Thursday, November 3, 2011

High-end fashion in Longmont

Danielle Seiss has it rough. She is surrounded by jaw-droppingly stunning clothes all day long. This might not sound so terrible -- unless you've also worked selling something that you love. Then you know the amount of self-control it takes to not blow your entire paycheck before it hits the bank.

Seiss is the owner of Apparel Valley, a high-end fashion boutique that opened in downtown Longmont two weeks ago. The shop, which first launched online in 2009, already has a following, and features quality, timeless women's clothes, accessories and gifts with a European flair. The racks are filled with some of

Colorado's best designers, as well as products that support disadvantaged women around the world. All items are chosen for simultaneously being elegant, yet practical. Like machine-washable leather. Or boiled wool, which has the warmth of wool but with a smoother texture and lighter weight.

"The problem we have is we love everything in our store," Seiss says, with a laugh. "I appreciate it when people buy things in my size."

She's holding a long, fitted red fleece trench coat-inspired jacket with an oversized external pocket and asymmetrical buttons. The shop has been open for three days and it's almost sold out of all of the scarves. That's a good problem to have, Seiss admits, for the shop's sake and her own.

"It's dangerous working around beautiful clothing," she says. "It's like setting a chocolate cake down in front of (yourself) and saying, 'I'm not going to touch that.'"

  Indeed, it's dangerous seeking out and writing about beautiful clothing, too. Seiss let me try on the Covelo Degas jacket, a below-the-knee-length boiled wool jacket, dip-dyed to have a gradient of teal color, and accented with dramatic ruffles and oversized fabric flowers ($318). While wiping the drool off my chin, I sized up Seiss to determine if I could outrun her out the front door. I decided the length of the jacket might slow my stride, reluctantly hung it back up and went to smother my envy in greasy hash browns in Janie's Cafe a few doors down.

Every resident in east Boulder County should be sending Apparel Valley, 471 Main St., a thank you card, for bringing some legitimate fashion to this side of the Rockies.

The shop's staple is Longmont-based Icelandic Design (, which makes sweaters and jackets in the handicraft tradition of Iceland, where the founder is from. My favorite Icelandic Design piece is an Asian-print inspired sweater called the Taiko: 100 percent wool, $238, in charcoal and gold (two of the top colors for this fall).

Clothes in Apparel Valley range from $48 to $400 a piece. Accessories start at $38. And if you're looking for inexpensive gifts, check out the Cube Suds (locally made all natural soap), starting at $8.

For more info on Apparel Valley, check out,, or buy online at


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