L: Style – what is yours?
E: “My “style” is a mix between structured and fashion-forward. I try to wear classic pieces that will be in my wardrobe forever, but stay a little ahead of the curve with different silhouettes. I think my style is always evolving…”
Austin is the heartthrob of Texas music, culture and style. The fashion-forward focus of this small city bleeds originality and transforms personal flair into cultural trends and necessities. For the past decade, the downtown 2nd Street District has cultivated a stellar reputation for shopping, dining and entertainment. The six blocks from San Antonio to Colorado house boutiques such as Teddies for Bettys, Langford Market, Hemline – and of course, Estilo.
Estilo, which literally translates to style in Spanish, is an original staple of 2nd Street. For the past seven years, the store has been nestled in the nook between Cru Wine Bar and Design Within Reach; Estilo was the first of many to find a home in this sought-after area of downtown Austin. This unique, and stylish boutique offers both men and women’s clothing; Chelsea Flower, Ted Baker, Parker and Rory Beca are just a few of the brands found in-store. But Estilo is more than just a hot-spot for some of the leading names in fashion; it is a shopping experience you won’t find in many other Austin stores.
I had the opportunity to meet the crew behind the name last month, at their Girl’s Night Out event. I will confess: I had an ulterior motive to interviewing the staff on that particular day. I secretly wanted to snatch this gorgeous Black Halo mini dress on discount (while sipping champagne) – and I did, in addition to the several other lovely pieces that found their way into my closet that evening. Owner, Stephanie Coultress – also referred to as the Mayor of 2nd Street, a well-deserved title – sat to answer a few of my questions:
L: What IS Estilo?
E: “…The concept behind the store was to create a place downtown [where] both men and women could find emerging designers and one-of-a-kind pieces. We also wanted to create a space that could evolve into more of a lifestyle, where our clients could get style and wardrobe consultation…”
L: You have definitely made a statement with the line of brands you carry in store – what sets Estilo apart?
E: “Estilo was started to be a unique destination for shoppers – a place where you could mix, mingle, shop and score some really amazing pieces in a space unlike any other store in Austin..”
On this evening in the store, I was surprised at how easy it was to shop the layout. The racks are suspended from the ceiling, creating a clean and clutter-free atmosphere – ideal for anyone rifling through hangers. The space is open, yet still inviting. In my experience as a serious shopper, I have found that many higher end boutiques emit an intimidating persona – that is not the case for Estilo. The staff is friendly, and eager to help. Do you look like a beast in those skinnies? Probably not, but if you do someone will tell you and suggest something more flattering. The individual style of each team member is elemental in the store’s appeal to a wide demographic. Whatever your flavor, you will find your fit among the labels at Estilo.
L: What changes has your brand undergone since its opening? For example, has your target demographic changed? Have their needs or shopping habits evolved?
E: “Estilo has evolved with our city’s ever-changing social, economic and fashion needs as well as [we] possibly can. We hope to be the shopping destination that someone who shopped with us years ago [can come] back and still love…In order to survive with the world changing around us, we have to stay true to who we are as a business and why we opened our doors in the first place – to create a great place for people to shop, feel comfortable and feel as though they are getting truly unique garments that they won’t find anywhere else.”
As Austin continues to boom, and as the skyline continues to grow, the inner-city vibe is open to change. While somewhat famous for housing hipsters, Austin is still a city full of young professionals that like to done fun outfits and romp around the Warehouse District. Or 2nd Street. Or Sixth. New hotels and high-rise condos will bring more residents to 78701, and more shoppers to local retailers.
L: How do you see Austin Style? The culture, the lifestyle – what does that mean to you and how is Estilo breaking the proverbial trend waves?
E: “I think Austin has a reputation for being “hipster” because of the music scene and laid-back lifestyle. However, there is another part of Austin that is just as prevalent and strong– a young, fashion-forward, professional crowd that enjoys dressing UP versus down. It’s the mix of these two styles that makes Austin what it is today. We’re still very laid back, but also have the need to dress up and express ourselves and our lifestyle through clothing.
L: There is going to be a huge change in the skyline, and downtown, in the next few years. What are your thoughts on the expansion?
E: “Any downtown expansion or future development will benefit the store. Any increase in tourists, downtown dwellers and jobs in the city will bring more people to the 2nd Street District.”
As a city grows, so do its locals. So does their style. Skinny jeans may be the peddle-pushers of tomorrow, and who knows what is going to come of spiked platforms and handbags. But among the fashion conglomerate of “right now”, there are a few things that will never reform: an individual’s affinity for fashion and their pursuit of such. Estilo has branded an excellent reputation for catering to their guests, and offering an unmatched shopping experience. Whether you are a lady, a guy – shopping for yourself or a friend – this Austin local has you covered, catered to, and taken care of.
You can shop their store, at 234 West Second Street Or, online here.
© Lindsay Watson
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