Shanghai Chic – Where a Woman’s Style Starts With Her Shoes

Chinese tourists and residents of Shanghai crowd the Yu Gardens Bazaar on a Sunday afternoon in September, 2013. Photo by BF Newhall

Chinese shoppers and sightseers crowd the Yu Gardens Bazaar on a Sunday afternoon in Old Town Shanghai. Photos by BF Newhall

Seen on the streets of Shanghai -- woman wearing lavendar suede high platform sandals. Photo by BF Newhall

Platform shoes today . . .

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

I thought I was traveling to China to explore the mysteries of China’s storied past: The big dynasties with their poetic one-syllable names – the Qin, the Han, the Tang, the Song. The Ming and the Qing.

I thought maybe I’d be spending my two weeks in China ogling porcelain vases and Shang bronzes. [Read more...]

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Rugs, Afghans and Scarves — My Pentwater Cousin Weaves Them All

A multi-colored, mostly red hand-woven rug with fringe by Mary Helen Blohm. Photo by BF Newhall

Mary Helen wove this rug from socks. We saw it. We bought it. We took it home. Photo by BF Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

My cousin Mary Helen makes rugs. And scarves. And afghans. She weaves them by hand on one of three looms in what used to be her dining room.

I’m lucky. I have a lot of cool cousins. I wrote about my outdoorsy cousin Jeanie [Read more...]

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Wanted: An Evening Handbag That’s Pretty — And Big Enough to Do the Job

A small silver evening bag at Nordstrom with ruching and a chain sells for $268. Photo by BF Newhall

In the stores: This bag was $268 at Nordstrom — pretty, but way too tiny for my purposes. And I couldn’t figure out what the flap at the back was for. Photos by BF Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

The mother of the groom was discombobulated.

There she was, recessing down the aisle after the wedding, her overstuffed evening bag dangling half open from her wrist. Also dangling from her wrist, a camera and a beat-up camera [Read more...]

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When the Bride Doesn’t Wear White — And Neither Does Anyone Else

Women wearing colorful saris at an India wedding in the San Francisco Bay Area. Photos by BF Newhall

A June wedding in the San Francisco Bay Area. Photos by BF Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

The bride wore red. And violet. And cerise. And gold.

It was an Indian wedding with all the trimmings — drums, gongs, garlands, priestly [Read more...]

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At the Sawtooth Building: Earrings for Thirty-Six Bucks . . . And Other Hand-Made Pleasures

Jewelry artist Susan Brooks of Berkeley CA makes whimsical beaded hoop earrings for $36. Photo by BF Newhall

Jewelry artist Susan Brooks of Berkeley CA makes whimsical, colorful beaded hoop earrings for $36. Photos by BF Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

Susan Brooks was in her studio selling handmade earrings priced in the three-figures category the other day. I was not tempted. I’m tightening my belt these days. [Read more...]

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