California dreamin': New boutiques channel LA vibe
There are a new slew of West Coast style stops in this Third Coast city. Carrie Ann and Lola G boutiques are importing LA looks just in time for spring, introducing casual, colorful and affordable options for day and night.
Two doors down from Crave Cupcakes, is another sweet spot called Carrie Ann. Named for owner Carrie Ann Sanders, the boutique caters to women and their pups who like their carefree styles to have that extra something special. After graduating from The Fashion Institute of Design Merchandising in Los Angeles and working in the style scene for two years, Sanders moved back to Houston and the pieces quickly fell into place for her eco and pet-friendly boutique in Uptown Park.
“I knew I always wanted to open a store and broaden women’s vision and passion,” Sanders said. “This is a very California style. It’s little edgier, but there’s still something for everyone,” Sanders said.
Two-legged shoppers will find maxi dresses under $100, Matt & Nat vegan handbags, Paige Premium denim and an excellent selection of Celilia de Bucourt tops, vests and dresses. A cotton bolero vest ($190) with chain fringes and antique metal sequin embroidery can take a tank and jeans for a night out in a snap. Many of the Celilia de Bucourt items mix the tough with a boho sweet edge. Make sure and check out Carrie Ann’s accessories, especially the brown leather obi style belt ($147) by Brave Beltworks that can be worn many ways.
The only thing Sanders loves more than fashion is her three-and-half pound Yorkie named Oliver. His influence is evident from the ground up.
“The floors are eco-friendly and don’t contain chemicals, so it’s not bad for the dogs who come in the store and happen to lick the floor,” Sanders said. Follow the little gold paw prints to the four-legged shopping section and there find Dog in the Closet apparel, all-natural dog treats that look good enough for humans to eat and personalized dog bowls.
The feel of the store is chicly organic and the clothes have an extra bit of rock and roll to them. What’s worn on Melrose Ave and Robertson Boulevard could easily be slipped on by locals.
“I want women to find something they wouldn’t normally wear,” Sanders said.
Houston native and LA veteran Gisela Velarde has also set her sights on the chic Houston set at her Lola G Boutique tucked away on Persa. After a very successful stint in LaLa Land with her own T-shirt line and celebrity connections (she collaborated with Nicole Richie and Lindsay Lohan was a fan) the sagging California economy was zapping the fun and profit right out of Velarde.
She modeled her Lola G boutique after a successful shop in Beverly Hills that despite the economy, was always busy and profitable.
“Girls would come in every week to see what was new and because it was such a great price point, they could buy a top one day and a dress a few days later,” Velarde said. “That’s what this is; a boutique with quality stylish clothing at great price points.”
There’s color everywhere from the cocktail dresses (the most expensive I saw was $118) to the tops (most were $42 or less) and the on-trend leggings that look as though the back pockets have been spray-painted on. An entire wall of jewelry, much of it delicate and perfect for layering, greets shoppers and Velarde stocks undercover necessities so women can avoid wardrobe malfunctions. Also, act like a giirl in-the-know and head to door with a 2 above it, the door with the one is locked.
“I wanted to bring some LA style to Houston and once something is gone, it’s gone,” Velarde said. “But there’s always something new coming in next."