Summer is typically not the busiest time for me. Most clients are on vacation and focusing on other priorities, not their wardrobes. This July, however, I was slammed, often putting in six day work weeks. I kept trying to figure out why business boomed this summer and the only explanations I could come up with were that we had an exceptionally late spring here in NYC, which often delays the timing of when women start thinking about their spring and summer clothes, and the election. At the beginning of this year, I found myself slower than usual. In fact, In April, I panicked a bit about what this year may hold in terms of work. Yet, seemingly overnight, things turned around. Needless to say, it was a relief.
I can’t say I will remember much about the summer of 2017 besides most of it being spent in dressing rooms, but the timing couldn’t of been better. My husband started a new job in June and couldn’t take any vacation days anyway. For the past two months we have been like two ships passing in the night. And when we did pass in the night we spent most of our time together binging something on Netflix and ordering takeout. And speaking of binging, have any of you watched The Handmaid’s Tale yet? Holy mother of oh my God. If you don’t have Hulu, it’s worth getting it just to be able to watch this series.
Anyway, with all work I did with clients in July, I have a lot of purchases from this past month to share with you. So let’s get to it.
Client Purchases in July
Dresses continue to be popular. In July there was a good cross section of styles. The prices of some I am showing you might blow your brain up a bit considering one dress might cost the same as another person’s entire wardrobe budget, but there are some really nice styles that are affordable for many.
You might also notice some styles that you have seen purchased in previous months, like the Akris Punto style, the grey Peserico dress or the Max Mara jacquard tile looking sheath. This commonly happens. There are always some standout winners that become beloved pieces to a lot of clients.
Once you find pants that fit you, you stick with them. I have always espoused this advice and feel no different with clients. Let’s face it, shopping for pants basically sucks. It can be a painstaking process that shouldn’t be nearly as hard as it is. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that most of the pants I am showing I have shown many times before. The Akris Punto Franca pants (which go up to a size 20), the Piazza Sempione Audrey pants (which go up to a size 18) and the Theory Alettah pants have become staples in the closets of most clients because they rarely fail me.
A favorite, well priced, newcomer this summer was the Lauren Ralph Lauren skinny side zip pants. I found them while shopping for myself. Shocked they looked so good, I have put several clients in them. I own them in navy and, while the red wasn’t for me, my one red loving client jumped on them. Another favorite newcomer this season is the MM. Lafleur Foster pants. The self hemming feature is an awesome detail, but the fit is what has won over many clients this season.
Sweaters in the summer seems like a bit of an oxymoron, I know. However, with frigid temperatures indoors and arm shyness, clients are always looking for coverage. Add to that, I have one client who comes up once a year to New York in the summer and shops with me while she is here. With fall starting to trickle into stores in July (I know, ridiculous), some cool weather styles were purchased.
The Nic + Zoe Four Way cardigan is always a staple and one of my clients has told me that she has already worn her BOSS Hugo Boss shrug to death. Some of these styles are very affordable, but that Stella McCartney sweater might put you into sticker shock. However, I will tell you, in person, that sweater is unbelievable. The photo does it zero justice.
Tops are still driving me crazy. It just shouldn’t be this hard to find tops that can be worn to work and, please, fashion industry, stop making everything cold shouldered. I beg of you. This season, I was really grateful to have MM. Lafleur as a resource for tops. This is not to say that they hit it out of the park each and every time, but they did offer some salvation. What I wish is that they didn’t offer the majority of their tops solely in black. The Nic + Zoe tank is a favorite (and goes with the cardigan above) and the Theory top has an adorable back button detail.
I love Joie tops, but often find them incredibly expensive for what they are. Unless they are super special, they just look like high priced Lucky Brand tops. Making it worse, most Joie tops need to be dry cleaned. Between the heat and ease of wear that women want in the summer, it can be challenging to justify the price and care involved. However, for a summer night out, Joie tops are lovely for casual.
