Monday, August 6, 2012

Wonder- ful

Strappy Sundress

beehive charm

I peeked back into C Wonder again yesterday.  C Wonder is the new enterprise opened by Chris Burch- ex husband of retail giant Tory. I went when they first opened, and although I found some likeable enough objects, nothing was compelling me to return. My first impression was that the store suffered from a split personality.
On one hand, the store is gorgeous and vibrant, almost something you would find on vacation in Nantucket, Ma., St. Michaels, Md., La Jolla, Ca.  However, so much of what makes resort shops appealing is the promise of endless summer and festivity which doesn't necessarily translate well into most real lives. The store is chockful of well styled, exuberantly preppy and classic, clothes and household wares.
Horse plate

But on the other hand, the quality and fabrication  does not always live up to the eye- catching design.  Clearly the intention was to price the wares at an affordable- buy now -point, which is attractive, to say the least.  But, some of the designs are so good that if they were rendered in better fabric, I think they could give Brooks Brothers , and Ralph Lauren and Tory herself a little healthy competition.
Contrast trim Perfect Polo

I was shocked when I read that the target audience was not a younger crowd, because the upbeat styles and mid to lower prices and lesser fabrications scream younger(west elm vs. William- Sonoma) to me.  Back to the split personality.  The store has a modern techno vibe. There are tables full of awesome and stylish electronics- clocks, speakers, keyboards, etc.
Heart Waffles!
You can use your smartphone to pay, there are no registers, just the handheld devices the adorably clad sales people carry.  The fitting rooms have  touch screen panels so that you can adjust the lighting, music, etc.  On the opposite end of the tech scale, EVERYTHING can be monogrammed, or engraved.
The opulent fitting rooms are curtained with luxe navy velvet drapes.
The store facade is a true "Preppy Handbook " green, embellished with the ubiquitous shiny gold CW's and a vintage bicycle.The home goods have a Kelly Wearstler or Kate Spade feel, and many items seem that like they would be at home in a Palm Beach mansion.  But, I have to think that many of those items which hark back to the aspirational '80's would seem dated to a younger crowd. And again, the quality is hit or miss, although the in store prices were certainly reasonable, and there was a nice sized sale section.

The jewelry design could compete with Jenna's and Marissa's vision. Again,the quality ranged from" Collection" to "Factory." The individual charms are saucy and amusing.
Frog Critter Bangle
I gave in to impulse and purchased these cute lobster pants.  They were a good deal, marked down to $49.00 from $98.00 and then 50% off sale. They are 98% cotton and 2% spandex.  They were a nice fit, too. However, in the same sale room I found many darling blouses that were polyester :( and the tank tops were a cotton modal blend.
Pink Lobster Critter pants

I love the colors and have always eyed "critter" pants, but never succumbed.  I think it is the tapered fit that sold me.   I think they would look great with a white shirt and  patent black shoes for a less traditional look,  and brown shoes( those are beloved  vintage J Crew Phoebe peep toes)  with navy or pink  for a more preppy feel.
 I will absolutely keep the store on my radar, as they had some striking clothes that are not on line. But, for you online shoppers out there, I would shop carefully. One more positive note- even with a percent off, nothing was marked "final sale". The sizing seemed very similar to J Crew's sizing.
Have you ever been to C Wonder? I'd love to hear your impressions!


  1. Thank you so much for the wonderful 'tour' and review of the store. I do love the fitting room...too bad J.Crew doesn't do something like that for their stores.

    Your Pink Lobster Critter pants are absolutely adorable, and what a fantastic price! I would check back in every now and then, too. Sounds like you just don't know what you might find at an amazing price, and no final sale makes it even better! :)

    1. Aren't the fitting rooms lovely? And, I agree, it is so nice to buy something that is not final sale!

  2. I've never been but I've eyed the website several times and was almost tempted to buy some jewelry. I really appreciate this review because I love the preppy vibe of it and would be interested in purchasing at some point, so I can adjust my expectations accordingly. They are supposed to open one in a mall nearby this fall. It would be funny if they put it next to the TB store, but I'm sure that won't happen.
    Such cute pants!!

    1. I just received an e-mail about some very J Crew looking bling at C Wonder. I may go back and take a peek.

      Too funny, putting the stores next to each other. I wonder if that is in the divorce decree...

  3. I would love to get inside that shop, I love everything they do, I didn't realise it was TB's ex husband's shop.

  4. Oh and I would love critter pants - completely unheard of here but what fun.

    1. It is a really amusing store. But, the fabric quality veers madly. A lovely silk tank dress is shown next to cardigans made of mystery mix fabric. The absolutely beautiful charms and lovely rope knot gold plated pieces are mixed in with junk.
      As for the critter pants- are they really heard of any where? But,as you say, so much fun, and I think they are no more startling than any of the printed pants at J Crew. I think that what makes them more flattering is the tapered fit. I noticed that they had plenty in store- at an additional 50% off, so they might be worth a try, and you might be able to order them online or directly through the store with the discount. BTW they have a "pop-up" shop this summer in the Hamptons and Nantucket. C Wonder has some styling elements down perfectly- I just think they need to edit better.

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