Westside stores and boutiques opening at The Fountains at Farah

Tres Mariposas at The Fountains

Today’s retail climate is exciting, fast-changing, energizing, and sometimes challenging. Part of the challenge is that shoppers have so many choices. They can shop online or shop when they travel out of town. They can shop at brick and mortar stores, where they can choose among big-box discount stores, national department stores, or stores that are locally owned.

I don’t have to tell you which choice your friendly El Paso retailers hope you pick!

To keep the customers coming in, experimentation has become the lifeblood of small business. People have often asked me how I learned the retail business because I certainly had no retail training or experience when I started running my own store more than 30 years ago. The answer: trial and error and experimentation. Try something new; see if it works. Repeat.

An experiment in the works

A couple of months ago, I brought in a new staff member – a savvy former Farah executive — to build on our success in women’s apparel, fine jewelry, and shoes. He suggested we open a “pop-up store” on the Eastside at The Fountains at Farah.

I told him that was a really dumb idea, and left it at that.

However, the notion wouldn’t leave the back of my mind. And other staff kept telling me they liked the idea.

As you may know “pop-up shops” are temporary retail spaces that began as a trend in urban settings such as Tokyo, London, and New York City. Pop-up stores can sell anything from art to fashion to tech gadgets. These short-term stores have generated a lot of excitement and can be really creative and engaging.

But I can be really stubborn. For the last two years I have told my friend John Folmer of RJL Real Estate Consultants in El Paso, the leasing agent for Paul Foster’s Fountains retail concept, there would be no way I would ever consider having a store at The Fountains.

In fact, my husband had already told John that if I ever tried to open a second store, we would probably no longer be married because I would end up too busy too stressed!

Well, guess what: Tres Mariposas is opening a pop-up store November 1 at The Fountains at Farah. And so far my marriage is intact!

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The Fountains welcomes locals

And guess what else: other Westside boutiques apparently like the idea, too. I hear that Ella Blu, J Luxe, and Ruby Lola have committed to temporary or permanent stores at The Fountains. You’re going to have an irresistible treasure trove of beautiful, interesting local shops all in one fun shopping center.

The Fountains has been unusual in its pursuit of local specialty shops to add spice to its mix. Why do you think that is? Three guesses!

Yes, the correct answer is owner Paul Foster, the community-minded Western Refining business leader who is behind the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine, the Foster-Stevens Basketball Complex at UTEP, and the Chihuahuas baseball team partnership, to name a few of his projects.

From the outset, since even before the shopping center opened two years ago this month, Paul has pressed for local specialty store involvement and buy-in, to supplement the roster of national retailers. I now agree: what a great idea.

Soon Border-area shopping enthusiasts will have even more choices. So as the holiday season approaches, you can shop Westside stores, shop Eastside stores — just please remember to shop local stores!

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Fall trends, observations from a fashion insider

Gregor Simmons

Gregor Simmons

Last week we enjoyed hearing about current trends from a fashion insider: Gregor Simmons from New York, who has worked as an independent buying consultant for the last 20 years.

I enjoy working with experts in a variety of fields, whether it’s a management specialist or a store designer. Gregor is one of those experts who challenge us to take our business to the next level.

Each year, she speaks at the Dallas Market and other markets, but she works in only a few trend presentations at stores, so we were delighted to have her visit Tres Mariposas. She understands what most women look for when they think of trends: “They want to look good: not cutting edge, but not dated.

“Trends transcend more than six months or a season,” she says. “And trends can be interpreted in different ways that are all age-appropriate.”

Illustrating her talk with dozens of examples pulled from two long racks of clothes, she looked at what’s happening in fashion this fall:

• Stormy weather: “It’s unclear to me whether the design community had a crystal ball, a secret Farmer’s Almanac or a groundhog hidden in a bunker,” Gregor says, “but the weather certainly had a huge influence of this fall’s fashions.”

Shades of gray can be found in the sky this time of year – especially during last week’s hail storms! – but also in jackets, sweaters, tops, pants and accessories.

You’ll see a variety of soft and cozy styles that conjure up comfort and warmth, no matter what the weather conditions are outside. Warm and comfortable fall must-haves include ponchos, turtlenecks and cowls, robe coats, chunky sweaters, fur or faux fur long scarves, leather or leather-trimmed leggings and quilted accessories.

Gregor Simmons with a ‘vegan’ leather and fleece jacket.

