Business

No shades of gray at this boutique

It’s just a hop and a skip from Stephanie Jackson’s Blinx to her new clothing store in Winslow Mall, Noir et Blanc.  - ROGERICK ANAS/Staff Photo
It’s just a hop and a skip from Stephanie Jackson’s Blinx to her new clothing store in Winslow Mall, Noir et Blanc.
— image credit: ROGERICK ANAS/Staff Photo

The palette may be limited, but the sensibility isn’t.

Bainbridge’s new clothes boutique, Noir et Blanc, proves that black-and-white garb can be stylish and sleek without being outrageously expensive.

“Black and white makes everything look elegant,” said store owner Stephanie Jackson, “but I’m carrying clothes that range from cotton tee-shirts to cocktail dresses, and everything in between.”

Located in the Winslow Mall next to Berry Patch, in the space formerly occupied by Alexandra’s, the new store is just four doors down from Jackson’s long-time clothing and jewelry boutique, Blinx.

When the high-visibility corner space became available last January, Jackson briefly considered moving Blinx there, then decided against uprooting her successful enterprise.

“But being the businesswoman I am, I didn’t want to pass up the front spot,” she said.

Answers to the dilemma – a second store, and a concept for the new space – came to Jackson within 48 hours of hearing of the upcoming vacancy.

“I didn’t realize this was in me, this concept,” Jackson said, “what with owning a business already and having a one-and-a-half-year-old daughter. But, as we all know, life doesn’t throw things at you when you’re ready for them, but at a whim.”

She refitted the space, raising the 10-foot ceiling and painting walls light pink as a feminine counterpoint to the black and white decor and clothes.

She added touches calculated to evoke a European feel, such as the reproduction of Parisian ads from the 1940s, featuring strapless evening gowns and aerial views of La Tour Eiffel.

Although opportunity arose without forewarning, Jackson’s career had long been on track for the venture.

The former Stephanie Paxton worked at Nordstrom for four years in sales and repped lines of accessories to Puget Sound stores – among them Blinx. She fell in love with Bainbridge and moved here in 1994, first working at Blinx and then purchasing the business in 1999.

Jackson preserved Blinx’ identity as a purveyor of jewelry, accoutrements and casual clothes in smaller sizes.

Noir et Blanc limits the palette but features a wider range of sizes, and extends into evening wear. Jackson has selected every clothing item with care.

Stretchy black, pedal-pusher-length jeans are cut to slenderize the sturdy, while a hooded sweatshirt in a white cotton blend is so cushy it feels like velour. Minute white polka dots on a knee-length black skirt let buyers be modish without being garish.

The classic colors make spending more on evening wear less of a gamble as well, Jackson points out.

“You can get up there a little bit on a jacket,” she said, “but it’s not like asking people to spend $300 on a fuschia jacket.

“People ask, ‘so it’s always going to be black and white?’ And the answer is a big ‘yes.’”

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