"You’ve gotta get dressed everyday, so you might as well wear something you feel great in. Don’t wait til you drop 5 pounds and don’t save something you love for a special occasion. Life is always a very special occasion, and you should dress accordingly." This sage advice comes from Brenda Zdanowicz, owner of Mainstreet icon Parker Panache, a women's clothing and accessories boutique that celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. We talked to Brenda about fashion, trends, and the joy of owning a business in Parker.
What was your background prior to opening your shop and what inspired you to open Parker Panache in Parker 20 years ago?
Before opening my store in 2003, I worked in child protection. But I grew up in a small town in Wisconsin where my mom owned a boutique. When my parents decided to move from Wisconsin to Colorado, they found and fell in love with Parker, and my mom quickly realized Parker was lacking a “dress shop.” As we moved my parents into their new home in Parker, my mom pointed to what is now my store, and said, “That would make a cute store.” On the next trip, there was a “for lease” sign in the window. My mom made it clear that she did not want to open another business, but if I wanted to, she’d be thrilled to work for me. So, on Labor Day 2003, with a baby, a playpen and a prayer, we opened our doors. In the early years, the store provided me with a great way to be available for my kids and still work. Over the years, I’ve had the privilege of helping women find clothes for life’s special occasions, and that has been such an honor. Beautiful clothes and fabulous designs are a lot of fun, but it’s the relationships I’ve formed with my customers over the years that I really cherish.
What trends have you seen come and go over the years?
Twenty years is long enough to see a lot of things come and go. I remember selling the heck out of “magic scarves.” They were made of eyelash yarn and sewn in a tube, so you could wear them as a cowl neck or a regular scarf. Pants have been wide leg, skinny leg, embroidered, and blinged. Now the best trend I’m seeing is women wearing what they feel best in and what works best for their figure.
What are some of the fashion trends you are seeing this fall?
This fall we’re seeing bold colors, monochromatic pant suits, and lot of vegan (aka faux) leather.
Are some trends from past years/eras coming back? What should women look for when shopping for casual, work and/or special occasion attire?
Everything circles back, so if you can’t part with it, give yourself some grace! You might get one more wear out of it. We like to encourage our customers to build their wardrobes around high-quality, timeless pieces. Buy the things you feel your best in, because that is what you will wear repeatedly. And think of the cost in terms of price per wear. You can actually save money by buying quality over quantity. We strive to find pieces that are unique enough that they can be worn for many years. And we rotate less expensive, fun items to be added to the timeless pieces each season.
What accessories do you have available for customers?
We carry Uno de 50 jewelry and Hammett handbags, and we are crazy about both brands! They both offer great quality and elevated casual styles. Accessories are a great way to make a tee shirt and jeans look much more sophisticated.
"Beautiful clothes and fabulous designs are a lot of fun, but it’s the relationships I’ve formed with my customers over the years that I really cherish." —Brenda Zdanowicz