Stella Spotlight - Habit & I See London

Nestled in the shops at Bandywood Center in Green Hills, next to one of our favorite shoe stores and former Spotlight Store, The Perfect Pair, sits Habit & I See London. This quaint shop has a white-washed, relaxed, shabby-chic feel, and it's stocked full of the perfect essentials for every season. We had to know more about this nicely edited store and recently caught up with owner, Meg Blackney.

What inspired you to open Habit/I See London?

I saw a need for up and coming, smaller designers in the area.  We like to only bring in one piece per size of a piece of clothing.  That way it is not seen all around town!

How has the store evolved since you first opened?

When we first opened we were trying to do too much - be too many things for everyone.  We have settled into our current role of providing Nashville with different, amazing pieces that are actually wearable in real life.  I have kids, and my customers have kids (not all of them, of course!) and there is a real need to dress in a way that inspires you, but also is not dainty and breakable.

What's the inspiration behind the name of both stores?

A habit is a nun's headwear.  We were just looking for terms that address clothing, and we liked the way it sounded.  It can also been seen as a "good" habit or a "bad" habit.....depending on your budget :)  For I See London, we just loved the cheeky-ness of the old "I See London, I See France...."

Describe the vibe of Habit/I See London in five words or less.

Comfortable. Light. Cozy. Open. Friendly.

What items that you carry should be in everyone's closet this Fall?

Ponchos, stripes, lace trimmed dresses, wide leg cords.

Goddis Poncho ($233), Citizens of Humanity Hutton Medium Rise Wide Leg Jean ($189), Dogeared Peace Necklace ($62)

What are some of your favorite lines you carry?

Rebecca Taylor, Splendid, Ella Moss, Joie, Eberjey

Rebecca Taylor Agean Discover Me Dress ($345), Velvet Faux Fur Jacket ($232), Virgins, Saints and Angels Tribal Charm Mila Grosa Necklace ($356) - courtesy of The Perfect Pair

Joie Flower Dress ($298)


Ella Moss Poncho ($275)

Eberjey Waterfall Robe ($102), Eberjey Teddy Romper ($71)

 Describe the customer experience at Habit/I See London. What should they expect when they arrive?

We want people to feel comfortable.  Fashion should be fun, and hands on.  We like for people to take a tons of options to the dressing room, as questions, get opinions.  We want people to expect great service and honest answers.

If Habit/I See London was a cocktail, what would it be?

Probably a dirty martini.  We are about the real ingredients....not trends and showboating.  Like a martini, we get straight down to business - the business of getting you looking your best.

What are five of your favorite places in Nashville?

Burger Up, Rumours, Anthropologie, Nashville Public Library (Downtown), Arrington Vineyards

We’ll have additional photos from the Habit & I See London shoot on our Facebook page this week. Visit Habit & I See London in the Bandywood Center in Green Hills (2209 Bandywood Drive) and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

All photos courtesy of Daniel C White.

Stella Spotlight: Nashville Boutique - Serendipity

Serendipity boutique on 12th Ave South in Nashville is appropriately named.  This eclectic boutique has been a staple on 12 South for the past 11 years.  It's filled to the brim with beautiful jewelry (some of which is local), fantastically affordable dresses and tons of fabulous gift ideas.  When Mizzie and I pulled clothes and accessories for our June Her Nashville shoot, we couldn't believe the treasures we found in this shop.  We are obsessed with a particular line of re-purposed jewelry called Re-creating Juliette and we'll have more to share on that line later this month!  Owner, Julie Lutz and her staff are warm, welcoming and at the ready to help you find the absolute perfect items.  Here, Julie tells us about the inspiration behind Serendipity and what we can expect to find for Fall. What was the inspiration behind Serendipity?  How has your original concept evolved over the years?

The inspiration behind the name is linked to it's meaning..."making fortunate discoveries by accident."  Serendipity's look and feel has continued to evolve throughout the years, along with the ever changing style and needs of Nashville.  The main concept is a place where a mother and daughter can shop and both find something nice.

