All I Want For Christmas

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I love the holidays because I love gift giving!  For me, there also is the whole other fun factor of assisting husbands/significant others with securing the perfect gift from Leigh’s.  My girlfriends happily anticipate having a beautifully wrapped Leigh’s blue box (or plural is even better) underneath their Christmas tree. (Of course, how fabulous is it making sure their holiday wishes come true?!?) When husbands come in for their inaugural Leigh’s shopping excursion, the look is  always the same…a deer in the headlights….frantic, stressed, unsure.  Then, relief…as they see all the options that have prepared and all they have to do is just point and  say, “Yes”….Easy Button.  Veterans (that rely on us each holiday season), typically coordinate with their buddies to meet at Leigh’s for their “shopping therapy” which consists of “refreshments” and some lively catching up as they sit in our comfy chairs by the fireplace with ESPN on the television. They know the insider scoop, Leigh’s has them covered…no worries, no panic.. just praise, praise, praise Christmas morning!  So, if you are getting down to the wire and need gifts that inspire, stop in and see us and we will help you wrap it up!

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Sweater Weather

sweater weatherIt is officially my favorite time of year. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE our Michigan summers and always think how I would like to have extended play of June, July and August.  But then fall (the start of sweater weather) comes along and there’s the cool chill in the air, the leaves start changing colors and I am in season heaven and dying to pull out my sweaters!  Being from Northern Minnesota, sweater weather was 10 out of 12 months every year and so while other kids in the nation collected stamps, I had a collection of sweaters. (No, I am not kidding; it was my favorite thing to buy with my babysitting money!) This love affair with knits has continued to present day.  Sweaters are just so easy. Pull out the cashmere, throw on a pair of jeans and a great pair of booties and it’s a perfect day of autumn fashion. But, of course, I have not had time to change over my closet yet (which is the perfect excuse), so I had to go shopping for a few new additions….at my favorite store.  Fortunately, Leigh’s is brimming with fabulous sweaters and after a few laps around the store this morning I am feeling like I am ready to meet our cool weather forecast….fashionably!  Hope you can stop in soon; your next new sweater awaits you!

Leigh’s Makes National News!

Hot off the wire: We want to share some national holiday news with you about your favorite local retailer! Leigh’s was recently contacted by the Associated Press to be a part of a holiday business story.  It went on the national wire yesterday and we are so excited to share with you that Leigh’s is in the Washington Post, along with many other publications nationwide.  We think you will be as proud of this as we are!  Thanks for shopping locally with us; we look forward to seeing you in store this holiday season!

Small retailers plan to party till they profit to     lure shoppers from big malls during holidays
By Associated Press, Published: November 20 | Updated: Thursday, November 21, 6:14 AM

NEW YORK — The parades and carnivals that draw people to downtown areas across the country this holiday season will be more than big celebrations. They’re part of a strategy to get shoppers into small stores.

LaGrange, Ill.’s decades-old holiday festival has evolved into more of a sales promotion event in recent years, says Nancy Cummings, executive director of the LaGrange Business Association. This year’s will be held Saturday, Dec. 7, and 66 businesses have so far signed up to take part.

Stores will have open houses, with many giving customers $5 off a $25 purchase. Trolleys will transport shoppers to shops that aren’t part of the downtown cluster, and on the way point out retailers along the route. There’ll be ice sculptures outside stores to lure shoppers to the front door. And there will be the holiday standards like a petting zoo and Santa arriving on a fire truck. Shoppers will have plenty to do across the village located west of Chicago.

“We want to get people moving around,” Cummings says.

Many shoppers are familiar with Small Business Saturday, the American Express campaign to encourage people to buy from independent retailers and other small businesses the Saturday after Thanksgiving. But a growing number of chambers of commerce, small business organizations and local retailer groups hold events to persuade shoppers to forsake malls, big-box stores like Wal-Mart and the Internet in favor of local retailers. They also advertise on joint Facebook pages and recommend shoppers visit other stores in town.

SHIFTING SHOPPING

Retailers in Royal Oak, Mich., are holding a series of events that began last Friday. That night, stores stayed open until midnight and offered special prices and refreshments, much like the come-ons Black Friday — the day after Thanksgiving — is known for. The Saturday after Thanksgiving will be “Shop Local Saturday.” On Sundays during the holidays, many restaurants will have free meals for children. And Dec. 11, retailers will set up shop at the Royal Oak Farmers Market. There will be music, food trucks and gifts.

The efforts make a difference. Small businesses in communities with “buy local” campaigns had an 8.6 increase in sales in 2012 from the previous year, according to the American Independent Business Alliance, a network of community business organizations. In communities without campaigns, sales rose 3.4 percent. The alliance and several other nationwide small business organizations sponsor a Shift Your Shopping campaign aimed at getting consumers to do their holiday buying in their communities. The program, in its third year, now includes 150 local business alliances and 40,000 small businesses.