With a desire for variety, clients have been asking for skirts a lot more lately. Dresses are great, and definitely a go-to, but this request for more skirts really shines a spotlight on how lacking this category has been. With the exception of the burgundy Akris Punto skirt (which my client purchased to go with the burgundy Akris Punto top to, ironically, create a dress look), MM. Lafleur was the only brand to come through for me. For the most part, the shapes were incredibly basic. One warning about the taupe-y/ tan MM. Lafleur skirt, one of my clients recently reported that it collects lint in the darker shades and is nearly impossible to remove with a lint brush. Shame, really. The skirt is stunning.
Please don’t shoot the messenger when I tell you that all of these jackets fall into the expensive range. It’s simply a reflection on how absolutely piss poor fashion has become at offering interesting tailored pieces in more affordable price ranges. Sure, if you want flimsy pieces that you could wear to a polyester convention and boring every-person, dime a dozen, notch lapel blazers, then the average retailer can cover you for days. But for someone who is even willing to drop a few hundred dollars on a good jacket it can be tremendously hard to find one that won’t put you into a boredom coma.
Don’t get me wrong, as a stylist, it is fun when a client has the budget to drop a grand+ on a jacket, but, as a person who believes everyone should be able to look good with whatever their budget is, it concerns me. Nothing is worse than working with a client who has a modest but more than workable budget and need jackets. The fear of not being able to help her is dreadful.
This is not to say we all can’t swoon over the jackets that my clients purchased in July. The good news is that if you watch higher priced jackets and blazers over the season you can scoop them up for a song and, honestly, I’d rather see you do that than plunk down your hard earned money on the garbage jackets most retailers at average price points are trying to serve up.
Okay, rant over.
Shoes always take an interesting turn each season. Despite some of my clients spending a great deal on their clothing, when it comes to shoes, they tend to be more conservative with their spending. Of all my clients, I have one who purchases Louboutins and this is mainly because she prefers to wear one pair over variety. It’s not that my other clients are cheap with their shoe purchases; not at all. I think where the shoe category of fashion has been smart is where the clothing area of fashion has failed. With shoes, you can still manage to find well made, quality styles at prices in that middle price point between exorbitant and junky. A brand like Cole Haan is a perfect example of this. The shoes are comfortable, well made, a bit of an investment for some, but not ridiculous in cost. You don’t have to plunk down an entire paycheck to own them. You can also get some beautiful, lasting styles from brands like Sam Edelman (one of my personal favorites) and Louise et Cie.
Additionally, shoe brands have become smart and savvy about combining comfort with style. Years ago, I would have never meandered around the comfort area of a shoe department like I do now. It used to be if you needed comfort you were exiled to only being able to wear frumpy styles. Now I can look at brands like Rockport and even brands like Clarks and Naturalizer and find some really attractive shoes. Shoe brands understand that women are just not interested in being in pain all day.
So the shoes that my clients purchased are definitely within reach for most. And, funny story about the Aquatalia sandals. Originally they were $450. When my client found out they were on sale for $150 she didn’t even question if they were going home. Aquatalia is a brand you definitely want to keep you eye on for sales.
Jewelry that clients buy in-store can be incredibly hard to find online. I did manage to find a few pieces. The trend towards jewelry seems to be going in the direction of less color with the novelty being found in the more interesting shapes. Jewelry is definitely cleaner, more modern and less fussy. Even I have been noticing that I haven’t been using jewelry to add some color to my outfits as much as I used to. It may be a summer thing, when my shoes tend to be more colorful, but it’s still interesting to notice.
What was probably the most popular was the gold necklace that clients like to have as a quick layering piece to finish a look. Bracelets are never popular because most of my clients are working women who find their bracelets get in the way while doing any sort of desk work.
I hope you enjoyed this review of client purchases made this past July and have possibly found some must-have items for yourself.
SUBSCRIBE TO BRIDGETTE'S WEEKLY STYLE UPDATES
RECEIVE A FREE WARDROBE CAPSULE BUILDER GUIDE WHEN YOU SUBSCRIBE
Thanks, Bridgette! I love the classic, clean lines….your description of frustration with clothing items for purchase can be echoed across the style spectrum. Try to find chic, casual pants that don’t stretch out within hours of wear…or items that truly can be put in the dryer…
Ha, I could join you in ranting. Happy to hear you’re purchasing items for your newly svelte figure. You worked for it and you deserve it!! Please tell us about building your new wardrobe.
Good luck to Frank with his new job.