At Chezelle of Cross Keys, owner Patti Puller uses her great eye and sense of style to outfit plus-size women in the latest gorgeous gear, from casual clothes to evening wear. At Chezelle, Puller carries a variety of clothing in sizes 14 to 24, as well as accessories, from jewelry to handbags, and gift items.
Plus, Chezelle is a shop with a mission. “We also carry fair trade designers that help developing countries, paying them fair wages for their talent,” says Puller. Quality fashion with a humanitarian edge.
Here, Puller shares the story behind how she got started at Chezelle and what’s happening right now in the shop:
How did you get started at Chezelle?
I started in 1992 as the manager for Linda and Doug Lamm, who were the original owners of the store. I worked as their manager until 1996, when Linda asked if I wanted to buy the store. She told me if I didn’t buy it, I would be out of a job since she would close it. I think she did that so I would buy it!
So, on October 1, 1996, I signed the legal papers to buy Chezelle.
What is your favorite thing in the shop right now?
Jewelry is in such change right now. We carry metal necklaces and chains that are basic and novel. And there’s newness in the bead necklaces with coins, woven macrame in bright colors and woods in different shapes and colors to enhance your outfits.
What is your go-to holiday gift recommendation?
In preparation for the holiday season, I love accessories. Scarves and jewelry are the ones I have the most fun buying. I love color and texture – I think that shows when you come into the store.
What style icon or celebrity could you imagine shopping at Chezelle?
Our style icons would be Oprah Winfrey, Queen Latifah and Melissa McCarthy.
What’s new and exciting at Chezelle? Any trends for this fall and winter?
It’s sweater weather! Cashmere and cotton toppers are in great colors and are just enough over your shoulders to keep you toasty.
Chezelle is located in the Village of Cross Keys, at 22 Village Square in Baltimore.
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Since it’s opening in 1970, the chicest Baltimore women of all ages have flocked to Jones and Jones for everything from accessories and day dresses to black tie attire.
Owner Florence Sokol has been with the shop for 25 years – but she has been a fan of cutting edge fashion for longer. She and her team put their expertise to work, outfitting their customers in clothing that’s both fashion-forward and accessible.
Here, Sokol shares the story behind Jones and Jones, plus what she loves most in the store now – including what’s hot for the holiday season:
How did you get involved with Jones and Jones?
The original owner of Jones and Jones, Debbie Jones, was my college roommate. When she left the store, her partner, Sally Jones was seeking a manager so they called me to see if I would be interested in the position.
With my love of fashion and people, I graciously accepted the position 25 years ago. After ten years as manager, Sally Jones wanted to retire and I decided to buy the store from her.
What is your favorite item in the store right now?
My favorite item in the store right now is the line of Italian silk scarves with scenic prints that you only see when you open them up. When folded or scrunched on your neck, you see a beautiful pattern in gorgeous prints.
My favorite print is the Brooklyn Bridge at night.
What is your go-to recommendation for holiday gift?
My go to gift is a box set we created with a small cross body bag in vibrant colors paired back to a multicolored scarf and gloves. All three paired retails for under $125.
What style icon or celebrity could you imagine shopping at Jones and Jones?
Because we have such a cross-over customer with age, I would have to name both Jessica Alba for her clean, casual urban style and Helen Mirren for her classic, sophisticated and ladylike dresses for all occasions.
What’s new and exciting at Jones & Jones? Any great trends for fall/winter?
New and exciting at Jones and Jones this season has been our daily deliveries of tops, which everyone is looking for this time of year. From blouses to sweaters to knits, we have the biggest variety for all shapes and sizes in lots of color variations and patterns.
Our favorite trend this season has been the leather and fur trim placements on tops, jackets, cardigans, capes, dresses and pants.
Jones & Jones is located at 84 Village Square in the Village of Cross Keys in Baltimore. For more information, visit www.jonesandjones1970.com.
Since 1965, family-owned Octavia II has been dressing the women of Baltimore in fashions that are both sophisticated and distinguished. Run by Betsy Wendell, the granddaughter-in-law of the boutique’s founder, Octavia II has earned a reputation as a go-to stop for women with impeccable taste, who appreciate top-notch service.
