MARGARET O’LEARY WAS raised on a farm in County Kerry, Ireland, with only two outfits. “I had a daily outfit, and a Sunday outfit,” O’Leary says. “I was born into a working world, knitting at my mother’s knee when I was 3.” When she grew up, O’Leary relocated to the Bay Area in search of an excitement that was lacking in Ireland. What she found was sweater weather. “This really is the perfect place to create knitwear,” she says. In creating sweaters for her eponymous company, “we take full advantage of the Bay Area climate to experiment with our designs.” All Margaret O’Leary pieces are conceptualized in San Francisco using the finest yarns and have found fans in celebrities like Kate Hudson, Jennifer Garner, Halle Berry and more.
PHILOSOPHY “My motto is ‘Live every day in style,’ and by that I mean the Marin lifestyle, which so often involves a blend of activities, from work to kids,” O’Leary says. “The Margaret aesthetic allows you to transition from day to evening in comfort and style; perfectly suited to our unique part of the world.” THE SCOOP Margaret O’Leary specializes in luxurious sweaters crafted from cotton, lambswool, cashmere and angora, with the occasional leather jacket or silk T-shirt thrown in for good measure. Prices range from $150 to 575 for sweaters, with artfully made leather jackets clocking in at around $900. BEYOND MARIN With 10 stores in addition to her downtown Mill Valley flagship — including a recently opened New York City shop — Margaret O’Leary’s sweaters are well known around the world. The collections are sold in boutiques internationally and are also available online. WHAT THEY SAY “I am a real person who designs for the needs of other people like me,” O’Leary says. “I wake up every day thinking about what my friends would like to wear. Then I go to my stores and meet our customers — ages 20 to 60 — who tell me what they like about our collections. My celebration of personal style comes from designing for my friends, then discovering that lots of people like what I do.” margaretoleary.com