I am not exactly what you call a “fashionista.” I’ve spent more money over the course of my life on fitness clothing, and some of my favorite and most-complimented pieces were found in thrift stores. As mentioned in my last post, I was more interested in a good deal (and elastic waistbands) than I was in making investments in fashion. To be honest, I didn’t think I was worthy of having “style.” I enjoy a little retail therapy and always aspire to look put together when called for – but if I can’t compete with the bevy of fashion bloggers who eat $12 bedazzled donuts washed down with rosé and still fit in Size 2 pants that cost more than my monthly rent, what was the point? (Disclaimer: I know they’re not all like that… but sometimes it feels that way…)
When approached to collaborate with the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber for their inaugural Chamber Fashion Week, I thought there had to be some mistake. I went to the meeting anyways. When I met the initial group of women involved in making Chamber Fashion Week happen, I felt an immediate sense of powerful #girlboss vibes – and I LOVED IT. I may not entirely recognize the difference between vintage pink and blush, but dangit I know the smell of ambition and possibility. I told them to sign. me. UP.
After we sorted out the details and negotiated the what’s-what-and-wheres, I embarked on a two week adventure with the HHIB Chamber that included meeting with the boutique owners, learning about brands and trends, and taking a zillion pictures of the store interiors (while somehow winding up -in front- of the camera, which you can all rest assured my 15min of Instafame are up now). It was an intense and exhilarating experience… and I cannot tell you how lucky I felt to be a part of this experience. Every one of the owners and associates were so welcoming and attentive; each of the shops were so unique in their style; all the clothing and accessories were chosen to reflect our coastal community in some way; and most importantly, they each had a story to tell about why they chose and love Hilton Head & Bluffton.
Y’all, we truly have something special here in our little corner of the Lowcountry.
And if you think you need to venture to other big markets to find the latest in beautiful coastal fashions, unique accessories to go with your favorite pieces, or lovely finds for your home, YOU CRAY.
The best part?
Each of these stores knows and loves on their regular clients while always reaching out to new shoppers with a big smile and a handshake (or a hug, because huggers recognize other huggers). I felt free to wander and browse while knowing someone friendly was closeby to help when I needed it (and y’all know I NEEDED IT).
Seriously, it made me truly appreciate what we have here in terms of brands and variety; but also, as well as the hard work each of these stores does for it’s local and visiting clientele.
Overall? The experience was exhausting (you know, standing around trying to look beautiful) and a total whirlwind of putting all the puzzle pieces together (and wondering how I could afford all my favorite pieces and still be able to eat this month). But how magical to be around these hard-working, big thinking, down-right lovely people.
Suffice it to say I’m thrilled to know where to go to get my next ensembles, whether a waterside brunch or a fabulous soiree; and to do so knowing I’ll be greeted by new friends.
I’ll still most likely never be the called a “Fashionista.” And I doubt I’ll be able to eat expensive confectionaries and be able to pull off anything that doesn’t have at least a little elasticity to it (which is why Pure Barre HHI will forever have me on retainer as a client). But one thing I learned is that I am worthy of style. That choosing quality brands and supporting local vendors can be and very much is an expression of that. Because a true friend won’t let you walk out of store looking like a crazy person. And they’ll help make you feel beautiful no matter what.
A very big THANK YOU to:
Dorothy, Hallie, and the whole staff at the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce
… and the following retailers:
And an even bigger shout-out to my better half, John, for not being too upset when I maaaaay have come home with a new new finds… and for always telling me I’m worth the $12 bedazzled donut.
Hugs & High Fives,