Fleece With Flair From Dudley Stephens


Stylish, flattering, on-trend…not words one would normally associate with fleece – unless it’s tops and jackets from Connecticut-based Dudley Stephens. Of course, it would take two women from Fairfield County to know how to do fleece with flair. Dudley Stephens co-founders Lauren Stephens and Katherine McGrath grew up in Darien, built careers in New York, and then returned to FC to raise their families. And that’s where chic and cozy collide…and Dudley Stephens was formed. Read on to about this amazing new company and their cool-but-cozy line of fleece outerwear, tops, and dresses!


Fairfieldista: Your background is in fashion PR and your sister’s is in entertainment marketing and luxury travel – what was the inspiration for a line of fleece clothing?

Lauren: We came up with the idea for Dudley Stephens while on my parents boat in Rowayton a few summers ago. It is typically cold out on Long Island Sound even during the summer when we are on the boat, especially in the evenings! We were tired of wearing these fleece jackets that were ill fitting and in colors we didn’t like. Hence, we thought – let’s make stylish fleece clothing!! And here we are. I paved the way for us by quitting my fashion job and started everything from scratch. We first started with making samples – multiple rounds – to get the perfect fit for each style.

My sister helps with our website and overall company logistics. Her background in travel and marketing gave her experience in understanding a customer experience, creating efficiencies for both the customer and ourselves and tracking our performance. With my fashion background, my strengths tend to be in fashion production, design, PR, and marketing. Our personal strengths and weaknesses also mesh well – and we love hanging out together, so that helps too of course. My mom, Bonnie, helps us at our shows, with design and production. My mom has an amazing eye for design and we go back and forth about small fitting details constantly.

Fairfieldista: Why did you want to create a fashion-forward fleece line?

Lauren: After growing up wearing this fabric and appreciating it’s warmth and durability, launching our company has been a nostalgic venture for us. Our goal has always been to create stylish fleece clothing unlike any fleece clothing or jackets out there. We want our clothes to be stylish, to fit extremely well, and most of all make you feel good when you are wearing them. We also wanted to start this company because we love these pieces so much, and want to wear them also. We LIVE in them!! All three of us wear them everyday once the weather breaks in the Fall. We would never sell anything we wouldn’t wear.


Fairfieldista: I love that your fabric is made from recycled materials and all your apparel is made in Brooklyn! Why was that important to the brand?

Lauren: We are big believers in USA manufacturing, in supporting our local economy and keeping jobs in the US so that our communities benefit from our hard work and investments. We found a local factory and a way to make our clothes at affordable prices so that we do not have to charge too much for our pieces. And since we knew that fleece fabric can be made using recycled material, it only made sense to seek out recycled fleece fabric.

Fairfieldista: Did you grow up in Fairfield County? Where? What made you want to return?

Lauren: Yes! We grew up in Darien. We loved growing up there, so much so that my sister now lives there with her husband and two boys. I just moved to Greenwich with my husband Graham and son George. I lived in the city for thirteen years and loved it, but once I had George it felt like it was time to go back and be closer to home. My parents live in Rowayton and my husband’s parents live in Greenwich…we have help a short drive away whenever we need it.

Fairfieldista: Are your products available at retail locally?

Lauren: For now we are available on our website www.dudley-stephens.com, but we are open to meeting with local boutiques or stores that might be interested in carrying Dudley Stephens.


Fairfieldista: Why do you believe your line will appeal to women in Fairfield Country?

Lauren: I think that living in Connecticut provides a certain laid back lifestyle in terms of fashion that I love…however, people do dress very well in Fairfield County, even simply going to a barre or yoga class. We wanted to provide women with clothes that were comfortable, can be worn everyday, and that can be dressed up for lunch with friends or for the office, or worn over your workout clothes to go to the gym. We think that we succeeded in this, and can’t wait to continue reaching more women who will love our #dsgoods.

Visit Dudley Stephens website to see the cool, cozy line! dudley-stephens.com

Cool Fall Looks for Kids at the Darien Sport Shop

It may still feel like summer, but fall will be here before you know it! Keep your little ones looking sharp for school with a wardrobe update from Darien Sport Shop. Did you know that they stock the hottest brands for boys and girls? Check out their fall trend report below and stop by to see the full selection of on-trend fashions for kids.

Some trend highlights of the back to school season include:

Emoji Accessories –  Emojis and bright colors still rank high with kids. Choose a brightly colored backpack from The North Face, or an adorably patterned backpack or duffel from Iscream! You’ll also find more accessories such as lunch totes, pen and pencil holders and even scented pillows. Girls also love accessories in faux fur, infinity scarves, and initial jewelry to personalize their style.

