Photos by Patricia PuccinelliFall Fashion Boutique Style
Fall Fashion Styles from Lake Country Boutiques
By Patricia Puccinelli
The chalkboard sign drawing customers into Fray Boutique in Oconomowoc perfectly describes this year’s fall fashion styles, “Hot Girl Summer is Over, Time for Cozy Girl Fall.” Focus Waukesha explored a dozen clothing shops in Oconomowoc and Delafield and one thing is clear – boutique fall fashion is all about comfort, earth tones, comfort, soft textures and, did I mention, comfort?
From outdoor gear to night-on-the-town looks, each shop we visited featured comfortable styles in incredibly soft fabrics, many with unconstructed lines for free movement. Pretty purples, wine shades, olive tones, deep clay and rust colors fill the boutiques with the hues of fall. And, burgundy is back! While each shop keeper we spoke with stressed the importance of comfort in today’s styles, every shop had a unique twist to their fall fashion offerings. Here’s a quick look into what we found if you’re planning to pick up something new to update your fall wardrobe.
Sophia Rozek of Element Style Boutique recently returned from the fashion district in Los Angeles where she travels twice a year to bring current fashion trends to Lake Country. She also visits the Las Vegas fashion district in February and May. She explained that clean cut looks are in style and ripped, distressed or acid-washed clothing is not. Other popular trends include dark green and slate blue leather jackets and skirts, wide-legged pants, puffer vests in a range of colors, quarter-zip and button-down sweaters, long-denim skirts and pinstripe anything. Element Style Boutique has carved out a space in the rear of the store to display homecoming dresses and plans a prom dress pop-up in spring.
Bliss Boutique, just remerchandised last week, is filled with stretchy pants, cozy jackets and sweatshirts and an especially soft casual pant and top grouping by lakegirl®. Per the brand’s website, “A true lakegirl believes in the outdoors and a casual lifestyle. She is a person who wants to dig her toes into the sand, take a boat ride, go for a swim, or catch a fish. She simply enjoys life near the water.”
Lake Country Boutique focuses on the more mature woman. When explaining the boutique’s primary target customer, the shop clerk smiled and said, “You know, women like us!” We shared a quiet chuckle. She went on to explain that flowy tops and dresses with pockets are popular for holding mobile phones, lipstick and tissues or for just an easy place to keep your hands snug and warm. Scarves are still hot and multi-purpose pieces are selling off the shelf. She showed us a Coco + Carmen® sherpa-lined snood which can be used as a scarf, hat, muff, mask, neck or ear covering, is reversible and can be worn with a ponytail.
Mary Biedrzycki of Clear Water Outdoor explained that the fall colors blend across vendors making it easy to mix and match clothing types for men, women and children. Men’s styles are extremely casual and often include athletic clothing and activewear for performance. She shared that Patagonia®, their number one vendor, is “knocking it out of the park” with outdoor clothing that combines much-needed warmth with interesting patterns and deep gemstone colors. Mary also introduced us to men’s and women’s activewear by Vuori® which, per the brand’s website, is “ultra-soft . . . crafted for comfort, performance and lifestyle.” The fabric was truly incredibly soft and the styles suitable for the gym, the grocery or even a casual restaurant. Clear Water Outdoor also carries complimentary scarfs, hats and gloves, but my favorite accessories were the Puffin® koozies to keep your drink cold – in style!
Wide-brimmed hats and chunky boots and shoes complete the look at Fray Boutique (describe both photos with one caption)
“I love a good felt wide-brimmed hat for fall,” shared Morgan Krueger, owner of both Fray Boutique, a women’s clothing store, and Fray Babes, a children’s clothing boutique. For women, Morgan went on to explain that fun coats, especially sherpa coats, and vests, including those made of leather are hot this season. Boots and shoes with chunky, platform soles with cutout treads complete the look. She loves olive tones and pretty purples. For children, everything Fray Babes carries is snuggly and super soft in muted colors. Cuddly pajamas, sweaters, and play sets. And, fitting with the season, the color mushroom and mushroom graphics are prolific.
Fashion finds include wide-brimmed felt hats.Chunky shoes and boots complete your fall look.
Sara Ninmann, owner of The Lounge Boutique, combines beauty, wellness and apparel in her shop. The boutique not only has a selection of comfortable athleisure wear, but also offers hair styling services. We spoke with one of her shop keepers, a retired special education teacher, who commented that while soft textures and sensory-specific clothing are often important and comforting to people with special needs, the same concept applies to everyone. The Lounge Boutique has expanded their retail space due to the high demand for comfortable lounge wear.
Homebody is stocked not only with puffer vests in a variety of colors and styles, but also with corded shirt-jackets. Always in style, the shop carries soft sweatshirts with football designs for game day comfort.
Mission Road Boutique dedicates themselves to doing good in style. The shop’s current offerings echo the cozy, comfy, casual trends we discovered. Uniquely, per their website, they “strive to carry products that have purpose and support beneficent companies. Each month a portion of profits are donated to philanthropic organizations in effort to support their goals and mission.”
It’s fun to add fashionable pieces to keep a wardrobe fresh and contemporary. That said, timeless styles can be used as a foundation or accessory to complete any outfit. Wingman in downtown Delafield offers men timeless fashion accessories and supplies. Per their website, “Wingman has set a course to bring back heritage-quality items and timeless practices. The perfect blend of fashion and function.” The shop carries high-quality items including watches, ties, gloves, shaving products and everyday grooming tools that will be as beautiful and useful tomorrow as they are today.
The clothing boutiques we visited in Lake Country know their customers well and have done a wonderful job combining the need for warmth in the brisk fall weather with the desire for cozy, comfy chic.