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Julie Watson on Style, Sensibility, and the Midwestern Disposition

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Our man about town Jared Hatch sits down with wardrobe stylist Julie Watson and picks her brain on spring's 70s vibe, her favorite places to shop, and why her sofa is so shiny.

Tomorrow, Wardrobe Advisor Julie Watson will host designer Kate Coxworth, chief fit technician of Chicago-based clothing maker Kate Boggiano. Kate and Julie will be showing—and pre-selling at 30% off—some of Boggiano's new collection at the very accessible Julie Watson studio on the 5th floor of the 900 N Michigan building. We wandered through her cozy studio as Julie explained to us her knowledge of construction of the Boggiano garments and the theory of not playing to trend but rather to a lasting quality—which tends to be a bit more expensive but still approachable for the 99% women who subscribe to the midwestern sensibility school of thought.

While getting the scoop about the fit and function of U.S. made blouses, and other wovens to be featured at the trunk show tomorrow (from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.), we notice that the couch we were sitting on in Julie Watson's studio was so unbelievably comfortable and just a tad shiny so we ask her what's going on with that, making reference to the recent "mad about metallics" post on her blog.

"I found the fabric at Fishman's down on Canal. Isn't it fabulous?" Julie says. "I love sparkle and a little panache in comfortable things—that's exactly what I wanted when I opened this business: a place that was approachable, comfortable, and affordable but with a little style."

Julie tells us that this spring, her customer is looking for things that are a little 70s—with blues as a base and pops of orange. Especially popular? The Studio 54 influence—especially in pants, with a wider leg shape in darker denim or a fluid trouser pant.

"I'm giving women the romantic florals and a painterly earth-loving vibe that's still pretty girly and feminine," Watson says. "We don't want people to feel invested or like their wearing the look head to toe. Invested like Bianca Jagger, how FABULOUS is she? You know, that classic photo, all white?"

But where is Julie shopping for today's Chicago woman? Without hesitation, she names P45, who's been a go-to for many many years, and Vintage Pine, where she sourced much of the other furniture and "curiosities" in her studio.

"My favorite place, though, that's a hard one. I don't want to single anyone out—I can tell who you who I don't like right now," she says. "I'm loving, and always buying Lisa Rosen, Clara Williams, Sandy Hyun, Dana Rebecca, Sofia Vintage, you know. But I also go to the big guys like Kors and Sander, totally Kate Spade. We're surprised at Talbots and L.L. Bean right now. You wouldn't think it, but they're making a comeback and really cognisant of trends. For men, we like Haberdash, who is switching up their stock, and Apartment Number 9. For furniture, we were always at Revival on Irving before they closed, The Painted Lady in Bucktown, and Bladon Connor, who everyone should know. Really, he puts out amazing stuff."

So if you want to milk Julie and her smarts for fashion advice, or otherwise, we suggest you pop into her unique studio for jam session sometime soon.
· Julie Watson Style [Official Site]

900 North Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL