desperado with shoes &… Celebrates 20 Years!!! October 7-9

Image of Johnny Was clothing.It’s hard to believe what started out as a western lifestyle store in the heart of Portland’s historic Pearl District 20 years ago has morphed into one of Bend’s best boutique shopping experiences. Desperado with our new footwear and accessory store Shoes &… is pulling out all the stops to celebrate our 20th Anniversary!!! Do not miss this extraordinary event from Friday, October 7th through Sunday, October 9th – same weekend as BendFilm. We will be featuring Trunk Shows from every line of Johnny Was. No kidding – we’ll have some 300 garments from Johnny Was, Biya, JWLA, Pete & Greta, and 4Love & Liberty. Our dear friend and JW expert, Erin Honaker, will be here from LA to help women find that perfect treasure. All garments will be available for special order with delivery before the holidays!Image of Liberty Black boots.
And that’s not all… we’re also flying in Greg Neighbors from Liberty Black Boots for a Trunk Show experience like none other. We’ll have enough boots to seriously overload your wish list. These boots have their roots in traditional Mexican craftsmanship with some 200 steps to create an authentic and well made boot you’ll cherish and wear for years to come!

Image of Doc Ryan & Wychus Creek Band
And of course it wouldn’t be a desperado party without lots of food, libations, festivities, and giveaways! Friday night come for our kickoff party featuring the Americana sound of Doc Ryan & Wychus Creek Band from 6:00-7:30. Whisky tasting from Central Oregon micro-distiller Cascade Alchemy with bottles of their fabulous line of libations available for sale. These signature spirits have become a premier micro-distilled alcohol in the Northwest and include tempting varieties like vodkas infused with chai tea, apple pie, and hot peppers. Bourbon and gin will also be available for your tasting pleasure & purchase.

Festivities & Trunk Shows continue all weekend!!!
Friday, 9/7 – 10:00am-8:00 pm
Saturday, 9/8 – 10:00am-8:00pm
Sunday, 9/9 – 11:00am-6:00pmGraphic logo of Cascade Alchemy.

Desperado’s Denim Event

Second only to finding the perfect bathing suit is the seemingly never-ending search for the perfect pair of great fitting jeans. The choices are many – from low-rise to high-rise, flair to boot cut, to what makes a great color (better known in denim dialogue as ‘wash’). The good news is you don’t need to be a denim expert you just need to know where to find one. Desperado is about to do that for you.
This Saturday, September 20th from 2:00-6:00pm Desperado Boutique in the Old Mill District will hold its first Denim Event with Dear John Denim Expert Kaitlin Moor. Moor resides in Los Angeles and represents one of America’s leading jean fashion lines: Dear John.

We caught up with Dear John’s Denim Designer David Tak recently and picked his brain on what women can expect to learn at Desperado’s Denim Event.

David, what is the first thing a woman should think about when investing in a pair of jeans? Fit, Fit, Fit…

Is there a style for everyone? Some rules of thumb when it comes to body types and the best style of denim to fit a woman’s figure? No, there really is not a style for everyone as every body type is different…but as a general rule of thumb, most women can’t go wrong with a good mid-rise bootcut or a mid-rise skinny.

What ‘new trends’ or ‘must haves’ are we seeing in jeans this season? A lot of denim brands are bringing back the “Flare Jean” in various ways. Everything from the 70’s Hippie Flare to a more subtle Trouser Flare.

Can the right pair of shoes or heel height make a difference? Definitely yes, depending on the length and the size of the leg opening.

How much do we really need to spend to get a great pair of jeans?  I would say anything in between $80-$120. Anything over that is usually made in Los Angeles and you are paying a “Premium” because of it. The more “expensive” brands are tacking on a lot of costs associated with branding and where it’s made but a lot of those costs really have nothing to do with how good the actual product is.

What advice to you give women when they seek help in finding a new pair of jeans?  Try on as many brands as you can and find a brand that fits you well. Every brand tries to cater to as many body types as possible but you will find some brands really fit you better then others.

Thanks David!

To find your personal best fitting pair of denim visit Desperado Boutique in the Old Mill District. Dear John’s fitting expert will be at the boutique Saturday, Sept 20th from 2:00-6:00pm. Enjoy prizes, special giveaways and signature cocktails from Bendistillery.

To see proper care of your Dear John denim, click HERE

Y Knot Branded

Y Knot Branded founders Kelly Beall & Wendy Weems were featured in the Bend Bulletin June 10, 2014. We were happy to have been involved with their photo shoot!

Sisters-based Y Knot Branded to launch shoe line
By Valerie Smith • The Bulletin / Published Jun 10, 2014 at 12:01AM

Central Oregon sisters Kelly Beall and Wendy Weems saw a void in women’s fashion footwear for shoes that brought together the big city and the Old West.

