October 2010: Shopping Around

Our top shopping finds for the month


It’s easy to be seduced by Fleurt, longtime Westside resident Sam Crowley’s perky new flower and gift stop. Freshly cut hydrangea blooms, peonies and dahlias sit in bud vases ready to be plucked for an arrangement ($8), vintage window frames accent the chartreuse walls, and cheerful repurposed tables are piled with ever-changing gift ideas, such as Seed Bomb bags packed with Northwest wildflower seeds ($7.50). Crowley, who carries her own line of Petal soy candles ($30/13 oz.), also picks up jewelry finds on her global travels (most selling for swoon-worthy prices of $10–$25). Our favorites: her teeny terrarium necklaces ($10). The main attraction, though, is Fleurt’s floral artistry. Crowley’s arrangements ($40–$100) are organically grouped in vintage milk bottles, steel buckets or other found-object containers. Sourcing blooms from area farmers, she delivers for $10 in Seattle, or free to those lucky enough to live in West Seattle. (West Seattle, 4461 California Ave SW; 206.937.1103; fleurtstudio.bigcartel.com).

Some design by the book, but emerging women’s couture designer Isaiah Whitmore, 20, is more along the lines of a mad scientist, concocting gravity-defying necklines and silhouettes out of faux python leather and voluminous tulle. This off-the-wall style is beginning to pay dividends for Whitmore, a sophomore at the Art Institute of Seattle: Last May, he competed against 100 other local student designers to win his own set at Seattle Fashion Week. Futuristic and edgy, his new fall women’s wear collection broods in moody gray and black hues with dramatic wraparound head scarves and overaccentuated hiplines. Tough, streamlined jackets, a “python” leather dress and leather collar work capture his sassy, citified vibe, leaving one to wonder how long before the scheming apprentice graduates into design genius. Custom work available by contacting whitmore.isaiah@gmail.com.

 After dropping half a grand on your long-awaited iPad, do your future self a favor by snapping up Kirkland-based Plaid Doctrine’s chic carrying case. Sewn with fabric made from recycled plastic bottles, the water-resistant, foam-padded sleeve will keep your precious cargo safe from crazy-making slips and spills. $79 at plaiddoctrine.com.

Design maven Luly Yang debuts her latest wave of fashion on October 8 at her annual fall show. Sponsored in part by Seattle magazine, Yang’s show will use the Seattle Aquarium to showcase her new line’s oceanic theme, which incorporates elegant, free-flowing gowns in aquatic blues and greens. Proceeds from the always fabulous fête benefit Seattle Children’s. Check website for time. Prices vary. Seattle Aquarium, 1483 Alaskan Way; 206.623.8200; lulyyang.com

Nordstrom's Retail Therapy: Shopping for Change

Nordstrom's Retail Therapy: Shopping for Change

Nordstrom is more than just a department store; for many, it’s also a flagship of progressive Seattle values. (Oh, and there’s a sale this weekend)
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Seattle's flagship Nordstrom department store

For many Seattleites and their families, a visit to Nordstrom is not the average shopping trip. It’s often an all-day affair, rife with game plans, important decisions and breaks for meals (and cocktails), much like a visit to Grandma’s. Indeed, a trip to “Nordy’s” is a cherished family tradition in line with the family focus of the company, still run with the help of a fourth generation of Nordstroms.  

Despite its success and national expansion, the Seattle-based luxury retailer still operates very much like a small business, and is beloved for its customer-focused business model. Shoppers can count on excellent service from well-commissioned sales reps (including on-site personal stylists), the most forgiving of return policies (the one rule of Nordstrom’s return policy is there is no return policy), a plethora of sizes and styles and sales galore. Not to mention in-store amenities like its signature café and cocktail bar. Best of all, the store always waits until after Thanksgiving to put up holiday decorations. (Anyone for a Nordstrom-based remake of Where the Heart Is? Anyone? No?)

Earlier this month, when the company dropped Ivanka Trump’s line of shoes and handbags from its inventory (a decision the retailer cited was due to poor sales), many viewed it as a testament to Nordstrom’s promise to put family first, and a nod to its founder, John W. Nordstrom, who himself immigrated to the U.S. from Sweden in 1887, when he was just 16.

Progressive Seattleites rallied further when this company memo followed Trump’s executive order to temporarily bar citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S., a portion of which reads: “We currently employ more than 76,000 people who comprise different races, ethnicities and genders. We literally have thousands of employees who are first and second generation immigrants. Every one of your unique qualities brings a richness that allows us to better reflect and serve the multi-cultured communities we’re a part of.”

Despite a Twitter backlash from Ivanka’s commander-in-chief dad, Nordstrom’s shares continue to climb, and shoppers across the nation have publically ramped up their support of the department store.

Did we mention there’s a sale this weekend? Nordstrom’s first sale of the year, the Nordstrom Winter Sale, starts today in stores and online and runs through February 26th. Take up to 40% off your favorite styles for men, women and kids.

Grab your family and friends and keep the tradition going—and, as Nordstrom’s slogan reminds us, don’t be afraid to reinvent yourself.