory-farmed--fast-fashion’ came about? And how much would you expect to be paid for your labor if you were the maker (the sewer) of said apparel? — People valued the craft of making clothing, they made do with fewer stuff and better quality. We might just come full-circle soon enough on this matter, maybe … food for thought. (Affordability, often, has more to do with personal values (rather than money), than people may realize).

Fashion-Week Runway Highlights & Links: See for yourself and tell us what you think, like, dislike, etc. NOTE: A label called *Delpozo showed an absolutely, artfully gorgeous collection. If wearability is not a factor, I think this was the highlight of NYFW. There was good stuff, so-so stuff, contrived stuff, dumb stuff, beautiful stuff, as always. Feel free to explore WWD on your own — it’s free. QUESTION: Do we really need or want ‘Pre-Fall’ (what the hell is pre-fall, anyway)? A made up season two months before Fall. Does anyone else think this is totally lame?

  1. Marc Jacobs: (usually the highlight of NYFW) Beautiful & Freaky, no? You really need to be tall to wear a lot of this. WWD/fashion-news/shows-reviews/Marc-Jacobs

  2. Vivienne Westwood: (usually one of my faves) WWD/fashion-news/shows-reviews/Vivienne-Westwood

  3. Paul Smith: (beautiful stuff) WWS/fashion-news/shows-reviews/Paul-Smith

  4. Gucci: (still pretty darn crazy & fabulous!) Vogue/fashion-shows/Gucci

—Perhaps more from Fashion-Weeks in the next post — We haven't even covered Paris yet—

BTW, if you missed the *challenge we presented in the last post—it’s not too late—you can always jump on board. It’s ongoing and you get Shop-Discounts! So, here’s the deal > Read blog, (if you like our work), share the blog and subscribe to the blog.> Get Shop-Discount codes sent to you. Simple. We win—You win! It’s unconventional, but that’s how we roll.

 
Photography by:   Loren Philip

Photography by:   Loren Philip

 
 

What We’re LOVING Now — The Drawstring Pant! (Silk PJ jogger style) I know it may not seem very exciting, but TRUST me when I say this is a great piece to add to your wardrobe. Here’s why: It’s lux and practical at the same time. You can wear it with a million things. You can wear it almost all year. You can dress it up, like for cocktails or something, you can dress it down with a tee shirt. (Not sure how? Ask us, we'll show you.) You can wear with heels, flats, boots, sandals, etc. It also folds-up and snaps to make it cropped. Check it out, and I suggest getting it a little on the bigger side. Made-To-Order, Fashion-for-Keeps: etsy.com/listing/lux-pj-jogger-pant - silk-twill-gray

 


Lastly … What Are You Wearing? We haven’t done this in a while, so here’s me on the go. Wearing: kaj.ani silk skirt, Agnes b. sweater, silk scarf (gift), vintage purse, Storie di Scarpe shoes* — The IDEA here is to encourage you to do the same. Take a pic of yourself in something you love on, a good day, and send it—share it with us, here, (we'll post it in the next blog). Trust me, it’ll be fun! + We'll answer your style questions, should you have any.

 
 

*Bonus for reading through... Oscar Red-Carpet Fashion! > Enjoy

 

THAT’S IT — SEE YOU 2-WEEKS HENCE — CIAO!