Brightly colored dresses in the window suck me inside faster than I can control, and then I see the silver glitter on the floor of the front entrance. This is my new favorite shop, and it opened up yesterday.

Dresses and underskirts, layering skirts, jackets, and bloomers are handmade by Amy Dotts of Portland, who was a regular Last Thursday vendor on Alberta Street for the past two years. The dresses are bright and invite lots of smiles – with prices starting around $120, it is a great deal for handmade, local clothing. Each one could be easily dressed up or down with a flick of the wrist and the right pair of tights or pearls! There are a variety of prints and solids, and one of my favorites has little bicycles all over it.

Part inspiration, part oddity, the knitwear by “Girl with a Hook” is something unlike anything I have seen knit before, and very mystical. The hats appear almost distorted in shape, each one created with handspun yarn in a freeform style. I placed a hat on my friend Martina and she looked charming and elfin at the same time. I didn’t leave the shop empty handed, for I fell in love with one of the knit headbands ($40)- it has sparkley yarn and bubbly bits woven in, and wass surprisingly warm on this cold December day.

Just as charming is the jewelry by Viki – whimisical and inspired by nature, Vicktoria Ciesiul uses recycled metals and beautiful stones. Each one looks unique and sophisticated.

All of the vendors are local to the Portland area – and the term, “it takes a village” really applies to Dotts. Amy Dott’s mother greeted me in the store, her dad created the metal shelving in the shop, and the individual designers are all closely tied as friends. I plan on wearing my new Girl with a Hook headband all winter, knowing that no one will ever have an identical one as this!

2916 NE Alberta St
503 516 0567


love bite: suite 6

No matter where I go, finding a good party dress always seems to be a challenge. They are often too frilly to justify wearing in the real world, too stylish to be able to wear it in two months, or too expensive to buy in the first place. I came across Suite 6, and found my new place for a party dress fix. Suite 6, located in the Alberta Arts district and surrounded by multiple Thai restaurants, lines their walls with flattering and wearable dresses. Everywhere I look, there are dresses suitable for Portland art openings and maybe a fancy dinner and drinks- Biwa, anyone?

Suite 6 is also rather tongue in cheek about some of their items. There is a grey, flowey sequin mini dress/tunic top by Ringspun that is PRINTED with sequins rather than having actual sequins sewn on. The effect is a rather chic scaly look. Something else that cracked me up momentarily is the new spin on a BFF necklace set of interlocking USB sticks, plated in gold. If you don’t have a BFF, you can just wear it by yourself, but it would be more interactive to share!

If you are in need of a pair of black or grey leggings that last more than three months before they fall apart (the ones from Target are nearly disposable), this is the place to get them. Prices for durable and creative black leggings range in price from $35-$49.

I happily galloped away from the boutique with a black dress, on sale for $40, that directly channels Audrey Hepburn. It is definitely date worthy, but I can also wear it to work. The exposed zip and sheer black back is extra exciting.

Suite 6
2641 NE Alberta St
Portland, OR 97211
503 517 0305

video: leanna nyc

As September’s first Thursday approached, I looked forward to the grand opening of Leanna NYC – the Pearl District’s newest boutique, inspired heavily by the fashion forward attitude of New York City. Owner Leanna Carreon, a Portland native, designed for eight years for various designers in New York City, including Jessica McClintock (who designed every teen’s dream prom dress!). Her exposure to the fast-paced fashion world of the East Coast led her to realize that Portland has the enthusiasm for fashion but lacks in supply. Thus, she has made it her goal to bring the current trends from NYC to PDX.

The modern woman doesn’t want to run home and change for a night out on the town. She should be able to make her outfit go from work to play with just a couple of updating tweaks, and Leanna NYC caters to this demand seamlessly. I am most impressed by the line, Gracia, with embellished dresses and tops in wearable shades of brown, grey and black. These are unique, bold separates you could easily layer over jeans and leggings for a more casual look, or put on some heels and pin your hair up for a night out. Gasp.

Leanna NYC specializes in an array of distinct shapes and cuts. I commend her selection for being more about creative fit and figure than outlandish color combinations. Of course, there is an endless supply of black lace pieces and studded minis. As pictured, grey is the new neutral, and you will have more than enough at your fingertips at this boutique. Her selection makes looking good seem effortless. The shapes and design lend to providing you with an effortless chic demeanor. You won’t look like you’re trying to hard, yet will stun everyone in the room.

The price point is moderate for the most part, with high end denim lines (James Jeans) as well as recycled and organic cotton basic tees by Spun, based in Seattle, at the affordable price of $25-$40.

The space itself is quite creative. Leanna’s own photography lines the walls (if you like her photos, they are also secretly for sale!), and blue glass chandeliers hang from the ceiling. A sophisticated velveteen waiting area is provided for your shopping accomplice. At the time of the event, there were labeled cupcakes that had rearranged themselves into spelling out “CLEANN” by the end of the night, but supposedly they spelled out the store name just hours prior. Don’t wait, this East Coast fashion is being devoured quickly, and you don’t want to miss it.

Leanna NYC
402 NW 12th Ave. Portland, OR 97209
503 719 6197