Thursday, September 30, 2010

the mad hatter

it's officially fall, and i declare "open season" on.....


they are going to be big this year...

we miss Taige. his eye for fashion was impeccable. dudes, take note.

 whether for keeping you cozy on a snowy day, or for a touch of a by-gone era, you must try.
tweed, vintage wool, silk, lace, or stretchy modern fabrics, oh the options!

toppers are such a fun accessory to play with! whether you are a lady or a gentleman, almost everyone can experiment with them.

and you should!
why? why, why, why, you ask?

because nothing makes a bigger statement than a hat.
i guess that explains our overwhelming fear of hats.

people say to me, "but... can i pull that off?"
pull it off?!! what?

as if, in some alternate universe, there are those-who-were-born-to-wear-hats-people. 
do you  assume you are not one of them?

i beg you, truly BEG, on my knees here, hoping against futile hope that you would be so brave...
oh please, just put it on your head and walk out the door.

step out of your comfy little box...  you might just be transformed..

and, you might be surprised by the response you get:


i challenge you, fearful non-hatwearing humans: go forth and cranially adorn.

p.s.  gentlemen, we really wouldn't mind a bit if you were to tip your hat as we sashay right on by..


Monday, September 27, 2010

run-a-way with my heart

:: en vogue: grant - humphreys mansion ::

on the runway: kimono dragons design

francis roces is a denver designer whose eye for beauty with an edge is unstoppable.
i suggest snatching up his pieces now while they are still affordable.  this dress in heavy silk oozes couture, in part due to it's architectural form.  the photos do not reveal the construction that literally holds itself from the model's body while still feeling extremely luxurious.  the francis signature of a men's tie at the waist adds a brilliant playfulness to this masterpiece.

this feminine dress creates synergy between houndstooth, lace and silk for a modern-vintage twist. francis likes to keep us guessing with his asymmetrical hemlines and one of a kind fabrics.


francis said exactly what i have been saying for years.  men's clothing doesn't have to be boring!!  i always feel so sad that guys have such limited selection without looking like a picasso or a klimt.  we all know that doesn't work!  it never works to reproduce the great works of art.

OH and guess what else? men's shirts don't have to be cut like a SQUARE! ha! who knew?  he chose this police uniform because of it's narrow cut at the waist and made it is his own.  who doesn't want to play police officer for a day? maybe we need a fem version...

we love francis roces and hope you will check him out at fashion denver.

:: more from the mystique fall fashion market ::

on show: JoyJen Designs

Joyce Guertin and Jennifer McPherson joined forces after many years in the apparel industry to create these adorable fingerless gloves (re purposed from a sweater), handbags and wallets from salvaged fabric.  designers typically have to buy huge quantities of fabrics in order to save on costs and the leftover fabrics can then be used for smaller items such as these sweet accessories.  nice work, ladies!

on the runway: house of arden
tutu by Lesley Temple

the designer was lovely, her designs, whimsical!
we love that tutus will always be in fashion because being beautiful is always a win!  the model felt beautiful in this long tutu and was happy to pose for more photos.  feeling like tinkerbell is SO under - appreciated! 

these tutus caused quite a stir on the runway, prompting many a question of "where can i get mine?"  please visit to wave your magic wand.

on show: in transition by valerie shultz
valerie's designs have been called "hollywood tribal" for good reason.  her time in west africa has greatly influenced her design, while her name "in transition" describes her re-entry to american culture.  i find her designs are chic yet earthy, which can be a tough combination to pull off.  lace ribbons combine with tribal beads in a manner suggesting a merging of cultures that is refreshing.  you can find her pieces at

on show: hella thready designs
by Tina Jolliffe

also a fashion denver devotee, Tina just can't seem to stop sewing! spotted at her machine while her pretty designs await their new showcaser: "see my unique fabric! you'll never see another just like me!"  like snowflakes, Tina's dresses, coats, and skirts are one of a kind pieces.  you will never have to show up to a party and wonder if anyone is wearing your outfit.  i find that beautiful pieces like these are original art.  wearable art.  so, go get your fashion on and step away from the republic of bananas.  find some quality and style for yourself!!

on show:  astral thyme mechaniks
designs by stephinity salazar

 father time must be proud of this talented artist.  stephinity is humble and gracious and let's her work speak for itself.  and it speaks.  it tells tales of the theatre of life, in a time long ago, in a very beautiful place.  i regret not trying these outrageous toppers on.  i can imagine that some sort of alchemistic transformation might occur! these would be amazing with an alexander mcqueen plaid, or a jil sander cream suit.  let your imagination take you.... down the rabbit hole!
like most of the designers at the show, stephinity does custom work as well.  you can find her at her etsy shop:

and now for our last featured designer, and absolutely NOT the least...... drum roll.....

