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Amy Blaustein


How would you describe what you “do”?

I own and operate James Rowland Shop, and that involves everything from buying, curating, web, and social media. As we talked about earlier, it’s a real collision between creative, and the more analytical and admistrative tasks of running a business. I do this all with my partner Dan Peck and we have rotating roles and wear different hats all the time.

Outfit breakdown?

I’m wearing first and foremost a beautiful bandeau wonder top by PIECE that supports my body [wink], a vintage Yves Saint Laurent shortsleeve jacket, vintage landlubber cropped pants, and the Sophie slide in, I think it’s called, taupe patent by Maryam Nassir Zadeh.

Describe your life in 3 words.

Let’s see...I have to really think about that one...can we come back to that?

Any hidden talents?

I dabble in the psychic arts, and I do aura readings and healings, mostly for friends and family. I’m an amateur astrologer...I would say those are my hidden talents.

What’s your lip color of the moment?

Clay Idol by Fat and the Moon - it’s a lip stain the color of clay.

What’s your nail color of the moment?

On my toes I usually do You Don’t Know Jacques by OPI and on my fingernails I usually dont wear anything...but there is a color I like by Essie called Sand Tropez, it’s very neutral.

Do you wear any sort of uniform or uniform silhouette?

Not really, I go through a lot of different phases, I’m getting more into tailored clothing. I had a really long run wearing more one-sized drapey, avant-garde log-in look silhouettes. I’m a big fan of Eskandar and Sharon Guild, people who design boxy silhouettes in beautiful fabric. I’m getting more into leather now, I have a few leather trenchcoats that I’ve been into lately. And into color. I’m getting more into my body, wearing clothes that fit for me. It’s all very energetic, I feel like drapey clothes can allow you to leave your body more and I’m having this shift that’s like “Wake up everybody! Let’s get dressed. Let’s do this” because I feel like everything’s been feeling so pajama-y for a long time. It’s easy in California, I have this wonderful community of women, everyone’s very supportive, and it feels like a coven, women who are like “fuck tight pants and button-flys” and are about wearing elastic waist and letting it all hang out and eating good food and it’s almost this rebellion against certain social conventions. It’s really cool and I love how we’re all very supportive of each other but sometimes I feel like I have a quick cycle of metabolizing things, as we talked about, and easily feel ready to move on.

It’s interesting because while we were in New York I felt like New York men are trained in a different way. I would wear this big coat and I’d still get guys checking me out and I said to Dan that these guys probably had to adapt to women’s more avant-garde tastes - they’re like “okay I know she’s wearing this big giant thing but I know there might be something good underneath.” In California it’s not like that. Guys are sort of like “NEXT” if you’re not showing your body. They’re going to look to the person showing their body because someone is...it’s easier. All the hot in-the-know women are calling the shots in New York, so men just better get with the program and get into it. Fashion is not the same conversation here in California. So in general you’re not going to get the same level of attention if you’re in that avant-garde fashion conversation. Of course this is also specific to cultural subsets.

It would be a fun experiment...take the same hot girl, throw giant clothes on her and see what happens in different locations around the world, haha.

Describe a significant outfit and when you wore it.

Hmm lets see, well I got to attend Hedi Slimane’s final Saint Laurent collection last spring in LA and that was really fun. I wore a vintage Donna Karan tomato red silk jumpsuit that I got tailored - it had been really billowy and giant and I got it tailored to be a little more fitted. I wore these white mesh slides by the brand Prima Royale that’s kind of a cheap Chinatown brand - but I think they’re really cool.

What’s the most embarrassing trend you’re into?

Omg...I feel like all trends are equally embarrassing and fun. I always said that I felt like following trends is equivalent in fashion to being patriotic to one’s country.  To somehow assimilate a trend, it feels like there’s something supportive if you’re in fashion. Like if you’re into a trend, you’re in it together. Like, “Okay ruffled off-the-shoulder tops, here we go!” There’s something unifying about “ok this is where we’re going as a group, are you with us or against us?” There’s something I like about that, and there’s something repulsive to me about that. As I get older I try to check in with trends against my inner compass of who I am and who I’ve become and what I’m trying to say to the world and if it’s in alignment with that. But I do have fun incorporating trends into my life in big ways and little ways.

Describe your personal style in 3 words.

Oh man...the 3 words thing trips me up...as you can see I’m very wordy...

Deep, elegant, intelligent.

What questions are you most frequently asked?

Where do you get all this stuff [referring to her expansive vintage collection]?

What question do you most frequently ask?

What’s your sign?

Life story in 3 words please.

Seeking, changing, fun

And your cocktail of the moment?

There’s a secret cocktail at this place in downtown Oakland called the Starline - a gal that used to work here, her boyfriend works there, got me into it. It’s called DJ Lisa, it’s not on the menu. It’s made with mezcal, it has cinnamon and I think grapefruit juice...it’s really unexpected and it’s really good.

Amy Blaustein is co-owner of the impeccably curated vintage boutique James Rowland Shop based in Berkeley, California.