Fall Fashion in Santa Cruz

Clothing: Shoes, Maguba Clogs, Navy, $148, Stripe / Jeans, Mother, Rascal, Dark Wash, $205, Pacific Trading Company / Top, Elk, Chambray, $94, Stripe / Jacket, Eileen Fisher, $498, Pacific Trading Company / Scarf, Mara Snipes, $110, Stripe / Bag, Corral Made Tote, $298, Stripe / Hat, Olive & Pique, Panama, $40, Stripe / Earrings, Sharelli, $133, Artisans Gallery / Ring, Tiger Lilly, $50, Artisans Gallery. This story first appeared in Santa Cruz Waves magazine.

As fall fashion breezes into town, cut-offs and spaghetti strap tanks take a back seat to warmer looks. This season calls for smart layering, ocean-inspired hues, chunky outerwear, and individualized accent pieces. Seen here, Pleasure Point resident Stephanie models the latest looks that speak to how Santa Cruz women can embody the fall trends and make them their own. 

Her mission: To take Santa Cruz (and the ever-changing weather and tides) by literal fashion storm. First up—jeans, of course, because every local woman wears them. But how do you mix it up and have a fashion forward point of view? Go for a dark wash like these Mother jeans from Pacific Trading Company. This straight leg version complements all body types. But don’t drag them around. Lift the hems by adding a cuff. A small rolled hem is playful and charming. 

Next on the list: build your wardrobe from the jeans up. Pulling off the monochromatic look can be tricky, but Stephanie nails it by using blue as a grounding color. Add a chambray boxy top from Stripe (in a contrasting denim shade) to make the outfit sing. Then, she digs in her heels with a pair of striking navy Maguba clogs (a must-have shoe for the season), because any local style setter knows she needs to kick off her shoes in a flash if the ocean beckons.

Next up: insert texture and patterns. This indigo linen scarf is eye-catching and cozy at the same time and can be wrapped in myriad creative ways around the shoulders and neck. Add a cocoon shaped coat in a classic fall shade of brown to honor the season and stay warm at the same time.

The finishing touches: a hat is required for the season. Make it playful and polished by choosing one with a floppy brim and a sleek ribbon. The camel color seen here ties the whole look together.

Then, add your jewelry. The minimalism look has been going strong for a few seasons and is continuing to ride the wave of popularity. Make it your own by finding original pieces at Artisans Gallery like these matte gold hoops and over-sized ring.

Finish your fall look with a bag that’s practical, memorable and worth the investment. This striking leather creation by Corral Made, a local line, offers inside and outside pockets as well as comfortable straps and a buckle that will keep your goods tucked safely inside. It’s roomy enough to house your scarf when the sun comes out to play (like it always does in Santa Cruz), and can also comfortably fit a water bottle, novel and more essentials for a spontaneous jaunt to the beach. 

About the shoot: Santa Cruz Waves magazine teamed up with The Penny Rose to create this editorial fashion spread. Photographer Nick Chao captured these images during a photo shoot at Pleasure Point, while Christa Martin styled and produced the project.

Crew: Photographer, Nick Chao / Stylist, Creative Director, Christa Martin for The Penny Rose / Model, Stephanie Armstrong / Makeup, Jillian Wilkey for Salon on the Square / Hair, Tara Murphy for Salon on the Square

Timeless Turbans


Fave Turbans

One of the things I love about fashion are the memories and associations that develop over a lifetime. For me, turbans are my grandmother. She wore them regularly, especially once the salon hair-do faded into a don't. They were a fixture while traveling and I can see now the wisdom of her ways. More light and comfortable than wearing a hat all day, it's an elegant answer to any hair problem. A stylish head covering that had great moments in the '20s and '70s, in the past few years they have grown in popularity and I can't help but be reminded of my very chic Maman Didith. I think she would have approved and worn any of these.

Walk 1,000 Miles

I have a pair of tall black leather boots in my closet (just like everyone else). And while they get me through the winter, they don't necessarily make a significant fashion statement. And so, I've long been wanting to invest in a brown fall boot. But not something tall (like everyone has). Rather, I've been looking for something mid-length, or maybe a bootie, but with some pizzazz. 

My search has been going on for some time but recently I discovered the two-tone pair seen above. The Bonny Boot, a design collaboration between Samantha Pleet and Wolverine was released two years ago in various colors, but the style is once again returning to stores and I discovered it at Jade, a boutique in Santa Cruz. Although it has a heel, reviews for the boot are exceptional. It's the exact shoe I've been looking for. 

For those who want something a little different, the Blixen Boot is another stylish alternative to the traditional tall fall boot. With laces and a buckle, it's a little bit old school and a little bit country. 

Either choice is a stunner and a perfect unique fall boot. 

The Most Beautiful Thing About You

Although the barrage of marketing aimed at women might have you think otherwise, there is something more effective at making you beautiful than any item money can buy—something that will make you more radiant than creams and cleansers can, more striking than foundations and brow pencils, and more impressive than trendy boots and bags.

I write about eco-beauty for The Penny Rose, which often means sharing great natural products or sustainable fashion with you. But as far as I’m concerned, all of those things are just accessories to the foundation of eco-beauty: health. A healthy and nurtured body and mind are important, and sometimes overlooked, building blocks for beauty, and what—at least in my definition—drives the concept of “eco-beauty.” And that includes healthy body image, because confidence is radiant. Empowerment is gorgeous. There’s really no better look.

Which is why, this week, I want to take a break from talking about things, and focus on the only thing that really matters: accepting and loving yourself. It’s a tall order, and one many of us grapple with. But we each deserve the rewards that come with being comfortable—or, heck, even proud—in our own skin. Once that’s our reality, taking good care of our hair and skin with healthy products and using clothes and makeup to express ourselves can be great fun for sharing the beauty within with others.

If you haven’t lately, take a look in the mirror and get to know the beautiful person looking back. I suggest taking it a step further and dancing around to the current No. 1 song in the country while you’re at it—Meghan Trainor’s “All About that Bass.” Because, as she puts it in this anthem for healthy body image, “Every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top.”

Jewelry Discovery: Erin Considine

In September, I styled and produced The Penny Rose's fall fashion shoot and when doing pulls I was introduced to a stunning jewelry line, Erin Considine, which is sold at Cameron Marks, a Santa Cruz boutique. I absolutely fell in love with the line's original usage of metals and fibers, blending them together in innovative ways that are unforgettable. Helmed by Brooklyn artist Erin Considine, the line was launched in 2009. 

To choose my favorites from the current selection of necklaces, cuffs and earrings was tough, but these seven items really jumped out at me. Each is a modern statement piece and I'd lucky to own any of these. 

Check out the line at erinconsidine.com and find it at Cameron Marks in Santa Cruz.