Tag Archives: shopping

Fast Fashion Mothership, aka H&M, arrives in Hawaii

Yes it happened and the best of Honolulu showed up to embrace H&M’s arrival in the paradise state. Just in time for our craving of Spring fashions.

I popped in after work Thursday on its opening day for a peak that ended up lasting nearly 2 hours. There’s only so many lines I’m willing to wait in, and the dressing room wasn’t one of them. I showed up in a solid black body con dress so I could thrown on anything I really wanted to try on with ease. I recommend doing the same if you attempt a visit anytime this week.

I was most anxious to see what their higher end line included. I am already well stocked in fresh tanks & great cottons I rely on H&M for, but what I really wanted are their select trendy better-made pieces. With this they did not disappoint. I scored a sweet off the shoulder navy tencel dress for under $60. My other favorites were a voluminous skirt in blush ($60), a chiffon green print maxi a la Rachel Zoe ($70), a silky halter bodysuit ($10), and fabulous strapless black & cream printed dress ($70) reminiscent of something Balenciaga or Oscar de la Renta might have sent down the runway.

By the time I arrived late last night, the collections were dramatically picked over. Some of it was just the sheer number of things being taken to the fitting room, not necessarily sold. No $5 pineapple tank top, the items from Miranda Kerr’s collection that were sold out online were already scooped, and the opening offers aren’t worth mentioning except for the $4 linen-like shorts.

H&M is a well oiled machine, and there were no shortage of helpers eager to tidy up as the chaos swept in. There were even cleaners sweeping the floor, polishing mirrors, dusting etc. while people selected items from the adjacent rack. I expect the store to be massively replenished daily, so plan to check frequently for fresh finds. Turnover and fresh items are the key-stone to fast fashion. One note, many of the spring styles I had eyed online were no where to be found, hopefully those will make their way here soon.

Parking was a cinch, and FREE for the first 3 hours with validation, a huge plus! A quick ride in the elevator and I was on the ground floor around the corner from the main entrance.

I’ve been anxious for H&M to arrive in my home state ever since discovering the retailer in Paris in 2000. Can’t say I was expecting more, just happy it’s finally here.


Go Kailua Style

Beyond thrilled to be a featured personal stylist in the current Go Kailua magazine. I shopped Kailua and selected this outfit from three of my favorite shops in Kailua. Olive Boutique, Oliver Men’s Shop, and Fighting Eel.

Everything I picked is versatile. A men’s chambray shirt works for so many occasions, and it’s durable too. In Hawaii it’s a perfect light jacket for cool days. My gorgeous model Maisa sports the classic M.Nii drowners shorts, rolled up and a little bit sexy. No matter where your day takes you, you’ll be prepared, you can even swim in these trunks.

Ladies, don’t be be afraid of shopping in the men’s section! I promise you won’t look butch if you style these pieces in a feminine way. Add feminine details like this chunky coral (plastic) necklace and some gold bangles and glitzy bag and you’re good to go.

Special thanks to Sarah Honda at Honolulu Magazine, Go Kailua magazine for featuring me!


Shop like a Pro

No matter what your reason for shopping is, having a plan is paramount. Yes you can wander and look through all the sparkly things. But being mindful and using some of my tips might improve your “game”. If you think of those lists like the 10 habits of highly successful people, here are my 10 tips for shopping like a pro. Enjoy.

  1. Shop with a list. Before you ever enter a store or go online, know what you need. And that’s your list. Need a great wear with everything black jacket? Write it down. Only when you know what you need to add to your collection will you truly start to build a great wardrobe.
  2. Don’t get distracted by sales. Yes we all can get distracted by flash sales or deep discounts. But if that Marc Jacobs jacket is bright orange and goes with nothing in your closet, does it matter that it’s 75% off? We all love bargains, but I believe in the price per wear method to track how much something really costs you. If you buy a $500 coat, but wear it everyday 3 seasons (90 days x 3 years = 270 and divide $500 by 270 wears) that’s just $1.85 per wear, a pretty good investment. But a $65 pair of heels you wear 3 times, that’s over $20 per wear. It’s best to know what you want before it goes on sale, that way you know what you want and can spot it in the messy sale rack.
  3. Make friends your shop girl/guy. Shop often, try on what you like when it’s merchandised properly, not shoved into a big messy rack. When you find that leather jacket you have to have, wait for it to go on sale. If you are a loyal customer chances are your shop girl or guy working on commission will gladly put it aside for you when it gets marked down. If they are really good they’ll even let you know when your favorite designers have special trunk shows and events too.
  4. Shop alone. Shopping with your best friend isn’t as helpful as you might think. With your list in hand, you’re less distracted and can focus on the task at hand. Boots? check. Black jacket? check. You get the idea. Second opinions are helpful, but unless that other opinions is from a stylist or someone’s style you love, it’s not really that helpful.
  5. Find designers that work for you and stick to them. Once you find clothes that work for your body and lifestyle why go elsewhere? If Hudson denim has never worked for you, why keep trying? I know I wear a size 30 in Habitual denim and I love their Alice fit. So anytime I’m out shopping and see that same pant in another color or fabrication I already know it’s going to work for me. Having too many options can be overwhelming, even for the venerable shoppers. So stick to what you know works. kHave a hard time remembering what size you are in what pieces? Write them down and keep them in a note on your phone.
  6. Get the basics at H&M, Uniqlo, or Zara. Don’t waste your $$ buying 50 dollar white tees. Yes they may feel amazing, but some of my best tanks have come from H&M. And I don’t have cry when I the pits go yellow. With an endless variety of styles and colors tees, tanks, and jersey dresses that so little you can buy 5 at a time.
  7. Shop online. With speedy deliveries, online reviews, and instant price comparisons shopping online just keeps getting better. Scour online shops like Gilt and Hautelook for deep discounts on your favorite designers. I love the variety and online lookbooks places like Shopbop.com create making shopping for new trends easy. It’s hard to beat hassle-free shopping in your pajamas at 12am either.
  8. Demand great service. Politely of course. If something doesn’t perform like it should i.e. pilling profusely, a button falling off, or a seam ripping, ask that it be fixed or replaced. Here’s where making friends with your shop girl can really come in handy. You invest time and money into your wardrobe, make sure it works for you, and if it doesn’t take it back.
  9. Comfort isn’t the only thing to consider. When considering a new dress, pants, and especially shoes comfort is important. You want to be able to sit easily, walk for miles if you have to, but it shouldn’t be your only consideration when determining what to buy. If we only depended on things being comfortable we’d all be wearing our hideous velour sweatsuits (thanks Juicy Couture!).
  10. Know when to ask a pro for help. We’re all not the best at everything, and one of the greatest skills is knowing when to ask others for help.

