The Latest Hawaiian Style, 2009
In the interest of being a full service blog, today I’m going to share fashion advice picked up from my travels. If I know my readers well, I know that you don’t want to be left behind when the fashion parade passes.
While in Los Angeles recently, I had the chance to see both the highs and lows of fashion. To see the high life, all you have to do is drive down Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.
To be honest, though, Rodeo Drive is a cliché. It’s flashy and glitzy, a village shopping center for a very rich village. It’s about seeing and being seen. It’s about wearing what’s now, not last year. It’s about wearing less to be noticed more. And it’s beyond most of our means. Unless you’re one of those people who lives by People magazine or Entertainment Tonight, one visit to Rodeo Drive is probably enough for a lifetime.
The polar opposites of Beverly Hills are places like Compton and Englewood. What you know or think about them is probably formed by movies like Boyz in the Hood or the Rodney King beating. In other words, they’re tough neighborhoods you don’t want to visit them unless you have to. (I did only because they were a short cut to where I was going.) In areas like these, some of the people you see sleeping, walking or talking to themselves as you drive along the main streets aren’t wearing much, or any, clothing at all. But they’re not trying to make a fashion statement. They’d lose not a bit of pride if seen wearing last season’s collection.
Which brings us to Downey, my base of operations for a few days. Downey’s a pleasant suburb with some interesting history. NASA Space Shuttles were built there in a complex that when it’s not being used to make movies like Indiana Jones, Pineapple Express, Charlie Wilson’s War and The Italian Job, has lately gained a reputation for being where motion picture production workers pick up their industry’s version of Legionnaire’s disease. (I didn't see any movie stars in Downey, by the way. I was told that they helicopter down from Hollywood so they won't have to mingle in traffic with the hoi polloi.)
Downey’s also home to the second oldest, and oldest operating McDonald’s. I know I’m reaching by mentioning that. But when you get past the Space Shuttle, remarkable things are a little harder to find.
In short, Downey’s the kind of nondescript middle class neighborhood that leads you to think it’s probably been the backdrop for a lot of nondescript movies.
Downey’s main drag is Firestone Boulevard. There are as many empty storefronts along Firestone Boulevard as there are occupied ones. One of the first places I noticed during an early morning walk was a shop where you can have the hair on most any part of your body woven into an attractive weave. The other place that caught my attention was Hawaiian Fashions. Their front window, shown above, tells me they’re the store for discriminating clotheshorses who want to be up to speed on the latest looks from the land of leis. And who doesn’t love Hawaii?
So, just so you’ll know, I have it on good authority—or at least from this storefront display—that smartly dressed families traveling to Hawaii this year will want to be wearing matching attire.
And if you need to know where to find that snappy look, you need look no further than Hawaiian Fashions on Firestone Boulevard in Downey, California.