Do Your Civic Duty…at Maiden Lane

Civic Duty is an innovative footwear company founded upon the simple premise that a casual shoe can be more than merely practical. When properly designed, it has the potential to be attractive…a bit whimsical…comfortable…and environmentally responsible. The Civic Duty collections offer all of that—and more.

Before I tempt you with specifics on the sneakers, let me tell you a little bit about the brand. Civic Duty was created in 2009 by Steven Weinreb, who had recently lost his job due to the massive economic downturn. Concerned about his employment prospects and frustrated by government bailouts, he set out to create a company rooted in social, environmental, and fiscal responsibility. After a year of development, he conceived the perfect formula for a leisure shoe made with Tyvek(R), an amazingly strong, highly breathable, and recyclable material that is nearly impossible to tear. The result is a line of sneakers for both women and men that is stylish, fresh, and about as fun as it gets.

I’m adding a photo of Steven because…well…look at that smile. Look at his style. Doesn’t he look like someone you’d want to invite to a dinner party? Or have coffee with? Or have design your entire casual wardrobe?

If your heart hasn’t begun throbbing yet, here’s the part that will definitely get to you. Each year, the brand chooses a social cause and supports it by designing a unique shoe and donating 100% of the profits from the sale of that shoe to the cause. That just makes me feel good all over.

Okay…now the fashion/fun comes in. Civic Duty has designed five collections:

  • Fascination–preppy styling with a white rubber bump toe
  • Illumination–the preppy, bump-toe hightop
  • Exhilaration–classic styling reminiscent of the sneakers you’ve worn since you were five
  • Sensation–classic hightop
  • Dedication–traditional slip-on

Women’s sizes are available in white, periwinkle, yellow, fudge brownie, paper bag, red, gunmetal gray, navy, pink, lime, orange, sky blue, and black. Men’s sizes come in white, fudge brownie, paper bag, gunmetal gray, navy, lime, orange, sky blue, and black. All styles: $54.

I’m impressed by the mission, the inspiration, and the styling. But let’s face it…no matter how great it looks, it has to feel good. (Sure, we women will endure the requisite amount of pain and pinching in a killer pair of towering heels, but not in a sneaker.) When I slipped into my first pair of Civic Duty sneakers (I chose the gunmetal gray Fascination), it was like sinking into a jar of marshmallow fluff. The footbed is incredibly soft and cushy, and it’s obvious that you can walk in these for hours without a shred of discomfort. My fave is to wear them with skinny jeans, but they’re equally suited to shorts, skirts, and cropped pants. To say that these sneakers have universal appeal is almost an understatement.

If I’ve sufficiently tempted you, you’ll be happy to know that the news gets even better. The entire Civic Duty line is available at Maiden Lane in Nevada City, California. You can find the shop at 307 Broad Street, right in the heart of town, or by calling (530) 265-9520. Not only will they ship to wherever you are, they’ll also special-order sizes and colors for you. And service doesn’t get any more customized than that.

Now excuse me, but I need to get back to staring at how cool these sneakers look on my feet….

Welcome Winter with Blue Willi’s

Sticking with the subject of cozy, nothing says warm and comfy like this winter-welcoming sweater from Blue Willi’s. Soft to the touch and richly cabled, it’s the perfect grab-and-go solution when temperatures dip.

The Blue Willi’s concept is built on the Blue Story: the tradition of the color blue. Indigo is nature’s own blue dye—a living color that has been used for more than 4,000 years. Its appeal is the fact that it fades gradually and naturally with wear. Think of what happens to your favorite pair of jeans—how they soften and lighten over time. On the most exposed areas, wearing and washing cause the outer layer of the indigo color to disappear and take on the white color from the core of the yarn.

Blue Willi’s indigo knitwear is made with yarns dyed with indigo. As each item is worn, time leaves the signature of the owner’s natural wear, allowing the clothes to become more beautiful…more personal…over the years.

This is a great piece to buy for yourself or for someone special. Perfectly suited to women of all ages, it will keep someone you love warm and comfy for years and years to come.

Available at Maiden Lane, Nevada City, California and online at

Cozying Up to Winter–Maiden Lane Style

While I recognize that summer is a popular month among the throngs, I’ve always been a fan of fall and winter. Perhaps it’s the hunkering-down-with-a-steaming-mug-of-coffee aspect of a chilly morning…or the brew-a-pot-of-green-tea-and-do-some-serious-writing call of a blustery afternoon…or the light-a-roaring-fire solution to a snowy evening. Any way you look at it, the operative word is “cozy.” And cozy feels good.

At Maiden Lane, cozy comes in a variety of forms. From chunky, cabled cardigans to flowing, draping sweaters…from softer-than-soft scarves to silly socks that’ll make you smile…your solution to warmth can be found at this lively Nevada City, California boutique.

Stop by 307 Broad Street or visit to explore the many ways you can stay cozy this winter season.

Big Style in a Small Town

The historic town of Nevada City, California isn’t likely on anyone’s fashion radar, but it should be. Maiden Lane—located on Broad Street, the town’s main drag—carries the sort of merchandise you might expect to find in an exclusive boutique in LA or New York. Here you’ll find a stunning selection of clothing and accessories by A-listers such as Eileen Fisher, Blue Willi’s, Sympli, and Brighton.

In addition to fabulous clothing for both women and men, it’s the place to go for gorgeous coffee-table books and cookbooks…exotic soaps and teas…indulgent candies and scented candles…decorative pillows and designer purses.

Owners Bo and Stu Wolfson have elevated buying to an art form. They know their stuff well, and every item in their store is marked by outstanding quality and exquisite design. In anticipation of foul weather to come, they’ve laid in a supply of fun, funky, fashionable rain boots by Ilse Jacobsen, a Denmark-based design house. Never before have puddle-jumping and snowdrift-hurdling made such a fashion statement.

Each week throughout the holiday season, I’ll be featuring a new specialty item. If you live in the area, stop by the store located at 307 Broad Street in Nevada City. If you’re not close by, visit Maiden Lane’s website for an entertaining online shopping experience.