Daring? Do

Toni Toomey turns heads with bold threads.

Photograph by Luigi Ciuffetelli

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Daringa Do
Toni Toomey turns heads with bold threads.

There are three things a woman should do after meeting Toni Toomey. The order is clutch.

First, after being treated to her easy laugh, whisk her to happy hour for some much needed after-work catharsis. Second, pray she falls into an apple martini slumber so that you may, third, get your hands on her eclectic threads.

“Some people just have an eye for that extra thing that pulls everything together,” Toomey says. The funny thing is, her self-deprecating nature doesn’t allow her to see that she indeed has the eye.

Or the hair-a peachy strawberry blonde with hints of red that Clairol should purchase stock in.

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Add a slim figure, a face graced with a Catherine Keener likeness and an aura better suited for the ’70s, and you’ve got a woman who blithely ignores fashion norms.

“I never really realize how people perceive me,” she says. “I walk around in Wilmington and people are like, “Oh my god!” I can’t even go to the grocery store without stares.”

True, she certainly doesn’t channel Kate Spade. She’s more G.I. Jane meets Sheryl Crowe backstage at an Aerosmith concert.

Dressed in a bright citrus camisole, midriff-baring bolero jacket and a long denim camouflage skirt accented with a punk-rock studded belt, the stares are warranted: She may be the most daring fashionista in the state.

The Corum skull watch collides with the elegant diamond ring, but it works. The music industry influences Toomey’s style, from Steven Tyler (her fashion icon) to the hip-hop industry. “I just love the language, the sunglasses, the bling.

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“I’m definitely of the rock ‘n’ roll school,” she says. “It’s hard for me to get dressed knowing I have to be conservative. I fumble.”

As a stylist at Pasca Salon, Toomey bucks conservative from 9 to 5. She and her dream team have styled shoots for Vogue Brasil,

Ocean Drive

and for the band Limp Bizkit. Everywhere she goes, she brings back some local flavor to shock her wardrobe. Her favorite fashion hot-spot is sensual Ibiza. “People pride themselves on looking good there,” she says. “Everyone is so chic and sexy.”

At home, she frequents Studio 11, Angel Shack, South Moon Under and Quiet Storm.

Low maintenance, Toomey says she needs 20 minutes with MAC makeup before she’s good to go. “I get dressed with other girls, and I wonder, “What can they possibly be doing in there?'” she says.

Besides a wicked sense of fashion, Toomey has another attractive quality-the ability to keep her lips sealed.

“My job involves a lot of drama and egos. It’s performance art at its best,” she says with a curvy grin. “You’re dealing with something very personal, so clients just let loose. I know all of Wilmington‘s secrets.”

One secret she will confess: “I’m not unapproachable,” she says. “Everyone has a story. It can make you laugh, it can make you cry. But I always choose to make someone laugh. And to make me laugh, too.”

-Amy Kates

Mike and Megan Papay

Boxer Rebellion
Delaware natives take men’s underwear back to basics.

At $76 a pair, these ain’t your granddaddy’s boxers. At least you hope not. Birds Outstanding Boxer Shorts, however, are faithful repros of yesteryear’s custom boxers.

And Delaware natives Mike and Megan Papay are hoping the high-end drawers will appeal to the anti-tighty-whities set.

“We want to produce the best fitting boxer in the world,” says Megan, a 1994 graduate of Sanford School.

Since late last year, the couple has hawked their über underbritches on the Internet (www.birdsboxers.com)

and at Studio 11 in Wilmington. The “boxers for gentlemen” are available in classic fit and custom. Both sport the company’s trademark quail logo (Papay’s nickname for her husband is “Bird”), and they’re packaged in a stylish button-down pouch.

The classic fit now comes in white, since folks found the original pink too preppy. The tailored fit, available only in blue, features a curved yoke and a three-button closure with no elastic in the waistband. They are fashioned from soft-but-sturdy sea island cotton, a material usually reserved for men’s dress shirts.

“Mike’s grandfather had all of his underwear custom made,” says Papay. “The blue boxers are the remake of his grandfather’s underwear.”

Birds Boxers includes a pledge to “eliminate the bunching, elastic impressions from a tight waistband, blowouts in the man-zone (holes in the seat), and embarrassing shifting issues that include the dreaded fly ‘pop-outs.'”

The company stops short of issuing a no-wedgie guarantee.

Drew Ostroski

Olga Ganoudis’ “Lost” jewelry can be found exclusively on the Web. Her other designs are available at her Wilmington studio.
Photograph of Olga by Luigi Ciuffetelli
Photograph of Necklace by Maria Giacchino

Where She’s Meant to Be
Designer finds ‘Lost.’ A new line of jewelry is born.

Jewelry designer Olga Ganoudis was obsessed with the TV show ‘Lost,’ which she recorded to watch in her

Trolley Square

studio. “It was a fun diversion,” says Ganoudis.

Then she started thinking. If she were on an uncharted island, what would she design and what materials would she use” “Let’s face it, after three weeks on the island, you wouldn’t just stare out into space. How would you get busy? What would you do?”

Inspired by the show’s weird symbols and numerology, she made a funky necklace. At lunch with friend Maria Giacchino in New York, Ganoudis confessed her passion for the show. Turns out Giacchino’s brother, Michael, writes the music for the program. Ganoudis made him a bracelet, which caught the eye of an ABC exec.

As a result, Ganoudis’ designs are now available at ABC’s online store. The items are not worn by actors on the show, she explains. Instead, they are fan mementos. A strand of knotted black and brown leather, for instance, holds an oxidized sterling silver “numbers” pendant. She has created a total of four necklaces and a bracelet, ranging from $79.95 to $289.95.