Gregor Simmons with a ‘vegan’ leather and fleece jacket.

• Pro-sport/tomboy: Think of all of today’s styles that have been influenced by physical activity, such as yoga, bicycling, skiing and working out – and you invariably think about stretchy fabrics and functionality.

“Active wear and athletic references are powered by technical fabric,” Gregor says. “Nylon, neoprene, fleece, cotton cashmere sueded ponte, jersey and elastine – all present.”

But this trend doesn’t mean grungy sweat suits. Hoodies in luxury fabrics, bomber jackets, drawstring pants and leggings are popular, along with what is known as the “two-fer,” a crop sweater layered over a shirt combo. She showed us some nice-looking quilted vests that would be good for our weather here and that fit into this sporty trend.

• Boudoir/retro chic: This trend doesn’t mean you’re dressing for the bedroom! It refers to soft, feminine looks in satin, lace, velvet, silk charmeuse and brocades. Inspired by old Hollywood glamour and luxury, this trend includes soft or flowy dresses, blouses and jackets embellished with fringe, bows and occasionally ruffles.

Look for glamorous details, such as a jeweled or pearl-trimmed collar on a simple blouse or a fur trim on a jacket.

An embroidered, Bohemian chic jacket.

An embroidered, Bohemian chic jacket.

• Folkloric/hippie chic: “It’s a mix of Bohemian and folk with some funk,” says Gregor. “Some of these pieces are a work of art.” This is where you’ll again find lots of fringe, plus appliqués, embroidery, beading, patchwork and prints from the ‘60s and ‘70s.

Sheer print peasant blouses, with the little string tie at the neck, are back, as are long maxi-dresses.

After the fall trends presentation, attendees had the chance to chat with Gregor about such topics as which pants to wear with which tops, what women wear in different regions, and why it’s so darn hard to shop for men! Stay tuned for a future column on what Gregor has to say about trends for spring 2016.

Get insider secrets, fashion forecast at trend presentation

Trips to market in New York City are fun, exciting and adventurous. They also bring long and demanding days. Our research starts well before we step foot into a showroom.

It is my job to fill Tres Mariposas with a carefully curated assortment of trend-right, cutting-edge fashion that also fits the desires of El Paso women. But I most certainly cannot do that alone.

While giant chain stores and high-end department stores have their own buying offices, researchers and trend forecasters, small independent retailers rely on expert consultants to be on the ground for us in New York and other major cities.

It is impossible for our buyers to see every designer or vendor. That’s where a New York buying office comes in.Gregor1

For Tres Mariposas, we rely on a savvy observer of fashion and style, Gregor Simmons, and her team in New York to do the advance work and stay ahead of the curve.

Her mission is to keep a pulse on what trends and designers are performing well in the industry, forecast that forward, and tailor those findings into individual recommendations for specialty stores.

Independent buying consultants must keep an eye on the wider fashion landscape. They must be dogged in their persistence to source and search new resources. They also must have a natural instinct and talent for the aesthetics, cycles and trends of fashion.

Gregor is well known in the industry. She is regularly invited to present trend seminars to buyers at Dallas and Atlanta markets. Fortunately, Gregor is bringing her savvy to El Paso with a trend presentation this Tuesday.

Our El Paso Inc. family of readers is invited to a “lite bites” brunch and trend presentation at 11:45 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 20. To attend, all that you need to do is RSVP before 2 p.m., Monday, Oct. 19, by emailing me at nan@tresmariposas.com.

Here’s a hint of trends to be covered in Gregor’s always-dynamic style presentation:

Illusion and lace

• Major trend lifestyle categories of rocker, pro sport, boudoir and folkloric.

Feathers go wild

• Colors of the season: stormy greys, yummy taupes and caramels, and rich wines.

Lace

 

• Details and textures: destroyed denim, laser cut-outs, feathers, lace and illusion fabrics.

Fur with illusion detail

 

• Silhouettes with a modern edge: long duster sweaters, two-fers, oversized chunky sweaters.

Sounds like we’re in for a fun learning experience!

Does it give you joy? Life-changing tips, tidying up

Tidying for Joy-01

This is a perfect time to talk about a book that’s been out a while. As you organize your closet to transition from summer to fall, let’s look at “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Organizing and Decluttering” by Marie Kondo.

