I consider myself very blessed to hold my dream job, especially at 24. As buyer and stylist for one of the most enduring and well-known high end boutiques in El Paso, I’m often asked how I began doing what I do. I’m happy to share my journey, which I’m proud to say is rooted in hard work and refusing to take “no” for an answer.

I first walked into Tres Mariposas in 2008. I had just graduated high school and was newly married. Living in El Paso, I had often driven by the store without knowing what it really was. Around Christmas, I visited and was greeted at the door by owner, Nan Napier, who offered me a holiday macaroon. What a welcomed, but unexpected touch!
I was mesmerized by the energy of the store, the customers and salespeople bustling around with gorgeous clothing draped over their arms. The featured brands were those I had coveted while flipping through fashion magazines, and my purchase was carefully wrapped in designer paper. That initial visit left a major impression on me that I never forgot.

Fast forward to months later, when I landed my first-ever job at Forever 21. Although I appreciated the retail experience, I craved a different environment. My interest was piqued when I came across an online job posting for a sales position at a “high end store,” and I applied immediately. I was thrilled to receive a reply from Nan at Tres Mariposas!

At my interview with Nan, I remember feeling so excited to see the salespeople handling and moving merchandise, and I felt the same inspired energy I felt during my first shopping trip to the store. Despite my earnestness, Nan was upfront about her concerns since I was so young, with such limited experience. Nan’s standards are high, and for good reason. She’s been in the business for more than three decades and knows the industry inside and out, with Tres Mariposas’ reputation on her shoulders. I was crushed, but didn’t let her feedback deter me. I let her know I’d do anything in the store (honestly, I would have cleaned the floors if that’s what it took!) , I just wanted to be a part of their team. She agreed to introduce me to her top sales person , Monica Armendariz, to get her take.

I gushed to Monica about my passion for the store, and revealed that I’d even work for free to have the opportunity to prove myself. She seemed impressed and convinced Nan to offer me a three month internship to learn the ropes. Monica quickly took me under her wing and I got a taste of each role and responsibility in every department. It didn’t take long for me to learn that behind the beautiful, elegant storefront, everyone worked hard to perfect every detail. The sales strategies and techniques were all new to me—it was nothing short of retail boot camp! There were a few times I considered giving up, but they were fleeting thoughts since this was my first exposure to a “real” job. I learned everything from the importance of washing glasses, to creating client relationships from Monica, who had worked at Tres for 35 years. Days were long and a few times, ended in tears, but I can attribute my attention to detail, my product knowledge and styling technique, to those early memories.

At my 90 day review in April 2009, I was hired as a salesperson, a day that would change my life. The first couple years were difficult, and packed with lessons, as I struggled to build a clientele of my own alongside a staff that had been working for decades. When the contemporary buyer at the time left the store, I saw it as my opportunity to step in and lend my perspective on younger, fresher lines. But, they hired another buyer who was slated to attend Market in New York City. Undeterred, I begged Nan to take me along, too.Despite her reservations, Nan agreed to take me along after my husband encouraged me to pay my own way, and join the team for experience. It would be my first and most memorable trip to New York. I still remember the blanket of snow that covered the city when we arrived.

We traveled to the Coterie at the Javits Center, where I was overcome with excitement and wonder. As a lifetime fashion fiend, I vividly remember seeing Sarah Jessica Parker, who was launching Halston Heritage. I had never before been in a space with so many fashionable and like-minded people, I was in awe watching the stylists, editors and buyers breeze down the halls, eyeing the racks. I couldn’t help but feel intimidated, but I offered my input anyway.

Months later, the new contemporary buyer moved on from Tres, and I felt that my time has finally come. Nan was still unconvinced. She cited my lack of experience and flat out denied me the role. Frustrated but determined, I suggested another internship, this time focused strictly on buying. She reluctantly agreed. It was then that I became the “contemporary champion,” advocating for an expanded inventory of youthful and accessible lines. I spearheaded the focus on the section, handling it like it was my “mini” store until I proved its value.

A year later I was finally a buyer, and now, I buy for four departments at Tres and help co-buy for the others. I am always striving for the next growth opportunity within Tres Mariposas because I believe in my heart that when you really want something and set your mind to it, and you can accomplish anything. Through hard work and willingness to learn, improve and change, the world truly sits at your designer shoes.

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Red
White
Dav 3924
Tres

In honor this year’s Fourth of July, I was inspired to incorporate some unexpected color into my outfit. Eschewing the traditional red, white and blue, I stayed true to my signature black in a playful (and all-American) gingham pattern. Meanwhile, my bright red heels wink at the festive day.

