Like the flower that bears its name, Bleu Lavender Fashion Boutique in downtown Bakersfield is a stand out for trendsetters in the know this holiday season. Boutique manager “Ms. Katt” said they stock a wide variety of high quality clothing for women and girls in addition to shoes, boots, body care and other gift items – all at affordable prices.

The cozy shop is filled with racks of popular and stylish offerings, with selections in women’s sizes from small through 3X. Standing next to a display of high-end distressed jeans, Katt explained her business model.

“We are fashion forward – straight trendy,” she said. “Our clothes are what’s happening now, and a large number of our items are made in the U.S.”

The specialty shop is Bakersfield’s largest distributor of The Naked Bee personal care line, which includes lotions, sunscreens and hair products – all manufactured in Tennessee. Katt said the lotion is 70 percent organic and the soaps are triple milled with beeswax; the products contain no mineral oil or dyes and come in delightful scents such as sandalwood, coconut and grapefruit. She said the product is moisturizing and not greasy.

“It’s all natural,” she said. “I wanted something that’s good for us; for people who live in our area, dry skin is a problem. I have a lot of repeat customers who buy multiples.”

Socially conscious Ms. Katt said they offer soy candles for $12 in an assortment of scents. She says soy burns cooler and cleaner; it doesn’t create the black smoke other candles do and it’s better for folks with allergies. In addition, it can make a nifty skin nurturing moisturizer when it’s warm.

“It melts into a soy oil that you could use on your skin,” she said. “You can’t do that with regular candle wax. With soy you can use the whole candle.”

The manager said the warm oil is great for rough, dry and cracked heels and elbows; an important concern when you’re prepping to wear sandals or short-sleeved tops.

Katt stocks plenty of stylish shoes and boots to compliment your holiday attire and the perfect companion – snuggly and soft leg warmers, some with lacy trims to top off your boots. She also carries coordinating fingerless gloves to meet the demands of today’s busy gal on the go, each at $11.99.

“They don’t hamper your driving or texting,” she said. “And they’re a great stocking stuffer.”

Frilly frocks aren’t just for the big girls at Bleu Lavender. Katt says they carry cute and sassy girls’ clothing in sizes zero to three months, including Ruffle Butts, a brand made popular on the television show Shark Tank.

“They’re great because you can put them over diapers and they look adorable,” Katt said. “Ruffle Butts also has a line of tops and dresses that look great over tights or leggings.”

Ms. Katt said they work hard to keep their prices affordable, with high quality women’s tops averaging in the $20 to $30 price range for some of the most sought after styles. She said Bleu Lavender is a great place to look for last minute Christmas gifts, especially if you’ve got a price ceiling. They also offer gift certificates.

“It’s perfect if you’re playing secret Santa or have a gift exchange with a certain dollar amount,” she said. “Most of our items are under $30.”

Located at 1520 19th St., the store is open Monday through Friday at 11:00 a.m., but Katt says they’re planning extended hours for Christmas Eve shopping; the doors will be open from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. for those last-minute fashionistas.

Bleu Lavender, 1520 19th St, Bakersfield, CA 93301, http://www.bleulavenderboutique.com

Article written by Diana Greenlee