Describe the vibe of Serendipity in five words or less.

Eclectic and peaceful.

What are some of your favorite lines in the store?

Johnny Was and Weston Wear are probably everyone's favorite lines that we carry at Serendipity.

We are in love with the jewelry line, Re-creating Juliette.  Can you tell us a little more about it and why it's so special?

Re-creating Juliette is a line of jewelry started by my sister, Debbie.  It is named for our Grandmother, Juliet.  Debbie takes a lot of interesting old pieces of watches and jewelry and is able to re-create them into something that is truly one-of-a-kind.  Her design sensibility really shows through in her pieces and the line is exclusive to Serendipity.

What are some great pieces that will help us stay cool now, but can also take us into Fall?

We have a great short cargo skirt that can be worn with a tank now, but later with a great sweater and boots..layering is still very popular.  We also have many dresses that will keep you cool, but can go into Fall quite easily.

Speaking of Fall, what apparel and/or accessories can we look forward to finding at Serendipity?

We are all looking forward to our leather boots that are coming in by Bronx.  We always have a great variety of hand-made sweaters that I love getting in too.

What kind of woman are you thinking of when you choose the items you have in the store?

All of us here at Serendipity participate in the buying process and as our individual tastes vary widely, our selections vary as well.  It works.  Anyone can find something in here whether young, old or in between, hipster or hippie....we usually have something for everyone.

What type of experience should customers expect when they come to Serendipity?

We try to give the customer a delightful shopping experience from the amazing smell of our candles and soaps that greet them as soon as they walk in, to the friendly service we offer.  We also have an abundance of unique baby items and books, as well as organic tea, gift items and beautiful clothes to look at. Hopefully, anyone can find something that makes them feel good about themselves.

What are five of your favorite places in Nashville?

Because we are an eclectic group of people and have a wide range of tastes, we have a number of places we favor here in Nashville. However, if we have to narrow it down to five, first I would pick the Ryman.  We all love going to shows there.  My favorite shows of all time-Patty Griffin, Emmy Lou Harris and Alison Krauss to name a few.  Cheekwood is another favorite.  Most of us LOVED the Chihuly exhibit last summer and one of the girls works there as well.  One of our girls loves Lone Wolf Body Art on Broadway.  Tim Bobek has done all of her tattoos and she swears by his work.  Another one of the girls lives in East Nashville and is crazy about Mitchell Delicatessen.  She says they have the best BLT in town, hands down.  And finally, none of us could live without our morning coffee, or afternoon "pick me up" from Frothy Monkey down the street. We've all been frequenting it since it opened.

What inspires you?

The people that live, work and study in Nashville are what inspire us!  We love being part of a community that is continually growing and improving.  We have definitely taken our cue from the various and unique styles of everyone that lives here, and we continue to try and embody the spirit of that within our store.

A big thanks to Julie who is offering our Nashville subscribers a special deal valid through August 15.  Make sure you receive Stella in your Inbox to get your coupon.

Visit our Stella Shops Facebook page for more photos from our Serendipity shoot.  Special thank you to Daniel C White who took the photos here and in our Serendipity Facebook album.

Serendipity is located at 2301 12th Ave South in Nashville.  Follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

Stella Spotlight: Boutique Bella

This month's Spotlight Store takes us to West End where tucked into the shopping center behind Ted's Montana Grill sits a gem of a boutique.  Boutique Bella is a lovely shop full to the brim with designer denim, accessories and casual wear to cocktail attire.  They've been a mainstay in Nashville's shopping community for the past ten years and it's easy to see why.  The shop is comfortable and nicely merchandised and the staff is super friendly.  What more could you ask for?  We asked owners, Renae Baird and KC Nickolai a few questions about the boutique, the lines they love and what all of us should be wearing this Summer.

What inspired you to open Boutique Bella?  How has your original concept evolved over the years?

