San Diego / La Jolla Shopping

The Ascot Shop

WHO; Bill White started as a salesman and he liked The Ascot Shop so much, he bought it in the mid 90s. The shop has a long history and this year is celebrating its 60th anniversary. And at Bill’s side is his knowledgeable son, Andy who will be the next White to see the shop through many more decades. A 5- star rated men’s shop that emphasizes service including fashion advice has the client walking out feeling like a million bucks but the chit will be considerably less.

WHO IS WEARING; They attract a broad audience from 30 to 80 years old. Once known for their traditional clothing, the economy has altered this and there’s an emphasis on casual weekend wear. One long time devotee is a major executive of the Boston Red Socks, Larry Lucchino.

MUST HAVE; The attitude is more spontaneous due to the economy and lifestyle changes. But the newly installed, ‘Separates Program’, which will fit a differently sized jacket of a suit to well fitted trousers, has proven to be right on target with the clients.

ARCHITECTURE; The higher end, full tailored suit will run into a few thousand dollars but odds are that it this timeless outfit will be very conservative.

7750 Girard Ave. TEL. 858 454 2222 8585 454 2222


WHO; David Fifield opened Gerhard in Del Mar, California in 1989. This is the only designer boutique south of Newport. Although it’s not far from San Diego, this Del Mar shop has clients from all over the costal communities. The owner cannily offers up that ‘can’t resist’ element and caters to women who want the best of the best and always come away with bags filled with their finds. Known to attract those with an eye for trendy albeit elegant outfits, Gerhard prides himself on catering to women who love luxury. And they sure have great pickings- Lanvin, Victor & Rolf, Alberta Ferretti, James Perse and The Row are a few names. Shoes make their mark with Giuseppe Zanotti, and Robert Clergerie. His adage is when you spend on quality it will last ten years and still look amazing.

WHO IS WEARING; The loyal clients with 2nd and 3rd homes who stay a few months out of the year are seen sifting through the collections alongside celebs such as Barbra Streisand, well known musicians, artists, athletes. It’s for that sophisticated, well travelled woman who may be trophy wives, married to CEOs of major companies or have their own bulging bank account.

MUST HAVE; It’s all about knit wear (as always) and structure. Lots of black, white, navy, grey and chocolate brown. And not everything is about skinny legs

ARCHITECTURE; Mixing wide leg silk pants with a fine cashmere knit and a smashing trench coat is key And leather gives a sassy look when layering. Nothing is fussy but lines are clean and great boots or pumps finish off that special look.

1555 Carmino Del Mar 314a TEL. 858 481 9709

Euro Comfort Footwear.

WHO; Bob Fields, the owner, is the third generation to be in shoe biz. The former shoe designer believes that you can have both style and comfort with the shoes he shows.

WHO IS WEARING; Besides local clients, many come from Los Angeles, Orange County and Southern California for the comfortable, stylish lines from Germany, Paris and Italy. For those who vividly recall the pain from their expensive roof-top -reaching stilettos, here there are very smart looking alternatives.

ARCHITECTURE; Ache, Thierry Rabotin, Pas de Rouge are soft styles while Think, Sinn and Gabor are firmer. Both categories are extremely successful. These may be very expensive but they are oh so comfortable and the best travelling companion one could have.

MUST HAVE; Even Californians opt for darker shades come fall and winter. As long as they’re comfortable and have a great look, they walk out of the stores.

7777 Girard Ave # 101 TEL. 858 459 4137

Gracie & Co.

Gracie, a Maltese dog after whom the shop was named , is no longer on this planet but the name sticks. Judi Shapery may be is the best kept secret in La Jolla since her boutique isn’t front and centre. But to her loyal clients, some since the opening in 1984, it’s as though Hansel and Gretel dropped some cake along the way perhaps making it easier to locate this hidden haven. The specialties are cashmere sweaters which Judi says she ‘sells tons of’, also the greatest fitting pants from Jenne Maag, Piece of Cloth and Equestrian. The amusing fashion jewellery from Californian designer, Chan Luu and the Spanish firm, Uno de 50, seem to disappear from the store as soon as the new stock arrives and clients never leave with just one piece.

WHO IS WEARING; Her clients range from 30-80 years old. But like most Californians, no one looks their age because, oh well you know why. However, they’ve all gotten old fabulously together. These stylish, affluent women could spend their mega greenbacks but Gracie’s prices are mid range. And since the driver is usually waiting, many super secret shoppers don’t want to be indiscreet. Here you’ll get losta bang for your buck .

MUST HAVE; If there’s one piece you must have, it’s a long cashmere cardigan, some as long as mid calf, others below the knee, all in yummy colours of pale grey, pale pink creamy white and luscious lavender some with ruffles, others with chiffon.

ARCHITECTURE; Sophisticated, certainly not girlie, soft, unstructured and feminine

7443 Girard Ave. Tel. 858 459 5577


Mel and Isabel Wasserman opened their La Jolla boutique 30 years ago. Isabel has a keen eye and is the buyer. There’s everything from jeans to evening wear, but not ballroom or Red Carpet gowns. Look for unique designers like Iceland’s very hot, ELM.

WHO IS WEARING; All one has to say is Oprah. Yes, she’s been in as has David Caruso and friend or was it his wife? And many socialites find their wardrobe here.

MUST HAVE; If you’re in need of a special event dress, go for a short cocktail since legs are the part of anatomy of the season.

1152 Prospect St. La Jolla. Tel. 858 459 0629