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