We were great friends who both shared a dream of opening a store. We were pretty open to what kind of store it would be, but after we found the retail space on West End Avenue, a clothing store seemed like a natural choice.  At the time, Nashville didn't have many boutiques, so we thought a clothing store that was convenient to Vanderbilt students and other shoppers in the mid-town area was a good idea.

When we opened 10 years ago, designer denim was just starting to become popular, so we kind of fell into the jean market a little by accident.  We still sell a lot of dresses, tops and tee shirts, but I think we are definitely known as a denim shopping destination more than anything else.

The original concept hasn't changed much over the years, but I think we have evolved into a store that caters to a wider demographic.  When we first opened, the majority of our customers were college students, but now we have a lot of customers in the 25-55 range too. Describe the vibe of Boutique Bella in five words or less.

Relaxed, comfortable, friendly...and full!

What are some of your favorite lines you carry and why?

Citizens of Humanity jeans look and feel great and they seem to fit just about every body type well.  Trina Turk does a pretty fantastic job of making quality clothing for just about every age that fits well and is timeless without being boring.

Velvet and Michael Stars have elevated the tee shirt (and now a lot of other things too) to another level of sophistication and comfort.

As far as jewelry goes, local designer Robin Haley makes beautiful pieces that are extremely wearable and Chan Luu wrap bracelets are nothing short of an obsession for our entire staff.

What items should all of us have in our closets this Summer?

Summer in Nashville is HOT, so easy day and maxi dresses that you can pair with flip flops or wedges are a must.  Tee shirts and white jeans can get a little tired looking after a season or two, so it's always good to freshen up your wardrobe with some new additions.  A pair of dark ankle or cropped straight-leg or skinny jeans  is also a great basic that you can wear day or night with so many shoe and top options.

What splurge-worthy items can we find at Boutique Bella?

Chan Luu bracelets, a Kooba bag and a perfect fitting pair of jeans.

Are there any new pieces or specific lines coming in for Summer that you’re excited about?

We are pretty excited about the return of the flare and the wide leg jean.  We still love our skinnys, but it's nice to have a new jean option in the mix. What type of experience should a customer expect at Boutique Bella?

We really want to provide a no pressure, inviting and comfortable shopping experience for our customers.  We are there to help them in whatever way we can.  Since we carry such a large selection of denim, that often means helping our customers find the perfect pair of jeans.  Of course, if they are looking for a dress, an outfit or anything else, we can help them with that too.

If Boutique Bella was a cocktail, what would it be?

Hmmm.  Champagne....bubbly and sweet.  Or a is pretty pink and girly in here! What are five your your favorite places in Nashville?

City House, the Station Inn, Radnor Lake, Baja Burrito, our homes

What inspires you?

Music, art, nature, friends and the amazing creative and diverse people of Nashville that make this city such an incredible place to live and work.

Thanks Renae and KC!  Another thing you need to know about Boutique Bella is there is always a sale rack here!

Make sure you you're registered to receive Stella emails.  We have a special deal from  Boutique Bella for our Nashville subscribers that is valid through July 31.

Visit our Stella Shops Facebook page for more photos from our Boutique Bella shoot.  Special thank you to Daniel CWhite who took these fabulous photos this month.

Boutique Bella is located in the Park Place Shopping Center at 2817 West End Ave.  Follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

Stella Spotlight: Nashville Boutique - The Perfect Pair

It's easy to miss the shops tucked in the quaint little shopping area in Green Hills called the Courtyard at Bandywood.  Trust us when we tell you, the shops here should always be on your radar.  The Perfect Pair is one of the first stores you'll find and Whitney Dunn and Casy Stribling have created a shoe oasis here.  The door is almost always open, making this shop warm and inviting before you even walk in.  Shoes line the walls and are tucked in nooks while gorgeous handbags and jewelry fill in the rest of the space.  It's beautifully merchandised making your shopping experience more of an exploration.

