If Duet, Blake Paxton’s contemporary womenswear boutique on Nashville’s West End Avenue, feels like the fabulous closet of that one friend or family member with impeccable taste, that’s because she first discovered her passion for fashion amid the racks of her great-grandmother’s well-curated closet. “Growing up, my great-grandmother lived with us, and she kept everything — all her clothes, hats, shoes, and jewelry,” Blake says. “She had such wonderful pieces and taste.” And though Blake grew up in a small town before online shopping brought big-city style to every rural community in America in earnest, she never lacked for options or inspiration. “We were lucky enough to have a great specialty shop [where I grew up],” she says. “I loved shopping there because they always made it such a special experience. As I got older, I used fashion to express myself and articulate who I wanted to be.”
When Blake, who has put in hours on the floor for several other Nashville boutiques, decided to take the leap and open Duet two years ago, she set out to deliver that same level of relationship-based service and customizable style to every client no matter her age, shape, or size. It’s the kind of experience you can’t get in front of a computer screen. “I strive to make Duet a really friendly and inviting atmosphere,” she says. “One of my main missions is to make each customer who walks through my doors feel their absolute best, whether she’s an attorney going to court who needs that perfect-fitting power suit, or a stay-at-home mom who wants to jazz up her yoga pants. Our job is to help you look and feel like the best version of you.”
Blake wants you to have some fun doing it, too! The elegant 4,000-square-foot shop is feminine with a few modern French touches, but Duet feels playful, too. To that end, Blake added whimsical elements like the wild lip-stamped wallpaper in the changing rooms — one of her favorite places in the whole store.
To stock Duet’s fresh, eclectic mix of clothes, shoes, unique jewelry, and other accessories, Blake travels to markets in Atlanta and New York several times a year, but she’s always on the hunt for new designers, especially those who don’t already have a presence in Nashville. Even an ordinary trip out for coffee can yield surprising discoveries. “I’m not afraid to stop someone on the street if I see something I love and talk to them about their clothes,” she says.
At Duet, shop for easy-to-layer wardrobe staples with understated elegance from Lilla P, a global lifestyle brand out of New York City founded by a Charleston, South Carolina native. Or scoop up uber-soft, winter-ready sweaters from 360 Cashmere. You’ll also find Badgley Mischka party dresses for every occasion. Fashion is a fluid thing, which means Blake (and, by extension, Duet’s inventory) is constantly energized by new clothing companies and trends. Currently, she’s digging Canadian and German brands like Luisa Cerano. “The fit and quality are really exceptional,” she says. Blake’s steady source of inspiration, though, is her customers. “I enjoy working with so many different women,” she says. “We’ve only been open for two years, and I have met some of the neatest women. They are the reason for what we do at Duet.”
Duet is located at 2926 West End Ave., Nashville, TN 37203. Learn more at shopduetnashville.com.
This article is sponsored by Duet. All photography by Leila Grossman.