Embellish Collection boutique in Chattanooga’s Warehouse Row offers latest clothing fashions for many ages and occasions

Photography by Matt Hamilton / Embellish Collection owner Ann Trammell Newton
Photography by Matt Hamilton / Embellish Collection owner Ann Trammell Newton

Back in March of 2020, Ann Trammell Newton was a little worried the world may never get dressed up again. But she's beginning to breathe a sigh of relief.

There's been a definite increase in work wear, says Newton. "People want specialty items. And I think the fun styles and patterns we carry give them a reason to buy."

A lot has changed at Embellish Collection since she purchased it from former owner Terri Holley several years ago. Since then, she's has poured her energy into building the selection.

Four times a year, she travels to market in New York City in search of hard-to-find designers that appeal to a wide range of ages and professions.

"When I see something I love, I know it," she says. "If I have the smallest doubt about something, I don't do it."

From her childhood years until she graduated from The Baylor School, Newton wore a uniform to school -- including time spent at summer camps. Later, as a fashion and merchandising major at the University of Alabama, she was able to begin expressing herself through color and style.

Through internships with the school, she had the opportunity to work in New York City with some of the biggest names in the industry like Elle magazine, Oscar de la Renta and Diane von Furstenberg. But not all of it was quite as glamorous as she had imagined.

She remembers showing up for her first day working at Elle. Taxi cabs ignored her. Her bosses and coworkers weren't exactly steeped in Southern charm.

And the high heels she chose to wear that morning? Those were a mistake she'd never make again.

"It was like working in a mail room -- a chic mailroom where they don't allow you to sit down," says Newton. "The experience was very 'The Devil Wears Prada-esque.' And what I learned was that I didn't want to be in the fashion industry."

Round two of internships went better. This time, she nabbed a position working for Diane von Furstenberg, where she was able to learn the other side of fashion -- working with department stores and learning about wholesale. And she loved it.

After graduation, she took on a third internship with the bridal division of Oscar de la Renta. But the right job opening never happened.

The struggle to get hired after graduation was real, she remembers. But after a gueling 50 interviews, she landed her first job with Vince Camuto, where she worked for about three years, gaining experience with spread sheets, sales reports and handling social media.

But it didn't take long until she'd had her fill of The Big Apple and moved back to Atlanta, where she could be closer to family. There, she worked for Spanx for a while. After that, she joined forces with a business partner to form a personal stylist team.

By 2019, she made a go of it on her own, opening A.T. Style, LLC. And by Christmas of that year, her client base was beginning to grow -- just in time for the pandemic to shut down the world in March of 2020.

As always, though, Newton found ways to keep moving forward. Later in 2020, through a series of fortuitous connections, Newton took over ownership of Embellish Collection.

These days, she revels in the fact that she now carries Diane von Furstenberg -- the designer for whom she once interned. And over the last year and a half, she's added 25 new lines.

"I love styling outfits," she says. "Helping people put outfits together -- coming up with something unexpected. Helping them understand trends, educating them on how to wear them. Helping people look and feel their best."

But Newton is just getting started. Lately, she's been working on enhancing the boutique's website, making it easier for customers to shop remotely.

"We're ready to build our online business," she says. "Our goal is to have a nationwide customer base. We want to reach all of Chattanooga and beyond."

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