the Aryn K dress that had me at hello.... I saw it hanging at Contrary and it was truly..love at first sight. If you need one cocktail dress for holiday, this..this is the one. And let's not forget the haute deal she's rocking....
A hundred years ago in a small town you may have heard of.. Miami. I was what is known as a wholesale manufacturers representative. In plain English, I sold clothing lines on behalf of the designers to (mostly) boutiques and mass retailers/catalogues. Working with boutiques throughout the Southeast was my dream come true. Imagine visiting 3-4 beautiful boutiques a day, and not only helping them select their future collection, but also getting a taste of what else was out there. This is where I got my education in fashion. That one designer just might not work for everyone. That fit is everything. Everyone's body is different, but don't be shy-try it all on. That the extras (gift wrapping, upcoming sales reminders, free tailoring, etc), the extras can make the slightly higher purchase price worth the sale. And that there are amazing sales that rival the mass retailers.
Some bonuses to shopping at a locally owned boutique:
-I have never in all my life had a problem returning an item to a small boutique. I have had too many too count at chain retailers.
-Old Navy has never once invited me to an evening out of dinner, drinks and a night with my girlfriends.
-Not one person at TJ Maxx knows my name (and they should..oh trust me..they should know it backwards, forwards, upside down..). The local boutique owner knows my whole family.
-The mass retailers have their pluses. Clearly prices are one. However I have hit many a great sale at a boutique that was on par with a discount chain, and received an ever higher quality item that I'm sure to enjoy for many more years than that $12 dress you got from Kohls-Tj-Loehmanns. I also know that the boutique sales people will take the time to make sure the fit is correct, which is so key mamas! The 16 year old part timer at Ann Taylor?? Maybe not-so-much.
-Lots of times I hear people say they're intimidated by walking into a boutique. They get snarky looks, or maybe they're just ignored. Well if you're getting snarky looks at any store, walk out. Plain and simple. If you feel you're being ignored, you're probaby just being given space. Try asking for help. If you receive a happy smile, then you've hit gold.
-Also don't be afraid to ask where the sales racks are. Or if there are any specials going on. They don't run specials to keep them secret. Maryann at Contrary runs a monthly contest, post a photo to facebook wearing your Contrary purchase, and you're automatically entered to win a $25 gift card. That's a no brainer.
So mamas, your mission should you choose to accept it, visit your local boutiques. Check out the designers, and get to know the owners. Don't feel as if you have to buy something everytime you walk in there. Try a few things on, talk shop, and share your finds with your friends. And then by all means, visit us on facebook and share your favorites with the other mamas.
This week marks Boston's Fashion Week 2010. Unfortunately with kids and school and responsibilities we can't be running around boston enjoying all the fantastic shows and after parties! Sigh! However, we were recruited to help back stage at The Rising Designs Fashion Show tomorrow night! YAY!!
Rising Design, a cooperative of independent Boston fashion designers, presenting both fashion forward and vintage inspired designs for a unique one night only viewing. Shows are at 7pm and 9pm doors will open to the public 15 minutes before show time. They will be presenting in an intimate setting with 56 seats and standing room only for the public. Tickets are $10. The show is being held at Mobius, 725 Harrison Ave South Boston. If you have a passion for fashion and can get the night off come join us!!
When it comes to fashion, Boston has a very international flair. Our community is made up of a lot of students and business people. It is a city that is not as in your face as other markets. That being said it is a smaller market very intellectual therefore, a great place to launch a product or line. Having gone to school for fashion design I am extremely excited to be able to lend a hand to these up and coming designers back stage. Stay tuned for pictures!!!
Meanwhile enjoy some pictures from the fashion shows that have taken part so far in Boston's Fashion Week.
Photo courtesy of Jay Calderin BFW Founder
Photo courtesy of JJ Miller
Fashion is all about happiness. It's fun. It's important. But it's not medicine. Donatella Versace
some more contrary goodness..... And remember, Maryann will ship anywhere in the US for FREE! We love free! And we also love that when you mention Three Haute Mamas..10% off! Contrary goodness is always reasonably priced (and this is coming from the bargain hunter of the 3 haute mamas!) so an additional 10% off is totally haute!
-screw the hoodies mamas. this ruffle-y, zip up jacket in the softest grey cotton by Mystree, is only $69! You can wear it over gym clothes, denim or to the office. That's getting your moneys worth.
-this black silk shorts-suit, Notice at $109. For one haute mamas night out;)
-So you want to be comfortable, but still stylish. Military jacket ($69 BB Dakota) over black leggings. Problem solved.
