If you still haven’t settled on “the” outfit for Valentine’s Day, put down that Victoria’s Secret catalog you’ve frantically been flipping through for ideas and take a walk through Shadyside’s Walnut Street. Besides being a quaint, romantic area perfect for a date, Walnut Street also offers impeccable shopping options for all times of year, and a stroll through the area will reveal stores just as eager to celebrate Feb. 14 as you are.
This year, designers embraced dramatic femininity, with many designers like Fendi, Ferragamo, and Malo infusing floral patterns and adding flower pins onto their clothing. In terms of color, designers like Alexander Wang, Valentino, and Balmain fearlessly used extremely bright ones, creating hot pink dresses and teal blazers. In reality, runway looks are hard to pull off for everyday, but with a reason to get dressed up approaching, this is the perfect opportunity to utilize the color palettes and patterns many designers have put out for spring. Thankfully, many of the stores in Shadyside have the latest spring arrivals with a variety of appreciated details that will definitely catch an eye on Valentine’s Day.
Once on Walnut Street, you’ll find many stores that carry endless arrays of dresses hitting all price points and have employees that are happy to help you find the right outfit. Start at “e.b. Pepper,” a boutique carrying endless contemporary designers like Robert Rodriguez, Black Halo, and Kooba, and you’ll find adorable dresses like a white Milly piece with velvet bow detailing. Across the street at “Maxalto,” a boutique carrying Betsey Johnson, Anna Sui, and D&G, many of the dresses are modern, but with a feminine twist, and in ultra-flattering silhouettes. A pink and white Betsey Johnson number stood out dramatically, with details like a lace bust and silk flowers to emphasize the waist.
A few doors down on Walnut Street is a chic boutique called “Choices,” which carries exclusive designers like Nina Ricci, Lanvin, Alaia, and Piazza Sempione, as well as a more affordable contemporary section with Diane von Furstenburg, Adam, and Tory Burch. The window displays an ideal Valentine’s Day dress, a fitted floral Nina Ricci piece with splashes of red, yellow, and white flowers. Inside the store, a wall of bags from designers like Mulberry, Chloe, and Givenchy greets the eye; a closer look reveals snake skin clutches, bright orange totes, and very structured top-handle purses. There are many one-of-a-kind pieces with luxe detailing, like another white Nina Ricci dress with a gothic-inspired necklace sewn right onto the neckline. It’s pieces like these that create and highlight contrast that are enviable and visually appealing, so if $2500 for a dress is out of your budget, there are still plenty of do-it-yourself ways to look great next weekend.
If you are still unsure about visiting Walnut Street, all of the stores mentioned are having sales with 30 to 75 percent off, so that designer dress you’re eyeing may be within your reach after all. Additionally, stores like Banana Republic and J.Crew are full of versatile and affordable pieces, so if you plan on wearing a ruffled blouse and pleated skirt, a bauble necklace and suede flats to see your Valentine, these stores are definite destinations. Affordable clutches and small purses can be found at GAP and Coach, with abundant spring colors and versatile shapes and textures. Whatever you wear on Feb. 14, the only requirement is that you feel comfortable and confident and have a great time with whomever is accompanying you.