Manayunk businesses sell fun, timeless items that will still bring you joy each time you see it in your closet
by Janine Gasarowski
Photography by Susan Beard Design Co. (susanbearddesign.com)
Apparel courtesy of Nicole Miller – Manayunk, LILA Philadelphia, Vamp Boutique, and Remix on Main
Accessories by Ilumine Gallery
Hair by Michael O’Connor – Salon L
Makeup by Annie Morris – Salon L
Do you ever look back on old photos of yourself and absolutely cringe when you see your outfit? In a society heavily influenced by social media and the effects of the pandemic, fashion trends are changing faster than ever before. What was once popular last month is already out. Shopping for new clothes can be so fun and yet so stressful at the same time. I constantly debate with myself about which trends are worth spending money on, or if I should stick to what I know works. Keeping up with the fluctuating trend cycles is nearly impossible,which is why many of Manayunk’s boutique owners agree – the new fashion “trend” is steering away from the trends.
Fashion trends once cycled between decades. You wouldn’t be caught dead wearing the same clothing your mother wore! Now, vintage T-shirts and baggy jeans are just some of the norms you’ll see these days. The trend cycle has sped up so much, creating what is called “fast fashion.” Fast fashion refers to how quickly something becomes popular, as well as how fast the trend dies out. Everything about the clothing item is fast — the time spent making the product, how fast it gets to you, how fast it goes out of style, and how quickly the item will break. The industry heavily relies on “micro-trends,” the funky items you think you just need to have in your closet, but by the time you get them there, it no longer serves you any interest. There are many trendy items I find cute, but I know they will ultimately be collecting dust in my closet.
SOCIAL MEDIA AND THE FASHION INDUSTRY
In the last decade, social media has heavily influenced this rise in fast fashion. “Shopping haul” videos have inspired the urge to want to shop, often resulting in regretful purchases. Every time I go online, I am shown several half-hour-long videos of people sharing all of their excessive purchases. The demand for new clothes is high, and the supply is overwhelming. The pandemic has also caused a rise in online shopping, making the purchase of a micro-trend possible with the click of a button. They are so cheap and tempting to purchase, however, “free” and fast shipping comes with a cost.
WHY STAY AWAY FROM TRENDS + BIG BOX RETAIL?
The three distinguishable areas of fashion are trend, classics, and personal style. The best place to be is in the center of all of these, which can be easily accomplished by shopping small. Manayunk’s business owners – Nicole Miller – Manayunk, Philadelphia, LILA Philadelphia, Vamp Boutique, and Remix on Main, to name a few – take the time to ensure the most important part of putting together an outfit: dress in what makes you feel comfortable and confident.
When a new trend arises, we shouldn’t be ditching our original style to try and include it. The trend may not work for you, and that is nothing to feel bad about. There are several reasons you should be staying away from fashion trends and fads.
SHOP SMALL + SUSTAINABLE
Fast fashion’s disposable products are a large contributor when it comes to pollution and environmental harm. One possible way to avoid contributing to this is to be more of a conscious consumer — buy essentials and pieces you absolutely love. Manayunk businesses sell fun, timeless items that will still bring you joy each time you see them in your closet. The boutiques are stocked with items that you will continue to wear years after purchasing them.
So, why buy from a big company that won’t be affected by your purchase when you can support a small business and brighten their day — especially when Manayunk is full of small businesses? The added plus of shopping in Manayunk is that the business owner is almost always there. This makes shopping more of a personal experience. The owners are all invested in the items they carry.
Take Remix on Main, for example. You can practice sustainable shopping by supporting a small, second-hand shop. Remix on Main is a luxury consignment shop specializing in high-end designer resale fashion. They personally curate their selection of items.
“I will go the extra mile to communicate with a client, either on social media or email, hours at a time to make sure what they’re buying is what they like,” said Remix’s co-owner Ljupka Neducsin. “I want them to understand what they’re buying.”
I shopped with Remix’s co-owner, Tanya Malinovska, while searching for items that fall under spring fashion. She pointed me towards the vintage hot pink and orange patterned blazer designed by Mondi. This cheerful blazer is just one example of the unique, timeless items they carry. And, it looks great paired with the “Spritz Tee” from LILA Philadelphia and a pair of your favorite jeans.
