>Boutique fashion

>I’d been toying with the idea of a fashion post yesterday, but after getting a tip about this sale in Bellevue Saturday, I knew I had to write.

The topic is boutique fashion. There are classic clothes (Eddie Bauer, J. Jill, Nordstrom, Sundance, Isabella Bird) and there are…clothes. I first got the bug for boutique clothing at a Naked Ladies party—a clothing exchange hosted by women in the area dance community. One of the items someone brought to the exchange was a tan corduroy skirt. Sounds plain, but it had details: Hollywood waist, a hidden zipper with a very slim pull, and asymmetrical ruching that brought the skirt up to knee level at one part of the front. This sounds weird; it looked great.

Boutique clothing is characterized by lush and extreme materials; lots of detailing; lots of drape; and (often) exotic colors. There’s nothing cookie cutter about it. If you like the bright turquoise crocheted sweater but want it in red, you’re out of luck. It’s often discouraging to try to mix a piece of boutique clothing into a regular wardrobe because it speaks a whole other language. Or at least talks with a very strong accent.

That skirt from the Naked Ladies party got me to venture into Anthropologie, a store of which I’d once said “if I buy anything here, shoot me.”

Shopping trips to Anthropologie are trying because only one out of every 10 or so things I try on looks good. But that piece doesn’t just look good; it looks incredibly good. (I handle the coordination issue by making sure that whatever I buy at Anthropologie, it either goes with a black top or a black skirt.)

So…I ventured into Anthropologie at University Village Thursday and found an amazing dress. However, I ran up against another of the weird phenomena of the boutique clothing world: skimpy sizing. I wear an 8 or a 10, but the manufacturer of the dress only made the item up to a size 8 (which they label a large!). And I thought I really needed a 10.

The led me to search online, where a store called Tobi carries the brand (Velvet) and has similar styles of dresses that do come in a 10. And this morning, when I came across the info on the Eastside Upside-Down Sale, I noticed that one of the brands at the sale will be Velvet.

One of the boutiques at the sale will be the intriguing Tatters from Mercer Island. I got a quick look in their window a few weeks ago, and am definitely interested. Bringing it all full circle: One of the skirts shown on Tatters’ homepage is remarkably similar to the tan corduroy skirt that got me interested in this type of clothing in the first place.

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