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Vocabulary is a playful and smart women’s boutique offering clothes and accessories to help articulate any style.

The owner is Cecelia Church, a trained seamstress and former costume and prop designer who has worked with some of San Diego’s most accomplished theater companies—Lamb’s Players, San Diego Repertory Theater and Diversionary.

“Working in the theater gives you all the tools to work cooperatively,” she says. “The standards are high and you’re around super-creative people with a very clear vision of what they want. I apply this to my customers.”

Two blocks off the main drag of Little Italy, on West Cedar Street, Vocabulary shows of a beautiful interior. The walls are Robin’s egg blue, tin ceilings are white and the floors are natural wood. The center of the space is taken-up by a bamboo table, handcrafted by San Diego furniture and scenic designer David Weiner of NTZ Designs. On the table, Church displays an array of jewelry by local San Diegans.

The clothing lines Church carries are fashionably cutting-edge, but still very affordable. As the owner likes to say (somewhat theatrically): “Everything has a touch of fabulous.”

Vocabulary has a small but popular baby section. Church carries her own line of organic cotton Gerber brand onesies using her own fabric design. She calls the line Onesies Downtown. Her custom handmade swaddle blankets of 100 percent cotton have been flying off shelves.

Church says: “People need to love what they buy. They’re paying more attention to function over trend.” She believes that the hot trend right now is pieces that all work together—dresses that can go from the office to dinner or a cocktail party.

Church feels it’s important that the boutique showcase some of San Diego’s many local artists. On the walls she’s hung the photographs of Terri Rippee, a photographer whose shots capture Italian culture. Rippee was selected as the Featured Artist in San Diego’s ArtWalk. Church also carries works by Jocelyn Duke, a Boston transplant whose paintings are similar to many of the clothing labels in Vocabulary—energetic, contemporary, thought provoking and accessible.

Vocabulary is a tres-chic boutique with a lot of drama and an old-world charm that fits the neighborhood of Little Italy as snugly as a one of Church’s handmade onesies.