WALTER takes a trip to check out women’s businesswear company MM.LaFleur at its temporary location in the Melrose Knitting Mill.
Written by Ayn-Monique Klahre | Photography by Laura Wall
Everyone in our office was talking about it: After seeing ads filter into our Instagram and Facebook feeds, the intriguing clothing brand MM.LaFleur was coming to Raleigh! Though MM.LaFleur has retail locations in a few of the bigger cities, it’s been doing pop-ups in smaller cities for the last few years as a way to get more women to try on—and get hooked on—its chic businesswear.
The retail concept is unique for those of us who are use to driving to the mall: You book an appointment and are assigned a slot with a stylist, who, after reading your responses to a short survey, will work with you to try on pieces, introduce you to new garments and offer styling tips as you go. At the end of the appointment, you make an order or add products to your wishlist, getting more detail into your account so that you can easily buy from them again in the future.
For my appointment at the Melrose Knitting Mill, I was paired with Maggie Modrovic, who in addition to being an in-person stylist, is the online stylist for the Raleigh area—aka, the one who would put together your Bento Box if you ordered exclusively online. She was, naturally, well-dressed (in MM.LaFleur) and friendly, but most of all attentive to the feedback I gave her to suggest new options. She said they use the feedback not only to tailor their recommendations, but also to pass back to the designer—how nice to feel like my voice might shape future garments!
When I arrived, Modrovic had a rack prepared, and a cute cabana-style dressing room at the ready. (There was also coffee and champagne; but it was somehow too late for one and too early for the other.) We started with A-line dresses—a go-to in my work wardrobe—in various solid hues. They were all nice, but more corporate than what we tend to wear in the office. Based on my feedback, she ran back and grabbed the Jasmyn dress, which was an instant win, even though it wasn’t at all what I expected to like when I headed to the store.
Next up: Separates, a category that I (and many other women) struggle with. Particularly pants. I looked doubtfully at a pair of wide-leg black cropped pants—but they were quite good–looking once I tried them on. Then some blousy longer black pants, that were shockingly flattering and not voluminous at all. But the big winner was a pair of navy pinstriped culottes that I would never, ever have grabbed off the rack—I loved them!
And that’s the beauty of this retail format. I will say that 90% of my clothing shopping happens in the hour between when my kids go to bed and the mall closes, a rushed experience that can sometimes lead to desperation purchases that aren’t quite right. Modrovic explained that part of the goal is to reduce the amount of time women spend browsing and trying on, because she’s pulling garments based on their feedback: on styles her clients gravitate toward, what fabrics and colors they like and what sizes fit. It gives you the opportunity to try on something that you’d never pull off the rack. And then notes on your session go into your account (along with the wish list of everything you might have bought if budget were no object) to make future shopping easier.
Just hopefully, for the sake of my credit card bill, not too easy!