Story by JOYANNA LOVE
Summer is a time of sporting one’s style while enjoying the long days of sunshine.
In Alabama, these trends often also focus on staying comfortable in the excessive heat typical of July and August.
Patterns are in this summer with shorts and shirts in everything from stripes to snake skin styles finding their way on to local shelves.
“Stripes are huge,” Kelsie Barrett of Willow 31 said. “Linen is huge.”
She said the snake skin patterns are popular because “it’s just so vibrant and fun.”
Ruffles and smock (also known as scrunched) tops are also popular.
“Some of the hottest trends this summer will be rompers, two piece sets, like a top and a bottom that go together,” Barrett said.
Jumpsuits, one-piece pants suits, are also very popular this year.
“It’s something cute to throw on, and it’s different than a dress,” Barrett said.
Some of the styles gaining momentum are ones Shelley Morris of Willow 31 has seen before.
“Jumpsuits and rompers were big in my time,” Morris said.
She said she has wondered why styles from the ’70s and ’80s, such as smock tops and high-waist denim shorts, have surged in popularity again.
“I think designers go back and look and they go, ‘I like that,’ and they bring it back,” Morris said.
A cropped top with high-waist shorts is a popular look this season.
For footwear, strappy sandals are popular again for summer 2019.
The Willow team said style trends are being driven by ads on social media.
“The stuff we like and see is because we see it on social media first,” Barrett said.
The mother and daughter duo has enjoyed being in business together
“We get to spend more time together,” Barrett said.
“We can count on each other,” Morris said. “… There is 100% trust. You can count on each other and depend on each other no
Willow 31 takes it names from Highway 31.
“We got to restore an old building that’s been here for years,” Barrett said.
Morris and Barrett said the location and large display windows was what drew them to the location.
“It was fun restoring an old downtown building,” Barrett said.
A counter and two dressing rooms were added as was space for displays. Barrett said she likes the wood look that they chose for the remodel.
Opening a boutique was something Barrett had always wanted to do.
“I’ve always loved shopping,” Barrett said. “This is really fun getting to bring in new brands and stuff that’s going to be hot items for the girls … and bringing it local was what
I really wanted to do.”
The interior restoration was extensive, but the building still holds many memories for customers.
The building has housed Western Auto and Bar-D, and some remember coming to the location during those times.
When Willow 31 first opened in October 2018, customers recognized Morris as the former owner of Cake Addiction. In 2019, customers began asking if she would be making her chocolate covered strawberries for Valentine’s Day. What Morris thought would be a one-time thing has become an ongoing opportunity for customers to order cupcakes for pickup at the store and cakes for special events.
Morris said the opportunity is available about twice a month, usually around holidays.
“Strawberry cupcakes are the number one,” Morris said.
Peach and wedding cake-flavored cupcakes are also popular in the summer time.
The wedding cake cupcakes are decorated with all white frosting and a flower on top.
“It tastes the same as a wedding cake,” Morris said.
For July, strawberries and blueberries take center stage for the patriotic look of red, white and blue.
Morris uses her Cake Addiction Facebook page to let potential customers know which flavors are available.
Morris bakes the cupcakes for sale in her ServSafe certified kitchen at home and brings them to the store.
An arrangement permitted under Alabama’s Cottage Law.
French macaron cookies are also a popular sweet treat.
Upcoming events for the boutique include a back-to-school bash, including a sale and free beverages.