Posh-itively Posh-tastic

***This weeks post is a little different than my normal weekly posts.  I have done a “feature” this week focusing on a local Machias business.  This particular business and it’s owner has been very helpful and a positive influence on my journey.  I want to celebrate that and her!! For me, it has been so important to surround myself with people that support and appreciate each other.  I have found that by surrounding myself with positivity and shine – I am much more successful at achieving and maintaining my goals. I have some other local features planned…if there is something that you would like to see, please comment and let me know!!***

When you walk into Posh you are immediately greeted by the smiling face of Andrea Guerra.  She is a fountain of positivity, sunshine, and totally fabulous.  Two years ago, Andrea decided to open up a consignment shop in Machias, Maine.  The store is not very big but packs a huge punch and has a ton of personality – just like it’s owner.  Since the doors opened two years ago women and men in Machias and surrounding areas have been cashing in on great deals on mostly designer clothes.  People have even had the opportunity to make a little bit of money themselves by cleaning out their own closets and dressers.  For me, Posh has had a huge impact on a lot of the community out reach projects that I do through my school groups.  Also, while on this transformative journey, Posh has helped me to make affordable clothing options and look pretty amazing while doing it.

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The absolutely beautiful Andrea Guerra owner of Posh: Home of the Frugal Fashionista located in Machias, Maine.

I stopped by Posh on an absolutely gorgeous Saturday recently to chat with Andrea about her purpose and her shop.  It did not surprise me that I left that morning an even bigger fan of both Andrea and Posh.

Background…

Andrea was born right here in Washington County and actually graduated from Washington Academy in 1983.  She left her small home town to head to the University of Maine in Orono to pursue a degree in music education.  In the end, it did not work out and Andrea decided to get her education and license and become a hair dresser.  She has done hair for 28 years.  All of this changes officially on Tuesday when she will retire her scissors and become a Poshinista full time. The shop will now be open Monday through Saturday from 10am until 5pm.  This is a total leap of faith for Andrea – she really had no experience in fashion but had a real passion and knack for it.  She also wasn’t sure if a woman like her – thick, curvy, and excellent had a place in the fashion industry.  It did not take her long to realize that she is exactly where she belongs.

When I asked her how Posh was born – she told me that in the beginning, the idea for Posh started as a way to support her family with a little extra income.  She had an idea and a hobby and Posh was born.  Two years in, Andrea has decided that she needs to be in the shop working on her passion and cultivating it for it’s bigger purpose – to help people in small communities feel good about themselves and be prepared for what life brings them.  Andrea would also like to start focusing more on Posh’s philanthropic work.

A Small Shop with a BIG Heart

After my very first visit to Posh when it first opened up, I knew that this little shop was a very special place.  Just the way it was decorated sent a very positive message to every single person that walked through the door.  Shortly after my first visit I contacted Andrea and told her that my National Honors Society group at my school was going to put on a Prom Dress Boutique.  Basically the concept was that we would collect slightly used prom dresses and accessories and then give away the dresses, ABSOLUTELY FREE, as it got closer to prom season in Washington County.  I knew that my group would not have a problem collecting dresses but I didn’t know the first thing about setting up the space to make the dresses and event look appealing to the public. I called Andrea and told her about my idea and she was 100% on board from day one.  She and her Posinistas – the women who help her in the store – stormed in the morning of the event and transformed our school cafeteria in a classy boutique.  They made the dresses look even more appealing and we gave away 60 dresses that first year.  They did an even better job the second year and we gave away about 80 dresses.  Andrea did not hesitate to donate her time and skills to help make our event a perfect event for girls in Washington Country that were in need of a dress.  Seeing those girls faces as they left with a beautiful dress, shoes, and other accessories – knowing that it was a real possibility that they might not be able to go to prom due to cost – was truly amazing.

Going forward – now that Andrea will be at the shop full time – she is going to work on other charity based projects.  One project that she is particularly passionate about is providing clothes for women and men who are applying for jobs and need something nice for interviews.  Andrea feels that all people – regardless of their situation – deserve to look good and feel good about themselves.  Dressing for the part – particularly for interviews – is very important.  Andrea hopes to develop a “lending library” of clothes for people that need them.  This would allow people to borrow clothes from the shop for special occasions and then bring them and exchange for something different.  Lastly, she would like to make some connections with the Next Step Domestic Violence Shelter to provide clothing for women who are in need.  As if all of this isn’t enough to make you fall in love with Andrea and Posh – twice a week she welcomes a special sales associate to the shop who comes with a helper to dress the mannequins.