on show: Mukee design

derek keenan is mukee design and had a genius idea.  why not re-use old skateboards and make them into earrings, necklaces, and belt buckles?  why not, indeed!  as i told one of the guys looking at these buckles, they are a win-win.  not only are they one of a kind, awesome to look at, a conversation starter and all that.... but... they are also lightweight which is so key for belt buckles.  genius, i say, genius.  derek has joined forces with english retreads, a boulder design firm that re-uses inner tubes to make handbags, messenger bags, and now belts that are perfect with mukee buckles. 

please visit or in person at 1070 bannock street in denver for more info


Sunday, September 26, 2010

:: en vogue: st. julien ::

meet shelby.
'tis marvelous!
much too marvelous for words..

what a CLASSIC combination of black and gold! shelby has taken something simple and made it beautiful and so very chic! she is wearing a beautiful chiffon black bubble dress with vintage nine west heels, rescued from her mother's closet in wheeling, west virginia!  the bag, oh my, the bag! shelby's grandmother bought this bag in london a lifetime ago and was unable to part with it until miss shelby showed up with an amazing engagement ring on her finger.  ring, win. bag, double win!!  let's take a closer look at this unique find:

ohh, mmm, geee
seriously one of a kind, with all of the bells and whistles.

but, i digress.  we have a bride to discuss. 

meet caroline.
the amazing and talented bride.  she created this 1920's hollywood glamour with the style and grace that she does so well everyday.  miss caroline always dresses for the tops, but this day was beyond beyond.  we are screaming for this vera wang dress with lela rose embellished ribbon belt.  SCREAMING! amazing hair with an pop of sparkle and netting that makes a bold and beautiful statement.  i cannot say enough about the beauty of this bride or the touches she put on the whole affair that made it so special.  the groom's attire: amazing! the bridesmaids: fantastic! more pictures will follow.. i was unable to get many photos of the couple as they were surrounded by an adoring throng of friends and family.

this day was full of shine, in all senses.

:: mystique fall fashion market ::

fashion denver presents...
TODAY from 10 - 4 at the grant-humphrey's mansion in denver

check out local designers and a little piece of history with fashion shows running at 12, 2, and 3 

 mini-manicures and hair by tootsies salon.
$5 admission
more info at

Friday, September 24, 2010

the time is now

it's all happening. the time is now.  the place, here.
amazing things can happen when you follow your heart's desire and reach for the stars.  the universe can actually bend just a little so that those dreams come within your reach.  for some reason The Little Prince comes to mind.  smile.

in my continual blending of the past and the present, i found myself scouting once again in a few boulder thrift stores.  i am always amazed how these beautiful items just jump into my hands. literally!  they say to me, "see my potential, make me shine!"

love love vintage italian silk scarves with beautiful prints (and rolled edges!).  this clutch has heavy metal beads on silk and is truly amazing.  it may be making an appearance at THE wedding this weekend. the beaded clip-on earrings are a combination of old and new.  i love to see designers refurbish old goods and make them beautiful again.  these are just a few items to keep you thinking. 

we all inspire each other.  i am continually amazed by the powerful influence we can have on those around us.  creativity begets creativity.  keep it coming and please share any inspiration you are having!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

:: en vogue: olde town ::

meet gwendolyn.
spotted while walking in the rain with her mom wearing a big grin on her face.  this required a few more blocks of driving to turn around and ask for the first time, "may i please take your foto?"

i will ask so many more questions next time: how old are you? what brand are your sassy sneakers? have you worn this delicious creation before? 

what i did learn is that gwen chose fashion over comfort for that short walk to dinner.  it was a chilly, rainy evening and under her brightly colored shawl she was shivering. no matter to gwendolyn! she was all smiles after the shyness wore off.  i love the colors, and the spontaneity this outfit gives to her.  it says, "rain, you will have to try much harder to make me blue! my cute stripes trump your dark clouds, oh don't you see, mr. storm?"

she is definitely winning.

well, lookie lookie..
another great cover from the New Yorker.
a response to the meat dress, perhaps?  a better statement, i think, is that fur looks good on it's owners.  it's original owners.  i just had this conversation yesterday with a friend. i don't know how you feel about fur, but vintage fur is the answer to most of the issues.  since we cannot go back, let's learn and move forward. 

my mother gave me her beautiful camel coat with fur lined collar and sleeves.  i wear this oppressively heavy, unique coat and think fondly of her joy at receiving her first nice coat from my father after he received his bonus.  and i think about the decisions we make, and the sacrifices that come with them.

on a lighter note, how fabulous is it to see animals looking so fashionable?  i love seeing character animals dressed up, but hopefully not real ones!  my sweet friend rosalie shares my passion and has amazing wallpaper from the Wind In the Willows.
remember Mr. Toad with his fancy pocket watch and vest?!  fantastic!

