January 22, 2015 Always Front To Back…Old San Juan

By Fashion Contributor, Julie

I would never consider myself a “hat person.” Although I love the look of dramatic floppies on ultra feminine ladies, the idea of hiding under a wide brim and overly exaggerated sunglasses is fascinatingly mysterious to me, and I can never seem to pull the trigger.  Likewise with the now popular fedora, the juxtaposition between hipster, and preppy confuses me and I can’t decide if I really love the look or loathe it.  Unexpectedly, my life long internal turmoil over whether to hat or not to hat came to an apex whilst in Old San Juan…

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A tip from a friend who is a native of the lush tropical island lead me to wander the streets of Old San Juan, which in and of itself is a whole other world. I was sent to look for a little shop called Olé. My tipster left out the details of what goods the shop sold, but told me only that it would quite possibly be the highlight of my trip!  So as I wandered up and down the cobblestones of this historic city, along with cruise shippers, and rows and rows of uniquely painted “tourist trappy” souvenir shops, I began to wonder if just experiencing the history and architecture was really the aim of my friend’s suggested treasure hunt. Finally, snuggled completely inconspicuously between a haberdashery of this-and-that shops selling painted Old San Juan sea shells, and “My friends went to Puerto Rico and I all I got was this tee-shirt” tee-shirts, was Olé!!

When I finally crossed the threshold into Mecca, I instantly knew that every time I walked out of my flip flops and dodged the call of “hey pretty lady” on this journey was so worth it. Close your eyes, imagine yourself in 1950’s Puerto Rico, now expand your chest and breathe in the smell of fresh moist straw, just a hint of earthy tobacco from a cigar a leathery old man is puffing on. Can you detect the presence of very old atrophying leather bound books? Everything you just pictured was only a morsel of what the authentic ambiance of Olé is like. Thousands of handwoven unfinished hats lined the store’s wooden shelving along with hand carved statues depicting religious figures, and those beyond-old books you were smelling. In the center of the 600 square foot store sets a workbench scattered with very old, very used millinery tools, hat forms, and heavy shears. Every color and pattern of handwoven wide ribbon was housed on giant wooden spools attached to the walls. This was indeed going to be the highlight of my trip!

Ole hat shop, tucked away in the heart of Old San Juan.

Antique shop, tucked away in the heart of Old San Juan.

After an appropriate time of perusing the selection of hats ranging from $40 to $400, a young man who turned out to be an expert milliner, gently guided me to the Panama Hats where he popped a chapeau on my cabeza!  I’m not sure if it was the romance of the atmosphere or the fact that this guy was so proficient at his trade that he could eyeball my melon and instantly know the perfect shape of hat, brim style, and size, but I looked in the mirror and what I saw was a beautiful hat person!

I fingered through samples and spools of ribbon that would make my new hat uniquely mine, and after landing on my favorite, my hat was fit, and my ribbon was cut. I watched as his nibble fingers finessed the perfect pinch in the ribbon’s bow and was in awe of how he gracefully applied heat to the hat as he stretched it back and fourth on the hat form. Several eagerly awaited minutes later he presented me with his handcrafted, perfectly fit hat. I was instructed several times that the proper way to put my new friend on was “from front to back.” Apparently this is a very important and crucial part of wearing said hat, because he even yelled it at me as I stepped out of the shop from the past and back onto the streets of today.

It was an absolutely unexpected lesson in appreciation for an almost lost art of hand-craftsmanship. In an era of fast fashion, we tend to forget that there was a day when items we now take for granted we’re actually created with love, art, and talent. When you stumble upon experiences that allow you to peek into the past, soak them up, and remember…always front to back!

The Perfect Fit

Olé
105 Calle De Fortaleza
San Juan, Puerto Rico

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December 10, 2014 New Year’s Chic at Any Age

by style contributor, Julie

Ahhhh…New Year’s Eve, it’s the hardest holiday to get figured out. When we were 20-something, fresh faced and fancy free, it was a no brainer. Posh nightclubs, short skirts, mini dresses and meeting midnight still bright eyed and bushy tailed. Now that we’ve graduated to more sophisticated stages of life, and swanky parties mean cocktails with close friends, not standing in line behind velvet ropes, it’s time to seek that same clarity in our December 31st outfits.  Here are a few tips on how to keep your spark without losing your shine!

