Friday, April 28, 2017

All About Athleisure!

An emerging trend that is quickly becoming a fashion staple in everyone’s closet is Athleisure. What started out as a trend in the 80’s with tracksuits has evolved from season to season to more sophisticated pieces that aren't just for working out. Women today are always on the go. From work to yoga class to picking up the kids and school functions, the to do list is endless. As women today we need versatile pieces that we can wear with anything and to any occasion. What’s great about athleisure pieces is they have the comfort of workout attire with soft breathable fabrics that are easy to move in. Athleisure is re-imagining clothing to resemble more tailored looks for the office or leggings that can be paired with any top just like your favorite pair of denim. There are a lot of brands out there which offer athleisure but one of the brands I think does it the best happens to be a local brand found right here in the CLE called Grace & Ricci.
I was first introduced to Grace & Ricci during a trunk show held at one of my favorite local boutiques, Banyan Tree. When I shopped the line I fell in love with their designs and tailored athleisure pieces. As all of you know I am a lover of everything local so I had to reach out to Mary Grace the brands designer and learn more about her up and coming brand.

Styled by Stacy: What’s your background?

Mary Grace: “...My degree is in exercise science and started doing cardiac rehab right out of college and a chance came up for me to work for a local politician and that ended up being my career path…. I have been a political consultant for 20 yrs. and I was ready to get out of it after having my kids. I did have a good run in politics and it was a difficult job to leave, but I got to a point in my life where I decided that it was time to do something different and I’ve always loved fashion and I’ve always been a home sewer and I had this idea that came to me after I had my boys that there was a gap in the market for athleisure, athletic clothing that looks like regular clothes for busy moms who are running around all day…”

SS: How did you get started with your brand?

MG: “I had a family friend that has been in the fashion industry for over 50 yrs. And I ran the idea by him thinking he would tell me no it was a horrible idea but he said yes, it was great, let's do it, so we got started and that was two years ago. It took a long time to develop the products. Everything is made in LA…my partner lives there…. We launched this past November (2016) and it's been a pretty incredible ride since then.”

SS: Who does the designing for your brand?

MG: “It’s hard to say who actually you can attribute it to, there are designers out there who do it all on their own and that's not how we operate. I have something that I think would work and sometimes it starts with a piece of fabric that I think would be great.  Then I sketch out ideas and send it to LA to my partner. From there we discuss any additions or changes, it's very a fluid thing. Than we send it to a sample maker who lets us know if the design is possible with the fabric choice. Sometimes we have to go back and make changes if the design doesn't work with the fabric. So technically you can say I’m the designer but there is so many moving pieces that I feel like I can't take all the credit.”

SS: What inspired you to start your athleisure brand?

MG: “Being a mom and wanting something I wanted to wear and what I thought other women wanted to wear. I love the trend and the idea of being comfortable all the time and wearing athletic clothes but when it came to the designs out there I couldn’t find what I was looking for, that's when my desing ideas came. Especially the tops, there is not a good variety in them, they're all built in bra, spaghetti strap type and I grew tired of them and that look….. The jacket (that Grace & Ricci sells) is another good piece I designed that ties it (the athleisure look) all together. You can wear your own tank and leggings that you would work out in or run errands, but with the (Grace & Ricci) jacket it's a tailored athletic piece that can pull the whole look together and I love that!”

“Also, a lot of brands that offer athleisure you can't actually work out in them and I thought that's ridiculous who wants to dry clean their activewear? So I reimagined the use of athletic fabrics to make them look dressier but their still sweat wicking and fast drying just like all your other athletic wear pieces.”

SS: Who is your customer?

MG: “Originally it was someone like me (a working mom). But I’ve gotten interest from runners or athletes who have jobs that allow them to wear active wear all the time and want more options. College girls wanting something they can wear to class but also head to the gym in, and businesswoman who want to wear washable shirts under their suits. Suits are heavy and hot and shirts you traditionally wear under them you have to dry clean and my shirts look exactly like those shirts but they are washable and breathable. It’s interesting to branch out to other customers than I originally thought.”  

SS: I was first introduced to your line at Banyan Tree is there any other retailers that carry your line?

MG: “There is the website, where we launched the brand. You can also find it at Fringe in Chagrin and at Cleveland Yoga.”

