The latest boutique to open from Patty and Juan Barba makes size a nonissue. Sparkle by Patty's Closet brims with nothing but jewelry and handbags.
"No shoes, no scarves," says owner Patty Barba. "Just accessories."
Not that she has anything against shoes and scarves, she just saw a fashion need. And, just as she proved with Patty's Closet, if she knows how to fulfill anything, it's a fashion need.
Right as the recession hit, Patty and Juan opened Patty's Closet. To many on the outside, it appeared ill-timed. Their retail idea turned out to be quite the opposite.
The concept of budget-friendly, trendy clothes was hardly new, but offering them in an intimate boutique setting certainly was. A dismal economy only lent to the appeal of the boutique as women wanted to cut back on the cost of shopping without sacrificing atmosphere. Patty's Closet has expanded to seven locations around town and one in Portland, Ore., all but one of them franchised.
Not only did the recession lead women to expand their shopping horizons, it also led them to prioritize their purchases. After a long run in second-string status, accessories stole the spotlight from ready-to-wear. Shoppers discovered they could spend less while still keeping up with trends through cuff bracelets, statement necklaces, oversized tote bags and vintage-inspired earrings.
The new recessionista outlook was responsible for the boom in their business, but it also meant the boutiques couldn't keep accessories adequately stocked.
The new boutique is actually an old boutique, the Patty's Closet at 9345 S. Cimarron Road, Suite 120, converted into a mecca of jewelry and purses.
The space features Patty's do-it-yourself creative stamp, most notably the wall behind the register. A grid of old black-and-white '60s fashion drawings covers the wall. Pieces of real recycled jewelry embellish the models' necks, wrists and ears.
Tables line the walls, all flanked with the kind of jewelry that makes a very loud entrance. The pieces are hardly understated.
"I want it to be different," Patty says, holding what she affectionately dubs a "Mrs. Roper necklace." "I don't want to be the one known for the really great stud (earrings)."
The boutique has a round table dedicated solely to body chains ($16). They're like necklaces for the entire torso and can be worn over tops or under sheer tanks as a teaser.
The statement necklaces vary from chunky shapes to American Indian-inspired feathers ($23.80) to tribal patterns. Earrings have a bigger-is-better theme, with bright colors and some styles that brush the shoulders.
Photos ripped from women's magazines are framed on each accessory table. They show celebrities such as Cameron Diaz and Emma Stone donning the same trends shoppers find at the boutique. Neon colors and tribal trends turn from considerations to impulse purchases when browsers see their favorite stars have warmed up to the looks.
The majority of the store upholds the modest Patty's Closet price points shoppers so appreciate. Stored away in a curio cabinet near the entrance, however, are several clutches that have price tags the Patty's Closet shopper isn't used to seeing: triple digits.
They certainly live up to the new moniker, though, as each bag is laden in bling. One features the same finger holes and skull on the handle that a luxury label with quadruple-digit prices made popular.
"If I can't see myself paying $200 for a dress, I won't have it. But I will fork over $200 for a blinged-out Alexander McQueen knockoff," Patty says. Her logic is exactly why the stores are called Patty's Closet.
Plus, Juan notes, not all their customers have a tight budget. "We still get the girl who has money," he says. "Or at least thinks she has money."
For further details on Sparkle by Patty's Closet, call 270-6452.
Contact fashion reporter Xazmin Garza at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0477. Follow her on Twitter @startswithanx.