Sometimes, all you need is a little truth in advertising.
Jeans and a Cute Top, a new women's clothing store expecting to open on Main Street in Downers Grove in September, tells you up-front what you should expect when you walk through its doors. Owned by Winfield resident Jill Card and her husband Richard, the Downers Grove location will be the store's third location since 2009, following the flagship and the that opened in 2010.
As for the shop's name, its origin dates back 20 years ago when Jill asked her eventual husband what she should wear on their first date. When Jill decided she wanted to open a shop in 2009, their inside joke fit the store's ethos, and it stuck.
“Our edge is what we do,” Jill said. “We know women don't want to spend an outrageous price on a top or a ton of money on the jeans they buy, so we try to be affordable.”
Jill said the jeans typically range in price from $65 to $108 and tops typically start at $15 and top out around $80. The shop specifically targets women ages 35-55, but Jill said women of all ages can find something good.
“The interesting part is that the girls at either end of that spectrum find things here” she said. “My mom is in her 70s and she shops here and my 16-year-old niece does as well.”
A strong suit of the store is its attention to customer service and making sure the clothing is trendy while still being age appropriate.
“A lot of women in my demographic struggle with what's age appropriate and what's not,” Jill said. “We fill the niche for women who still want things that are in trend but don't want to dress like their daughters or grandmas. If you bought it here, it's age-appropriate. We're not targeting the 18-25 year olds.”
A focus on age-appropriate clothing is just one aspect of the personal touch Jill's stores offer. As a store with the word “jeans” in the title, it's paramount an extra-layer of attention to detail is paid to the store's denim offerings. Jill said her stores focus heavily on how the denim fits, taking into consideration the specific body type of each shopper and recommending appropriate styles. Attention to detail extends beyond jeans, Jill said, as the store also offers head-to-toe wardrobing and free basic hemming.
For Jill, Jeans and a Cute Top is a second career. After working in the private club industry managing membership details, she worked at Ann Taylor for a few years, soaking up information and learning as much as she could in preparation for her own store. When the Wheaton store opened in March of 2009, it was a quick success, allowing Jill to open a second location in St. Charles a year later. A Downers Grove location wasn't even in the cards until Jill received a cold call from .
“Downers Grove actually chose us,” Jill said. “That was very flattering. Apparently there was a survey done and Linda called us in January of this year and said we were suggested many times on the survey.”
Kunze told Jill of a potential space, but when Jill checked it out, it wasn't a good fit. She was impressed with Downers Grove and told Kunze to let her know when other spaces became available. Kunze did, they found a space that fit, and the shop plans to open in September.
“We love Wheaton and St. Charles and Downers Grove has that sort of same small town, friendly feel while being well populated,” Jill said. “It's the perfect demographic for us, and we have been so impressed.”