Behind The Scenes: Treska

After being a women’s clothing store manager and owner for eighteen years, I was so excited to get to see the behind the scenes process of one of my favorite jewelry vendors – Treska.  On a recent buying trip to Dallas, Texas, my mom and I had the opportunity to tour Treska’s warehouse and get an up close perspective on the jewelry making process.  We also got to shop straight from the warehouse shelves – we were like two kids in a candy store!

The process Treska goes through to design their jewelry is meticulous and time consuming.  First they begin with inspiration.  I found this inspiration board outside the bathroom (probably because that is the place everyone would see it multiple times a day).  It was such a great example of how an idea blooms into something tangible.  Take a close look at the items included on the board.    IMG_4192You can see how it represents themes, colors and textures for a group of jewelry. This particular design is playing off earthy wood textures and the soft tans and pinks in sea shells.  What a beautiful combination that represents the soft pinks and neutrals so popular in fashion right now.   It also appears this group might have some feather accents as well.  Won’t it be fun to see the finished jewelry that arises from this inspiration board?

Even more fun than the board was meeting Treska’s chief designer.  She was a Bohemain mama, dressed in colorful cottons and a graphic tank and seemed right at home in a jewelry design office.  IMG_4207She took the time to show us some of the pieces they were currently working on and how every necklace begins in a box as a conglomeration of colors and textures that are then formed into a unique necklace.  IMG_4210

While we were in the design room, we also got to see a Treska employee doing appoxy on some pieces.  This process requires hand painting metal pieces with a cue tip to create a patina look.  As you can see in the picture, each one is done by hand.  IMG_4206

Once a design is finalized, two master copies are made.  One is then sent to China where Treska has their necklaces assembled.  A production sample is sent back, approved by Treska, and then that sample is used by the Chinese to make the individual necklaces which are then shipped to the United States.  It’s quite a lengthy process requiring Treska’s designers to work ahead.  While we were there, they were working on Spring 2018.

Outside the air conditioned design room, the warehouse sprawled.  There were rows and rows of shelves with boxes of beads and bobbles.  Readers,  I am telling you, there were hundreds of thousands of beads.  It was mind boggling.

As we made our way back, we came to more shelves with completed necklaces available for sale.  This is where all the fun began!  Up and down the isles we wandered, grabbing necklaces, earrings, and a few bracelets of beautiful Treska jewelry.  IMG_4194

In the end, we came home with a whole bag full of Treska priced with a special discount just for you!  It is out and on the floor, so you will want to hurry in to get the best selection! IMG_4258

Not All Cold Shoulder Tops Were Created Equal!

I have found my go-to cold shoulder top, and I’m so excited about it,  I wanted to share it with you!  Sympli has added a new top to their line called the Nu-glimpse top, and it is the perfect cold shoulder top!

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Nuglimpse Top By Sympli available in store or online 

Why so perfect, you ask?  Well, let me tell you!  As I have watched a myriad of women try on various shoulder exposing tops at the store, I have noticed that not all cold shoulder tops are created equal.  Some are too big in the shoulder, causing them to fit poorly on the arm or droop. Some make it impossible to wear a bra which means fiddling with a strapless bra or bandeaux (just kill me now).  Some show so much shoulder, women feel a bit naked and too exposed.  This is why I love this top from Sympli!  It has shoulder cut outs that are the perfect size, giving you the cold shoulder look, but in a way that any woman can wear.  I also love that this top does not show your bra, eliminating the hassle that so many cold shoulder tops pose. Best yet, it has a slight a-line cut so it doesn’t show any extra weight you may be carrying at the waist.

What is also amazing about the Nuglimpse top is that you get all of the other wonderful features of Sympli – no wrinkles, no fading and no stretching out.  This top will look this black and this great 5 years from now.  With Sympli, you just wash in cold water and hang to dry.  It dries wrinkle free, and you are off and running! The use of 12 oz weight fabric instead of 9 oz weight, means that the fabric drapes rather than clings to your body.  It really does look amazing on.  The fact that it is the number one selling line in our 5,000 square foot store is a testament to this.

