Haute Crop-Top & Pointy Nails at Drop-Off


Shayla. San Rafael, California. October 2015.

I spotted Shayla from my car, she was picking her kids up from school. Her nails, crop-top and high bun got my attention.  Shayla’s boys were such great participants.

In Mara fashion, I pulled over illegally, put my hazards on (doesn’t that make everything legal?) and chased after Shayla. What was it about this mom that grabbed my attention? I think her accessories..and in Marin County, it’s rare to see a glimpse of funky style – that’s not bohemian (well except on me).


White Haute Nails. I’m such a lover of long nails – I know that many of you think of New Jersey in the 1980’s (nothing wrong with that by the way).  But the 2015 version of long nails are high fashion – check out the runways. Thanks to Beyonce, Rihanna and Jennifer Lopez..long nails have modernized and are HAUTE.

When I sported them, my own mother thought they were very Mafia wife..but I pulled them off, even in Marin – where I was the only person with these long, pointy white (and sometimes gold) nails. In NYC, I looked like everyone else in the East Village..


Small neck tattoo. Once again, I adore these little tattoos.


Happy family = the best style around. So happy Shayla is pulling off this cute crop-top, even after having kids.


Remember when I had these amazing nails? Issue is I couldn’t do basic things, such as typing on an iPhone – Shayla obviously has strong fine motor skills.


Shayla is walking all over town..so she needs stylish and comfortable kicks, like these high-top red Vans.



Haute Modern Grunge at Drop-Off.


Marin County. September 2015.

I’m pretty sure when you’re raised in Japan, some secret class is required to learn about style – and unlike Parisians, the Japanese are cool without making fun of us “fat, unstylish Americans”.  I admit it, I’ve tried getting “into” the Japanese mom crew at my kid’s school. What is it about Japanese culture? it’s almost like an entire country is born with a great fashion sense.


This stylin’ mama, originally from Japan has created a modern take on grunge, with her hair in a loose bun, oversized Jackie-O shades, and ankle length motorcycle boots.


Blue and black works so well. Try it, and don’t get caught up on old fashion rules.


Motorcycle boots add a funkiness to anything you wear.


Fashion Designer Mama. Sexy in Halter Dresses.


Rebecca Bruce. Designer. Mill Valley, California. September 2015.

See what happens when your kids play soccer? You meet fashion designer mothers, who have cool bikes, and look like models.


Bay Area Fashion Designer and Mama, Rebecca Bruce has been designing ready-to-wear since 1986…Shown here in her own halter dress design.

Rebecca’s work has been showcased in film, on CNN, at SFMOMA’s ModernArt Ball and California’s Top Ten Designers Fusion Show in L.A. Including publications, The San Francisco Chronicle, Essence, W and Elle. Check out her work, http://www.rebeccabruce.com


Rebecca has a showroom in Mill Valley, where you can try on her pieces and feel her imported fabrics, ranging from mohair to the finest wool and cashmere.


I love how I look totally dorky wearing a helmet and leaning against my uncool bike – but Rebecca looks opposite.  A great mix of California laid back style infused with that Northern Cali outdoor style… she does it so well..


Now that’s a gorgeous back. Rebecca is lucky, and she’s also a former model. Great Genes!! I never loved the way I look in a halter dress, so I especially admire women who can pull it off….WHY CAN’T I.. WHY!!!!!!!!!!  (a little funny?)


Gorgeous Mama. Sexy backside.


Haute on the Quad. College Drop-Off.


Locke & Blue. Mills College. Oakland, California. September 2015.


I was looking for the bathroom on this college campus in Oakland when visions of street style strolled on by – one by one…in the form of College students.  My first thought, I’ll finally start my site, “haute drop-off, the collegiate years” or “haute co-eds”.  My second thought , why can’t I be in college!! Third thought, the 90’s rule fashion wise..and I wish I could pull off a choker.

These cute women, slowly walked away from me, after I continued to ask “so where’s the kegger later?”.  Meanwhile, I was never a keg party person.  I remember going to a keg party, and being mortified because I didn’t know how to use the keg.. you had to negotiate some pump thing and a spout. It was so intimidating, and I felt ashamed for wasting my college years never learning how to use a KEG.


Most importantly, these young women seem so confident in their skin.. and that’s style.

Haute Style Profile.


“Each month, we ask our stylish mamas and local tastemakers to spill their secrets and share their stuff. Here, the fashion blogger behind Haute Drop-Off, Mara Menachem, lets us in on the one thing she can’t live without. Read on!” (Southern Marin Moms Club Newsletter)


Favorite piece of jewelry: A cocktail ring my mom bought for my grandmother, when she was in Paris, and my grandmother watched the four of us.

