Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Little Black Dress

Even if you already own an LBD (Little Black Dress) certainly this is one item of clothing which quantity AND quality supercede one over the other. On Friday we received two versions of Cynthia Steffe's LBD. The first is sexy and elegant with cap-sleeves (for those with upper arm phobia) and a knee length sheer cut floral fabric (almost lacy) over a nude slip which makes it look see-through without it being see through. This dress has a fetching jewel neckline with jet black beads placed strategically below the sheer inset on the front of the dress, with a slight gathering at the chest to flatter most women. The few who have tried it on were surprised by it's flattery because on the hanger, frankly, it's not so thrilling. It's so new, I can't locate a photograph of it on Cynthia Steffe's Web page.

The other dress uses a similar fabric but the style is all ballerina. The sleeveless top is black and fitted, sort of like a bodice, and the bottom is a gathered skirt of the same sheer floral fabric over a nude slip. Quite romantic in fact. There are small black beads where top meets bottom. We tried it on with an Ila & I diamond and silk necklace and waited for our prince to come...however, it was just the UPS guy.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Out with the old, in with the new

Spent too much cash on last weekend's martinis? Not feeling the urge to splurge on a that new blouse you can't stop thinking about? The frugal (and oh so California environmentally friendly) solution is to recycle your fuddy duds, your "skinny" clothes, or the items in your closet with permanent creases because they have never been freed from their wire hanger. There are several consignment stores in Oakland and Berkeley which take such disenchanted clothes...This accomplishes two things 1) you earn money (obviously) to buy new clothes and 2) you organize your wardrobe.

Editing or organizing your wardrobe can be monumental, particularly if you have a troll-sized closet (like me) or just too many damn clothes. One method of harmonious closetry (is that a word?) is to hang like colors together. If you are in a hurry to get dressed, this can make for quick outfit-making. It will also highlight what is missing from your wardrobe (i.e. "gee whiz, I have twelve brown skirts and no shirts to match"). Or, you can go the other route if space is at a premium - categorize: bottoms grouped with bottoms, and tops with tops (and you can even sub-categorize by putting pants together, skirts together, etc.).

I wish it were that simple. Your closet reflects not only how large the space is, but how you think and how you put yourself together in the morning. Are you a grab and go? Are you a methodical nudge? Are you a clotheswhore? Do you keep everything in one place? What about your tights, underwear, sweaters, jackets, or scarves? Where are they? Sigh.

If you need help, iniam offers closet consultations where we come to your house and help you fill in the blanks, hone your personal style, and offer hands-on closet counseling.

(Wish it were my closet! Above photo by me).

Sunday, October 21, 2007


Spring is in the air - at least at the fashion shows in Paris this week - and it seems to be a decidedly yellow forecast for 2008. I've been checking out the ready-to-wear collections and can hardly wait for the lemony, buttery, creme fraiche-y, pound cakey yellows to arrive from Tory Burch or Tracy Reese or 3.1 Phillip Lim. But yellow seems so...so gauche right now. Like dormant perennials, Spring clothing always arrives in the nick of time to save us from despair amid the short winter days, but how can store buyers even think about yellow in mid-October?

This weekend I feverishly deleted the airy cotton and linen frocks from my closet and stuffed them in their pandora's box to be opened sometime in April. For now, I am satisfied drooling over the deep jewel-like tones of Mint's beautiful silk party top (my nickname, not theirs because once you see it, you will understand). I mean, whoever tries it on looks like a beautiful rare gift. In raspberry silk, the (lined) top fits snugly under your boobs, but the silk falls delicately away. It looks smashing with (naturally) black, but also could pair nicely with denim (or white, or brown, or gray, or navy, or beige...you get the idea). Keep the jewelry simple though; the top says it all. What does it say? It says I'm the only one with this gorgeous top (we are only carrying three in three different sizes) and I shop at iniam.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Bags and Bagels

Saturday mornings evoke relaxed indulgences such as fresh bagels and casual shopping without the frenzy of leaving work on a Friday to get to ye favorite store before the employees turn off the lights and smile apologetically....just as you grab the door handle. On that note, I will share with you my bagel recipe and new arrivals at iniam, so you can shop and cook this Saturday morning and feel more smug than the shopgirl who closed the door in your face last night.

Bagels, from Nigella Lawson, are no fuss, impressive, (like the the new bags I will describe below) and as addictive as the New York Times "Sunday Styles" (of which I will write about tomorrow).

6 2/3 cups flour
1 tbsp salt
1 package rapid rise yeast
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp oil plus a little more
2 1/4 cups water
2 tbsp sugar for poaching the bagels
oiled baking sheet

Combine flour, salt and yeast in bowl. Mix the oil and sugar in the warm water. Add to flour and stir until unmanageable with a spoon. Knead until a smoothish consistency and the dough springs back when poked. This dough should be tough to knead, not soft and squishy like reguar bread dough. Spend 10 minutes or so kneading. Put in oiled bowl, put some plastic wrap over bowl and/or a tea towel, and set in an un-drafty location to rise for an hour. After the hour is up, punch dough and divide into three pieces. Roll each piece into a snake and then cut into five chunks. Take each chunk and work it into a doughnut shape (roll it on your counter) except there should NOT be a wide hole in the center. Pinch the ends together so the dough doesn't fall apart. Make it look like a bagel basically. Put those on your oiled baking sheet and cover as you make them. When finished, let them rise a little more til they are slightly puffy. At this time, boil your big pot of water.

