Style with Substance: Karen Kane

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One of the best parts of blogging is getting to know brands on a different level. Not just a label in a boutique or department store, you learn the story behind the name, their purpose, their history, and sometimes, they become friends.

I heard of Karen Kane before I started blogging, it was a brand I’d see at the mall, just like all the other garments wearing some woman’s name. The alliteration was catchy, I figured it was made up to represent the ideal customer for the brand. But thanks to my blog I got to know that Karen Kane is a real woman who cares for and designs for fellow real women.

karen kane

Karen Kane has been a California Girl since she was 9 years old, attended the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in LA, and after graduation got a job as a pattern maker for a sportswear company. In 1979 Karen and her husband Lonnie begin the clothing brand Karen Kane out of their garage. After just one year the company reaches $1 million in sales. In 1986, their son Michael was born.

karen kane and her family

To combine work and personal life, they brought Michael to work with them every day. Michael is now the Director of Marketing and the super nice person I work with when partnering with the brand (he even “likes” my Facebook page!).

Karen and Lonnie still run the business. I can’t tell you how refreshing it is to work with a company that sees me as a person, not just a blog, and who understands how Wardrobe Oxygen’s readers are different from another blog with different interests and needs.

Before many other brands, in 1999 Karen Kane launched a Women's division after hearing requests from their customers. And as of 2013, over 95% of Karen Kane’s collection is manufactured right here in the United States. The clothes are high quality, comfortable, true California style with a touch of femininity and sex appeal.

Many of my wardrobe favorites, such as this dress, these pants, this dress, and this jumpsuit (sorry for the bad photo, I’ll have to do an outfit post in it soon, they still have it in stock!) are from Karen Kane. And you will see me wear Karen Kane for years to come.

A woman with curly hair wearing a plaid blazer holds a green fur coat over her shoulder on a city street.

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  1. Wow, I don’t think I knew about this brand before, but I really love this profile! Seeing the human side of a business makes a huge difference. Also: that sequin front dress is balls out amazing.

  2. Do you know what their customer service is like? After months of thinking about it (the price was high!) I bought a pair of denim jeggings from them. I loved the fit and expected to wear them a lot, I even paid to have them hemmed but after one wash they have some weird pulls in the fabric now and don’t lie flat. It was such a bummer and I’ve considered contacting them but wasn’t sure if they would do anything about it. Love all of the pieces that you own!

    1. To be honest, I’ve never contacted them. I did buy something that had a defect once at Nordstrom and returned them no issue, but I haven’t via Karen Kane’s site. I’d contact them, it can’t hurt and I’d bet they’d be understanding!

  3. I like a lot of Karen Kane pieces, but I’m not sure I can afford them 🙁 But, really, I have to tell you that the outfit of you in the orange maxi dress is probably the best picture I’ve ever seen of you! You look AMAZING – I love that silhouette on you, and your hair looks fantastic when it’s curly like that!!!

    1. Ooh, that sounds amazing. I’m definitely in the no-iron camp and I get frustrated with how many tops are made our of viscose which generally creases like a mother-flipper! I wish we could get KK in the UK… (I don’t want to venture into international online shopping – too much faff).

  4. Thanks for this, Allie. I knew the name but didn’t know anything about the person. The fact that 95% is still made in the USA makes me happy as well. I try to buy American made as much as possible. I will be on the lookout for her clothes when I am ready to purchase again.

  5. I happen to own a few Karen Kane pieces, little did I know she was a real person and that she’s still behind the brand. I really like the looks you featured here.

  6. Her stuff is really high quality. I put on a shrug at Lord & Taylor and it felt different, it looked different in the best ways. Her stuff is pricey but worth it. And also, she does amazing stuff for plus size. I’m definitely trying to stock my closet with more Karen Kane.

    1. Today I’m wearing the drapey black Karen Kane dress I wore in a recent post. My husband accidentally put it in the washer and dryer and it looks exactly the same. I have Karen Kane pieces years old that still look new and stylish. Yeah, I’ve got a bit of a Karen Kane crush 🙂

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