Handkerchief dresses and oversized tunics. Floaty skirts and leggings. Quilted vests and leather fringe jackets. Floppy hats and flared jeans. Hobo purses and suede ankle boots. Stackable bracelets and tassel necklaces.
These are some of the fashion trends that shoppers will find in metro-east stores this fall.
“We’re seeing a lot of boho chic,” said Tammy Carlson, 45, manager and buyer for What to Wear and More in Edwardsville. The style draws on bohemian and hippie influences.
Tammy pointed to a long-sleeved, cotton-print Aratta handkerchief dress being modeled by Holly Head, a regular customer at the clothing and home-decor boutique.
“I actually wouldn’t have thought this outfit would look nice on me, but I like it,” said Holly, 39, of Edwardsville. “I’m not the most fashionable person in the world. I have two kids, and I live in running clothes. But this is comfortable, and it makes me feel fashionable.”
Holly paired the dress with a black cami slip, leggings, suede “booties” (ankle boots) and jewelry with leather, tassels and blood-red beads.
“A lot of the bohemian styles are sheer, so they’re doing a lot of layering and wearing a lot of slips and camis,” Tammy said.
What to Wear and More is one of 12 metro-east shops and designers participating in the third-annual Friends of the Wildey Fashion and Trunk Show at 7:15 p.m. Saturday at the Wildey Theatre in Edwardsville. More than 120 models will hit the runway.
The fundraiser will be hosted by Sarah Stallman, fashion editor for ALIVE Magazine and style director for St. Louis Fashion Week. Tickets cost $20 to $25 ($50 for VIP).
“Most of the models are ladies,” said Friends President Rich Walker. “It’s kind of a gal-pal event or a girl’s night out. And people dress up, like they’re going to a designer fashion show.”
A few models got together in downtown Edwardsville for a recent photo shoot, braving fall fabrics in summer heat.
Amber Klauber, manager of the Edwardsville Glik’s store, showed up in a flowing, asymmetrical, charcoal-gray Elan top with one fitted sleeve and a cape-like opening on the other side.
“This is what we call a ‘cross-over piece,’” said Amber, 35, of Glen Carbon. “It’s something that anyone can wear, from juniors to more mature women.”
Amber noted that oversized tops work well with skinny jeans for those who like a little cover. On this day, she wore a pair of distressed Flying Monkeys with cuffs, and black wedge booties.
“Showing off booties this year is a big deal,” she said. “Ankle boots are really popular, and we’re seeing a lot of the boots in suede.”
Amber rounded out her look with a silver feather necklace and earrings and Alex and Ali bangles with flower, pineapple, feather and initial charms.
“These are very, very popular,” she said. “We probably sell 20 a day. I only have four of them on, but some girls wear 20.”
Ashley Dawn modeled Jeanne d’Arc Living clothes from Pairabelles, which sells new and vintage clothing and original designs at shops in Belleville and Lebanon.
Ashley paired a mocha pintuck blouse with a tiered and ruffled ivory skirt, blue-gray trouser-bloomers, cowboy boots, vintage beaded jewelry and a hobo bag.
“(Bohemian) is a style for everybody,” said Ashley, 28, of Edwardsville. “You don’t have to be a size 2. You can be a 12 and feel comfortable and stylish at the same time.”
Ashley has been modeling 10 years for clients such as Clinique and Abercrombie & Fitch. For the recent photo shoot, she wore a long, blond, hippie-style wig and flower headband. Her own hair is dyed silver, another trend.
“People pay a lot of money to try to perfect that beautiful silvery gray hair,” she said.
The Wildey fundraiser was the brainchild of Friends board member Chris Head. She remembers when Edwardsville clothing and shoe stores staged fall fashion shows on a downtown parking lot in the 1960s. She was one of the teenage models.
“It was kind of a back-to-school thing, and I know so many people who have fond memories of it,” said Chris, 65, of Edwardsville. “The models felt so special that day.”
This year’s show will include new clothing from metro-east shops, as well as updated or reworked vintage items and the collections of two local fashion designers.
Allison Mefford, a senior at Edwardsville High School, calls her collection of 10 outfits “Evolution.” She starts with black and white and gradually progresses to a wildly colorful formal that will be modeled by her friend, Marie Beatty.
“I found this pattern — I love the shape — then found the silk fabric at JoAnn's,” said Allison, who designed the dress for a senior project.
Other fashion-show participants include Live’ Salon, Cato, Designs by Cassidy Winters, Lillian by Design, hazel2blue, The Clothes Line Boutique, Chantel Paris Couture and Mr. Anthony’s: The Private Collection.
Off the runway, a “pop-up boutique” will be open from 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday on the Wildey’s third floor. People can buy clothing, jewelry, art and cosmetics, as well as 20 gowns and cocktail dresses from the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s.
“They are truly works of art with much attention to detail,” Chris said. “They’re beaded. They’re elegant. They’re better than anything that I’ve seen at a vintage store.”
At a glance
What: Friends of the Wildey Fashion and Trunk Show
When: 7:15 p.m. Saturday (a “pop-up boutique” will be open from 6 to 10 p.m.)
Where: Wildey Theatre, 252 N. Main St. in Edwardsville
Admission: $20 to $25 includes gift bag ($50 for VIP tickets with preferred seating, pre-show meet-and-greet with Sarah Stallman, hors d’oeuvres and deluxe gift bag)
Information: Call the theater at 618-307-1750