One thing in your wardrobe you can’t live without: My jean jacket collection, loving my new grunge one from INTERMIX.

Style Icons: Lisa Bonet, Joy Bryant, Chloe Sevigny, SJP as Carrie Bradshaw, Patricia Field, Anna Dello Russo (editor at VOGUE Japan), Bill Cunningham, because he knows how to pick ’em, Dolly Parton & Tina Turner, the sexiest women in show business at any age.

Daily uniform: Floral shorts, Frye ankle boots, gold door-knocker earrings, jean jacket, and ankle socks (sometimes with Chanel flats).

Jeans: USED. They have to be worn in…or very tight. The butt is everything in jeans.

Swimwear: Brazilians always make the best suits. If you can wear a bikini, tiny floral prints are the most flattering. I always think a black one-piece is classic and elegant.

Favorite accessory: My white Lanvin bag purchased at a consignment store in Aspen, Acid wash jean jacket, gold door-knocker earrings in the largest size made, and my gold hoop nose ring.

Describe your personal style: I adore vintage, accessories, and old handbags. Your 90-year-old grandmother’s closet is an exciting place for me!

Skincare: I’m crazy about Fresh’s Rice Oil. It makes you smell amazing.

Scent: LaVanilla makes great smelling stuff. I admit to liking Patchouli, too.

Lipstick: I stick to clear. Want BIG lips without the surgery? Smashbox O Plump does the trick.

Who colors your hair: Sonja Avallone at Christopher Salon in Mill Valley.

Favorite store: Hidden Treasures in Topanga is unbelievable, the original Century 21, Jeffrey NYC for drooling purposes, Intermix, Goodwill, Zara (but they are now off my list due to some poor practices).

Where do you get a facial: Lisa Perkins 415-272-8108, leave looking dewy and gorgeous.


Must-have: Sun, friends, social interaction.

Influences: I think I’m influenced by humanity, photography.

What inspires you: People inspire me, if I could talk to and observe people as a career, I would.

Item you keep purchasing over and over: Jean jackets.

Something no ones knows about you: I’m shy.

First thing you do every morning: Cuddle with whoever is around.

Signature staple: Short Shorts/Skirt/Dresses.

Pet peeve: Not a lot bothers me, but I would appreciate a nod or a thank you if I open the door for you.

Guilty pleasures: Donuts, talking to strangers & enormous earrings.

Favorite holiday: Halloween is so fun – and I love visiting my brother Seth in LA for Hanukkah, mostly because of the donuts.

Favorite workout: Yoga at Marin Power Yoga & Spinning.

Overrated: Being perfect.


Websites you always check: Humans of New York, NY Times, The Sartorialist, Facebook, Page 6 occasionally.

Bloggers you follow: The Sartorialist, Bill Cunningham.

Mama bloggers you follow: Scary Mommy, HuffPost Parents.

On your iPod: Lauryn Hill, lots of 1990’s R&B, Simon & Garfunkel, Cat Stevens, Run DMC, Beyonce, Aretha Franklin, Mahalia Jackson, Neal Casal.

Favorite people to follow on Instagram: Afropunk


Celebrity crush: Ben Harper, Louis CK and Larry David.

Favorite artist, past or present: Bill Cunningham. Not sure if people consider him an artist, but I do. He has made fashion into something that’s not snobby or inaccessible. Michael Moore. He created films that not only
rocked the boat and took major risks and exposed horror, but actually change occurred. I guess that’s not usually the expectation of art, but it’s one I admire.

Best place to hear music: Coming from Miami, Marin/San Francisco is heaven on earth for live music. I think Big Sur is a special place, Greek Theater in Berkeley, and I love The Sweetwater, and when I’m really wanting to be around the “jam band” crowd, it’s Phil Lesh’s place Terrapin Crossroads in San Rafael.

Best show on TV: Curb Your Enthusiasm is my all time favorite. I also love Louis CK, and Sex and The City re-runs, I also love watching The Goldberg’s with my kids

Favorite magazine: Psychology Today, I promise they have the most interesting articles.

Favorite book: Animal Farm

Favorite podcast: NPR All Songs Considered and This American Life, and Ted Talks.


Favorite museum: The Victoria & Albert Museum in London.

Favorite restaurant: Zuma in Miami & my close friend’s husband Vinny Dotolo’s spot Son of a Gun.

Favorite domestic travel spot: Big Sur, Miami & Aspen.

Favorite international travel spot: Someplace new.

Best-kept secret: Rancho Nicasio, it’s an authentic Northern California bar in West Marin.

Favorite city: NYC & London.

Favorite hotel: The Ellerman House in Cape Town – where we stayed on our honeymoon.

Favorite hike: Aspen Mountain, it’s so hard, feels like it’s never going to end…and then it does.


