Goods & Services: A dressing matter

Local designers and fashion experts, like Katia Davies-Kemmler, alert the masses of this summer’s must-haves

Long-standing local fashion expert Katia Davies-Kemmler can find you a dress for any occasion—even if you’re just chilling on the couch, doing nothing.

Long-standing local fashion expert Katia Davies-Kemmler can find you a dress for any occasion—even if you’re just chilling on the couch, doing nothing.

Photo By anne stokes

Summer doesn’t actually begin until June 21, but save that for the judge: It’s already hot. What’s more, there probably aren’t enough warm-weather clothes in your closet. How do I know this? Well, I haven’t been stalking you or anything, but certainly you’ve donned your skivvies—or nothing—around the house at least once during the past few weeks, right?

And this is well and fine; nudity definitely has its place: the bedroom, on Saturday mornings while scouring the cupboards for Tang and Nutella, inside a parked car in the Tower Theatre parking lot. Eventually, though, you’re going to have to dress up and go outside.

This is easy for dudes: Steal your brother’s little-league T-shirt, which probably is too tight; steal his jeans as well while you’re at it; and roll barefoot until you pass by a Rite Aid (there’s at least one every six blocks) and pick up some $5 flip-flops. Both dads and bros and can pull this look off with equal aplomb (dads get to wear dad jeans, though).

For women, however, fashion for some reason is a bit more complicated. Conveniently, Sacramento’s women designers, boutique owners and fashionistas aren’t at a loss for advice. And in many ways, their tips are simple, practical and affordable.

Katia Davies-Kemmler, who owns East Sacramento women’s boutique Katia’s Collections (5619 H Street), has discovered the essence of summer fashion: the dress.

“A beautifully spun classic dress is the cornerstone of a woman’s wardrobe this season—whether it is the ’50s-inspired sundress; the wild-print, short and playful cocktail dress; the black lace two-piece dress; the silk chiffon flowy strapless dress; or the smart, unfussy yet versatile shift dress,” Davies-Kemmler explained of the endless options. But, as Davies-Kemmler might attest, it’s by no means complicated: Having a great dress in your summer wardrobe gives you at least one go-to outfit that works for almost any occasion. (Of course, if you go to Katia’s Collections and pick up three dresses, this only will help your cause.)

Still, most fashion experts agree that summertime is all about that one trend, that one accessory, that one go-to item.

Jamaica Cole, who designs local line Sapphire Cordial (, recommended a cornucopia of accessories: her chiffon hoodie scarf, to shade you from the sun, which soon will be available at Atelier (1617 16th Street); a feather earring in one ear, handmade by Cole herself and for sale at Velvet Leaf (1115 H Street); and goggles. That’s right: just plain old goggles; “Any kind. Anywhere. All the time,” Cole says.

Another local designer, Adrienne Cheng of Reject Clothing, says that her plaid ruffled backless halter tops, made of reconstructed men’s dress shirts, “are pretty essential.” They can be purchased at Lush Salon & Spa (2000 I Street), Reanna’s Skin Care and Makeup Studio (2743 Riverside Boulevard), and Sugar Shack (2425 J Street).

Trisha Rhomberg designs the Pretty Trashy line and also co-owns “Buy. Sell. Trade.” vintage boutique Bows and Arrows (1712 L Street) with Olivia Coelho. Needless to say, these women have impeccable taste. But this summer, Rhomberg wants to see people be daring, like wearing more comfort sandals (“Seeing them with socks is a big, fat bonus”). Coelho, too, is a proponent of bold trends, like the “romper.”

Other ideas? “I also want everyone to wear ponytails on the top of their heads with big, ugly, metallic Dynasty sunglasses,” Coelho suggests. “Don’t know why, though.”

Liz Liles, who owns BuffCastle (1115 21st Street), also has some unconventional accessory advice: large-brimmed sun hats, Walkmans, sunglass chains.


Of course, people have to wear this stuff. Which is why I asked SN&R’s very own advice goddess, Joey Garcia, of Ask Joey fame (see page 120), what she thinks will work for summer ’09. Her accessory of choice? OPI nail polish!

“I am obsessive about wearing toenail polish but rarely ever paint my fingernails. I usually buy OPI nail polish at a beauty-supply store like Total Beauty Experience [2929 Arden Way] and nearly always cart my own polish when I get my nails done at Dolce Nail & Spa [6450 Folsom Boulevard],” Joey says.

Niki Kangas, who owns Javalounge (2416 16th Street) and often puts on fashion showcases there, praises Rhomberg’s Pretty Trashy line for its short white tennis-skirt silk-screens, which she calls “a metaphor for summer in a skirt.”

Olla Ubay, SN&R’s most fashionable employee, cites gigantic canvas bags as the ultimate summer accessory. “I like the idea of having one huge tote that carries my notebooks, computer, farmers’ market oranges, magazines and novels I’m reading, a change of clothes—including a bikini, just in case—my wallet, camera, three to four sunnies, a puppy … you get the point,” she explains.

Local stylish chanteuse Autumn Sky, however, brings it all back to the dress.

“I’m super excited that being girly is back in,” she begins. “It’s nice that parading around in dresses or other frilly things isn’t something we have to be ashamed of anymore.

“That whole androgynous trend was completely lost on me!” Autumn adds.