In addition to having a great eye, Wendell is a strong advocate for Baltimore’s local fashion retail community. “If you don’t support the local stores, you can’t expect to get the best designers or looks,” she says. “If you buy online or while on vacation and don’t support the locals, slowly, the availability will dry up. My best customers have always told me, ‘We made it in Baltimore, we are going to spend it in Baltimore.'”
Here, Wendell dishes on the story behind Octavia II and what’s hot in the store this season:
How did you get started at Octavia II?
Octavia is a family business opened by my grandmother-in-law, Octavia Dugan. Octavia was friends with Jim Rouse, who asked her if she’d like to open a store in this thing called a “mall.” My career in fashion was far less creative in its infancy. Pageants and modeling shoots – I was wearing the clothes, not designing and selling them. Eventually, I found my niche buying the clothes from around the world, hand-picking designs and colors just for my clients – dressing some of Baltimore’s (and beyond’s) most elite fashionistas.
What is your favorite thing in the shop right now?
My favorite items in the shop right now have got to be our incredible selection of jewelry from Gay Boyer, now called Boyer New York. Our “Pebbles and Bam Bam” necklace would make even Barbara Bush proud! Magnetic closures on the necklaces make it so even with our “old eyes,” we can wear fashionable pieces.
What is your go-to holiday gift recommendation?
The best holiday gift is our reversible fur trim rain jacket. It reverses to rainwear and is great for travel. It’s affordable at $1,095. It’s two coats in one and light as a feather.
For something easier on the wallet, I love our Thymes Reed Diffusers in the Frasier Fir scent, which are $65 for the liquid scent bottle, decorative container and reeds. It will last more than just this year and is a favorite gift among our customers – and the proprietors!
What style icon or celebrity could you imagine shopping at Octavia II?
There have been many – but we would never kiss and tell at Octavia! One day, maybe I will write a book…and hopefully my fellow Cross Keys proprietors will contribute their own chapters.
Octavia originally opened her doors to “spread the word of the Lord.” Everyone is a celebrity in that scenario!
What’s new and exciting at Octavia II? Any trends for this fall and winter?
The best trend right now is color, color and more color. Ponchos are ruling the runways of our shows and skinny leggings from Lysse and Not Your Daughters Jeans have the market covered this year. Everyone is buying into it. It has taken decades for the skinny pant to return and I’m planning on it staying for a while. Get on the wagon.
Octavia II is located at 94 Village Square in the Village at Cross Keys in Baltimore. For more information, visit the Octavia II Facebook page or call 410-323-3066.
For several generations, The Pied Piper has been the go-to shop for classic, well-made clothing, accessories and gifts for Baltimore’s youngest residents. From lovely layettes to little girls’ first party dresses and boys’ first blue blazers, The Pied Piper carries the best – and the cutest – brands and styles.
Run by Cookie Schneider, the energetic daughter of the store’s founder Kathryn DeVincentis, The Pied Piper has been a Baltimore mainstay since 1965. Here, Schneider shares some of the story behind the shop, what’s popular right now and what’s new and exciting this season:
How did you get started at Pied Piper?
My mother, Kathryn DeVincentis, she became affectionately known as Mrs. D, started this shop in 1965 on Wyndhurst Avenue and we’ve been in Cross Keys since 1995.
Out of all the kids in the family, I was the one who took an interest in the business. I grew up working in the business as a kid – tagging along to New York for all the buying trips. I became full-time when my kids started school full time, around 1990.
What is your favorite item in the shop right now?
How am I going to pick one thing? I pick everything by hand and only pick the things I love and my customers will love. It’s very difficult to pick my favorite but I have a few things that are always go-tos for certain ages.
For the babies, it’s the beautiful little chenille sweater, hat and blanket sets. The boys’ have beautiful pewter teddy bear buttons and the girls’ have organza treatments. We sell them over and over because they’re so beautiful and luxurious for newborn babies.
