Targeting women who find the clothes at some Magazine Street boutiques too expensive or too small, Armoire Boutique (4222 Magazine St., 304-3537; www.armoire-boutique.com) carries items in sizes 0-20, all priced below $100. "We saw a large discrepancy between the availability of reasonably priced plus-size clothing and the amount of emerging boutiques on Magazine Street," says owner Erin Hebert, who opened the store in 2010.
Armoire encourages shoppers to support local retailers and designers. Some of the store's most in-demand locally designed items are clutches by Rachel Adams, which cost $30-$60. "Armoire was created as an alternative to shopping at affordable national retailers," Hebert says. "We ... only carry limited quantities of individual styles to let our customers experience boutique exclusivity without paying typical boutique prices. Every week we have brand-new styles."
Armoire's employees and founders — whose prior experiences and education were in graphic design, costume design, theater, English and business — take pride in helping women expand their wardrobes, whether they are looking for just one piece, an ensemble or clothes for a complete seasonal wardrobe. "We always carry tops priced at $30 or below, for a quick and easy outfit upgrade," Hebert says. "Casual dresses are between $30 and $50, while cocktail attire tops out at $60. Jewelry is all below $30, with most pieces $15 or less. Our shoe selection starts at $15 and never exceeds $50."
When employees aren't putting together outfits for customers, they can be found outfitting models and other fashion-forward locals.
"Armoire's proudest moment was reaching our first anniversary, which we celebrated with a party and fashion show at our Magazine Street location," Hebert says. Armoire also has participated in fashion shows at Eiffel Society, LePhare and The Metro and was a retail affiliate during New Orleans Fashion Week and hosted in-store trunk shows with swimwear designer Cavortress. Hebert says she's ecstatic that her vision of providing an affordable, inclusive boutique experience has been fully realized.
"Everyone is close to someone who feels ... excluded from shopping on Magazine (Street) based on their size," she says. "We're happy ... diverse groups of friends can all shop at Armoire together."