“I found all this metal from the plane-and all these tools,” Ganoudis says of her material choice. And the leather” “It’s kind of like the trees- heavy vines.”

Ganoudis recently made VIP party favors for the preview of Michael Giacchino’s symphony, inspired by “Lost,” which in September debuted in Honolulu. Ganoudis was there.

The “Lost” jewelry is only available on the ABC website, but Ganoudis’ other designs are featured at her studio on

North Scott Street

. Her most recent work includes cuff bracelets featuring raw-looking stones and textured metals. “I’m really into earthy stuff right now.” She’s also working on jewelry bearing the logo of the Dharma initiative, a research project that was on the “Lost” survivors’ island before they arrived.

“Everything has flowed the way it’s meant to flow,” she says. “It’s been an adventure.” -Pam George

Olive That Oil
A Wilmington company finds a not-so-secret beauty ingredient.

Don’t hate Sophia Loren because she’s beautiful. Steal her secret: extra virgin olive oil.

The oil is rich in vitamin E, which reduces wrinkles and moisturizes skin. But until now, no one has used it in upscale moisturizing products. A local company has cornered the market.

Wilmington-based Olevano Oil Company offers a line of creams, soaps, shampoos and face tonics that contain extra virgin olive oil that’s been cold-pressed in Olevano, the Campania region of Italy. Compared to products from Lancéme, Clinique and Estée Lauder, Olevano’s offerings are reasonably priced.

We tested Olevano’s creams and soaps. Here’s what we found:

The hand cream works well on dry and chapped skin. Hands appear younger after about a week of daily use. $20 a jar

The soaps are good. You’ll still need to moisturize after bathing, though these all-natural bars are far richer than store-bought brands. Several scents, including aloe, baby powder and lemongrass, are available. Clients can order custom scents. The soap retains natural glycerin, which is typically removed in commercial soap making. The soap is hand poured into old-fashioned wooden molds. $20 for five bars

Olevano wrinkle and eye contour cream is the top pick. Applying small amounts to delicate areas diminishes the appearance of wrinkles. The cream is also light enough to wear under make-up. Use it at bedtime to calm morning puffiness. $50 a jar

Olevano, which also produces shower gel ($18), night cream ($40), face cleansing milk ($20) and face tonic ($20), is an international family affair. Owners Tom Delle Donne and Al Fierro formed the company in 2003 with their Olevanese cousins, who oversee operations in Italy. The cosmetic line, which debuted last year in Italy, is available online at www.thefinestoliveoil.com.

-Maria Hess

The New Original
Scandinavian Trollbeads charm Delaware‘s collectors.

You needn’t look twice to see Trollbeads are nothing like your mother’s charm bracelet. Yes, you can buy charms-known as beads-in sterling silver and 18-karat gold. Yes, you can get a mermaid to symbolize your love of the ocean or an Aztec design to remind you of your Mexico trip.

But you can also get glass beads, amber beads and pearls. Unlike traditional charms, the beads are interchangeable, and you not only pick the style of bracelet or necklace, but you also pick the clasps.

The concept originated in 1976 in Scandinavia, but it wasn’t until 2004 that creator Lund Trading brought the idea to the United States. “I know people in America think -nasty, nasty,- but the troll is a sign of good luck,” says Christina Ballas, of Christina’s Unique Accessories in North Wilmington.

Trolls have apparently been lucky for Lund. The beads are so popular that other companies are copying. Unlike the imitators’ products, the Trollbeads bracelet is considered universal, meaning it can accommodate other manufacturers’ beads.

The troll has also been lucky for Christina’s. “I’ve become a destination store,” says Ballas, who has begun offering the more exclusive gold beads to distinguish the store from other area Trollbeads vendors.

Christina’s carries most of the designs. New beads are released quarterly. Some are retired. Some are reintroduced to the marketplace.

The price of silver beads ranges from $19 to about $70, with a gemstone. Gold accessories are more expensive. A clasp alone is $170, and a 15-inch necklace runs $1,200. At Christina’s, you can sit at the counter and mix and match. “It’s a great fun product.”

Look for Trollbeads at other vendors such as The Jewelry Exchange in Lewes.

-Pam George

Dichotomy’s diverse offerings include various styles of decorative candles.

One for All
Cooking, clothing and skin care are the focus of an eclectic new shop.

According to one definition, “dichotomy” refers to something with seemingly contradictory qualities. Dichotomy, a new store at State and Union streets in

Kennett Square

, appears to fit the definition.

The shop offers kitchen accessories, women’s clothing, handbags and gifts. Yet the diverse items share a commonality: They reflect owner Sally Lewis? interests.

“I really enjoy cooking, so that is how we came up with cooking,” says Lewis, of Wilmington. “Then I went to a vendor show and saw a clothing line I really liked.”

Kitchen items include products by Zyliss, a Swiss brand. Apparel is by Shop Therapy, which is known for its modern twist on hippie apparel. Colorful hobo bags are among the most popular items. The average bag price is $30.

Dichotomy also features Arbonne skin care products from Switzerland. “I’ve used it myself,” Lewis says. “It’s a very good top-of-the-line skin line.”

Lewis, who worked in retail in her 20s, decided to open Dichotomy when the food-gift boutique she planned with a friend fell through. “I decided to go ahead with the shop,? she says.

Because she?d previously helped her husband in his real estate business, she was familiar with downtown

Kennett Square

. “Kennett is an up-and-coming area,” she says. “We wanted to get in on the ground floor as early as possible, even though a lot of the revitalization is already happening.”

Hours are noon to 6 p.m., Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, subject to change. To be safe, call first: (610) 444-2800.

-Pam George

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