20 February, 2015

Is 'old' the new black?

Courtesy images
Courtesy images
Lauren Woltman
Kudos columnist

Great news ladies! Did you know that ageless beauty is really an attitude? Did you also know that with age comes a special kind of timeless beauty? The kind of beauty that emerges from within and shines brightly outward ... if-you-want-it-to!

The fashion world is taking notice! It began last fall, when Lanvin featured models in their late 30s and early 40s - Violetta Sanchez, Kirsten Owen, Esther de Jong, Amber Valletta, and more - reflecting both the idea that women are more refined with time and possibly recognizing that you basically have to be in that age bracket or above to be able to afford their wares. Earlier this year, luxury brand CĂ©line debuted an ad from its upcoming Spring 2015 campaign with literary giant Joan Didion at its center. "She is an American icon; a fashion icon," famed photographer Juergen Teller said. He snapped the chic 80-year-old.

The shot falls squarely into a mature movement that's currently sweeping advertising and social media. It's amazing and it's risen to a whole new level! I believe a thank you belongs to Ari Seth Cohen and the beautiful ladies of Advanced Style! Older women are no longer giving up and giving in. They are experiencing new inspiration for living longer, younger, healthier, happier, choosing to express themselves uniquely, tastefully and timelessly styled. Not competing stylistically with their daughters, but guiding them.

"It's really grabbing so much attention," Grey Advertising executive creative director Alice Ericsson said. Attention further grew in January when Saint Laurent released ads featuring folk rock icon, 71-year-old Joni Mitchell strumming a tune on her guitar at the center of their newest ad campaign.

Iris Apfel, 93, is as busy as ever, modeling for both Kate Spade and Alexis Bittar this season. L'Oreal has added Twiggy and Helen Mirren to their already-stacked roster of mature spokeswomen, including Jane Fonda and Diane Keaton.

"They're all icons. They're amazing," Ericsson said. "They have substance. They also have wrinkles."

In its newly released spring 2015 campaign called "Better than Ever," Barneys is celebrating the allure of the older woman. The message behind the campaign is that a woman can command a room, more effectively and more powerfully when she's in her 40s or 50s or 60s than a young girl in her 20s.

Barneys has used older faces before, but this time the heat is rising. "What we're trying to say is this: 'You have a long life and this life is a rich life, and this life doesn't end at 25,'" says Dennis Freedman creative director at Barneys. "That's a very, very important message to send to millennials."

Although advertisers are chasing millennials, hoping to build loyalty with a group on their way in, not out, it's estimated that consumers older than 60 spend more than $8 trillion a year on fashion, beauty and basic luxury items.

"This is a really important demographic and these women have all the money and all the buying power," Ericsson said.

The ads showcase faces lined with wisdom and humor, grey hair lending gravitas and life experience making a woman more desirable. "I think it's a fad that will continue," Ericsson said. "At one point, at the Tom Ford Modeling Agency, everyone was naked. Maybe old is the new naked." 

Are you ready to grow ageless? At 53, I'm certainly game!

Lauren Woltman is the owner of Hop Sing Trading Co. in the Bashford Courts, 130 W. Gurley St.

27 January, 2015

Fashion is good for the soul:

We're so grateful to the Prescott Daily Courier, and everyone who contributed to this great write-up on HOP SING published earlier this week.  So fun!  THANK YOU! 


Text: Arlene Hittle, Prescott Daily Courier
Photo: Lee Stukenberg, Prescott Daily Courier

If laughter is good for the soul, Lauren Woltman may well have the healthiest soul in town.

Woltman, who owns Hop Sing Trading Co. with her husband Jeff, has a ready smile and is quick with a joke.

After 33 years in Kauai, Hawaii, and more than 20 years in retail, she moved to Prescott in 2009 to be closer to her parents, relocating her shop to the Bashford Court Mall downtown.

"We just passed our five-year mark in November," she said.

Much like its owner, Hop Sing has a fun, funky vibe. Brightly colored knit sweaters hang with denim jackets, jeans and bold graphic T-shirts. Unique shoes and boots sit next to hand-knit hats and scarves. Chunky jewelry, luxe nail and lip colors, slouchy purses and bath bombs in delicious scents complete the collection.

Above all, the atmosphere is inviting.

"This definitely is not a snobby boutique," employee Andrea Hamby said. She hasn't worked with Woltman long, but they shared an instant connection since they both had lived in Hawaii.

Woltman loves working retail.

"I kind of eat, sleep and breathe fashion," she said.

But she's not talking the runway styles many people think of when they hear the world "fashion."

"My perspective is far more casual," said Woltman, who writes a fashion column for The Daily Courier's entertainment section, Kudos, and blogs at hopsingtradingco.blogspot.com. She's also active on Instagram and Twitter (@hopsingtrading). 

The daughter of a professional surfer, she grew up in Pacific Beach, California, surrounded by other famous surfers and their friends, who came from as far away as Australia, Brazil and South Africa.

