Island Stylin’

Fashion With a Mission: Tula Boutique Wows and Empowers Women

By SANDRA WEYANT | Jul 11, 2018
Photo by: Jack Reynolds

With one solid year under her belt as Tula Boutique’s new owner, Chrystie Shimko is devoting her efforts to make Tula a one-stop shop for everyone. Her first initiative is the expansion of the size range of her inventory.

“We’ve introduced a plus-size line this year. We will now be carrying sizes XS through 3X. Anyone can come in here and find an item they love and that fits them very well,” Shimko said. “My focus for 2018 and beyond is empowering women. I’m really into helping women look and feel their best, and it will show through most of the lines that I carry. It’s really important to me. I want everyone to come into my store and feel special; I want them to leave here having had a positive experience.”

One such line is Ry-Bandz, a local headband company that sells its products to more than 70 New Jersey retailers. Not only does Shimko love the products, but she values the brand’s similar core message.

“It’s one of my best-selling brands in the entire store. They really focus on fit and fabric and functionality, and everybody loves them. Everyone can come here – from a 5-year-old little girl to a 90-year-old woman – and they love them. I love what it stands for. She uses local women to assemble her headbands, and she is all about women empowering women, which is our mantra for Tula,” Shimko said.

As the second component of Tula’s rebranding and reorganization, Shimko has reevaluated the store’s price range, and all items will be available for purchase at $100 or less.

“Last year was definitely an amazing experience to be the owner of Tula. I took it as a transitioning year, from our old price points to our new price points and making Tula a more affordable shop for everyone,” Shimko said. “We have really taken the LBI community into consideration, and we want Tula to be accommodating to all.”

Visit the Beach Haven clothing boutique for all of your summer must-haves and love the way you look.

“We have really made sure we have a great foundation in the store that your wardrobe should have, like a great denim, a perfect tee, the essential little black dress, a comfy romper, a cozy sweater. We are also throwing in some special novelty pieces, as well,” Shimko said.

Back to Basics. The more basic, the better. Functionality is key when selecting pieces to add into your wardrobe rotation.

“If you can change up the style of an item, people are really loving it. For example, girls are taking a basic T-shirt and tying a knot in it, which takes something simple to the next level. It works for everything – a T-shirt dress, a tunic or top. I think it’s cool because you’re essentially getting multiple looks out of one piece,” Shimko said.

Plus, you’ll get more bang for your buck.

Dress the Part. Knee-length and above-the-knee dresses are the focus for this year. Short T-shirt and tank dresses are ideal for a day out in the sun. The soft fabric is lightweight and comfortable, and won’t weigh you down in the summer heat.

“I also have great tea-length options for my dressier customer who is looking for an event outfit,” Shimko said.

Show off those gams in a casual midi sundress or a sexy mini bodycon dress. No matter which style you choose, you’ll always be dressed to impress.

Romp Around Town. As maxi dresses fade off the scene for 2018, rompers and jumpsuits are taking over.

Rompers, a shirt with attached shorts, are not designed just for children. For the past three years, rompers have been trending, and we can see why. The easy-on, easy-off garment makes an instant fashion statement.

For chilly nights out on the town, long-sleeved rompers or jumpsuits are just what you need. These one-piece outfits elongate your figure and are effortlessly chic. Go bold in an eccentric print or keep it classic with simple solids. Pair a romper or jumpsuit with a stylish pair of wedges to dress it up.

Leggings for Days. Comfort first is the attitude of us shore residents. We all know yoga pants and leggings aren’t just for exercise classes. Leggings are an essential part of a woman’s wardrobe, and can be dressed up with a cute tunic and wedges or dressed down with a casual tank top and sneakers. Wear them to run errands or relax at home – there are no limits.

“If people are comfortable in it, they want it,” Shimko said.

Blue Jean, Baby. Get the good jeans. You can’t go wrong with denim, no matter the season. Forget boot cut, skinny or wide leg … it’s all about trendy denim featuring uneven hemlines and frayed bottoms. These styles are casual-cool and go with everything!

“The fit and the feel is still most important, though, especially when it’s hot. No one wants to be uncomfortable,” Shimko said.

Play Peek-A-Boo. It’s hot out, so don’t be afraid to show off some skin. Off-the-shoulder necklines add romance to any style and draw the eye upward to the neck and collarbones. Cold-shoulder details allow for ventilation and look super cool.

“Off-the-shoulder is everything. Cold shoulders are still in, or even a cool shoulder – either something with an exposed shoulder or small slits in the fabric,” Shimko said.

Velvet Crush. If you thought this silky-smooth fabric was meant only for cold temps, think again.

“Velvet is never leaving. We’ll be seeing it all year. Even in the summer months, it’s here to stay,” Shimko said.

Velvet tees, tanks and shirt dresses are extremely popular during the warmer months – it’s basically the ’90s all over again. Feel it out this summer!

Cut to the Lace. Typically, when we think of lace, we imagine gaudy outfits, but a little touch of lace can be lovely. Lace details elevate any look, and all-over lace can be a stunning choice for special occasions. Add some texture and allure to your wardrobe with a lace ensemble.

Tula has plenty of chic and sophisticated options, such as a high-neck, form-fitted navy lace dress with a nude underlay.

Hide and Seek. How do you blend in and stand out at the same time? The answer is camouflage prints, and you can find them at Tula.

“Camo is huge. There is no overdoing it; people are wearing full camo jumpsuits. It’s a staple in your closet now. It’s not a trend, it’s a necessity,” Shimko said.

If you’re not into the whole uniform look, experiment by adding one camouflage garment at a time, like an army jacket over a black or white basic T-shirt. Please report for shopping duty.

If the Shoes Fit. Buy them! A great pair of shoes is the finishing touch to any outfit. Tula Boutique will be adding even more fashionable footwear to its vast assortment of wedges, heels, boots, flip-flops and flats.

“As always, we have a great shoe selection, and every style will be under $100, too. Stay tuned for new shoe brands coming in. The trends will be much different than prior years, but we will still have a mix of casual and dressier options,” Shimko said.

As part of her mission to celebrate all women and create a welcoming platform for her clientele to share their Tula style stories, Shimko is utilizing the hashtag #TulaGirlGang on the brand’s Instagram page, @tulatheboutique. She encourages all women to follow the page and upload pictures in their Tula outfits to spread the body-positive message.

“I just want to thank our customers and community for being supportive of Tula, and my family for all the love and support throughout this past year. We have a lot of great changes and new things happening very soon. We’re really focused on bringing our community together through some local events and pop-up shops,” Shimko said. “We want to do things outside of clothing to have fun and get people out and about to feel good. I want Tula to be a fun and positive environment that people will want to come back to.”

Shimko is also excited to announce that Tula Boutique will launch a brand new shoppable website later this summer. Customers can find their favorite fashions on tulatheboutique.com.

What’s next for 2019? “We brought in a private label of health candles, and we are diving into the gift market even deeper, so we will be much more than a clothing boutique,” Shimko said.

 

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