First-year must-haves: Friends to tell you it gets better, and lots of nights out to remind you of your life before…

Best day with the kids: The best night for me, was getting in late from the airport on our way to camp, and hanging out in one of those super gas stations drinking slurpees, and talking to people. Taking them to see Super Diamond, the Neil Diamond cover band in Aspen.

Best place to see a movie with your kid(s): Fairfax in town, and Larkspur, my youngest and I had the best date their ever, I took him to see Chef, a little inappropriate.

Kids’ fashion brand: Trunk vintage concert T’s.

Favorite ritual you have with your kid(s): Dance parties, late night desert outings, playing card games, hang man..just being spontaneous, because that’s the mom they got.

Best park: Berkeley Playground or Golden Gate Park.

Favorite children’s movie: Jerry Lewis and Peter Sellers,.. so fun to watch with them, and Vacation (kind of inappropriate).

Haute Man Style Can Be So Simple….


Kristian. Dad. Visual Designer. San Francisco. 2015.


Kristian is head of visual merchandising for the hat maker, Goorin Bros., http://www.goorin.com 

Isn’t Kristian’s hat so cool? It makes a simple look, pop with a little added hip…

I really love his inner arm tattoos – they are simple, and a perfect size. All tattoos done at Spider Murphy’s Tattoo.


Such California shoe choices…flip flops and Vans…surfer and skater favorites.


Mara’s “Funny” Grateful Dead Observations.

I’m  so glad I got to experience the Grateful Dead once again. No, I’m not an official “dead head”, but watching the fans and experiencing such a peaceful crowd dancing completely  OFF BEAT & literally to the beat of their own drummer was quite a vision.  I’ve been meaning to write down my observations, and was reminded to follow through, here you go:

I share a nickname with “Mountain Girl”: I just found out that the house we are renting was formally occupied (Dead heads please take a seat) by Mr. Jerry Garcia and his Love, Mountain Girl..I feel weird referring to her as a girl, but I was corrected when I kept calling her “Mountain Woman”. I can’t help but wonder how Mountain Girl earned that moniker.  I had a nickname similar, only it was created by middle school boys after the mountains that developed on my chest.

So this entrance into Grateful Dead culture, reminded me to post my photos and observations regarding my experience attending a Grateful Dead Show in Santa Clara. I wrote something to be published soon, but here’s a little preview.

Unintentional high: It was hard to photograph people as I unintentionally became intoxicated – it was  a combination of what I’m pretty sure was a toxic level of Patchouli oil I was forced to inhale, in collaboration with a contact high due to the smoke cloud hovering over Levi’s stadium.  

Fashion Rules: Ya know the rule, that you can’t wear a t-shirt with the band your seeing to their concert? Well, that rule does not exist with Grateful Dead fans – you can even buy a t-shirt at the merchandise table and wear it over your old “vintage” Grateful Dead concert t-shirt.

Handbag Rules and Fashion Crimes against Women:  Levi’s stadium did everything they could, to make all fans unstylish. Can you imagine that you could only bring in a clutch (men, it’s a small bag without handles)? And no offense, but I imagine many female fans of the Dead don’t own clutches.  These rules were created by someone who has never attempted the feat of holding a clutch all night – while it is the most stylish handbag, it’s also the most useless.  What about a Fanny Pack people? Isn’t the Fanny Pack the “official” bag of The Grateful Dead and its fans? The “bag” they did allow..Clear plastic bags.. lower end then the ones you get at CVS.

On Wearing Shorts on Stage: At first, I was a little perplexed as to why Bob “Bobby” Weir wore shorts on stage. I meant this is a huge deal – 70,000 people filling Levi’s stadium, and he’s wearing cargo shorts. But I get it, it’s kind of charming. I find the “hippie” fashion preparation for all these musical festivals to be fun, but extremely contrived – I mean who the hell wears flower crowns in every day life paired with the perfect yoga body? I loved that not many fans thought about their looks, they just were having fun and enjoying the nostalgia.  As a fashion lover, I actually appreciated this piece of authenticity and didn’t even make snarky comments about the inordinate amount of tie dye.

Dead Heads Still Spin in Gypsy Skirts: I keep name dropping, here I go again.  My friend the multi-talented Neal Casal, who gathered an impressive ensemble (including Mark Levy (the Congress) on Drums & Adam MacDougall (Chris Robinson Brotherhood) on keyboard) of musicians to create the break music at the Dead shows.  Neal’s music was so good, the stadium remained filled during “intermission” (I know, it’s not the theater), and I got to witness first hand Dead Head spinning action. I tried to be a participant, but let’s face it –  I failed due to poor fashion planning (my leggings were so tight, I should’ve worn a cool hippie skirt). The crowd took in every moment, and you could see the joy in their faces, re-living such a huge part of their past.  Read more about Neal and the break music here:


Children at the Shows: I was surprised to see children at the shows, selfishly it would seem hard to have fun with all that responsibility.  But now I get it – think about the backstory? Years from now these kids will be able to add to any story, “when I was at The Dead Shows in Santa Clara at 3, I decided music was my life” – Perfect quote for a Rolling Stone interview, right? I guess taking my kids to a Neil Diamond cover band as their first official concert doesn’t have the same cache.

