Dav 3487 Dav 3485 Egg3 Egg2 Dav 3648 Casual Fridays. An all-too-common term that doesn’t have to be (but often is) synonymous with boring. “Casual Fridays” is a Western term that was created to give the professionals a break from suits traditional —and conservative— suits. The cultural act was picked up all over the world as a trend, but the act of designating a single day to dress down is now all but obsolete in most work environments.

In fact, the New York Post recently published an article about a study that revealed an increased productivity level of up to 56% in the workplace when employees were allowed to dress down. The reasoning is that when you’re comfortable in your clothing, you can dedicate your energy on what’s important – not tugging and pulling at your tight pencil skirt or hobbling on too-high heels. Comfort increases your energy and focus, both essential to succeeding at work. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I’ve transformed my own wardrobe and am living proof that this trend toward casual cool is here to stay.

In these times, when more and more jobs are cropping up in the creative, tech, media, and other industries where conservative dress is not de rigeur, trends like sneakers, bombers, torn sweatshirts aren’t entirely out of place in the office. I have embraced being comfy cool, whereas at one point, I never even wore flats because of my insecurity over being short. Now, I live in them!

Rule of thumb: Casual does not have to be boring or basic. Casual can be comfort at its chicest, just embrace the look and rock it with confidence.

Here are the top three trends you need in order to master Casual Fridays (or Mondays, or Tuesdays, or…)

Kannas sneakers: If you’re looking for something a little edgy, our go-to shoe is the handmade Colombian brand, Kaanas. Affordable leather kicks for everyday wear.

Bomber Jackets: I first spied this trend at the Yeezy show a few seasons ago and this is a look with some serious staying power. Whether it’s satin or embroidered, the best thing about the bomber is its day-to-night kind of feel. You can pair it casually or you can dress it up—perfect for an after work happy hour.

Sweats (Yes, Sweats!): “Athleisure” is where comfort meets casual at its finest. A good sweatshirt is a must for the Fall, and you can pair yours with a leather legging, a skirt and of course, denim. There is no right or wrong to rock this look and it’s so comfortable and versatile that this is a trend that I hope sticks.

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Have you ever had that one tee shirt that you have had for years, and still love it? It may have a small hole, a minor stain, but the wear has just made it even more comfortable and great?

I do! I’m proud to say that I’ve got one tee that I have had for 7 years, and survived many closet clearings and wardrobe overhauls. My trusty v-neck Vince tee is my go-to, ready for any adventure.

Last November, I traveled to Los Angeles and visited Maxfield’s, a high-end but edgy boutique frequented by celebs like Justin Beiber and Kendall Jenner. There, I discovered a line called Madeworn, a brand of t-shirts that include some new and some vintage tees, all customized to highlight detailing and “wear.” The shirts are treated with everything from burning, steaming, distressing and cutting, all hand done with care to give each top the perfect look.

Recently, when I was in Dallas for Spring Market, I stumbled upon Madeworn again. This time, I learned that the designer was obsessed with vintage rock and roll tees and found an original Japanese sewing machine that he used to reconstruct band t-shirts he purchased at auction from the 60s and 70s. He scoured the globe to find the original ink and tints used on the shirts back during their original production, and created a “new old tee,” adding his own distressing and designer touches. The designer frequents thrift shops and estate sales to find the perfect military vintage jackets (seen below) and hand sews patches on to all of his jackets.

These custom-made, exquisitely crafted tees are hard to find, but I was able to score a few for GAL. To no surprise, we sold out of the shirts in one day. I love the story behind this incredible brand and I am glad you did too! I look forward to bring you more fresh pieces this year!

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This month, I was chosen to serve as an honorary guest speaker for the Dynamic Women to Women session, thanks to Cassandra Diaz, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Business Administrative Training Specialist. I was especially honored because this monthly event was created to encourage and inspire women to open their own businesses across the city of El Paso.

I participated in a Q and A session, which I’m excited to share, below:

Q: Please give us a brief introduction about yourself.

A: Hello, my name is Gesuina Legaspy I was born and raised in El Paso. I started retail at the age of 18 and now at the age of 25 I have my very own business and I love our Sun City.

Q: How did the idea of Gal Fashion manifest, what was your A-Ha! Moment?

A: It’s so important for me that when someone walks into Gal, they leave feeling confident. My “A-Ha” moment was thinking, “wouldn’t it be amazing to do that for thousands of women?” My passion is not only fashion, but also building a community of women and encouraging women to make their own dreams a reality.

A lot of the times as women, we take care of everyone else but we don’t always take care of ourselves. I learned a short time ago, that in order to be a great mom or wife, you’ve got to take of yourself before you take care of others.

Q: Take us through a day in your life as a fashion entrepreneur.

A: One thing I do and focus on daily is training, since my job is to build up the people that run Gal so that our standards are consistent across the board. To ensure my team is always growing, motivated, excited and constantly learning is a key to our success. We have a major product knowledge training program and our stylist Jessenia Cruz is our Product Knowledge trainer. I spend a lot of time with my clients, and I also travel to markets in Dallas, LA, and New York to find the best product for El Paso. You can say I’m also a firefighter in my job since I put out “fires” all the time.

Q: Can you virtually walk us through Gal Fashion, What do we see? What should we expect?

