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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Fashion's Night Out

Last Thursday, the city gave off one final light and laughter filled bloom as the summer season drew to a close. The businesses of downtown came together and each presented their fiercest and finest for the fourth annual Portsmouth's Fashion's Night Out! From Flower Kiosk to Puttin' on the Glitz and Club Boutique/City Shoes to the double-threat neighbors of Concetta's Closet and Hazel, so many businesses stepped out and represented, flocks of lovely models pounding the pavement from five to eight and the runway at the Hilton Garden Inn from nine to ten. There were custom cocktails, fabulous music, a tap-snap booth for the delighted passerby and, of course, no shortage of fabulous outfits.

Sorry, the only pieces in my outfit that are for sale are the gorgeous bracelet ($75) and over-sized locket ($110), made in Paris. Still, someone had to bring the Pickwick's black and white stripe!

These crinolines are such a fail-safe knockout that we featured them twice. I call this gorgeous petite duo "Sister Light, Sister Dark". Adelaide, the graveyard lovely on the left, is wearing a Vollers corset ($110 at Lady Pickwick's), made in America crinoline ($64 at Lady Pickwick's), Fortuneteller lipstick ($24 at Lady Pickwick's) and a handmade gravestone t-shirt made by Kittery artist Andy Ritzo, with a shading of a stone from Portsmouth's famed Point of Graves. The darling Ariel to her right is channeling a young Carrie Bradshaw with her youthful Jean Queen lip ($20 at Lady Pickwick's), pink crinoline, chambray shirt, and multicolor white boned fan.

Gigi brought the street style sweetness in a kimono inspired dress (currently 30% off at Lady), kitty-cat wedge heels which you may remember from THIS blog post, a Brigitte Bardot approved silk hairband ($28 at Lady), and lacey peach earrings ($18 at Lady).

 We had so much fun mingling with all of the beautiful models from other shops, such graceful and sweet ladies, and lairds in the case of Celtic's Crossing tartan swathed congregation!

Flower Kiosk's gorgeous handmade "living" dresses
Lady Luck Burlesque representing for Puttin' on the Glitz
Bonny lairds
Rick Dumont Photography (Shop Portsmouth facebook)

From the Concetta's Closet facebook page

A big thank you to all of the participating stores and fabulous photographers, to Shop Portsmouth and the Chamber and to every sweet face that jumped in to join our parade of chic! Happy Autumn- I'm glad we've greeted it in style. If you'd like to read further, Seacoast Online did a great article covering the event!

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Thursday, September 4, 2014

Best of Northshore Magazine Soiree

Northshore Magazine is an excellent publication that brings attention to the best places to dine, things to do, and places to shop on Boston's hopping North Shore. They use beautiful photography and excellent articles to spotlight deserving businesses and events, which are so essential to the cultural flavor of New England as a whole. While the magazine is a year round pursuit, there is a best issue to get the top flavor for the North Shore. For the "Best of Northshore Magazine" annual edition, the people are allowed to vote for the top businesses in the region and when the votes are in, the results are gathered and celebrated in the July issue. The excitement doesn't stop there, though. In August, Northshore Magazine hosted a fabulous evening of dining, dancing, and general good fun, catered by the winners of the food categories (Lexie's of Newburyport, but from Portsmouth originally! Represent!) at the Misselwood Estate in Beverly, MA.

Of course, Pickwick's had to bring some garden party style to the event and I was all dolled up in Lady Pickwick's goodness.

Besame Red Velvet: $20 at Pickwick's Mercantile

I wore my favorite lipstick- Besame's Velvet Red, so that I could eat everything in sight without having to worry about a touch-up and my favorite Pickwick's jewelry line in my ears. Made in Paris, these earrings are only $48 and come in a range of shapes, colors, sizes, and styles- all more lovely than the last. It was hard to choose, but one must always consider the eyes, I suppose!

Innouitoosh: $130 at Lady Pickwick's
Yestadt Millinery: 30% off at Lady Pickwick's
Hats are coming back, slowly but surely, and I intend to be part of that style revolution. The Innouitoosh wool scarf made both a lovely shawl, with its horse and carriage print spread out, and an effective belt for a dress designed to drape goddess style. I love the colors of this particular one, they are perfect for fall and winter, bunched at the throat with a brown coat, or complimenting a chambray shirt in September. 

