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When we ditched the 20th century, we left a once-straightforward fashion scene in the dust. In this brave new world, what is correct attire for a canine commitment ceremony, a Mormon-themed cocktail party, a group tattooing? Don't worry your post-millennial little head--the grave confusions of modern style can still be solved with the proper accessories.
And you thought the Hot-Dog-on-a-Stick girls had a lock on kooky caps. Make a frank improvement to your headgear with the Brooklyn hand-knit Bubble Stripe Helmet ($74, Imelda's Designer Shoes, 1431 SE 37th Ave., 233-7476). Made by busy needles back east, these two-tone toppers are fashioned in chic color combos (Tiffany blue streaked with orange, peony pink with magenta) to lend Amélie dash to any drab, off-the-rack winter ensemble. The use of knobby, marled wool yarn gives each tulip-shaped hat loads of lumpy, one-of-a-kind character. This is one hat you'll relish all winter.
You know her: She can bench her own weight but never misses a pedicure. She smells like strawberries but packs a mean roundhouse. She's beautiful, bad-ass and, best of all, all yours. Outfit your scrappin' shortcake in the NM70 Invincible Jane shoe ($70, Bad Doll Shoes and Oddball 2, 808 NW 23rd Ave., 525-2202). The grippy, tough-Tina soles and vented suede-and-leather instep are softened by the addition of two Mary Jane straps that fasten with petite (dare we say feminine?) buckles. In navy/yellow, red/powder blue, or black/cream, these treads are equally appropriate for dining, dancing and karate-kicking aggressors in the throat.
Potluck Paris recycled metal jewelry ($62 and up, M. Sellin Ltd., 3556 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 239-4605) is the jewelry equivalent of carrot-raisin ambrosia salad. Scrap silver, copper and pewter are promiscuously melted down in a Parisian workshop. Seattle distributors collaborate with French designers to transform the resulting ad-hoc alloy into compact geometric shapes: ingots, seed beads, tabs, cubes and discs. The pieces are then assembled into monochromatic pieces with fine details and post-industrial charm: caviar bead necklaces, dice-shaped bracelets, bite-sized pendants. The purity and simplicity of the pieces will almost make you forget they're made of old frenchy forchettes and fondue pots. But oh, what fromage those bracelets have seen.
Fulfill that Monsoon Wedding fantasy with an Indian silk sari ($68, Cargo, 806 NW 23rd Ave., 241-3532). The classic length of fine woven silk is dyed in colors guaranteed to cut winter's chill (fuchsia, crimson, vivid leaf green) and embellished with gold-thread embroidery. Once she learns how to wrap, twist and tie it (consult that all-knowing oracle, the Internet), she'll never have another nothing-to-wear night. Give one to wear, or two to make a pair of filmy, shimmering boudoir curtains (très Anthropologie). Or throw-pillow covers. Or inner-child shrine. These strips of silk have nine lives--once they've seen a few parties and pomegranate-seed fights, they easily yield to the crafter's cunning shears.
A gifted designer can see the quirky in the quotidian--and beauty in a beer can. By finely slicing aluminum 12-ouncers into arc-shaped segments, local artist Dana Roth creates beer-can bracelets and rings that, against all odds, manage to deliver a chaser of elegance with that shot of eclecticism. The zing is in the carefully cropped graphics (isolation of the cursive word "Lucky," or a certain legendary blue ribbon), which strip the designs of their occupational origins, and the layer of classy sterling that backs each piece. Even though the Pabst pieces are P-town's most popular sellers, all of Roth's creations are refined enough to tempt teetotalers ($46-$66, Gilt, 720 NW 23rd Ave., 226-0629, and the Real Mother Goose, 901 SW Yamhill St., 223-9510, and other locations).
High Desert Haute Couture
And you thought Central Oregon had nothing to offer but chipmunks and chairlifts. Belica Bags ($50 and up, Papillon Lingerie, 232 SW Ankeny St., 284-1023) are handmade by Bend local Heidi Belica, and feature vintage prints--but the right vintage prints. Sunny bird-and-flower toile is faced with yellow gingham; an assertive '60s harlequin pattern in chocolate and caramel sports a tweedy lining. Not only do these totes give under-loved textiles new life, but they'll charm you with their bonus details--a mock-buttoned tab that conceals a snap closure, a small interior pocket for a compact or cab fare. Best of all, each Belica Bag is guaranteed for life--should a strap slip or a corner blow out, check the bag into Heidi's handbag hospital for a free repair (you'll find her business card in the pocket).
Affair of the Necklace
You forget birthdays. You forget anniversaries. You forget where you parked the car. But you'll never forget her name when you give a sterling silver Elsa Peretti alphabet pendant ($90, catalog only, Tiffany & Co., 330 SW Yamhill St., 221-5565). Suspended from a slender 16" chain and bearing Peretti's unmistakable naturalistic style, each sterling silver pendant is a graceful freehand rendering of a lower-case letter (make it easy on yourself: pick her first initial). It's luxury without a trace of Laverne & Shirley. Other Peretti pendants are available in store.
MORE GIFT IDEAS
Native American Turquoise Jewelry
A huge variety of turquoise earrings, rings, watches and bracelets--you're sure to find the piece that's right for you.
$15 and up, The Real Mother Goose, 901 SW Yamhill St., 223-9510, and other locations.
Diamond and Sapphire Convertible Necklace
This striking diamond and sapphire convertible sparkler changes from a beautiful rosette design into a branch necklace when you unfold it. Is it magic?
$1,200, Goldmark, 1000 SW Taylor St., 224-3743.
Thought to be formed from the impact of a meteorite hitting the earth, moldavite jewelry comes from Czech Republic's Moldau River valley and is available in multiple shapes and styles.
$50-$150, The Fossil Cartel, 921 SW Morrison St., 228-6998.
Custom Cowboy Boots
Personally design your very own pair of cowboy boots. Choose the color, toe, stitch, design and even the kind of leather (they have a dozen-plus kinds, including stingray and 'gator).
$350 and up, Desperado, 428 NW 11th Ave., 294-2952.
Vintage Fur Coats
Glam up like an old-time movie star and go out on the town in a vintage '60s mink-lined fur coat.
$85 and up, Decades Vintage Company, 328 SW Stark St., 223-1177.