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Fashion to the People: StyleKouncil Balances the Budget With the Newest Runway Trends

Photos by Peter Samuels

Kat Yeh and Kelly Sparks’ business cards are printed on old-fashioned garment tags and list a couple of curious services: closet curation and retail adventures. The fashion-industry vets, who met in 2002 while working at Levi’s (Yeh as a brand manager and Sparks as a designer), are bringing their personal-styling moxie to the masses by overhauling San Francisco closets one tattered, ill-fitting, and passé garment (think wide collar shirts and baggy jeans) at a time. They’ll preserve important personal style elements (your vintage Nirvana concert T—safe!), while updating entire wardrobes with iconic essentials tailored to each client’s taste.

“We explore your style and turn it up a notch,” says Sparks, 41, a Bernal Heights resident. As expert vintage-clothing pickers and masterful budget shoppers, Yeh and Sparks scour numerous places—from the Alameda Flea Market to Zara—for the best looks at the lowest prices, all in the name of their clients’ improved aplomb.

“We’re like fashion therapists,” says Yeh, 41, who lives in the Mission. So we decided to put StyleKouncil’s skills to the test: Could the duo interpret spring 2011 runway trends using affordable fashions for three budget-minded urbanites (who modeled the looks)? You be the judge.

 

 

THE MODEL Veronica Belmont, 28, host of Revision3.com’s weekly gadget how-to show, Tekzilla, and Qore, the PlayStation Network’s video magazine about the gaming industry and 2010 7x7 Hot 20 Under 40 Honoree.

THE LOOK: EDGE OF INNOCENCE
Love is in the air. Play hard-to-get with the season’s demure floral and gingham prints. Take the romantic look to an urban setting with denim, khaki, and rope accessories. Cinch voluminous silhouettes at the waist, and don skyscraper platform wedges to maximize intrigue. Get the look>

 

 

THE MODEL
Benjamin Kruer, 28, production associate at Four Barrel Coffee, filmmaker, and screenwriter.

THE LOOK: POINT BLANC
Some like it white hot. Evoke the JazzAge with ivory tuxedo jackets paired with modern-day white denim (there’s no prohibition on mingling tones). Disrupt the clean slate by bedecking lapels with bold, oversize corsages, and gentlemanly pocket squares. Cut a rug in classic saddle shoes. Get the look>

 

THE MODEL
Gina Macaraeg, 41, production manager at Gymboree and bassist in local emo indie-pop group, Glass Trains.

THE LOOK: NAUTICAL POP
Life’s a beach. Revolutionize resort wear by pairing classic navy-striped attire with snazzy prints inspired by tropical ports of call. Anchor the high-impact look with familiar ruffle details, denim touches, and jute cues. Dare to stroll the boardwalk
in heels. Get the look>