Friday, October 27, 2006
Forth & Towne -- Westfield San Francisco Center
My idea of chic lands somewhere between between Sarah Jessica Parker and a professor at the Sorbonne, so I had high expectations when I heard Forth & Towne's catch phrase "The chic revolution begins."
I expected a step up from Bananna Republic, perhaps a few more luxe fabrics, perhaps a few less things made in China. What I saw, instead, was a step older and fatter, below Bannana Republic, but a bit more interesting than the bland selections at Ann Taylor Loft. Gap is marketing Forth & Towne to the more mature shopper who knows her style and has the money to spend on herself. All the PR spin defines this "mature shopper" as a professional woman over 35. In reality, Forth & Towne's selection better serves those old enough to want waistbands above the belly button and fat enough to want a size range from 4 to 20. I suspect, though, that anyone who's a size 4 would be better of at H&M or Anthropologie.
While I love, love, loved the vanity sizing that allowed me to go down a size, I was bored with the selection which seemed to include different variations of the Suzanna Constantine top, the top with the crossover front, suitable for the busty. I have many of this style of shirt myself, but I would hardly call it chic. These tops were strangely displayed with jackets for the narrow-nebbed, flat in the front and so boxy that anyone with breasts would look, at best pregnant, at worst matronly.
Forth & Towne does do some things very nicely. Large dressing rooms with flattering lighting are clustered in a circle at the center of the store. The clothes are grouped by "collection" in the same circular theme, and the staff is friendly and helpful. The shopping bags are cute too, if one is into that sort of thing.
865 Market Street
San Francisco, CA, 94103