When I first started, I was making jewelry, and I thought the space I rented in Salem would be my studio. Then I decided I really wanted a store. I love clothes and jewelry, and I love being around women who come in looking for something to make them feel pretty. [Opening a store] wasn’t my original intention, but it completely organically happened and I followed it.
What do you hope that your customers take away from their experience with you?
We do way more than sell dresses. We give women confidence and help them try on things outside of their comfort zone. I had a lady whose husband sent her with his credit card because he loved the way she looked when she went home. We are so hard on ourselves, and we need to be nice to ourselves and kind.
Who are your biggest inspirations?
Iris Apfel (fair to say, she is also one of our biggest inspirations) and Magnolia Pearl
Do you have a favorite quote that guides you in your role as a business owner?
“Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.” Minor Myers
What is your favorite up incoming style?
I love layering up lacy summer pieces, or dressing them up with clothes for colder weather! For example, adding a cozy sweater and a funky pair of boots. I love vintage hats too!
Let’s talk fashion. There are two things I know for sure. First, fashion is art. Second, everyone wants to look and feel good, especially when we leave the nonjudgmental walls of our homes to accomplish the day’s mission. At Let’s Talk Fashion Virginia, our hope is to make the world of fashion a kinder entity than the unattainable images, ideals, and price tags plastered in what seems to be every platform of media available. One of the core reasons I worked my way into the fashion industry, joining Victoria Watts, founder of Let’s Talk Fashion Virginia, was to teach individuals the importance of knowing their intrinsic value. Here, we use the word fashion first as a verb, and then a noun in our company. We believe that before there were clothes to purchase, man and woman were fashioned by the hands of God. Humans are the grand finishing touch of the creative expression of the Creator of the entire world, which makes people much more valuable than the clothes they wear.
No, I am not against having an on-point wardrobe, but I do know how a person feels will show through, no matter what clothes they wear.
However, I know you are not reading this article for a sermon; chances are you reading this article because you want to talk fashion. So, Let’s Talk Fashion Virginia!
For the end of summer, I wanted to give you some advice that will keep you classic, which never goes out of style. Keep your solids, even with flirty florals and other bold prints that have shown up for spring and summer, as you will always be on-point with solids. Everyone and every body type looks good in them. They leave the world of accessories wide open, with trendy statement accessories being much more affordable to update season after season rather than garments.
On the other hand, I am not saying to completely forget florals or prints, but to understand that instead of flattering you these prints may distract and/or distort your image. The most seamless way to incorporate florals and other prints into your wardrobe is to do so with a continuous piece. A continuous piece keeps the body flowing instead of interrupting in all the wrong places.
Some of the most commonly worn continuous pieces are dresses, rompers, and jumpsuits.
However, there is another style of continuous piece on the scene, last seen in 2014 when worn on the red carpet by Aussie actress, Margot Robbie: two-piece sets. The most common two-piece set consists of a skirt with an accompanying top, but shorts and pants may also be found. It seems one trending idea is finally something to flatter the body rather than to just stand out.
The best way to achieve a flattering look is to create one that keeps the eyes moving. There is an appeal that works of art, like paintings or sculptures, create that causes a desire for on-lookers to see the entire piece and not just one corner of work. Every person is a work of art, and each one of us has bumps, curves, height, or lack of, that we either like or do not like. We can choose to focus on those parts of us, or we can choose to see an entire person. As a stylist, my goal is to enhance the uniqueness of each person I work with individually. Pictured, myself and another local stylist, Courtney Martin, worked to create a few looks resembling continuous pieces using clothing sourced from a downtown Lynchburg retailer, Frolic by Celebration.
Still looking for more inspiration? For 2018, Let’s Talk Fashion Virginia will continue to develop seminars including model workshops with the local Lynchburg Parks & Recreation to teach individuals through professional instruction about the different aspects of fashion.