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Personally, I think I am already a tidy person. So only after this little book was on the bestseller list for 44 weeks did I finally decide to investigate this phenomenon.

Here’s the line that hooked me to read it: “You only do this tidying up process once.” Could this be true? The author, a famous Japanese cleaning consultant, has conducted hundreds of sold-out seminars and high-priced private consultations. She claims that no clients or students who complete the tidying up process and follow her instructions have suffered from “rebound” – reverting to their pre-training clutter and disorder. Intriguing!

The author is truly an expert in the area. Throughout the book are anecdotes about a childhood spent organizing items – hers and other people’s – at home, at school, everywhere. I’ve never heard of anyone who’s spent more time thinking about sorting, discarding and storing. This woman has studied books, analyzed theories, experimented with all kinds of techniques and models, and practiced her ideas on thousands of clients.

The result is this unusual and highly specific how-to guide. First she encourages you to find your motivation for changing old habits. That’s where the magic comes in. She gives lots of examples of how a less cluttered house can lead to a less cluttered life and a realignment of priorities.

It is a cleverly written book – rather charming, even. She suggests having a relationship with your stuff: appreciating your T-shirts as you fold them, thanking your shoes for their service as you place them by the door, finding the right place for an item to feel most comfortable.

While I could give you a summary of the tips, I think you really have to read the book to have her ideas to sink in and be infused with the “KonMari” process. It boils down to holding an item and asking yourself: “Does this item give me joy?”

I’m pretty sure the thought process that is going to help me the most is the author’s perspective on thanking an item for the joy it gave you at one point and then letting it go, regardless of why you’ve held on to it for years.

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Someone special may have given it to you, you might have worn it on a special occasion or you feel guilty that you’ve never worn it – whatever. The author says it served its purpose, even if that purpose was learning what not to buy in the future. It’s OK to get rid of it now.

While reading, I couldn’t help wonder how this process might work on other members of your household. My husband Sammy is a keeper of things. I am a “throw it away pretty quickly” person – and, then, dog gone it, often I need that item right after I throw it away. Sammy doesn’t seem to have that problem.

Last weekend I started asking Sammy, “Does that item give you joy or can I ditch it?” Sammy replied that he needs and finds joy in everything (!) he has.

I haven’t started any tidying up, but I have a friend who just finished the book and spent a whole weekend getting started. The KonMari method, which the author says can take up to six months, is all about following a sequence of discarding. You start with your off-season clothes. After years of trouble parting with clothes and accessories, my friend surprised herself, filling six garbage bags of items to give away.

As you will discover, the author is a fanatic about folding. The key is not stacking things horizontally in a drawer, but folding them to stand up vertically, so you can see everything. My friend followed the folding guidelines and was amazed at the space that opened up in her dresser!

Encouraged by her success, she went through her purses, shoes and socks: no problem. But when she gathered all 84 of her scarves and shawls, she ran into a bump.

Following instructions, she spread them all out, sorted them by material and color and then held each one and asked herself if it “sparked joy.”

When all was said and done, she could part with only two. There’s no guarantee that this method will work for all your belongings!

If you’ve read this book, I’d love to hear your feedback. Who has followed the instructions, and are you happy with the results? Is it true you never need to “tidy up” again?

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Celebrating 45 years of trends: Best of fall 2015

Fringe crossbody bag- - Photos by Eduardo MunozLast week, Tres Mariposas celebrated 45 years of fashion, friendship and fun with a Fashion’s Night Out fundraising party. We loved seeing old friends and making new ones. The guests enjoyed shopping – and we enjoyed sharing a portion of the proceeds for each purchase with the FEMAP Foundation for all the good works they do in our community on both sides of the border.

For the party, we wanted to tell this season’s style story with models wearing some of the top current trends. But first we wanted to focus on which trends seemed to be most appealing and most likely to stick around a while. Here’s what I would say are this fall’s best trends:

Ponchos with panache

Ponchos with panache

Ponchos, ruins and capes – all these wraps are practical and instantly impart a trendy, fashionable look. Variations are endless and perfect for any occasion – casual and sporty to throw over denim, detailed with fringe or fashion accents, fun furs for socializing or bold prints. Ponchos are easy layering, instant chic and great for any body type. Choose your favorite for mixing and matching with your essentials.

