Couture in a Can
Creators bring style know-how to shoppers, courtesy of a retrofitted Airstream trailer

ELLISE PIERCE
McClatchy Tribune News Service
Modified: April 23, 2013 at 5:18 pm •  Published: April 23, 2013
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photo - Rosie Dalton, left, and Sande Brandt have started a boutique on wheels, Couture in a Can, in a specially outfitted Airstream travel trailer, March 11, 2013, in Fort Worth, Texas. (Ron T. Ennis/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT)
Rosie Dalton, left, and Sande Brandt have started a boutique on wheels, Couture in a Can, in a specially outfitted Airstream travel trailer, March 11, 2013, in Fort Worth, Texas. (Ron T. Ennis/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT)

class="krtText">Their customers fall into two camps, shoppers and nonshoppers, all professionals in their early 30s to late 50s. For shopaholics, they host Couture in a Can parties, where groups of women pile into the trailer and sip “Cantinis” (champagne, raspberry vodka and raspberry lemonade) while they peruse the racks. Nonshoppers, women who don’t have time to shop or who’d rather not face the traffic at the mall, like the convenience — and the personal service. Like a personal stylist, Vann-Dalton and Brandt pull together different outfits using the same pieces, which rings up bigger tickets.

“We want to be able to dress you, to show you what goes with what,” says Vann-Dalton. “We all tend to go for the same look. We’re teaching people how to use pieces in other ways.”

That pays off for their business and the customer.

The average sale per customer: $1,000-$1,400.

I step inside and sit on the leopard-print bench seat toward the front of the trailer. The interior has been painted creamy yellow. Rods hold collections of 1970s-inspired maxi dresses in psychedelic prints and stripes, crisp white blouses with knife pleats around the cuffs and hem, T-shirts with leather pockets, and super-skinny, stretchy jeans in wild prints and patterns and colors from electric blue to a subtle cinnamon.

Before I know it, I’m in a sleeveless dress that skims my knees in the front and drapes down the back nearly to the floor — thus the name, high-low. The dress fits, and I can see how easy it would be to wear, especially in Texas in the summer, but the asymmetry feels strange to me, so I peel it off and hand it back. Next up: blue tiger-print jeans and a gray T-shirt tank top with a leather pocket. Then a leopard-print dress by the line Stop Staring! and a tie-dye maxi by Sky. Then comes the most wearable outfit: a pair of tobacco stretch jeans by Level 99 with a high-low cream top with lace around the bottom and an off-white lace vest, both by Hazel. Brandt rolls up one leg of the jeans into a neat cuff that hits mid-calf. “The pants are so versatile,” she says, “because you can roll them up and they’re like a crop.”

Vann-Dalton chimes in, “To me this is the ultimate outfit. It’s not matchy-matchy. It looks like something you just threw together.”

Which is what they’re going for. Selling pieces that can be easily mixed with others — but not necessarily matched — to extend the life of one’s wardrobe. It’s a concept that all of us, whether we’re high-low wearers or not, can embrace.

MORE INFORMATION: coutureinacan.com



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