The Strause family is well known in the business world of Charlotte. The family's retail endeavors have succeeded since the Deb Shop opened in the mid-50's. Julies Clothing stores opened successfully more than 40 years ago, and the family continues to find a way to take their brand of fashionable and affordable to new levels.
Five years ago Ivy and Leo opened in Founder's Hall. Owner Stephanie Strause told me they knew they were on to something opening day, "It was just so busy we knew people wanted this." The niche Ivy and Leo caters to is the younger shopper who wants to stay on trend but not spend an entire paycheck on a dress.
"You really don't want to spend a fortune to be on a trend. It's just that - trendy, you won't wear it for five years," Stephanie told me. They keep their fashions current and their prices low as I discovered at the store at the Specialty Shops on Morrison Boulevard.
"We wanted to open the Ivy and Leo and have just a younger trendy just fun store but still keep the Julie's prices that people love," Strause says of the stores, named lovingly after her two rescue dogs, Ivy and Leo!
The stores are thriving, a new boutique, the sixth, just opened in Columbia South Carolina. When I ask Stephanie to give me the three biggest trends she's seen at market this year. She said it was easy.
First prints are HUGE! She says everyone should own a nice print dress. If you purchase one now, add some tights and belt it so you can wear before it gets warm. Chevron prints are popular, "We cannot keep this dress in our stores, it keeps selling out," she told me referring to a black and white chevron dress. You will also see plenty of floral prints, as well as tribal inspired patterns.
Lace is back with a twist. It's not your grandmother's lace, I found shorts in lace, dresses, tops and the colors are bright and cheerful. Strause says a little bit of lace goes a long way, "Lace always comes and goes but this year it's big and in all the pastel colors. A lace shirt, she points out, can be worn with skinny jeans on the weekend, put it on with a jacket and skirt for work.
Once again this year, accessories are on trend, the bigger the bolder, the brighter the better. But Stephanie says it's important if your scarf of necklace is a big statement piece, let it speak for itself. Wear it with something simpler. When I asked how many trends we can sport at once, she laughed and said some women can really carry it off. But as she pointed out, no need to overdue any of the trends, a couple of key pieces added your existing wardrobe will go a long way in making your spring wardrobe feel fresh and on trend.
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