I have been gratified to see how many people have fallen in love with Cece's vintage wardrobe. I am often asked how I come up with some of her amazing outfits. The answer is sometimes I invent them whole cloth (no pun intended), and sometimes I cheat.

Call it inspiration: it comes from all over the place: old movies I rent, people I see, clothes I own, clothes I fantasize about owning, vintage clothing sites, art/fashion histories I read.

Then, there are the magazines I devour with religious fervor. Suffice it to say, when VOGUE arrives every month, my family knows to steer clear of me for several hours. If I see something that strikes me as particularly Cece, I tear the picture out, and stick it up on my bulletin board, where it stays until it the edges of the paper start to curl up from the humidity in my garage office. That's my benchmark: if I haven't used it in a book by then, it goes in the trash. After all, another VOGUE is always on its way.

In the opening scene of NOT A GIRL DETECTIVE, Cece is wearing a "Gina Lollabrigida goes beatnik" outfit: cropped toreador pants and a shrunken black turtleneck. The model in the picture has Cece's long, brown hair and Jackie O sunglasses, but I like to think of Cece as covering a bit more of her midriff (she's pushing forty, after all), and wearing a different pair of shoes: the ones in the picture, which I think are by Michael Kors (I ripped it out without taking note of the designer) look like they kill, especially around the base of the big toe, where I myself have suffered blisters on more than one occasion. Also, the outfit is too matchy-matchy for Cece, who not only doesn't have the money for a purse like this one, but wouldn't carry it if she could. It's too serious. Well, maybe she'd wear it lightened up with a flouncy, wraparound Etro sundress, halter-style, mid-calf length, with multicolored bangles from Little India up and down her arms, and huge gold hoops...oh, dear, I want to go shopping...)

In Chapter Six of NOT A GIRL DETECTIVE, Cece and her two best friends, Bridget and Lael, set off on their Nancy Drew-esque road trip to Palm Springs. Bridget is wearing skintight black leather, and looks like the star of a blaxploitation flick; Lael is wearing stained lavender painter's pants and a puffy-sleeved smock; and Cece is wearing a white, lace-up mini-caftan with big, bell sleeves, a white head-scarf, and white-rimmed Jackie O glasses. Once again, she eschews total looks, and in my mind, would be carrying a pair of lace-up Greek sandals, natural leather, and a vintage Pucci beach bag, wildly colored and patterned. Cece has very short nails (she's a biter), so they are never manicured, but her toes are impeccable.
Fuschia. No, orange. Bright orange.

In Chapter 12 of NOT A GIRL DETECTIVE, Cece takes a walk up to Eurotrash enclave Sunset Plaza to visit her favorite bookstore, Book Soup. Her outfit is by Prada--purchased on sale, and a size too small, unfortunately. I describe it as "Andalusian retro, with hair pulled back into a bun, an off-the-shoulder blouse, and a matching silk chiffon skirt with tiered ruffles." Cece wears the beige, white and red outfit with beige suede spike-heeled boots, as opposed to the flimsy kitten heels in the picture, which I do not like at all with the outfit. They are sixties space-age where they should be bohemian rhapsody.



Check out www.enokiworld.com under dresses for the teal, ruched Giorgio di Sant Angelo dress from the seventies that Cece spies in the window of On the Bias, Bridget's store, in Chapter 15 of NOT A GIRL DETECTIVE. The writers at enokiworld, who are truly brilliant, describe di Sant Angelo's dressmaking talents thusly: "Like his hand is resting on a cluttered table and his pinky pushes a small stack of paper, which the wind catches and turns into some psycho origami Noah's Ark..."


Talk about inspired. I wish I could've come up with that.






1. Hadley's Fruit Orchards (in Cabazon, off the I-10, 16 miles west of Palm Springs). A beloved pit stop since 1931. These people invented trail mix. You can purchase an unholy variety of dates here-- Medjools, apricot-stuffed Medjools, Deglets, Deglet Noors, Honeys, Khadrawis, Golden Princesses, Barhis, Thoorys, Zahidis-- but order the classic date shake and be done with it.
 
2. Albert Frey's Tramway Oasis Gas Station (2901 North Palm Canyon Drive, Highway 111). Sixties modernist icon, now the Visitor's Center. If you're driving in from Los Angeles, it's the first thing you'll see. The roof is a parabola of steel I-beams and corrugated metal that juts out over what used to be the gas pumps. If the Jetsons were real, this is where they'd fill their tanks.
 
3. Sonny Bono statue (155 South Palm Canyon Drive, Plaza Mercado). Sonny Bono served as mayor of Palm Springs from 1988-1992, and was a driving force in its revitalization. Go pay homage to the man who outlawed bikinis on Palm Canyon Drive. You can even pose for pictures on his lap: the life-sized bronzed likeness sits on the edge of a bubbling fountain, a big smile on his face. And no wonder. Sonny Bono gave the world "I Got You, Babe," and Cher, who headlines many a Top Ten list herself.
 
4. Korakia Pensione (257 South Patencio Road). A Moroccan jewel in the shadow of Mt. San Jacinto, decorated with doors from Afghanistan, couches from Thailand, and showerheads from Mexico. The villa was the hidewaway of Scottish painter Gordon Coutts, who built it in 1924 to recreate a favorite place in Tangier. After his death, it fell into disarray: astroturf, linoleum, and acoustical tiles appeared. In 1989, it was brought back to life, and then some: no TVs, no DVD players, just the outdoor fireplace, the billowing white curtains, the brilliant blue pool, and thou. Korakia means "crows" in Greek.
 
5. Melvyn's Restaurant and Ingleside Inn (200 West Ramon Road). Guests here have included Howard Hughes, Salvador Dali, and Norman Vincent Peale. Still the best place in town to sit around the piano and listen to show tunes with mob bosses, wheelchair-bound B-actors, post-operative trophy wives in head-to-toe silver lame, and miscellaneous hipsters, just taking in the show. Order a Manhattan, and be assured the bourbon will be top-shelf and poured with a liberal hand.
 
6. Indian Canyons (South Palm Canyon from Highway 111, two miles to the tollgate). The canyons are the ancestral home of the Agua Caliente tribe of Cahuilla Indians, and still considered ritual lands. The Andreas Canyon trail is an easy two-mile hike that follows a stream wandering through California fan palms. The lush environs will make you think jungle, not desert.
 
7. Swiss Miss Houses (Las Palmas district). Fifteen of these Alpine-style A-frame houses, designed by the father-and-son team of George and Robert Alexander, are said to exist. Imagine a Tahitian hut crossed with Heidi's cottage in the Swiss Alps, and you get the idea. The most famous Alexander house in Las Palmas, however, was Peter Lawford's. Located in close proximity to Marilyn Monroe's Palm Springs home, it was a place JFK was said to have visited more than once. A must-see for conspiracy buffs.
 
8. The Fabulous Palm Springs Follies (the historic Plaza Theatre, 128 S. Palm Canyon Drive). The all-new fourteenth season show will pay homage to the late, lamented Chi Chi Club, where everybody from Sophie Tucker to Sammy Davis Jr. performed. The long-legged lovelies in the show, as always, are in their 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s, and the host, Ray Markowitz, has the suavity of Cary Grant and the patriotism of John Wayne. Word to the wise: hit Melvyn's (#4, above) for a drink prior to showtime.
 
9. See's Candies (323 Palm Canyon Drive). Dark Scotchmallows. For any occasion.

You won't be sorry.
 
10. Patsy's Clothes Closet (4121 East Palm Canyon Drive). Vintage leopard-skin. For any occasion.

You won't be sorry.