I wish everyone a wonderful holiday weekend!

Shoes: Valentino
Bottoms: Elizabeth and James
Top: Bailey 44
Sunnies: Ray Ban

- Logo purple

It’s hot, hot, hot out there! The perfect excuse to stock up on sunnies of all shapes and sizes. Here are my favorites this season.

1 . Oliver Peoples, The Abrie - In pink topaz, these glasses are a great neutral. Glamorous and perfect for any outfit this summer.

2 . Dior, Mirrored Two-Tone Aviator Sunglasses - These are the “it” trend for the season. I already own the silver pair but these on trend glasses have me wanting more colors!

3 . Maui Jim, Mavericks - The polarized plus collection are perfect for outdoors. You can see clearly even though the tint on the outside is dark, and there is no glare! (Available at Tres Mariposas)

4 . Wildfox, Malibu Sunglasses - Fun and easy, made even cuter by their low price point.

5 . Le Specs, Bandwagon Round Frame - This inexpensive line has the best quality and are all under $55. These are perfect to style with denim.

6 . Tom Ford, Saskia Cat Eyes - The two-tone tint look so luxurious on the face. The cat-eye works well on most, especially for an oval face shape like mine.

7 . Illesteva, Leonard Eco Shattered Stripe Frame - Printed frames with a blue lens make great summer accessories.

8 . Fendi, Thierry Lasry Fanny Cat-Eye Sunglasses - These specs are funky and the perfect chance to explore with color. The purple shade is a great pop of color to any outfit

9 . Prada, Ornate Studded Cateye Sunglasses - The most expensive style on my must have list, but who can deny how amazing they are! The silver studs add a novelty look with a fashionable twist!

10 . Gentle Monster, Alley Cat - A bold, eclectic pair of cat-eye glasses add pop to any look.

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Last week, we received a new arrival at Tres Mariposas that has claimed the top spot on my list of dream dresses. The dress is exquisitely crafted by Wolford, a line that is most well-known for hosiery and quality undergarments. Because of the brand’s expertise in body and fit, its fashion pieces are equally as flattering on any figure.

One Tres buyer, Bobbie Baldridge, dubbed the dress the “It” dress of the season, as it looks just as dreamy on the hanger as it does on a real body. Another reason to love the “Fatale” dress? Because it can be worn a half-dozen ways:

1 . The Maxi Dress
2. The Midi Dress
3. The Mini Dress
4. The Maxi Skirt
5. The Midi Skirt
6. The Mini Skirt
7. Even a special occasion gown with fine jewelry!

The Fatale Dress is as stylish as it is versatile, available for order in any color and size, with an accessible price point of $215—an investment piece that merits a space in any closet. I plan on wearing my Wolford dress on an upcoming trip to Vegas and plan to style is as a mini for evening, a midi to work and even pair it with a denim jacket on my next Market trip. It really is the ideal suitcase staple since the innovative knitting technology makes for a wrinkle-free hold.

When I purchased my first Wolford piece back in 2009, I didn’t understand then why a basic black tank was so expensive. Now, five years later, when that same $200 investment has never lost shape or color and is still one of my go-to’s, I get it. Much like my trusty black Wolford tank top, the Fatale dress is one for the ages. Wear it well!

- Logo purple

Those who know me would likely say that black is my signature color. The dark hue makes up most of my closet, in a variety of silhouettes and textures, including Blazers, dresses and shoes.

Lately, though, I’ve been dabbling in color, adding shades of white to my wardrobe that pairs easily with the rest of my clothes and offers a chic, clean contrast to prints, solids and accessories.

I’m a big believer in investment pieces, spending a bit extra on a handful of quality clothes that will endure over the years instead of getting a bunch of trendy items that cost less but will last only a season. My newest classic, white additions have been the perfect investment pieces. The best part about blacks and white in your closet is that these colors can transition and into different looks all year round with the addition of a light jacket or sandal, heel or jeans. A good rule of thumb when considering an investment piece is to ask yourself how many items and outfits you own that you can mix and match it with.

I ask myself the same question all the time. In the photos above, I am wearing a new arrival from Elizabeth and James. It is an effortless Parisian organza skirt that can be dressed up or down and retails $395. This staple investment piece can be worn so many ways.

I purchased the black Parker crop top last winter and am still rocking it all summer. It’s an easy piece that looks great with everything.

Another reason I wear so much black and white? No matter what, the combination always seems to look put together and you can add a pop of color on your handbag, your shoes or even your lips, and you will still look posh!

- Logo purple