Leather, suede, fur

Fur VestReal or faux furs and leathers starred on almost every designer’s fall runway. You will see this trend in a statement piece, such as a knockout jacket, or a design detail on a handbag. These days, designers are mixing fabrics and leathers for interesting textural combinations in a lot of great pants, blouses and jackets. By the way, leather or “pleather” leggings are a must.

Fringe

Fringe crossbody bagFringeSwinging and swaying from every possible surface, tasseled trims offer an alternative route into this season’s retro mood. Women can’t get enough of fringe and tassels. This embellishment offers a great vibe – part hippie and part luxury – and adorns everything from handbags, shoes and boots to skirts, dresses, vests, you name it. Fringe communicates fun, channeling a rock star, the bohemian life, Vegas showgirls or Wild West chic.

The mini bag

Mimn bagGood things come in small packages. Vogue calls it the “mini-me movement.” Virtually everyone from Fendi to Tory Burch has this latest must-have. Micro purses are perfect for social occasions where you just need your phone, credit card and keys. No one needs to be a pack mule with a heavy oversized bag all the time. These bags are fun and flirty and downright adorable.

Boots

Over-the-knee boots, called OTKs, are making the ultimate style statement. Close on their heels are knee-high boots, booties, chunky rugged boots, platforms, and low-heeled flat boots and wedge styles. Some are downright works of art, with laser-cut patterns, fringe, delicate lace-up designs and feminine high heels.

In vest

Not the discreet underpinning of the past, the vest takes center stage for fall as the ideal piece in long and lean silhouettes. Call it a long vest, call it a gilet, call it a sleeveless jacket – whatever you call it, the menswear-inspired piece is the ideal item to add to your wardrobe for transitioning to fall. It will work well into the season, especially in that fickle early fall weather when it’s not quite hot, not quite sweater weather. It’s polished enough to take you into an important meeting at work and cool enough to wear over a summer dress for after-work cocktails.

Cross body bag

mini bag2Both chic and practical, long-strapped bags are making a major comeback this season. Not only is this style functional, theft-resistant and hands-free, it looks super chic slung across an equally stylish outfit. You’ll see a variety of bags worn across the body, including mini bags, satchels, messenger bags or the classic clutch.

What’s great about this fall’s trends is their versatility. These are styles that look good on any age and body type. Look for them on your next shopping trip and be ready to rock these new styles!

UTEP Football and Arkansas Family Roots

UTEP v. ArkansasI don’t tell just everyone that I grew up in Arkansas. After all, I am supposed to be a fashion icon, not a hillbilly with a country drawl and a hankering for moonshine!

Nevertheless, I was born in Arkansas, have lots of family history in Arkansas, and moved to El Paso when I was 12.

While I don’t remember my first Arkansas football game, I’m pretty sure my dad took me when I was just an infant. My dad, granddad, aunts, uncles and sister are all University of Arkansas graduates. I learned early to “call the hogs,” which is an obnoxious cheer for the Arkansas Razorbacks.

Long story short, my hubby, Dr. Sam Paredes, is a big UTEP fan. He “claims” – although this may be a little self-serving – that he likes to choose a UTEP football opponent venue each year that will be a good place for me to visit.

This year he decided it would be good for me to connect with my Arkansas heritage, so we went to the season opener against the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.

Fayetteville used to be a small college town. Now it is a key part of the Northwest Arkansas corridor, which includes Bentonville, Rogers and other towns. Northwest Arkansas doubled in population between the 1990 and 2010!

Growth has been driven by Fortune 500 corporations: Walmart Stores, J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Tyson Foods, as well as over 1,300 suppliers and vendors drawn to the region by these giant businesses. The region has also seen significant investment in amenities, including the fantastic Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, built by Alice Walton, one of Sam Walton’s children.

Accompanying the UTEP football team to an out-of-town game is exciting. It is mind-boggling just how much preparation goes into each trip.

We know the coaches and players practice, strategize and work hard toward winning each game, but few people know just how much work it takes to plan transportation, lodging, meals, training facilities, medical support, media opportunities, equipment transport and more. Whew!

You’ll always see some die-hard UTEP football fans accompanying the team to away games. It is heart-warming to see the passion and dedication, no matter win or lose, of players, staff and fans.

It was so fun to see the police escorts meeting the team plane at the airport. We boarded team buses and we felt like big celebrities as police cleared traffic, red lights flashing, and led us to town!

After we arrived Friday afternoon, Sammy and I walked the campus. A University of Arkansas tradition is that every graduate’s name is etched into a concrete sidewalk that winds around campus.