We caught up with Whitney and Casey and asked them a few questions about the store and what shoes we all should have in our closets this season.

1. How did you and Casey meet and what inspired you both to open The Perfect Pair?

Casey and I actually met in college through an ex-boyfriend of mine.  They knew one another at Vanderbilt.  Great things come out of some breakups!  Our inspirations for the shop came from our desire to be boutique owners and fill a void in the Nashville market. We'd shop everywhere out of town for shoes.  In traveling, we realized that Nashville really had a spot open in it's retail market for a fun, laid back accessories store.

2. Describe the vibe of the boutique in five words or less.

Laid back, funky, fun!

3. It's finally sandal weather!  What styles should we all have in our closets this Spring and Summer?

A practical, yet sexy, cork wedge or heel and something nude.  Whether a flat sandal or sky high heel, a nude shoe can disappear with a jean or peek out to say hello paired with a fun pair of shorts.  Nude shoes elongate the leg and we all love that.

4. You have some gorgeous jewelry in the store.  What are some of your favorite pieces.

Favorite jewels...this is hard.  We pick all of our jewels with such love.  I'm really into these big wood bead necklaces that are blessed by a Tibetan monk.  I also adore my stack of vintage la rose freshwater pearl bracelets with saint charms.  It's fun to wear one with my over sized man's watch or wear them all together in a big stack.

5. What jewelry and/or shoe lines that you carry are your favorites and why?

Calleen Cordero - Her handmade shoes are sexy and extremely comfortable.  I never thought I'd be able to say those two words in a sentence.  We have carried her since the day we opened our doors almost seven years ago.  She's consistent and cool.

Winifred Grace Jewelry - Her pieces can be worn during the day and many of them transition into night time or even pair with evening wear.  Swarovski crystals on oxidized silver.  They're dressy, yet edgy and a little tarnished.  Her new collection combines African trading beads, gold and waxed linen.  Just plain cool.

6. What's the best shoe advice you've ever given?

It's more than okay to build an outfit from the bottom up.  Your shoes can be like the exclamation point at the end of your outfit.

7. What type of shoe best describes each of your styles?

Whitney - I'm all across the board style wise.  There isn't one shoe that describes me.  I'm a cowboy boot and a sky high heel.  I sacrifice comfort for fashion often.

Casey - My black combat is a staple in my closet.  I'm the girl that looks at the shoe and estimates how many hours I can bare it.

8. If The Perfect Pair was a cocktail, what would it be?

A Mexican martini.  It comes in a sleek glass, a loving mix of sweet and salty, topped off with an olive accessory.  It's a mix of fancy and fun and pairs well with tacos or sushi.

9. What are five of your favorite places in Nashville?

The store, of course, our patios at our homes, Margot Cafe, Las Palmas and Percy Werner Park.

10. What inspires you?

Traveling, music, cooking, funny friends, originality in personal style and fashion blogs.

Thanks ladies! Head over to our Facebook page to view more photos from the store.

As a special discount for our readers, visit the Perfect Pair through May 15, mention you read about them on Stella Shops and take 15% off a pair of shoes!

The Perfect Pair is located at 2209 Bandywood Dr in the Courtyard at Bandywood.

Stella Spotlight: Nashville Boutique - Local Honey

Nestled in an old house next to the local popular coffee shop Bongo Java in Belmont is the brand new location of Local Honey.  If you loved them before you will love them even more now. With more space and a newly decorated shop, inspired by old war bunkers, Local Honey is the place to go for local designers like Jamie & the Jones, Tidwell & Perryman and White  Rabbit all making appearances at Lexus Nashville Fashion Week.   Make sure and check out the shoe wall in the back next to the spacious white dressing rooms.  Last time I was there I saw some stunning Frye boots.  Too bad they were not my size or they would be on my shoe wall at home.  We recently caught up with Owner Shea Steele to ask her the usual questions.

Local HOney, Nashville VintageYou recently celebrated Local Honey’s fifth anniversary.  What was the original concept for the shop and how has it evolved?