A: Expect the unexpected! We pride ourselves on being very different from other department stores and specialty stores. From the moment you walk in, it smells great, it feels great, we try to create a welcoming a environment and we carry fantastic, eye-catching merchandise that will definitely make an impression on our guests.

Q: How are the brands picked to be in Gal Fashion, and how exclusive should we expect the brands in the boutique to be?

A: By the end of the month of April, we are launching our evening gown store/department and when we say ‘exclusive,’ we mean it. If you purchase a gown or dress at Gal, it no longer can be special ordered. It goes on a list that keeps track of exactly who bought it and where they are wearing it. El Paso is a small city and I never want anyone who shops at Gal to have to worry about someone wearing the same gown as someone else, or feeling less than one-of-a-kind.

Back to your first question, a lot goes into choosing the brands at Gal. I like to buy a lot of American made brands because I like to support America’s economy. I always think about what garment or brand is going to do for my customer, and I love lines that have a story behind them. I don’t just buy what I think is pretty but instead think about why certain items work for my customer; is it breathable, packable, quality, how does it make you feel? I especially like knowing who made the product. The stories behind the lines, the reason why they started and how they’re made.

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As I mentioned here before, we’ve decided to expand GAL Fashion and grow our square footage to create a new department of evening gowns. I signed the lease a couple of days before my trip to Market in NYC, so much of my time there was spent hunting for the best evening lines not currently available in El Paso. Why evening gowns? As my friend Mickey Rosemarin, owner of the successful Tootsies chain, advised me, everyone has a special occasion to attend!

I scoured the City and am very excited to bring to you the most exclusive evening and cocktail gowns that will not be able to be found anywhere else in town. After all, it’s my goal to make my customers feel confident, special and beautiful on the outside.

Aside from evening gowns, I discovered so many great lines and pieces in NYC this trip. I invite you to stop by GAL to see and hear about the latest, but for now, check out the top 5 lines that are coming to our store:

  1. Olvi’s- French lace gowns made in Amsterdam. These elegant luxury dresses will now be exclusively available in our store and are made of stretch lace that is all hand-sewn and one-of-a-kind perfect for all of your special occasion needs.

  2. Phone chains- I have broken so many phones accidentally dropping them because they are always in my hands. Digging around the bottom of your purse for your cell phone is just a waste of time. I found the cutest accessory that solves this problem, it’s your wallet and phone on a chain in a chic little crossbody style to protect your phone and wallet in a fashionable and functional way. They had the Valentino and Chanel inspired looks, so I couldn’t help but to buy them all. Under $125 retail and they make the greatest must have accessory!

  3. Candles from PARIS- David Mallet is considered the best hairdresser in Paris, and while originally from Australia, he has been recognized as one of the most influential people in the world. He recently launched his Le Salon candle line that he always has burning in his luxury salons in Paris. Salon en Hiver, the winter scent, and the Salon en tee, the summer candle, will both be available at GAL. I am very excited about having his prestigious line in my store for Pre-Fall!

  4. Inspired by Mr. and Mrs: The Italian brand introduced the perfect winter coat in 2009. It was a parka with a fur vest on the inside from different furs to choose from. The line was unisex and the concept was brilliant, years later all the other companies took a take on this style and we have it on order for fall, whether it’s faux or real mink, we ordered all of it so you can also get this amazing style for yourself.

  5. Plus size- Special sizes have arrived at GAL, since we believe not everyone needs to be a small size to be fashionable. Beauty and style comes in all shapes and sizes and we have a plus size selection available in store from XL-4X.

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Hello friends! After an action-packed opening week at GAL, my mom and I just returned from a seven day trip to New York City, where we visited showrooms, shops and gathered inspiration for my boutique in El Paso.

I’ve written about her before, but my mom, also named Gesuina, is my partner in crime and favorite travel companion. I feel like I can pen a novel about this trip alone, so I’ll break up the trip into a couple of blog posts.

Where to begin? The thing I love most about fashion is that you can truly express yourself through clothing; everything from your style, your mood, to your personality can be revealed by the colors, fabrics and the way you wear your outfit. Because of this, I take pride in being a part of that creative and expressive process for my clients, and saw the same passion in the many designer showrooms we visited.

We had the pleasure of stopping by lines like Sonia Rekyil, Moschino and Versace. Showroom appointments are my favorite since the vendors use the appointment to sit down, introduce you to the designers, and offer previews of the collections on live models. We were shopping for Pre-Fall, which consists of June- September delivery so we are offered a sneak peek of what’s to come in the world of fashion and trends.

Each showroom visit can be long, but well worth the time because you get to really meet and develop business relationships with the people whose vision you are buying. One thing that I love about buying for GAL is learning the process and history behind the brands, every designer and collection has a story to tell. Each designer has his or her own perspective and inspiration, and each followed a dream and pursued it and accomplished something great. My personal favorites include Veronica Beard, Michelle Mason and Irene Nicholas. They inspire me to bring to El Paso not just their garments, but their stories. I love knowing the story behind the clothing I wear, and the personal connection to the designers make dressing in their designs even more meaningful.

When I shop, I try to be thoughtful about what will resonate with my clients in El Paso, what kind of items will be fun for shoppers to see, and how I can excite my customers by what we offer. My goal is to have my clients love what they buy because of the story behind the pieces. I look for upcoming and new, because there are so many fresh, talented new designers, and I always like to support the emerging and up and coming.

Next week I’ll dive into all the goods we ordered in NYC. Stay tuned!

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