Here at Trendsetters at the U, we love Missoula, Montana. It’s a town with character, culture and community and is definitely not a bad place to go to school. Since a huge part of what the Trendsetters wear and who we are as people, is our college town, we thought putting together a post centered around Missoula was essential. Since there are so many hot spots around town, and it was near impossible to narrow our list down even more than we already did, this post will be a series split up into three parts, showing you where we like to go, what we like to do and what we like to wear while doing it. So we present to you Part 2 of a tour of Missoula – Trendsetters at the U edition.
Missoula, Montana is a fun, quirky town in the middle of gorgeous wilderness, full of artists, hipsters and cool-kids. The heart of Missoula is the historic downtown, full of unique shops, restaurants and galleries, many of which can be found on the Hip Strip—an iconic block that showcases some of Missoula’s finest local shops and eateries and has earned its name for being (you guessed it) hip. The Hip Strip is well-known for its mascot, the Hip Strip Lady, a larger than life mural of a striped bikini clad lady with a red tattoo and skateboard.
The Hip Strip is all about staying true to you and feeling hip no matter what you wear. So, I opted for my comfiest sweater—perfect for the fall weather, and something I definitely feel hip in. To add some flair, and a nod of the cap to the Hip Strip lady, I layered a black and white striped button-up from H&M under my sweater. Then, I went for a classic black skirt because I was feeling fancy that day. But, to keep my look from becoming too formal, I chose my go-to black high top Converse because you just can’t go wrong with Converse. I like to keep my accessories light, especially if I have more than one layer, so I just went with some simple earrings and my glasses, which are slightly more necessity than accessory, but, hey, if they go with the outfit then all the better.
One of my favorite parts of Missoula is the Hip Strip. I love all of the little shops as well as the amazing restaurants. I end up strolling the Hip Strip every time I’m downtown.
So, for this shoot I’m wearing something simple and comfortable enough to walk around in. My crop sweater is Daytrip and my skinny jeans are Miss Me, both of which were purchased at the Buckle. My shoes are Not Rated and were a gift to me last Christmas.
BLACK COFFEE ROASTING CO.
Coffee shops are probably my favorite places to be. Whether you’re meeting up with friends or studying for an important exam, nothing is better than their unique atmosphere and, of course, a nice strong brew. I thought I had sampled all that Missoula has to offer until I heard about Black Coffee Roasting Company and thank goodness it was brought to my attention! The coffee addict in me was hooked from the moment I laid eyes on their extensive espresso menu; my minimalist heart was nearly bursting. This shop embodies the chic sophistication of the minimalist style from the bare bulbs hanging from the ceiling to the streamlined white fireplace nestled in the corner.
There are so many reasons I love minimalism in fashion, but probably the biggest one is that it’s so easy to look put-together while being comfortable. If I’m going to be working on papers or catching up with friends for hours, I don’t want to be worrying about my outfit the entire time. For this look, I took the classic t-shirt and jeans combo and revamped it. This shirt is actually a Forever 21 tunic that usually falls just above my knees, but by tucking it into these jeans I can get more wear out of one of my favorite summer pieces. Black skinny jeans are a basic piece that I can’t survive without. The best part about this pair from Bohme is the ribbed detailing just above the knee, which sets it apart from your standard pair of jeans without straying too far from your comfort zone.
I pretty much wear cardigans whenever possible. They’re more casual than a blazer or coat, but still pulls the look together and adds another layer in case you’re like me and suffer from being constantly cold. I bought this one from Garage last year and still can’t stop wearing it. The burgundy color has me feeling all the fall vibes and, bonus, it has pockets!
Finally, the shoes. I’m a short girl, but haven’t yet found a pair of heels I think won’t destroy my feet to walk in for more than a few hours. Until that day comes, I’ll stick to having my taller friends rest their arm on my head and wear these pointy ballet flats from H&M. The pointed toe makes me feel like an important business woman and I’ve been told they help make my legs look longer. What more could you ask for in a shoe? Now all I need is a latte in hand and some good company.
Not only is Black Coffee Roasting Company my favorite coffee spot in Missoula, but its aesthetic is amazing, too. You can always count on getting a great cup of coffee and a great background for your next Insta post. Whether I’m running in to grab a coffee before class or settling in for a long afternoon of studying, I always find something about Black Coffee that inspires me.
On this particular visit, I decided to go with an outfit that could take me from grabbing coffee with friends, to running weekend errands, to hitting the books. The base for a majority of my outfits is a good pair of black jeans, and these Levi’s are my favorite. They’re equal parts stretchy and structured and wear in beautifully.
I paired my classic black skinnies with a comfy flannel. I’m loving the short sleeved plaid trend that has popped up this fall. Every time I see it I’m reminded of Rachel Green circa season one of Friends. If I feel like I’ve imitated her style in any way, I’m happy. I found this oversized flannel at a thrift store and the soft material instantly won me over. It works perfectly during the transition from summer to fall.
