Does pretty count for anything in retail anymore? This question crossed our minds as we rambled around the Hamptons this weekend, particularly as we went for a stroll as dusk approached and the shop windows began to light up under the sapphire night sky.
In this e-commerce digital-first world, is there a role for brick and mortar retail stores that are just really pretty? Or funny, or witty, or way-cool, or even odd? Not wired, no whiz-bang magic mirrors or interactive dressing rooms. Not staffed by robots.
Just a little jewel-box of a store, with a collection of curated items that express whimsy and joy. A warm illuminated window that causes you to linger, and dream, and reflect.
We sure hope so. Because especially in vacation locations, sometimes the digital cacophony is just too loud for us, and it’s a joy to go full analog. To wander in and out of small shops, discovering little hidden treasures, chatting with the owner, eavesdropping on our fellow shoppers. Or just window-shopping after hours, the way they did way back in the day, when the flaneurs and flaneuses roamed free.
Here are a few stores in the Hamptons that are simply lovely (or fun, or inspiring) to look at and be in. And that feel just right for summertime window shopping – or real shopping, should that be your aim.
Some windows convey pure romance.
Others look like they’d be a really good time, and that rosé would definitely make an appearance.
Some windows are filled with tales of adventure and derring-do and things we need to learn.
Others are austere, cerebral and incredibly cool.
Some windows make you dream of far-away places.
And some make you dream of home (or at least, of what your home might someday be like).
All of these transported us, at least for a moment or two, to a wonderful place. Nice job, all. Thank you for the flights of fancy. All that joy for free!
We’ll be back during regular business hours.
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