The economy’s plunge in 2008 prompted storeowners to create the joint events, says Gary Baglio, president of the Royal Oak Association of Retailers and owner of Five15, a gift shop.

“If someone comes downtown to buy a dress at one store, they’re going to walk about to shop at another store,” Baglio says.

GOING SOLO

Many retailers plan solo holiday events. Leigh’s, an upscale women’s clothing store in Grand Rapids, Mich., plans five parties including one Black Friday and another aimed at men shopping for wives and girlfriends. On Black Friday, the store will open at 7 a.m., and serve breakfast, coffee, juice and mimosas. Like the big box and department stores, Leigh’s will have specials, such as fur scarves that will sell for $59 instead of the usual $98.

Last year’s Black Friday party gave Leigh’s a 12 percent sales bump, says co-owner Rebecca Wierda.

“We actually had people waiting outside the door for us at 7 a.m.,” she says. Some came straight from the malls.

The Beacon Hill Holiday Stroll in Boston Dec. 12 will give Dress, a women’s clothing boutique, an opportunity to introduce itself to a new neighborhood. Dress moved to Beacon Hill in September. The event includes a tree lighting, strolling singers and horse and buggy rides.

“I don’t think we’ll see a lot of people trying on clothes,” says co-owner Martha Pickett, “but people will come in and see our store and what we have to offer.”

To view the article online, click here.

New York Fashion Week

Time Square
Time Square…we’re back!
Cushnie et Ochs high waisted pant with cut out knit top
Cushnie et Ochs
Cushnie et Ochs
Cushnie et Ochs
Cushnie et Ochs inspiration board for Spring '14 collection
Cushnie et Ochs inspiration board for Spring ’14 collection
Creative ways to get to your next appointment when you can't find a cab!
Creative ways to get to your next appointment when you can’t find a cab!
Betsy and Caroline (not pictured) at Lela Rose are our restaurant directors!
Betsy and Caroline (not pictured) at Lela Rose are our restaurant experts!
Rebecca and Deb at ABC Kitchen....their cosmos were just as tasty as the food!
Rebecca and Deb at ABC Kitchen….the cosmos were just as tasty as the food!
 
Big Gay Ice Cream
Big Gay Ice Cream Shop!
"The Glob"
“The American Glob” No, you really can’t have just one bite!
Oooh...ahhhh...Starbucks Gold Card!
Oooh…ahhhh…Starbucks Gold Card!

Sometimes I just can’t believe that I am New York looking at the next season when the current season is just beginning! I love giving you glimpses into our market trips and this Fashion Week is no exception. You have been loving what we have in store right now for fall (thank you for being so supportive of our local business) and you will be over-the-moon for the spring ’14 fashion we are hand-selecting right now for you!
As you know, I like to highlight a few experiences of our trip and one that I couldn’t wait to blog about was the inspiration for Cushnie et Ochs spring ’14 collection. Designers Carly Cushnie and Michelle Ochs always push past the norm in inspiration and this season held true with their focus being the straitjacket. The model came out in these sophisticated, edgy looks that are so striking and then their sales director lead us to the inspiration board. I had to take a picture to show you (peek at it a second). You actually can see in the looks the similarities to the straitjacket. Would you ever in a million years think that such luxuriously modern pieces could have been derived from an association with an ugly  medical garment that is meant to constrain and bind ? Carly and Michelle are truly creative and talented designers that continue to get accolades from CFDA and dress celebrities such as Rihanna, Eva Longoria, Selena Gomez and even First Lady Michelle Obama!
We are creatures of habit and after a day of back-to-back appointments, we always like to conclude with dinner at a great local restaurant. Our Lela Rose reps take great care of us in this category (and with their exceptional collection) and always recommend yummy restaurants that are in their neighborhoods. In fact, when we walked in the showroom, Betsy had a list all ready for us…we just love her!  ABC Kitchen in Union Square was the must-dine-at winner for the evening with its local organic environmentally conscious food offering. Here’s the link: http://www.abckitchennyc.com/. We waited close to two hours for a table. And after getting up at 3:30am to catch our flight that morning, I wasn’t sure it would be worth the wait, fortunately, I was wrong. I would wait three hours if necessary….it was soooooo goooood!  They also recommended we go for ice cream to Big Gay Ice Cream Shop (you would only know about this ice cream place if you’re a local). So, we made the pilgrimage to have ice cream and both ordered the American Glob…ice cream rolled in pretzels and sea salt and then dipped in chocolate. I thought I might have to wear sweat pants the next day I was so full, but I couldn’t stop eating it. It was nothing fancy, but it was INCREDIBLE! It is a must for you, put it on your list now…you will be sending me gifts of thanks later! http://biggayicecream.com/

On our last trip we had our flight home cancelled.  This trip we continued the trend…ugh…I guess we are consistent if you want to look at it that way.  Our flight was cancelled due to weather and we couldn’t get a flight until the following night!!!  I swear I am jinxed!  Fortunately, Deb Clark our merchandise manager was also in market and so we joined her for her appointments…atleast we were productive during our misfortune!

