Helene M., Portland

Posted on December 11, 2012
By Mara Higgins

The holidays—a time of so much joy, giving, and most importantly, holiday parties. For us Maine gals, this couldn’t be a more exciting time of year. Where does one go for the most amazing selection of holiday party frocks? The Audrey Hepburn-inspired and classically hip, Helene M. boutique.

There is no doubt Helene M. is ready for the holidays. Every inch of the store is beautifully decorated. Presents are wrapped, trees are decorated, and even the chandelier is draped in silver garland. If you’re not yet in the holiday spirit, walk into this darling boutique and you soon will be.

As I had three holiday events that week, party dress shopping was on my mind when I dropped by recently. After just one lap around the store, my arms were completely full. Admittedly, I found this visit blurring the lines between work and play. The first dress I tried on was by Milly, one of my favorite designers and a perfect fit for Helene M. with her preppy yet modern aesthetic. A classic black shift with gorgeous ruching and bursts of vibrant color, the dress fit so perfectly I could have thrown on heels and walked out the door.

Next was a French Connection coral silk dress with silver beading and three-quarter sleeves. I love finding dresses with sleeves for the holidays. It eliminates the worries about how to cover your shoulders—after all, we do live in Maine.

Not all holiday events require dresses. Sometimes just a dressy top will do, and Helene M. stocks plenty of those fancy little numbers. The standout of the bunch was by Rebecca Taylor, another one of my all-time favorite designers. It has a simple T-shirt silhouette, but is made of black silk with studded sleeves and a draped open back. Pair it with dark skinnies and heels and you have yourself a sophisticated, effortless holiday look.

I couldn’t possibly just stop at Helene M.’s dressy items! I ended up with a couple of casual pieces in my fitting room as well, and both just happened to be vests—one sweater and one fur. Layering is so essential in the colder months and vests are the perfect solution. Both vests I tried on were the definition of cozy chic, and just so happen to pair perfectly with colored cords.

Finally, I did have to focus on gifting some of Helene M.’s fabulous merchandise rather than keeping it all to myself. My two favorite gifts were conveniently located at the front of the store—arm warmers in a Missoni print and Michael Stars pajamas. I learned that the designer for the arm warmers buys her fabric from Missoni, making them the perfect luxurious gift without the hefty price tag. The Michael Stars pajamas were wrapped up and ready to go. And, after all, who doesn’t have enough pajamas? When it comes to gifts, the store is fully stocked for every gal on your list—from your BFF to your mother-in-law.

With two weeks left before Christmas Day, the parties are in full swing and the countdown is on to find the most fabulous outfits and stylish gifts. Luckily, you can make your list and check it twice all in one stop at Helene M.

425 Fore Street | Portland | 207.772.2564 | helenem.com

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