Athleisure: Today’s upscale ‘après sport’ attire


Courtesy of

By Miranda Zsigmond

What started as a harmless trend in 2014 quickly became one of fashions biggest revenue-generating designer obsessions: ahleisure.

A term that encompasses the broad spectrum of clothing appropriate for either athletic or leisure pursuits, athleisure wear ranges from boutique leggings of the Lululemon sort to layered cashmere sweaters to designer workout gear.

The Upside tribal print sports bra, courtesy of

The Upside tribal print sports bra, courtesy of

Whether described as “après sport” or “gym-to-the-office,”athleisure has clearly become a lifestyle choice. A growing number of companies, from Gap to Forever 21, have expanded their lines to accommodate this booming trend.

Even online luxury guru Net-a-Porter has made the shift, launching a new channel playing off its namesake called Net-a-Sporter.  According to the website, the brand delivers “sportswear that is as chic as everything else in your closet.” This includes a mix of basic Nike tanks for $30 as well as luxury items like a Karl Lagerfeld sweatshirt for $235 and cashmere-and-linen track pants from The Elder Statesman for $600.

Tory Burch is one of the most recent designers to launch a sports line. Tory Sport merges a polished-yet-retro aesthetic with well-researched technical athletic details to provide an outfit that is not only fitness functional but also street-wear ready.

The line is unique in that it is a completely separate brand from Tory Burch. Tory Sport plans on releasing apparel for yoga, golf, running and tennis, along with bags, shoes and leather items that will facilitate the transition from office to gym. The new line will have its own storefronts and website, all separate from the main Tory Burch line.

Not everyone is buying into the hype of designer fitness wear, however, including active gym-goer Samara Gilman.

“It just doesn’t makes sense to me, “ said Gilman. “Why would you spend so much money on clothes that look like you’re about to go to the gym?”

Others suggest that athleisure is the missing link between casual and trendy.

“Athleisure is the best of both worlds,” said SMU student and class-pass fanatic Jo Parmer. “Clothing that I can wear all day and then run into a pilates class [at the end of the day] aligns with my busy schedule and really provides me no excuses not to work out.”

Nike Airmax 1 suede mesh and printed faux leather sneakers courtesy of Net-a-sporter

Nike Airmax 1 suede mesh and printed faux leather sneakers courtesy of Net-a-sporter

Fledgling designers and small boutiques have emerged to meet the demand for this hybrid breed of active casualwear.  Titika Active Couture, a Canadian brand, is indicative of this trend. The name alone suggests a combination of form and function. The company carries a lux version of the traditional black leggings, as well as cashmere leg warmers, unique yet still functional sport bras and mesh sweaters.

It is the incorporation of conventional athletic fabric onto non-athletic pieces, however, that elevates the company’s clothing. For instance, Titika’s mesh around skirt, retailing for $84, utilizes athletic mesh in cutout spaces on a midi circle skirt.   Althoug the skirt is impractical for working out, it provides the same level of comfort as your favorite pair of yoga pants.

Companies like Titika provide people in active careers a range of stylish options to choose from for their work wardrobe.  Chantelle  Conley, a White Rock Lake rowing coach and yogi, appreciates these more fashionable choices.

” When it is someone’s job to work out, clothing options used to be pretty basic and limited,” said Conley. “I really feel that this is the break people in work-out professions were waiting for.  Wearing and purchasing designer athletic wear as an athletic instructor shows a sort of commitment from the instructor that can be translated to their students.”

Maybe that’s why you always see your spin instructor head-to-toe in Lululemon.

In any case, athleisure has made its way onto the runways and into our closets.  It’s a trend that probably won’t  fade away anytime soon.

Leave a comment | Posted in Articles, Spotlights

Jewelry Craze Makes Its Way Across The Country

By Bridger Warlick

Screen Shot 2015-09-29 at 12.16.44 AM Meems Jewelry. Image Courtesy of @meemsjewelry

 Many Instagram regulars have noticed lately how many posts display handmade jewelry. Young do-it-yourself jewelry designers have made their way all over social media sites.  Ranging from small hand made pieces to large bold looks, young women all over the country have jumped on the jewelry-making bandwagon.  And they’re creating quite a buzz.