So the duo, who manage their business from their homes in Sisters and Tumalo, started Y Knot Branded and plan to launch their first shoe collection, Alpha Mare, next month. Weems is the sole investor, and Beall the lead designer.

The company specializes in shoes that are a cross between traditional Western styles and high-end heels. Beall and Weems say Y Knot Branded is, “Where New York and the Old West collide.”

Those in the Alpha Mare collection feature hand-tooled leather similar to designs found on Western saddles. Some shoes are adorned with silver nail heads; some have conchos; and others sport Western buckles.

They have names like Tequila Sunset, a celosia orange-colored shoe, CowDiva and Cowboy’s Sweetheart.

The sisters’ love of horses and ranching inspired the designs, Weems said.

“The trends for women in Western lifestyles are usually frilly skirts and dresses,” Weems said. “They always have to wear cowboy boots. A cross between boots and flip-flops or heels has never been explored before.”

The sisters started the business in January 2013, formally branding their company in January 2014.

The shoes will be showcased at Desperado Boutique in the Old Mill District and High Desert Ranch and Home, both located in Bend. Ten other retail locations across the U.S. and three in Canada will also sell the shoes.

Y Knot Branded sells shoes wholesale, not directly to consumers. However, it does offer online shopping through two retailers, via

Beall, who thought of the initial idea for the products, designed and worked in the Western fashion industry for close to 20 years. Weems, an artist and sculptor, put in the money to make the business happen.

“The other ideas that she’s had were amazing, but this one is just unique, and I couldn’t quit thinking about her drawings,” said Weems. “My husband couldn’t quit thinking about her drawings, and if we didn’t do it, someone else would.”

As far as testing the market to see if the shoes would be successful, they threw that idea out the window.

“No, we went backwards,” Weems said. “We didn’t test the market, but we had an unveiling back in January with women connected to the fashion industry.

“I would think we invited about 20 from our local area, and the response was overwhelming. As far as market research, it was small and local; we felt like it was enough to go ahead and take a chance on it.”

To see the full Bend Bulletin article, click here.

Dear John Denim Care

We all have jeans, but when it comes to denim pants, and proper care, no one says it better than Dear John Denim.

Remember, love your clothes, and they will last a lifetime!
Wash your denim pants inside-out in cold water and, if you prefer, hang to dry.

You can find a full selection of Dear John denim at Desperado!

Central Oregon Sisters Launch New Shoe Line, Debuts at Desperado

Central Oregon sisters, Kelly Beall and Wendy Weems never dreamed of being shoe designers. As little girls growing up in the small farming community of Jefferson, Oregon between Salem and Albany, fashion was not part of their world. “Golly no!” Beall says with a laugh, “There was no fashion in our house. We were either barefoot or wearing cowboy boots.” That was then and this is now. Five years ago Wendy moved to Central Oregon after nearly 20 years in the South. Kelly arrived a year later from Texas. “Oregon is home. We’re proud of where we come from and where we are now”, says Beall.

Beall and Weems are also proud of their new joint venture. Weems says, “Kelly always carried a sketch book full of shoes she had drawn and I kept telling her I want to wear those shoes.” One night Weems says she had an epiphany. “I kept having what I call ‘God-Winks’ telling me this is what we needed to do, so I woke up and called my sister and said come over here and let’s do business,” recalls Weems. Within days Beall and Weems formed a business partnership and began developing Y Knot Branded footwear.

Weems says, “Kelly is the designer and I’m the venture capitalist.” But they come from a family of artists and both lend a hand to design and the finished product. Beall counters, “Wendy will look one of our sample shoes and instantly see that a nail head is one-one-hundredth of an inch out of place. She catches every detail. We make an incredible team” Beall says they began creating what they wanted in footwear, but couldn’t find in stores. “I love my western heritage, but you can’t wear cowboy boots with every outfit.” Beall and Weems find inspiration in everything from a favorite pair of old chaps to a childhood saddle. Even the name ‘Y Knot Branded’ comes from Beall’s registered Oregon horse brand. This spring ‘Y Knot Branded’ launches its first line of footwear. The women’s collection is an array of high heeled and platform sandals and shoes in 15 western influenced styles.

“It feels surreal,” Beall says, “We’ve been a great team and our hard work is paying off.” Y Knot Branded shoes will be in at least 12 stores across the US and Canada this June. But Central Oregon gets a sneak peak this weekend. Beall and Weems will unveil their new line of Y Knot Branded shoes at Desperado in the Old Mill District. This special Trunk Show Event features Y Knot Branded shoes and Old Gringo Boots beginning Friday, May 9 through Sunday, May 11th . Beall says, “We still feel like barn kids, and now we’re barn kids with big dreams.”

