• Sara Schwartz, AAHS

Boutiques Around Union County: Westfield Edition

When people think of boutiques, usually their first thoughts consist of pink dresses or tiny dogs dressed in fluffy outfits. As a devoted fashion lover, I can tell you this is typically not the case! A boutique is like a clothing store in the mall, only with fewer locations and more unique (though sometimes more expensive) clothing. Like fingerprints, no two boutiques are identical, as they all have different styles and sell different clothes. So yes, some boutiques are very pink and “girly.” Others are indie, emo, skater, sporty, preppy, retro, tomboy, business casual, etc. Even if you don’t buy anything, browsing boutiques and on-street clothing shops are a fun way to spend the day with friends or family. Sometimes, the Short Hills Mall can feel overrated, and the clothes there unoriginal. So, here’s a guide to the best boutiques around Union County. Most of my personal boutique shopping has been in Westfield, so this month’s edition is about the shopping district of downtown Westfield. Here, I will be analyzing three boutiques in-depth--with more coming in the future. These reviews are based solely on personal experience. Without further ado, let’s get on to our boutiques!


Francesca’s

Let’s begin with the first boutique I ever went to, Francesca’s. Francesca’s is a small, unique shop next to Cold Stone Creamery on East Broad Street. The shop itself has a cute minimalistic appearance to it, with its storefront sign showing only a white background with the name “Francesca’s” written on it in big black letters. The new arrivals displayed in the windows will never fail to catch your eye. When you first enter, there’s lots of things to look at, with racks and tables all around. Francesca’s sells a variety of items, but I think their prize seller is their dresses. Whether you are looking for flowy or bodycon, they will have it. They also have attractive jewelry on tables all around the store. This probably does sound too good to be true, and unfortunately, it is. While Francesca’s has the cutest items, they admittedly do not come very cheap. This is why I personally always head straight to the clearance section, where clothing and accessories are on sale and organized by color and size. There are still lots of cute things in this section! Francesca’s is open from 11am-7pm Monday through Saturday and 11am-5pm on Sunday, and their fitting rooms are also currently open!

Overall, I would rate this boutique an 8/10 because their clothes are super cute and their shop is very welcoming, but the prices and having to settle for clearance just gets me down sometimes. This shop’s clothes also cater to all shapes and sizes! You can shop online at francescas.com, as well.


southmoonunder

I wasn’t in this boutique for too long, and that is for a very good reason: this shop will cost you over sixty dollars for something as simple as a single long-sleeved t-shirt. Are their clothes cute? Yes, I will admit they are, but this shop isn’t getting my entire bank account for one item of clothing. In fact, you can probably get cheaper items just like them in Target or a mall department store. If you want to do some pleasant window shopping, this is the place for you. However, if you want to realistically buy cute clothes, I suggest you take your business elsewhere.

Despite their crazy prices, there are a few positives about this shop. The inside is neat, organized, and aesthetically pleasing as a whole. It looks very put together and it has a chic business casual vibe to it. I think their best sellers are their tops and jackets. The shop itself is gorgeous, and its clothes are decently cute, but their prices absolutely turn me off. My overall rating is a 4/10. southmoonunder has a few locations around the Northeast US, but in Westfield, they are located on East Broad Street. They are open from 11am-6pm Monday through Saturday and 12am-6pm on Sunday. You can also shop online at southmoonunder.com.


Ruby & Jenna

Our last boutique for this round of reviews: Ruby & Jenna, is a fun and people-friendly place to shop for multiple styles. I’m happy to say that although these clothes lean a little toward the expensive side, it’s worth it as a treat once in a while, and you won’t have to resort to the clearance section. (Although they have cute clearance items, as well!) What I find unique about this shop is that it caters to all bodies and all styles. I like to think my style is a combination of girly, indie, preppy and business casual, so I usually don’t have a hard time finding things I like, but even the pickiest of people could find things to their liking at this store. They have a wide range of colors, styles, and sizes. The negatives of this shop are that yes, they are a bit expensive, but great to treat yourself after an accomplishment that makes you feel good. For example, I like to indulge myself in clothes or food whenever I get a good grade on a test or paper. It’s incentivizing to do better and so rewarding! Another thing is that their store is a little packed, but overall still roomy enough to shop as you please. Ruby & Jenna is my favorite boutique so far and I’ll absolutely be going back! This shop also has a number of locations around the tri-state area, but their Westfield location is on East Broad Street and open from 10am-7pm Monday through Saturday and 10am-6pm on Sunday. Fitting rooms are open at the moment and online shopping is accessible at rubyandjenna.com. Overall rating is a 9/10 for their variety and inclusivity to all lovers of fashion.


I hope you enjoyed my reviews, and stay tuned for more coming soon. Happy shopping!


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