New at The Rare Pair: Dr. Scholl’s

New to The Rare Pair for spring 2012 are some seriously cute shoes by Dr. Scholl’s! The Jamie sneaker ($60) is designed with the Dr. Scholl’s Free Step fit (minimalist construction with massaging gel insoles and flexible outsoles) in a lightweight canvas and neoprene stretch upper. They’re so light that you hardly think you’re wearing shoes, but you still get the benefit of Dr. Scholl’s support. And we love the bright accents of pink, orange and blue that pop next to basic black and gray! Spring 2012 really is all about color!

The second style is called the Original 2.0 ($60). Gone are the heavy wooden slides of yesteryear – say hello to the flexible sole and cushy heel on these stylish sandals! Like the Jamie sneaker, the Original 2.0 is lightweight and supportive, and also comes in great colors and patterns. We’ll never stop loving basic neutrals, but how fun is that animal print?!

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New at The Rare Pair: Dr. Scholl’s

Melie Bianco Handbags

Today we’re extending a warm welcome to the newest addition to The Rare Pair: Melie Bianco! It’s a line of handbags designed with a simple philosophy in mind: “Affordable Luxury.” Founded in 2003 by a husband-and-wife team, Melie Bianco focuses on runway-inspired designs at a reasonable price, and designs have been spotted in major fashion magazines including Vogue, Marie Claire, Glamour, Lucky, and InStyle. Their bags are exclusively non-leather, making the brand a favorite among vegans and animal lovers, but their faux-leather material is the best I’ve ever come across! The soft, pebbled texture of these bags feels just like the real thing. I’m seriously impressed!

Here are a few of the styles we have for Spring 2012:

Prices (from top): $99, $63, $96, $94, $52, $52

Images from meliebianco.com

Melie Bianco Handbags

Featured Brand: Aryeh

You might remember a few particularly adorable sweater dresses by Aryeh in the store around the holidays, so you’ll be delighted to discover that their spring and summer items don’t disappoint! These dresses are figure flattering, bra-friendly and perfect for warm, sunny days. I know it’s still technically winter out there, but my mindset has officially shifted to warmer weather. So if you have a springtime occasion on the horizon – everything from graduations and weddings to Easter celebrations and dinner out with friends – these feminine, floral patterned dresses will carry you through.

A few suggestions for styling these dresses for spring and summer:

1. Add a cardigan or a jean jacket for extra warmth. Bonus points for a adding lightweight scarf (for scarf styling ideas, check out my blog post on spring scarves!). And because one of spring’s biggest trends is pattern mixing, don’t be afraid to add a patterned cardigan! A geometric print juxtaposes nicely with feminine florals.
2. The a-line dresses pair equally well with wedge sandals or pretty flats. With the maxidress, try a flat, strappy sandal to keep the look casual. A wedge or chunky wooden heel will look awesome for a dressed up occasion.
3. If adding a necklace, be sure that the shape of the necklace complements the neckline of the dress. For example, a v-neck looks polished with a simple pendant, and a scoop neckline looks great with a more circular necklace shape.

And of course, rules are meant to be broken! Wear what makes you feel your best.

Image credits: me, thevoguecity.com

Featured Brand: Aryeh

What it means to Shop Local.

Every so often, I’m reminded of the impact that shopping local has on a community. Something we heard at the store a lot over the holidays was, “I’m choosing to buy my presents locally this year.” Customer after customer said that to us as we wrapped up their Christmas gifts – and it really struck a chord. Northfield has a vibrant downtown because people continue to support it. The Rare Pair thrives because community members (and visitors) make the choice to buy that new pair of shoes here instead of at the mall. Or a fabulous new dress from Sisters Ugly instead of a national chain. Or a delicious local cheese from Just Food instead of something from a big box store. Or a handmade birthday card from Studio Elements (where you’ll more than likely meet the artist when you walk in the door) rather than a national retailer. And so on and so forth. You get the idea.

Here are some eye-opening facts from The 3/50 Project – an organization that challenges us to pick three locally owned businesses we’d miss if they disappeared, and make a commitment of $50 per month to support these local shops:

If half the employed population spent $50 each month in locally owned
independent businesses nationwide, it would generate more than
$42.6 billion dollars in revenue
. Imagine the impact!

For every $100 spent in locally owned independent stores,
$68 returns to the community
through taxes, payroll and other expenditures.
If you spent that $100 at a national chain, only $43 stays in the community.
Spend it online, and nothing comes home.

Perhaps it’s not realistic to suggest that everyone switch to all-local, all the time, but isn’t it worth considering where you can make some local substitutions? Northfield is lucky enough to have an abundance of locally owned businesses – we can furnish our homes, stock our refrigerators, fill our bookshelves and clothe our bodies, all while supporting the very people with whom we share the community.

Which local businesses do you support? Who would you miss if they went away?

What it means to Shop Local.