Styling the body and dressing the home, the fashion-conscious would argue, are connected concepts. How we decorate our interiors is another way to express individual style.
Last year top fashion magazines caught on and started to introduce home versions of their fashion-focused publications. (Vogue launched Vogue Living in November and Harper's Bazaar produced a special-edition Fashionable Life in December.)
Locally, Rebekah Hemmer tackled the stylish lifestyle with a boutique that caters to fashion outside your closet. She opened the doors to Trace Elements in late September to sell what she says are home accents for the fashionably inclined.
The boutique offers an amalgam of styles that reflect Hemmer's favorite Outside stores. It's like Anthropologie meets West Elm, with influences from Restoration Hardware. Modern looks make up a majority of the staple brands, but vintage-inspired pieces make appearances too. Hemmer says her goal is to maintain the mix.
"I think it's interesting when you can find all your favorite things and create your own style," she said. "There's so many possibilities."
There are two reasons Hemmer, 25, opened the home boutique. She's fascinated with interior design (more so, she admits, than with designing the perfect wardrobe). And, like many boutique owners who came before, she was bothered by Alaska's proverbial shopping problem -- not enough local selection.
"You can't find it. You see stuff on the Internet, but can't find it locally," she said. "A big motivator was being able to offer things that are unique or that you can't find."
The soft glow from the windows lining the shop make Trace Elements an inviting stop as snow and slop challenge the foot traffic along Sixth Avenue. Pastel blue walls offer a shot of summer-like sensations. Colors and designs are confident, scents are engaging and glassware inspires visions of dinner parties and six-course meals.
All around the rectangular shop, Damask-style silver-print pillows, lush black cut-velvet throws, oversized ceramic lamps and artwork in the form of wall slats and stretched canvases make each display look like a full-color spread from a magazine.
Tiny porcelain plates and even tinier bowls sit on one shelf. The pieces, handmade by London designer Mizuyo Yamashita, are delicate and the pastel one-of-a-kind butterflies painted on each only seem to enhance this notion. Each piece is imperfect and wobbly.
Inhabit-brand pillows, bedding and wall art tucked in shelves and on display throughout the store come in bold earth tones, and the fabrics are nice, Hemmer said, but not super expensive. The designs boast mod shapes and plant life. Embossed wall flats are among the more clever offerings from this brand. Hemmer says the paper tiles with funky three-dimensional designs are perfect for renters or to make a quick change in a room's look.
Caldrea cleaning products line shelves and Skeem candles practically take over an entire table by the door. Chilewich vinyl woven mats cover the stained cement floor in a few strategic spots. Milky-white glass orbs, scented reed diffusers and vintage-looking hooks are mixed with hand-printed journals, clever gift tags and votive candles.
Hemmer says she's still working on defining the inventory. In the coming months she'll add accent furniture and offer a few larger pieces, such as beds, for special order. But the focus will still be one-of-a-kind items.
"I'm interested in bringing in items by artists or small companies that specialize in one type of item," Hemmer said. "Things that are unique or handmade."
Trace Elements is located in the Anchorage 5th Avenue mall, but can only be accessed through a street entrance on Sixth Avenue. Hours are 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and noon-6 p.m. Sunday and Monday. Visit Trace Element's online boutique here.