SS: Did you have a list of retailers you wanted? And do you only sell in Cleveland or LA as well?

MG: “I made a list of the stores I wanted to get in (locally) and I called three of them (Banyan Tree, Fringe, and Cleveland Yoga) and got into all three. I wanted to make sure I could fulfill the orders and see how things went before I contacted more…. I wanted to test the retail waters here at home and I’m looking to branch out in L.A. soon.”
SS: When I was at the Banyan Tree trunck show you only had a few pieces, was that just for the show or do you have more pieces that you sell online?

MG: For the trunk show we started with six pieces, two pairs of leggings, two tops, and two jackets. We also started with those when we launched the line to test the concept. Initially we had 20 designs but only tested the six and if it worked we knew we would go back to the other designs and make them. We are finishing up development on the others now.”

SS: What are some of those other designs we have to look forward to, if you don't mind me asking?
MG: I’m hoping to develop three more pieces soon, a cap sleeve top, a long sleeve, and a skirt.”

SS: What are your future plans?  Do you see yourself with your own retail space someday?

MG: “Big picture plan, I’d rather have my own manufacturing in house set up in Cleveland. I'd rather see a manufacturing district and be a part of it in Cleveland than have my own store front. You would be surprised, I’ve been meeting a lot of people locally and there is a lot of manufacturing happening here in Cleveland, not as much as LA or New York, but we have the ability. We just need the initiative and an anchor business to keep things going and hopefully I’ll be that business. But I don't see that happening for a while.”  

Photos by: Ashley Shaw

And Styled by Stacy completely agrees! I love my city and I would love to see it grow to its full potential. After sitting down with Mary Grace I felt inspired and excited to meet someone with a passion not only for fashion but, for Cleveland as well. Every time I meet a local maker my pride in my city grows. I’m so glad to present the Athleisure trend to you in a more personal way. I hope to encourage you to always shop local, even if you’re not from Cleveland, and if you're having trouble incorporating the athleisure trend into your wardrobe, check out my three different looks below featuring the Emily Tank from Grace & Ricci to help get you through the weekend with ease!
Friday Night Girls Night Look: With the breathable sweat wicking fabric of the Emily Tank you can dance the night away with the ladies while stay cool and dry!

Saturday Weekend Look: The Emily Tank goes with everything including your favorite pair of leggings. Just add a jacket and this laid back look is perfect for running all your weekend errands!

Sunday Morning Look: Add a cute skirt to the Emily Tank and you have an outfit perfect for Sunday services or brunch with the ladies!

Shop the Emily Tank Here!
Make sure to Follow Grace & Ricci on Instagram @graceandricci
Or find them on line at

Monday, April 24, 2017

The Perfect Pop of Color!

Photos by: Ashley Shaw

I consider myself more of a shoe girl than a purse girl but, as I looked through my closet for a fun summer handbag I came up short. I realized my handbag collection consists of five bags that come in a range of colors featuring black, brown, and a heather gray one where I was trying to go outside the box. Just like my wardrobe it seems I lack color in the handbag department. So I have decided to give my handbag collection a little pick me up with a colorful new addition for the summer. I was looking for either a satchel or a clutch because during the warmer months I like to keep it simple and lightweight with my bag choice. I began my search at all my favorite retailers. I actually found the perfect clutch at World Market.
I love World Market, it's where I go for unique cooking supplies and spices and fun jewelry pieces to add to my collection. Imagine my surprise when I came across handbags in all shapes and colors while perusing the aisles. When I saw this amazing colorful clutch with the fun pom poms for less than $20 I had to have it. It’s the perfect addition to add to any outfit this summer for a pop of color!
Hoping to help you find your perfect pop of color I’ve listed four more handbags from some of my favorite retailers below.

xo, Anastasia

World Market: Shop My Look Here!
Forever 21: Love the colorful tassels and the cross body style!
Francesca's: This backpack option is perfect for the beach!
Amazon: Obsessing over Sam Edelmans Circus collection and this tote is one reason why!
Zara: One of my favorite summer foods found in a handbag need I say more?!
Monday, April 17, 2017

The Cold Shoulder!