Shop my Style Exchange Saturday Dec. 14th

Back by popular demand, I’m throwing another style exchange this Saturday. Avoid parking at the malls, and find unique one-of-a-kind pieces and looks just for you. Looking for something special? I’ve got loads of vintage and fancy party dresses perfect for this festive season. Got something specific in mind? Let me know and I’ll make sure to have it for you.
Print Print

Style. Shop. Exchange.

Thank you to all of you who came out to shop my first Style Exchange at R/D. We had a blast and hope you did too. More importantly, I hope you picked up some helpful styling tricks, and also new favorites for your closet. You missed it? Not to fret, we’re doing it again next weekend!

Our next pop-up shop is Saturday December 14th, 2-5 p.m. at R/D once again. Everything will be 50 bucks or less, and I’ve got my hands on lots of new to you gently worn fabulous fashion finds. Is there something you’re looking for in particular? Let me know and I’ll make sure to bring it along and put it aside for you!

Shop Pualana’s Style Exchange: Saturday December 14th 2-5 p.m. R/D 691 Auahi St in Kaka’ako. Free to attend.

 Personal Stylist Pualana Lemelle brings you a carefully curated selection of clothes, shoes, and accessories for a fun afternoon soiree at R/D.

 Light refreshments. Cash and cards accepted.

Olive & Oliver boutiques celebrate milestones

On Friday Ali McMahon of Olive Boutique and Parker Moosman of Oliver Men’s Shop celebrated major milestone achievements. Olive has now been making Kailua women stylish one outfit at a time over the past 5 years. Oliver is the sole Men’s shop in Kailua and already has a loyal following both in Hawaii and Japan after just one year of being open.

Olive took over the old Ali’i florist space on Kihapai when you could count all the independent boutiques in Kailua on one hand. Now it feels like a new shop is popping up every month. Kailua has always been a destination for locals and tourists alike, but mostly just for it’s famous white sandy beaches. Now its visitors are seeking out more than just a beach excursion, they’ve come to shop and eat too. Kailua has become more lively as a result, it’s a win win.

What really make Olive and Oliver special is the unique character of the shops, an enjoyable well curated experience carrying local, national, and international brands. Olive is the only place on Oahu stoking Tilvaro Designs, made by hand on the North Shore. Oliver was the first and only shop on Oahu to stock URSA major men’s products from Vermont. Casual and comfy, their shops often become a hangout for the effortlessly cool ladies and gents.

If you haven’t stepped inside their doors yet, what are you waiting for? Then again, these characters aren’t going anywhere. The shops have been embraced by their followers making their presence a standout in a sleepy beach town. We’re excited to see what the next five years will bring for our two favorite east-side shops.

Olive Boutique 43 Kihapai street, Kailua, Hawaii 96734. 808-263-9919. IHeartOlive.com

Oliver Men’s Shop 49 Kihapai street, Kailua, Hawaii 96734. 808-261-6587. OliverHawaii.com

Hats on for Fall

The Boston Red Socks won the World Series. Leaves are falling. There’s a chill in the air, well everywhere but in Hawaii that is. When you can’t sport the chunky knits, patterned tights, and fun overcoats because you’ll overheat and die of sun stroke, you have to be creative for the fall pieces you’ll actually enjoy sporting.

