What Not to Wear

Photo by Jeanne RiceThe traffic-cone-orange “Bias” dress, fashioned from a stiff T-shirt-like material, was $165. An ugly, scratchy-looking bra was $58. The Ladies of the Canyon dress, with purple and salmon horizontal stripes and a matron's drop waist, was on clearance for a mere $154.

Oh, Tawny Kitaen! The girl on the Jag! The supermodel with the mostest (the mostest rock stars, that is!)! You of the exciting marriage to Mr. Angel, Chuck Finley, and now a full-time mom to your two lovely girls in Newport Cove! What, Tawny, whatwere you thinking?

Flare by Tawny K, a strip-mall boutique in Costa Mesa's East End, is a shambles of overpriced and hideous ensembles, albeit with very attractive dressing rooms.

We browsed one day, even ready to lay down the plastic on a nice little item or two for ourselves (for research!), but we weren't prepared for what Tawny had wrought. The overpriced we expected—no, Toto, we weren't in Target anymore—but the ugly? The stiff fabrics and the ill-made seams? If Tawny were buying things Tawny would want to wear, wouldn't there be whispering silks and soft velours?

A velour Juicy track suit, perhaps?

“Tawny called and said, 'Tell Juicy none of that velour stuff,'” a salesgirl whispered to me. “People call four to five times aday:'Do you have the velour in thiscolor?'”

Now the Juicy is limited to thick gray sweat shirt material—like one would get if one bought a really thick gray sweat shirt. There must be some people who could look at you in this ensemble and know it was Juicy; I am not among them.

But Tawny has not been in since October, and there are items that have been here since before she bought the place—even at 75 percent off. She is no longer hands-on, as she said she used to be. And so the store manager, Jessica Adams, is going to take over the lease in May. “It'll be much more reasonably priced,” she tells me. “The highest price will be $400, and there will be very few of those.” The highest price now? “There was a toeringfor $2,000.”

Adams has big plans for the little store. More folded items! Fewer racks! Frankie B jeans with heart-shaped pockets, and the “cool and reasonable” Blue Tattoo! And they'll call the store . . . Dellilah's.

I ask her about the unusual spelling: Is she sure?

“We called a church . . . ,” she tells me. But the church is wrong. I write the correct spelling for her on a slip of paper.

I'll be back in May—maybe for the reasonably priced line of Jet shirts—$37 instead of $149—or one of the cute little Harvey jump suits. Mostly, though, to see what a hands-on girl (and her silent-partner mom) can do.


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