Tucson Fashionista – Dolores Gonzales

Black and White Fashion Magazine Cover

Called the “Dior of the Desert” by the Los Angeles Times, Tucson designer Dolores Gonzales made a regional resort “it dress” that snared even First Ladies’ attention. In the 1940s and 50s, Gonzales designed one and two-piece dresses that featured a full, “broomstick” skirt and were made in bright, colorful fabrics. The style soon became a favorite during sorority rush at the University of Arizona and was eventually worn by First Ladies Mamie Eisenhower and Pat Nixon, according to The Tucson Sentinel and the Arizona Daily Star. Gonzales’ designs soon became a popular emblem of Western fashion. Though retail chain J.C. Penney wanted to sell her dresses, Gonzales refused, preferring to personally produce them in her own factory, according to the Star. Her distinctive designs have since been the subject of historical Tucson exhibitions.

Tucson Fashionista is an occasional and ongoing Zona Girl series on local women with legendary style.

A Luxe Candle for Quarantine


Challenging Covid-19 quarantines call for a luxe candle. And this one is it! Les Ruches, a Los Angeles candle company, makes luxurious, pure organic beeswax candles that are as beautiful to look at as they are to smell. The candles have lead-free wicks and are infused with essential oils. But the reason I even found out about them is because I follow Shayna Taylor, an organic chef on Instagram, and she did a collaboration with Les Ruches – the Noir Amethyste line. Now, it’s impossible to pick a candle scent online but I trusted her because her entire mission is organic healthy living and I thought she would surely create a beautiful scent. And SHE DID. The Noir Amethyste is a must buy. The candles range in price from $52 to $550 and they arrive in elegant black and gold packaging with long-stemmed matches to boot. Due to the coronavirus crisis, be patient on the shipping right now. Stay well!

Tucson Fashionista – Cele Peterson

Black and White Fashion Magazine Cover

It’s only fitting to start my new Tucson Fashionista series with Cele Peterson. History shows that the late Peterson was truly the desert’s grande dame of fashion. According to the Arizona Daily Star, Peterson opened her first fashion boutique during The Great Depression and it would go on to survive World War II and a devastating 1956 fire. Catering to wealthy wives and celebrities, including Lady Astor and Liz Taylor, Peterson would eventually create her own Southwest clothing line, “Station Wagon Togs,” that would not only be featured in Mademoiselle magazine but also find an audience in front of Pop McKale’s daughter, Ruth, among others. Gabrielle Giffords once commented that she always wore a silver pin bought at Peterson’s store to dress up her outfits, according to an article on preservetucson.org. Before her death at age 101 in 2010, Peterson had created a local empire of stores that spanned the city and forever cemented her name as one of city’s true style mavens.

Tucson Fashionista is an occasional and ongoing Zona Girl series on local women with legendary style.

Tucson Fashion “To Go”

As local restaurants consider a take-out/to-go model in the age of the coronavirus, so are a handful of Tucson boutiques trying to navigate this difficult time. We’re all in this together–who knew High School Musical would be so quoted during the Covid-19 Crisis? We must support our small businesses as much as we can.

A list of a few local stores happy to deliver fashion to your Tucson door or mailbox. Check out their Facebook and Instagram pages for updates!

POSH Boutique – The designer resale boutique is offering free delivery and free shipping on all merchandise throughout the city.

W Boutique – The stylish St. Philip’s Plaza store is offering free local delivery and free shipping.

Buffalo Exchange – Though all Buffalo Exchange locations are temporarily closed, you can still sell your items by requesting a bag online. More information is available on the company’s website.

Piece by Piece –  Another St Philip’s store offering virtual shopping and free shipping.

Pop into Pop Cycle

A visit to the shops on Fourth Avenue is always a fun treasure hunt, if you can handle the parking stress. Pop Cycle, a boutique devoted to local art, carries so many Tucson-centric gifts, you have to devote some significant time to browsing so you don’t miss anything. There are wall boards brimming with vintage Tucson magnets, kitschy T-shirts (who doesn’t love a cactus shirt that says “Don’t Be a Prick!”) and cowboy plaid shirts with cute felt desert creatures.

Pop Cycle, www.popcycleshop.com, founded in 2008, is also dedicated to making beautiful things out of old, which is in line with Tucson’s status as a City of Resale.

BUT, cool magnets aside, the coolest purchase from Pop Cycle is a $22.95 homemade Wilbur or Wilma hat! It’s smart to stock up on your Wildcat stuff now, because one day, we are going to be really good!

How to Look like a Caddie



I recently had the cool opportunity to be a caddie for my hubby at a PGA event here in T-town. And while hauling his clubs and filling divots is really reward enough, I had to figure out something cute to wear! So, a few places here offer some nice, last-minute golf fashion options for an over-40 gal. Also, self-tanner is a huge must, even though from the pics, I really could have done a better coverage job, but alas…

PGA Superstore – I found a Nike off-white tennis skirt on clearance at this Oracle Road store among numerous options, but this one I could use for tennis too. Some very stylish golf clothes here!

T.J. Maxx – I mean, if you are not looking at their active wear at all times, you are missing out. I found a Nike collared gray shirt ($13!!) that seemed to whisk the sweat away. I’m not sure but it appeared to do the trick.

(Photo by William Daigneault for Unsplash)

A Day at Home

When Tucson finally gets a cool store – one that has been in Phoenix for years – you have to embrace it.

That’s exactly the case with at home, the new home decor warehouse that took over the Target behemoth on Broadway. (And thank God? Like we need another vacated store that sits empty in this city!)

It’s definitely worth a visit, or many. Tons of wall posters–and when I say tons, I mean millions. The choices are never-ending! Numerous rows of artificial plants and also some small treasures like these monogram jewelry holders. Furniture, indoor and outdoor, storage, mirrors, and some decorative pieces you may not be able to find at HomeGoods or T.J. Maxx.

If you need a housewarming gift, your gift basket starts here.



T-Town Tidbits…

T-Town Tidbits

A few things seen and heard around town this week…Happy Friday!

Don’t bring cash if you expect to buy the luxury makeup and hair care at bluemercury! Yep, the store at La Encantada doesn’t accept cash anymore, only credit and debit cards.  Whaaaat? Are there other stores in T-town that don’t accept cash? Um, I’m sorry…if I still have to drive over a million potholes on decrepit roads, I think the stores here can accept cash. Too bad Peter Thomas Roth moisturizer, I’ll catch you another time…

at home, the new home superstore that’s replacing the Target on Broadway is planning to open on Jan. 29. I hope this becomes a trend because there are WAY too many empty storefronts here. It’s depressing!

-While you won’t find many coats anymore at Burlington – they even took “coat” out of their name – sometimes you can find a few treasures. Like these metal purses. I think they are so cute and have that vintage vibe. $26.99! Kind of cool…