For weeks I mourned the death of Borders, which served as the universal parking place for anyone in Los Gatos with a cup of coffee and an hour to kill. The prime real estate location, tucked into the corner of Old Town, lay dormant for months. But lo and behold the space was claimed by one of my favorite retailers —Anthropologie.
This Philadelphia-based retailer opened its doors in Los Gatos June 29. I have been waiting for months for a huge sign to appear where the Borders sign was. No big sign on the corner building where the "Coming Soon" sign had been. But look a bit closer and you’ll find Anthropologie quietly tucked in between The Wine Cellar and California Café.
Anthropologie is alive and well in its new Los Gatos location. This is great news to Anthro-addicts who have been hoofing it to Santana Row or Palo Alto to get their fix.
I am addicted to Anthropologie. And I must be a unique customer because judging from the number of smalls and mediums on their racks, I am an unusually “gifted” customer. That said, my Anthro-addiction didn’t start with clothing. It started in 1992 when I was living in Philadelphia and the first Anthropologie opened in the posh suburb of Wayne, PA.
The building there is a work of art itself. The front doors are a thing of barnwood beauty. Here in the Wayne store I snatched up my first set of “where did you get those” cabinet knobs. It’s where I purchased my “Those are fantastic” coat hooks. And it’s where I bought my “Those are amazingly colorful” dishtowels.
Anthropologie sells uniqueness. This chain store, with 147 locations across the country, has mastered the look of the creative, artsy individual. The look is one-of-a-kind and unique. But of course, they have mass produced it and made it available to anyone who can afford it. I call it “ubiquitous uniqueness” or “homoviduality.” But whatever you call it, these folks have mastered it. Anthropologie is owned by Urban Outfitters Inc., the same people who bring you: Urban Outfitters (duh) and Free People.
That said, for many of us craving something that doesn’t scream “off the rack,” it works. “Our typical customer in the Los Gatos store is a bit older,” says manager Victoria Lerman. “A woman in her forties to sixties who is really sophisticated, fashion conscious and wants practical pieces that are special.”
Since Anthro opened its first store, buyers must have discovered an anthropological fact—there is a whole world of women who have larger wallets but are not a size two.
“Our sizes tend to now run large,” says Lerman. “Everything runs quite big so it can be a challenge for our petite customers.”
For the bodacious among us, this is a good thing. Anthropologie now offers a bevy of beautiful and well-cut blouses for curvy women. Flattering lines, distinctive styles, rich colors, and butter soft knit fabrics. Sure, each store only gets 1-XL and 1-XS but they do have a useful iPhone app that allows them to order your size shipped direct from their Internet store. So, don’t assume the store isn’t for you. I even have my 72-year-old hipster mom shopping there now.
All this uniqueness comes with a pretty high-end price tag. A simple yet well cut t-shirt can run $48; a nice knit top for Fall $78; and a pair of jeans $198. Bottoms are no larger than a size 12 in most cases, so if you’re blessed with many “assets,” you might end up bottomless.
The newly opened Anthropologie in Los Gatos is one of the retailer’s smallest locations but it has a ton of apparel packed into the 4,200-square-foot space.
“We just want people to know we are here. It’s a beautiful store and we want people to know we are open,” says Lerman.
Personally, I rather no one find the place. That leaves more for me.