Earlier this summer, all of my lady friends in their 30s and 40s started overwhelming my Facebook news feed about a new clothing store coming to downtown.
Posts expressing unbridled joy at the prospect of the store White House/Black Market opening in the space formerly occupied by House Parts, 714 Mass., flooded my news stream.
Beyond social media, multiple women have brought the store opening up in conversation. Before the store opened, a group of ladies approached me at church and asked if I knew where it would be located. Then, as I sat outside a coffee shop on Mass. Street a couple days after it opened, multiple pairs of women walked by, talking about the store.
Besides the reopening of Dillons on Mass. Street, I had never encountered such enthusiasm for a new business.
And to be honest, I have never been in a White House/Black Market before. In fact, I barely knew what it sold.
So I did some research. As it turns out, White House/Black Market sells business casual clothing catered to women in their 30s and 40s, but they have clothes fit for women in their 20s all the way up to women in their 80s.
And, not surprisingly, most of their clothes fit into one of two color categories: white or black.
The store is the lovechild of two stores, appropriately and separately named The White House and Black Market. The White House sold white clothing; Black Market focused on black. The merging of the two isn’t as serendipitous as it seems, though. The same people owned the two stores.
White House/Black Market also has regional store locations in Leawood, Overland Park and Kansas City, Mo.
Lawrence’s store manager, Ashley Snyder, believes an opening in Lawrence was an appropriate next step.
“There are not a lot of options for career women in Lawrence. There are very few options for work wear. Also, there aren’t a lot of competitors in Lawrence as far as quality of clothing goes,” Snyder said.
While I usually write about local shops in Lawrence, this store warranted an exception simply because of the excitement about it from local ladies.
When I asked these women why they were so excited about this store coming to town, they answered identically — to Snyder and to each other: “There just aren’t many stores for women in their 30s.”
I guess this should tell other brands something important: Build a store for women traversing the murky waters of youth and adulthood, and they’ll love you forever.
I wandered into White House/Black Market a couple days after it opened and fell a little bit in love. It could have been the free cupcake, the “$20 off an $80 purchase” coupon, or the sweet sales associates that did it for me, but I honestly think it was the clothes. It’s nice to see a store that consistently and uniquely creates well-made, age-appropriate clothes.
However, expect to pay some age-appropriate (read: adult) prices for the clothes sold here. Both the skirt and the dress that caught my eye cost around $120. According to Snyder, the prices are well justified.
“Our level of service is fantastic. We have personal stylists who help women find clothes that will make them feel beautiful. We give such good service and quality because we focus on women and their experience in our store. Our actual motto is, ‘Feel beautiful,’” Snyder said.
White House/Black Market is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.