It's a new year of new stores and luxuries galore. If you aren't suited up in fleece-lined tights and reek of Moonshine cologne, you just aren't doing it right...
Prepare to be surprised at Hello Again Luxury Consignment and Samples on 28th Street (pictured, right). The store's philosophy forgoes merchandising by size and inventory and focuses on collections. "We force the customer to spend time and look through things. We initiate creativity," Owner Patrick Killeen said. The "contemporary, friendly and intriguing" store offers both women's and men's clothing, but there's considerably more luxury consignment for the man. (About time, right?) The breakdown is this: luxury consignment featuring higher-end boutique labels such as Prada, Cole Haan, True Religion and Ferragamo. The samples part means the store acquires salesman samples (in great shape and properly stored for show) or brand new inventory from other stores that overbought or have dropped a line from their selections. The Hello Again shopper has brand-name awareness and sophistication according to Killeen, who mentions that besides clothing, you can find scarves, belts, wallets, shoes, luggage, socks, ties, gift items, items for the home, artwork and handmade jewelry. The alternative to full price comes with perks including gift-wrapping, free local delivery and a referral program to earn store credit. Check out brand new, lightly worn or vintage items. "Everything can preach Hello Again as a way to resurface or reemerge into the market."
From posts about ripped denim, burger cupcakes and your inner hippie, blogger Kristin Reynolds lovingly packs her blog Everything's Always Sunny with fashion, positive attitudes and a little holistic health. "I kind of just throw on whatever mood I'm feeling that day," said Reynolds, whose organic approach to blogging has her gleaning day-to-day inspiration, which can be found in her 5 Things postings consisting of simple pleasures that make her happy. And happy is where it's at as the blog's impetus comes from not just looking good, but feeling good about yourself. Reynolds went through a dramatic weight loss journey that she credits to not just exercise and eating right but about how she looked at herself and positive affirmations. So how does she like to look? You'll catch her in a go-to look of leggings and an oversized sweater. "It's flattering on everyone." She likes the ensemble with a big chunky scarf and boots, but throws in the golden rule when it comes to proportions: "Loose on top, tight on bottom or vice versa." She's studying bioenergetic synchronization technique and thinks, "visualizing is so important." It's about feeling good inside and out. Goodbye, clouds. Hello, sunny outlook.
LUXURY ALERT! Word on the street is fleece-lined tights are hot. Muskegon's Lee & Birch's General Manager Rochelle Johnson owns a pair and she tells us pretty much every employee does too. Get yours in black or charcoal gray. "They're versatile and can be paired with a dress or a long sweater and boots to look super casual." Hit up Lee & Birch's two locations in Grand Rapids and Muskegon for the Plush brand fleece-lined leggings and tights in full foot or footless options.
The Breton Village Shopping Center just got schooled in accessories. The new store Bag, Bangle & Bling is a jewelry and accessory lover's idea of a good time. From scarves, handbags, bracelets, earrings, necklaces, watches and hair accessories, this store is for the girl that follows fashion. "We have different themes," Owner Rebecca Wierda said. "We have earthy and tribal and a more classic area, color and then we have the rock and roll leather and bling looks." The store is stocked from shopping excursions in New York, Dallas and Chicago and items aren't bought in multiples, but singles for an only-you-own-it look. Wierda believes every woman should have those perfect pieces in their closet that you can have fun playing with every day. Stop in for warm-weather gear such as mittens, hats, texting gloves and knit hats with ear bud holders. Oh, and a little owl ring that has a poof of fur on it. "It's so crazy adorable."
Look for a big sale in January, possibly leading into February at A.K. Rikk's. Some of the best clothing and hard-to-find brands in Grand Rapids are going to be on sale. Missing out on this sale means missing out on fabulous clothing at scandalous prices. While there, sniff out a cheeky product that's getting a lot of attention: Moonshine, a gentleman's cologne. The elusive fragrance is only sold in five locations and after showing up in Southern Living, it's become a hot commodity. "It has a very clean, musky pine sent to it," said Matt Sova, resident fashion muse. "Very woodsy." Ooh, mama likes...
Photo: Missy Black