In a cozy, colorful Uptown boutique, a dapper black dog mans the counter. "I think he looks like he has a suit on all the time," says Armoire (4222 Magazine St., Suite A, 504-304-3537; www.armoireboutique.com) employee Lyndsay Kimball of Atticus, the year-and-a-half old schnauzer mix named for a character in Harper Lee's novel To Kill A Mockingbird.
"He is just as nimble as Atticus Finch," Kimball says. While Atticus can't read, Kimballs says he is still aware of his connection to the classic book. He's known to perk up to the sound of his name while watching the film version of To Kill A Mockingbird.
Kimball found 4-week-old Atticus at an animal shelter in her hometown of Lake Charles. "I saw him in this little cage sitting really sweetly," says Kimball, who is childhood friends with the owner of Armoire. "We got him out and he was really playful."
While he may look sweet, Atticus acts like a formidable guard dog. "He has a pretty ferocious bark," Kimball says. Atticus also has a bit of a mischievous side. "He knows what he's not supposed to do, so he'll just do it anyway." He has learned that when he does something bad, he is told to go into his kennel. Now he often polices himself. Recently, Kimball's sister Morgan came home with a package of lunchmeat that Atticus proceeded to steal and devour. "He just licked his lips, crawled in his kennel and poked his head out, like, 'Am I done? Am I done here?'" Kimball says with a laugh.
Kimball brings Atticus to work every day. He spends his time greeting customers and lounging around in some of his favorite spots, like the top of the counter or the ottoman adjacent to the chairs outside of the fitting room. "If someone's sitting there, he'll run and hop in their laps," Kimball says, gesturing toward the chairs. Good with children, Atticus helps parents shop without distractions by entertaining the kids. When he's not in the store, Atticus enjoys watching New Orleans Saints games and playing with Potter, the cat who lives with Kimball and Morgan.
Armoire opened in August 2010 with the goal of bringing quality fashion to women with a range of clothing sizes and budgets. "We carry all sizes for all women," Kimball says. "We carry plus sizes — I don't know of any other boutique that does that." Because everything in the store is priced at less than $100, the latest trends are accessible to almost everyone.
Armoire also offers online shopping through its website and Facebook page. "We put pictures of everything we get in the store on Facebook," Kimball says. "You can order on Facebook, and call in, and we'll ship it out."
Armoire carries limited quantities of each item, so customers don't have to worry about running into someone else wearing the same dress at a party.
"We get new stuff in almost every week," Kimball says. "We just like to keep it fresh."