Finally, I finished off the look with black booties and my favorite hat from Target. My stance on accessories really changes with every outfit, but no matter what, I always tend to go pretty neutral. Today I wanted to let the hat stand out and not overwhelm it with much else. My bag is from Target as well and is the perfect size to cart around all your weekend necessities without overwhelming an outfit.
Black Coffee Roasting Company is my new favorite spot to grab a cup of joe in Missoula. It’s hipster-chic vibe, quality coffee and excellent toast selection instantly one me over. If you haven’t ventured in yet, trust me, it’s a must as far as the Missoula coffee shop scene goes!
For my outfit I wanted to wear something laid back, but still cool. I’m wearing a Rails plaid shirt, with a color scheme that goes with the Black Coffee aesthetic perfectly, if I do say so myself. I’m also sporting a pair of Top Shop Jamie jeans, which I’ve been wearing practically every day because they’re so comfortable, have such a versatile wash and are the ideal amount of high waisted. The little rips in the knees edge it up a bit too, which I felt fit the hip environment of Black Coffee pretty well.
To give this look a little quirky flair, I threw on a pair of black loafers by Sam & Libby from Target. I LOVE these shoes because they add a uniqueness and sophistication to any outfit. Lastly, for accessories I’m keeping it simple with a black Olivaceous eyelash bralette from Cloth & Crown, a Lat & Lo coordinates necklace (also from C&C,) and a brown faux leather bag from H&M.
A Carousel for missoula
What do I think of when I think of the Carousel for Missoula? I think of whimsy, plain and simple, even though whimsy is neither plain nor simple. So, for my outfit I tried to put something together that wasn’t necessarily going to embody whimsicality to a tee (I’m no Wes Anderson,) but would make me feel playful enough to remind me of my childhood and the times I would visit this particular Missoula icon.
My denim skirt from H&M was a new purchase I was so excited about and definitely served as the key piece in my outfit. Comfortable, trendy and, let’s face it, a lil’ sexy, made this skirt perfect for the throwback to my childhood in the ‘90s and early 2000s. My white cold shoulder top from American Eagle was simple and stylish and kept the look nice and clean, which I really liked. I finished the outfit off with my brown booties from TJ Maxx and my Mickey Mouse necklace from Disney World, which juxtaposed nicely together to create the perfect “grown-up-big-kid” look.
This is one of Missoula’s most iconic attractions, and a super fun place as well. As the weather slowly gets colder, this is a perfect opportunity to pull out those fall colors and layers! I started with one of my favorite flannels that i thrifted years ago (because it’s fall and everyday is flannel day.) For bottoms, I chose my brand new distressed boyfriends I had bought at Maurices the day before the shoot. I’m in love with these, they have the cutest little detail with a flannel patch underneath some of the distressing. Then, just in case it gets too chilly, I decided to grab my classic bomber jacket, which is one of my favorite jackets. And to finish it off, I put on one of my many pairs of Chelsea boots, these ones being a dark tan suede, to finish off the fall-ish look.
The Missoula Carousel isn’t just fun for the young ones, but can be an exciting break from all the stresses that come from being in college. We can all benefit from getting out of our serious shells and hopping onto an elaborately decorated fake horse, if not only just to laugh at ourselves. I must admit, this isn’t the most practical outfit I could have put together. Wearing my simple black t-shirt dress from Old Navy, I nearly fell off, multiple times, but that just added to the fun of it all and, hey, at least I looked cool falling off, right? Maybe you agree or maybe you don’t, there’s no denying the comfort and versatility of this dress. Paired with my gold Converse and simple necklace, I look and feel, casual and put together.
Since the base of this look was so plain, I added some character in the form of the perfect 90s throwback, a flannel button down and a denim jacket. This flannel is the traditional red on black pattern that I bought from Forever 21 a few seasons back, but pretty much every store is selling some form of a plaid button down right now. I tied it around my waist to give the dress a little more shape and because it wasn’t quite cold enough to need layers. There was a slight autumnal crispness in the air, however it was apparent that summer wanted to have its last laugh, so I threw on my oversized denim jacket which is also from Old Navy. The denim is so soft and lightweight, so it doesn’t feel restrictive meaning I was able to be goofy whilst getting in touch with my inner kid!
I was low-key obsessed with A Carousel For Missoula growing up, and since I totally have “Peter Pan Syndrome,” I’m always down for being a kid for a day, or even just a few minutes. The Carousel is an opportunity to play, have fun with your friends, and to find joy in the simplicity of snagging the golden ring. Nestled right next to Caras Park, with the Clark Fork River running beside it, A Carousel For Missoula is definitely a Garden City icon for kids of all ages.
I definitely wanted to create a look that was playful, yet still practical and comfortable for being “ready to ride.” I’m wearing my overalls from H&M with a blush sweater from H&M underneath. I love this combo because it incorporates a touch of innocence and fun while still staying true to my personal style. I’m finishing the look off with a black velvet choker necklace and a pair of white Converse sneakers for a touch of 90’s flair.
Photography by McKenna Munden | @kennaphotography