In Part I, I explored the importance of layers during transitional seasons like fall and shared one of my must-have items for fall 2014: the chic sneaker.
Today, in Part II, I’m sharing another technique to compose the perfect transitional fall outfit – it’s all about opposites!
If you live in the Athens, GA area, you can visit Encore to purchase every piece featured in this series. Don’t live near Athens? Don’t worry! You can call Encore directly to order a particular item or you can simply use these looks as inspiration for your fall wardrobe.
Before we get started remember this: a new season doesn’t mean you have to buy a completely new wardrobe. Many pieces featured in this series are basics you already have in your closet that can be enhanced by a few key purchases.
PART II – OPPOSITES ATTRACT
Transitional weather poses a unique opportunity to pair pieces in your wardrobe from different seasons
Take your go-to summer miniskirt and couple it with your favorite fall flats and three quarter-length tee.
FULL OUTFIT DETAILS
Top: Michael Stars
Skirt: Tart Collections
OR take an easy summer tank and throw it on with fall essentials: skinny denim and riding boots.
P.S. This AWESOME hand chain is one of my fall 2014 must-haves!
FULL OUTFIT DETAILS
Top: Line & Dot
Denim: Citizens of Humanity
Boots: Diba True
Mercedes Bleth photographed by Logan Potterf
IT’S OFFICIALLY FALL!
A new season means looking at your wardrobe in a new way. This is particularly important during the fall and spring because they’re transitional seasons. No matter where you live, fall weather can be unpredictable. One day it feels like summer, and the next day it feels like winter. Sometimes, the change in temperature can even vary within the span of a day. You head out in the morning, and there’s a crisp chill in the air. Then, by the afternoon, the sun has warmed things up.
So, today I’m launching a four-part series showcasing transitional fall fashion. A couple weeks ago, I partnered with Encore boutique to style transitional fall outfits. If you live in the Athens, GA area, you can visit Encore to purchase every piece featured in this series. Don’t live near Athens? Don’t worry! You can call Encore directly to order a particular item or you can simply use these looks as inspiration for your fall wardrobe.
Remember: a new season does not mean you have to buy a completely new wardrobe to be on trend. Many of the pieces that will be featured in this series are staples you already have in your closet that can be enhanced by a few key purchases.
PART I – BRING A JACKET
Layers are key during transitional seasons. The easiest way to stay cute and comfortable from day to night during unpredictable fall weather is to bring a jacket!
The first transitional fall outfit showcasing pieces from Encore features two wardrobe staples: a basic neutral dress and a structured moto jacket.
I paired these pieces with one of my must-have items for fall 2014: the chic sneaker.
Footwear can be a challenge when transitioning from summer to fall. You’re ready to trade in your summer sandals but aren’t quite ready for boots. The chic sneaker is the solution!
FULL OUTFIT DETAILS
Dress: Tart Collections
Jacket: Michael Stars
Mercedes Bleth photographed by Logan Potterf
So, I said I’d be coming to you with quick posts during my crazy week, but today I carved out some time to share a story that’s long overdue: My Midwestern Fashion Journey.
Last night I attended a fashion panel Q&A/discussion in Madison, Wisconsin. I know that fashion exists everywhere. “Fashion is instant language.” It’s something we don’t need words to understand – it speaks for itself, it tells its own story. Fashion is something that is part of every community and culture, whether people are cognizant of it or not. So, I won’t go on to make the broad statement that I didn’t know a fashion community existed in Madison. It’s the home of online retail giant Shopbop for goodness sake. But after living in Madison for the past few years, the fashion community didn’t exist to me until last night.
I like to think of myself as one who thinks outside of the box when it comes to city searching. I grew up with a mom who was a tried and true foodie before foodies existed. Every weekend we’d get in the car, leave the confines of suburbia, and scour every corner, hidden gem, and local hole in the wall in Atlanta for the best butter, cheese, produce, and chicken. But, somehow, when I moved to Madison I fell into the classic pitfall of a GEN Y city girl.
Madison is a small town with a Midwestern culture, both of which are pretty unfamiliar to me. When I first moved to Madison, I looked for those familiar fashion faces to anchor me. I located the local Anthropologie and Sephora… and… that was about it. No major department stores at the malls? No Nordstrom Rack? No Lululemon? (Please note a Lululemon has since been built in Madison.) I immediately strapped on my skeptic hat about the existence of a fashion community here. Perhaps, I thought, Madison is a town concentrated with local boutiques. This is the case in my former college town, Athens, Georgia, but Athens is about half the size of Madison and just about an hour and a half from the heart of downtown Atlanta. Still skeptical. As a GEN Y city girl, I wanted to be inundated with options. I wanted my safe department stores for the basics, the national chains for the seasonal must-have, and the amazing local boutiques too. I felt I’d already struck out on the first two, so I had a pretty bad attitude when it came to the third.
