Shopping With Andra’s Shop-Tastic Awards

July 18, 2010 • Magazine

Shopping With Andra's Shop-Tastic Awards

Shopping With Andra's Shop-Tastic Awards

Tue, 2000-07-18 08:00

Andra Naylor

While the fashion industry celebrates our favorite stores with awards like “Top Retailers of the Year” and “Best Shopping Websites”, I decided to put my own personal spin on recognizing those brands that I believe strive for an outstanding shopping experience. My unscientific selection criteria was based on questions like the following: Does this store cause major addiction? What is the quality and quantity of sales events? Do I leave inspired? Do I spend way too much money here? You get the picture. So here’s to those who really know what they’re doing…they shine in customer service, make us fall in love with their brand promise and keep us excited about fashion.

Best Brand Story: Anthropologie

Anthropologie is die-hard about brand consistency, and has continued to strengthen it’s identity since it’s debut in 1992. There was a time when I considered Anthro a bit too whimsical and a touch too feminine. But in the last few years, the brand has completely swept me away – I love the dual focus on attire and home goods, appreciate the visual artistry of the stores, and enjoy the brand extensions like, “an online space for inspiring works and inspiring individuals”, as well as the Anthro email that keeps me up to date on the fabulous lives of the company’s extremely lucky buyers who travel the globe to find new products and trends. Anthropologie is vibrant, inspiring and sophisticated, and therefore a winner of a Shopping with Andra award.

Best Turnaround: J.Crew

The J.Crew of my childhood was an oatmeal-color sweater with thick corduroy pants that begged for a nice pair of Doc Martens. The J.Crew of today is playful, fashion-forward and hints at the elusive je ne sais quoi that American women seek to master. J.Crew has experienced troubled times making a profit, but lucky for all of us, there are a few really smart people now leading the company. From CEO Mickey Drexler to Executive Creative Director, Jenna Lyons, the people in charge have figured out how to get customers to shop again at J.Crew. And shop we do – I can’t leave the store without a pencil skirt for work and a matching embellished tee; each summer I order my all my swimsuits and leather flip flops from the website, and now they even have me coveting the nail polish the models wear in the catalog (and the retailer is smart enough to merchandise it right next to the cash registers). So for reinventing a what was once a sliding brand, congrats, J.Crew on your Shopping with Andra award.

Best Shopper’s High: DSW

While I know DSW is an outlet, for me, it shines among the Marshalls and Filenes of the world because of its dedicated focus on shoes. I relate to their commercial that compares women shopping the aisles of DSW to wild animals in pursuit of their prey. I love when a good hunt results in Marc Jacobs galoshes one trip and a pair of Prada colorblock pumps the next. My favorite brands to find at DSW are Nicole Miller ans Calvin Klein, and the store gets points for a great reward program that sends discounts at my birthday. Thank you DSW for killer shoes at killer prices; I never leave without experiencing the ultimate shopper’s high.

Best Customer Service: Nordstrom

Most fashionistas will agree that hands down, Nordstrom offers the best customer service the retail world has to offer. The salespeople are consistently pleasant and helpful, the apparel and accessories selection is bountiful and the return policy is ultra forgiving, to say the least. It is hard to top a department store that treats you with the personal attention of a boutique, yet offers dynamite sales year after year. I will always appreciate Nordstrom’s commitment to treating me enthusiastically, regardless of my purchase being $50 or $500. From their wide selection of all the best designer brands, to fantastic in-house labels, cheers to Nordstrom for being both fashionable and accessible!

Most Cosmopolitan: Zara

While most of the world has been enjoying this international mega-retailer for decades, it is a new-comer for those of us in Chicago. Zara was the purveyor of fast-fashion with the claim that it only takes two weeks to create a product and get it to stores. While we now have many options of so-called fast-fashion like Forever21 and H&M, for me, Zara holds a special edge that’s rooted in its Spanish roots – the clothing is sophisticated with a flair, and always on trend. Recently, I’ve been most impressed with their fabulous collection of shoes and handbags, but their tops and skirts remain a staple. Felicitaciones a Zara!

1. June, July, August Dress $148 at
2. Look #1 from Fall Lookbook at
3. Bottega Veneta Satin & Suede Sandal $199.95 at
4. Toms ‘Classic’ Canvas Slip-On $43.95 at
5. Halogen Beaded Cardigan & Button Front Skirt Now $51.90 at
6. Handbag $149 and New Look from June Lookbook at

Image Layout: Laura Funk

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