11 November, 2014

Just be you, but with a dash more confidence... It's the confidence that people will notice first!

"It doesn't matter if you're on a runway, or a sidewalk."

Let me tell you a little story... A model walks through the door of the boutique: "Hi, I'm here to be fitted for the upcoming fashion show". The stylist is expecting her and has prepared a few potential outfits in anticipation. She escorts the model to the fitting room where the items are carefully hung, and instructs her to try on a few combinations. "First try on this... then this. This, this and this go together- and those boots. I'll accessorize you when you come out. Ok?" The model smiles, nods and pulls the privacy curtain. She proceeds to change into the clothing selected. Minutes later, the fitting room curtain opens and the model emerges, amazed. "How did you do this? How did you know this would look so good on me? I would never have chosen this!" The stylist responds, "It's my superpower".

This scenario has been happening in my world for the last few weeks. Fans of this column know that I've been busy preparing for a local benefit fashion show, and you also know that I adore fashion and style! From my perspective, fashion shows are the ultimate challenge.  Women surrender themselves to the mercy of the stylist, and I have the privilege of outfitting them from head-to-toe.  It's so rewarding when these women are genuinely surprised by my choices and love what they see in the mirror. I proudly boast a fairly high batting average- Hop Sing regulars might even say I'm a home run hitter! Not too shabby for a fashion retailer/stylist with a quirky eye, established in a town that tends to make safe fashion choices.

Yesterday I had a good laugh when one of our models asked, "Am I suppose to act like I think I'm HOT?" to which I replied: "No—It doesn't matter if you're on a runway or a sidewalk, genuine confidence is what's important, and I can't sell you that. But if I dress you in such a way that you know you look great, then that's all that matters." Confidence is what completes any outfit, anytime, anywhere; and stylist or none, only you can provide that element. Regardless of what your wearing, you have to own it! Stop worrying about what others see. We are always our own worst critics anyway. When we're secure in ourselves, we exude an infectious charm and charisma- no matter what we have on. In fact, as of right now I'm declaring a moratorium on boring clothes and self-criticism in Prescott. Dress accordingly, my friends!

29 October, 2014

The Art of Fall Layering, Beauty and Compassion....

                                                                                           Image by @darlingmagazine

Hellooooo from crazy town!

The fall fashion forecast is being served! Customers are Frocking out— I mean, freaking out for boots, sweaters, scarves and all layering things that work well together. Ladies, building a layered look is a little like decorating your bed. The layers are always related to each other in a color palette, textural or patterned way. Matching is great, however too-matchy-matchy looks juvenile. As mentioned, retailers like myself have been stacking and unstacking the boot boxes, helping the ladies find the perfect fall footwear! By the way if you haven't found yours! Run don't walk! Sizes are becoming limited and styles are selling out!  Fall retail is busy, busy, busy!!!

If you've been keeping up here with previous articles I've penned, you already know a little bit about me and my lifestyle approach to fashion and style. I call it highly interactive. You may also know —and yes, I'm going to shamelessly plug this event because it's for a worthy cause— and because true fundamental beauty starts from within, and by showing compassion for others in need, and that kind of inner beauty enflames the heart... 

Hop Sing Trading Company is sponsoring, and therefore I am co-producing a benefit fashion show fundraiser for the Good Samaritans - Hospice Compassionate Care Fund, on Saturday, November 15th, at the Prescott Resort, please call 928-899-3620 if you would like more information... I sincerely hope you'll consider supporting this heartfelt endeavor fashion fans!  

Now let us move on to "Fall Transitions" in fashion ... close your eyes and click your boot heels together 3 times and say, "there's no time like fall, there's no time like fall, there's no time like fall... The leaves are turning, fireplaces are smoldering and my hot beverage is being cradled in cold hands. But best of all here in Prescott, we get to dress in layers! Layering is an essential part of styling when the day to evening temps vary between forty-something and the low to mid-seventies. You simply must add and subtract layers as needed throughout your day/evening as the temperatures dictate. I'm still rather new at this Autumn-Winter thing, as I came here from the average 78 degree Hawaiian Islands, yet fall has proven to be my favorite time of year! 