The Graphic Tee – Girls love to showcase their personality in an adorable graphic tee. Paired with denim or leggings, they can be layered throughout the season. These tees from Chaser will make a statement in the classroom for sure!

Denim – Girls’ denim this Fall season steps it up a notch in new colors, styles and washes. You’ll find a style and fit for every body type and the perfect pair of jeans for every girl. Choose the newest looks from DL1961, Hudson, Tractor, and Joe’s. Chambray shirts mixed with different denim washes make a statement, and the classic denim jacket is the must-have piece of the season for every girl!

Boys’ Active Wear – For boys, the trend is active wear for everyday style. Boys love looks from Nike, The North Face and Under Armour that they can pair together, look cool and go from school to practice any day. The new tech active wear offers comfort, style and support on and off the field. Bright colors give a pop of personality when paired under their favorite hoodie too!

Boys Layered Looks – On dress up days, a great transitional piece is the ¼ zip pullover. They are perfect for heading off to school on a cool morning layered over a button-down or tee. This look from johnnie-O will transition your boys from summer into the upcoming season!

Tech Gadgets – You’ve got to stay on top of the latest gadgets from wireless headphones from Aftershokz, to the fashionable Pearl makeup mirror charger, to the must have Outdoor Tech Buckshot Pro – listen to your favorite tunes while doing your homework or on your way to class. It’s a wireless speaker, flashlight, strobe light, camp light and also a power bank. For outdoor sports, be sure to stay fashionably hydrated all day with a S’well water bottle!

Follow us on FaceBook, Instagram and Twitter at #dariensportshop and our blog at darien.blogspot.com.

7 Necklaces You Can Totally Wear On The Beach

When it’s crazy hot outside, the less you have on, the happier you feel…and that goes for jewelry too. A heavy statement necklace just doesn’t look right with cutoffs and a tank top! Here are five gorgeous neclaces (some from local designers!) that will take you from beach to barbeque! 

Genevieve Lau Buenos Aires Stick Necklace

Lera Jewels Mini Sapphire Oval


Nyla Star Samantha Silver DBY


Visible Interest Moon Bezel Necklace


Mitchells Rose Gold Pave Diamond Triangle


Monica Rich Kosann Rose Gold Petite Anna Locket


Faye Kim Designs Baguette Diamond Bezel Necklace






Darien Sport Shop Model Search


You’ve perfected the art of the selfie, so why not share your glamorous pout with the rest of us! The Darien Sport Shop is conducting a model search for their Fall 2016 advertising campaign and TV commercial and you, your friends, or your family could be Fairfield County’s next top model! No prior modeling or acting experience necessary!

Think you’ve got what it takes? Here’s what they’re looking for:

Families with kids ages 5-13

Groups of women friends

Individual women

Applicants must be available for fittings the week of August 8, and filming in Darien during the week of August 27. Compensation will be in the form of apparel and photos.

Ready to apply? Send photos to gcorrigan@dariensport.com



Green & Tonic Opens Westport Cafe


Everyone wants to eat lighter and healthier in the summer, but no one wants to give up delicious taste. At Green & Tonic you get both. With well-established locations in Greenwich, Cos Cob, Darien, & New Canaan, it’s only natural (pun intended) that the growing chain would select Westport as its next location.

Conveniently located in the heart of Westport’s shopping district at 70 Jesup Road (next to Tiffany & Co., and across from the library), the cafe offers a sunny spot to dine on its plant-based foods, cold-pressed juices, and luscious smoothies. Enjoy breakfast, lunch, and dinner in its chic-casual atmosphere Monday – Friday 7:00am – 7:00pm, Saturday 8:00am – 6:00pm and Sunday 9:00pm – 5:00pm.


“Green & Tonic’s philosophy and products are a great fit for Westport, said Jeffrey Pandolfino, Chief Executive Officer and co-founder, Green & Tonic. “The Westport community has been so supportive and welcoming. They’re health conscious and into eating right and taking care of themselves both mentally and physically, and understanding the role that food plays in that.”


Before Green & Tonic, Jeffrey and Cai Pandolfino started Plum Pure Foods & Catering in Cos Cob, building it into a thriving operation. After selling Plum, the couple opened Green & Tonic in Cos Cob in 2011, eventually adding locations in Greenwich, Darien and New Canaan.


Green & Tonic was founded with a spirited heart and an ambitious goal – to offer the purest, cold pressed juices, delicious superfood smoothies and nutritious, plant-based food that help toward a happier mind, body, and soul, while leading the way for socially-conscious initiatives. Green & Tonic hopes to engage the community in discussions about health and wellness with plans to start hosting “healthy happy hours” this summer, bringing in health professionals to address topics like nutrition, energy healing and massage therapy.


