I used to love to shop retail. I still love to window shop, but I have so many clothes that I don’t do a lot of actual buying. To me, “shopping” means looking at what is new, and what works, and to be honest, what can I take from this to use in my own sewing. Not that I do not buy – I do, but it has to be so great that I know I’ll be wearing it for years, maybe even the rest of my life. But before I even go into a store, I have to be enticed by the windows.
Shop windows are fun. You can tell so much from them. Take the windows above. They are in the shop of Joan Crosby, a locally owned store in Charleston, South Carolina, where I took all the photos for today’s post. What I like about this particular store is that it is so very Charleston in style. Charleston is a city, but it also has a resort vibe. Think Lilly Pulitzer. Charleston has a Lilly Pulitzer store, but this local shop is far more interesting.
The shops in Charleston are a mix of national brands and local stores. Mall shoppers would feel at home on King Street (the main shopping street) but so would people looking for a more local experience..
Here is a national brand, Fresh Produce, that is using Charleston’s closeness to the beach in their appeal to passersby. And isn’t that what a shop window is – an inducement to come in and shop?
So, who does it better, the locals or the chains? It’s very much a mixed bag, with some local stores being totally uninspired, and others…
using their windows to attract the casual shopper. Redefined is a consignment shop, and I didn’t get a chance to go in, but I loved the window. And looking at so many varied windows made me stop and wonder why all stores don’t maximize the free advertising that is literally right in front of them.
One store that usually does a great job with windows is Louis Vuitton. This time around I thought they were a bit uninspired, with large pastel niches that contained one product. But on the other hand, they can always be counted on to showcase an antique piece or two. This trunk dates to 1906. It looks like it was never used.
Big companies like Louis Vuitton have designers who “do” the windows for all their stores, so the windows in Charleston must be very similar to what is in New York, and Nashville, and Chicago.
To show just how easy effective windows can be, here’s one from Kate Spade. The ribbon streamers not only mirror the colors in the dress, they serve to focus the viwer’s attention on the dress and not on the clutter of the store. It made me take a closer look, as this one window said much more about what was inside the store than any other window on the street.
I’m not a bit tempted by ice cream truck purses, but check out that Scotty dog key ring, and the little suitcase one as well.
I’m not going to name the store, but this top was in the window of a national mid-priced chain that caters to career women. I took the photo because, frankly, I liked the top enough that I might someday make a version for myself. And had the maker made an attempt to actually match the stripes, I’d have gone in and tried it on. And if I had liked it, I would have bought it. But instead, the wonkiness of it kept me from even going inside.