INCLUSIVITY AND CONFIDENCE COME FIRST
“There are so many different body types,” said Laura Anne, co-owner of LILA Philadelphia. “It is impossible for a trend to work for everybody.”
The new spring trends include bright colors, floral patterns, cutouts, and platform shoes. A few timeless items are jeans, blazers, t-shirts, printed sundresses, and the classic LBD (little black dress). However, a trend that never goes out of style is dressing in what makes you feel comfortable and confident.
The most important aspect of fashion is that it reflects who you are. Dress in what you feel expresses yourself and don’t feel pressure to follow trends to satisfy other people. I personally do not feel comfortable with the new trend of cut-outs. I have always preferred more loose-fitting clothing.
On my hunt for spring outfits, Vamp Boutique owner, Teresa Davis, showed me a few different floral sundresses. The playful “Avery Dress” from Vamp Boutique uses elastic to add layers and bounce to the dress. This piece combines my preference for loose clothing, the classic patterned dress, and bright colors that also align with the current trends.
“In the last few years, Manayunk fashion has changed by the customers’ willingness to take more fashion risks with both color and style,” Teresa said. “The customers are more adventurous. Although they are more adventurous, they still look for basic safe styles as a first go-to.”
The stylists at Nicole Miller – Manayunk — Mary Dougherty, Jillian Dunn, Zara Barrett, and Emily Spennato agree with this as well.
“Bold colors are everywhere,” they said. “People are excited and happy to be diving into their closets again with places to go, and outfits reflect this. Orange, kelly green, coral, hot pink, yellow, and bright blue are all important colors right now.”
For my third outfit, I was searching for a happy medium between casual and sophisticated wear. Bright hot pink is in and blazers are always in, which is why I landed with the “Eva Blazer” from Vamp Boutique. It is a fun piece that lays right between the casual and sophisticated lines.
I chose to pair the blazer with a graphic T-shirt to create a look you can wear for almost any occasion. The “La Dolce Vita Tee” from LILA Philadelphia worked perfectly for this. To tie in a few elements of my style, I have always felt more comfortable wearing looser-fit jeans. The “Solid Denim Wide Leg Pant” from Nicole Miller – Manayunk can be dressed up or dressed down. The wide-leg flare adds a nice touch to the outfit and makes me feel confident. I have also always loved the color green, and the “my passport” barrel bags from LILA Philadelphia are a must have! The complementary colors, hot pink and bright green, are a combination that brings the neutral-toned outfit to life.
BUYING LONG-TERM GIVES YOU THE BEST BANG FOR YOUR BUCK
One thing our Manayunk business owners all agreed upon is the importance of not getting lost in the never-ending trend cycle, and focusing on finding your personal taste as well as investing in classics.
Laura Anne spoke about the importance of spending your money on a few high-quality items rather than over-consuming trendy items that will fall apart even before their trend cycle ends.
“It is not just a garment,” said Laura Anne. “It is a work of art.”
“At Vamp, our first priority to our customers is to help them build their wardrobe, while adding some fun styles to show their personality,” added Teresa. “You want your wardrobe to have some staple pieces that you can not only restyle, but rewear and still feel confident in them in the years to come. They also will be a great way to save money.”
The stylists at Nicole Miller – Manayunk have similar thoughts.
“Well-made clothing is an investment. It should be versatile, worn for multiple seasons, and last for years,” they said.
A key to long-term fashion – and always looking put-together – is accessorizing with gold jewelry. Gold jewels are a classic accessory choice that works with nearly everything and never goes out of style. To complete all three looks, I shopped with Lynda Berdin, owner of Ilumine’ Gallery, who has an abundance of luxurious pieces you can use to illuminate any outfit of your choice. Some of my favorites I am wearing in these outfits include their Parker Bracelet, the Dreamy Sunflower Red Garnet Ring, and the Scattered Stars Kyoto Opal Disc Necklace.
“Fashion is how I express myself,” said Laura Anne. “I put on my clothing as armor to get me through the day.”
This is how your clothing should make you feel! Don’t dress for others, dress for yourself. Dressing in what makes you happy will always take reign over temporary trends and following social pressures. Luckily, the boutiques lining Main Street all carry exciting, classic items that are built to last. Manayunk is a unique and funky town and the clothing here reflects that personality. Amp up your wardrobe by investing in small town staples.