Coco Irene is not a woman, though if she were, you would definitely want to be her friend. She would be unfussy and down-to-earth yet with a feminine style and grace. She would watch old movies with you, “ooh” and “aah” at your new pedicure color and help you move your sofa (but only if you asked nicely). She would be one of your best girlfriends.
But she isn’t a living, breathing woman. Coco Irene is the brainchild of Chicagoans Veronica Sheaffer and Taryn Parker, two friends who wanted to combine their love of vintage movies and classic clothing into a line of attire for women. Looking to their own closets for inspiration (or what was lacking, to be more exact), the designers noticed a serious need for easy yet stylish outfits—the kind that would be perfect at Sunday brunch. The resulting collection features simple, demure, brunch-worthy dresses and tops that can be worn on a whim and still look chic. Picture a simple canary-yellow dress with a retro-esque silhouette, a white eyelet above-the-knee dress with ruffled sleeves or a brown-and-patterned reversible tank top. Now on their sophomore collection, they’ve already turned heads in the style world, catching the eye of the editors at Lucky magazine, which featured Coco Irene in their June issue with a catchy, photo-filled article.
While both gals have an eye for fashion, in this dynamic duo, Parker, 32, is the brains and Sheaffer, 28, is the brawn, so to speak. Parker utilizes her business background in managing Coco Irene’s logistics, while Sheaffer, who used to design for Bionica Fashions in New York and has her own line of handbags (Veronica Sheaffer Designs), creates most of the designs, with much input from Parker.
The true beauty of this line is in the affordability. Most shoppers are feeling the pinch from the economy, gas prices and other various economic upheavals, but Coco Irene allows you to buy that must-have dress and still pay your rent, too. Prices range from $72-$300, which, in custom-made-boutique-wear-speak, is very reasonable. Also making the stylish line a smart buy? Versatility and longevity. The sophisticated pieces of Coco Irene can be kept casual or taken up a notch, and stand out without being flashy. Plus, the pieces are classic and well-made, as not to go out of style or disintegrate after one season’s wear. (Beth Dugan)