Lots of time in market creates the need for caffeine and quick food during the day….our favorite choice while in the city is Starbucks.(Venti China Green Tips tea, please!)  Today at home when I was opening mail, there it was…..the Starbucks gold card.  I never even knew this secret club existed, but I’m feeling kinda cool and that this is the moment in which I have “arrived”…ha!  Who would have known being in the fashion business would have these type of perks!

Handbag Trends

photo 1photo 2photo 3It’s time to indulge in a new handbag!  I’m sure that’s music to your ears and most everyone will be compelled to comply with my directive (without any complaining)! However, I thought I might take a moment to give you a little insight into the fall trends for handbags.   We are seeing structured silhouettes, texture and color-blocking.  One of my favorite structured shapes is the trapeze with its signature hard bottom and short handles.  Kate Spade did it really well this season (pic 3) and added texture and color-blocking with this fresh shape.  What great looking bags!  Texture can come in the form of quilting, embellishments, contrasting materials, decorative zippers, fur and more.  Rachel Zoe (pic 1) and Rebecca Minkoff (pic 2) were right on trend this season with their assortments as you can see.  By the way, this is our first season to have Rachel Zoe handbags in store and we are so excited…. each one has a total “wow” factor!   Color-blocking adds visual interest to any handbag shape.  There has been a tendency to be afraid of having multiple colors in your bag because of it not matching your shoes.  This season, there is a definite trend to have your handbag contrast with your shoes….so don’t lose sleep over the matchy-matchy thing….just pick a handbag you love!  Whether it’s a structured silhouette, tote, hobo, messenger bag or clutch; I know you will look fabulous carrying which ever new bag you select!

Bootie Trend

photo 1 photo 2 photo 3 photo 4 photo 5 photo6It’s that time of year again….another new season.  By now, you know how much I love the change of seasons, particularly fall.  Why?  Because I L-O-V-E fall fashion:  Denim, cashmere, leather and more!  But, my heart really belongs to shoes (as those of you who follow my blog know).  And, the shoes that have been walking in our door; I am head-over-heels in  lllllooooovvvvveee with.   The trend in shoes this fall is again the boot.  Look for boots with great texture and color and with an emphasis being on the bootie. I perused the store today and snapped photos of some of my favorites (notice this is plural rather than singular).  I will share with you my current must-haves, but please note that there may be more to come because we have shoes arriving daily!  Pic 1:  Donald Pliner military inspired boot in distressed leather…..let’s just have a moment to take this beautiful boot in…………….ahhhhh.  Yes, Donald Pliner is crazy comfortable as a plus, plus, but this isn’t about that, it is just an amazing looking boot that you can’t pass on.  Pic 2:  Ugg Bailey Bow…Ugh! Which color will I pick….black, dusty rose or navy? They all are darling and will all keep my toes toasty warm at the ice rink this winter watching my boys play hockey!  Is it wrong for me to get all three?  Pic 3:  VC Signature by Vince Camuto suede and patent smoking slipper/loafer.  Wear it with denim or wear it with a great pencil skirt….however you like….just wear it!  Pic 4:  G double R….grrrr…..RED Valentino sexy leather and velvet bootie.  This will definitely get some attention from onlookers…..such as your husband you’ve been married to for 21 years!   Pic 5:  Style, comfort and sensibility all wrapped up in one….from my most favorite shoe designer….Stuart Weitzman.  This little quilted bootie happens to be waterproof….and happens to be on my checklist to bring for New York market trips and everything in between!  Pic 6: Frye boots (and handbags) ….new to our line-up this year.  We are so excited to have Frye in store  for you (and me)!   The black style looked fabulous with our new black denim from Rich & Skinny…I’m just sayin’.   Leigh’s wants to be your shoe store….we are brimming with the BEST shoes from your favorite designers this season.  We invite you to stop in and pick your favorites!

 

Cashmere Time

Cashmere Time

August is Cashmere Time at Leigh’s! Now is the time to choose from the newest and best cashmere pieces for the upcoming season! We have your favorites already in store for you from Autumn Cashmere, Magaschoni, Vince, Fabiana Filippi, 360 Sweater and more!