There is the issue of price, however.  Sympli is not inexpensive.  This top retails for $124, but when you calculate cost per wear, it really is a great value.  If you just wore this top 1 time a week for a year, you would only be spending $2.58 per wear.  Given the fabric’s longevity, you will have this top for much longer than a year so the cost per wear goes down the longer you own the top.  Considering the fact that it is black, it will work back into your wardrobe easily.  Given that it is a mid-hip length hemline that pairs with any bottom, the styling opportunities are endless! That $124 doesn’t seem so costly now, does it?  That is the magic of cost per wear! Spending more on a really great item ends up costing you less than spending less and having to replace the item in six months because it has pilled, lost its shape or shrunk.  And as always, Fashion Crossroads offers a great layaway program too!

So, that’s my product review of Sympli’s Nuglimpse top.  It is my favorite cold shoulder top in my own wardrobe, so I am unashamedly recommending it to you!

What is A Shirt Dress?

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Buy this in store or online at http://Fashion-Crossroads-Inc.shoptiques.com

One of the big trends in dresses this year is the shirt dress. Although it can take a few forms, a shirt dress is an elongated shirt.

My favorite version of this style is the button down,  like the one pictured to the left.  What makes these little beauties wonderful, is you can open them up and wear them as a long vest or keep them buttoned and wear them as a dress.  The versatility of style gives you more bang for your buck.

The high low hemlines (shorter in front and longer in back) are still popular, giving these dresses some interest at the bottom.  It’s trendy right now to wear a “shoe boot” style shoe with dresses.  I’m not fond of the heaviness of an actual shoe boot with a dress, but there are many styles of open toed sandals that mimic the look of a shoe boot without feeling so bulky and weighty on the foot.  The one the model is wearing in the picture above is a good example of this.  We have similar styles in the store that accomplish this same look, like the ones pictured here from Yellowbox.  Don’t hesitate to wear suede in the summer.img_3345

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Buy this in store or online at http://Fashion-Crossroads-Inc.shoptiques.com

The other style of shirt dress is a pullover style.  Again, it looks like an elongated collared shirt, but it doesn’t open up with buttons and thereby can’t be worn as a vest.

This style is usually offered as a mini dress, making it harder for everyone to wear.  If you don’t feel comfortable wearing a short dress, don’t hesitate to add skinny ankle jeans or even leggings with this style.  It will still look just as cute.

Again, you will want to pair this style of shirt dress with a “shoe boot” sandal to keep it really trendy.  Otherwise, a great flip flop and hat could make this the perfect summer run around town look.   It would also be a wonderful vacation item, as you could use it as a dress and swimming suit cover up.

It’s snowing here today, but writing about these dresses makes me long for warm summer days.  I know they are just around the corner!  Give one of these styles a try this year.  I think you will love how you look!

How To Wear Shoe Boots and Cuffs

Yellowbox Shoe Boots

Yellowbox Shoe Boots have arrived at Fashion Crossroads!

One of the trends you won’t want to miss this season is shoe boots. You’ll find everything from utilitarian lace up styles to sexy embellished cowboy boot styles lining store shelves.  This is a great alternative to the riding boot of last season while still providing warmth and practicality on those icy winter streets.  The key shape is a lightly rounded toe which offers a slimmer silhouette without squeezing your toe or looking too boxy.  Thus, even if you choose a lace up style, your foot will still look feminine.  You can choose classic colors like black and chocolate brown or branch out into saddle brown, grey and tan.  There is no wrong choice, so just pick what you love and will work best with your wardrobe.  Wear your boots monotone by matching your pant color to to your boot or choose a contrast for a little edgier feel.  Black looks great paired with grey jeggings and grey boots work to set off a black jean.  Chocolate brown looks great against dark denim.

Any shoe trend only works well when you wear it correctly.  As with any outfit, you need to consider the overall style.  What are you going for?  Is this a casual weekend style or something you want to wear to work?  Casual looks, like those worn with jeans, pair fabulously with lace up boots.