Most of these new designers started making jewelry for a very practical reason: the pieces they desired cost way too much, so they decided to take matters into their own hands. This story follows three girls who although they live in different states, share the same love and passion for designing and creating their own jewelry.

Mimi Shou designs custom long necklaces with a hint of Texas flare that she adds in from her hometown, Houston, Texas. Justine McGregor finds stones in her hometown of Los Angeles to create dainty gold hand-chains and necklaces for a more simple look. Madeline Watkins uses bold rocks and stones for the central focus of her unique necklaces that she spreads around Charlottesville, Virginia.

Mimi Shou

Mimi Shou, a junior at Georgetown University, has created a brand for herself and her jewelry line “Meems.” Shou needed a small necklace to go with her high school cotillion dress, but couldn’t find one she liked.  So, she decided to make her own.

From that moment on, people began noticing her jewelry and wanting her pieces. Shou started selling her products to friends at first.  But before long, her line was picked up by a local boutique.

“It became more of a business when I was recommended to a local boutique and I was able to sell my jewelry there,” Shou said. “That’s when I got to get creative and make lots of different styles.”

Screen Shot 2015-09-29 at 12.20.56 AM

Designer Mimi Shou with her collection. Image Courtesy of Mimishou.comWorking out of Houston in high school, Shou created her own website to sell her products online. Today, Shou makes anywhere between $400 to $1,500 a month from her jewelry business.

Working out of Houston in high school, Shou created her own website to sell her products online. Today, Shou makes anywhere between $400 to $1,500 a month from her jewelry business.

Shou tries not to look at other jewelry designers for inspiration in order to prevent herself from copying their styles or designs.

“Usually I get inspired by the supplies and materials I have. Ill go bead shopping and lay all my materials out and think to myself what would look best together,” said Shou.

Like many designers, Shou loves to see people actually wearing her jewelry.

“I always get so giddy when I see people wearing it because I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh! They’re wearing something I made!’ I feel really honored and special that people would want to buy and wear something I designed,” said Shou.

 Justine McGregor

A 2015 graduate of Southern Methodist University Justine McGregor got her start after making custom hair ties in high school. However, she switched to jewelry when she noticed the jewelry she wanted to buy was way too expensive. She thought to herself, hey I could make this at a much lower price.

She started just for herself, but her business grew while in college. McGregor ran her business out of her bedroom in her sorority house. Forty girls in one house made for the perfect place to sell her pieces!

Screen Shot 2015-09-29 at 12.32.42 AM

Designer Justine McGregor. Image courtesy of

McGregor’s business has slowed since she graduated and started working. Now living in Los Angeles, McGregor will still send out pieces to friends.  For inspiration McGregor likes to explore different pockets of L.A., including little India and little Tokyo. She also goes to the design district to buy her materials and looks for inspiration there.

But she plans to rev her business back up in the near future. McGregor just released a sneak peak of her Tee Jewelry look book that she is very excited about.


McGregor continues to make new pieces because it relaxes her and she thoroughly enjoys it.

“It’s really just calming and a good way to relax, and I am so used to doing it now that its not difficult for me to do while I am hanging out for my friends or watching TV.”

Madeline Watkins


Designer Madeline Watkins wearing one of her pieces. Image Courtesy of Madeline Watkins

Madeline Watkins, a 2015 graduate of The University of Virginia, started making her own jewelry because she desired more creative and unique pieces for a lower price. She uses her spunky personality to inspire her work, taking large colorful rocks and adding small beads is her favorite look.

Watkins was inspired to make her own jewelry after seeing a bunch of “boring” pieces in various boutiques as well as on Pinterest. She knew that with her creativity she could make something more playful and fun.

Currently Watkins creates pieces exclusively for friends and family. She doesn’t sell her work for a profit.  However, someday she would like to place her jewelry in a boutique.

