Originally published in The Taos News
Fall is approaching fast. This is the moment to inspect your closet and decide what is wearable and what is not. And it’s not too late to have one last garage sale with the clothes and accessories included in the second category! It will also make you feel less guilty for spending in new, trendy fall pieces.
Now, is there such thing as a “trendy piece” anymore?
“Everyone has their own idea of what is trendy for fall,” said Melissa Sharp, who manages the Paseo delPueblo Francesca’s boutique. “For us, it is about finding clothes that fit well and are comfortable, and this is important all year round.”
Right now the two Francesca’s stores are jam packed with fall pieces. They are stretchy, comfy and warm. “Every day we are getting new items that represent fall and this beautiful time of year,” said Sharp.
I asked her for fashion tips on a tight budget. “With just a small amount of money you can jazz up any outfit by accessorizing it with a scarf, a cute pair of boots and a great pair of earrings…all for less than $40,” she said.
Katie Iko, owner of Mariposa Boutique, has also prepared her shop for the fall fashion customers. “Grey is the new neutral and it is everywhere: tops, sweaters, jackets, pants and scarves,” she said. “Shades of orange are good this fall as well as teal, red and grape.”
As for accessories, scarves in all sizes, shapes, styles and colors are a must have. “Fedora hats and sporty caps are the ‘in look’ in headgear,” said Iko. “We will soon have wool plaid vests and jackets as well as boiled wool, fleece, and faux shearling jackets.”
Tunic length tops with asymmetrical or handkerchief hemlines, and rhinestone, studs or ribbon flower embellishments are now popular with ladies of all ages. “They look great worn with leggings, jeans or straight leg pants, and are flattering on most body shapes,” said Iko.
Her tips include accessorizing, too. “Buy a chunky, colorful necklace to add new life to an old outfit or a stylish top to spice up more than one pair of pants or a skirt,” she said. And don’t forget to visit sale racks. They are great places to find the perfect piece at the right price.”
But not everyone is following the fall fashion trends. Some store owners favor individuality. “Artemisia is not your ‘typical’ dress shop that goes with the fashion cycle, or whatever the fashion gurus dictate,” said owner and designer Annette Randell. “The artists and designers who make our unique, one-of-a-kind wearable art pieces stay independent of any such things as colors or styles of the season.”
She admits that they adjust to the seasons by having heavier and darker colored
clothes for fall and winter, but that is pretty much it. “The pieces we carry are rather timeless, thus people wear them for years and years and the investment into a piece of clothing is truly getting ‘paid for’,” she said.
Fall is the best season at Artemisia. “We sell a lot of hand woven pieces made by weavers from our area, and the ‘educated’ fiber and fabric lovers come in,” Randell said. “95% of our sales go to visitors and tourists, but a lot of them are return visitors who come once or twice a year and always stop by.”
Artemisia is not a cheap place. Take an Alexis Abrams’ velvet jacket, priced at $495 and a gorgeous Sally Ryan’s Parisian shirt that costs $278.00.
“The only point I can make about possibly being a trend setter is that inch by inch we educate people about value and quality, and that the higher price they pay for a garment at Artemisia actually represents better value than a poorly made item that falls apart after a few months,” said Randell.
Besides the work of artists, jewelers and fine craft artisans from all over the country, the boutique also carries Randell’s own line of wearable art garments under her label, Artemisia Artwear. All the pieces are individually designed and created by her.
Her fashion advice? “Don’t be concerned about where the hem has to be this season, or that it has to be a leopard print, for example,” said Randell. “Instead, buy one good, timeless piece that you can wear again and again, with a scarf or a different necklace.”
She agrees with Iko and Sharp on the value of scarves. “People who really have to stretch their dollars should get a unique, beautiful, hand painted scarf! Wear it over a solid colored T-shirt or long-sleeved cotton sweater.”
Now it’s time to go shopping. Make a list of whatever you need or want, take a look at your budget, have fun, and don’t forget to try everything on!
Artemisia is located at 117BBent Street
Mariposa Boutique is located at120 Bent St.suite F
Francesca’s Clothing Boutique Inc. is located at
1018 PaseodelPuebloNorte, El Prado
The Arroyo Seco store is at492 State Rd150