Thursday, February 9, 2012

chic city spotlight: denver, featuring abbey bryan

defining chic is not easy.
you know it when you see it,
but different cities develop their own styles and trends.

with that in mind, i have endeavored to create a new weekly blog theme,
dedicated to exploring the fashion of a different city
through the eyes of someone living in that city.

the city chosen for the debut post is denver, colorado
the perspective is from abbey bryan, nurse,
and former memphian who has settled in denver

let's find out what's chic out west in the mountains, shall we?

if you could describe denver's fashion scene in one word, what would it be?

eclectic. it seems that almost anything goes which is part of the
appeal of colorado fashion, everyone puts their own twist on things.
of course, with any large city, you have various labels or groups of
people that identify with their fashion trends. capitol hill is
largely known as the "hipster" sect of the city, the highlands is a
trendy area with a progressive sense of style, then of course you have
your mountain rugged look and a large population of hippies :) the
music scene is also a major part of colorado culture, so with that
being said you can always find a variety of people with their own
statements to make.

never having been to denver myself, my impression of it is based on
stereotypes . I think of it as a place where folks might
care less about fashion and more about issues or being active. would
you say that is true? if so, is the fashion a reflection of that?

that is certainly true of a limited population. that is a fairly
accurate description of some of the activist hippies, but activism
doesn't categorize the majority. physical activity however is the
essence of denver (well Colorado in general) because there is so much
to do...biking, backpacking, camping, skiing, climbing, snowboarding.
so, with that in mind, active wear is a huge market in the west.
rugged wear brands like carhartt, as well as mountain fashionable
brands like kelty, mountain hardwear, kavu, dakine, burton, patagonia,
north face (the list is endless) are conducive to not only an active
lifestyle but also a fashionable one. in the last 20 plus years,
bright colors have taken over the mountain towns making skiing and
snowboarding a huge venue for fashion. the mountain men have even
coined the word "steezy" to identify their fashion trends, which
basically means the brighter your colors the better you look.

what might the typical girl in denver be wearing?

it really depends on the season. being february, skinny jeans and
leggings are huge, but usually anything that keeps you warm. layering
is definitely appropriate so you will find  a lot of tanks, shirts,
sweaters, button ups, coats, scarves etc. you can also find several
different patterns/colors mixed with almost every kind of boot you can
think of. for the snow and ice, you will usually see a heavier boot
(some embellished with fur/metal/different patterns/bead work etc),
and then other times maybe just a cute leather or suede boot, but i
would say they are almost always very warm and practical. i have
noticed that women tend to wear less of a heel, most are flats and if
there is a heel it will be fairly low or a wedged boot ( i guess this
only makes sense because I have seen soooo many people fall on the
  bright colored, feather down coats are huge. not only because the
feather down coats are soooo warm but bright colors are everywhere.
scarves, gloves and a cut hat or beanie...this is always fun because
everyone looks so different with all of the various options for colors
and style.

are there any brands or styles of closing that seem more popular than others?

 it seems that most people gravitate toward the brand names that are
well known for the quality of their clothing. north face, burton,
patagonia, kavu, dakine, and mountain hardware are only a few of the
brand names that can be easily identified, especially in the mountain
towns.  snowboard fashion has definitely become a statement since the
introduction of clothing lines. shaun white and gretchen bleiler for
example are two well known young, professional boarders who have
appealing and marketable style making fashion on the slopes a huge
part of the sport.
    with that being said, denver and the surrounding towns are also
well known for supporting local artists and vendors. organic,
hand-made threads are everywhere and seem to do quite well in local
markets, not only are they beautiful but usually extremely unique and
well made. i personally love the amount of recycled jewelry that comes
through boulder and denver, again, it has a very eclectic look about
as far as shoes are concerned, sorel, ugg, toms, north face, and frye
are only a few of the brand names that i have noticed. it seems that
practicality meets style is the preferred combination when shopping
for just about anything.

you have lived in memphis for a good portion of your life, how is the
fashion in denver different than memphis?

    i would say that for the most part denver and colorado in general
has a very laid back, casual appeal to it. less formal and more
comfort. you definitely won't see nearly as many women in heels and
rarely a stiletto heel.
   i have been to several amazing restaurants in denver, and the dress
code is almost always anything goes. you can wear jeans to almost any
restaurant or you could wear a dress with cute boots and not feel out
of place at all. denver is like memphis in that it is a huge city and
with a large population you get a melting pot.

fill in the blank. if you wore ____ in denver, you'd stick out like a
sore thumb.

nothing. hah, i think thats about the only way you will get any heads
turning. If you were completely stark naked. there are sooo many
unique people, which is nice because it makes for an interesting
conversation every once in a while, but everyone has accepted that the
next person is marching to their own beat if you will, so it would
take something pretty extravagant to really stick out.

What makes denver's fashion unique? (i.e., are there a lot of handmade, organic garments?)

   the versatile, eclectic mix of people and their personal
statements. colorado is made up of a nomadic group of people ( you
will rarely find a true native), so you get individuals from all over
the country that are usually drawn to this area for it's liberal ways
of life as well as the gorgeous landscape so therefore you have just
that, a unique look to match a unique crowd.

  local vendors are huge. hand-made items do really well, organic as
well as recycled materials are extremely marketable. they usually cost
a little bit more, but the quality is equivalent.

1-10: how much value do you think the average denver girl places in her physical appearance?

          mmmm thats a hard question. college girl or young
professional? again, there is quite a mix, you have very natural women
that wear very little make up if any at all. however, you also have
very feminine, fashionable women that never leave the house without
hair and make up looking perfect. overall I would say an 8. while some
people worry more with their clothing and sense of style, almost
everyone that i have come into contact with is health conscious and
aware of their physique.

the chic takeaway?
in denver, it is chic to be fit, health conscious, and practical, making use of quality fabrics.
within that lifestyle, folks tweak the chic by using bold colors and embellishment.

thanks to abbey for her insight. 

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