Earth tones are in, and nowhere more than at the two Phoenix General boutiques in that Arizona city. After all, explained Co-Owner Joshua Hahn, terracotta, khaki green, and russet are not only trendy — they’re also desert colors, reflecting the beauty of Phoenix’s landscape. “We’re also seeing pops of neon this season, like neon green alongside olive,” Hahn noted.
Across the country, muted colors and soft, cozy styles are in vogue. And after years of skin tight denim, looser fits are now in demand. “We’ll always have a skinny fit customer, but everybody wants the wider leg styles right now,” said Hahn. Cow prints are also popular this winter at the 1,200-square-foot retail outlets, where Hahn has also observed clients layering sweater vests over white T-shirts.
Young professionals, ages 25 to 45, are Phoenix General’s prime customer. Hahn said this generation prioritizes quality over quantity. “Our customer is willing to spend a little more, and maybe buy fewer items,” he said. That pattern, he explained, fits into the store’s emphasis on “sustainability and ethical practices.”
In Portsmouth, N.H., it’s all about “soft, comfy clothing,” noted Lynda Raczek, Owner of 20 Below Boutique. “I’m selling a lot of plush hoodies, soft pants, anything that allows people to be comfortable.”
The 800-square-foot store caters to patrons from 20 to 60. “We have a range of styles to appeal to different shoppers, so mothers and daughters can come together and each find something they like,” explained Raczek. Summer brings an influx of tourists, and weekends remain busy year-round, with visitors attracted to Portsmouth’s downtown dining scene.
This fall, those shoppers aren’t only looking for soft styles; the color palette is soft as well. Lighter hues such as putty pink and mint green have done well, along with traditional, darker fall colors like army green and, forest and burgundy.
Neutral, earthy colors like beige are all the rage for casual wear at Kissy, a family-owned boutique in Pittsfield, Mass. But for dresses, Co-Owner Heather Eulian sees more vibrant shades: maroon, emerald green and cobalt blue. The 1,200-square-foot boutique — which Eulian co-owns with her sister, Christen, and mother Heidi — caters to the diverse needs of a rural population. “We get shoppers from their teens to their 80s, so we run the gamut from casual to special occasion outfits,” explained Heather Eulian.
This year, the Eulians have sold a lot of sweaters; cropped fits sell to the younger crowd, while chunkier, oversized and turtleneck styles are hits with customers who like Kissy’s “boho type” sensibility. And in this cold weather town, “flannels are always very popular around here,” Eulian noted.
Across the country in Portland, Ore., socks are flying off the shelves at Say Say Boutique, a 1,000-square-foot store. Best-sellers include socks from the Blue Q brand, which have smart little sayings on them: “Fight like a girl,” “I like long walks…to the library.” “A little feminism, a lot of cats and dogs” is how Owner Sarah Utrup described the slogans. Her clientele also loves anything with animals, which is why the other line that does well is Powder UK: Their socks, crafted from trendy bamboo fabric, feature quirky little critters.
Cozy socks maybe a pandemic thing, but Utrup said she noticed shoppers gravitating toward funkier styles even beforehand. As a gift, footwear is “a great way to say ‘I’m thinking about you’ without breaking the bank,” she noted, “and everyone can use another pair of socks.”
Say Say shoppers are men and women, mostly between ages 30 and 60, who are looking for more distinctive items than those sold in chains. It’s no surprise that these offbeat tastes have made turquoise, mustard and — most improbably — red the favorite colors this fall and winter, when most of the country is awash in neutrals. “I have a whole rack of bright red right now,” said Utrup in November, suggesting the upcoming holidays could be a factor.
Most years, retailer Amy Ward is able to spot trends at her eclectic boutique, Amy’s Cottage in Williamstown, Mass. But not this year. After the summer tourism season, when shoppers snapped up Berkshires and Williamstown logo shirts, Ward no longer saw any particular patterns in purchases of ponchos, earmuffs, sleep shirts, leggings and ball caps. “This year, it really is a little bit of everything,” Ward said.
There aren’t a lot of retail options in rural Williamstown, home to Williams College. So Ward’s 1,500-square-foot emporium caters to the whole town — “the teenagers running down the street, their grandmothers, and everybody in between,” as Ward put it.
What Is Your Top Selling Jewelry Item
and Why Is It Selling?
“Earrings are having a moment. It’s an easy way to add a pop of color to an outfit. Also, right now people are into shorter hairstyles, and earrings work well with that.” – Co-Owner Joshua Hahn, Phoenix General, Phoenix, Ariz.
“Earrings are one of the best-selling items in the entire store. We’re selling a lot of studs right now; they’re easier to wear with masks. They’re also a great gift item, because they don’t have to fit.” – Owner Sarah Utrup, Say Say Boutique, Portland, Ore.
“Luca and Danni. People love that brand, especially the bangle bracelets with a cardinal motif. We have cardinals right outside here, so people like the meaning behind it.” — Owner Amy Ward, Amy’s Cottage, Williamstown, Mass.
“We do very well with our natural stone pendants and bracelets. They’re sold with cards explaining the healing energies and properties of each stone.” — Owner Lynda Raczek, 20 Below Boutique, Portsmouth, N.H.
“We make most of our own jewelry here, out of sterling silver wire and charms. Necklaces and earrings are the most popular.” — Heather Eulian, Co-Owner, Kissy’s, Pittsfield, Mass.