fashion involves choices.  be true to yourself in those choices and you will be comfortable in your own skin

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

being yourself is always in fashion

i know what you're thinking. 
i made a promise to myself that this blog would focus on the positive side of fashion.  this is not a forum for the DON'Ts of fashion. hells no. no blacked out rectangle over the eyes here.  this is about DO's. only DO's.  maybe, just maybe, i know what you are thinking now.  "why would she post this foto as a do?" 

what you see before you here is a brave man, a pioneer in his world of fashion.  he is not afraid to be who he is, to own it fully, and even to find flare in his expression.  i truly admire.  it takes guts to say, "this is who i am.  love me or leave me."  take a second to think about it. how many times do we consider what others will think if we wear something a little off-beat?  those who are able to fully be themselves, unapologetically, should be revered.

my buddy stu came into my office the other day and said, "missy, i've been thinking.."
"i've been thinking that when you work in the gym you need to wear your cool clothes, no more boring trainer pants and vanilla shirts."
great! love it!
he went on.."i'm not going to train with you if you wear that crap.  you wear your clothes, express yourself.  if other people don't like it,  $#%&!  em."

well, alright then!
you have to know stu to know that this is the man who is as gentle as a pussy-cat, and very sweet to me. he has encouraged me over the years and our give and take has been a very much equal deal.  i have learned a lot from him.  bonus for me!  when someone is nearby and possibly listening, he gets a little look in his eye... i see it coming.... and then, BOOM! he swears, LOUDLY at me, but for the "audience", about some exercise or some crazy piece of equipment. "THIS IS BULLS**T!!!"

ahh, the actor.

later, my voice mails are full of praise, what a great time he had, how good he feels, etc.  this "show" he puts on has earned him quite the reputation.  "you're that guy that swears at his trainer!"

sorry, but it's true.

it's also true that you should be yourself, whether it's riding your hog with raccoon tails hanging off your horns, yelling at the teacher whilst sporting your lululemon togs, or stretching a client on the floor in cashmere. and maybe a vintage broach.

life is short.

be yourself.

who is this mouse you speak of?

whO? bella mouse? who is that? why i thought you would never ask! growing up my family called me "missy mouse", and then later just "the mouse". i'm not exactly sure why. i was small, very small and had a habit of getting my nose into things. especially people's closets, trinket drawers, and shoes. my mother tells this story about when i was three and they took the older (and luckier! they never took me to europe!) kids to europe and left me at home with my two great aunts, aunt Katherine and aunt Florence (who were both wonderful influences on me in their lifetimes). apparently, i had the house memorized, and anything they needed, i could find! need an iron? missy mouse to the rescue!
it is time to admit something. i wasn't always fashionable. i had an inner need to experiment with clothing and one day went too far for my mother's liking. if only i had a foto! i decided to wear a bright red SKIRT, with white western style fringe AROUND MY NECK and tucked it into my white, staple=boring, turtleneck. i got away with it once. i must have put on a coat and pranced out the door to the school bus. unnoticed. twas not to be the second go-round. "mother", as she is called when i am angry with her, marched me back into my room and told me in no uncertain terms that i was not allowed to wear skirts as ponchos. i thought i was so creative! i was so happy in my bright red creation! from that day forward, clothes would show up on my bed, every month, in wide array. clothes that were "appropriate" for children of such age from such families in such towns. you get the drift. i am sure my mummy was well meaning but the fashion bug was lost for some time in a sea of frilly girly conservative fashion, to be followed by ghastly uber-prepped-sperry topsider-polo-penny loafer-kilt skirt overwhelm. sigh. oh those lost years...
at some point i overcame my upbringing.
the mouse. then. became. bella mouse.
i hope to share with you thoughts on fashion, musings, finds, ideas and general think-out-of-the-box-edness.

Monday, September 20, 2010

vintage scouting

my great friend Catherine coined the term "advance scouting" in reference to those moments we are out browsing, without the pressure of buying on the spot (no party to dress for the next evening, for example). i adore her and her great use of the language and now just refer to any time of fanciful forage or carefree window shopping as "scouting." i have no problem telling you that my favorite character in literature was indeed Scout in To Kill A Mockingbird.

at the influence of miss caroline and her vintage decor for her upcoming wedding this weekend, i found myself scouting at a local thrift shop. the bounty was so great and the hunt so thrilling i could hardly stop the beast for adventure that was taking hold of me! 1950's bag, nearly new ferragamos, and crystal liquor decanters, oh my!! with my man away in alaska, fishing his heart out, and my sense of adventure forever altered, i set off for more spoils. i'm not sure if i was perhaps born in the wrong generation, or a product of my own sense of old and new coming together in a unique fashion, but i had a dolly of a time.