While diamonds may be some girls' best friends, Francesca's Collections is the amie we working women never knew we had.
Started down in Houston in 1999, this small but rapidly growing chain of boutiques is geared toward the style- and budget-conscious shopper. Its first Wisconsin location, in Middleton's Greenway Station, offers an eclectic mix of accessories for fashion and home, as well as gifts and apparel.
Francesca's can be a sensory overload at first - the air is sweet, the coloring warm, and the space is stocked to brimming. Like a cat, I was delighted by the sheer amount of shiny objects, particularly on the sale jewelry table, where two pairs of dangly earrings cost only $20, and silver trays sit heaped with giant rings. Baubles hang on black velvet, and the multicolored bracelets ($18) will tempt even the most resolute window shopper.
In addition to the jewelry selection, purses of all sizes fill the antiqued shelving; a faux-crocodile clutch by Nila Anthony with an oversized yellow buckle ($36) is especially darling. The clothing selection is hit or miss - avoid anything that combines sea-foam green with rayon fabric, but grab a silky-soft shawl-collar cardigan by S-Twelve ($42) to wrap up in the rest of winter.
And if you're a generous gal (with a fat tax refund), pick up a cigarette/ID holder ($24) or a saijo persimmon candle by Voluspa ($22) for your dearest girl friend. Or next time, just take her to Francesca's with you.
1650 Deming Way, suite 108, 831-6630
10 am-8 pm Mon.-Sat., noon-5 pm Sun.