Shopping at The Green Room; Stratford Canada

I just dropped $280 US on hats (it was like $350+ in Canadian dollars) in an easy to overlook store in Stratford Ontario. As I’ve said previously, Stratford is town that for the most part you go to for the Theater… that said, BECAUSE the theater draws in a regular stream of affluent well educated tourists from all over the world — the sort most likely to be interested in traveling vast distances for a really good Shakespeare/theater festival — it is able to support much better restaurants and stores than you would normally expect to find in a small Canadian town. The Green room is just such a store.

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NOT a photo I took, this is borrowed from Wikipedia

I had walked into this The Green Room MORE than a few times over the last two years without ever appreciating it. I would walk in, see the shoes and the stocking and such that are displayed up front (making me think it was mostly a shoe store), and then because of how dark and badly laid out it is, I missed most of what it had to offer and just walked back out. (Keep in mind, I taught marketing for many years; and as a former art major, how shops were laid out/curated — so as to to help or hinder the customer experience — is one of the things I would focus on with my students).

In a way the store reminds me of those old fashioned mercantile shops that used to exist back before professional store designers became a thing. It’s badly lit, has way too much stuff so that very little of it can be well displayed, but EVERYTHING you might want or need can be found crammed onto it’s shelves.

The Green room is a store that the fashion Icon Iris Apfel would LOVE (if you aren’t familiar with Iris, and think you give a damn about fashion, then you really should study up on her — she’s a legend in the industry).

One of the things Iris is famous for is she’s not a fan of spending more than she needs to, she’s a notorious negotiator, and she’s as likely to pick up accessories for her legendary collection (MUSEUMS have shown her outfits) at a street market as at Harry Winston’s (a name some of you will only recognize from the Marilyn Monroe’s version of Diamond’s are a girl’s best friend).

I think Iris would love the Green Room precisely because finding anything in it is an act of drive and perseverance, so that when you do find things you feel a real sense of achievement, in that you can honestly say to a friend who has herself been into the store 100 times…  “Look what I found in the Green Room!!” and for the most part they only have 1 of everything, so if you got it, your friend can’t run in there and get one for herself

…  In part the store has the same problem that the Louvre, which I have often described as the worst curated museum in the world — although I’ve heard that they’ve been working on improving that. The Louvre has reputedly 38,000 objects in their collection, and they insist of displaying ALL of them at once, so that the walls remind me of a game of Tetris… with only very special pieces like the Mona Lisa being hung with enough clear wall around them to allow you really appreciate them.

…. it overwhelm’s the brain.  And, it’s not a fashion store so much as it is a bit like British chain Accessorize. It’s a store that sells all the stuff that goes WITH your clothes: ie., scarves, jewelry, shoes, purses, belts, etc. Only it’s MASSIVE store that winds it’s way through a maze of rooms… and  …. Downstairs in the basement (I was there 6 times before I found the stairs down, which are way at the back of the main room…  they have a massive collection of hats at reasonable prices ($30 – $50 Canadian) many of which look structured when you wear them, but yet can be packed flat — so GREAT for my lifestyle. (Clearly whoever did the buying kept in mind that the ladies who fly into town are much more likely to leave having bought a hat, if they can then shove in a suitcase.) Let’s just say that I went a little bit nuts with the buying.

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When I told my friend Dayna, who I’m currently staying with, about my splurge she was like, “Oh yah, I LOVE that store. I call it the jeans and a white T-shirt store” in response to which I looked at her quizzically … “I mean, you go in there wearing just jeans and white t-shirt and then buy all the accessories you need to express yourself from them”

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