Buy Curious: October 27, 2006

Welcome to the first edition of the East Bay Express’ new shopping and style report, Buy Curious! Every Friday, we’ll post photos of the fashion fabulous of the East Bay, as well as news on store openings, closings, new items, and sales.

StyleFile #1: “Ninety percent of my wardrobe is vintage.”

Who: Kyla Haskins, 40

Spotted: Upper Rockridge, hanging clothes on a rack outside a shop

Wearing: Vintage linen skirt, menswear vest buttoned over modern-era tank top, vintage men’s fedora, Macy’s-brand heels she bought two years ago and revamped using velvet piping and grosgrain ribbon, four-strand vintage pearl necklace and five-strand vintage pearl bracelet.

Gigs: 1) Buyer for Soiree, a boutique stashed with sumptuous, meticulously restored vintage frocks and accessories. “I buy vintage but keep up with the trends designers are showing. Everything looks fresh, but it’s old.” 2) Shoe revisionist. Bring her that tired pair you just can’t part with and she’ll render them both current and gorgeous for as little as $20. Or stop by the store and get on her mailing list to score an invite to her next shoe party.

Life altering experience: Reading Coco Chanel’s autobiography when she was 16.

Style Tip: Spray fabric shoes with Scotchguard before you wear them. Most stores will spray them for you at the time of purchase, but you’ve gotta ask. Doing this makes cleaning them as simple as a single swipe-dirt will literally disappear.

(Soiree, 5405 College Ave., Oakland. (510) 601-5822. Hours: Wed.-Fri. 12-5; Sat. 11-5) **Soiree is currently having a fantastic sale!

Shop Talk

Store opening: Favor

Finally! Jewelry that’s whimsical, modern and bold-and still so darn pretty! After landing her pieces in more than 500 stores and countless magazine spreads, Caramia Visick decided it was high time to settle down. Lucky for us, she chose Oakland. Even luckier, her husband is a chef, and his savory treats will be yours for the sampling at Favor’s opening celebration all weekend. Go ahead, have some bubbly, too. You’ve got to actually buy the jewelry, but don’t worry-with stunners that start at $24 and rarely tip $100, you can afford to.

(Favor, 5337 College Ave., Oakland. (510) 653-2741. Hours: Wed.-Sat. 11-6; Sun. 12-5; closed Mon. & Tues. Website: coming soon.)

Island Couture: Time to throw out the capris. M Zoe Couture promises to bring high fashion to the sleepy suburban town of Alameda. The upscale boutique, which debuted earlier this month in a red carpet affair, carries lines like Donald J Pliner, C&C California, and Nicole Miller. Judging by the long gowns in the window, owner Rafael Henry Perez can definitely help Alamedans up their fashion a notch or two.

(M Zoe Couture, 1424 Park St., Alameda. (510) 814-6950. Hours: Mon.-Fri. 10-8; Sat. 10-7; Sun. 10-6)

Dish to Carry Dishes: Beloved Berkeley boutique Dish is remodeling its upstairs in preparation for a new section of houseware items, notecards, and possibly baby-wear. The new items will be unveiled at a special opening/ten-year anniversary celebration on Friday, November 3 at 6 p.m. Owner Desiree Alexander has repurposed the upstairs section several times since the store’s opening – first carrying menswear, then shoes, then lingerie and handbags. We hope this new twist will stick ’cause we’re a sucker for pretty cards.

(Dish, 2981 College Ave., Berkeley. (510) 540-4784. Hours: Mon.-Fri. 10-6. Sat. 11-6; Sun. 11-5)

Denim Habit? If you’re looking for designer denim at discounted prices, look no further than Habit. This College Ave. store, which opened six months ago, carries lines like Hudson , Yanuk, and James Jeans, which retail for upwards of $200 for about $60. Most are bootcut, however, so don’t expect to find any skinny-leg styles.

(Habit, 5467 College Ave., Oakland. (510) 652-2247. Hours: Mon.-Sat. 11-6)

All They Need Is Abercrombie & Fitch: J Crew unveiled its first East Bay store on October 17 at the growing Broadway Plaza Shopping Center in Walnut Creek. The preppy brand carries affordable, bright cashmere sweaters, great gifts for the holidays, though the quality is a little questionable. In any case, it’s just one more step toward making WC a more viable alternative to San Francisco for East Bay shoppers.

(J Crew, 1279 Broadway Plaza, Space C14, Walnut Creek. (925) 943-7664. Hours: Mon.-Fri. 10-9; Sat. 10-7; Sun. 10-6. Web site:

We want to hear from you! Tips? Openings? Sales? New Items? Closings? Sales? Send them to us! and Kathleen Richards

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