I never used to shop at boutiques, even for a special occasion like New Years Eve. The town where I grew up was sadly devoid of chic independent locales, forcing us instead to frequent Fashion Square Mall and select our apparel from the racks of mass-produced merchandise. I wasn’t bummed about it at that time- the mall was THE place to be and be seen, and if you didn’t have the latest bling from Claire’s or boot cut jeans from Express you were OUT, totally Auf Wiedersehen.
In high school, I eventually left the sartorial security of the mall and hit up thrift stores (Goodwill was my only local option) and added slightly moth-eaten wool sweaters and retro 70s track suit jackets to the mix. In college, I nabbed a faux fur from the patchouli-scented section of an antique shop to add a little sophisticated style to my cheap and slightly cheerful Charlotte Ruse rotation.
Eventually I moved to Chicago and fell in love with the plethora of independent boutiques that dotted the collegiate streets of Evanston and urban oasis of Bucktown. I fell in love with discovering THE piece that spoke to me (the one per year I could afford), and I paraded it around town with renewed confidence. Since moving to the suburbs and attaining a little more disposable income, I have been purchasing many more not-so-disposable clothing items from these indie boutiques. Since the owners are as obsessed with style as I am, they keep me in the loop on new arrivals and items that might appeal to me.
I went back home to Saginaw for the holidays and planned a trip to my childhood friend’s gorgeous new store, OMONI BOUTIQUE! The aesthetics of the store are stunning- vintage tin ceiling tiles with modern lighting, high ceilings, dreamy black and white photos and such a light, airy feel. I am proud to say my home town now has a boutique that rivals my Chicago favorites.
|Jessica at her new boutique!
Jessica, the owner, and I go waaaaay back. Her mom Jackie was my preschool teacher, and I begged my mom to invite her over for dinner when I was 4 (SEE? I had a thing for hosting parties even in preschool!). My mom obliged as did Jackie, and the two actually became very close friends. So close in fact that my mom became “Aunt Marilyn” to the little 5 year old girl Jessica that Jackie would eventually adopt from Seoul, South Korea.
|Jackie, Jess’s mom/my preschool teacher and I
|Jessica at my birthday party when we were little…and me, talking with my hands as usual
Unfortunately, Jackie passed away in 2015 but not before she was able to see Jess become a mother as well. Jess named her new boutique OMONI, Korean for mother, in honor of Jackie. Jess- I know your mom is so incredibly proud of all that you created and the amazing mother you have become!
Jess believes in simple, beautifully made pieces and it shows throughout the selection at OMONI. For my New Years Eve look, I selected a pair of Stretch Vegan Leather Leggings from the line Cupcakes and Cashmere (adore!) and paired it with the Metallic Tina Halter by ASTR the Label, both currently available at OMONI.
What I love about this look is that the separate pieces can be used in MANY different situation. The leather leggings can be paired with an oversize slouchy sweater and sneakers for running around. Have a crisp white button down? Such a simple black & white look paired with booties or black sneakers.
Although the halter looks like it is only meant for a true party, you can pair it with a blazer or even add a mock neck shirt underneath to casual it up a bit. It can also be tucked it into a pencil skirt or pair with skinny dark denim.
If you don’t have the chest of a 21 year old who has not had the privilege of nursing children, you might be a little leery of going backless (and braless). I discovered The Bra Lab from a favorite Evanston boutique, GiGi Bottega, to pair with shirts that don’t allow for a traditional support system. This bra has interchangeable cups and backs that fasten at the side- the decorative backs are meant to be seen! I selected the Prague Black Vegan Leather Back Strap to pair with the pants of the same material.
I can’t wait to continue to shop OMONI- she has an incredible selection in her online store including brands like Mavi Jeans, The Fifth Label, BB Dakota and J.O.A. Stay tuned until my next post where I dish on all of my accessories in this look!