Effie Loukas

Effie Loukas
Effie Loukas

Effie Loukas has been an ambassador of fashion, style, and self-expression in Charlotte for over a decade. Her love of fashion is evident from the moment you meet her, and her passion is contagious. She has traveled the world and visited some of the epicenters of fashion from Milan to Paris and New York to Tokyo. She has used these experiences to create her own unique and eclectic style and as a foundation for her mission to make Charlotte look our very best. She wears many proverbial hats – fashion stylist, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and event coordinator to name a few and, be rest assured, they all look good on her. She recently invited us into her home away from home at Lotus Boutique and shared her thoughts on what makes for great personal style, how bankers can step their game up, three staple items that every man and woman needs in their wardrobe, and a whole lot more.

So, Effie, when did your love for fashion begin, and how did you fall in love with style?

Even though I didn’t know it at the time, but I think my love for fashion started when I was five, and I was returning home from school in Greece. I always kept my “good” shoes underneath by bed where no one could ever touch them. As I went to go put my school shoes underneath there, I didn’t see my favorite little red boots, and I ran to my mom and asked her where they went. She told me that she had given them away to our neighbors in the village since I grew out of them. I didn’t take this too well at 5 years old, and I immediately ran out of the house found a tree branch on the way to my neighbors house, (just in case, things got ugly), and went and knocked on the door, requesting she give me my shoes back immediately. Of course, she did. I remember walking back home so proud and happy that I accomplished my goal but, of course, I embarrassed my mom to death. She probably would kill me right now if she even knew I was sharing this with you guys. But for some reason, I always remember taking care of all my stuff at a young age and falling in love with everything, making little outfits of them, and we didn’t have much in the village, so I appreciated even the two pairs of shoes I owned. So, I guess at five, without me knowing it, but I really got into it when I went to college and realized everything I studied and all the classes I went into, they were not as much fun as “playing dress up” and doing my girlfriend’s closets and organizing mine on a daily basis. So, here I am, years later, still doing the same thing.

When did you decide that you wanted to have a career in fashion?

I decided I wanted a career in fashion while I was in college. I studied Psychology, but as soon as I graduated, I took a job with Express which taught me all the “corporate stuff” which I hated at the time, but I learned so much from them. I learned how to be sales woman because, really and truly, at the end of the day, fashion is still a business. Yes, I love it, but I had to learn how to make money.  From then, I knew I wanted to move to Charlotte and open up a business of my own, with my own brand, and offer women something different and special.

You have traveled all over the world and seen all kinds of different styles and cultures; where do you think the most stylish people are?

I have travelled to so many places and have seen so many beautiful people.  Paris is obviously known for “haute couture”, it’s truly the center for art and fashion – Milano – how can you not love all Italian designers? Valentino, Armani, Versace. Tokyo is another city that’s known for its eccentric, really “out there” fashion. London has been topping the charts the last couple of years , especially with the emergence of Kate Middleton, but my favorite is truly NEW YORK CITY. It brings all these cities and all these styles together in one amazing and beautiful city! It brings, haute couture, edgy, classic, and many more styles all in one. I love walking the streets of NY and seeing all the different people and styles from around the world.

What do you think it is that makes a person fashionable or stylish?

You know, you can have all the jewels, all the Chanel bags, all the couture dresses in your closet, but if you don’t have the heart, you have nothing.  It’s the way a person behaves, the way they treat others, with respect and kindness. That’s always attractive to me.

You have owned or operated numerous boutiques in Charlotte over the years and are the creator and organizer of one of the city’s biggest and best fashion shows in Style Night Out. Why have you made it your personal mission to make Charlotte more fashionable?

I have been in this industry for a very long time, and I have learned that having your own small business, especially retail, is very hard and very challenging.  But the reason that I have made it my mission to “make it more fashionable”, and I don’t think it’s only me that will make it more fashionable, but its all of my fellow boutique owners, stylists, fashionistas that have such great talent at what they are buying to bring in their stores, the way they dress, everything. We don’t have to go to NY to see style, we can find it here in Charlotte.  No, we will never be NY, but we are Charlotte, and we have to acknowledge all these small business owners bringing such eclectic pieces from around the world; they educate us about designers, and style, I guess that’s why I love boutique shopping. I appreciate all the pieces more than just buying something at the mall.

Speaking of Style Night Out, for all of our readers that aren’t familiar, please give us a little background on it, and let us all know what we can expect this year, and how people can attend?

Style Night Out began about 4 years ago, when I was inspired to bring all of our local boutiques together for one night and celebrate local style and local retailers. The show is going to be September 26th [at] Morrison Shopping Center, benefitting one of my favorite charities in Charlotte, Carolina Breast Friends. We have over 30 local boutiques showcasing all their fall collection on the runway this year. You can find out more information at www.stylenightoutclt.com, and buy tickets at: www.ticketssoeasy.com

What advice or tips would you give our readers on how to be more stylish or even how to make sure something matches for that matter?

As far as fashion tips, the only thing I can always tell any of my clients is don’t ever follow trends. It doesn’t matter what’s in or out: if something flatters your body and looks good on you, that’s all that matters.

What are some of your favorite stores to shop in Charlotte for men’s and women’s clothes?

Some of my favorite boutiques in Charlotte – this is hard because I love ALL of them – every boutique has something different, and that’s why I shop everywhere. I truly am a shopaholic.
When is your favorite time of the year to get dressed to start your day?

You know, it used to be summer, but I can’t handle this humidity anymore, so I’m falling in love with fall more and more. I love layering, so I go kind of crazy in the fall.

What era do you think was the most stylish and why?

The most stylish era for me had to be the 70’s! Gosh, I loved all the sequins, the disco balls, the wide leg pants. I think of YSL-inspired white suits, the Halston caftans – I could truly live in these all day long. People were original back then, they experienced with everything.

What are three staple items that you think every woman should have in their wardrobe?

Three staple items for women: A pair of black leggings – a MUST – you can throw on with anything and everything, you can dress up or pair with a white tee, some jewels, high heels, and you have turned your outfit into rock-n-roll. A black tuxedo jacket…another must. Women don’t know how chic a tuxedo jacket is and how flattering it is on every woman, no matter your size. Again, you can pair up with leggings, or you can layer over a dress. And, of course, the 3rd must item is a nice pair of high heels. Nothing makes you feel sexier than putting on a great pair of black high heels, and I mean high!

What about staples for men?

For sure, a nice, tailored, white shirt you can wear with anything and anywhere. You can dress up with a suit or wear casually with jeans. Another piece is a nice blue blazer..this is a classic, and every man should have this in their wardrobe – it’s an investment. I know men are not really into accessories, but one accessory that’s not only timeless, but says so much, is a nice watch. Maybe a Rolex or a Cartier…you know something simple.

How can our readers find you if they need more help with their personal style?

All of your readers can reach me through email or Facebook. My email address is effielouka75@gmail.com.