For the first time in Central Virginia history, Let’s Talk Fashion Virginia will present the first annual Central Virginia Fashion Week 2017! Think New York City, but in the greater Lynchburg area this fall: September 11-16. There will be in-store events happening throughout the week, including debuts from emerging fashion designers from within the Central Virginia region. The week will end with two runway shows Friday and Saturday. We are excited to partner with the Retail Merchants Association Lynchburg, the Downtown Lynchburg Association, and WSET ABC 13 to produce a premier event featuring collections of locally-owned retailer establishments and designers. We’re also thrilled to work with local beauty partners such as the professionals at Vanquish Beauty Studio (Sara & Denise) and Ashley at Makeup by Ashley Ancheta just to name a few. For more information, please visit www.letstalkfashionva.com and subscribe to our e-mail list for updates. We’re so excited to meet you there!
Written by Aimee Dwyer Photos courtesy of Sidney Jackson, Faith Connected Photo Model in Featured Image: Pamela Raine Model in Blue: Amy Beth
You all took over Punch Boutique in May. At what moment did you decide that taking over the business was what you wanted to do? Whitney Greene: I have always had a passion for both the apparel industry and entrepreneurship. When the previous owner approached us about purchasing the business in late spring, we knew at that moment we didn’t want Roanoke to lose such an amazing business in the community. It was an amazing opportunity neither of us felt like we could pass up—and the support from our customers really affirmed our decision. I knew that it was something I couldn’t do without Catherine though, as we both have different backgrounds, personalities and perspectives. I think that really makes us a unique partnership.
Catherine Justice: I have been with Punch from the ground up. Our former boss taught me everything I know and I continuously want to know more! I love Punch and saw this a natural progression. There is nothing else I’d rather do, and no one else I’d rather do it with than Whitney!
What do you enjoy most about your job? WG: There are so many things! The customers that have become a part of our lives, the fact that each day is different and always requires us to think creatively and problem solve. I also enjoy being able to bring fashion and unique products to my hometown and spread my passion with everyone here. I love being a part of something bigger in the community.
CJ: The relationships. I absolutely love my customers, coworkers, and vendors. I thrive on building and keeping relationships. Finding that perfect outfit together is the heartbeat of my job. Also, the clothes…it’s pretty much every girls dream job right?!
Do you have a favorite quote that guides you in your role as a business owner? WG: “Always keep your eyes open, keep watching. Because whatever you see can inspire you.” Grace Coddington
CJ: “The harder you work, the luckier you get.” Michael Jordan
You can’t be the best on the team without going to practice or failing!
Who is your biggest inspiration? WG: My family and our customers. Both are the reason were lucky enough to be in the position we are. My family constantly supports my dreams without question and our customers constantly fulfill my dreams.
CJ: My husband is my biggest inspiration. He works harder than anyone I know. No day is more important, he gives 150% every single day and it is very admirable.
What is your favorite style for Fall 2017? WG: There is a strong emphasis on sleeves for fall. Dramatic shapes and fresh details make arms key focal points. It’s classically romantic and feminine. I think the diversity in style, silhouette, and substance is what makes fashion great.
CJ: It’s all about velvet! All ages, all styles…you have to have something velvet or with velvet on it!
How do you hope your customer’s experience in Punch Boutique impacts their daily life? WG: We constantly strive to provide each customer with a personal experience. We are so lucky that many of our customers have become our friends, with whom we share our highs and lows. We wouldn’t have it any other way. We want customers to feel like even though we are a ‘dress shop,’ we truly want to be involved in the process of dressing them for all the occasions in their lives. We want to be a part of helping them feel and look their best for all their needs. We also know that our customers work hard in their daily lives, so we like to ask ourselves how we can make life easier for our customers: by being a one stop shop for clothing, shoes, and accessories. Our customers (hopefully) leave with a friend in our employees (& us), a personalized experience, and a phenomenal outfit.
CJ: I want women to feel confident in their Punch attire. It isn’t shallow or superficial to feel good on the outside because that is the first step to feeling good on the inside. “Retail therapy” is a real thing and I see it happen on a daily basis.