Neighborhood: Newtown Square, PA
Vibe: Chic, feminine, contemporary, posh
Good for: Women’s apparel, accessories, jewelry, handbags
How many times have you found yourself making the rounds internet shopping for a special occasion but are never able to land on something that’s the right price, size or style? I was in the midst of planning my sister’s baby shower and wanted something extra feminine and fashion forward to sport for the party. March is always a tough time of year for occasion-wear though, so it made my search particularly challenging. Do I go with sleeves, and if so, short or long? Open or close toed shoes? Dark or light colors? I found a dress on sale at Shopbop that was pretty basic but was the right shade of pink and had a nice silhouette. I held off from buying for a day or two to continue to look around, and of course when I checked back, the dress was no longer on sale and was way out of my price range! Ah, the woes of online shopping.
Thankfully, Elan came to the rescue and posted the perfect spring dress on their Instagram for a baby shower, bridal shower, or really any sort of spring/summer occasion. After already being disappointed once on my “dress quest” (did I just coin a new fashion term..?), I quickly slid up into their DM’s and told them I needed that dress and would be in to shop the next weekend. One of their stylists then kindly offered to put the dress aside for me, it was easy as that!
Elan means “distinctive and stylish elegance; impulsive, confident energy”. Although I’d like to give myself credit for coming up with something as posh that, I didn’t just pull it out of thin air. The definition is written in beautiful block letters behind the store’s cashier. To explain things a bit further, Elan is a new and trendy boutique located in the suburban town of Newtown Square, PA and is the sister shop to Per Lei, a veteran high-end womenswear store in Media, PA. While Per Lei is amazing in its own right, Elan is special because it sells elevated apparel and accessories at more accessible price points, usually near or below $100. This is great for me and my millennial starter-salary that hasn’t spiked (yet).
While browsing the racks and accessories, I got that feverish feeling of excitement I get when I feel like I’ve found a hidden gem of a shop that speaks to my style and taste perfectly. I recall experiencing a similar feeling at Cash and Clive in Cape May, NJ but that’s another story for another time. Anyway, my baby shower dress fit so I knew I was investing my dollars towards that, but I also was simultaneously formulating a list of needs for my next visit to Elan because everything was so great. They have the most adorable mini bucket bags that come in soft spring shades of pink, blue, and light grey and are paired with chic distressed jeans and pastel knit sweaters. The bucket bags are under $100 and looked and felt of very high quality, which was amazing. Elan also boasts a great jewelry selection that ranges from subtle gold chain necklaces to bold statement rings and earrings so there’s really something for everyone in their selection. You also can shop hats, scarves, candles and more, aside from the amazing clothes.
What I also really appreciated about this store was its layout. It’s very clean and simple which can help more than you realize when shopping for apparel. To me, it had the right amount of stock available; just enough for me to easily browse through the racks and accessory displays without feeling lost or overwhelmed by too much product jammed into one space.
I learned this lesson during my days of working in PR at a high end private showroom in New York City. We would often be criticized if we displayed too much product, prompting the higher ups to scoff and say, “what is this some sort of bazaar?” I have to say although I’m not as extreme, the rule has stuck with me going forward. Philly is known for its vintage shops which all are very cool and have lots of personality, but I never can actually shop in them because my eye can barely land on one thing. At Elan, I was able to view everything and fall in love with items very quickly! Which is what you want when you’re running a store, right?
Elan recently opened this past August, and with such high caliber clothing and accessories, I am sure it will be around for many more years to come. I’m thrilled to have found this awesome suburban outpost and I hope that if you’re in the area looking for an upscale yet surprisingly affordable place to shop, you take a peek inside too. And Elan stylists, if you are reading, I will be coming back for a bucket bag if they’re still there! :)
Keep calm and shop on!