There were cupcakes, sliders, lobster rolls, a candy bar, and a showing from the boogie-inducing Felix Brown Band. The energy was high and the room was full of beautiful people out in their best attire, coming together to celebrate over the bounty of great culture and business in the North Shore. Even when the rain began to fall, the energy remained high and the drops caught the matrices of amber light that wove through the bramble and thicket lining the event.

Boci (Made in Italy) Dress: $130 at Lady Pickwick's
We Dream in Colour Glass Bracelet: $150 at Pickwick's Mercantile
Deco Inspired Rose Gold Necklace: $28 at Pickwick's Mercantile

Over-all it was a lovely evening. I certainly indulged in my share of sweets and was exposed to so many wonderful businesses that I may not have otherwise known of. I'm so grateful that we neighbor on such an energetic and fabulous region, with so much to offer in every arena and I'm grateful that Northshore Magazine brings attention to it. And not for nothing, it was nice to dress up in a real summer outfit for perhaps one final time for the season. I hope you're all stretching your sunny prints and bare legs. It will be time to cover them up soon enough. Thank you, Northshore Magazine for giving me the opportunity to do the same!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Back to School Lip Color

It's back to school and even though my schedule doesn't hark to the bell any longer, typing those words still feels me with that same strange mix of dread and excitement. We hung out with Nyita, who is gearing up to head back to school, just like many of you. She picked out four Lipstick Queen lip shades, one to suit any kind of personality going back into the fray.

The Every Girl: Jean Queen
Jean Queen - $20
This is the most flexible shade I've ever seen- a neutral rosy tone that complements the natural pallet of your lip and looks gorgeous with nearly every skin-tone. This is just enough color and gloss for your friends to ask what you're wearing and it lives up to its name, Jean Queen. You can wear this on dress-down days without fear.

The Class-Act: Saint Berry
Saint in Berry - $22
 We couldn't help but throw in the shawl; it added to the effect. But in all seriousness, I can't rave enough about this shade. It has a little bit more personality than the ever-classic "Wine", but we chose the Saint collection of "Berry" so you can still decide how much of a statement you want to make. Using these pigments is all about layering, so you decide- do you want a stain or a more matte effect? This is also such a classic, grown-up shade that it will do just as well in the classroom as it will in the admissions office.

By-the-Horns: Sinner Fire Red

Sinner in Fire Red - $22

 This lip speaks for itself. An orange-tone red, this has all of the verve and flavor that you do, and can maybe lend you some on days when you're down. There's nothing like dark jeans, a plain t-shirt, and some silky cosmetic fire to combat the blues. Own your senior year (or freshman, or sophomore, or junior) and be fearless. Don't be nervous. Red lipstick doesn't wear you. You wear red lipstick.

Natural Born Stunner: Sinner Nude
Sinner in Nude - $22
A nude lip will never go out of style and is an absolute staple for a natural makeup routine. Understated and flattering, this is all situations appropriate and will highlight your best features.


Change is in the air. I write this with the windows open, airing out this room as much as possible, as I know the days are approaching for them to close for months at a time. We are having a glorious conclusion to this season, so enjoy it all- from sticky heat to flannel-lined nights- and have a spectacular start to the school year!


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Friday, August 15, 2014

Midsummer Night Queens: A RuPaul's Drag Race Revue

Dressed in my everyday garb--summer-weight trousers, striped shirt, and my favorite red suspenders--I felt not so out of place this Wednesday night at the Seacoast Repertory Theater. Outrageous wigs, glitter and risqué heels were the costûme de rigeur at this summer’s cheekiest limited theatrical run, “Midsummer Night Queens: A RuPaul’s Drag Race Revue”, the latest witch’s brew from the mind of Pickwickian Knate Higgins and his Red Light Series. Higgins himself hosted the festivities as his alter ego, Bunny Wonderland.

