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Rich Colors, Soft Textures and Lots of Layers… Festive!

his issue’s look at Wine Country Casual explores this concept for the winter months and more specifically, the holiday season. Featured are styles and suggestions from Merete Wimmer, proprietor of Rete, a hip, fun boutique on the plaza in the Sonoma County town of Healdsburg.

Except for formal affairs, life in Wine Country is really all about being casual and feeling comfortable in your attire — fitting your look to the lifestyle. As savvy upscale professionals have left the cities and migrated into wine country, their casual yet sophisticated and chic look has followed them.

An invitation to a holiday party need not trigger stress. Regardless of whether it’s a gathering of friends for an informal party or a more important professional or company holiday gathering, the “casual” philosophy remains the same. The only exception is an invitation that specifies “formal” — then you pretty much play by the book, that is, if you want to be invited back.
Through the holidays — and throughout winter as well — we all want to look at least a bit festive while maintaining an individual and creative style. This is easily achieved by combining pieces from designer brands that specialize in casual wear. The look for holiday dressing is one that focuses on rich colors, soft textures and layering.

For women, faux fur as well as animal and floral prints are important. Soft velvets and whimsical shapes set the tone for a feminine flavor that creates a unique, yet casual look. Layering allows for multiple choices and combinations.
For men, the “not so usual blazer” and a colorful and a bit off-the-wall shirt create the “buzz.” A suit and tie to a holiday party in Wine Country? Maybe in your father’s generation. These days, stripes and plaids in every direction and plackets and cuffs highlighting contrasting prints set the tone for the man who dares to have fun with his clothing.

These outfits were chosen to showcase some key trends for the holiday season from the major designer brands found at Rete. But don’t be bound by anything you see here —make it your own Wine Country casual!


While it's always fun to shop for a new holiday ensemble at a great shop like Rete, you can create a similar style and look by taking a look inside your own closet or by adding just a few simple pieces. Start early and get to know your own wardrobe.

Rete owner Merete Wimmer advises that you should trust your own judgment, as only you know your own closet. Simply apply the same fashion and style concepts discussed here — such as rich colors, soft textures and layering; lots of animal and floral prints for women, stripes and plaids and interesting and contrasting prints for men — to what you've got on hand. You might be surprised with the results.

Have some fun when “shopping” within your own closet. Choose your absolute favorite pieces and lay them out, mixing and matching. It's even better to experiment with every imaginable accessory (such as earrings, evening bags and shoes) and then, like shopping at a fine boutique, try the outfit on.
For example, for women a good quality pair of black wool slacks with a simple cashmere cardigan is perfect for comfortable daily business attire. For a wine country holiday party add those too-high strappy heels you've worn only once with a coordinating evening bag and drape your all-season wrap around your shoulders to accessorize.

For men, to dress up casually choose your best pieces that are made of high quality natural fabrics such as wool, cotton and cashmere. It could be as simple as layering a v-neck sweater over a long-sleeve crew neck tee coordinated with a loose-cut wool jacket. Again, it's a good idea to assess your personal inventory, lay things out and try them on.

By shopping at home, you'll find out where you have gaps in your own wardrobe. That way, when you are out holiday shopping you can keep an eye out for stand-out pieces to create this season’s style and accessorize the wardrobe basics you already have at home.

NOV/DEC 2004

Celbrating Tradition
Wine Country Casual
Resolution Writing
Russian River Food & Wine Festival
Long Meadow Ranch Opens
New Tasting Rooms
to Visit

Staglin Music Festival
Sonoma County Havest Fair
Hands Across the Valley
Emeril in Hopland
Holiday Cheer
Not So Wild Mushrooms
Potato Cake with Cured Salmon
Sparklers Made Simple
Winemaker: Anaud Weyrich

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