Photo's by Ashley Shaw

Last spring and summer we saw the cold shoulder trend, it has returned this year in full force. I was a little hesitant last year with this trend I kept it simple with a basic dress but, this season I fully embraced the trend. I love the cold shoulder look from dresses to flirty tops. The look is the perfect trend to help you stay cool during the warm weather months. I recently purchased two tops feature above which I’m obsessed with.

When shopping for items, to add to my ever growing wardrobe, I want pieces to be unique and different from what everyone else’s wardrobe. As I searched some of my favorite retailers online I just wasn't finding what I was looking for. Luckily I remembered a great retail spot my friend told me about when she moved to Texas.

The retailer is A’Gaci, it's a southern brand, only found down south. It is very similar to Forever 21 in price and fit. It’s hard to gage your size from online. A good way to figure out your size when online shopping would be to go up a size or buy two different sizes and return one. Also as much as I love all my local designers and retailers sometimes I have to look elsewhere to find something unique. I love finding new places to shop and I’d love to hear from you on some of your favorite places.

xo, Anastasia

PS Make sure to check out my Shop My Look page to shop similar cold shoulder tops from A'Gaci! 
Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Hi! Lo

Photos by Ashley Shaw

I’m of porcelain skin tone and I burn easier than I tan. The beginning of summer when my legs first make their appearance and are not quiet sun kissed I love to sport the perfect maxi dress. For all my tall girls out there you know my struggle with finding a maxi with the perfect length. Many times when searching for a maxi I find most hit my ankles. I mean is it too much to ask to find one that skims the floor at a perfect length? Sure, I could always special order online in a “tall” but at many local boutiques and retailers it's not always an option.
About two summers ago I found the solution to my “tall girl in a short maxi skirt” problem. It came in the form of a Hi-lo hemline. The hi-lo is the tall girl’s maxi. It covers just enough to hide the not yet tan legs and because of the hi-lo hemline you are never in danger of having too short of a skirt.
I’ve fully embraced the hi-lo trend and I hope it stays around for seasons to come. I’ve found some really great basic dresses with the hi-lo hemline that are comfortable and easy to style as well as some fun patterned and floral dresses, perfect for summer. My favorite hi-lo piece for this upcoming spring season is this floral wrap skirt I recently purchased from Francesca’s. It’s so fun and flirty and the floral pattern makes it perfect for the upcoming summer season. I can’t wait to wear this skirt to a summertime bbq or out on the town with my girls. It’s the perfect piece with the perfect hemline, getting me excited to say goodbye to these winter blues and hello to the sunshine!  

xo, Anastasia
Friday, April 7, 2017


photos by: Ashley Shaw

It’s officially dress shopping season! I work at Old Navy and we have a huge Up to 50% off Dresses Sale going on and it's making me excited for dress weather. It would be great if Mother Nature would cooperate and give us some nicer weather.
Because of my dress obsession, I feel the need to buy new summer dresses every year. I’m always on the lookout for new ones to add to my wardrobe. Last year with my trip to Mexico I went beach chic and tropical with my dress picks. This year I’ll be staying in the states and heading down to Texas for my best friends 30th Birthday. I’m feeling a floral vibe for this summer. Here are five floral dresses I’m loving right now including this midi swing dress!

xo, Anastasia

Asos : I love the vibrant 70's inspired floral print and tailored look
Nordstroms : I love the gauzy floral and the strapless look is perfect when basking in the sun
Francesca's : I love the wrap dress look its an easy spring look
H&M : This navy floral is a little more business casual perfect for the office this spring
Old Navy: This black floral midi can be dressed down for a backyard BBQ or dressed up for a spring wedding!
Monday, April 3, 2017

Local Love: The Direction!

If you know me you know how much I love shopping local. I’m always meeting new designers/retailers through social media and one I recently encountered is The Direction. The company sells hand printed state pride apparel. They have locations all over Ohio including their recent store front in the Great Lakes Mall in Mentor, OH. The Direction had their grand opening on April 1st at the Mentor location and I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek of the new store and all their goods before the Grand Opening! What makes this brand even more amazing is they not only carry their own designs, they also feature some other local makers such as ApeMade, who I've featured on my blog this past Christmas. If you live in the local CLE area you need to check out this store for all your local fashion needs!
Above are a few pieces I loved, plus a glimpse at the new location!
Find them on Instagram @shopthedirection or @thedirectioncle!

Photos by Ashley Shaw