Ask anyone in retail and they will tell you July is a snoozefest, punctuated by sales. Apparently, Houston’s new stores and established favorites didn’t get that memo, though, because there’s nothing sleepy about shopping this month.
Just in time for the dog days of summer, Swoon comes swooping to the shopping rescue. The cute little store attached to The Monogram Shop on San Felipe opened in early July, with colorful, on-trend and inexpensive clothing, shoes, accessories and jewelry.
On my recent spin through Swoon I spied denim ombre shirts by Karlie for $68, hi/low lace shorts (one pair $78, the other $27.95), maxi dresses for $62, as well as a great selection of Kendra Scott jewelry and pop of style suggestions throughout the store.
Every piece tells a story at Native Citizen on Dunlavy. The new furniture and interiors store is part of the AA Concepts family (Duo, Langford Market, Wish) known for modern fashion at accessible prices. The company has stores in Texas, Louisiana, Illinois, Washington D.C. and Nevada. At its Langford Market stores, shoppers can also purchase repurposed furniture and décor.
With a vast inventory and wealth of “pickers,” the company decided to take advantage of its inventory and opened a space dedicated to outfitting your space.
Most of the items are Mid-Century, industrial or even rustic in feel, but shoppers will find very well-priced (and reupholstered) pieces that hail from local spots to estate sales. Lighting from the Spaghetti Warehouse, seats from an Atlanta theater and wall sconces-turned-light fixtures from a New Orleans bank are among the pieces I came across. But inventory changes swiftly, so what’s there today, could very well be gone tomorrow.
There are a flurry of new options in Willowbrook Mall these days. H&M recently opened and Foreign Exchange is about to (on July 31). Add Versona Accessories, a national chain making its first appearance in Houston, to the list.
Versona is along the same lines as Charming Charlie, selling wallet-pleasing jewelry, handbags, shoes, belts, scarves, hair accessories, sunglasses and gifts. The 8,000-square-foot store is across from Forever XXI in the big mall.
With so many new places to shop, it’s good to remember the stores, (especially the family-owned businesses) that have been outfitting Houstonians for years. From his store on Post Oak Boulevard, Rudy Festari dresses CEOs, professional athletes, celebrities and men who simply want to dress well for every occasion.
With a month-and-a-half of fashion’s definition of summer remaining, Festari has a fantastic selection of linen and cotton jackets that are as distinctive as they are fashionable. Unexpected details such as zippers and colorful darting add intrigue to a man’s look whether paired with denim, plaid shorts or dress pants. A Mattarazi Uomo nylon jacket that is both structured and fresh and so easy to wear is a nice alternative to a traditional look.
Festari does beautiful custom work, but you can also pop by for easy-to-wear button down shirts ($118) and oh-so-soft polo style shirts in a rainbow of hues ($98).
Just keep the calendar in mind guys because Festari says no linen or seersucker after Labor Day. Did I mention that great nylon jacket though?
One consistently good boutique with two locations (at 4048 Bellaire Blvd. and 6401 Woodway) is French Cuff. Owner Kairy-tate Barkley finds lines that appeal to a broad base of women, without diluting selection and style. I am an avid follower of her Daily Fashion Flash that builds a look and then breaks it down piece-by-piece. Equipment, Nicole Miller, Black Halo and Rebecca Minkoff are among French Cuff’s labels.
Forget picked-over piles of yesterday’s clothes at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. The annual event, which some customers plan their summer vacation around, fast-forwards to fall, placing enviable must-haves on sale for two weeks only. It's a great chance to buy that colorful on-trend winter coat, snakeskin ankle bootie, leather bomber jacket or other trend-setting fall and winter wear right now at prices up to 40 percent off.
Top brands on sale include Marc Jacobs, Rag & Bone, Calvin Klein, Stuart Weitzman, Rebecca Minkoff, Alexis Bittar, Cole Haan, Rachel Roy, Theory, Vince Camuto, John Varvatos, Boss Black and Diesel. For beauty lovers, AC, Smashbox, NARS, Bobbi Brown, La Mer, Philosophy and Kiehl’s offer limited-edition exclusives and special deals.
The sale is Friday through Aug. 5. After that, everything is regular price again.
Of course, if you can’t wrap your head around leather jackets and knee-boots in the heat of July, there’s Tootsies sale running through July 29. The store in West Ave offers savings on clothes you can wear now and into the fall, with up to 70 percent off Kelly Wearstler, Alice and Olivia, BCBG, Diane Von Furstenburg, Ella Moss, Theory, Rachel Zoe and other designers.
There's no shortage of sales this time of year, but I am partial to the ones that have a healthy selection of pieces that I can still get mileage from now and as we transition to the fall. Muse Boutique on West Alabama is one such spot with plenty of warm-weather wares priced up to 85 percent off, plus new merchandise from Roberta Freyman, Nanette Lepore and Nation.
There's a new beauty product collection that's quickly gaining traction among jet-setters and skincare fanatics alike, and Houston salon Therapy Hair Studio is the only local retailer carrying the line. Vbeaute is the creation of hedge-fund manager Julie Macklowe who, after having her cosmetics and toiletries dumped by the TSA, decided to jump into the beauty product pool. She worked with CRB High Performance Lab of Geneva, Switzerland to create the It Kit, a five-piece customizable skin care collection, including Undercover Agent, Rub Off, Evidence Eraser, Buying Time and Eye Never.
The products are refillable and moisturize, protect against wrinkles, lighten age spots, cleanse, exfoliate and smooth the delicate skin around the eyes. The kit is $165.
While we are on the subject of beauty, meet Robyn and Beth Levine, two sisters passionate about skin care. The duo created a website that gives the scoop on what works and what doesn't from two different price points. Beth is a Houstonian, so you can often find her in the drugstore aisles or combing through products at Sephora and Ulta.
When it officially launches next week, the site will allow users to enter their skin profile and receive customized information, but there is plenty of fresh information on it now.