Seattle still has traditional downtown shopping, with well-stocked and newly updated Nordstrom’s and Macy’s stores, as well as a host of other specialty vendors, like Eileen Fisher, the Gap, and locally owned Flying Shuttle. I have to say that I rarely go and browse any of the stores, even as I value having a retail core for the city. I’ve never been a very good shopper, one who can spot things that go together and thereby extend the range of outfits I can put together. I think that’s a real skill, and I don’t have it. I also don’t have much patience. If I go for a specific thing and don’t find it quickly, I get frustrated and leave.
Nordstrom’s has launched a new concept that might be very appealing to someone like me: a store without racks and racks of clothing to try on — or to confuse and overwhelm the shopper with limited skills.
The idea is to build a store with a smaller footprint — say 3000 square feet — and have personal shoppers who can guide customers to a customized wardrobe. The clothes are then ordered online and delivered same day. To make the shopping experience more pleasant, there will be coffee, wine, and beer.
I don’t buy a lot of clothes any more. Seattle is very casual, and even when I impulsively buy a new piece I tend to wear what I like and am comfortable in anyway. Last year I got frustrated with myself for wearing the same thing all the time when I dress up for something like opera or symphony, and went out and bought several new pieces. Some of them I’ve worn only once.
But if I am looking for a specific outfit — like attire for the wedding I’m about to perform — I might well use Nordstrom’s new concept. It’s being tested in one market only — West Hollywood, CA — but if the idea takes off look for a Nordstrom Local to come to a location near you.