Truly audacious

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

A designer purse can be an investment.

That's why one woman's husband made her promise to carry a Coach bag for at least 10 years. And a decade later, she came to Audacious Boutique and bought five or six colorful, fun, designer-influenced bags.

Audacious owner Mary Curran tells that story with a smile.

"Fashion is supposed to be fun," said Curran, who operates her purse and jewelry store on the premise that labels are too expensive to keep up with but inspired alternatives are just right.

"Not all of us can go to Saks or even Nordstrom and buy a bag, much less an outfit and all the accessories," she said.

Audacious opened five years ago in old Dublin, but moved to the new Shoppes at River Ridge center last year. It used to be one of the only area purse and jewelry stores, but the concept has become more popular, Curran said.

Still, she's kept the shop's inventory. A rhinestone Ohio State T-shirt and color-coordinating flip-flops are as close as she gets to offering anything but accessories.

"We try to get what is the latest fashion, or what's hot," Curran said. "So right now, Ohio State stuff. I swore that this year I wasn't going to carry any ... but they came out with a rhinestone T-shirt - that's a new item this year."

Curran and her staffers regularly read up on fashion trends highlighted in magazines and spotted on celebrities.

This fall, pick up a patent-leather or giraffe-print handbag, Curran suggests. Bright colors that pop against white will be big come winter. And layered necklaces in beads, chains or charms is the current approach to accessories.

The store, of course, has all of these and then some. Bags are arranged by color along a wall that's covered from ceiling to floor. And jewelry, most designs limited to two or three pieces, hangs from display trees and fills glass shelves.

But that's not to overlook the little things. Purse charms, polka-dotted luggage sets, hard-case wallets, scarves and coin purses help make up the accessories options, and a "markdown wall" rounds out the purse selection.

Some items are obviously "inspired" by Coach, Chanel or Tiffany. Others just have a trendy look. None have the department-store or designer price tags.

"Our philosophy is, you don't have to spend a lot to look nice," Curran said. "Really, in today's economy and stuff, if people would just get just one accessory, it kind of sets off your outfit."