How a Local Boutique Owner Turned Her Quirky Style into Success

When Alexis Drennan set out to open a vintage-inspired boutique with a contemporary edge, she knew she had a tall order to fill, but she’s had a lifetime of practice combining the best fashion from every decade. 

“My childhood was filled with a fair amount of TV Land, which at that time was I Love LucyHappy Days and Bewitched. I think those shows started my fascination with all things vintage. It felt so foreign to my ’90s upbringing. I joke that my high school career was a rotating fashion identity crisis. Every year was a new, weird trend to try,” she explained.

Today, Drennan is celebrating her success, as her first boutique, Tulaire, is in business in Wheat Ridge.
303 Magazine: When did fashion become important to you?

Alexis Drennan: I still remember this pair of rainbow platform sandals. I was in sixth grade and no one wore anything like them. They were glorious. I think that’s when it really started for me. This idea that I could be anyone I wanted and fashion was a piece of that.

303: Describe the moment you realized you wanted to open a boutique.
AD: Since forever. I’m obsessed with art, fashion and shopping. There are so many great boutiques and shops in Denver, but I wanted to create a place that I kept wishing I would walk into. Tulaire should feel like home. I offer everyone a cup of coffee as soon as they enter the door. I want the store to feel like an oasis, a special place you can get away and enjoy some time to relax and get inspired.
303: How did the Tulaire concept unfold? Why did you decide on a French flair?
AD: I’ve always felt connected to France. It was the only language I wanted (and still want) to learn. And not Paris. I know that city holds a lot of meaning for people, but I relate more to the idea of Matisse and Picasso’s France. For me, it’s Provence, it’s art, it’s Fauvism. That’s the vibe I worked to create for the store, like a quirky little shop in 1970s France  — funky, filled with art, alongside beautiful clothing and goods.
 
303: Describe the Denver woman’s fashion.
AD: Individual style is a huge factor. Denverites have a flair for styling to create their own fashion. A few months ago I saw a man in vintage flare cropped jeans and leather motorcycle vest and it was the most glorious look I’ve seen in a long time. The whole look, his vibe — it’s all magnificent styling. That brand of “I-don’t-give-a-shit-’cause-I-dig-it” that comes from a person’s affection for fashion and self-expression.
 
303: How do you curate such an eclectic collection of clothing and products?
AD: I’m so committed to filling the store with brands people haven’t shopped or seen before. It feels like a mission to me. We carry lines from Japan, the UK, Canada, France, and across the U.S., but geography isn’t everything. I’ve worked hard to keep the store at a mid-range price point so that our beautifully curated goods are accessible too.
 
303: What has the community reaction been to the boutique?
AD: So loving, positive and supportive. I couldn’t be more appreciative.
 
303: What do you most enjoy about living a life surrounded by fashion? 
AD: Fashion is art for your form. It’s fun, sure, but it can also be transcendent. There was a quote I read by Marc Jacobs years ago that talked about why he likes designing for women — we have the ability to be a different person every day. The fashion world is our proverbial oyster.
 
303: What can we expect from you and the boutique in the next year?
AD: For fall, we’re going to use our parking lot — we have one — to host a small market. We’ll also have fun smaller events like holiday shopping nights and Saturday mornin’ sip-n-shops.
All photography by Lauren Magin.
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