"What I remember most is that these well-traveled bohemians felt completely free to express themselves, both fashionably and otherwise," she writes on the blog. "My fashion foundation was laid with the bold fashion statements and glowing tans of surf gods and their goddesses."

Her favorite part of retail work: physically transforming women.

"I love my customers, and I love helping them decorate themselves," she said. "We're always looking for ways to help a woman feel more confident."

Among the ways Woltman gives her customers that shot of confidence?

"As I get older, I've become a lot more fearless in what I wear," she said. "It's always fun for me to teach the ladies to play a little bit."

Whether that's pairing a lace skirt with a graphic T and hand-knit sweater or putting two seemingly clashing prints together, the results nudge customers to go home and look at their closet differently.

"She really puts together pieces that you wouldn't think would work," Hamby said. "She has magic like that."

The formula for success, Woltman said, lies in knowing how to dress pieces up or down. Depending on the top it's paired with, one skirt can be equally at home at church or at the grocery store.

Hop Sing customer Mandy Moreau, who lives in Prescott Valley, agrees. 

"My husband knows I like her store and goes in and asks Lauren to help him pick out clothes or gifts. She has never once steered him wrong (even down to getting the right sizing when I'm not there to try stuff on)," she said via email.

"She takes time to get to know her customers - their likes and dislikes, personal style, what makes them comfortable and confident and, perhaps more important, what makes them uncomfortable," Moreau said. "The quality of her items are top-notch, and she takes pride in what she sells, where the products come from and who makes them."

Quality definitely matters for Woltman, who said 50 percent or more of her store's merchandise is sourced in the United States.

"Quality is paramount in my world," she said. That goes for both the clothes she wears and the food she eats. "I'd rather have a lot less, but a whole lot better."

That's the common thread she plans to weave through her life in 2015: Work less, work better. Buy less, buy better.

Hop Sing's prices range anywhere from $5 to $400.

For women who might be thinking twice - or three times - about wearing a pricy $200 sweater to the grocery store, she has one word of advice: Don't.

"Your life is only this long," Woltman said, holding up her hands about a foot apart. "You want to celebrate it every day."

Family is among the things Woltman celebrates every day. Her daughter and three grandchildren live in San Luis Obispo, on California's central coast, which gives her the opportunity to go to the beach on vacation. She relishes the chance to return to the sand, surf and sunsets.

"It's such a refreshment to get back to it," she said.

Woltman gets a lot of support from her friends, family and husband, Jeff. 

"He's the second half of mom and pop," she said.

They've been married for 14 years, after meeting in Hawaii. Her third husband, Jeff is proof that when you stop looking, "in walks the love of your life."

"I get to spend every day with my best friend," she said.

She makes a point of reflecting on and vocalizing appreciation for who she has in her life, what she has, and her customer base.

"Without them, I couldn't do this," Woltman said.

Her customers feel the same way about her.

"Hop Sing combines the best of small-town friendliness with international style," regular Gudrun Miller said via email. "Lauren, Jeff and the staff have become friends and I go to the store just to visit."

Miller continued: "Lauren has a knack for putting pieces together and coming up with amazing outfits. She specializes in helping women of all ages and sizes feel good about how they look."

The boutique carries a tote bag that does a fair job of summing up Woltman's philosophy. Emblazoned with a motorcycle-riding woman, it bears a quote from Glinda, the Good Witch: "You had the power all along, my dear."

She introduces women to new ways to get dressed, encouraging them put together the basics in a not-so-basic way.

"If you look good, it makes you feel good," Woltman said.

23 January, 2015

Show your Closet who's Boss!

Courtesy photo
Courtesy photo
Lauren Woltman
Kudos columnist

The weather here kills me! It's so perfect! We get a smattering of snow to help us officially celebrate winter ... and then here comes spring! Yesterday, I wore a cotton dress, a pair of tall leather boots and a lightweight cardigan - and I didn't freeze! In fact, I was warm. Hello Spring?! I'm confused. 

Anyway, it also inspires me to roll up my sleeves and purge my home of the inevitable clutter that 2014 obviously left behind. I'm sure I'm not the only one. I've spoken to quite a few ladies recently who are greatly overwhelmed by a closet jam packed with clothing they "just don't wear," and I've listened to hilarious stories about Rubbermaid storage systems, and how it's become an obstacle course of madness to just navigate an outfit a day out of the sea of plenty. 

Ahhhh! American living at its finest! We often have so much, but tend to wear the same things, over and over ... so, today I present to you an escape plan!

Prescott has an abundance of venues capable of bringing you relief from wardrobe excessiveness! All you need to do is sort out the distribution pattern. Keep, Donate or Sell: 

1. Keep the things you really actually wear. 

2. Donate the stuff that no resale shop would consider taking.

3. Consign or sell the rest! 

Sounds easy, huh! It's not. First of all you have to be realistic. Just because you paid too much to give it away, doesn't mean anyone else will buy it. The items you wish to consign or sell must be clean, fresh, cute and relevant - to the fashion demographics of our town, the season ahead and actual current style trends. 

