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Boston style: 'Practical with whimsy'

By Ashley Strickland, Special to CNN
  • Boston street style combines fun looks with a classic, timeless sophistication
  • Martini Severin showcases these fashions on her style blog,
  • Seasons and trends change in Boston, but their practical yet whimsical look remains true

Editor's note: There is fabulous fashion beyond New York, Milan and Paris. In this series, CNN showcases trends in threads around the globe. Blogger Martini Severin of shares the Boston style scoop.

(CNN) -- Sophisticated fun commands the style scene in Boston and just a stroll down Newbury Street can inspire anyone to dress their best. The fashionable streets were encouragement enough for Martini Severin to begin her style blog,, and Severin remains pleasantly surprised by the looks she captures daily.

"The camera in a lot of ways is a passport to getting to know people," Severin said. "I chat with them, learn more about what motivates them sartorially and how they put what they're wearing together. There is no better way to get to know a city than through its residents. The blog has been successful because it's easy to talk to people and hear what it is about this town that makes them sing."

After admiring the stylish residents of Boston for three years, Severin was appalled to learn that GQ's latest poll called it the "worst dressed city in America." Severin believes the classy looks with trendy intimations build a sophisticated look for the city and its neighborhoods.

"It's casual sophistication," Severin said. "It's not as high fashion as what you would see in other cities. So it's practical -- but practical with whimsy."

Below, Severin details the diverse elements of Boston street style.

CNN: Describe what you see on Boston's streets?

Severin: Style here is really chic, sophisticated and very diverse. People have flair, but in a very different way than any other major city. It's about the little, little details that really amount to a tableau that is just seamless.

It's wonderful to see how the city changes with each season. I was walking the other day and it was like, "Wow, everyone looks so good -- what do I shoot?" The exuberance for style is here in the city and it's alive.

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CNN: How do residents remain sartorial in the winter?

Severin: It's beautiful in the spring, summer, fall, but in the winter, it's not unlikely that we'll have 17 feet of snow lying on the city. I find that it becomes really difficult to keep your zeal and dress well when you have to put on layers upon layers of clothes.

If you need to keep warm, you have to have a fabulous coat. People will have coats that are flower print, plaid, the most beautiful white mohair, and even wear capes. They're really resourceful in finding a coat that will speak to their personality and sense of style. You spend so much of your time in your winter coat, you always want to find something that says a little bit of something about yourself.

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CNN: What trends are you seeing in Boston right now?

Severin: You'll see people wearing scarves with polka dots or plaid. We are wholeheartedly loving stripes here in Boston, so everyone is wearing nautical stripes. We're also sun lovers like any other city, so the sandals you see on the street are fabulous -- the strappier the better.

CNN: Is there a local designer scene in Boston? Where are people shopping?

Severin: There's a movement to shop local in Boston. We have a lot of little boutiques. Newbury Street is our equivalent of Fifth Avenue or Rodeo Drive. I personally love the smaller stores. I go and they know who I am. It's the kind of city where it's big but it's also small where you can form relationships.

Several boutiques are quite popular. Mint Julep -- they sell the prettiest dresses. Then there's a boutique downtown called Flock. It's a mother and daughter team and they personally chose each of the pieces that are in the store. They work with very small, unknown designers and bring their merchandise to Boston to introduce it to a greater audience. There is also a shop, largely for men, called Uniform, that is very nice.

There is also quite a vintage culture here in Boston. One store, Bobby From Boston, was started by this man that collects vintage clothing and film wardrobe designers frequent his store and warehouse. It's a privilege to be invited to his warehouse and shop from there.

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CNN: What's coming up for the Boston scene?

Severin: Starting September 19, I have an exhibit that's really a great way to say "Ha!" to GQ. It's showcasing about 60 of the photos that I've taken through the three years that I've been running the blog and basically, it's the best of Boston and the surrounding areas: Cambridge, Jamaica Plain, Dorchester, Somerville. I feel like it's going to be a really good show in terms of what we have to offer. That coincides with Boston Fashion Week as well, which starts September 23.

I feel like the winds are changing in Boston. There are a lot more people who are focused on style here than there used to be. Everyone is doing their part to let the world know, "We dress well... and we know it."

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