Look out festival goers and sun bathers, summer is unofficially upon us! While city dwellers are still experiencing nippy mornings and spontaneously windy afternoons, the East Bay is definitely feeling the heat.
For those who recently made the move across the bridge realizing they don’t own any “airy” clothing (let alone a pair of shorts), you’re probably looking to add some key elements to your wardrobe (like shorts). Instead of clicking “add to cart”, step away from the computer and explore local, sustainable and community enriching fashions from your local boutiques. And hello… you’ll get the added benefit of being able to try things on!
This month we’re all about Berkeley. I mean, they started the whole “Shop Local” movement anyway, right? Here are some local gems currently on our radar, plus some pro summer styling tips to keep in mind for all the fun adventures that await you this season:
Owner Randy Brewer opened Convert back in 2009 with the goal of making quality, sustainable fashion — for men and women– easier to come by. Find anything from organic cotton tees by PACT and upcycled leather backpacks and belts by Will Leather Goods to eco cult classics like Prairie Underground and the Pendleton Portland Collection.
Summer Style Tip: Mix it up
Instead of that simple white dress, pair a mismatched pattern skirt and top. I’m a big fan of mixing patterns. Yes, that floral tank looks great with that polka dot skirt! Throw in some metallic sandals as well. Versatile and fun.
Men, don’t be afraid to tuck a nice button up shirt into those shorts, with a belt of course. Also, oxfords without socks (or no see ums) with those shorts is a great alternative to sneakers. Lots of comfortable options that just take the ensemble to the next level.
Empress Vintage is a newbie to Berkeley! This vintage oasis doubles as a community space and garden and is host to monthly workshops, trunk shows and other events. And did we mention the amazing finds? Bonus: Make an appointment with the owner Janina Angel Bath for a tarot reading after you shop.
Summer Style Tip: Rock a crop top
Who doesn’t love a cute crop top? They’re easy to dress up or down, and pair perfectly with pretty much anything high-waisted: long breezy skirts, classy trousers, tight jeans, cut offs. They also look amazing paired with things that have no waist at all- crop tops and overalls are an easy outfit for playing in the sun. And they come in so many styles! Casual t-shirts and tanks, flirty tie-ups, lacy nothings, more modest button ups, all made a little more saucy and a lot more steezy when cropped.
In the heat of the summer crop tops let the breeze in. So come now, before it gets too hot, and find some cropped cuties of your own at Empress!
Photos by: Casey Fyfe
UrbanityAt Urbanity you’re sure to score something unique from their highly edited selection of designer clothing. Done with your Spring cleaning? Urbanity does consignment so you can rest assured that your old threads get a loving new home and don’t head for the dreaded landfill.
Urbanista Summer Style Tips:
- Always rock a little block | Sunblock that is! Our foggy, gray weather can often be deceptive. UV rays are ever present in our atmosphere and high on the list of causes for premature aging of the skin. As a lifelong fashionista I first recommend protecting your individually natural look with SPF 30+ and don’t forget to top your block with this summer’s hottest fashion accessory: a wide brimmed hat!
- Layer, Layer, Layer – and then add a Layer | We often find ourselves leaving the house in the morning bundled in a jacket and scarf, but as soon as noon rolls around, the temps are climbing to the high 70’s. Layers are the sure fire way to fashionably face whatever your days bring your way. Think summer dress, crop cardi, denim jacket, clogs (tights or crop leggings optional!), and a light weight scarf. The key is keeping these layers light so that as they are shed they can fit into your tote or day bag so you won’t get stuck carrying a heavy layer over your arm come midday.
FoxgloveFoxglove is a great place to shop for men, women and kids — plus they have a superbly curated home goods selection (gifts!). They are big on supporting local and showcase a number of local designers as well as those that manufacture fair trade and organic. Their mantra: every purchase makes an impact.
Summer Style Tip: Shop “Thoughtful”
What do you look for when curating/buying for your boutique?
I ask questions like: Does this have a unique perspective? Is it well-made? I prefer natural materials because they’re comfortable, easy to wash and maintain, and have a lower environmental impact than synthetics. The majority of our clothing is cotton!
One of my favorite (clothing and jewelry) brands that we carry is Mata Traders, which is a fair trade company based in Chicago. Fair Trade companies are devoted to ensuring that artisans are paid fair wages and empowered by their handiwork rather than exploited for it. Beyond the politics of fair trade, they produce a really cool range of clothing that suits many body types. So many fair trade clothing companies fall into the trap of producing “ethnic” products that don’t really appeal to a broad audience. Mata Traders, on the other hand creates modern and classic silhouettes, but with hand block-printed fabric which gives them a look that is less traditional. Their jewelry collection is chunky and vibrant, full of statement pieces.
Urban Air MarketIf you haven’t heard, Urban Air Market is popping-up in Berkeley on Saturday, June 20th from 11am – 6pm (rsvp here). The sustainable design festival will feature 100+ innovative designers of fashion accessories, home goods, jewelry, beauty and more. A great one-stop local shopping experience– plus it’s free to attend! Bonus: a live music showcase, a nearby farmer’s market, and art installations!
Summer Style Tip: Buy Reclaimed
Even though we’re a pop-up Berkeley destination for one day only, we’re helping to bring great shopping from local designers to the heart of downtown Berkeley, where there currently isn’t a lot of this kind of retail. My summer fashion tip: help divert waste from the landfill by shopping from our participating vendors who make jewelry, shoes, and handbags with reclaimed materials. Talk directly with the vendors and I bet they will give more advice about how to style your specific outfit.