Have you ever listened to a celebrity talking enthusiastically about their stylist pushing them out of their comfort zone? Ever wondered what it would be like to have that individualized experience? To get someone focused solely on YOU and your unique fashion needs?
It’s closer than you think. In the era of online everything, the antidote to fashion conformity may just be your area boutique! Sure, I often trumpet Amazon bargains… However, I’m also a firm believer in shopping local. We all want customer service that goes beyond a mail return bag. Boutique shopping provides that. You get to support your community while receiving next-level personalization! Lafayette, Indiana’s Mad Love Boutique is a perfect example.
“I think if you were to ask any customer who comes in here, I don’t just sit back and watch them shop,” owner Stephanie Deckard explained. “I am a talker, I like to learn where people are from. What brought them in? What silhouettes do they gravitate to? Do they have any style challenges?”
Mad Love Boutique is right in my neighborhood, so I was eager to pick Deckard’s brain for a few fresh ideas for fall layering. Not only does she make you feel like a close friend the minute you step inside her downtown shop (210 N. 6th Street), she also has a serious eye for style!
As a lifestyle/fashion blogger, I tend to be a bit—okay, a lot—particular with my fashion. Consequently, this was the first time I’ve ever let someone else take the reins. I talked with Stephanie about my style challenges… and was blown away with her choices. She encouraged me to try pieces I would never have considered, like these camo wedge sneakers and the scarf. Guess what? I loved them!
That’s the fun thing about boutique shopping… You get to interact one-on-one with the shop owner. Instead of trial and error styling in front of your mirror at home, they can teach you exactly how to style their items. They will explain why a particular piece might be flattering on you and how to wear it.
Deckard helped me think through my fashion issues in an entirely new way. As an under 5′ gal, I’m always hunting for pieces that elongate my body, don’t swallow my petite frame, and help me stay stylish during our long, cold Midwest winters. The duster sweater and long vest she suggested visually lengthened my body, while providing needed warmth. Deckard also encourages…
I mean… How adorable are these studded booties? They add such interest to the outfit! Mad Love carries some of the most unique footwear I’ve seen in Indiana, as well as stunning hand-crafted jewelry from local artisan Autumn Rose Designs.
Drop by Mad Love and Deckard will happily provide you this personal touch! She is eager to assist with pattern mixing, cozy layering, and the strategic use of animal print. Although we’ll all be bundled up in coats soon, there’s no reason we can’t be in love with the layers underneath!
In fact, Deckard is on a mission to make fashion more inclusive. She uses style as a tool to help local women feel better about themselves and more confident in their skin. The boutique carries sizes XS-3X. Best of all, everything is at an affordable price point. You won’t find inflated specialty store pricing here!
“I try to push the envelope a little bit, while finding items I personally would wear,” Deckard said, describing how she stocks her shop. “By doing that, I’ve been able to attract my vibe of customer, the 24 to 50-year-old mom or grandma who wants to stay up to date in their fashion without spending a lot.”
Deckard honed her fashion chops selling LuLaRoe, but quickly found she was hungry for more. “I was looking for uniqueness,” she said. “I missed lace and detailing.” Most of all, she missed the personal connection small business can bring. Although Deckard interacted with clients in-person via Velvet Lotus Photography, the photography business she runs with her husband Chris, she found selling fashion solely on social media a bit isolating.
“Having an online business can be really lonely,” Deckard said. “Opening a brick and mortar store was much more attainable and affordable than I had originally thought. This is something that kind of hit me like a Mack truck. I could have been doing this [running Mad Love] from the beginning.”
In fact, she wants to encourage other would-be entrepreneurs to take the leap too!
“I wish we had even more downtown… more boutiques, more specialty shops,” she said. “I don’t see any reason, with as charming as this city is, for Lafayette not to become a destination.”