behind the scenes with women’s buyer Jennifer Stover

From this season’s must-have kimonos to the essential knit dusters, there are a few fashionistas who obsess over the latest trends, and ultimately pick the pieces that arrive in Meijer stores. Jennifer Stover, senior buyer for junior sportswear and women’s active is one of those trendsetters, going to fashion shows, meeting with designers and sampling the latest fabrics – all in the name of a great style at an even better price.

So what does it mean to be a fashion buyer for one of the Midwest’s largest retailers? Jen gives us the inside scoop of how she found her dream career and what to watch for on Meijer shelves this fall.

Meijer Style Behind the Scenes Buyer Fall 2015

What do you actually do?

As a Senior Buyer for Junior Sportswear & Women’s Active Wear, I’m involved in everything from selecting the vendors that design the clothes, deciding how many of each item we want to order for any given season and working with the marketing teams to bring fashion to life. I also go to market every six weeks to trend shop – my favorite part!

How did you get into fashion?

When I transferred to Indiana University my sophomore year (Go Hoosiers!), I was amazed to find out they had an Apparel Merchandising program. It was the perfect mix of creativity and business analysis. After my first brand concepting class, I was hooked.

How did you approach picking trends for fall 2015?

It all starts with supplier visits. I spent time in New York and LA to see what our go-to vendors were offering, as well as met with some new up-and-coming designers to get a sense of what’s next. I brought a few of my favorite pieces back to Grand Rapids, and worked with a broad team of merchandisers to see which trends would be the best options for Meijer shoppers. We laid out our rack plan, finalized styles and colors and then started writing orders. It sounds simple, but we’ve been working on fall apparel orders since most of our shoppers were on spring break!

What trends are you most excited to try?

I LOVE boho-inspired flare leg jeans! Don’t get me wrong, I love a good skinny, but this style is like a breath of fresh air. Paired with a crochet top, wedge bootie and a floppy panama hat, it’ll be my go-to look when the leaves start to fall.

What one item should we make sure to add to our wardrobe this year?

I can’t get enough of the blanket wrap scarves. The name says it all – it’s big enough to wrap yourself up in on a chilly fall day. From apple picking to Friday night football games, it’s the must-have accessory that’s as functional as it is fashionable.

What colors are going to be big this season?

You are going to see a lot of jewel tones this fall, especially shades of wine. Ranging from deep purples to rich reds, it’s a sultry color that makes anything look instantly trendy.

Any advice for our fashionistas who are always the first to wear the season’s trends?

Be adventurous. Try something on you thought you’d never wear. The styles we have for fall are so approachable, you don’t have to be a certain size or shape to look great this season. From dusters to boot cut jeans and everything in between, there’s no reason not to give your wardrobe a little fall refresh!

 

wardrobe building 101 – back to school kids’ edition

While the kiddos are still busy exchanging campfire stories (s’mores included) and planning their next water fight attack, we know you’re already thinking about the cooler weather ahead – running through a mental checklist of what will even still fit your kids from last fall.

Save up while stocking up on a few key pieces that you can mix-and-match all the way to winter break. From athletic-inspired pullovers to printed leggings – these MVPs are just what you need to build an entire wardrobe for your clan without breaking the bank.

for the fellas

Meijer Style 2015 Back to school boys wardrobeFrom casual, studious bookworms to speedy, gym class heroes, a pair of faded jeans, knit cargos and jersey pants should cover all your bases. Get him ready for the crisp fall air (it’s coming) with graphic tees featuring his fave on-screen superheroes that are easily layered under an athletic zip up with contrasting zipper details or an on-trend space dye pullover. For those not-too-hot but not-too-cold days, a cotton long-sleeve is a quick and easy go-to (assuming it’s not in that pile of clothes in the corner of his room).

how to wear ’em

Meijer Style Boys Back to School 2015 Wardrobe

  1. Keep him casual in a long-sleeve graphic tee, belted jeans and pair of high top loafers.
  2. For crisp fall mornings at the bus stop, cargo pants are the perfect partner to a graphic tee and preppy hooded zip up.
  3. Comfy never looked cooler than in cargos, a trendy space dye pullover hoodie and matching socks. It’s all in the details.
  4. Channel his inner athlete with super-comfy sweats, a graphic tee, athletic zip up and pair of sneaks. Just like that, he’s off to the races.

for the ladies

Meijer Style Girls Back to School 2015 Wardrobe

Fun patterns, bright colors, and varying fabrics will have the girls pondering which outfit to wear on the first day of school – there are so many options to choose from! Just like her older brother, make sure you’ve got a good mix of short and long sleeves, hoodies, joggers and leggings, and of course, skirts and dresses for days when she’s feeling girlie.

how to wear ’em

Meijer Style 2015 back to school girls wardrobe

  1. Like a flash in the night, a multi-colored stripe pullover is sure to get her noticed as she whizzes by her classmates on the playground. Bright leggings and shimmering sneakers are just the icing on the cake.
  2. A sweetheart indeed, let her wear it on a long-sleeve tee and pair it with tribal print joggers.
  3. Upgrade her standard pullover hoodie and leggings with fresh graphics and prints. Animals are always a solid choice, while plaid and boho prints take bottoms to the next level.
  4. For days she wants to dress up, make sure she (and her shoulders!) are covered with a classic jean jacket. A contrasting polka dot lunch bag is the perfect accessory.
  5. If your leading lady insists on wearing a skirt (we all have those days, lbh), make sure she bundles up with leggings and a pullover hoodie.
  6. A sassy baseball tee, print joggers and combat boots are the perfect way to rock a rebel chic look. Just ask her. She knows.

It doesn’t matter if you’re shopping for one or five this back to school season, it’s never been easier to build a wardrobe with a few seasonal favorites. Leggings, joggers and sweats mean they’ll definitely be on the run when the bell rings. The only question left: can you keep up?