In my shop I meet women who are challenged by the whole layering concept.They've shared their concerns and discomforts such as "layering creates waistline bulk, or arm restriction or just too much confusion period". Well I'm here to tell you it's easy, it's attractive and it's comfortable - if you do it right... It starts with owning great layering basics. Without the right first layer you set up for failure. The perfect base layer complements the next layer as it effortlessly glides over and creates a flawless double the warmth look, without doubling the volume! So walk away from layering a sweater over that kimono inspired top you purchased last summer because it won't lend itself to smoothness. This also applies to poet or dolman sleeve tops, they just don't play we'll underneath another sleeve, unless your -umm- going for the ever attractive "Stay-puff Marshmallow" look. Outer layers must glide over under layers without bunching, and when done right, the look is fluid and has enough movement to appear loose yet fitted. Top off your layered look with the perfect scarf, (and yes, the scarf has to be chosen wisely as well...) and Voila!  — you are a walking, smiling, poster child for personal climate-control!

Now... see you at the fashion show???

15 October, 2014

Mark your calendars...

Philanthropy is always in style, and charitable giving looks great on everyone!

Mark your calendars... Saturday, November 15th! It's a day I'm looking forward to with much excitement and anticipation.  Prescott Resort will host the 4th Annual Pumpkins & Pearls Fashion Show and Marketplace fundraiser.  "P&P", as it's lovingly referred, is an exclusive event, focused on raising funds for the Good Samaritan's Society, Prescott Hospice Compassionate Care Fund. This truly incredible non-profit organization supports local community members with terminal illnesses, who have inadequate funds to cover their hospice services. I'm honored to be working side-by-side with the Good Samaritan's Society at this beautiful event, which will feature a full-production fashion runway show.  Guests will be treated to the very latest collections in contemporary women's wear, by Neon Buddha, Free People, Odd Molly, WILDFOX, Adriano Goldschmied, Bed Stu, Goddis, OTBT, Virgins Saints & Angels, Cut n Paste, and so many more!  Runway fashions will be provided exclusively by Hop Sing Trading Company in collaboration with Evans Furs and Leathers.  As if that weren't enough to whet your appetite, Executive Chef Bill Toto of the Prescott Resort, has outdone himself preparing a gourmet luncheon (trust me, I've sampled the menu and it is out. of. this. WORLD).  In addition, local artisans, retailers, and business owners have donated goods and services to be included in the best raffle of all time!  A holiday gift marketplace will also be set up before and after the luncheon, for easy shopping on the spot - making this luxury event truly unique.  Ok, so let's re-cap... Runway fashions, VIP luncheon, Best raffle ever, and a gift marketplace to polish off your Christmas shopping in one afternoon... AND it's all for a good cause!  Yes and yes!   Purchase your tickets to this can't-miss event of the Season today!  

Tickets $60.00 each and are available for purchase at:

Hop Sing Trading Company - Bashford Courts
130 West Gurley St. - 2nd Floor
Prescott, Arizona

113 West Goodwin St.
Prescott, Arizona

03 October, 2014

"These Boots are made for Walking" (written for: Prescott Kudos music & entertainment publication 10/03/14)

Can I tell you a secret?
I happen to love the one-hit-wonder, "These Boots are made for Walking," by Nancy Sinatra.

In fact, standing here in my closet deciding which pair will march with me through my day - I hear it ... dadadum - dadadum - dadadum - dadadum. The famous opening beat of that iconic ode to boots plays in my head while I vacillate between tall pull-ons, distressed lace-ups, granny ankle boots, stacked heels, low wedges, or moccasin-style boots. 

And yes ... I LOVE them all! 

The truth is that while we Prescottonians keep up with all things trend and style, we don't follow them religiously. We tend to borrow new ideas, tweak them a bit, and adapt a look to suit our local culture. In short, we make it OUR OWN. Most of you ladies might agree with me that the Prescott look, much like the Prescott lifestyle, is founded on a mix of casual comfort and relaxed styles. 

While the big cities of Los Angeles and New York may be the fashion capitals of the United States, most often the styles that break into the fashion forefronts rarely originated from within the concrete jungles - especially when it comes to my favorite fall footwear: Boots!  

Consider the origins of equestrian, cowboy-inspired, moto, military, Victorian. The list goes on and on ...  Regardless of what works for the urban fashion world, in a small boutique town like Prescott, many of the latest and most haute-damn styles may not practically translate to the lifestyle of those living in a less than "Sex and the City" locale. Let's face it, while the sexy look of sky high or spiked heels may look classy on the catwalks, they may look downright classless on Whiskey Row.  