I had fun finding the names of my grandfather and his sisters in front of Old Main in the graduating classes of 1917 to 1922. The next generation of family graduates came in the 1940s, and the most recent was in 1981. It was like a treasure hunt!

Who knows where we might watch UTEP in the future, but I loved this trip – even if our Miners didn’t win!

Making music and fashion: Laura Tate Goldman

BlogLaura Tate Goldman is a remarkable woman full of positive energy and charisma, both musical and acting talent, and commitment to humanitarian and educational causes in El Paso.

Oh, and this former Junior League president and co-chair of the 2014 UTEP Centennial Commission also has a great sense of style and always looks amazing!

Laura Tate just released her newest album, “I Must Be Dreaming,” a collection of jazz, blues, country and rock ‘n’ roll. When I saw her recently, she mentioned that she is overwhelmed by the attention and airplay her album is getting worldwide.

Born in Dallas, Laura started singing and acting at the age of 9. After studying music and theater at the University of North Texas, she traveled the country with a number of theatrical companies before settling in Los Angeles to sing and act in stage productions as well as on television. She also began a career in film production, eventually producing an award-winning documentary.

Life takes interesting twists and turns. She is now very happily married to attorney Merton Goldman, but she had moved to El Paso from Nashville with a previous husband. She shared with me that in that marriage, she became a victim of domestic violence.

“I never believed it could possibly happen to me,” she said. “But I learned that domestic violence knows no social or economic boundaries.”

As anyone familiar with this problem knows, getting free takes an enormous amount of courage and work. This is one courageous woman. Laura is open about her experience so she can help other women. It makes you think: Here’s a smart, beautiful, accomplished woman with a great sense of humor, and yet this happened to her.

As she got through this tumultuous period, she asked herself: “What can I do to feel better about me?” She decided to finish her college education and enrolled at UTEP, completing both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees. She planned to go back to Los Angeles – but then she got sidetracked, in a good way: she met Merton, a native El Pasoan.

She recalls that she had “gone mute” during this difficult time. “Then I started singing again,” she says. “Merton gave me back my voice and self-esteem.”

As I write this column I am listening to the new album, her third in about three years. Honestly, I am not concentrating very well on writing at the moment, because I am enjoying the music so much. The album, featuring the original songs of her friend Mel Harker, is a fantastic collection. I think my personal favorite is “No Place to Hide.”

As music reviewer Bill Wilson says, “This is the perfect album to put in the player, open a bottle of your favorite wine and snuggle with that favorite loved one.” A review on The Jazz Chill Blogspot says, “There is a spark in Laura’s violet blue eyes that seems to say, ‘I’m living my life on my own terms….with love and laughter and passion.”

This new album has generated so much interest that Laura is booked to perform at The Mint in Hollywood, Bogies in West Lake Village and Herb Alpert’s Vibrato Grill Jazz Club, also in LA.

Where do fashion and style fit into the makeup of this amazing woman? The answer is family heritage. Laura’s grandmother was the very first buyer at Neiman Marcus. Laura says her mother, who is 93 and lives in Dallas, still dresses to the nines every single day. Laura remembers that her mother made sure that her daughters never left the house without their lipstick and high heels. Because of that, she says she has always been conscious of wanting to look nice and keep up with trends.

Laura Tate

A few of Laura Tate’s fashion passions:

• Black. “Black works no matter where you are or what you are doing. You can dress it up or down.”

• Funky shoes

• Wearing multiple interesting bracelets

• Leggings and fun tops

• Pearls

To watch Laura’s music videos or download tracks from her three albums, visit www.lauratategoldman.com. You can also order “I Must Be Dreaming” and “Songs from My Suitcase” CDs online at www.cdbaby.com.

Fun at Market: Good times in NYC and Dallas

DallasNYC

I’ve been on the go lately and have had an unusually fun time seeing what’s new and exciting at market.

Two weeks ago I was in New York, combining pleasure with work. My husband Sammy and I went a couple of days early for a Broadway play, great dining, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and lunch with some El Pasoans transplanted to New York. Nothing beats experiencing all the best of New York.

Then last week, I was in Dallas for a couple of days. I don’t go to every market with our buyers, but I am especially drawn to Dallas because of the information we gather as members of the “prestigious Retail Advisory Board, selected by Dallas Market Center management and exhibitors to provide valuable feedback on the industry and how markets can better serve retailers.”

