After 25 years in the retail industry, one-time executive Lisa Darke struck out on her own to open this boutique for teens and adults. Armed with discerning taste and a penchant for colorful, feminine details, she stocks her shelves with formal and casual threads from designer lines such as AG, Joe's, and Red Engine. She is, however, beginning to feature more and more unique indie brands. "Honestly," Darke said during an interview with Shop Talk in the Columbus Dispatch, "we're making a move a little more away from lines everyone knows. We want to give you good fashion for the best price possible." To complement her racks of distinctive garments, she arranges shelves and display tables with accessories such as sunglasses, jewelry, and scarves. Darke also stocks many items up to size 18 to ensure that the majority of local ladies have the opportunity to look their snazziest.
The brand American Apparel, which recently celebrated its 10-year anniversary, conjures up images of stylish and well-fitting fashion basics. It also likely brings to mind sassy advertisements featuring long-haired beauties in natural makeup posing in skin-bearing bodysuits and loungewear.
But what many don't know about the brand?despite its name and the slice of apple pie that comes with every purchase?is that all of its clothes are made in America. Everything from sewing and cutting to accounting and marketing happens in one building in downtown Los Angeles, and the rest occurs within a 30-mile radius. Not only that, every slim-fitting pair of pants, spandex bodysuit, and v-neck T-shirt is made in a sweatshop-free environment.
Plus, keeping everything in house means the company eliminates unnecessary and wasteful factors, such as shipping fuel and packing materials, as well as provides jobs to Angelenos, instead of outsourcing them.
The staff at New Balance isn't concerned with simply selling shoes—their mission is to pair customers with the footwear that will carry them comfortably through life’s arduous steps. Understanding that an ill-fitting pair of athletic shoes can cause pain to joints and potentially damage knees, hips, and the back, associates measure the length and width of each client's foot and conduct a gait analysis to chart the trajectory of their stride when walking normally or running through ball pits. The data are collected to help the staff match clients with their ideal shoe, keeping them running longer and looking good while doing so.
Since 1990, Pitaya has fashioned its own line of American-made clothes for ladies looking to stay stylish no matter the season. Fresh merchandise hits the store weekly—stock up on what's hot so you're not forced to design makeshift togas from dead leaves and discarded cornhusks. Annettes can attract admiring passersby with the mesh ballerina skirt ($24), whereas Carols can give their legs a big pair hug with the linen-blend trousers ($39). The polka-dot-print tent dress ($34) emits elegance sprinkled with adventure, like a cocktail party held on the side of a cliff, and the black slouchy V-tee ($22) gives décolletages the social exposure not allowed by tyrannical turtlenecks or stifling scarves.
Friendly associates acquaint shoppers with a staggering collection of sleek and functional luggage and travel accessories by brands including Kiva, Briggs and Riley Travelware, and Ogio. A Timbuk2 messenger bag ($85.00) embraces books and laptops with a waterproof lining to protect contents from wayward water balloons. Shoppers can carry items in a variety of stylish totes, or marvel as a Briggs & Riley carry all ($279.00) contains a two-section design for storage and flat packing while still squeezing into a plane's overhead compartment. Packing accessories such as the Eagle Creek Pack-It Caddy ($30) simplify travel, and a TSA-safe luggage lock ($9) defends bags from nosy neighboring cargo. Urban Baggerie can also add names and monograms in a variety of thread colors and styles with complimentary embroidery services, which help schoolchildren identify their backpacks or commit lengthy last names to memory.
Costume Specialties launches adults and children into character with hundreds of costumes, wigs, makeup, and accessories. Youth guises ($15+) range from Dorothy’s signature white blouse and blue-checked pinafore ($29) to Darth Vader’s iconic black cape, helmet, and Hello Kitty lunchbox ($31). Adult getups ($40+) include the rose-hued velvet dress sported by Robin Hood's Maid Marion ($45.99) and the white jumpsuit and bulging, hairy chest of latter-day Elvis ($56). Wigs, such as the white curls of a Colonial man ($22), and accessories, including hairy werewolf gloves ($10), add realistic flair to outfits, and smearing a 16-ounce vial of arterial stage blood ($15.95) around the mouth helps increase a vampire costume's impact or intimidate squirrels that keep breaking into bird feeders.