And the chunky knit roll neck sweaters, special ordered with initials knitted into the sweaters – our letter sweaters. They are so cute. They come in great colors and we do a contrasting color for the first letter of the child’s name. That’s just adorable.
What is your go-to holiday gift recommendation?
The quintessential Christmas outfits – the beautiful classics that are timeless – are the plaids and embroidered dresses, pants for boys, smocked dresses for girls.
We also carry the classic older toys that grandparents and parents love to give because they’re reminiscent of when they were growing up: old fashioned block sets, scooter cars and fire trucks from a wonderful company that makes retro toys. We carry a lot of that look.
People love to give PJs for Christmas. We carry a line called “Books To Bed.” They come in prints with a matching story book – a beautifully leather-bound book. They come in Babar, Curious George, Fancy Nancy, Pinkalicious, the Twelve Days of Christmas. The print matches the book.
Which style icon or celebrity kid could you imagine shopping at Pied Piper?
Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck’s kids, Violet, Seraphina and Samuel. They have a traditional look with contemporary flair. Especially for our younger looks – babies up through girls’ size seven. For the bigger girls, it’s about what is latest in contemporary fashion but very clean and age-appropriate.
What’s new and exciting at Pied Piper? Any trends for this fall and winter?
My mom taught me very early on never to stand still – we keep up with the times and keep current. But there’s always the desire for the clean, classic look. I look for younger designers making contemporary looks that are rooted in a classic, traditional style.
Recently, we’ve expanded our gifts and toy selection and we’re starting to bring in a little footwear. I have these adorable little cap-toe shoes, in sparkly gold and pink for the holidays. They’re so cute, like little ballet flats with the elastic trim around the top of the shoe with a bow. They even come in baby sizes.
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When Roseann and Robert Glick opened the Village Square Café in 2008, they had a specific vision in mind. They wanted to create a place where everyone felt welcome, from start to finish – like the patrons of the TV show bar “Cheers,” where “everybody knows your name.”
Six years later, they’ve done just that, establishing themselves as a reliable spot for good, homemade food and friendly, attentive service. Here, Roseann Glick shares some of the story behind the café:
How did you get started at the restaurant?
It was clear that there was a need at the Village of Cross Keys for a casual, quick service café to serve shoppers, retail workers, office workers, village residents and the many others who frequent the village. We opened six years ago with the hope of not only serving these customers but also becoming a welcoming neighborhood destination for those in the surrounding communities, including Roland Park, Evergreen, Mount Washington, Hampden and Guilford.
What is your favorite item on the menu at Village Square Café?
That’s a tough one! I can tell you a few of our most popular items. First and foremost is our turkey club, made with house-roasted sliced turkey breast. We roast two whole turkeys each day.
Our made-to-order half-pound burgers and our Reuben sandwich are probably tied for second place.
We also serve breakfast all day, seven days a week (including nights, on the three evenings we’re open for dinner).
Last, but certainly not least, we make all of our yummy soups from scratch and offer two varieties daily. They are very popular as well – especially this time of year!
What holiday meals or plans would you recommend for your diners?
Since the holiday season tends to be a busy time of year for most, with gift shopping and extra social commitments, the Village Square Café is the perfect place to stop in for a homemade meal instead of taking the time to cook at home. We are open seven days a week (7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.) and three evenings a week (Thursday, Friday and Saturday until 8 p.m.)
Just so we can get a sense of the vibe of the cafe, who is someone who we would know who you could see dining at your cafe?
We’re not big celebrity followers, but I Googled “laid back celebrities” to get some ideas. One article included Tom Hanks among their nicest and most laid back celebs. Since one of the things we pride ourselves on is not being fussy and pretentious, I thought, yes, I could see Tom Hanks hanging out at our café.
What’s new and exciting at Village Square Cafe?
We’re not the kind of place that is always offering something “new and exciting.” We are the kind of place that folks can count on for a good, freshly prepared, made-to-order meal, always served with a warm welcome.
And we feature live music every Saturday evening from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., showcasing a variety of talented local musicians.
Village Square Café
66 Village Square
Village of Cross Keys
Baltimore, MD 21210