Why should models have all the fun? We decided each month we’d find a “real woman”–i.e., of all shapes and sizes–and give her the model treatment. In this new feature, we bring the wardrobe, stylist, photographer and blog editor–she brings her anything-but-one-size-fits-all personality and style–and we all head out on location for an IRL photo shoot. Meet this month’s featured guest, Kathy Loyola–a new mom who balances a busy work schedule as a content publisher at Microsoft while she and her husband raise their 13-month-old, Lexi, at home. As a petite woman who stands at 5′ 3″ (and a half!), Kathy sometimes feels frustrated not knowing how clothes seen online will look once they’re actually on her.

That’s where we step in, outfitting her in guest-of-wedding dresses to inspire looks that take the stress out of that moment just after that invitation is received. What to wear? What to wear! Read on to get to know Kathy, and see our stylist suggestions for the perfect dress (hint: it’s all about rich, beautiful color) and accessories–no matter the occasion.

MIDNIGHT SHIMMER – Evening Wedding

Wedding Guest Dress Inspiration--Evening Shimmer.Adrianna Papell sequin mesh dress

Wedding Guest Dress Inspiration--Evening Shimmer.

Stuart Weitzman ankle strap sandal | Minaudieres | Stackable rings | Crawler earrings

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On dressing for weddings: “I love that you can really dress to the nines for a wedding! For events like this, my philosophy is that it’s always better to overdress than under.

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Although our first and foremost wish is to make terrific people unreasonably happy (isn’t that what fashion is for, after all?), we consider it a nice bit of icing on the cake when we can knock the designer shoes off the industry elite. Our annual Designer Preview provides a golden opportunity for all that, so immediately after last Thursday’s big event, we circulated the crowd and chatted with thrilled shoppers and visiting dignitaries alike to see how we’d done.

“I’ve been coming for years and this was the best show I’ve seen. The clothes are all so fresh and the energy is really high,” said Seattle flagship regular Lisa Goodman. “I think it’s important for people to see the collections in action like this!”

Valentino

And then, from Refinery29 style editor Annie Georgia Greenberg: “When you see the shows in New York and Paris, the seasons you’re looking at are so far away, but this is really cool because you can go ‘I want that now,’ and right after the show you can actually have it. All that and beignets and sailboats, too? This is how Fashion Week should be!”

And that almost sums it up—almost. See more images from the runway show, and the before and after, and get some insight from bloggers, editors and fashion lovers after the jump and on our Designer Preview hub.

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chastity-belt-team-shotPhoto by Jesse Codling

It’s been a breakout year for Chastity Belt, the Seattle band which has grown into its voice in the past few years and was recently written up in the New Yorker on the strength of its album Time To Go Home.

Musically, that voice is droning and jangly. Ideologically, Chastity Belt is feminist, with a viewpoint that is often funny but with songs that can also be serious and direct about everyday existential crises.

We took pictures at Capitol Hill Block Party and later phoned guitarist and sometime singer Lydia Lund (far right in the photo) to talk about “Lydia,” a what-does-it-all-mean song which lands someplace…indistinct.

Other topics of conversation included avoiding seasonal affective disorder by gardening, feeling the ocean’s power while surfing–and we learned about the taste of the Peperomia plant.

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BootsBlogNEW

Skinny ankles? Extra-curvy calves? Buying boots—especially online—can sometimes feel like you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. No more: Our crack video team hooked up with our amazing in-house shoe experts to answer the question once and for all, and well, the headline pretty much says it all.

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In which we look at old Nordstrom logo fonts and give them a close look. These are the fonts of our lives.

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If you recognize the typeface above you are either a student of retail or a student of design. Or a Pacific Northwesterner, since this was the Nordstrom logo back in 1930 when we were a Seattle-only shoe store.

Now we’re national and international–with our third Canadian store opening September 18 in Vancouver, B.C. Next year we’ll add Toronto.

Learn about the features and history of this old-school Nordstrom typeface below, with commentary from Strath Shepard, our Creative Director of Designer and Pop-In@Nordstrom–hands-down the biggest font nerd we know.

–Andrew Matson

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conversechuckIIRedesigning the Converse Chuck Taylor All Star is a risky proposition. We’re talking about the most classic American sneaker, whose design has gone relatively untouched since 1917. A true shoe of the people.

Think about it. Which other garment is worn by young and old folks alike so prevalently? And in various stages of pristine or tattered? Chucks are like Levi’s 501s for your feet.

And yet: Converse designer Damion Silver was faced with a problem. Foot fatigue was an issue. Especially if you’re trying to wear them every day, All Stars have always been a little hard on your dogs.

Enter Lunarlon, Nike cushioning technology.

That’s just one way Silver–a visual artist who shows his own paintings at galleries all over the world–created the Chuck II, a stellar and more comfortable sequel to Chuck Taylor All Star.

We spoke with Silver on the phone at Converse headquarters in Boston proper about shoveling snow, his unrealistic fantasy of one day skateboarding on a frozen golf course–and the pressures of redesigning the brand’s #1 seller worldwide.

converselunarlonShop: Chuck II high | Chuck II low

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Emily Schuman (in pink) poses with fans wearing picks from the collection she designed.

Lifestyle blogger Emily Schuman—the mastermind behind the uber-popular blog cupcakes and cashmere—popped by the Nordstrom flagship in Seattle recently for a party to celebrate her new eponymous line. More than 150 devotees of her blog and the new collection—think breezy jumpsuits, sporty-chic parkas and motos, and wear-everywhere separates—came out to partake in the festivities. The party was a huge success, with a crowd that featured fans of both genders, shoppers of all ages and one impressively well-behaved chihuahua. Hugs and selfies were plentiful.

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Caroline Issa is an expert on several levels—the fashion biz, the magazine world, being magnetic on camera and off. But today we call upon her genius as a Nordstrom Signature collaborator and astute client/customer as she tells us what she loves about three of the specially priced Nordstrom Signature and Caroline Issa fall collection pieces that are part of our Anniversary Sale.

Nordstrom Signature and Caroline Issa V-neck cashmere sweater

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Photo by Kyle Johnson

Parties crack and moods lift to the sounds of Tuxedo, the west coast duo whose 1980s funk is inspired by the past and crystalized in the present by Mayer Hawthorne (Andrew Cohen) and Jake One (Jake Dutton). If the group’s eponymous album is not in your summer music rotation already, we recommend it.

The singer and producer are old friends and hip-hop collaborators. They’re both deejays, too, and initially bonded over mixtapes each had made focusing on artists like Bernard Wright and David Grusin. The shared affinity is central to Tuxedo.

We spoke to them on tour about how Tuxedo fits into this current retro moment in pop (Mark Ronson, Daft Punk) and which piece from their custom Klein Epstein Parker tuxedos Jake One accidentally left at home with 30 minutes to showtime.

Shop: tuxedos

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