Looking pretty in 'loungerie'

Laguna Beach designer Charlotte Mills of Plum Pretty Sugar offers women an alternative to the shabby bathrobe with a feminine line she describes as "loungerie."

"I always had the idea of Plum Pretty Sugar as the art of getting ready," Mills said. "I think as women we spend so much time in the bathroom getting ready and we've got, like, some towel on. Once we're done, we put on our beautiful dress or gorgeous outfit.

"Wouldn't it be nice if we could wear our robe or wear our tunic and feel beautiful all the way through the process?"

Two years ago, after a trip to visit her parents at their new home in the Middle East, Mills felt inspired to start a clothing line.

"You see all these bazaars and marketplaces with all these gorgeous fabrics. That's how it all started," she said. "I've always loved fabric."

Mills, who had a successful luxury beauty consulting company, decided to start a new endeavor based on a love for beautiful, versatile clothing.

Growing up in South Orange County, Mills was familiar with the need to pop on something cute and versatile, whether for a walk in downtown Laguna or to catch a bite to eat.

There's definitely a California style to her line. The looks — such as silk kimonos, cotton voile tanks and sweet cami dresses — are in flirty, floral prints and easy to imagine on a beach cottage dweller.

"I think nature and having a view of the ocean every day is very inspiring," Mills said, who lives on a hill in South Laguna. "Being in Southern California and in Laguna, you're always looking for something to change into or something to throw on that's pretty and fresh."

Mills recently translated the idea of "the art of getting ready" for the perfect group of women: bridesmaids.

"I don't know if you remember the days of your zip-up suit to get ready," she said.

Velour track suits are no more. Now Plum Pretty Sugar offers sets for the bridal party, including robes, tanks and pant sets, and dresses.

Although the brand is young, Mills has already grown it beyond apparel, offering bedding and curtains in her signature, bright floral prints.

"I'd love for it to be a lifestyle," she said about her brand. "I really see it becoming a part of our life as women — whether that's a fragrance or something we write on."

For more information about Plum Pretty Sugar or to order online, visit plumprettysugar.com.

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