The original concept for the store was simply to provide good, on-trend clothing for good prices. No one in Nashville at the time was catering to a young, fashionable demographic, or to the weak of wallet, so I wanted to step up and do it myself! The best way to keep the price point down was to go used, and my enthusiasm about local design, art, and handmades rounded out the inventory and increased the one-of-a kind appeal. That concept is still 100% intact.

How do you like your new Belmont location?

The Belmont location is a dream come true really. Its spacious and beautiful, and in my favorite neighborhood in Nashville. You can't get much better than that. I really love the neighbors and all of the students. There's an increased sense of community even beyond what the store already had and that relationship has always been at the core of Local Honey. I'm still chipping away at the transformation and getting settled in, but so far so good!

Describe the vibe of the store in five words or less.

Bright. Homey. Inspiring.

Tidwell & PerrymanWe love your focus on local designers and you are a designer yourself.  Can you tell us a little about the lines you carry?

I have maintained a LOCAL ONLY rule for the designers I carry because I feel it enhances not only the store's mantra, but also the sense that you're getting something truly unique. These designers are your peers and are forging their own creative niche in our community, so supporting them and providing others the opportunity to do the same is increasing Nashville's presence in the fashion industry. We are all working more diligently each year and honing our skills. The garments we put out on the racks are a varied and rare mix of concepts and tailoring styles, and it's all fun to wear. The kind of clothes that put you in a good mood!

Nashville VintageWhat is your favorite era of vintage clothing and what can people find at Local Honey?

I'm an appreciator of all eras. I think they all had their own flair and there's good design to be found in all of them. I'm not a stickler for what is vintage and what is not. I just sell good clothes, regardless of their age. Yes, there is a substantial amount of "vintage" in the mix, but overall you can expect to find a range of affordable, cool, off-beat attire. I'm appealing to the shopper, who wears what she buys until it's threadbare, not the collector or someone looking for a costume.

What are some of your current inspirations for White Rabbit and your other mixed media?Nashville vintage

Honestly, I feel the longer I do this the less I have prominent influences. I'm making a concerted effort to find my own voice as a designer and as an artist. So the things that are inspiring me are predominantly internal. In the design world I think there has really been no stone unturned at this point, in terms of sources of inspiration. I'm really trying to carve out my own path. But I'm a glutton for expanding my mind, wether it be traveling or watching an art documentary in my living room. So inevitably these things influence me on a subconscious level. That said, colors and bold graphics are a staple in my work. That's a constant.

Can you tell us a little about the sewing school upstairs?

The sewing school upstairs, STITCH, is run by Alexia Abegg. She offers beginning to advanced classes in sewing, pattern drafting, and quilting. There is a nice range of commitment levels as well, in terms of time and money. If you don't have time for a weekly class over the course of 2 months, you can sign up for a basic instructional afternoon course and, for example, learn how to hem your own jeans or make a purse.

Jamie and the Jones, NAshville designerWhat Spring/Summer trends can we find at Local Honey?

Oh, I'm all over the map. So you can expect all the usual suspects, just in greater quantity. We are doing even more customization these days. Expanding on our meticulous need to make our inventory JUST RIGHT before you buy it. But I think most obviously the oversized widths from Fall are converting into length for the Spring. Everything is LONG.

If Local Honey was a cocktail, what would it be?Vintage NAShville

Tequila with pineapple juice. You may have never thought to order it, but it's surprisingly refined and good, and you'll probably start ordering it all the time.

What are five of your favorite Nashville places?

Belmont Blvd- I remember this being one of my answers the last time you asked me this question! Now, that I've made it to the promised land, it's even truer. I love it.

The Belcourt Theatre The downtown library Gojo Brown's Diner I could easily keep going. It's hard to narrow down.

Lexus Nashville Fashion Week -  March 29 - April 2nd 2011
Jamie & the Jones - March 29th
White Rabbit - March 31st