When the water boils, add the additional two tablespoons of sugar to water. Two or three at a time, put your bagels into the water and let boil for 30 seconds each side (flip them with the nearest utensil). After this is done, put them in your pre-heated oven (put on highest temp.) and bake for 5-10 minutes. Eat them hot!

After you are done eating, come to iniam and see the new bags we received from Bahay Bags (Bahay means "home" in the Philippines, where the bags are handwoven). Lovely little bags, they are made of natural materials such as raffia, pandan, sabutan, bamboo, and buntal. The designer happens to be an Oakland local. All things aside, these are what the vendor terms as "city meets straw," adorable with whatever cute little dress you have, and lend a bit of whim and earthiness to your wardrobe. We particularly love the pink and natural clutch which is quite stunning with some of our festive clothing. As for the bagels, try to make them before your husband stands up in your attic and thus creates a hole in the ceiling of your living room...I'm just saying...

(Photo borrowed lovingly from Bahay Bags Web Site)

Friday, October 19, 2007

Speaking of Denim...

Either I am psychic (see previous post) or I work at iniam (um, or perhaps both) but a giant shipment of denim arrived today from James Jeans! Arriving just in time for rainy weather are three styles: a high rise dark denim boot cut, a regular rise straight cut and a high rise ink black corduroy, also straight cut. If I could cover the earth in corduroy, I would, and I would probably do it in this fabric --- it's like buttah, thin-wale and soft as a baby's bum. We also have the same cords in midnight blue which looks pretty hot with your tall boots. What? No tall boots? We don't sell them (yet) but you should get yourself a pair in either chocolate brown, black, or camel or all three like I have.

Thursday, October 18, 2007


It's the most common question at iniam; what kind of jeans should I buy? Before you take the plunge, let's go over a few things.

1) Think about what you look you want...dressy? game day casual? club-going worthy?
2) Consider your body. Is your body made for low cut, high cut, boot cut, flares, relaxed cut, or skinny legged jeans?
3) What color do you want? Today's denim, in case you haven't noticed, comes in more colors than a Pantone wheel.
4) Come to iniam with a little time to spare. Finding the best fit takes time, so if you are rushing from the bank during your lunch break, forgo the search for denim. Come after work (we are open until 6pm) and spend a quiet moment trying on every pair of jeans in the store. Leave the toddler at home if possible, although sometimes bringing an 8 year old can wield loads of truth-telling (NOTE: I was recently at my friend's house advising her on what to wear to a literary event and her 9 year old said upon her appearance from the closet "Mom, you look Spanish AND tall." Needless to say, she wore that outfit that evening!)

And don't despair if you can't find the perfect pair, because it takes time. At iniam, we will help you find a pair that fits right. Currently we carry Hudson but we will be carrying other lines soon!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Who wears the pants?

At iniam, we don't just wear the pants, we sell them...and currently we have some great wide-legged trousers from BCBG Max Azaria. In black or grey, the waist is slightly low, but not obscene and the front slant pockets don't add bulk to your hips (a nice feature we think). In addition, the wide waist band secures whatever may lie beneath. Made of mostly wool, (thin and not itchy) the Tabatha Pant has become our best-selling pant for Fall.

(photo from BCBG Web site)

Monday, October 15, 2007

Chilly days

The chilly mornings this time of year in northern California are not quite offset by warm days. In fact, just staying a moment too long in the shade can present a brrrrrr during the month of October. iniam's Vince sweaters are a cozy (and may I say stylish) solution to frosty fingertips while selecting the perfect pumpkin from ye local farm stand (um, see pumpkins on the left - I will upload a sweater photo later). Made with cashmere and lambswool, they are still quite affordable and if you have ever encountered a Vince sweater, as many of our customers have, you know they are worth every penny.

(Photo by me)

Sunday, October 14, 2007

If the shoes fits...

Tory Burch waves her magic wand of sophistication and comfort and creates a shoe that combines French ingenue with American sass and comes up with the Reese Ballet Flat in shamrock green...available (naturally) at iniam. We also just received a cardigan from Tory Burch in the same verdant color.

Also in the Tory Burch lineup at iniam is the Betty Pump (in black - looks great with Trina Turk dress -- see previous post). Did I mention the Reese Ballet Flat also comes in gold? Gold shoes? Gold shoes are the new pink. Get them at iniam.

(photo from Tory Burch Web site)

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Fall 2007 arrivals

Growing up in New England, the thick smell of fireplace smoke and the crunch of fallen leaves underfoot always arrived simultaneously with the new lineup of Fall clothing (and buying school supplies)...and here at iniam, it's no exception...

Trina Turk (see left) blesses us again with perennially wearable silks (tunics for this season) and her perfectly cut black pants, which for some exciting reason, fit most women. We've also just received a new crop of Hudson denim which complement our cozy and stylish Vince sweaters.

(Photo from Trina Turk Web site)