Beall and Weems will be at Desperado throughout the trunk show with their new Y Knot Branded collection. For more information call (541) 749-9980.

Y Knot Brand Shoes

Religious and Spiritual Themes in Fashion

For centuries, spiritual symbols and themes have inspired the creation and display of art. So it comes as no surprise to us at Desperado Boutique in Bend Oregon’s Old Mill District, that many of these symbols have crossed over into today’s fashion world.

“Symbols of one’s spiritual beliefs have stood the test of time throughout the world and within the art community,” says Joanne Sunnarborg, owner of Desperado. “Now the fashion world is paying homage to these very symbols.”

Today, from Madison Avenue to the Old Mill District, it’s common to find both clothing and accessories embellished with symbols such as crosses, angel wings, rosaries, the depiction of saints, and the trendy-though-spiritual peace sign.

And while this ultimate display of wearing one’s heart on her sleeve may transcend certain styles, Sunnarborg sees it as more a tradition within the Western style of clothing.

“Because the Western lifestyle is so eclectic, it often incorporates elements of Mexican, Spanish and Native American cultures,” she said. “These cultures are steeped in spiritual and religious tradition, and that’s often depicted within their clothing and accessories. Fashions today allow people to express themselves in many different ways,” she said. “This gives people the ability to reflect their own personal beliefs in a way that’s both attractive and artistic. Many of these symbols have meanings that are universal within specific religious circles, but often people find their own, more personal meanings through the display of these symbols.”

Stop by Desperado in the Old Mill District, or their online store and see their collection of clothing and accessories that fit your fashion and spiritual style.

Magic Market Week in Vegas

On February 17th (5 AM to be precise) Joanne, Haleigh and Rebecca (that’s me) embarked on most every woman’s dream – attending the largest fashion convention in the world – better known as Magic Market Week in Las Vegas.

In a nutshell, for more than a decade, Magic Market Week has brought fashion designers and boutique retailers from around the world together. It now fills 5 Vegas convention halls and is the premiere event that shapes fashion for the upcoming year.

Wow!!!  Right??? For the record…Joanne has attended this event practically since its inception; Haleigh has been in the world of fashion practically since her conception; and I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for the last 12 years, wearing mostly sweatpants and messy ponytails. Thank God for my Desperado ‘work life’ intervention!

Fueled by PowerBars, instant coffee and Emergen-C, we hit the strip running. Our mission was to visit all our major designers and to scour the endless rows of 10×12 booths. We were in search of those up-and-coming fashion designers to add to our Desperado spring, summer, fall & winter collections.

I can assure you, it’s going to be a great year at Desperado Boutique! The trends are awesome and fit really well with our broadening clothing lines. There will be lots of beautiful embroidery, soft knits, and great denim with less emphasis on bling and more on fit in really cool colors. Dresses will flatter every figure. There will be jackets in spectacular faux leather and fur.
Desperado will also be debuting a much larger footwear department with the addition of great new lines including OG by Old Gringo and Steve Madden’s new Freebird collection. My wish list is long!

Rebecca, Joanne & Haleigh with Old Gringo Rep. Michael Hawkins

The Magic Market Week days were also long. Joanne’s bracelet that monitors everything from her heart rate to sleeping patterns clocked us at walking 9 miles of convention floor in a single day. All of us were in cowboy boots! Mine, brand new and while that wasn’t my smartest packing item, it is a testament to Old Gringo- I survived. Besides we all looked good.

I could likely go on forever with tales from Vegas, but you know the saying “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas”.  So I’ll leave you with a few final thoughts:

Biggest Tip: Every garment needs to be touched to know quality. And we know Joanne knows quality.

Joann at Ariat Booth, quality control is important

Biggest Triumph: Booking Johnny Was as a Trunk Show for our 18th Anniversary Celebration this fall.

Biggest Smile: Watching 4 of the original Commodores do ‘synchronize dance’ the opening night of convention. Shhhhh…Haleigh had to Google them (she’s from the younger set). Joanne and I knew all their songs (what does that tell you?).

Biggest Disappointment: Underwear models really do have perfect bodies – it’s not airbrushing after all.

Biggest Scam: the Oxygen Bar – breathing 20 minutes of blueberry smelling “pure oxygen” doesn’t really perk you up!

Biggest Scam #2: United Airlines offering a $7 voucher after telling you your flight won’t be leaving San Francisco for another 8 hours. $7 buys nothing in an airport!

Biggest Realization: I am grateful for all the Joannes and Haleighs of this world. It’s their relentless pursuit of beautiful and high quality fashion that gives us all the opportunity to feel good about the way we look.

