Chic on the Cheap

Photographs by Martha Busse

Local retail sometimes gets a bad rap—namely, some people think locally owned shops are prohibitively expensive. This can be true for those who can’t afford a $600 handbag or a $250 pair of jeans—but every local shop usually has something everyone can afford, whether it’s a screen-printed T-shirt or a stylish bangle.

The Purple Goose in Verona is out to turn shoppers’ local retail assumptions on their ear—the shop sells $65 lust-worthy jeans, $22 delicate necklace-earring sets and a $36 ruffled cardigan.

“It’s true that most people think of boutiques as high-end and exclusive,” affirms owner Halley Jones. “Our products are offered in a very limited number and [yet] our customers are amazed at the quality of fabrics and detailing in our pieces.”

Jones aptly observes that Purple Goose “virgins” usually step in, turn over the price tags and realize they can afford to shop there, namely, because everything is $99 or less, “which is pretty much unheard of in the boutique market,” says Jones.

I did exactly what Jones described—I found a ruffled tank top that I liked and checked out the price tag: $32. Talk about recessionista style. The shop also has private-label clothing like T-shirts, tanks and adorable, sexy dresses.

Little tykes can get in on the act, too: the shop’s entire upstairs is devoted to colorful, cute kids’ clothing. Onesies are screen printed with boom boxes, skeletons and dinosaurs; sundresses are dotted with fun florals.

The store has only two clearance sales per year (in January and July)—so that customers “don’t have to shop the sale rack to afford shopping here—we don’t even have a sale rack,” says Jones.

With amenities usually found in pricier stores (personal shopping services, alterations, “Goose on the Go” home parties) The Purple Goose aims to give shoppers an enjoyable yet affordably luxe shopping experience.

The Purple Goose Price range: $8–$99.

Owner’s Picks: Melie Bianco envelope clutch, $45; The Purple Goose private-label ruffle cardigan, $36; Lucca Couture printed maxidress, $55; Wati girl’s sundress, $40.

Editor’s Picks: Spicy and Dorothy Blue burnout tees, $24 and $32; Ryu gray cotton dress with eyelet trim, $55; The Purple Goose tiered racerback tank, $33; Lucca Couture ruffle tank with zipper, $32.

Verdict: The shop’s tagline, “Big-city style, small-town charm,” perfectly fits a luxe for less philosophy. After all, owning something that no one else will likely have? Priceless.

The Purple Goose, 400 W. Verona Ave., Verona. 845-2368.

Shayna Miller is associate and style editor of Madison Magazine.

* Read Miller's Window Shopping blog »

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