“My favorite part about designing my own jewelry is being able to take pride in my own work and customize things to my personal style.”

Time to pick up a new hobby . . . Have you thought about designing your own jewelry?  Consider these facts:
*Mimi Shou’s profits range from 10 percent to 50 percent for each necklace, depending on the materials and design she used for the necklace
*Justine McGregor sells between 10 to 15 pieces a month and would profit around $1,000


Leave a comment | Posted in Spotlights

Nordstrom Brings Topshop Stateside

Topshop, courtesy of (

Topshop courtesy of

By Marisa Rodriguez

In the summer of 2012, Nordstrom created a Topshop department in select stores. By the following year, the company decided to expand and add Topshop departments to stores nationwide. Today, Topshop can be found in 88 of Nordstrom’s stores. The rate of expansion alone indicates that this unique partnership has been extremely successful.

What makes this partnership unlike most is that Nordstrom has used the store-within-a-store concept. Topshop is not just a brand of clothing. It is an actual store that is far more prominent overseas. By partnering with Topshop, Nordstrom has made the British store’s brands more accessible to consumers in the U.S.

SMU student Margaret Cummings studied abroad last summer in England, where Topshop is on almost every street corner, and she fell in love with the British retailer. When she returned to the U.S., she was more than thrilled to find out that Nordstrom had a Topshop department. “I was really excited that I could actually go in store and try the stuff on instead of having to order online from the Topshop website,” she said.

Edward Fox, a marketing professor at SMU, said that bringing customers like Cummings into Topshop was key to encouraging them to shop at Nordstrom.  “Nordstrom would certainly hope that shoppers would buy more than just Topshop items, ” he said.

Not only did Topshop bring in that brand’s consumers, it brought in customers who would not normally shop at Nordstrom. According to Christina Cox, an SMU student who worked in Nordstrom’s Topshop department over the summer, the shop brought in a younger demographic that Nordstrom was missing.

“New customers and younger customers will go to Nordstrom to shop in the Topshop department. Employees are encouraged to shop with their customers and create a complete look for them, which includes taking them through other parts of the store and introducing them to other departments,” Cox said.

This strategy of incorporating a store within a store has worked tremendously for Nordstrom. According to Cox, Topshop has the highest turnaround of any department within Nordstrom and is constantly getting new inventory.

Rodriguez second- Pop-In

Pop-In, courtesy of

With such success, Nordstrom has taken this concept further by introducing Pop-In Shop. This section is a continuous series of themed pop-up shops. The idea is that it provides consumers the ability to shop lesser-known designers like Warby Parker, &Daughter, and many more. By constantly changing the Pop-In Shop, Nordstrom introduces consumers to new designers that they could ordinarily only find online.

Rodriguez second- SPACE

SPACE courtesy of

Nordstrom hasn’t stopped there.  Its newest endeavor, Space, follows the same store-within-a-store concept by creating a boutique within Nordstrom that promotes both emerging and advanced designers from around the world.   Consumers can shop hard-to-find designers like Simone Rocha and Tricot Comme des Garçons within this department.

Pop-In Shop and Space are only in select stores, including NorthPark.

Leave a comment | Posted in Spotlights

Neiman Marcus Sets the Record Straight about Hudson Yards Store


A schematic of Neiman Marcus Hudson Yards, part of the multi-million-dollar development on New York’s West Side. Courtesy of

By Madeleine Kalb

The word “flagship” has been loosely used in many reports unveiling information about the wildly anticipated Neiman Marcus Hudson Yards, part of a luxury development project on New York City’s West Side.

Major news sources including the New York Post and New York Daily News have referred to the Hudson Yards store as an anchoring flagship location for the luxury retailer that was born in Dallas.

This has left many Dallasites feeling anxious about the future of the original flagship location in downtown Dallas. That store has been a fixture at 1618 Main Street since 1907.   Stories of Neiman’s founder Stanley Marcus spiriting the likes of Gabriel “Coco” Chanel around town are an integral part of Dallas’ cultural legacy, and supporters worry that if the flagship leaves, much of this will be forgotten.

