If you merely glanced through the Soft Surroundings window as you walked by, you might quickly dismiss it as a little too Chico's, or Coldwater Creek, or even Newport News, but if you walked inside, it wouldn't take you long to notice that among the slightly generic, woman-of-an-indeterminate-age items (turtlenecks, ponchos, velour bathrobes), there are affordable, on-trend pieces that are worth a closer look.
There were plenty of surprises to be had at last Friday's Soft Surroundings store opening in Town & Country village: The heavy, beaded evening bags priced at under $70 (seriously, we're talking vintage weight, here.); the cognac-brown 'Tribeca' leather jacket with the gold zipper trim and offset lapels; the two women who stopped me on my way out to my car and asked hopefully, "Has the line died down yet? We were here earlier but you couldn't move in there and the line was so long." They were skeptical of my assurances that the line was only about 12 deep when I left, but they turned to try their luck again, anyway. (I wonder how they fared.)
In addition to clothes there are some housewares--throws, pillows, candles, and various knick-knacks--and (more interestingly) a full array of high-quality skincare and beauty lines: vBeauté, Bliss, Stila, and Perricone M.D., among others. A quick glance at the Soft Surroundings website includes additional high-end names like By Terry, Vincent Longo, and Kevyn Aucoin. It's like Sephora but better -- no thumping music, no sales associate popping out at you every six seconds asking if you need help, no one pressing a basket into your hand to make you shop for more than you need; in other words, peaceful -- even during opening-day mayhem.
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The Soft Surroundings vibe is right in line with other stores in Town & Country Village--Ann Taylor, the aforementioned Coldwater Creek and Chico's, Talbot's--but successfully sets itself apart in the details, particularly the niche brands like By Terry and vBeauté, that you don't find just anywhere. Make a stop during your holiday shopping -- you may be pleasantly surprised.