The Bold Print Kimono

By Jenn Rose Smith
Isabel Marant Étoile Dress

photographed by jessica attie

When we selected The Weston Dress by Isabel Marant Étoile for this installment of Double Take, we all agreed that the piece was fantastic — the fun bell sleeves, graphic print, and kimono shape make this mini dress one to covet. But how, we wondered, could such a bold statement dress look very different on two people? Enter the experts: Stephanie Gawlik and Katie Caplener, both employees of By George, the iconic Austin boutique where we found the dress. Needless to say, they more than dispelled our fears. “I always try to look at things as more than what they were intended to be,” says Katie, who styled the dress as a top with wide legged trousers from The Row. “And my approach to styling was the dress was giving it that ‘boho’ edge,” says Stephanie, who rocked a leather backpack and black felt hat with the dress. We met up with the two girls outside of the newly re-opened By George store in South Austin. (The store, which is the sister property to the flagship location on Lamar, has the whole town buzzing since it’s reopening this past Saturday. With a brightened up space featuring gorgeous new glass windows, By George South has expanded it’s offering to now include menswear and home goods such as art books, porcelain pieces, candles and even furniture!) Leave it to the style mavens from the best shopping destination in town to show us that yes, this dress can be worn in very different ways.

We met up with Katie Caplener, the e-commerce/social media for By George, on South Congress near By George.

Katie, how would you describe your personal style?

Ever changing, a mix of old and new to create an overall modern look…

What was your overall approach to styling the dress?

I wanted to show the versatility of a dress that seems so specific.

Tell us about your choice to wear the dress as a top — so much fun! Is this a style secret that you use often?

I always try to look at things as more than what they were intended to be. My closet is full of pieces that can be worn multiple ways. Wearing a dress as a top, pants under a skirt, sweater over a dress, etc. is a little styling secret I use to mix up my wardrobe.

What do you love about the Isabel Marant Étoile dress?

I love the interesting sleeve shape, it’s very Kimono inspired, and of course the print. I’d wear this dress to a dinner date, brunch, weekend trip, island getaway — the possibilities are really endless!

We’re in love with your white pants. Where are they from?

The pants are by The Row, one of my favorite lines. I love this style because they can read as a pant or a skirt, and the ecru color is fabulous for any season.

What’s your take on Austin “style”?

Austin is such a special place. It’s already a music mecca, and quickly evolving into a fashion hub. For so long Austin style has been relaxed and carefree, but with so many creatives in town it’s becoming less shocking to see someone walking down the street in an avant garde look. I hope Austinites continue to push the envelope on personal style. And I truly love that there is always a Western undertone that seems to rub off on new comers.

Katie wears Vada Jewelry and carries a Proenza Schouler clutch, both available at By George.

Tell us about your line, Vada Jewelry:

It’s all made in Austin by local jewelers and metalsmiths, designed by me! A longtime lover and collector of antique jewelry, I decided to turn my obsession into a business by creating future heirloom pieces to be worn every day. It is truly a labor of love.

Katie rocks a pair of Roland Mouret sunglasses with her amazingly perfect bob.

What makes By George a great shopping destination?

With a great mix of designer and contemporary collections, hard-to-find pieces, expert styling advice and a passion to help the clients grow their own personal style — By George is the best shopping destination. We have carefully curated pieces from some of the most coveted international designers, and we are also known for spotlighting up-and-coming designers.

Next we met with Stephanie Gawlik, a stylist and sales associate at By George.

What do you love about the Isabel Marant Étoile dress? What was your overall approach to styling the look?

I love the print and the oriental-inspired bell sleeves. My approach to styling this look was giving it that boho edge. Black is my favorite color, so pairing it with a wide brim hat, tights, a structured backpack and a good Chelsea boot was my recipe for dressing.

Stephanie, how would you describe your personal style?

Edgy, chic, unique and grunge. But trendy grunge… minimal, neutral and fashionable. Think the Olsen twins and Charlotte Gainsbourg.

Stephanie wears a leather Proenza Schouler backpack while window-shopping on South Congress.

We’re loving your little black backpack. Such a throwback. Pretty much everyone in Austin had one of these in the nineties!

Well for one, I am enamored with this backpack trend. I love its versatility and functionality. Adorning this look with the pack adds a sense of masculinity to a feminine outfit; which I always love to do!

Stephanie, what’s your take on Austin “style”?

To me, Austin style is creative and casual. I love that pretty much “anything goes” here, and that Austinites have such unique style. The fact that there’s a little bit of “hippy-ness” with a relaxed, yet innovative style rooted in every Austinite, makes this town one of a kind!

Stephanie wears a Janessa Leone hat from By George.

Your black hat is really fantastic. Are you a hat-lover?

I do wear hats, especially on a bad hair day! Janessa Leone makes unique and timeless hats. I selected this one because it played up the “boho-ness” to the print and style of the dress.

Where would you wear a dress like this?

I’d wear this dress to work with tights and kicks. I would also give it that nighttime edge with a jacket and heels.  This dress has the versatility to be worn casual to lunch with friends, or dressy for a summer wedding.

What makes By George a great shopping destination?

By George is Austin’s shopping destination because of the reputation it holds. The employees that orchestrate it, coupled with the customers are what bring it life. As a fashion hungry student, By George has always been a pinnacle of Austin fashion. Not only does it provide coveted labels, but an expert experience with highly innovative stylists.