Kevin Hurst, director of charitable giving at Neiman Marcus, put the flagship rumors to rest in an email: “Neiman Marcus is NOT moving the flagship store to New York. We are opening a new store.”

Ginger Reeder, vice president of communications for Neiman Marcus, also confirmed that the downtown Dallas store will remain the one and only flagship store.  She said all rumors suggesting that the location would be shut down in favor of the Hudson Yard’s location are false.

Neiman Marcus insiders are very tight-lipped on releasing information about the 2018 Hudson Yard’s project. Hudson Yards developers, Oxford and Related, told the Daily News late last year that the Neiman Marcus store will encompass three floors of a 52-story tower, covering 250,000 square feet.

The exterior view of the proposed Hudson Yard's Neiman Marcus.  Photo courtesy of Neiman Marcus Blog

The exterior view of the proposed Hudson Yard’s Neiman Marcus. Photo courtesy of Neiman Marcus Blog

Neiman’s represents one part of the Hudson Yards project, which, when completed, will include 7 million square feet with five state-of-the-art office towers, more than 100 shops and restaurants, 5,000 residences, 14 acres of public open space, a 750-seat public school, and a luxury hotel.  The $20 billion residential and commercial development will also be the new home to New York Fashion Week and is expected to revitalize the West Side.

“I think its kind of great that they’re putting it [the development] there. It’s a no man’s land right now,” said Rachel Krause, the New York-based associate beauty editor with the lifestyle and fashion blog Stylecaster.

Despite the demand from shoppers and fans, Neiman Marcus sources say the company never planned to open a Manhattan store because the luxury specialty store Bergdorf Goodman, which is also owned by the Neiman Marcus Group, is located nearby on Fifth Avenue.

Bergdorf Goodman will be undergoing a multi-million dollar face-lift that will modernize the exclusive retailer by 2020. Neiman Marcus President & CEO Karen Katz told the New York Times in September 2014 that Bergdorf’s and Neiman’s cater to slightly different clientele. Bergdorf’s accommodates a particular shopper who seeks the “very top of luxury and fashion,” and the new West Side Neiman Marcus store “will appeal to a broader luxury and fashion consumer.”

According to Reeder, the two luxury retail giants should not be in direct competition.  “We do not believe that opening a Neiman Marcus in Manhattan will affect Bergdorf whatsoever.”

Katz was not looking at New York for Neiman’s until the Hudson Yard’s developers approached her with a proposal to anchor the 28-acre development, Reeder said.

Neiman’s commitment to the project has helped ensure its success, sources say. As Kenneth Himmel, president of Related, told the Wallstreet Journal in September 2014: “The commitment of such an iconic retailer further solidifies that the epicenter of the city has shifted and Hudson Yards is the new heart of New York.”

Leave a comment | Posted in Spotlights

HIgh-end Kicks: Not for the Gym Anymore


People on the street wearing the Rockstud Valentino Athletic Shoe. Courtesy of Pinterest 


By Rosemary Miller

Working out is anything but glamorous. While running sprints, lifting weights, or doing push-ups, the last thing on anyone’s mind is designer fashion. However, upscale exercise apparel has recently become chic.

Nothing represents this better than today’s trendy athletic shoes.

High-fashion designers have started contributing to the world of athletic shoes. Dior adds crystal floral embellishments while Valentino incorporates suede and leather details, including geometric and camouflage pattern. Chanel brings the brand’s classic tweed and pearl designs to the mix.

embellished dior athletic shoes. courtesy of Miranda Zsigmond

Embellished Dior athletic shoes. Courtesy of Miranda Zsigmond


Inna Plotkin works as a sales representative for the women’s shoe department at Bergdorf Goodman in New York. She says designer athletic shoes have been nearly flying off the racks. Simple New Balance sneakers are no longer acceptable. Trendy tennis shoes have taken over.

However, these shoes carry a steep price tag, ranging from $399 to $975 on average per pair. With that in mind, you have to wonder, what exactly are we getting for our money? When making such an expensive purchase, you would hope the shoes perform in the gym as well as look stylish on the street.

