Painted Pink

By on 30 April, 2012 in Fun, Kate and Stephen, Shopping with 0 Comments

If our parents and grandparents are to be believed, the department shore shopping experience isn’t what it used to be. Where once a customer might find a cool drink of water, a comfortable chair, extensive personal service, well-appointed dressing rooms and quality tailoring services, in many stores today, only the trappings remain. Even if you love to shop, the big stores mostly leave you cold, their giant retail backs broken by having to cater to so many, with so many tastes, in so many climates. They feel impersonal and dull, poorly lit and lacking character. You find yourself wanting to escape rather than wanting to stay, which is not a good sign for a retailer looking to part you from your money.

A trip to Painted Pink over at 1941 Mulberry Street is everything the modern department store experience is missing. It’s highly personalized from the moment of entry – you ring a doorbell, not necessarily because the door is locked, but so someone can be there to greet you. If you’ve been there before, they probably remember your name. At the very least, they have an eye out for what might look good on you, down to the right belt or scarf. The clothes are meticulously curated, arranged lovingly in a way that leads you around the shop, everything perfectly hung. There are no wrinkles in evidence. When I visited recently there was a steamer in use to freshen the stock – the kind of touch you usually see at shops in much larger cities, essential to making the store’s rainbow of dresses snap right off the hangers.

It’s clear that owner Pat McDonald and manager Rebecca Simon know their way around the confusing sea of womenswear brands. They stock Michael Stars shirts, Joe’s Jeans, and Hollywood Fashion Tape (no, we’re not going to tell you what that is – that’s what Google is for). Throw in a good pair of heels, and right there you’re basically all set. They do a brisk trade in party dresses, all the way from Easter through New Year’s Eve, and evidently this warm winter helped them out too – like many small Southern shops, they don’t stock sweaters.

“The Pink,” as its fans evidently call it, has a killer sale room where everything is half off, and not just in unwearable sizes. The changing rooms boast a few comfy chairs, heavy curtains and big mirrors, No unpleasantly buzzing fluorescent light is in evidence, making the customer look sallow. On the contrary, the front room is full of sunlight and the back rooms feel velvety and luxurious.

While there’s no website, Painted Pink has a Facebook page with a killer concept: Show the merchandise on actual people. It’s fun to browse through and look before you go in, but don’t let the Internet substitute for a trip to Mulberry Street.

Kate and Stephen are Midtown residents with a cat, a dog, a garden, an old house and a sense of adventure. They write about life in Midtown here and about life in Montgomery at their blog Lost in Montgomery.

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