Next up in our ongoing series, Local Alternatives, is Anthropologie, a store oh-so-charmingly poised in the Pearl District, the perfect location to lure the modern career women that make up the brand’s target market. A part of Urban Inc., Anthropologie was founded in 1992 and has built a reputation as Urban Outfitters’ older, more sophisticated sister (with a better paying job) by offering polished, vintage-inspired options for all of life’s occasions. The Portland store is vast not only in size but also in inventory, with home decor, bedding, candles, and body care items harmoniously interspersed among patterned dresses and colorful separates.
A self-described “lifestyle brand,” walking into an Anthropologie store is as much a multi-sensory experience as shopping can offer. The phrase “curated fashion” is tossed around often in the boutique scene in Portland, and Anthropologie is the perfect example of this idea on a corporate scale. If this conjures up images of museum exhibitions, then you certainly get the idea. Stores that embrace curated fashion attempt to style every aspect of the shopping experience. They want to create an environment where you’ll not only want to drop loads of your hard-earned cash, but that is so inviting and cool that you’ll want to return again and again to see what is new. Everything in that store is thoughtfully placed, from the elaborate window displays that will grab your attention from across the street to the diverse selection that keeps you coming back for more.
The Anthropologie woman is feminine, but she appreciates bold colors, modern, but with an affinity for antiques. It is an aesthetic that is relatable to many Portland women, and, lucky for us, there are locally-owned boutiques that offer just as thoughtful a selection as Anthropologie. As always, read on, and let us know your thoughts and suggestions.
Talk about good company: small but mighty boutique Radish Underground is situated on a block in SW Portland that could very well be its own mini shopping district. Standing out among peers such as Frances May, Flora, and Woonwinkel isn’t easy, but Radish Underground does so with ease by creating a cozy and inviting atmosphere even before you enter the store. Just as Anthropologie nets many a passer-by with its fantastic window displays, Radish Underground’s front display changes often and perfectly encapsulates the whimsical charms that await you inside (recently seen in the window: a frock-clad mannequin hanging tops to dry on a faux clothesline). But please, do not settle for a drive-by; inside is a veritable jackpot for any lady seeking apparel from a local line. Check out apparel items from Portland brands Layers Squared, Fitzgibbon Design, She-She, and Hello Amelia. Oh, and don’t forget to get your drool on over jewels from local line betsy & iya.
More Anthropologie-esque details at Radish Underground: printed dresses, skirts, fitted tee shirts, vintage-inspired jewelry
Radish Underground, 414 SW 10th Ave, 503.928.6435
If you’re headed to the vicinity of Anthropologie anyway, there is absolutely no excuse not to divert and check out Eden instead. This relatively new Pearl District boutique is much smaller, yet it somehow manages to match the variety of stock found at Anthropologie. Walking into this self-proclaimed “Garden of Opulent Curiosities” is sure to be a religious experience for any fashionista. There is no shortage of curiosities on which to fix your gaze, and as soon as you pick up one thing to examine, five more desirable objects appear in your line of sight. It is sensory overload in the best possible way: bright colors, sweet smells, dreamy music, all capture your attention and float you off into a world that is both in the past and yet still totally relevant to how you want to shop today. The stock of dresses is always changing and ranges from sweet cotton sundresses to printed silk party frocks with classic necklines emulated by those at Anthropologie. Curious yet? Check out Eden for yourself. Plus, where else can you purchase your goodies while George, a stuffed peacock, oversees the transaction?
More Anthropologie-esque details at Eden: dresses for day or night, coffee table books, statement jewelry (by local lines Seaworthy and Jesseca Anne, to name a few), patterned throw pillows, vintage silk scarves
Eden, 221 NW 11th Ave, 503.222.2285
An antique vanity’s drawers open to display lace-trimmed underwear, a wooden basket holds organic soaps by Simply Be Well, Seattle company Big Dipper Wax Works candles line the top of an old bookshelf, local art lines the walls; yep, this store creates an atmosphere, that’s for sure. The beauty of Tumbleweed is felt in these thoughtful details. Just as Anthropologie strives to create a loyal shopper by providing a memorable retail experience, Tumbleweed adopts the same idea with a distinctly Portland spin in its space on NE Alberta. Stepping into the shop, your feet hit a particle board floor, giving the space a rustic feel that is a nice contrast to the feminine wares that are folded on tables and hung on racks. Love the dresses at Anthropologie? For just about the same price, check out owner Kara Larson’s line of dresses, kara-line. In addition to great merch, Tumbleweed boasts one of the most inviting fitting room areas in town, complete with comfy couches and hip magazines.
More Anthropologie-esque details at Tumbleweed: lightweight scarves in various patterns and colors, button-up collared shirts for work, leather belts, knee-length khaki shorts
Tumbleweed, 1812 NE Alberta, 503.335.3100
This charming oasis just off of SE Belmont Avenue is truly fit for a retail queen who appreciates scoring that perfect find. The vast majority of the clothing at Palace is a mix of vintage and used, so do not go in expecting a selection quite like Anthropologie. However, the notion of curated shopping is alive and well in this boutique, where the clothing is arranged not by type but by color, making perusing the racks a constant surprise and study in quick thinking. Be prepared to muffle the squeal that will no doubt occur when the next item on a rack after an old concert tee shirt is a vintage Yves Saint Laurent vest (yes this happened!). Ask to see items from Dawn Sharp, a line made in Portland and recently added to Palace’s inventory as well as hand-dyed t-shirts from in-house line Prism Factory. Hand-blended fragrances from Portland company Olo are a refreshing alternative to the latest celebrity-endorsed perfume. Use the skills you’ve honed scouring racks at a store like Anthropologie to mix and match Palace’s ever-changing inventory to suit your needs. Close the quilt that serves as a dressing room door and see what magical combinations you can drum up.
More Anthropologie-esque details at Palace: bright colored totes from Baggu, vintage jewelry, sunglasses
Palace, 828 SE 34th Ave, No. C, 503.517.0123
Now that you have some comparable local options, see what spin you can put on Anthropologie’s vintage-inspired style.
Are you seeking local options for other retail giants? Do you have other local alternatives for Anthropologie? Sound off in the comment section.