New Stores Opening at Utica Square
All right, I’ll admit it, when there were rumors percolating that the pinnacle of my retail dreams, Nordstrom, was going to take over the Miss Jackson’s space at Utica Square (a space that now is tragically a gaping black hole), my heart soared. Nordstrom? Here in Oklahoma? Now that I’ve been an Okie for 10 years and have come to love this land of QuikTrips and thunderstorms, this was really the only thing I continue to lord over poor PVT: the lack of a Nordstrom in the whole blasted STATE. Yes, the Nordstrom Rack is a fun diversion, but it is not the REAL THING.
Alas, it doesn’t sound like Nordstrom is coming to Utica…yet. But! There are four new stores that are fabulous fun and seem to indicate that the rest of the country is recognizing Tulsa for the hip little enclave that it really is.
First up is Suite One, a trendy boutique for fashion-savvy girls and ladies. Suite One’s first store is located in Fort Smith, Arkansas, and Tulsa is the lucky recipient of its second location. According to its marketing, Suite One “culls through the trends and the classics to offer an effortless style for women in a boutique atmosphere.” The target market is younger ladies (even high school girls), women in their 20s and early 30s, and older moms like me who need a trendy piece or two to stay in the game. The store offers complimentary stylists to help you bring your look together.
Suite One “believes in fun clothes, dressing up for no reason, effortless style, and wearing what makes you feel good.” Well that’s a philosophy I can stand behind! Everything is quite reasonable; these pieces probably aren’t going to stay in your closet for years, but you will enjoy and wear them now! They offer dresses, separates, and lots of darling accessories — handbags, jewelry and sunglasses. By the way, Suite One is right next door to the Lolly Garden, so if you are shopping here with a kid in tow, you are forewarned that you will probably need to pop next door as well.
Then there’s Athleta. While Athleta hadn’t opened as of this writing, I know Athleta as quite literally the only place I can buy a bathing suit. Athleta’s swimsuits are ideal for moms: they are not festooned with ruffles or bows trying to cover up certain “problem areas.” They are not string bikinis for those of us whose string bikini days are long gone (if there ever were any of those days during our tumultuous youths!). They are beautifully cut, high quality suits that are modest without being prudish, and grown up without making you feel like a nursing home sideshow. You can purchase any of their suit pieces separately and mix and match to your heart’s galore: everything is priced individually.
But Athleta’s offerings go way beyond bathing suits. They offer their high-quality, stylish clothing for every sport imaginable, from yoga to tennis to hiking to golf. They have even expanded to performance jackets, dresses (think casual day wear, no cocktail dresses) and shoes (again, shoes for doing stuff — no high heels!). All of their clothing sort of makes me want to run in the forest, or sweat through a Bikram yoga class, or hike up Turkey Mountain. Their designs inspire you to move. And the prices? All quite reasonable for clothing you will probably live in.
The next newbie is Madewell. Both Madewell and Athleta will inhabit the former Talbots space between the Gap and West Elm, and Talbots is expanding and relocating into the former American Eagle location (oh, my mom will be thrilled when she visits!).
I’d never even heard of Madewell, a purveyor of mostly denim and jeans. But they offer so much more. Madewell is “a modern-day interpretation of an American denim label” and is a sister company of J. Crew. Madewell is a fashion retail store for denim lovers – or anyone who appreciates timeless design. Not only does Madewell design jeans, they also focus on fashion pieces you can wear with jeans. Leather jackets, stylish boots, slouchy tees and totes you will use forever are among Madewell’s many offerings.
Just to test the goods for myself before the store opens, I order a darling shift dress online — and I love it! I even get compliments on it; the graceful swingy lines are so pretty, and it is so comfortable too. It can be dressed up for a night out or just worn during the day. I can’t wait to scour the store when it opens.
Finally, there’s Evereve — a shop just for moms. It’s right down from the Stone Horse Cafe. Evereve promotes itself as “a casual contemporary boutique for the fashion-loving mom. From play-date to date-night, our clothing is curated to flatter no matter where your day takes you.”
The founder of the store, Megan, had a typical (well, typical for me!) postpartum shopping experience: infant crying, 2-year-old throwing a tantrum, an inability to maneuver the stroller, and no help – just lots of judgmental stares. So Megan decided she was going to help moms shop. She opened her first store in Edina, Minnesota, and now has over 50 stores throughout the country.
Kids are warmly welcomed in the store; I bring my 4-year-old, and her pumpkin fairy costume is enthusiastically applauded. (In fact, the only time the kiddies aren’t welcome is during “Girls’ Night Out” functions that are held occasionally in the evening.) There are practical features in every Evereve store that only moms would appreciate such as extra-wide aisles that can fit even the triplets’ jogging stroller. And there’s a little play area with toys and Goldfish for the littles – so they can build things and throw crackers while you peruse the cute jeans, fun tops and fun and comfy dresses.
There’s shoes, too, and accessories galore (but no maternity sizes here – Evereve focuses on the postpartum mama). What distinguishes Evereve from many retail stores is that every employee is also trained as a stylist; they will assess your body type, lifestyle, likes and dislikes, and help you create a look just for you. And the prices are super-reasonable. For just $58, I buy a darling transitional shift dress for summer to fall that conceals where it should but is still super soignee — cute and stylish but won’t make you feel like you’re trying to pull off the teeny bopper thing.
And Evereve has its own version of Stitch Fix called Trendsend.com. Like Stitch Fix, Trendsend helps you set up your profile, asking detailed questions about your body type, coloring, and style preferences. And then they’ll even ask what kind of “mom” activities you partake in: band concerts? Gym? School drop-off (an outfit for school drop off?!)? Family dinner? Happy Hour? Clearly Trendsend gets my life! So I happily complete my style profile, and am awaiting my super chic “mom” wardrobe, so stay tuned!
So there’s a lot going on at Utica Square. Now that those rotten kids are in school again, get yourself down there and have some fun!