Biggest Accomplishment: That for one week, I too could be a part of bringing to Desperado some of the best fashion the world has to offer.

~Rebecca Meade

Traditional Western

Western Style is defined as a social category of men’s and women’s clothing and lifestyle. Western fashion style is unique to the clothes worn in the 19th-century American West.

It ranges from accurate historical reproductions of pioneer, mountain man, cowboy and vaquero clothing to the stylized garments popularized by singing icons such as Gene Autry and Roy Rogers.

Western wear can be very informal, with a t-shirt and blue jeans forming a basic ensemble, or it may consist of tailored formal garments with western accents. At minimum, western wear generally incorporates a cowboy hat, a leather belt, and cowboy boots.

Western style has evolved through the years, and although primarily sticking to traditional looks, it can also be sassy, a bit flirty or more casual wear. Dresses, overstated jewelry and designer jeans have become more the norm. Most of us here at Desperado have added our own personal flare to the Western look, but in all honesty, you can’t go wrong with denim, leather and lace!

If you love the Western look, or think you want to add some flare to your wardrobe, Desperado is the place for you. Shop online, or come on in next time you’re in Bend at The Old Mill District.

Desperado Decor by Karin Cody

Home decor is an important part of Desperado’s commitment to creating beauty in our lives. Karin Cody is not only a long time client of Desperado Boutique she helps us keep our home decor section looking great. She’s also a wonderful addition to our sales team and is always willing to personally help clients with decorating tips or picking that perfect something for kitchen, bath or bedroom. We wanted to dig a little deeper into the decor style of Karin and share some of her personal collection.
Here are some of her styling tips and decorating philosophy. Desperado Boutique carries an extensive collection of Central Oregon artist, Barbara Slater as well as Wall & Table art by Vintage Sculpture. You can also always find a vast collection of vintage western pieces throughout the store. Enjoy!
Q: Your style is so unique, how old were you when you first discovered your passion for Interior design?
Karin: Well, I actually think it is part of my DNA.  My father was an artist and my mother was very artistic and thus, I came by it naturally.  My childhood home was really cool and…as they say “the nut doesn’t fall from the tree”. 
Q: What are your favorite pieces from Desperado that you have decorated your home with?
Karin: I have quite a few favorite pieces. I just purchased the Indian head from Vintage Sculpture. I have been in love with Vintage Sculpture art since my husband bought me a cigar box with a horse on it for Valentine’s Day a few years ago.
My second favorite piece is a Barbara Slater custom painting of my now deceased dog, Stormy.  I just love that picture of Stormy, as she captured him perfectly.  He was such a love.
I have another painting of Barbara’s of a mare and foal, that I adore as well. I can also add the children’s vintage cowboy boots on the fireplace mantle and the “grateful” sign over the office doorway as pieces I bought at Desperado that add joy to my life.
Q: What inspires you when furnishing/decorating a home?
Karin: Over the years, it does not matter where I have lived….in the suburbs, in the country or in the city, I believe art is what really makes a well decorated home.  In my opinion, art actually makes a house a home and it is even more fascinating when I  meet the artist that makes the piece; then there is a memorable story to it as well. 
I also like to mix in antiques with whatever decorating style, as antiques have such soul and a mystery of their history. I really enjoy repurposing items.  When I lived in Portland, I purchased an old “hotel/motel” bedroom set from a liquidators on NE Grand.  I proceeded to have an artist repaint the pieces and I’m still using one of the pieces in our master bedroom today!  Just a month ago, I was looking for a tiny table and found one on Craigslist for $5.00 and then had my favorite artist, Colleen Brown, of Raven Haven Vintage, paint it with an tipi.
Q: What are some of your next big plans for your property?
Karin: The project that we are working on now is giving our chicken coop a face lift.  A couple years ago a tree fell on the roof, and even though it was still functional, it is time to replace the roof.  While we are at it, we are remodeling it to match our theme with an “old western town” faux front.

Hello Monte!

As many of you know, Desperado owner Joanne Sunnarborg has had a shop dog almost as long as she’s had a shop. Due to old age and some unfortunate health issues, Joann’s best bud Sid left us on 7-18-13.

With a heavy heart and missing the pitter patter of four legs, Joanne took some time to grieve Sid and search for a new friend. Monte (formerly Monroe) joined the Desperado family December 2013.

Monte was referred by one of our amazing clients that works at Curious K9 Boutique in Eugene, Oregon. He is a rescue from Los Angeles, California and is approx 9 years old. He has an amazingly laid back personality and is already attached to Joanne and the Desperado staff.

Monte loves children, and dressing up. Stop by Desperado Boutique and introduce yourself!