Prescott's look is urban classic-meets-rustic chic. Translation: We wear a lot of denim.  We might take really feminine tops and dresses and dress them down with denim and boots. Or, my personal favorite, pair a T-shirt, and cardigan with flattering jeans, and dress them up with a pretty statement necklace and boots. You get the idea ... everything goes with boots! 

And boots are not the place to skimp. Invest in a quality pair; they'll last much longer and only get better with wear and age. Plus, in the light of consuming less and repurposing, they also can be re-soled to extend their life (and your investment).  I have boots purchased 15 years ago that still satisfy my "sole"!  They take me comfortably and fashionably wherever my heart desires ... season to season, year after year. 

*cue music* Dadadum - dadadum - dadadum - dadadum (snap your fingers now) ... 

"These boots are made for walkin' and that's just what they'll do ..." 

Lauren Woltman can be found at Hop Sing Trading Co. in the Bashford Courts, 130 W. Gurley St.

05 September, 2014

Discover your Individual Fashion Persona...

Michael Kors said "70 percent of the clothes you own should be meat and potatoes, 30 percent should be icing and fluff - that's color, pattern, shine, accessories. Too many women get the proportions the other way round, then can't figure out why they can't get dressed."

So why not make an effort to change? Enjoy the financial rewards and satisfaction of investing in a more functional wardrobe! Today  we're talking "Clothing Personality". Defining yours can be rewarding, however refining it is an art! Having a signature style is easier on the wallet, easier on the soul and seriously easier when getting dressed every day.
The following is a list of questions to ask yourself that may help you define your personal style trademark. The goal is to create a style that is uniquely yours, looks great on you and feels even better! Why should you care? Because millions of women are suffering and they may not realize it. You need to know your fashion-self and help her edit and or build the perfect wardrobe with pieces that are loved and thoroughly enjoyed when you're wearing them! Ultimately this can help eliminate living with a closet packed with clothes that are not quite right for - whatever reason - you know, the things you don't wear or even like all that much. Or worse, never wore them at all? Perhaps you're a victim of the dreaded price-tag-still-attached syndrome? Thus, creating the vicious cycle of making it much harder to part with those boo-boos, because they've become a shrine to how much money you've wasted. The crazy thing is that, even though you may own plenty of clothes, you somehow know deep down that you lack the basic foundation for a simply enjoyable, versatile and ultimately "wearable" wardrobe.

Answer the following questions -on paper ... in pencil.

Do you have a personal style icon? If so, answer the three following questions:

1. What is your favorite thing about the way she looks?

2. Are you being realistic about your body type if you follow her style example?

3. Is your lifestyle compatible with that look?

It's time to update your shoe closet. You're in a shoe store:

1. What matters most? Comfort or style?

2. What type of shoes do you instinctively look for?
You just won a closet makeover from your favorite store, which store would you beeline to? (Your answer here best defines your favorite fashion look ... and don't allow geography stand between you and this answer! Remember, we are seeking your fashion identity here, let's go all out!

1. What look does that particular store uniquely offer?

2. Would that look fit your lifestyle?

What type of accessories dominate your wardrobe? 

1. Simple and understated?

2. Bold and blingy? 

3. Accessories?

5. Don't quite know?

If your answers are scattered it could mean you like different styles, but it also can mean that you may be suffering from a clothing multiple personality disorder, a confusion created when you're strongly influenced by others to wear clothes not wholly fitting with your inborn personality. It could be induced by a mother, a husband, a job, a fear... 

How you answered these simple questions might help you define your clothing personality, and she might need professional help! It's okay to ask for help, it's not okay to let someone else make the final decision! You must be present and accounted for in the final cut. The only way to know if a style is innately yours is to try it on at your favorite fashion purveyor and see if you're "feeling it." I see a lot of women "team shopping," and asking girlfriends, "Do you think I would wear this?" You shouldn't ask a friend to answer that extremely personal question, you must be true to your own eyes, thoughts and visceral connection to that piece, it's an investment in you. 

Do you love it? Does it make you feel good? How else will you wear it? Where will you wear it? If the answers are there for YOU ... buy it, wear it and own it — In every sense of the word!