Pickwick's own- Bunny Wonderland!
Three former contestants from television’s most fabulous cult reality show, RuPaul's Drag Race, were invited to the Seacoast to blind audiences with their dazzling beauty and, as the motto goes, "Keep Portsmouth Weird". The flash and glamour of barroom drag shows filled the theater as men in heels (including Seacoast Queens Sauna Ray, Miss E’On, and Vanilla Honeybush) ‘werqed’ to such songs as “Good Morning Baltimore” and selections from the pop oeuvres of Ke$ha and Pink. Bunny Wonderland also took the stage, stealing the show with unparalleled lip-synching, comedy that made the author of this review blush, and campy reproductions of Broadway classic hits--earning a standing ovation with nearly every number. Headliners Manila Luzon and Jessica Wild stunned and amazed the crowd with their spectacular performances, transforming the small Portsmouth space into a thumping San Francisco nightclub with each toss of their hair.

Jessica Wild entrancing the audience in zebra print!

People of Portsmouth--and visitors to Pickwick’s Mercantile--are no strangers to cheekiness and fun with a flourish. Which is why, when considering how to spend their penultimate Wednesday night this August, theater-going Pickwickians would do well to consider attendance at the third and final installment of The Seacoast Repertory Theater’s “Midsummer Night Queens: A RuPaul’s Drag Race Revue”, featuring Drag Race contestant Joslyn Fox from the show’s most recent season.

Though frequently ribald and not recommended for all ages, it is nonetheless literally a perfect show, and one that will leave you energized and bouncing your imaginary hair bob for days to come.

Manila Luzon in her final number

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Guest Blog: Brendan of "Rocks, Ropes, and Crashpads" reviews Epperson Mountaineering

Our guest blogger, surveying his domain
This blogger has been compensated for his time.
All opinions and commentary expressed are his own.
It was very exciting for me to extend an invitation to my dear friend and fellow blogger, Brendan Blanchard, to come in and check out our new Epperson mountaineering packs, carried at Pickwick's at the Banke. If he found them worthy, he was free to put up a product review on his own blog, a nexus of all things climbing from his training regimen to his gear. It seems that he gave them a glowing pass and I have included the entirety of his post from "Rocks, Ropes, and Crashpads" below.

This past week I had the opportunity to check out Epperson Mountaineering's Large Climb Pack, courtesy of Thistle at Pickwick's Mercantile in Portsmouth, NH. Though I wasn't able to take a pack out for a test due to my recent shoulder surgery, I was able to play around in the store, and check out their construction and learn a little about their brand.

Epperson Mountaineering started in California in 1973 and all their packs are handmade in the U.S. today.

The construction is rugged, and certainly not your average consumer bag. You're more likely to see a ten-year old one at the crag than find one on sale at a major online retailer. Made of 1000-denier cordura, these bags beg to be thrown around the base of the crag while shuffling between routes, or even better, replace an Ikea rope bag with one of Epperson's large tote bags that will last.


  • The pack sits comfortably on the shoulders, and being only 22 liters, hardly needs any additional straps to secure it nicely. With five exterior pockets, there's no shortage of space for food and other cragging necessities.
  • The main compartment opens with a 2mm cord draw string, which will handle all manner of abuse. There won't be any fraying, snapping, or de-sheathing like many commercial and stretchy cords.
  • The size fits nicely into the cragging category, with space for shoes, a small trad or full sport rack, a jacket, and plenty of space for water or food in numerous exterior pockets.
  • The straps are adjustable via solid buckles and tubular webbing, used both on the front and back.
  • Solid stitching sets these packs apart, coming pre-seam sealed, these packs are ready for a lifetime of adventures.

Each pack is hand made and standard setting in quality. Epperson's packs are solid, durable and very no-nonsense. If you're looking for a responsibly made, durable cragging pack that won't need replacing, Epperson Mountaineering is where you should be looking.


Thank you so much for the insight into Epperson, Brendan, and for coming on down to the shop! If you have any sort of wilderness, wanderlust, or adventuresome bent I suggest Rocks, Ropes, and Crashpads for some great reading and tips!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Head Scarf Stylin' with Celebrity Stylist, Derek Warburton

Evelyn Brent, killing it in the 1920's.
Photo Credit

Not too long ago, our friend Derek Warburton spared some time from that New York hustle to visit Pickwick's and pick some favorites. On that day, he also gave some shop-girls a crash-course in wearing our super fun, made-in-Portsmouth head scarves. We took some pictures so that you could all get in on the goodness. 