 30’s: Still Flouncy and Flirty

Even though you’ve bid adieu to very young adulthood, you haven’t suddenly become buttoned-up.  Flouncy hemlines and breathy fabrics help you maintain your youth. It’s icing your outfit with gorgeously designed and detailed jewelry that adds the perfect amount of elegance.

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 Josephine Dress $399, Rococo Earrings $259, Moonglow Cocktail Ring $259

40’s: Perfectly Fitted

Figure flattering and fitted is what you should be aiming for. Don’t be afraid of curves or the most amazingly tailored dresses to hug them. When you let the silhouette become the star, accessories should be held to a minimum. Let the outfit speak for itself and it’s sure to only have very sweet things to say!

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 Sophia Sheath $199, Starlight Bib Necklace $269, Deco Embroidered Clutch $149

50’s: Very Laced Back

A little kiss of lace keeps you demure, and when it’s expertly placed, adds a little spicing of very appropriate sexiness.  Artful accessories such as a statement bag or conversation starting earrings and bracelets will make your New Year that much better.

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Even though you’ve outgrown the socialites of the South Beach scene, remember elegance is ageless and there’s nothing more beautiful than a poised and polished woman! This year, embrace your elevated New Year’s Eve!

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November 19, 2014 Cape Town: Drape yourself in the warmth of ponchos & ruanas

by style contributor, Julie

If it weren’t enough that an early and very frigid winter has reared it’s ugly head, rifling through your closet to find a rag-tag, lackluster winter coat will be sure to send anyone into a knee deep winter weather depression. Luckily, this year a very classic and très chic trend has swooped in like a fashion super hero!

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clockwise above: Córdoba Wrap $179,  Altiplano Poncho $389, Santa Rosa Ruana $218, Antigua Ruana $199

The cape has always been a tried and true staple of the most elegant women. This winter, however, the piece has gone a little more casual, appealing to the buttoned-up as well as the buttoned-down type. And we do owe a flip of the cape to Burberry Prorsum for being one of the first this season to encourage our obsession with the warm, comfy and fashionable casual cape!  In all its various incarnations, as a true cape, or as an Andes-style ruana or poncho, it’s the coziest way to warm up while making a statement.

If aspirational investment pieces are putting a deep freeze on your pocket book, PC can take you from a bitterly frost-bitten beauty to a Caped Crusader with our favorite Capes, Ponchos, Blanket Coats, Ruanas, and Wraps, all under $400!

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October 28, 2014 Fully Coated

by style contributor, Julie

No body is perfect, but with the changing of the leaves also comes the change of the garb! And there is no more exciting and figure-flattering time to dress one’s self than when the mercury gets heavy in those thermometers. More clothes means more ways to give the illusion that your frame is fit for runways around the world…or at least that runway from your car to your office and back again. Some of us however, might be unsure of how to properly pick winter’s wardrobe essential: the COAT!

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Savoie Shearling Coat $3,500

Straight and Statuesque: Boyish, no! A straight body can be utterly statuesque if styled right. Pick a coat that features a nipped in waist or break out the belt. And don’t be afraid to go long and add some length!

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Opera Coat $798

Full Figured Phenoms: Don’t cover your curves in massive amounts of heavy fabric! Take it to the tailor and consider that fitted is most flattering. Pick a coat that compliments your curves and hugs your lines.

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Swallowtail Coat $498

The Perfect Pear: When you want to embrace your haute hippiness, it’s always nice to see double! A deliciously styled double-breasted coat will put the emphasis on all the right places.

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Marlborough Coat $498

Get Busted: Hourglass figures are sought after, but dressing said silhouette can cause some tension on those buttons! Keep them from hanging on by a thread and pick a snug NOT suffocating style in a solid color.

Now that you know how to flatter your figure for the upcoming freezing temps, go into your closet and give yourself a proper coat check! We promise you’ll look wonderfully warm this winter.

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October 9, 2014 Made in Peru. . . and Turkey and India and the USA

Our customers often ask if our products are made in Peru. The answer is yes, the great majority of our collection is in fact made in Peru, including all of our luxury fibre knitwear and pima jersey pieces.

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Geneviève Dress $359,  Josephine Slip Dress $399

Some select pieces of our collection are made in other parts of the world. India, for example, is renowned for its intricate beadwork and China for its superior silk dresses.

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Savoie Shearling Coat $3,500,  Film Noir Trench $650

We source our leathers and shearling in Turkey and Romania, and our jeans are made in Morocco and New York.

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Manisa Cardigan $398

In short, we make our collection where it is best made. And most of the time that is in Peru.

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