How to wear shoe boots

Three ways to wear shoe boots this season

Consider these three pictures. The woman on the left looks sharp in her brown wedge shoe boot with a cream sock cuff.  The heel gives the boot a feminine edge but the cuff keeps it casual, giving the impression of a cotton sock peeking out and the “I just threw this on and look how great I look” vibe.  Her jeans are clean (no beat up spots) keeping the overall style a little dressier.  The woman in the middle has a black fringe midi boot paired with dark denim jeans. Again the jeans are clean. Notice too the fringe is relegated to one accessory keeping her look trendy and classy.  Going for full utilitarian, the gal on the right pairs beat up jeans with brown lace up boots and a military style bag.  The scarf keeps the look feminine, saying, “I’m tough, practical and stylish all at the same time.”  These three styles work well, showing different ways you can wear shoe boots.  What I like best about this style is it can work for any age from 20 to 60.

For work, you can pair a full short skirt with bare legs or tights and a dressier shoe boot like the black style with silver

Shoe boots and skirts

How to wear a skirt and boot together.

rhinestones from Yellowbox pictured at the top of the page.  Pencil skirts can also be worn with boots, but that look is edgier and harder to pull off. These three pictures show fashionable pairings of boots and shorter hems, including short shorts.  Any of these styles could be paired with tights for a more practical style in the winter.  My only caution here is this style is a little younger, so be careful how you put this together if you are over fifty.

Lastly, this season you will be seeing more boot cuffs and leg

How to Wear Leg Warmers  Match to the Color of Your Shoes 2warmers.  Similar to the fun boot socks of last season, the look you are trying to achieve is a sock/boot combo.  Where a boot cuff differs from a sock, however, is that you wear it over the boot.  It’s a great way to help your boot look wintery and keep your ankles warm!  This boot cuff is stylish with its silver embellishment which compliments the chain detail on the boot perfectly.  Fashion Crossroads has already received some great shoe boot styles and will be getting a fabulous selection of boot socks and boot cuffs in October – just in time for the snow.

Get inspired about these new ways to wear boots this season and give one of these trends a try!

Posting From Market – WWD Magic

Today we headed to Magic at the Sands Convention Center.  This is always the highlight of my week at market because Magic sees more young contemporary and junior buyers than the others we usually visit.  One of my top priorities while I’m there is to pay close attention to the fashion trends I see representated by all the buyers milling about.  I have learned over the years that if I see a trend worn by a large marjority of the buyers, it will make it to Casper, Wyoming.  Not every trend works its way from the coast, either the West or East, into mid America and especially into the casual, lifestyle wear driven Rocky Mountains.

I saw many, many buyers wearing the shoe boot, cropped and rolled skinny jean combo, both male and female.  I saw quite a few plaid shirts, long vests, kimonos, skinny jeans and tall boots, short jumpers, gladiator inspired shoes, and lots of beat up jeans.

Check out the floral bomber, gladiator heels, colored skinny jeans and boots.

Check out the floral bomber, gladiator heels, colored skinny jeans and boots.

This on trend market attendee is showing off his rolled skinny jeans and lace up boots with a blazer and hoodie.

This on trend market attendee is showing off his rolled skinny jeans and lace up boots with a blazer and hoodie.

These shots are candid, catching buyers doing their thing…buying and checking their phones!

I also noticed a large amount of grey- heather, dove and charcoal- from nearly every

Display highlighting the importance of grey in spring 2015 fashion

Display highlighting the importance of grey in spring 2015 fashion

vendor we visited but especially the young contemporary and junior vendors.  Between the grey trend and the still very popular cream and white vintage lace and bohemian trend, it was a struggle to find things in color.  But, have no fear, while we will definitely have a preponderance of greys and neutrals in our young contemporary department this spring, you wil also find soft florals and pastels to break it up.  It is also worth mentioning that despite the fact that the key color for 2015 is marsala, it seems it is used mostly as an accent color for spring.