Hats are one of those easy change of season accessories that really work no matter where you are. After weeks of searching online and in stores, I settled on this one from Brixton in Navy. It didn’t come in black, and actually it was the last one in store where I found it, Lizard Lounge in NW Portland, Oregon. I’ll tell you more about my Jaunt in upcoming blog entries, but for now I’m loving this topper.

With a pixie cut, or long hair, I think this semi-boho floppy fedora works well no matter your look. Thoughts? Have a favorite hat you’re sporting this fall? Let us know!

Find me at Roberta Oaks Hawaii

Happy Veteran’s Day!

Today I’ll be helping out my good friend at her shop (Roberta Oaks) in Chinatown. Stop by and say hi. But most of all check out the awesome new men’s shirts in cool limited edition Hawaiiana prints. Cut trim for those lean surfer bods you know, it’s a total crowd pleaser either way.

Patriotic spirit: Show your military ID for 20% off at Roberta Oaks (valid 11/12/12 only).

19 N. Pauahi St. Honolulu Hawaii, 96817


Shopping: NYC

Shopping in New York City is not the same as shopping in any other US city. Coming from the west coast and Hawaii, it’s nearly shocking at the lack of customer service I’ve yet to experience at the vast number of stores I’ve already shopped at on this trip.

Exterior of Jeffrey in the Meatpacking district.

Some things to keep in mind when shopping in New York:

  1. You need to have a lot of $$$. 50 bucks magically vanishes from your wallet when you walk out the door.
  2. Have no expectation that anyone will help you, even at the big name stores. However at a boutique store in the meatpacking district a store Jeffrey blew my mind with such nice sales staff. In fact I was instantly humored when this guy asked if we could be boyfriend/girlfriend. New Yorkers were never accused of being timid.
  3. You need endurance, lots of it. Keep snacks like almonds and water in your purse.
  4. Other shoppers may have enjoyed a few cocktails at brunch before hand.
  5. Just like you, New Yorkers love a good bargain. Find the sales rack near the back wall, there are always a few gems hidden in there, though digging is required.
  6. Don’t be shocked at the checkout line, add 10% sales tax before you swipe your card. If you’re buying something big, have them ship it to your home address if you live in a state with cheaper sales tax.
  7. If you need another size in anything, say your prayers, it’s probably sold out. Fashionistas know a good thing when they see it. Act fast when you find something you like.
  8. Sales people act like they’re doing you a favor by ringing your stuff up. When they say they close at 8:30 pm, they really mean lights off, drawers closed at 8:30 pm. Though this was the case at Bloomingdales we did find a nice lady who helped scour the racks in the dark for any other pair of pants by the same maker as the ones I wanted to buy but were missing a tag. We were there, lights turning off, and she was the only one that would help us! We even had to leave through the employee exit. I couldn’t believe that they didn’t make sure all shoppers left before drawers started closing. This is unheard of at Nordstrom.
  9. True for street fairs: If you have to ask the price, it’s not set. Bargaining is necessary. If you don’t like a price, say so. And if you think it’s too much, walk away. Next time you walk by they may just be ready to sell it to you for the price you were willing to pay.
  10. Style doesn’t have to be expensive. Case in point: I purchased  $10 pair of earrings at a street market. Three different sales staff at super uber expensive Jeffrey commented on how much they liked them. Flattery or not, it was nice.
  11. NYC is a great place to find large bargain shopping stores like Loehmann’s & Century21. However the secret is out, so expect huge crowds and shared dressing rooms. Prepare by dressing in base layers that you can easily slip something over what you’re wearing to avoid exposing your skivvies to total strangers.
  12. Don’t put your purse down, or leave it in the dressing room, ever. This goes for everywhere, not just NY.
  13. In order to get what you want, you must be adamant and push back. Or you might just have to leave empty-handed.

So if you don’t LOVE to shop, shopping in the heart of NYC might be just too much. Enter the scene with caution. I love it here, and love shopping here, but it takes a true shopping junkie like me to deal with all the craziness shopping here entails. Look for more shopping tidbits and photos to come soon.

Personal Shopper: DVF at Ala Moana

Show’s you who’s been paying attention! I had no idea my all-time-favorite designer Diane von Furstenberg (DVF) opened a stand-alone shop at Ala Moana last year! She even came out for the grand opening event!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The other day as I was perusing the mall, I found a sign announcing it’s location … and I nearly screamed! It was a dress by DVF that I even chose to wear on my 30th birthday! It’s located on the second level right between Dior and Neiman Marcus. That space was the former Valentino shop long ago (back when I was in high school!) and also the former Baccarat boutique. I hope DVF can outlast the bad juju this corner seems predisposed to.

Once inside, the gals behind the desk were super friendly. Turns out they were also former Nordstrom employees. Kristen, the assistant manager, tagged along with me as I walked the open and airy white space caressing all the Fall 2012 pieces I’d not been privy to seeing before. Don’t get me wrong, Neiman’s & Nordy’s carries a nice chunk of the DVF line, but seeing it all in one space was a total thrill. Shoes, scarves, bags, her iconic wrap dress and even a ping-pong set were all contained in this super chic spot. I’m already planning for my return visit.

“Be irresistible!”

-Diane von Fürstenberg