Thursday, July 16, 2009

I am a Bad Influence

I must tell you a story. To protect the innocent (or in this case: the guilty), I am going to omit her name. Actually, I'll call her Cupcake.

So, one of my dear friends, and pseudo-clients, Cupcake is pretty fabulous. Actually, she's amazing. She's the type of woman who has amazing style and knows what she likes. She might not necessarily know why she likes something, but she's got great taste. Attention to detail, vivid colours, and tantalizing textures always draw her eye. It doesn't matter what store or which designer makes the item in question - if she likes it, she buys it. Think comfortable luxury.

I really commend Cupcake on her spirit of style and vitality. From something off the rack, to a couture gown, she could wear anything and make it look fabulous. Because the accessory she never leaves home without: confidence and grace.

Well, Cupcake and I were on the phone this evening, for what ended up being about three hours. We we talking about everything we love. Cakes, shopping, Brazilian flip flops, and more shopping. And of course, Martin + Osa.

Cupcake has been shopping at Martin + Osa for much longer than I have. But I think it's safe to say we equally love the store. She's been to the location in San Francisco, Denver, North Carolina, and a few others in between. I've only shopped the Century City location. At the beginning of our phone conversation, Cupcake had about US$350 in her shopping cart at Martin + Osa's website.

That's where I plead "guilty as charged". After I started looking through the website, I started recommending a host of items - from the best tshirts for her husband and son, to skirts and blouses and cardigans for her daughter, to an entire new wardrobe for herself. At the end of our conversation, I'm not kidding - she had about US$900 in her shopping cart. And she'll probably take almost everything. (I guess it helps a little, too, when you have someone recommend which items to mix-and-match, how you can carry certain pieces from one look to the next, and which pieces would be flattering for your body type.)

I don't blame her. Martin + Osa is incredible for many reasons. The style, the quality, and the value are three tenants that are forefront in everything they make and offer. But more importantly, when was the last time that an entire family, with different tastes, styles, and needs, has gone into a store, or shopped online for that matter, and all found things they love and just couldn't live without?! Cupcake's family all are Martin + Osa shoppers for this very reason.

Martin + Osa is like a well kept secret. I want everyone to know about it, so the company does well and the stores remain open and prosperous. But I don't want everyone to know about Martin + Osa, so it remains a little more exclusive, a little more special, and a little less mainstream.

I used to love Ruehl from Abercrombie & Fitch - but then the brand seemed to be just another extension of their parent company and lost their identity, allure, and pizazz.

Martin + Osa is the new black. It's stylish without being pretentious. It's quality without being over worked. It's trendy without being tacky. It's vivid without being loud. It's pieces for real people without being boring. And I want it all. I doubt Martin or Osa are real people. But if they are, I want to meet them for a cocktail or two or ten.

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