Interview with... Want Boutique Owner Pari Davis

SV: Want Boutique has so many fantastic pieces and as prom season is fast approaching what suggestions would you give to those looking for the “perfect “prom dress?
Pari Davis: The best advice is to definitely go for comfort and know yourself; if you’re the type of person who likes to dance the night away, you might not want a dress with a long train that people could step on. If you’re going to a prom that’s serving dinner and you’re the type of person who enjoys food, then you might not want to wear something that is too form-fitting, you might end up feeling uncomfortable or too tight. The best thing you can do is really be honest with yourself, and ask yourself “what’s going to be comfortable?” Know your body by trying on different styles & keep an open mind! It’s definitely key to try on styles that you maybe wouldn’t have otherwise considered - you might surprise yourself!

SV: What brands do you carry?
Pari Davis:
Our Top Prom lines are:
Sherri Hill
La Femme
Aidan Mattox
Nicole Miller

SV: Are there any particular colors, materials, or cuts of dresses that are special for spring 2012 that were not here or not as prominent spring 2011?
Pari Davis:The materials for prom are pretty much the same each year, silk chiffon is one of the most prominent fabrics. For cuts, we’re seeing a lot more cut-outs & hi-lo hemlines. Last year was a breakthrough year for prom; the bar was raised really high by the two leading manufacturers in prom: La Femme and Sherri Hill. They went all out & this year they’ve carried on with that. The dresses are really attention-grabbing, and the ones that are not attention-grabbing are really demure and elegant and sort of an old Hollywood style. The colours we’re seeing more of this year are coral, watermelon and yellow (although yellow is a really hard colour to wear). 

SV: Are there any materials / colors we should stay away from for prom?
Pari Davis: The only colours you should stay away from are the colours that don’t suit your skin tone; otherwise, I think anything goes nowadays. Black is a classic colour, but I think (unless it’s a funky young black dress), prom girls have years and decades ahead of them to wear the classic long black gown. Now is the time to explore & express yourself! It is a great age to go all out and just have a lot fun and not care about what anyone thinks! As far as materials, I would stay away from materials that don’t feel comfortable against your skin or materials that are too heavy. There are some Taffetas that don’t breathe; I am not a big fan of taffeta. However, there is a new form of stretch taffeta on the market which does breathe and is great. The traditional stiff taffeta is something that can get hot really fast & might become very uncomfortable. Also, watch out for sequins underneath the arm, whenever you try on a sequin dress you should always rub your arms against your body to see if there is any chaffing from the sequins or beads. I have seen girls bleed from that kind of stuff! There is no need to suffer for fashion these days like we use to.

SV:Can you give our readers some advice on how to accessorize? (how to not over accessorize)
Pari Davis: My rule of thumb is that you shouldn’t have too much going on in one area. For example, if your dress has a lot of beading on the neckline, stay away from necklaces and just go for earrings. If you want to wear your hair down and you won’t see earrings, then go for some ornamental hair clips, like some crystal barrettes or bobby pins or very thin neutral crystal headbands. These are always a nice touch. If your dress is very plain then you can do either big earrings or a big necklace. You want to stay away from too many things on one area of the body. For example, if you wear a necklace don’t wear earrings, if you do hair accessories don’t do earrings and definitely don’t do a necklace, if you want to wear a big cocktail ring don’t wear a big bracelet. If you do too much it looks like you’re trying too hard.

SV: Are there any common worries or misconceptions clients have when picking their prom dress?
Pari Davis: I think the biggest worry is that everyone wants to have an original dress, and the good news (I can only speak for our store) is that there are a lot of options out there, and not everyone has the same taste. The reality is… the only way to guarantee you’re not going to have the same dress as someone, is too make it yourself! But there are so many issues with making your own or having one made for you, just to be original. You know, these days, magazines have “who wore it best” features because even celebrities are spotted wearing the same dresses. I think it’s more about the WAY you wear it, the colour perhaps, the shape of your body that makes it look different on you than anyone else. I think maybe the biggest misconception might be that prom dresses won’t be comfortable, which they are! You can’t have a good time if you’re not comfortable.

SV: What are a few of the most popular choices for this year so far/ last year?
Pari Davis: It’s really across the board this year, a lot of girls are getting into the hi-lo hemline, some of them like a lot of bling, some want very simple on the front and very low on the back, others want the more traditional ethereal, romantic look, other girls are going for really sassy and tight. I think there is so much going on that there really isn’t a trend at this point. Talk to me at the end of the season and I’ll tell you what the trend was!

SV: Looking back, have there been changes to what clients want in a prom dresses? Or, have their visions mostly stayed the same
Pari Davis: I would say the common denominator of what most clients are looking for in the prom dress is that they want to feel special, they want to feel like a million dollars because they look like a million dollars. For these girls, prom is the next biggest thing to their wedding, so it’s important and they take it very seriously and they get very excited about it. That’s the one thing that’s stayed the same.
The one thing that’s changed is the material. I find that the fabrics in the better designers are better; it has become a lot more sophisticated. It use to be very debutant, homecoming, pageant- looking and very bridesmaid inspired. Now it has become a very sophisticated, celebrity driven special event.

SV: Unrelated to prom, what are are some must-have items for spring 2012?
Pari Davis: I would say that the “must have” items for spring are the maxi dress, the printed chiffon blouse (to make a casual pant dressier for dinner), the wrap dress and the floral dress. Flowy blouses, coloured denim, printed skirts and easy-to-layer loose knit sweaters are also really good spring essentials.

SV: Can you give readers some ideas on what pieces Want will carry going into summer? 
Pari Davis: Going in to summer, there will be lots of maxi dresses, printed dresses, 50’s inspiration, animal prints, colour-blocking, long cardigans, and you’ll see a little more A-line than in the past. For special occasion, it’s definitely the one shoulder or the one arm dress. Overall lots of colours and prints!!

You can view another interview with Pari Davis here