Laurie Klopper caresses a teal and black striped Glam Cloud tunic with a brown owl pattern repeating across its pink sleeves. "A lawyer could totally wear this with a jacket, a funky necklace and some black boots," she says.
Klopper should know. The former Cuyahoga County attorney was one of the trendier dressers during her days in court. "I see lawyers wearing navy and black suits, and that was never me," says the founder of Blush Boutique, a modern women's apparel and accessory shop that specializes in independent and emerging designers.
After 14 years in the legal field, Klopper left the profession and began selling handmade black and silver sterling jewelry to a Little Italy gallery. Four years ago, she opened Blush with a focus on carefully curated labels. Apparel, scarves, hats and belts in rich hues and pastel patterns mingle along pink and yellow walls that meet the espresso hardwood floors.
"Our items are slightly eclectic but multifunctional," Klopper says. "These are clothes you can wear to a business meeting or soccer game. Or throw on a pair of strappy shoes and some funky jewelry, then go to happy hour."
Take Effie's Heart trendy high-waist, wide-stripe cabernet sailor pants ($72). Embellished with industrial metal heart-shaped buttons, it offers the comfort of yoga pants. "I would tuck in a tee, wear a jacket and show these off," Klopper says.
An antique map chest displays belts and candles in recycled wine and beer bottles from local crafter Terra Verde (starting at $16). Lake Erie beach glass bracelets, Klopper's necklaces and earrings, and other local lines dangle atop a reclaimed workshop console.
The store's apparel is usually less than $100. Though new inventory appears weekly, Klopper is judicious with her selections, ordering no more than six pieces per line to maintain exclusivity.
There are exceptions, she says, referencing Chicago-based Megan Lee Design's Midwest-centric cotton T-shirts ($32), such as the "OH, how I love you," a nod to the buckeye state. "People just love these," Klopper says.
When You Go
173 Coventry Road,
» Nearby Find
Score trendy apparel, jewlry and vintage items at Avalon Exchange. The resale shop carries ubiquitous to high-end brands, from Gap to Oscar de la Renta.
1798 Coventry Road,
shops & boutiques
12:00 AM EST
September 30, 2013