Head scarves have been chic since just about always and it's great to see them making a come-back. All things in their time, Mama Thistle always says, but I feel like I've been waiting since the 50's for my addiction to be, once-again, Cannes worthy.

Grace Kelly totally gets me.

Many people are intimidated by the wearing of beauty bands, but I'm here to tell you that is easy and all-season appropriate, so it's a great style skill to learn. Cast aside your worries, twist up, and step out!

I'm obsessed with these sunglasses, so no making fun. Anyway, channeling the Grace Kelly shot above my own, this is a great, clean look. It may appear to be a wonder of geometry and hairband physics, but there's nothing to it. Simply twist in the front and then tuck in your ends in the back. Voila! The Princess of Monaco approves. 

This is my personal favorite look of the four. It makes me think of that Evelyn Brent picture at the top of this post. It appears so effortless. Where is my motorcar? More importantly, where is my slick of knockout red lipstick? Style this with a loose, high-waisted belted trouser and a clean looking button down. Boho powerhouse. That's all I can say. To make this look happen, simply fold your band in half, pull tight to conceal the hairline and then twist to one side in the back.

 Third Look, I dub thee "The Bunny Bow". This look is so cute, I can't bear it. Very Prescott Park in the summer, or I imagine it paired with a bathing suit and my favorite accessory- the beach. Hair bands are particularly great for keeping one's hairdo in check, without the stress of frizzy hat noggin'. For this style, keep your band wide and place the widest part at the base of your head. Pull around tightly, up and forward, twist and splay the ends like patterned petals so that they are to their full width.

This fourth look is Diva Level Pro. Two hair bands twisted together and manipulated every which way. Try your hand at this in the mirror. This is some Derek Warburton sort of magic and if you can nail it, you should get a certificate! Hear that, readers? Consider that a formal challenge.

Thank you so much to Derek for coming out and helping us get creative with our head pieces! Come in to the shop to see all of the fun styles and we'll give you an in-store tutorial for these super wearable little lovelies!

Leo- I mean Gatsby, thinks head scarves are keen!
Warner Brothers' Great Gatsby

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Summer Simple

LACAUSA Shift Dress - $64 at Lady Pickwick's
I love simple. I've always had something of a ramrod frame, so the body-con trend was never going to work out for me. LACAUSA has designed the perfect summer dress- unbelievable soft, beautiful clean lines, and made in the United States. It is the absolute epitome of lazy (yet chic) comfort.

Best Summer Stacks Ever: $39 at Bobbles & Lace
The simplicity of the dress begs a little bit of fun when it comes to other elements, so I picked up some adorable subtly-heeled sandals from one of my favorite shops, Bobbles & Lace, located right on Congress Street in Portsmouth. Everything in there is so cute and well-priced that it can be dangerous to visit. I literally walked out in these shoes! Paired with this dress, they are my favorite purchase of the summer!

Earrings from Ganesh on Market Street!
Best summer accessories!

The light always seems to have such glorious nuance in the summer in Portsmouth. All of that red brick lending its rusty kiss to the golden hour- it is so dreamy. I cannot help but lean out the door of the shop when the light is this way and be thankful, thankful, thankful.

WILL Deerskin Bag: $550 at Pickwick's at the Banke
 I have been excited to showcase this WILL deerskin leather bag from the moment it arrived. We lifted it from the box like some mythic holy grail among purses. I only wish that the pictures could show you how supple and beautiful this bag looks and feels in person. The only way to truly understand its incredible allure is to hold it in your hands. WILL produces only the most beautiful of quality. My own day-to-day bag is WILL and soon, my wallet will be as well. I can't get enough of their addiction to quality, lifetime guarantee, and unique pieces.

One of the fun things about this dress are the low sides. If you're more fearless than I (by which I mean, if your wardrobe actually contains colors), Any shade in this dress (sage, ballet pink, slate, or white) could be spiced up with a funky bandeau. I love the flexibility of a neutral tone pairing. It means I can wear this to shop around downtown or to grab a meal at Martingale on the Wharf.

It's been a summer full of goodness- great shows in the park (did you see Houndmouth? Amazing, I left a little musical Easter egg below) , good food, a plentiful Farmer's Market, storms and sun. Portsmouth is a city of simple pleasures. I like it when my style reflects that.

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