Run On!, a statewide fitness store, helps determine what makes an athletic shoe right for you. Pronation is the basic dynamic of a running foot in motion, the natural side-to-side movement of the foot as you walk or run. The foot rolls a bit inward with each step, and with the correct gait should begin to roll outward with the toe-off.

But for some people, the ankle rolls too far downward and inward with each step, which is known as overpronation. This can lead to injury but can be corrected with the right shoes.

The amount to which the foot pronates will determine which shoe category — neutral, stability, or motion control — is right for you. Neutral shoes are best for people who do not have much pronation. Stability, the most common, is for moderate pronation. Motion control is the most supportive and for people with moderate to over-pronation.

According to Matthew Yocom, a chiropractic doctor and certified provider for the Dallas rehabilitation center Airrosti, for an athletic shoe to be well-equipped for training, it must fall in to one of the three categories.

When assessing the Valentino Rockrunner athletic shoe, Yocum said they provide support, but not any more than a regular pair of street shoes would. He said materials were problematic. In addition, the shoes were not light-weight.

“In comparison with regular athletic shoes, they are a bit stiffer because they are made of leather and suede rather than the nylon that most athletic shoes are made from and therefore provide less comfort,” Yocom says.

chanel’s fall/winter 2015/16 althetic shoes. courtesy of chanel link:

Chanel’s fall/winter 2015/16 althetic shoes. Courtesy of Chanel

Lauren Allday, a senior at SMU, owns a pair of Valentino Lace Sneaker athletic shoes. She says that although the burgundy and pink with lace detail kicks look great with her Lululemon ensemble, the shoes are not very practical.

“I often wear them when walking to class or pilates where I take them off once I am inside,” she says. “But I do not actually run in the shoes because they are too nice to get dirty and they do not provide much support for my shin splints.”

The verdict?

Designer tennis shoes are geared more toward appearance than practicality and function. Paired with jeans or a casual dress, they complete a great street style look.  But don’t count on them if you’re running a marathon.

Plotkin agrees that for her, designer sneaks are more about fashion than comfort. “Even if the tennis shoe were highly uncomfortable, women would still wear them because they are so hot right now in the fashion trend world.”

So if you need a pair of sneakers for the gym, you may be better off saving your money and buying a $150 pair of Nikes instead.

Leave a comment | Posted in Spotlights

Collar Necklaces

Embellished Choker on Ralph Lauren runway. Courtesy of Fashion Spot.

Embellished Choker on Ralph Lauren runway. Courtesy of Fashion Spot.

By Miranda Zsigmond

The ’90s called and it’s confirmed: The chocker necklace is back and all over the 2015 runways. The definite resurgence of this trend sends a rush of nostalgia through any ’90s girl, complete with memories of Lip Smackers and Beanie Babies. Who would have thought that paired with a racer-back crop top and platform sandals, that plastic, black 25 cent stretchy necklace would ever be cool again?

Balmain choker, Courtesy of Real Style Network.

Balmain choker, Courtesy of Real Style Network.

Adorned, Courtesy of Fashion Spot.

Adorned, Courtesy of Fashion Spot.

But designers have taken the trend beyond its innocent roots and redefined it for the 21st century by adding luxe jewels, dramatic chains and chic minimalist contours. The more developed cousin of the original ’90s throwback made its debut on the runways of Balmain, Lavin, Chanel and Versace. We admire chokers for their versatility, and the little necklace is an effortless way to add just enough drama to an everyday outfit or complete a look for a night on the town. Beware when choosing your neckpiece – shorter necks should elect for a slightly longer version that sits closer to the clavicle for a look that will elongate and complement.

Leave a comment | Posted in Blog

Monopoly Man

Alec Monopoly with some of his pieces. Courtesy of Vegas Seven.

Alec Monopoly with some of his pieces. Courtesy of Vegas Seven.