Andrea’s overall goal is for very small town that doesn’t have a consignment shop to have a Posh of their own.  She is hoping to change people’s minds about dressing their bodies and NOT worrying about the size of their clothing.  When she first opened for business, she was shocked about the language she heard coming from behind the dressing room curtains.  She heard women saying the most terrible things about themselves.  Andrea vowed that this was NOT going to happen in Posh.  She has strived to change the language that women use about themselves and create a better, more positive, and magical experience.  The evidence of this change in thought and language is visible all throughout the shop.  There are positive affirmations everywhere you look and  it is infectious!!  Andrea states, “It is always a struggle for some women, no matter how much they weigh – to see their beauty.  I want to change that.” She is absolutely doing that for the women who step into Posh.

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Positive affirmations abound at Posh!!

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How true is this statement?? I really needed to read this on Saturday morning!

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This is on the mirror in one of the dressing rooms.  I could be wearing a potato sack – read this – and feel great about myself!!

The Posh Experience…

As a part of the whole Posh experience you have to let Andrea dress you.  I was excited to let her have complete control over a couple of looks for me.  Because my body has changed so much over the last 10 months – it’s almost like my brain has not caught up with how I really look.  As a result – even though I’ve come a long way with putting outfits together – I am still staying comfortable.  Dressing myself in outfits that are nice, but not really out of my comfort zone.  Andrea asks for total control and is going to dress you out of your comfort zone and it’s going to be AWESOME!!

The process starts with her combing through the many racks of clothing and options. There is always music on in the background and Andrea is always singing along…the whole vibe of the shop is very laid back and as a result you just kind of go with the flow.  Andrea flitted around the racks and collected pieces for me to try on.  She came up with three outfits.  I have to admit I would NOT have picked out any of the pieces that she picked for me.  One – I never would have imagined that any of them would have fit me.  Two – none of them “looked like me.”  This is probably my biggest problem with shopping – I am scared to just go out on a limb.  Andrea absolutely brought me out to that limb and I really liked it!

20161015_11050620161015_11045720161015_11063120161015_110648 This is where Andrea feels most comfortable….combing through the racks looking for pieces for her clients.  Although a lot of people come in looking for something specific – the customers who ask for a look or an outfit – are really in for a treat.  I asked for three looks.  I was looking for two that would be good for work.  I am a high school teacher – so nothing tight or revealing.  We do have a dress code that reads more like business professional.  I like to dress nicely for work but be comfortable so I can move around and get down on the ground if I need to.  I’m a very animated teacher….I don’t like my clothes to restrict my movement!!  We also decided on something fun for a  night on the town with my squad.  Here is what Andrea came up with:

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This is the ultimate BEFORE picture!!  I had come to Posh fresh off of a run through the woods.

Look #1 – Fun and Comfortable

I LOVED this outfit.  I never ever think of purple as doable for me.  For one thing – all I can think of is Barney the purple sining dinosaur.  Considering I used to feel as large as Barney – purple just wasn’t my thing.  But goodness, I’ve been missing out!! This was a really basic purple dress – cotton – that slipped over my head with some black around the neck line.  Because it was a little bit, Andrea added this perfect stretchy belt with a black buckle.  She quickly added a crop cut denim jacket that was adorable.  Crop cut is not anything that I pick off a rack for myself.  She finished the look with a jazzy bag and some funky sparkly flats.  I felt really comfortable and would totally rock this to work any day of the week!!

Look #2 – Professional with a pop of sparkle and color

When I looked at these pieces on the hangers I was nervous.  The sweater is so shiny and short!! I did not think that it would look good on me at all.  In fact, I was totally uncomfortable and nervous about putting it on.  Also, the shoes which are tall heels that are blue, purple, and black are totally not my style.  However, I promised myself and Andrea that I would give her 100% control and so, I went with it.  Wasn’t I pleasantly surprised that I did!  The outfit looked totally different on me than it did on the hangers.  The pants were a dark wash jean – for work I would probably opt for a basic black pant – but these were great.  Andrea actually suggest I go a size smaller to give my legs more definition and shape.  The sweater, was short but went really well with the cut of the pants and was very comfortable on.  It was flashy on the hanger but on, it didn’t make me feel like I was bleeping beacon! I didn’t understand the shoe color with this outfit until I put them on – they added a good pop of color and some height!  Andrea was busy buzzing around to accessorize this look.  She picked up on the blue in the shoe with the beads on the necklace and added some sparkle on my wrist.  The biggest pop of color comes from the gorgeous orange bag….which I really wanted for my own!!!!  I really loved the collar of this sweater.  Again, it is definitely not something that I would pick for myself….but I really liked the way it looked.

