Residents of Boulder county wear obscure outfits from time to time. Personally, I’ve seen togas and dinosaur costumes nowhere near Halloween, more capes than you can imagine, and people in public wearing their birthday suits. We’re known for Patagonia and Birkenstock – and there’s nothing wrong with any of it. Then there’s casual wear, some still arguably a bit “out there”, like Canadian tuxedos (denim top, denim bottom), and cacophonic combinations of tie-dye. The tie-dye is why we always have sunglasses on.
While athletic wear or jeans and tees all day, every day, may dominate the fashion scene in our neck of the woods, certain occasions call for upscale upgrades. Whether you’ve stepped foot into one or not, clothing stores specializing in designer wear for the whole fam abound in Boulder County. Read on so that next time you’re preparing for a fancy party, a fundraising gala, or the Academy Awards ceremony, you’ll know where to shop.
First, a brief rundown of what’s in vogue this summer nationwide (not specifically in the magazine, though their goal is to be on the same page). Let’s start from the bottom up, shall we? The feet. For those of you like me who struggle to keep sandals on your feet, I regret to inform you that sandals with minimal straps are the way to fancify your footsies this summer.
Moving on up to the legs: white pants are the stylish way to go, which seems illogical to me considering all the summer events that allow for easy spilling of stainable items. But hey, I don’t make the rules. Or…do I? Thankfully for my closet, because apparently they went out of style at some point, Bermuda shorts are once again desirable this summer. From denim to silk and everything in-between, you can find Bermuda shorts for any fancy-schmancy event.
For tops, animal prints like snake and leopard are in style once again, and guess what? Bright colors and tie-dye! Boulder residents can rejoice on that second one! Making a major comeback are crop tops and one shoulder tops, as well as one shoulder dresses. Jewelry wise, things which were popular with the 90s cool kids like chokers and shell necklaces are in again.
So there’s the rundown. It’s time for your red-carpet moment. You want to be the one who wore it best in People magazine (I mean, who wouldn’t?). If shopping for upscale fashion is new to you, fear not – Boulder and its surroundings are a mecca for clothing shops specializing in just that.
Let’s begin with a stroll down Pearl Street in Boulder, where the amount of stores selling upscale clothing can be overwhelming, and take a peek inside Free People. Molly Love, the assistant store manager, filled me in on the summer trends doing well there. “We’re seeing a lot of utility pants, flowy pants, bright colors and bright florals in particular,” she mused. She mentioned that items made of sheer materials are flying off the shelves, and that trends from the 90s are making a serious comeback. “We’re definitely seeing a lot of (90s stuff) dotted into the trending summer style,” Love said. In particular, she mentioned one shouldered tops, dresses, and crop tops, and said they’d been selling a lot of animal print. “I’ve seen in store a leopard print romper and jacket.” Though they don’t carry shoes at that store, Love commented on the return of Doc Martin shoes, and said that shell jewelry like puka necklaces are immensely popular right now. As far as hair accessories, Love commented on the popularity and high sales of scrunchies and hair scarves.
Continuing down Pearl Street brings you past Chelsea, another perfect place to purchase high end fashion. I spoke with Jenna Bilek, a sales associate at the store, who filled me in on the hottest trends there. Just as Molly Love told me at Free People, Bilek instantly pointed out that “animal print is a really big trend for this season, particularly snake print and leopard print.” She also said that at Chelsea, “pink is really in as well; it feels like people shied away from pink for a while but now everyone is loving it, so we are carrying a lot.”
At Chelsea, tie front tops are flying off the racks, just as they are in less pricey stores. For me it feels like skinny jeans will never go away, not that I necessarily want them to, and that doesn’t seem likely to change. However, Belik mentioned that the skinny jeans of this season are comprised almost entirely of denim, instead of containing spandex and other stretchy materials. According to Belik, “for denim, skinny jeans are still very in so we are carrying them in different washes anywhere from black and white to light wash and dark wash.” She also pointed out a major trend Chelsea is carrying this season which is wide leg denim and vintage washes that are “softer and more buttery and that wear better with time.”
In terms of jewelry, Bilek informed me that things are turning away from large statement pieces to dainty and delicate necklaces that you can layer. Jumpsuits (one of my personal favorites, I can rock a jumpsuit hard core), she told me, are immensely popular as well. “We are carrying a lot of them this season, about an equal number of jumpsuits to dresses.” Speaking of dresses, Bilek noted that wrap styles are really popular because they tend to be flattering for every body type.
It wouldn’t be right to talk about high fashion in Boulder without mentioning the Regiment Shop off of Canyon Boulevard. I spoke with Steve Jacobs of the Boulder Store, who mentioned that they turn to resources like the catalogues for Men’s Wearhouse and Suit Supply. They stand by their tradition of quality and service, and you know they’re good at what they do since they’ve been around for 60 years. That’s a pretty good sign. Their website even teaches you how to tie a tie, which for me only comes in handy when I dress up for Comic Con or Halloween, but still. They provide step-by-step instructions on tying a half Windsor, a four-in-hand, an ascot, and a bow tie.
Though I’m skipping over buckets of other upscale clothing stores in Boulder (if you could fit stores into buckets), it’s time to move on to Historic Downtown Louisville. There, you’ll come across Eleanor and Hobbs, a boutique founded and owned by Tracy Hobbs. The lovely shop offers top designer brands like Citizens of Humanity, AG Jeans, and Levi’s. Hobbs stays on top of the latest trends by visiting Los Angeles and New York.
Farther away we go, off to Broomfield! Josh Anderson, a sales assistant at Jos.A.Bank, said that trending this summer are bright colors, a lot more patterns, and clothing made of linen. “Shoe trends are moving towards a much more casual look,” Anderson noted, “so boat shoes are really popular right now as well as dress shoes without any patterns.” He specifically mentioned plain leather shoes lacking Broguing (which I had to look up). For ties, three-inch width is what’s in vogue, but more important than the width is the pattern. “Plaids on the ties are pretty big right now,” Anderson mentioned, “we have a yellow and blue really bright plaid that has been selling constantly.” So, there you have it, gents! Bright plaid ties for all of your formal events.
Boulder county is a fashion casual place. We know, you know, the world knows…we’re really relaxed and we prioritize comfort. Why wouldn’t we wear yoga pants everywhere and keep rock climbing shoes in the trunk, just in case? With Colorado weather, it’s best to be ready for anything, and, yeah, that can preclude wearing high end Italian leather loafers and a three-piece. Let’s be clear: we’re ready for anything, and that includes dressing to the nines for a date night out, a gala event, or any number of celebrations. Make sure your wardrobe is updated and ready.
Note: by the time this article is published, these trends may have become “so yesterday,” but hopefully not. Good luck, friends.