While some claim this is a “prestigious board,” the real reason for attendance is to reconnect and laugh with longtime industry friends, have a great meal with wine and see what tips we can gather from our retail peers about hot sellers and innovative practices.

Patty and Bobbie

Among those friends from around the Southwest is Patty Hoffpauir, owner of The Garden Room in Austin, who thought it was cute to give me bunny ears in a photo with the dinner’s special guest, Rawlins Gilliland! By the way, when you are in Austin, do stop by The Garden Room, which is a wonderful women’s boutique.

This board meeting didn’t fail to entertain. The Market Center had invited Gilliland to share his insights on this year’s holiday gift items. Gilliland scours the market so he can share his finds with retailers on the wonderful private tours he leads through the various vendors.Nan, Rawlins and devilish Patty

Gilliland is an interesting guy. He started his retail career with Neiman Marcus where he was named top salesperson and eventually earned the title of National Director of Sales and Product. He helped create and direct Neiman’s amazing personal shopping program. Since 1999, he has been a consultant to the wholesale and retail industry, specializing in market buying and sourcing for specialty stores and small businesses.

Nan and Rawlins

Gilliland is also a natural entertainer, humorist, philosopher, poet and National Public Radio commentator.

“Rawlins Gilliland and his stories are one of a kind!” says Jim Gold, president of Neiman Marcus.

Needless to say, Tres Mariposas buyer Bobbie Baldridge and I had a thoroughly fun evening at our Retail Advisory Board meeting.

We did pick up plenty of suggestion of products from Gilliland and other retailers that might be great holiday gift items.

The part of buying trips that I rarely talk about is the products we don’t buy. Part of the joy of being a buyer is the thrill of the hunt. I will go check out just about any tip, even though some explorations lead to groan-worthy products. Even though they may be bestsellers for some, these are items you won’t find at Tres Mariposas this year:

• A birdhouse that looked like a miniature Airstream style RV complete with 1950s decor and porch

• Giant Christmas ornaments made with wishbones

• Lit Coolers, for campers who need their ice chests complete with interior lights

• Bling-A-Go-Go, t-shirts that can be customized

That last one sounded so bad that Bobbie refused to go with me to check it out. Of course, she was right and Bling-A-Go-Go wasn’t for Tres.

A few holiday gifts that you can look forward to seeing:

• Jeweled evening bags in Art Deco patterns

• Limited edition individually hand-crafted fashion jewelry with Egyptian themes.

• Italian Renaissance-style candles with domes

In future columns, I’ll be sharing with you some of our observations about the styles and trends we saw in both New York and Dallas. We’ll also be giving you some ideas that might inspire “the thrill of the hunt” in your own clothes shopping this fall!

Through the Hoops: Earrings Can Make Your Style

What woman does not have a whole variety of hoop earrings in her jewelry box? It’s safe to say that the earring that has always been in style will definitely be the hoop. From ancient times to today, an infinite variety of hoop earrings have been worn and hoops are still one of the most wearable pieces of jewelry.

Think about it: The different elements that a jewelry designer can play with in a hoop earring are endless. Among those variables are the size, the thickness, the metal or other material, the shape – circle, oval, tear-drop and so on – the accessories dangling from it and the huge variety of colors, sizes and shapes of the stones.

The most sought-after earring with stones is the diamond hoop, with one or two rows of diamonds sparkling on the outside of the hoop. Then you also have the trendy inside-out diamond hoop with diamonds on the outside on the front of the hoop, and on the inside of the back of the hoop.

No matter what your chose, hoop earrings can be worn for day or night, for fun or formal. They go with any outfit and any hairstyle. Earring size will vary, depending on your mood and the occasion. Large hoops – more than a couple of inches in diameter – can provide a bold, playful statement, for sure. Small hoops can be feminine and even dainty.

diana

Some celebrities are even known for their hoop earrings. Princess Diana was seen in hoop earrings in many photographs, and Jennifer Lopez is known for wearing big hoops. Who can forget Oprah Winfrey’s big diamond hoops? When customers walk into a jewelry store asking for a J-Lo hoop or the Oprah diamond hoop, salespeople immediately know what they’re talking about.oprah

jennifer

Hoops are everywhere, from Harry Winston catalogs to top-10 lists of mistake-proof items every woman should own. Today the hoop is evolving into something that can transform your jewelry wardrobe into endless possibilities with new charms and interchangeable options.

