In the age of capsule wardrobes and minimalism, there’s a push to hone in on specific stylish staples while maintaining a clutter-free closet. Selecting those splurge-worthy must-haves can be confusing, which is exactly why we turned to Atlanta’s fashion experts, area boutique owners. Today, boutique owners from around the city help us decide what is worth our big bucks, and what we should be saving our hard-earned pennies on. By the end of it, you’ll be armed with not only the knowledge you need, but one fabulous shopping list to get you through this season and beyond.
Abbey Glass, owner of Abbey Glass in Midtown
SAVE: Abbey recommends saving on those funky seasonal trends. “One item I usually save on is anything very trendy for the season. If I’m experimenting with a new shape, like a cropped flare pant or a bright hue that may not last in my wardrobe forever, I tend to shop these styles on sale or find them at a designer consignment shop.”
SPLURGE: However, when it comes to splurging, she has some great advice. It’s all about timelessness. She says, “Deciding when to splurge is all about asking yourself ‘Will this live in my wardrobe for at least the next 20 years?’ If I can see a classic piece taking me from my late 20s to late 40s, it’s worth every penny. This ethos is part of the Abbey Glass brand identity, and my mission is to design classic, timeless pieces with a creative flair that women will love forever. Our lambskin Rowan top or our Smith cape are perfect examples of investment pieces that will withstand the test of time.”
Ashley Collins, owner of Frolic Boutique in Buckhead (2 locations)
SPLURGE: As you start stocking your fall closets, Ashley Collins, owner of Frolic Boutique, recommends keeping an eye out for cashmere. “Cashmere be worn as a layer piece or even as a coat in our warmer Southern climate, and they tend to be more classic and timeless, therefore worth the investment if you take good care of them.”
SAVE: When you style your cashmere, think about the high-low rule, and pair your high-end cashmere with costume jewelry. Ashley says, “A necklace is certainly something that could be worth spending a lot of money on if it a classic piece that can be worn for years.”
Cindy Hyman, owner of River Mint Finery in Buckhead
SPLURGE: It should come as no surprise that Cindy Hyman, owner of Buckhead’s River Mint Finery and Avindy jewelry designer, says there’s nothing quite like spending a little bit more on a show-stopping accessory. “Splurge on an accessory that people will swoon over,” she says. “A beautiful handbag like a Clare V tote, an Avindy sapphire choker, a handwoven wool scarf by Epice, or a great pair of Coclico booties” are all great choices.
SAVE: To balance a big accessory purchase, Cindy says you can save on denim. “I think you can buy a great pair of jeans without spending hundreds of dollars. Levi’s are coming to River Mint Finery this fall!”
Ginger Howard, owner of Ginger Howard Selections in Buckhead
SAVE: With over 16 years in business under her belt, Ginger Howard of Ginger Howard Selections knows a thing or two about helping women select items for their wardrobes. She says it’s important to be smart when it comes to shopping, especially with regard to jewelry. “Save on pieces that are trendy and won’t be in style forever. It is this case this season [with] statement earrings. I love handmade in NYC earrings by Yochi.”
SPLURGE: However, Ginger says to pull out all the stops for splurge-worthy leather items. “One item I say to splurge on is a great pair of black leather pants. They never go out of style. I have a pair I have had for over 20 years!” Shop the look at Ginger Howard Selections with their faux leather pants from Tyler Boe.
Mona Ariza, owner of Hand in Pocket in Smyrna
SPLURGE: Hand in Pocket owner Mona Ariza explains if there is one item to splurge on, it’s jeans. “High-quality denim is totally worth the price tag,” Mona says.“They are practically indestructible, and you really get your money’s worth considering how much you wear them.” She does advise making an intentional purchase, though. “If you skip the micro trends, like frayed hems and embroidery, and opt for a classic skinny in a dark wash, it will literally never go out of style.”
SAVE: Where does she recommend saving? Jewelry. “In my opinion there is no need to spend hundreds in this category. Jewelry is the final touch that ties an outfit together, and you can do so very affordably. If you spend $20 on a pair of fun earrings, you’re not going to stress about getting your money’s worth out of them by wearing them every day.” Thank you for the sage (and true!) advice, Mona!
Sabrina Davis, owner of Range Boutique in Buckhead
SAVE: What girl can deny a great pair of designer shoes? Not us! Range owner Sabrina Davis says you can have your shoes and wear them too, just be a savvy shopper. “I always save on designer shoes, especially dressy ones, because usually they have great sales post-season, and the trend lasts beyond just one season.”
SPLURGE: Of course with a great pair of designer shoes, you need an equally great pair of jeans, and that’s where Sabrina says it’s time for a splurge. “I think splurging on a great-fitting pair of jeans is definitely worth it because jeans are a staple, and I wear them a ton. The cost per use becomes exceptionally lower the more someone wears a pair, so I say break them in to perfection, and feel like you’re getting the best bang for your buck.” In Sabrina’s eyes, jeans are the gift that keeps on giving.
Terri Hill, owner of Dakota J’s in Virginia-Highland
SAVE: Dakota J’s in trendy Virginia-Highland is a one-stop shop for the latest in fashion and accessories in one of Atlanta’s most distinctive neighborhoods. Owner Terri Hill says that if you’re looking to pinch pennies, embrace layers and save on your bras. “A Coobie bra is $22 and acts like a half tank top for low-cut tops and blouses. It’s a great layering piece.”
SPLURGE: Alternatively, Terri says you can’t go wrong by splurging on a blazer. “This blazer from Free People is $198. It can take you from day to night. Pair it with black dress slacks and wear it to the office, or pair it with jeans and t-shirt and wear it casually.” A blazer is a staple that can carry you throughout multiple seasons and will never go out of style.
Whether you’re choosing to save on denim or designer shoes or splurge on cashmere or a handbag, these boutique owners have your back. Visit any of their stores for more advice on stocking your closet this fall and beyond!
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