I found Hot Mama, a Midwestern chain with closet staples like Michael Stars and Splendid and a pretty great selection of premium denim. Things are looking up. I found an awesome casual/active wear store, Neena, with brands like Beyond Yoga and Rese. Another step in a positive direction. And, of course, there’s Bop. The little brick and mortar caterpillar that later emerged into the major retail butterfly Shopbop. When my mom came to visit for the first time, we strolled in and out of several shops in the State Street section of downtown, and I ventured into the Monroe Street area one Saturday after a trip to Trader Joes, but still, the fashion community in Madison wasn’t really speaking to me. I’d hit a wall, and through inaction, put my exploration on hold.
Friends know that I’ve had a real journey acclimating to Midwestern culture and Midwestern fashion. And, yes, I do attribute some of this to my GEN Y city girl mentality. The fashion community in the South is intense. It piggybacks off the pulse of its coastal counterpart, fashion mecca New York City, while adding its own southern charm. It’s very vocal and competitive. In the Midwest, everything is more quiet and laid back, including the fashion. I remember feeling very loud the first time I went out in Madison. Not literally audibly loud, but my outfit was screaming “I’m not from here! I’m a southern, GEN Y, city girl!” Although I still wouldn’t say I feel particularly comfortable in Madison when it comes to my style and meshing with the Midwest, time has truly been my greatest ally, and over the past couple years, I’ve accepted my uniqueness in a Midwestern fashion world.
So, I come back to last night: the fashion panel Q&A/discussion. As a fashion blogger for the past eight months, I’ve revisited my desire to explore the fashion community in Madison. A new friend recently turned me onto the Wisconsin Fashion Network, which led me to the event last night. While I’m still fairly certain I was one of the only non-Midwesterners there, I was able to meet some fellow bloggers, local business owners, and other ladies with an active interest in the fashion community. It was truly a breath of fresh air. After a fairly formal Q&A/discussion, we got down to the real conversations over drinks.
My two major connections of the night were with GaBrielle Pedriani of Look Sharp, Sconnie and Pamela Wilson of Iona. GaBrielle has completely changed my perception of personal style bloggers with her very honest and unique approach to personal styling blogging that defies the typical I’m always casually standing outside this chic cafe with my perfectly on trend handbag slung over my shoulder aesthetic that many personal style bloggers take. Better yet? Her images are backed with words: rich descriptions, a clear voice, and actual writing ability – things that are sadly lacking in many fashion blogs. Then there’s Pamela. I’m pretty excited to make time for a trip to my newest retail discovery: Iona. After chatting with Pamela last night and heading to Iona’s site this morning, I’m eagerly anticipating a carefully and creatively curated boutique with some one of a kind wares. I definitely foresee a more in depth post once I actually explore the boutique, so stay tuned, and in the mean time, shop the site!
As a graduate of the University of Georgia, I will always have an indescribably special place in my heart for Athens, GA (I know all fellow dawgs will agree). Athens has the highest concentration of culture per square mile of any town I’ve ever visited. Within a five mile radius of the downtown area you can dine at some of the best restaurants in the nation and shop at some of the highest caliber boutiques. Athens is also home to amazing spas and salons, quaint local bars and breweries, beautifully curated museums, intimate venues, and more. I could probably write a book praising all of the attractions in Athens, but in this City Hot Spot post, I will keep my focus on the fashion.
The fashion in Athens spans from high-end boutiques carrying top designer names to sustainable boutiques showcasing vintage and hand-made wares. It would be impossible to name just one fashion hot spot to visit in Athens. So, I’m breaking the shops down into four categories.
BEST LUXURY BOUTIQUE: Heery’s Clothes Closet
Heery’s has a better selection of top end designers than most department stores. The racks are lined with labels like Tibi, Nanette Lepore, Tory Burch, Milly, and Diane Von Furstenberg just to name a few. For over fifty years, Heery’s has been an essential fixture in the downtown landscape. They’re known for absolutely swoon-worthy window displays. I remember many a night passing Heery’s while bar-hopping and having to restrain myself from pressing my nose to the windows to oogle the new arrivals. If you’re on a budget, Heery’s holds phenomenal sales offering up to 80% off twice a year! But wait, it gets better! Whatever doesn’t sell at the major sales at Heery’s goes to one of their sister stores in Five Points, Four Seasons Fashion. Once the merchandise goes here, it’s up to 90% off! I’ve gotten some absolutely amazing items from these sales at a mere fraction of the retail price. P.S. Shop online here.
