Sunday, March 5, 2017

Reverible Skirt and Shoes to Match

 In 2012 the Petaluma Post ran this article, but changes have occurred since then:
1) Sisters Consignment Couture: Clothing, Accessories, and Custom Designed Art Handpicked for Quality & Artfully Chosen has moved over to Santa Rosa from the City of Sonoma

2) Laura McHale Holland has published the sequel to her award winning memoir, Resilient Ruin.

Over the years we’ve shopped for many a new outfit and attended many more readings, but that night at Sisters I went to heaven—a literary reading in my favorite clothing store where I was a featured reader. It still doesn’t get better than that.

To ramp up the entertainment value that night, my friend Linda O, the queen of thrift shop couture, Mary T, our retired Petaluma Unity minister and scarf expert, fashion forward Diane, now retired director of the Adobe Christian Preschool, and I met for a glass of Zin and dinner at the Red Grape famous for its margherita pizzas and just around the corner from Sisters former location. They say the best thing about the Red Grape, besides the efficient service, is that you always run into someone you know and we ran into another of the featured readers, Kenwood writer, Jean Wong. The stars were out that night!

The program, brainchild of Cotati writer Laura McHaleHolland, author of Reversible Skirt, a silver medal winner in the 2011 Readers Favorite book awards and Chris Johnson, owner of Sisters Consignment Couture, was the second in a series of events emceed by Laura, featuring stories and poetry celebrating the rich theme of sisterhood.

If you’ve ever shopped in Sisters, you might be wondering where Chris put the twenty-some attendees—the new shop is more spacious. Like the store itself, it’s a little bit of magic. Chris manifested an eclectic collection of boudoir chairs, vintage looking vanity stools, counter stools, lawn chairs and I sat on the stepping stool. The bulging racks of brightly colored clothes and the displayed outfits accessorized with Chris’s latest finds from San Francisco Gift Mart—then ruffled scarves with fabric roses attached in Spring pastels—surrounded the event, and made me think of days spent with my sister and cousins pawing through trunks of Gaga’s old clothes under the eves on the third floor at my grandparents’ house.

Sisters Consignment Couture is now located at 2700 Yulupa Ave, Ste. 6, Santa Rosa, is the Bohemians’s Best of The North Bay 2011 and 2012 winner for Best Consignment Shop. A consignment store lover and shopper all her life, Chris dreamed of her own store after moving to Sonoma. She left her corporate job in San Francisco and early in 2007 she opened. Sisters was born out of a love for her own three sisters, as well as a strong belief in the sisterly bond that women form in their relationships, whether biologically related or not.

And Chris’s belief played out as Laura read a moving scene from Reversible Skirt where she and her two sisters talk about their mother’s death for the first time. Jean read from a memoir about friendship lost and reconciled. I shared poems written for my sister, dying of multiple myeloma. I noticed a few damp cheeks during the wine and chocolate intermission. But the evening wasn’t all heart-wrenching tearjerkers. Several readers signed up for the “open mic” and we heard a wonderful piece by fellow Redwood Writer Brenda Bellinger, and a happy tribute to her sister read by Diane.

 Shopping in Sisters has the feel of shopping in your best friend’s closet—only with more options, more style and a really helpful staff of fashion consultants. “Look at this cute blouse!” “That bag is just your color.” “What do you think girls? Is it me?” I asked Chris if she gets tired of women’s indecision and deliberations, and she said “No. I love shopping with women.” It shows too. She and her staff have strong style-sense and can apply that to helping shoppers find the perfect look. I’ve never been steered wrong. In fact, the first time I shopped in Sisters, several years ago, I picked some flouncy disaster. Chris didn’t mince words, “That doesn’t work for you. Let me find something that will.” And she did. I’ve been coming back ever since.

The new store is crammed with spring selections of all descriptions. Lots of red was featured around Valentine’s Day—I barely made it past a pair of open-toed, lipstick red sling-backs with skyscraper high heels, too high for me, but the perfect shoes to pair with that ’40s look jersey Ann Taylor skirt I love, but—YAY— has gotten too big. If it fit, it would be perfect to wear to the next literary event, if I had the right shoes. Linda O suggests the skirt finds a new life in someone else’s closet—maybe the closet of the lucky girl who can balance in those 4” red heels.

She’s right. Life flows better if we clear out the clothes stagnating in our closets—the garments not worn in a year or more. I try to circulate my wardrobe through several local shops. I do most of my buying in Sisters. For me, Sisters carries the best selection of clothes, jewelry and accessories in the shadow of Sonoma Mountain, and the consignment process is easy and organized. I drop off my garments and receive an email the next day with a list of what Chris has accepted and the selling price. I can check my sales on-line anytime.

Since Sisters offers a buyer incentive plan, I’m thinking of stopping by for that dreamy sage and lavender Alberta Ferretti dress on the couture rack. It’s my size, and I’ve got ten percent of the price already credited to my account. Maybe I can wear it to the next literary evening with
Laura McHale Holland when she reads from Resillient Ruin. I have several new sister poems to read. (one may be found in Laura's Sisters Born, Sisters Found anthology.) You’ll recognize me; I’ll be the well-dressed poet sitting on a step stool.

Please support local writers and local boutiques!


2700 Yulupa Ave, Ste. 6
Santa Rosa CA 95405
Store Hours:
Mon-Sat 11-7
Sunday 12-6