Spring Forward Fashion 5

Pax & Parker has the looks you need for spring — or any time of the year.

Of all the times of the year to look your best, late spring into early summer caters the best to personal style. With the natural world exploded into color and vibrancy, we naturally want to dress up, enjoy the weather, and luxuriate in the season’s ease. Despite the character of Fort Worth’s local boutiques, shoppers have often felt compelled to travel to Dallas or farther afield in search of the newest fashions.

With the opening of Pax & Parker, however, we now have a major incentive to shop local. Located off South University Drive at 1621 River Run #116, this stylish and elegant boutique caters to both men and women. The brainchild of Winston Parker Ley and Alari Paxson, Pax & Parker has already established itself as the go-to boutique for fresh, fashion-forward style. As a homegrown Fort Worth business, the story of Pax & Parker is just as compelling as its vibrant inventory.

“My partner and I both have a retail buying background,” says Winston. “We met as employees at Julian Gold, a retailer in San Antonio that’s been in business for over 70 years. Of course, they do so many things right; but at the same time, as the younger generation, we could see where they were lacking.”

Winston and Alari began to dream big, and Fort Worth loomed large in the minds of both. Alari had attended TCU’s fashion merchandising program, and developed a love of the city as a student. When Winston began to consider an MBA, Alari encouraged him to look at the Neeley School of Business.

“I looked at TCU and fell in love, then went to the Neeley MBA program,” says Winston. “Afterwards, I decided that corporate wasn’t where I wanted to go. Alari wanted to come back to Fort Worth, and was looking for positions, and we got to talking.”

To these two intrepid fashion buyers, Fort Worth appeared as an underserved market. By the time Winston finished graduate school, Alari had moved back to Fort Worth, and the two began full-time work on getting Pax & Parker off the ground.

“Once we decided to open our own store, we knew we wanted to serve men and women, and bring Fort Worth style into the modern generation,” says Winston. “The whole process, from concept to branding, scouting our location, lease negotiations; it was definitely a learning curve. We opened the day after Christmas, of all the days in retail.”

Today, having recently celebrated its one-year anniversary, Pax & Parker continues to redefine contemporary style for Fort Worth. The store emphasizes personalized service, and shoppers will find themselves greeted with a refreshing sense of welcome. This small format store displays the benefits of expert curation, as each piece gets specifically chosen according to the eyes of Winston and Alari. As the menswear buyer, Winston ensures that the gentlemen of Fort Worth can put their best foot forward, regardless of occasion. Alari gives the women of Fort Worth a host of contemporary looks you will not find elsewhere, complete with accessories.

“We emphasize contemporary brands that are not otherwise represented in Fort Worth,” says Winston. “You would normally have to travel to Neiman’s or Nordstrom in Dallas.”

The first year of any small business stands as a crucible, in which those that emerge stand strong and primed for the future. The keys to its success? Excellent taste and exceptional customer service.

“Many small boutiques have strayed away from traditional customer service,” says Winston. “We like to get to know everybody, so that when we go to market, we can have specific people in mind. We always offer wine or beer to our customers, and give them the personal attention they deserve.”

As for style tips for the upcoming season, Winston has some to offer.

“I’m seeing lots of neutrals and pastels this year,” he says. “There’s no need to save your neutrals for fall, go ahead and bring them out to pair with your shorts. There’s also a big push for unstructured and unlined sports jackets. When you take out the lining, it lightens everything up. I think those will be really great for our area.”

The next time you don’t know what to wear, Pax & Parker will provide an indispensable solution. Personalized service begins the moment you walk in the door, and doesn’t end until you’re well dressed for any occasion. To check on upcoming events and merchandise, visit www.paxandparker.com.