CT Open House Day Invites Residents to Explore All The State Has to Offer

UnknownResidents are invited to explore all the state has to offer at its 12th annual Connecticut Open House Day on June 11! More than 170 attractions across our cosmopolitan cities and charming towns are participating in the event with free admission and special events at select historic and cultural sites, so there’s sure to be something for everyone. Locally, the 1750 Ogden House and Bellarmine Museum of Art in Fairfield, Art at Ives in Danbury, New England Ballet Company in Bridgeport, and the Westport Historical Society are participating.

For a full list of events, click here: CT OPEN HOUSE EVENTS!

Cinco de Mayo at Bodega


The Bodega team is gearin’ up for their annual Cinco de Mayo celebrations taking place in Bodega’s Darien and Fairfield locations. Since 1862 this Mexican military victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla continues to be commemorated in Mexico and throughout the world, further celebrating Mexico’s rich heritage, which includes its vibrant food culture and robust tequila industry.

Join in the festivities at Bodega’s Darien location and enjoy Patron Tequila Specials, chef’s popular Pig Roast, a live performance by PanaMusik, and new this year, a Pop-Up Beer Garden.

The Fairfield location feature’s Bodega’s Food Truck Pop Up, a Sidewalk Margarita Bar that’s “staycation” worthy, Patron Tequila Specials, and Strolling Guitar music.

Let them bring the party to you. Bodega Catering is at the ready with fresh, bold Mexican fare with Chefs Michael Young and Luis Chavez’s global influences and creative flair. Call the Cinco Catering and Food Truck Hotline 203-259–TACO. Gotta work? Book the truck or order up “Bodega” for your corporate functions.

Heritage Square |1700 Post Road | Fairfield, CT | 203.259.2624
980 Post Road |Darien, CT | 203.655.8500
www.bodegatacobar.com | 7 days L-D-BR

Connecticut Staycation Guide!

UnknownSticking around for spring break? The Connecticut Office of Tourism unveiled its new 2016 Official Spring/Summer Connecticut Visitors Guide, an inspirational travel storytelling magazine for planning vacations, getaways and outings in Connecticut.

The new, re-envisioned guides offer seasonal-specific travel experiences designed to inspire visitors to travel to Connecticut multiple times year-round. Each features current travel stories, experiences, events, attractions and destinations. The 2016 Spring/Summer printed guide is available now for free at Welcome Centers throughout Connecticut, by calling 1-888-CTvisit, and through www.CTvisit.com, where consumers can also view the digital edition.

“With this type of experiential storytelling, the new Connecticut visitors guide is revolutionary in state destination marketing,” said Randy Fiveash, director of Connecticut Office of Tourism. “Through these stories, Connecticut destinations come alive and allow prospective travelers to immerse themselves in the place and experience. The reimagined guide better reflects how today’s travelers look for ideas and inspiration.”

The 72-page seasonal guide is ideal for families, couples, groups and individuals interested in discovering or rediscovering Connecticut. Reinforcing Connecticut’s still revolutionary branding, it is filled with colorful images, travel stories, experiences, ideas and information and includes a state map. For additional travel ideas and information, clickable graphics are interspersed throughout the guide so consumers can click to www.CTvisit.com, Connecticut’s official tourism website.

The inspirational guide is organized by features such as “Six Summer Escapes,” “Lobster 24/7” and “If Walls Could Talk”; by departments including “Live from CT,” “Make a Splash” and “License to Thrill”; and by Connecticut’s five tourism regions.

The Best Dining Guide Ever

Entrée Nous Product Shot jpegPart dining guide, part passport to Fairfield County’s best restaurants, Entrée Nous is a gift that gives back. Entrée Nous is both a stunning hardcover book featuring beautiful photos and delicious descriptions of a dozen of the areas best restaurants (Southport’s Artisan, The Spread in SoNo, Westport’s Kawa Ni, and The Goose in Fairfield among them) and a passport for a free entrée when dining out with a companion at them.

This is how it works – purchase your copy of Entrée Nous HERE for $58.00, make a reservation at any of the participating restaurants, bring your copy of Entrée Nous with you when you dine out, and present it to your server to receive your official stamp and complimentary entrée. It’s as simple as that. Featured restaurants are located throughout Fairfield County, from Greenwich to Ridgefield, and vary from casual to sophisticated dining.

A welcome gift for newcomers and foodies alike, Entrée Nous is the gift that keeps on giving!