Dreads: At Dead Shows you see a lot of dreads, usually they are so long, indicating a lifetime of commitment.

Members of the Tribe:  Did the Messiah finally come? At first, I was confused, did I enter some sort of hippie, Rosh Hashanah service? Because, I’m confident (with my 100% JEWDAR) that 90% of the crowd went to my sleep-a-way camp, teen tour or my semester in Israel – you all looked familiar. Let’s just say, I’ve never spotted so many Jews in Northern California.

Fashion Award: My favorite man look at the shows in Santa Clara was another member of Neal Casal’s music ensemble.  His gorgeous long dreads combined with low waisted, simple and slight bellbottoms, a cool hat and solid t-shirt worked.  Unfortunately for me, I stalked him from behind and shot his photo, not knowing my friend Angela would forward him the photo, and my stalking ways would be revealed. (he takes good care of those dreads, I can tell)



Cute mom in a little music festival look.


Neal Casal & the Talented Musicians behind the break music


Tie Dye. Maxi dresses. Hair flowers. Vintage Dead Concert T-shirts. This was the “look”.


Blurry photo, but check out the length of those dreads.



Haute Drop-Off right here in Santa Clara.


A little bit of Pearls go a long way… Haute Drop-Off.


Autumn. Aspen, August 2015.


Posing in front of the volunteer run firehouse in Aspen.

Fashion Notes: Sandals: Cooperative from Urban Outfitters, Bag: Louis Vuitton, Dress: Cerre, Hat: Barney’s New York’s private label


Autumn was raised in Aspen and after living in Los Angeles and London, she and her man (a Brit) decided to raise their family in this gorgeous town.  I love hanging out with Autumn in Aspen because she knows everyone and is so fun! Even with a “newish” baby, Autumn makes time to go out. It’s hard being a new mom, and very important to remember your individual self outside of motherhood  –


How cute are they? Love Autumn’s use of layering with her pearl chains. And her exposed shoulders add a little classy sexy edge…

Do Brazilian’s Do it Better? Jumpsuits at Drop-Off.


Naju and Hunter. Aspen, Colorado. August 2015.


A pretty tattoo on a sexy back….always looks cool.


Naju, originally from Brazil is wearing jewelry made in Brazil by her designer sister.


Fashion Notes: Glasses: Louis Vuitton, Hat: Asos, Jumpsuit: H&M, Watch: Nixon, Sandals: Corso Como


Rompers are so current – just in this weekend’s New York Times, Fashion of the Times featured Taylor Swift, as the fashion teacher when it comes to rompers. The spread shows New Yorkers on the street, beating the heat in adorable rompers. Naju says this jump suit is the easiest staple to throw on, and still look fashionable running after a toddler.



Floppy hat and glasses… if you want to get dressed in a hurry, and still look so cool.




LA Style in Aspen. Haute Drop-Off.


Moranda. Aspen. August 2015.

Moranda and her family just moved from Los Angeles to Aspen this week – I spotted her at the local park with her family.  We have a lot in common – Moranda and her husband send their kids to a Waldorf school too…see how hip Waldorf parents can be?

Ya know what I love about Aspen summer weather? You can wear jackets and boots!! And your hair still looks good – it’s not humid. I find places like Miami so hard to dress stylish – it’s just so hot in the summer, you really have to wear next to nothing.


It takes a lot of guts to move to a new city, especially from a large, metropolitan city like LA to a smaller town like Aspen. But I obviously understand the appeal – it’s empowering to start fresh and fun to live in a place that’s small.  Kids in Aspen have a lot more freedom.

And Moranda brings great style to a town known for its workout style. At night in Aspen, you see great fashion and during the day you see exercise clothing, but stylish exercise clothing. Ripped leggings, off the shoulder crop tops, bright sneakers and funky sunglasses. It’s refreshing to see some LA fashion make its debut during prime “hiking” hours.


The cobblestone streets of Aspen make it very hard to wear anything other then sneakers, sandals or boots..heels are kind of impossible in this town.


Moranda and her adorable family. Aspen got way cooler this week!


Fashion Notes: Boots: Anine Bing, Hat: Rag and Bone, Sweator: 360 Cashmere, Dress: Tylie, Basket: purchased at Whole Foods in Hawaii