Buy Curious: Online Shopping Guides + Anatomy of Roman Style

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Dear Beloved Readers: We're back from our Roman Holiday, and with us (no, no expensive Italian leather, sadly) a report on Italian Style 101. So all the rumors are true: they are way more stylish than us frumpy American touristas. But you may be surprised to hear what's in and what isn't in the land of piazzas, cappellas, and cappuccinos. Also in this edition of Buy Curious, local boutiques launch some handy shopping guides, a last call for a fashion photo contest, and a fall down the rabbit hole with an Alice in Wonderland Croquet Tournament and Trunk Show.

Shop Talk

Anatomy of Roman Style
First off, if you're one of seemingly hundreds of thousands of women in this country currently reading/or have read Eat Pray Love, you may be itching to learn a little Italiano, or take a little Italian vacation. (Tough, considering the measly state of the dollar and the soaring cost of gas. But so worth it!) In any case, you need to be prepared. Here's the low-down on what you need to look as fabulous as the women of Italy:
Skinny (but not skin-tight) jeans: faded, black, white, or dark rinse
Large black sunglasses with D&G logo on side
Fashion sneakers!: white, gold, silver, navy, or some combination thereof
Any combination of white and navy
Big leather handbag
Suit blazer
Bangles, lots of long necklaces
White collared blouse tucked into jeans
Driving moccasins with gold chain
Leather bomber jacket
Cleavage-plunging top
Flats! Shoes, sandals, boots, etc.
Gold jewelry

What Women Wouldn't Be Caught Dead In:
Wide-leg jeans
The babydoll cut or anything too flowy/frumpy
Skirts or dresses, unless you're older
Mini anything or showing too much skin (except cleavage, see above)
High heels or even platforms (at least in Rome, where you walk for miles)
What's In For Men:
Hair gelled in some faux-hawk formation
Large aviator sunglasses
White shorts/pants/or cropped pants
Fashion sneakers: again, some variation of white and metallic
Designer jeans with some elaborate butt design
Dress shirts tucked into jeans
What Men Wouldn't Touch:
Sports jerseys
Sagging or very baggy jeans
White T-shirts
Anything grunge-ish or punk-ish
Facial hair
Hipster/bohemian look

What's Curiously In:

Online Boutique for Brides-to-Be
Women these days are getting more and more savvy when it comes to planning their wedding, especially with everyone hip to how much vendors rip you off for everything from bridesmaid dresses to flowers to dry chicken dishes. A new online boutique based in Fremont, Calif., aims to make the whole process easier and cheaper. allows you to plan your engagement, wedding ceremony, reception, and honeymoon all in one place, without having to get in your car and drive to some god-forsaken strip mall off 101.

Guide to Independent California Shopping
Few East Bay designers embody the independent spirit more fiercely than Oaklander Amy Cools of AC Clothing & Bags. Besides her own boutique, afterglow, Cools has launched her own online guide to independent shopping in California. It's a treasure trove of independent clothing and jewelry designers, and events, fairs, and festivals. Like, who knew there was a Pleasanton Craft Mafia?

Fashion Photo Contest
You've still got a couple days (June 8) left to submit your fashionable pics to Crossroads' annual fashion photo contest. Winners get cash prizes, and their pics used in the company's ad promotions and campaigns all year. Click here for more info.

"Alice in Wonderland" Croquet Tournament and Trunk Show
We all need a little fantasy now and then. Dress up in your best period costume, bust out your croquet moves from 1985, and shop for whimsy at the Alice in Wonderland Croquet Tournament and Trunk Show. A runway fashion show features designs by Little Red Sparrow, Erin Mahoney, Kittinhawk, Velvet Valentine, XOX Burlesque Girls, and more; vendors include Chrystie Capelli, Exotic Faces, Fluidance, Elma Karaca, and many more.
When: Sunday, June 8, 1-6 p.m.
Where: Stern Grove, 19th and Wawona, SF
How much it'll cost ya: $25 pre-sale; $30 at the door (or $10 for the fair only)

Built by Wendy Sample Sale
Built by Wendy, the label that brought us affordable DIY patterns in of-the-now styles, hosts a sample sale all weekend at its SF location.
When: Sat. & Sun. June 6 & 7, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. (Sat.), noon-6 p.m. (Sun.)
Where: 3520 20th St., San Francisco Got a tip for Buy Curious? Store opening? Sale? Send it to buycurious [at] eastbayexpress [dot] com