-So we don't get confused. THIS is Kristen Stewart in the same BB Dakota Jack jacket, $69, a top seller at Contrary.
and this is Kate Lord in the jack jacket from BB Dakota. I am not a vampire. Although my children call me scary sometimes.
-Everyone needs a good dress. Let's face it. How often do you get called up to an event last minute and "Bleh..I have nothing to wear." So you trudge around the malls, boutiques, and come up with..na-da. Be prepared! Shop early shop often is the Three Haute Mamas motto!
-BB Dakota $79
-French Connection jersey knit dress, $118
-Aryn K, $119
-and because like many of you, we too, are working mamas, our little tag along assistants..Fortunately Contrary boutique owner Maryann was a joy in helping us out, feeding our babies chocolates, and even chasing the the random escapee out out the door!
Kate, Christina and I would like to educate you on the benefits of visiting a Haute Boutique!!! We are lucky to have our very own here in Mattapoisett. It is called Contrary Boutique! You know the saying it's a small world.... well to tell you that I almost fell over one day when I walked into Contrary and met the owner Maryann Kondracki for the first time. When I couldn't get over how familiar she looked we figured it out! She was a substitute teacher at my high school back in the day and I remember all the boys drooling when she showed up to sub! LOL!!!
-Kate here-want to talk small? The first house I bought in town? Maryann's old house. After we sold that guess where we moved? Right next door to her. Great minds think alike??? Or stalker?
Maryann had it then and she hasn't lost a beat! Stylish and loaded with carisma she has made her mark as south coasts very own Rachel Zoe!! With her beautiful and very Haute Boutique, Contrary!!
Which leads me to the benefits of visiting a boutique such as Contrary. We have heard a lot of mom's say, I just don't know what looks good on me or what the style is or I just don't have time to shop. If you pop into a boutique all those questions would be answered for you in a snap. Boutique owners are there because they have a passion for fashion, they work hard and they looovvveee their customers!!! They can sometimes be great therapists as well!! Thanks Maryann!! After you get to know them, they begin to know you like you have been friends forever. They know your body, what looks good on you, what your price range is, favorite color, birthday, anniversary, how to steer your husband or significant other in the right direction! Hint! Hint!! They become your very own Stylist! Who by the way are not just for the rich and famous you know! They are also for us everyday gals that want to look haute!! Don't be afraid of the boutiques prices they have price ranges for everyone and my purchases have lasted years because the quality is so good. The pieces are unique and I feel fabulous when I wear them!!
We asked Maryann to give us some insight into the new fall trends and also what goes on behind the scenes when she is shopping for her clients. Here is what she wrote for our Haute Mama readers.......
One of the most enjoyable benefits of owning my own boutique would definitely be the several buying trips I get to make to New York City. While there I sponge up all of the fantastic fashion from the runway, in the showroom and on the street. I especially enjoy the metamorphosis that occurs when couture is introduced one season and translated into ready to wear the next.
When Kimberly asked me to talk about the current trends this season I realized that by now, you Haute Mama's know the low-down. In a nut-shell?.....military (down in the trenches combat style),pop prints (thank you Prada), lace, fringe (replacing ruffles),big chunky knits,shoe booties, the sheath dress, a vintage washed color palette and the resurgence of leather.
I love high fashion but the retailer/businesswoman in me has the daunting challenge of presenting it to my clients in a realistic marketable manner. I take their needs,combined with their budget and lifestyle and build my inventory from there.
With that always in mind, here are my "must have" recommendations for this season:
1. Cargo anything! Go for it! The newest look is the skinny but any cargo will do this season.This style has always been cool. Buy both a jacket and pants. You will not be sorry.
2. Chunky knit sweaters- oversized , long and great with skinnies.
3. Shoe booties. In last year and even stronger this season. Invest and wear it with a dress.
4. Anything lacey.
5. Structured hand bag. Lady-like is back.
6. Scarf- Invest in a good one with the right weight and hand and wear it constantly.
7. Structured sheath dress. We have Victoria Beckham to thank for this one. Look for one with a strong architectural shoulder.
8. Platform pumps.
9. A pair of flat riding boots, which you will wear for the next twenty years!
10. A leather jacket. Moto or military influences and slightly cropped for over those dresses or with your cargo's.
Add some or all to your wardrobe and the taxi drivers in N.Y.C. will think you are a native and everyone in your neighborhood will be copying you in no time.
Thanks Maryann!! We had such a fun time-your fall collections are as haute as you are! mamas-If you're interested in anything you see here, but don't live in the area, Maryann will ship anywhere in the US for FREE! Mention Three Haute Mamas, and you can also receive 10% off your purchase! She is located conveniently just off the highway in Mattapoisett, and also on Facebook. Visit often for the best selection, as she constantly updating and receiving new shipments.