Portland (Oregon) is a unique town. It’s a place where some of the area’s finest food can be found at food carts and donut shops, and where the local weather girl reminds you to “be sure to grab a fleece” on your way out the door when it’s chilly out, which is often.
People in Portland embrace the weirdness of their town, with its emphasis on local businesses, civic rights, and a commitment to environmentalism that borders on the pathological. These qualities are also reflected in the fashion choices of Portlanders – a fierce, indie look that’s wholly organic and flow-y. This does not mean tie-dye. It means calf tattoos and natural fibers. People in Portland believe in colors like sage and putty, ochre and navy. They don’t do red. They’ve never met pink.
Frances May is a store on Washington Street that offers clothes in these colors, clothes that are at once whimsical and grounding. Here, a person can build a wardrobe, with a foundation of slouchy pants, crepe blouses, and sensible flat shoes; and then branch out into the wild and wonderful. Frances May carries an impressive arsenal of labels: Acne, Alexander Wang, Wendy Nichol, Rag & Bone. Summertime items have recently been marked down: an ombre Rachel Comey blouse with lace pocket is now $210, a Mina Stone dress with cut-outs at the waist is $231.
The store itself has big front windows that let in sunlight, and high ceilings. Acoustic-y music floats in through the speakers and everything is hung just so.