Today we bought from Elan, Blu Pepper, Tea and Rose, Vocal, and Anushka.  We picked up NikiBiki and Jamierocks as two new lines for the store.  NikiBiki was recommended by a customer is similar to Tees By Tina but less expensive and in plus sizes.  They also have exceptionally cute active wear which you will be seeing in the store as well.  Jamierocks is a great new jewelry line that offers daintier, multi-layered jewelry at great prices.  Tomorrow we will see Ginger G and Lush for FC Outlet and a few other new young contemporary lines that we saw today.  Tune in tomorrow for more info!

Posting From Market – Off Price

Our first day of our week long market adventure began today at 8 a.m. and the Off Price Show at the Venetian Convention Center. The Off Price show is dedicated to offering over cut, over stock, and close out merchandise at below wholesale. The show is busy, especially on Sunday because many buyers come in one day early to hit this show before the other major shows open on Monday. Buyers arrive and go through registration, get their badge and then pass through security to gain entrance to the show.

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Once through the doors, the show consists of booth after booth, with no particular organizational method, in a very large convention center. It can be completely overwhelming to a new buyer. Fortunately, after 16 years, we have a handful of vendors we want to see and so we start by visiting each of these and crossing them off our list.

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Our first stop was Pretty Angel. This booth gets crazy busy as the day progresses and it becomes, well….a bit mobish. Buyers are all vying for a limited number of samples and sales people and they can get downright ugly. We like to avoid this bro ha ha so we get there early BEFORE the craziness begins.

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One of the things that becomes obvious quickly is what trends will be key for the season. You can spot them because you see them over and over again at booth after booth. This season it is printed leggings and palazzo pants. We stopped at Superline and ordered several great styles for FC Outlet and at Sharon Max for Fashion Crossroads.

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After a busy day of buying, we usually end the day with accessories. Today we saw Sunflower and a couple of great purse lines. It is so exciting to buy things for you and look forward to seeing you get excited about what we chose.

Better Together – Jewelry and Friends

I’m loving the layering trend with jewelry right now. We have just picked up two new jewelry lines for Fashion Crossroads that have made this an art form.

Zacasha necklaces combine delicate crystals and beads with colorful tassels and charms.  I was blessed to get to meet the designer of Zacasha at market just a few months ago. Indeed, this is one of my favorite things about attending market in Las Vegas at the Magic Apparel Show. It is not uncommon to have the designer help you buy the line.  In her decidedly French way, and using lots of hand gestures, Jennifer Belcourt recalled the story of how she came up with the line and how it has grown over the years.  After having traveled throughout Asia, she settled in Bali.  She used the traditional Balinese tassel necklace as her inspiration and began to mix techniques and materials from the various islands she had visited. and example of this is described on her website: “The island of Madura’s specialty, is necklaces with tiny knotting between each bead. Using this technique Jennifer designed necklaces made of crystals, Mala beads, fresh water pearls from the island of Lombok and lava stone beads from the volcanoes of Mt Batur in Bali and Mt Semeru in Java”(http://www.zacasha.com/#!our-story/cast).  Her necklaces symbolize good luck, peace and respect for the planet.

I am always amazed with someone who can take an idea and turn it into a company. I am always heartened, when that person is a woman!  As a buyer, I am always attracted to companies that support impoverished areas in the manufacture of their product.  Jennifer’s necklaces are not made in factories but by Indonesian artisans who traditionally work from their home and in this way provide for their families.

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Zacasha is a tassel necklace line designed to be layered.  Indeed, the more you add together, the better they look.  They are perfectly designed to wear with today’s tunic style tops and blouses and a whole lot of fun.  Be careful, however, you just might catch yourself playing with the tassels in an absent minded moment.  They are quite soft!

Another new line that is also designed to be layered is Bourbon and Boweties.  These beautiful bracelets use semi precious stones as well as agates, lava stones, polished coral, and many others.  The stones are wrapped in gold plated wire for a artistic and unique look.  Each bracelet is as distinctive as the stones in the design.  Like Zacasha necklaces, these bracelets look better together. Bourbon and Bowetie bracelets are hand made by proud southern ladies!

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And you know, that makes me think….we women are better together too.  So, when you embrace this jewelry trend this season, let it remind you to appreciate your girl friends and how each of you is unique and yet even more beautiful together.