Designer Jude Frances has certainly played with the evolution of hoops, with updated oval shapes and ways to decorate hoops to showcase your individuality and creativity. The latest trend is to transform your hoops even further into an elegant evening look with the addition of a “frame” hanging from the hoop to accentuate the dangling charms.

Whether you are planning a play date at the zoo or going to a glamorous gala, the hoop will always be a great choice. Now’s the time to update your earring wardrobe and explore new options for this perennial favorite.

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Designer Trina Turk: Cool and on Trend

Having a long relationship with a design house can pay off with extra benefits, like the surprise we received recently from Trina Turk, that iconic lifestyle brand that’s perfect for our region.
The designer’s collections have been successful at Tres Mariposas for many years and we were thrilled when they sent us a delightful bonus addition to regular shipment: a fun package of popular pieces from their pre-fall collection.

We’re holding a special two-week Trina Turk trunk show where you can buy these limited bonus items on the spot. Women love the fresh Trina Turk look, which celebrates cool and casual “California modernism,” as Trina calls it.
Founded in 1995 by Trina and her husband, Jonathan Skow, a stylist who became an expert photographer, the company has a consistent appeal that hasn’t changed in 20 years. Trina Turk’s success involves the best of classic American design, yet staying on trend.

I thought about why Trina Turk has been successful at Tres Mariposas for a sustained period of time, and here are a few reasons:

Trina Turk’s fuchsia lace skirt

Trina Turk’s fuchsia lace skirt

• Color. Trina Turk’s line consistently includes bright colors. El Paso women always want color. When we’re shopping the fashion markets, finding enough color is always a challenge and Trina Turk offers great options.

Zigzag print dress

Zigzag print dress

• Prints. Women in El Paso and Juárez seem to want clothing that is interesting, energizing and visually engaging. That means that many women find solid color apparel a bit lackluster. Vibrant patterns are part of Trina’s DNA.

Fuchsia romper

Fuchsia romper

• Youthful styling that fits. It’s easy to find youthful-looking apparel. But youthful-looking outfits that look good on a normal body? That’s another story. Trina gets it right. Her fit is relaxed and works for a women of a wide age range.

Over the years, I’ve learned a bit about Trina. I find it interesting that Trina’s mom taught her how to sew when she was 11. Her mother was a creative seamstress who showed her how to modify a pattern and make it her own style.
“In the old days of home sewing, you basically bought a pattern and made the style as it was pictured,” Trina recalls on her website. “But my mother showed me how you could change the style. That lit a light bulb in my head.” The idea led Trina to launch her namesake brand in her apartment’s spare bedroom in 1995.

Amazingly, Trina has been successful for 20 years – but she didn’t start off with a business plan or manufacturing experience. Sometimes it seems that so many young women – including every other job applicant who comes into Tres – aspire to be successful fashion designers. Most have no idea what it really takes.

“A challenge I faced was naiveté: not really knowing what I was getting myself into,” Trina Turk says. “I never did a business plan and had I done one, I would have scared myself out of starting, because the idea of starting an apparel company from the ground up is a daunting proposition. But I was on a mission to do it so I thought ‘I’ll just do this!’”

To help the Trina Turk look come alive for this column, Eduardo Munoz, who does our social media photography, did his magic. Eduardo has a “day job” at BMW of El Paso, but he’s also a very talented photographer. With the rise of social media, many retailers post to Facebook, Instagram and so forth. This has created a new cottage industry and given a platform to many amazing photographic artists. I am really appreciative of Eduardo’s talent.

The model, Keri Smithers, is another talented young person. Keri works almost behind the scenes as an assistant in the Tres Mariposas fine jewelry department. She has also been a great model for our social media photography, another new role prompted by digital marketing. She is slender, sweet, unpretentious – and an natural fashion model. If we take a photo of five models in the same outfit, photographs of Keri will invariably look the best. She is not a traditional “glamour girl,” but it’s as if she has a secret magic. I’m also really appreciative of Keri and her talent.

Here are some of Eduardo’s pictures of Keri in typical Trina Turk styles, including “the romper,” basically a jumpsuit that’s short instead of full-length, and lace that’s young and hip. As you know, prints have their own fashion cycles, and zigzags are in. These prints can be bold and bright – it just takes the right attitude to wear this on-trend look!