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Originally published Monday, September 1, 2014 at 8:35 PM

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Celebrating the Seattle style in a September of runways

Ah, September, a month full of fashion in the city. It starts rolling with “Downtown Seattle Rocks the Runway at the Paramount.

Seattle Times staff columnist


Spend any time among the lanyarded nerds who purport to own this town (oh, grow up), and you may not realize that Seattle is all about style.

Never is this more true than in September, otherwise known as a month of runways, when the stores strut their stuff from downtown to Bellevue, where the wine flows and the gift bag is more coveted than a Birkin. Almost.

First out of the gate is the third annual “Downtown Seattle Rocks the Runway,” this year moving from the cavernous confines of Pacific Place to the splendid Paramount Theatre, and from a school night to a Saturday — Sept. 20. (Tickets range from $50 general admission to $175 for something called an “exclusive backstage pass/VIP,” which, hopefully, puts you well clear of the models, their stomping stilettos and the stylists who swarm around them.)

The folks at the sponsoring Downtown Seattle Association, Metropolitan Improvement District and Seattle Met magazine held a little preview party for local fashion bloggers in the lobby of the Hotel Vintage the other night.

It was a tad crowded and confusing, since hotel guests headed for the elevator had to negotiate a gantlet of Aveda stylists; inadvertently walked through the presentations; or helped themselves to the heaps of cheese and charcuterie and glasses of wine that had been set out for the event.

Seattle Met style editor Laura Cassidy, in a short ’do and one earring, kicked things off with her own fall forecast, which, she clarified, was not to be taken as What Not to Wear.

“We all look at fashion from where we are standing and approach it in a different way,” Cassidy said. “There are no right or wrong answers.”

Thank God. Because the right answer for me is sometimes a dress from Target.

But no lanyard.

That said, here’s what’s coming up this fall and winter:

New Color Theories. There are no more ideas on what colors “go” together, Cassidy said.

“Color is this thing that can be mixed,” she said. “Pastels, or sherbet colors thrown in with a mix of evergreen and burgundy, or baby blue and ocher.”

Coats. Bold colors, creative designs. “When you get to the party, you’re not looking for the coat check,” Cassidy said.

Street sport. Designers are taking cues from the streets, and the “critical mass of hip-hop culture.”

Think of dress-up sweat clothes “that have more thought and purpose.” (And, presumably, smell like flowers.)

Sweater dressing. Not just to pull over your head, but “everything,” Cassidy said. “Pants, skirts, the whole 9 yards.”

Long layers. Tunic shapes, dresses over pants. Pretty much the way Seattle has always dressed, except now it’s officially sanctioned by the fashion world.

Accessories. Chokers, one earring. But no lanyard.

Appearing with Cassidy was Thig Nat, a fashion blogger and member of The Physics who also works in grants and contracts at Seattle Children’s.

He spoke of the “Cozy Boy” movement: Designer sweats with a more tailored fit, sneakers and shoes. The rerelease of Air Jordans. Nice T-shirts that can be worn under a jacket and stand on their own.

“Quality garments,” Nat stressed, “that are comfortable.”

In the audience, Ian Maletta, the manager of the downtown Suitsupply store, which will show at the Paramount event. He had a few must-have recommendations for the fellows, for the fall.

“Layers,” Maletta began. “Knits. A good blazer or jacket and a good pair of leather boots.”

And what of those consarned lanyards?

“Well, that’s a tough one,” Maletta said. “It’s utterly ubiquitous in Seattle. It’s like a badge of honor.

“I want to say, personally, I would take it off as soon as I left the building,” he said. “But it’s almost like geek chic. It’s an accessory in itself. You’ve worked your way there.”

Maletta recommends putting it on a belt-loop or a little clip.

“That way, it’s a little less prominent.”

And maybe — maybe — a little less annoying.

Nicole Brodeur’s column appears Tuesday and Sunday. Reach her at 206-464-2334 or

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About Nicole Brodeur's Names in Bold

On Tuesdays, I tell you about my travels through some of the week’s social and philanthropic events — not just the ones for the swells, but those for work-a-day folks who care about making this region move and improve. 206-464-2334

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