Graffitication: Where Fashion and Art Collide


Sometimes you find art…and sometimes art comes to you. That’s what happened a few weeks ago when Darien-based artist Billi Kid reached out to introduce his line of graffiti art inspired t-shirts for men and women. The line of urban streetwear, aptly named Graffitication, features brightly colored contemporary art on black tees and tanks. They’re fun, they’re cheeky, and they are going to give your wardrobe a little much-needed urban edge.

Billi graciously spent a bit of time answering our questions about art, Andy Warhol, and being an urban artist in the manicured environs of Fairfield County.

Fairfieldista: What’s your background as an artist?

Billi: I have been a life long doodler, art enthusiast and design junkie. I spent my high school years tinkering with a camera and later attended the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles to focus on Illustration. Parsons, New York was my next stop and studied communication design there. I had originally thought I would go back to LA, but fell in love with NYC and made it my home before moving to Darien with my young family.

Fairfieldista: You worked with several iconic brands – did those experiences shape the way you approach art today?

Billi: Absolutely, I have over 20 years behind me working as a creative for companies such as Condé Nast, Time Warner and the Omnicom Group. When I later transitioned to become a contemporary urban artist and curator, those brand experiences had allowed me to easily navigate and exploit opportunities with iconic companies such as the NBA, Gatorade, Sprite and Barneys New York, to name a few. Introducing these great American brands to the world of urban art has been pure JOY.

Fairfieldista: Who or what has been the greatest influence on your way of thinking?

Billi: Hands down, Andy Warhol has been my biggest influence. A high-art demigod, filmmaker, consummate businessman and visionary, he had predicted our obsession with fame, pop culture and CASH long before social media had given rise to our 15 minutes of fame—and then some. If he had survived to witness how Reality Television had materialized his vision of the future, he would be KING or QUEEN. Witness to a new world order, where actors, musicians, politicians, preachers and plain folk are all center stage in their very own movie. Lights, camera, ACTION!

Fairfieldista: How has technology changed the way you approach art?

Billi: Not much at all. Don’t get me wrong, I love my computers like everyone else (and use them often), but it is only a tool. A plain, old pencil on steroids. Give Michelangelo a chisel and he creates a masterpiece, give the rest of us that same chisel and we end up with a block of marble.

Fairfieldista: When did you launch Graffitication? Why did you decide to start the company?

Billi: I launched Graffitication (an urban apparel brand) a few months ago to further my creative passion and to continue to explore urban culture and its influence on contemporary art. Like any other fine art series or set of prints, my brand will only create limited edition street-wear. All products are created by honest to goodness street veterans who fervently believe that authenticity is central to their culture. Real street artists developing real street-wear. All of the talent featured on my website, and those currently developing future products for the brand, have at one time or another, appeared in past exhibitions and events I had conceived and produced. All of the artists are well known in their own right and have dedicated followers and supporters that continually encourage them to keep creating and improving their respective skills. All of the artists have been hand picked and, in my opinion, represent some of the best talent this side of the Mississippi. I provide links to each and every artist to further encourage patronage and exploration by those visiting my website.

Fairfieldista: How do you select artists to collaborate with on designs?

Billi: All of the artists featured are my family. Urban brothers and sisters, who have been a part of my development for the past 6 years. A community of passionate artists, who are dedicated to the process, as well as the product. Respected street junkies who do it for love rather than glory.

Fairfieldista: Your work has a very urban aesthetic, has suburban life had an influence on you and your work?

Billi: My wife and I moved to Darien from the city 18 years ago in order raise our family in a wholesome community—with a public school district that is second to none. Our son, who has recently started his last year at Georgia Tech will be moving to Manhattan in 2016. Our daughter has just began 9th grade at Darien High School. GULP! My wife and I are both city KIDS and hope to move back once our tour of duty is “fait accompli”. Suburban life has been a blessing and our family has benefited from being here, no doubt. But, our influences are borne of the concrete jungle.

Fairfieldista: What currently fascinates you and how is that feeding into your art?

Billi: The melting of cultures, races, politics, religions, visual arts and music are a constant fascination to me. The ever shrinking world and the digital age that allows me the luxury of communication and interaction with like-minded artists from all over this planet is a constant blessing. I am ever hopeful that we will recognize and respect our differences and feel that love will always save the day.

Fairfieldista: Anything else you’d like readers to know about you?

Billi: In addition to Graffitication, I am also in collaboration with the NBA in the development of two other brands, Art of Basketball (www.aobnba.com) and In the Paint (www.itpwade.com). Bill Fickett, my partner in crime, and I are looking to fold these two properties into what will soon become the NBALAB, a licensing research a development wing