Last year, I ushered in the first day of November in Branson, Mo. It started with a couple cups of coffee on a porch overlooking hills of blazing fall color — and was followed promptly by eight hours testing my credit limit at an outlet mall.
It was a fun weekend spent with friends, laughing, eating and no doubt alarming Visa’s Department of Suspicious Activity. That’s a thing, right?
Anyway, a busy social season of office parties, church shindigs and family gatherings lie ahead — all ample opportunities to channel your Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa spirit via any one (or more, preferably) of the following local finds that will make you stand out among the ordinary holiday hullabaloo.
Bows of a feather
The term "Southern gentleman" conjures specific visuals for me, and they almost always involve style — and, for some odd reason, mint juleps.
Perhaps the most Southern gentleman in our local retail scene is Travers Mahan, whose eponymous shop at The Plaza, East 81st Street and South Lewis Avenue, has been tastefully outfitting refined Tulsa men for years.
My favorite things in his store right now include the Brackish feather bowties, which are hand-made in South Carolina. These guys use rooster, pheasant, turkey, guinea fowl and iridescent peacock feathers for their creations. Mahan also has bows from Robert Talbott, Carrot & Gibbs, R. Hanauer and Southern Tide.
"Socks are one of fall’s fun spots," says Mahan, who stocks the aptly named Happy Socks, which come in dots, stripes and other fun patterns — all a great splash of fashion for your feet. Others he kicks around in include Psycho Bunny and St. Croix.
Next time you’re at Travers Mahan, check out Swim, a line of waterproof shoes that are machine-washable. Styles include penny loafers and driving moccasins.
Oh! Almost forgot Samuelsohn’s performance clothing. Developed at one of the finest mills in Italy, this line is wrinkle- and stain-resistant and water-repellant — three things every Southern gentleman should esteem.
Moody’s Jewelry will illuminate the most dazzling facet of Down Under this month when its popular Australian Gem Show returns. The gems will travel first to East 51st Street and South Sheridan Road Nov. 6-8, then the East 68th Street and South Memorial Drive store Nov. 13-15.
The star of the limelight will be Canberra, Australia-based Briolette jewelry, crafted from premium-quality gemstones sourced from the finest suppliers — from stunning diamonds to gorgeous Australian South Sea pearls.
While you have your calendars out, draw a big red circle around Nov. 20-30, when Moody’s will host its Restyle Show featuring master designers Bruce and Wendy Litwak. The Litwaks will tour Moody’s locations, advising customers on how they can restyle their jewelry. Still have that ring from that guy who’s out of the picture? It might make a fabulous pendant, Pumpkin.
Finally, don’t forget the JudeFrances jewelry show at Moody’s Utica Square Dec. 4-5. Among this line’s fall looks are substantial silver cuffs, stackable 18-karat gold bangles, glistening gemstone layering chains and earring charm frames, which can stand alone as a charm or combine with any JudeFrances hoop and charm to create a one-of-a-kind look — just in time for those special holiday parties.
Curls of wisdom
I’m a hair-product junkie, especially when my locks are a little longer, as they are now. Sorry, Mom and Dad.
My absolute-favorite hair product right now is Kevin.Murphy’s Easy.Rider Anti Frizz Crème. I first heard about it after running into stylist and curly-headed hottie Ashlee Roberts from Cypress Avenue Salon at 1601 S. Utica Ave., who recommended I give it a try. So I swung by the salon, and she worked a little bit of product into my hair to show me how it worked — love at first scrunch. It’s not crunchy, smells good but not too strong, and it actually reduces frizz just like the name suggests. Other perks: It’s paraben-free and water-soluable.
Since then, I’ve also become hooked on Kevin.Murphy’s Luxury Wash and Luxury Rinse for thick, coarse hair. Next time you’re around East 15th Street and South Utica Avenue, pop into Cypress — and please tell Ms. Ashlee howdy for me.