After unexpectedly waking up at 8:30 a.m. on a Sunday morning due to insomnia, I decided that something had to be done with all this free time. Originally I thought I would sleep in and then head to a few art exhibits. Instead, I hurriedly got ready and decided this was the perfect excuse to visit downtown Philadelphia and head to the shopping district. While my real intention was to walk around Rittenhouse Square to absorb the feel of as many shops as possible, I was quickly sucked into two stores that are part of the URBN corporation, Free People and Urban Outfitters.
Free People is a contemporary brand which caters to women who seek something suitable for a more mature, intellectual and individual image while still maintaining a youthful, adventurous spirit.
Rating: 4 / 5
Price Range: $$$
1625 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19103
My experience visiting the Free People boutique is like going to a museum. I always have to pay close attention for fear you might miss something worthwhile. Most of the clothing is displayed as outfits with multiple layers, making it hard to see individual items. Beautiful scarves and fun cords can also be found folded up on shelves or under wall displays.
The first floor holds most of the merchandise while the second floor has intimatewear and fitting rooms.
Although I am in love with the bohemian chic clothing that FP has to offer, two items stood out to me. The Heartstopper dress ($118), a white mini dress with delicate pleating and a colored pattern along the neckline, back, and trim is a beauty. I currently covet The New Romantics Neon Embroidered blouse ($168) — a gauzy peasant blouse perfect for the upcoming warm weather.
This location also includes merchandise from brands that share a similar style to Free People and are sold online as well. I spotted a simple white keyholed playsuit from Keepsake ($150) and a pair of Blank NYC jeans ($40, originally $88) on a few side clothing racks.
The sale section is impressive and in previous trips, I have managed to always find a great deal. Bodycon dresses can be found for $19.99, jeans for $29.99, and even sweaters for $49.99. Prices are slashed 25 to 75 percent. The sale jewelry also included subtle pendant necklaces for $19.99, previously $29.99 to 59.99.
Free People is most definitely the place to visit if you are searching for daywear that is a crowd pleaser or a special item for you or a friend.
Urban Outfitters is a men’s and women’s clothing and furniture retailer which has merchandise fit for anyone interested in a bohemian, retro or kitschy look.
Rating: 4 / 5
Price Range: $$
1627 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19103
After being greeted by a busy employee, I was immediately confronted by a table with everything screaming Valentine’s Day. I saw before me some of the most awkward and hilarious gifts to get your valentine. Think The Cosmo Kama Sutra By The Editors of Cosmopolitan.
The three and a half floors offer a variety of merchandise for young consumers. The Rittenhouse location offers exotic buys like hair chalk, Stüdy Design floral baseball caps, Cat in the Hat button-downs, and party decorations. You can find a lot more because it is just that big. The makeup location on the first floor is the largest I have seen in any location yet.
What makes Urban Outfitters different from Free People is its ever-entertaining apartment section. While there are rugs, duvets, and electronics here, there are also quirky objects like flasks that read ‘THAT SH*T CRAY!’ ($18), a mug that states ‘Fifty Shades of Me Don’t Give a Sh*t’ ($12), and a ‘Think Cap’ beer can hat. My favorites were a Luchador bottle opener ($12), an ‘Awkward Family Pictures’ photo album ($16), and a set of Solo Cup Shot Glasses (4 for $14).
Clothing-wise, Urban is moving towards a spring which emphasizes mint hues, lace, peplum tops, distressed denim shorts, and high-low trends for women’s fashions. For men’s fashions, the trend are moving towards a relaxed look through graphic tees, canvas sneakers and Herschel Supply Co. backpacks.
The sale selection for both men and women is decent. You can find a lot of great stuff, but the sections are not updated often. Moreover, the prices on average reflect a 25 percent discount.
Some sale sections are impressive. While I rummaged through the sale jewelry which included necklaces and earrings for only $4.99, I felt like buying everything. I kept asking myself, “Do I really need this?” As much I wanted to live out Rebecca Bloomwood’s scene from “Confessions of a Shopaholic” and buy all the jewelry in sight, I thought about my study abroad savings ($0) and successfully restrained myself.
From the men’s section, there were a lot of odd items on sale. Basically, a lot of things that people do not want to wear. For instance, you could potentially wear Taylor Swift across your chest for the low price of $9.99.
Shopping at Urban is similar to shopping at other brands all under URBN, and if you are looking for a cheaper alternative to Free People or Anthropologie, this is the place to shop.