By Bridger Warlick

There is a new Banksy in town — and he is taking the graffiti world by storm. Alec Monopoly is the alias of the unidentified graffiti artist spreading his work all over New York, Los Angeles, Miami and more. Monopoly is best known for his Monopoly man character, which appears as the main image in most of his pieces. Monopoly paints on anything and everything, including walls, canvas, cars, shoes, pianos, even Hermès bags.

Khloe Kardashian’s Khloe Money Hermès Bag. Courtesy of Instagram.

Khloe Kardashian’s Khloe Money Hermès Bag. Courtesy of Instagram.

Khloe Kardashian posted her “Khloe Money” bag on Instagram, thanking Monopoly for customizing her already bold lime green Hermès bag. Monopoly has taken the concept of customization to an extreme new level.

Through his Snapchat, @alecmonopoly, his followers can watch him at work, traveling the world and leaving his mark behind.

Anna Wintour canvas painting. Image Courtesy of Instagram.

Anna Wintour canvas painting. Courtesy of Instagram.

Leave a comment | Posted in Blog

Nailed It

Erin Fetherston, Courtesy of Harpers Bazaar.

Erin Fetherston, Courtesy of Harpers Bazaar.

By Marisa Rodriguez

Whether you consider yourself a fashion lover or not, you are most likely being inspired by the industry without even knowing it: Even the the colors you choose to paint your nails were appearing at fashion week long before the salon purchased the polish. Sheer colors and nudes were all over the runway last season but Fall 2015 is showing some new inspired nail art trends.

Rodarte, Courtesy of Harpers Bazaar.

Rodarte, Courtesy of Harpers Bazaar.

According to Elle, the typical fall shades like burgundy and navy are on trend, but brighter colors like royal blue and pink are also trending for this season. If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, try the nail art that has been all over the runway. Harpers Bazaar shares multiple looks.  Here are a few of my personal favorites.

Mara Hoffman, Courtesy of Harpers Bazaar.

Mara Hoffman, Courtesy of Harpers Bazaar.

Keep it simple like Erin Fetherston and simply add a cross (or any other design) to your ring finger (top). You can easily add a stripe to select to switch things up,  the look at Prabal Gurung (below). For the edgier fashionistas, a more geometric pattern like the one Mara Hoffman (left) used or the ombre/gradient design that Rodarte showed may be the way to go.

Whether you go with basic burgundy or try a new design, one thing is for sure, the Fall 2015 season is providing a lot of room for experimentation with your nail polish.

Prabal Gurung, Courtesy of Harpers Bazaar.

Prabal Gurung, Courtesy of Harpers Bazaar.

Leave a comment | Posted in Blog

Paper Fashion

Tulle Gown Poster. Courtesy of Paper Fashion.

Tulle Gown Poster. Courtesy of Paper Fashion.

By Marisa Rodriguez

On the hunt for some fashion-inspired prints to revamp your walls? Paper Fashion, started by Katie Rodgers in 2009, might have what you’re looking for. Rodgers started her website to share her watercolor paintings, but now she primarily posts her work on Instagram to her 569,000 followers. Her watercolor paintings are mostly fashion based but she also has some beauty-inspired paintings. Rodgers has been commissioned by fashion brands like Cartier, Valentino, Kate Spade, Elie Saab and many more. Whether you need some new wall art or just a bit of whimsical inspiration, give Paper Fashion a look.

Leave a comment | Posted in Top Picks

Get Happy

Organic Get Happy Body Wash. Courtesy of PLANT Design Studio and Shop.

Organic Get Happy Body Wash. Courtesy of PLANT Design Studio and Shop.

By Miranda Zsigmond

Just in case you need a little motivation to get you through your morning routine, PLANT Get Happy Organic Body Wash is the ultimate shower pick-me-up. The wash is enriched with essential oils of geranium and peppermint to wake you up and get you smiling. If that’s not enough to turn you into a morning person, the all-natural, honey-like gel is made of only eight simple ingredients, and is completely free of parabens, SLS, petroleum, silicones and harsh, mysterious chemicals. They also don’t test on animals, just one of many reasons to “Get Happy!”

Leave a comment | Posted in Top Picks