Look # 3 – Super fun for a night on the town

HOLY COW!!  I was blown away by this dress!!  This is something I would have walked passed and not thought about for a second.  I love plaid but have never felt comfortable wearing too much of it.  Long sleeve dresses have never been my thing – I find them to be restrictive.  This Peter Pan collar reminds me of something that my grandmother would have tried to dress me in and lastly, I thought it was too short.  Then, I put that sucker on!!!! It fit well and the style and cut of the dress really worked for my body type.  I still think that it is too short – I would probably opt to wear it with tights….but I have to say – my legs don’t look terrible.  The shoes were black patten leather heels – again – nothing I would pick for myself but so adorable. Because of the collar, Andrea didn’t feel like we needed too many accessories to make this outfit look finished.  However, she did throw me this great light brown leather bag.  I could definitely see myself wearing this out on the town with my gal pals – maybe not in Machias, but absolutely Portland!!

All three of these looks had a total price tag of under $25 for the entire outfit – including the shoes!!  You can not get a deal like that anywhere else, that I know of.  Not only is the price tag affordable, but the professional and caring attention to detail was totally worth it.  Andrea takes her time to make you look good all the while pushing you to take chances and feel as fierce as you look.  There are so few places these days take the time to offer a personal shopping experience and if you allow her, Andrea will make you feel amazing about yourself and clothes you are in.

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In this picture alone you have J Jill, Banana Republic, Lacoste, and Aeropostale.

The above is a compilation of some looks that I have bought from Posh starting last spring.  I do not have any pictures from last year….I really was not into taking pictures of myself then.  If I find some, I will post them at a later date.  All of the above looks have been appropriate for school and I would also feel comfortable wearing them out and about.  Unfortunately, I did not bring home any of the looks that I tried on on the day of this interview because…goals.  I am hoping that at least one of them will still be there in November!!  Again, I can not stress the affordability of these pieces and how good they make me feel!  Not to mention the labels….I am by no means a person who only shops for certain brands.  However, it is nice to be able to afford some of the ones I would like to buy!!

The Final Word..

I HIGHLY recommend all women – regardless of size and shape – stop by Posh at their earliest connivence.  With sizes ranging from 2 to 24+…you will find something perfect for yourself.  I promise you that you will not only leave with something that will make you look fabulous – but you will leave with something much more important – confidence and a positive outlook on your body.  Andrea is really helping women in our small community to feel good about themselves and changing peoples minds about fashion do’s and don’ts. Men, you should also stop by – she has a corner of the store dedicated to you and it is growing!

Equipped with the help of her super supportive husband, Scott and  her children,  Andrea feels comfortable taking this leap from safety to passion.  In December of 2014, just two months after the doors at Posh opened – Andrea lost one of the most supportive people in her life – her mother, Becky.  Becky was a huge influence on Andrea’s decision to open Posh.  With a carefree and elegant style, Andrea attributes her fashion knowledge to her mother.  Andrea states, “She continues to guide me.  Whenever I need something, it shows up! No kidding! When I let fear or doubt land on my heart, she says “stay the course.”  It is a major comfort to have her with me.” Andrea knows that her mother would have been so proud to know that these types of services were being offered in Machias. I asked Andrea if she was worried about making this full time move and she cheerfully replied, “Yes, I’m super scared, but I can’t imagine that I will end up having to slice meat at the deli.  But, if I do, I’ll bring sparkle to the deli.”  If anyone could bring sparkle to cold deli meats and make it work, it would be Andrea.  Please do yourself a favor and visit Posh your heart, soul, and wallet will thank you.

For more information about Posh – check out their Facebook page here.  Posh is located at 291 Main Street Machias and you contact them by calling 207-263-3911.  The shop is now open Monday through Saturday 10am – 5pm.  If you are interested in bringing in some of your slightly used clothing for consignment stop in and pick up a copy of the consignment standards.  As always – I am not sponsored by anyone or Posh – I was not paid for this feature – I just really believe in buying local and love this business model…you will too…check it out!!

I hope that you found something useful here and will pass it on to someone who might find it interesting!  If you have any comments, concerns, or questions – please feel free to reach out!  Thank you for stopping in!

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