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Fashion Boutique Offers “Inspired” Style

Amelia Thompson | Wednesday, September 26, 2007

For the avid Notre Dame shopper, it’s easy to come up short at good ol’ University Park Mall. Sure, the addition of Cache, Coach and a shiny new Forever 21 are appreciated, but for the true devotee to fashion, South Bend is lacking.

Well, thanks to boutique owner Jeanne Skelton, South Bend’s fashion future looks a little brighter. Located in downtown South Bend on Colfax and in Granger, Ind., on West Cleveland, Inspire Me is one of the city’s secret gems.

The boutique carries chic clothing, funky accessories and shoes, and plenty of fun gift items. With a long list of high-end lines that is rivaled by none other in the city, including LaRok, Nanette Lepore, French Connection and Diane Von Furstenberg, Inspire Me’s Granger location is a sort of Saks Fifth Avenue for South Bend.

Going strong for 13 years, it strikes a perfect balance between lavish formalwear and the luxuriously casual. According to Skelton, Inspire Me Granger “has incredible dresses and suits for when the mood is more dressy, but there are still Michael Stars tees, Rebecca Beeson tops, Vince cashmere sweaters and great casual dresses by Velvet to choose from.”

But the high-end names found at Inspire Me shouldn’t scare potential shoppers away. Inspire Me also features affordable lines such as Tulle, Kensie, B.B. Dakota, Free People, Lacoste and Sugar Lips at its Colfax locations for the more cash-strapped college coed.

Skelton makes an effort to get great labels that are priced at $100 or less to encourage Notre Dame and St. Mary’s students to patronize the store. The introduction of a student discount card this fall gives Notre Dame and St. Mary’s students the opportunity to save even more when shopping at Inspire Me.

With a valid and recent school ID, and the Inspire Me discount card, student shoppers can save 10 percent off regular price purchases. The downtown location also specializes in the latest denim trends with go-to brands such as 7 For All Mankind, Citizens of Humanity and AG Jeans.

For a funkier flair on denim, Inspire Me also offers Rich&Skinny Jeans and the more popular-than-ever True Religion. Striving to bring all of the coolest lines and latest, freshest fashion trends to South Bend, Skelton and her assistant buyers attend shows and buying events, such as the recent Coterie show in New York City, as well as shows in Los Angeles, Dallas and Chicago.

Some of Inspire Me’s new items to brighten the dreary South Bend winter include wide-legged jeans from Hudson and J Brand Jeans, embellished hoodies and tees from Christian Audigier and fun going-out pieces from Alice & Olivia.

So, now when you’re moping past Cinnabon at the UP Mall praying desperately for some sort of fashion inspiration, you can head to Inspire Me.