Unless an item is truly classic vintage, no corporate world power suit, no matter how much you paid for it, is going to bring you a return on your investment. It's Prescott ladies! 

Um ... neither does that silk-taffeta bridesmaid dress - hold the secret to cashing in on your stuffed-to-the-gills closet. Expert organizers say that one-third of your closet is filled with clothing that falls into one of the following categories:

• It doesn't fit.

• You don't have anything to wear with it.

• It isn't comfortable.

• You don't have an occasion to wear it. 

Well, it's time to let it go! Closet space is prime real estate! You are hoarding clothes that don't look good on you, that you don't want to wear, and that are taking up space where really awesome clothes could be hanging. 

Oh, and the guilt. Let's not forget the guilt! You know that voice in your head that's saying: "I can't believe I spent all this money on these clothes that I never wear." That voice that haunts you every time you walk in your closet. What? That voice isn't in your head? It's coming from your husband? Yes, I know that one too!

You need to sort it out. I have a rule: If you more often than not, put on an article of clothing only to take it off again before you leave the house, you probably won't wear it - EVER. Maybe you purchased it on a SALE rack and although it was priced to entice, it really isn't you. Cut your losses and move it along! 

If you don't wish to do consignment, there are few choices that I know of here in downtown Prescott. Call "Snap Snap" 928-776-8695, if they love your stuff, they may offer you instant gratification and buy your items outright. For more traditional consignment venues in downtown try "Lucky You Boutique" 928-717-9349, "Ooh La La Clothing Boutique" 928-778-0069 or "What Ever Was" 928-778-4186, just to name a few. 

Or maybe you're ready to totally give up the ghost of fashion past? Here are a few charitable thrift shops that will gratefully take everything you're willing to donate: "Noah Foundation" 928-798-0545, "Stepping Stones" 928-776-3010, or Disabled American Veterans 928-445-8618. Some may even pick up the donation from your doorstep. 

Now go enjoy this beautiful day! I've gotta run, I've got some weighty decisions to make myself! Smiles! 

Lauren Woltman is the owner of Hop Sing Trading Co. in the Bashford Courts, 130 W. Gurley St.

02 January, 2015

New Year - New Perspective

"A car has a relatively small rear-view mirror so we can occasionally glance back to where we've been. It has an enormous windshield so we can look ahead to where we are going (and where we are in the moment). Now is the time to look forward and re-imagine all the possibilities that lie before you." - Wisdom imparted courtesy of a television advertisement. 

As New Years Eve quickly approaches and this is the last article I will write this year, I find myself in a reflective state, gazing for a few moments into the metaphorical rear-view mirror. 

Could I have been kinder or had more patience? Spoken slower, and been quicker to recognize a blessing - even in disguise? Could I have worked harder or perhaps worked less? Did I love fiercely and loyally? Was I satisfied with my choices? Did I complain too much? Eat too much? Did I improve myself in any way? A year is a long time... did I use my time wisely?

OK. You get the picture... each of us should give these type of thoughts, some thought.

Now, lets look ahead, through the windshield... metaphorically. You can now see all the possibilities that lie before you. You are no longer trapped in scarcity and narrowed vision. Focus on what is emerging right now, in the moment, and in the potentiality of your future. 

You have a whole world ahead of you! What new adventures will you pursue? Maybe you should drive yourself toward a healthier fashionable new you? Updating your clothing style always feels good (...and I'd love to help you with that!!!). Women especially need to impart new attitudes toward negative thoughts about themselves... practice positive affirmations, "you're not fat," "you're curvy," "you're not poor," "you're thoughtful about how you spend your wealth." You're worth more than the cheapest made-in-China jewelry, handbag and, yes, it costs more but, darn it, you deserve healthy organic produce!

Don't let the rear-view considerations impact your fresh motivation and perspective. Don't spend much time dwelling on past mistakes, habits or intentions you've abandoned. Remember a windshield also is a protective shield from cold, wet and bugs! Seek those in your life who bring joy, motivation and a real zest for a higher quality life.

Tune your attention to a higher frequency, surround yourself in qualities that define who you really are - at your essence. Exude as much inner beauty as you wish to physically embody. Be more grateful and aware of grace when it visits you. Practice extreme acts of kindness. 

Remember to look out through the great windshield of life everyday instead of putting your attention on the small... very tiny... perspective of the rear-view mirror. Imagine all the possibilities before you. Now let's begin writing our next story. 

Carpe Diem, seize the day, the moment, your life!

Lauren Woltman is the owner of Hop Sing Trading Co. in the Bashford Courts, 130 W. Gurley St.

26 December, 2014

Three Days of Thanks - We Love Ya!

**** OMG! Seriously!!! Have you seen our jewelry??? ****
Saturday 10-6:30
Sunday 11-5:30