Style Inspiration At Margareta

September 13, 2018 • Style

i’m very excited about today’s story on multiple levels. first and foremost, you know i always love finding inspiring places and sharing them with you. it’s like finding a hidden treasure chest and then throwing a little party to share your excitement over it. and then there’s the fact that i grew up a daughter of two entrepreneurs and have personally experienced every dimension there is to being one, so i have a big heart for small businesses and independents. add to that the perfect combination of interior design, lifestyle and fashion and taaa-daaaah, you understand why greet from MARGARETA and i get along so well.

but let’s start at the beginning, because i know you guys are smart, critical readers and perhaps you’ve had it with bloggers throwing one endorsement after the other at your heads. i get it, i do. but as usual, this partnership was not some random match-making fluke between a business and an influencer (oh, the thousand ways in which i hate that word). i discovered margareta while i was chasing the perfect summer dress from danish brand munthe. i’d seen the dress worn by some stylish people on instagram and i had decided it was the one thing standing between me and complete happiness – as one does. so i browsed the web until i found out who distributes the brand in belgium (because whenever possible, i like to support the home team) and then i emailed them to ask which shops had bought it. so one fateful afternoon, i got in touch with greet VIA INSTAGRAM, and she was just the nicest. we messaged back and forth to discuss the color and the fit, she ended up tracking down the last one in my size and then sent it all the way to france for me. i know everyone is always talking about shopping small for the excellent service you receive, and even though unfortunately that’s not always the case, it definitely rang true for my first experience with margareta.

i started following MARGARETA ON INSTAGRAM and soon decided our long distance relationship wasn’t enough for me, so i ended up driving to puurs one day and spending such a lovely free afternoon with greet. she is as nice in real life as she is on instagram, and i loved discovering all the little wonders she has gathered in her beautiful boutique. i wish every shopping experience could be like this. isn’t it a shame we are all always so busy? because the only way to shop right, in my opinion, is spending a couple of hours browsing, trying on, browsing some more, having a cup of coffee (or a glass of cava), browsing some more and basically trying on half of what’s on the racks. i discovered so many brands i didn’t know before, tried on things that i normally wouldn’t wear, and fell in love with the prettiest items that i am so happy with (and can’t wait to show you).

greet has a great sense of style – equal parts classic-iconic and fun-and-daring – and she reminded me why offline shopping is so much better than online. she was honest with me, told me what she thought worked on me and what did not, helped me find fun combinations and dared me to think a bit outside of my comfort zone. it was all good fun and i went home realizing i understood my own sense of style a little bit better than before. so in tina fey’s eternal words – ‘i want to go to there’ and you should, too. go there for the great dresses, the super soft sweaters, the excellent products of belgian natural cosmetics brand likami or the beautiful selection of pillows, ceramics, bracelets, watches and scented candles. treat yo’self, and all. and tell greet i said hi, she might even give you a little discount if you do (insert all the high fives).

photos by stephanie duval

Dressing The Part

August 20, 2018 • Style

shopping and fashion – two things i rarely talk about on here, but admittedly they are rather important to me. also, i really wanted to ask for your advice and share a little tip myself. first a question for all the moms out there – what do you wear? i mean, i can’t be the only one who doesn’t want to sacrifice style for comfort, only to be reminded of their incompatibility on a daily basis? the other day i ripped a brand new silk dress because i was reaching for eloise’s pacifier in the backseat while i was in the front seat. if you’ve spent 2 minutes with a crying baby, you’ll know i would have gladly set my dress on fire in order to soothe her, but i was still pretty annoyed and sad about the little accident. i love all these pretty, flowing dresses (and let’s be honest, their shapeless cut is great to hide post-pregnancy baby bumps), but i am constantly ripping them, stepping on them, getting them caught in sleeping bag and diaper bag zippers, and obviously i am not even talking about all of the vomit, spit and other liquids that get spilled on them daily. i have five dresses hanging in our bathroom waiting to be washed by hand, but that’s the other thing about motherhood – WHO HAS THE TIME?

so, i am calling on all stylish moms out there, those who haven’t given in to all-jersey-everything (and if you have, know that i understand and respect that) and who have somehow cracked the code. what is your secret? how do you look stylin’ every day and look after babies and toddlers without destroying your clothes? i definitely don’t want to become one of ‘those moms’ who chastise their kids for even looking their way when they are dressed nicely – what’s the point in having children if you aren’t constantly smothering them with kisses and cuddles anyway? (i swear it’s like crack to me). anyhow, i look forward to hearing about your experiences with this – thoroughly first world – problem.

secondly, one thing i have successfully figured out, is how to support small entrepreneurs and retailers without giving up on my freedom to shop wherever and whenever i want. i know this is an issue many of you deal with – after all the family get togethers, driving kids to parties and hobbies, and drinking all the wine with your friends if you all find yourself sans kids for an hour by some crazy coincidence; there is virtually no time left to go shopping. but i also know many of you, myself included, favor a personal service and supporting small business owners over shopping at anonymous and giant-scale web shops. so when i was introduced to the shopping platform STORESQUARE, i was not only pleasantly surprised, i did an actual happy dance.

STORESQUARE offers belgian retailers a digital place to put up (part of) their merchandise for sale. local retailers can thus reach a much more widely spread audience, without having to invest in their own web shop and all the marketing they’d need to make it known. as a customer, you get to browse hundreds of stores on one site, and thanks to the easy searching tools you’ll find what you’re looking for much sooner than you think. i bought this blue ganni dress on there (and because i know you’re gonna ask – yes, i ripped this dress, too, and if you look at the pictures you’ll see exactly how it happened). i found it at a retailer in leuven – a place i would probably never have ended up otherwise. the process was fast and easy, the dress was personally wrapped by the store owner and sent to me with a handwritten card, and i experienced all the confidence and comfort from shopping online, without any of the ‘supporting-big-business-over-small-business’ guilt.

i then experienced the advantages of the platform for a second time when i was looking high and low for a toy i wanted to give my god child for his sixth birthday. it was sold out everywhere and the company didn’t make it anymore, and i was about to give up all hope for finding my nephew’s desired police boat, when i thought to search for it on storesquare. lo and behold – a retailer in faraway (for me) limburg still had one, and it was on sale. a few days later the toy arrived in a cardboard amazon box that the store owner had recycled – another thing i appreciate about shopping small.

yes, this post was created in collaboration with the storesquare platform. even from just browsing the platform when they introduced themselves to me, i was enthusiastic. but after my own experiences with it, i can honestly say i love what it stands for and how you can use it to support belgian retailers all over the place. give it a go, check it out – maybe your favorite store is on there, too, or perhaps you’ll find a business you can support instead of giving your money to the internet giants out there.

photos by matthias rabaey • this post is a collaboration with STORESQUARE, but of course all opinions are my own


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my name is stephanie duval, and i am a storyteller. this blog is where i share my favorite stories about design, travel, fashion and the nice things in life.


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