BEST EVERY GIRL BOUTIQUE: Encore
You may have seen me feature Encore in a previous post showcasing their Spring 2014 look book. Encore’s carefully curated look books are just one of the things that set this boutique apart from the countless others in the downtown area. Encore carries all the essential brands like Michael Stars, Sam Edelman, Tart, Joes Jeans, and many, many more. Think of this as the ultimate every-girl’s boutique whether you’re looking for the perfect dress or basic denim. Don’t forget your accessories! Encore also has a full line of jewelry, handbags, and other wares. No matter what your style – trendy, preppy, bohemian, classic – Encore has something for you. Encore’s owner Nikki Grant has truly raised the bar for fashion retail in Athens with tactful buying, impressive styling, and a very relatable online presence that appeals to girls of all ages and styles.
BEST SUSTAINABLE BOUTIQUE: Community
Community has added a whole new dimension to the fashion scene in Athens. It is a sustainable boutique situated in my all time favorite space in downtown, right above Jittery Joe’s. Community features vintage apparel and accessories, hand made wares by local artisans, and apparel that is designed in house from vintage pieces. In addition, Community offers sewing and knitting classes, alterations, private shopping parties, and closet consultations. Ultimately, Community has cultivated a place for those interested in the art of fashion design to connect and continue their education. They also demonstrate a strong advocacy for local artisans and sustainable fashion with an emphasis on unique style and impeccable quality. This is truly a carefully curated a one of a kind boutique. P.S. Shop online here and check out their OOTD here!
BEST CONSIGNMENT BOUTIQUE: Suska
You may have seen me feature my favorite consignment boutique in my Spring Cleaning: Closet Edition post back in April. Even though I haven’t lived in Athens for almost three years, this is still where I go to consign my clothes. I’ve yet to find a better consignment boutique in Georgia or elsewhere! Suska is located about two miles outside the downtown in five points. Suska’s owner, Susanna Drennen, founded the boutique in 2005 with a passion for fashion as well as eco-consciousness. She believes that buying second-hand or previously loved items is a great way to recycle, and I couldn’t agree more! Suska is not another Plato’s Closet. They do not give you cash on the spot. Through a methodical process they hand select every garment and research each item through a number of channels to assess its current value, taking into consideration factors like its original retail price, depreciation, and its resale potential. After the 45-day consignment period, you receive 40% of each item’s value in cash or check or 50% of each item’s value in the form of a store credit. Learn more about their process, policies, and how to consign here.
I’m so excited to celebrate the first day of spring with a spotlight on the spring look book from one of my favorite boutiques: Encore.
Encore is an upscale clothing boutique in the heart of downtown Athens, Georgia. When the owner of Encore, Nikki Grant, published their first official look book in the summer of 2012, I was absolutely blown away. Nikki took the quaint charm of her little southern boutique and raised the bar with high quality photography, skilled models, and impeccable styling of the boutique’s apparel and accessories. Encore’s look books truly set it apart from the numerous boutiques in Athens.
They recently published their Spring 2014 look book, which was shot by photographer Logan Potterf on location at The Hill, a neighborhood owned by Lee Epting of Epting Events. Some of their top spring looks were selected and styled by Nikki and her team and modeled by the stunning Mercedes Bleth.
I chose three of my favorite ensembles from the look book that feature some of the hottest trends for Spring 2014.
Spring 2014 Trend: Try a NEW Look
Spring is all about renewal. This spring try a new look – something boho chic like this ensemble. The key pieces that make this look are the brightly colored and patterned maxi skirt and the beaded bracelets by local Athens designers, Chic Sisters Designs! Remember, local always looks good on you!
Spring 2014 Trend: Floral
This is my favorite outfit from the look book because it pairs an ultra feminine and spring inspired floral pattern with a wardrobe basic: the white blouse. When a new season rolls around, it doesn’t mean you have to run out and buy a whole new wardrobe. Use the staples you have in your closet in combination with investing in a few key pieces that are on trend for the season, like these Line & Dot shorts!
Spring 2014 Trend: Fringe
Fringe is my favorite new and exciting trend for Spring 2014. This versatile sheer fringe wrap by Ellison is aptly styled with a classic denim short in the look book. This piece would also pair perfectly with a pant, a skirt, a dress, or even a swimsuit. I could see this transitioning to fall as well – the possibilities are endless!