Frances May | One Step Ahead | A Continuous Lean.

Frances May | One Step Ahead

Apr 18th, 2014 | Categories: Al James, Portland Oregon, Retail | by Al James

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In the last two years Portland has seen an influx of established shops from around the country (Jack Spade, Steven Alan, Imogene + Willie) pop up next to some of the city’s home-grown Northwest retailers (Tanner Goods, Danner Boots, Poler, Nau, Filson). This combination of new and old, local and out-of-town, has created a mix that has finally started to give the city a bit of its own unique and diverse shopping scene. Yet even with all these new faces, one retailer continues to stand out in the crowd as a favorite – Frances May.

For the past six years, under the guidance of owner Pamela Baker-Miller and her Grandmother (and co-owner) Connie Codding, Frances May has been Portland’s most reliable shop for high quality mens offerings. Their selection is always evolving, always ahead of the curve and always classic. While they were early supporters of American labels like Gitman Vintage and Pendelton’s Portland Collection, they’ve continued to add to that base with more hand-picked clothing lines from across Europe and Canada (Common Projects, Our Legacy, Monitaly, Folk). The unifying theme being that each piece is extremely well made, wearable day in and day out and effortlessly timeless. These are the pieces that you wear for years, not just a season or a few months.

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Frances May is worldly. It could exist anywhere – New York, Barcelona, London, Copenhagen. The shop draws inspiration from around the globe, but feels at home in Portland. There’s a sense of community that has formed around Frances May, its owners and longtime staff – they were the first of its kind in the downtown shopping scene and they’re not going anywhere. Stop in on your next trip to the Rose City, visit their new re-launched website (they accept currency and orders from all over the world) or take a peek at their Mens Spring 14 Lookbook “Arrivals”.  As an added bonus, Vinopolis is next door, which means you can celebrate the acquisition of your new favorite shirt with a bottle of your favorite hard-to-find grower champagne. – AJ

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Photos by Mikola Accuardi.

Comments: 9

9 Comments to “Frances May | One Step Ahead”

  1. Andy
    on Apr 18th, 2014
    @ 10:56 AM

    Looked at their website. Tank tops for $95, dumpy looking sweat pants for $300, ill fitting “unconstructed” cotton jackets for $450.

  2. Michael Williams
    on Apr 18th, 2014
    @ 11:10 AM

    As opposed to non-dumpy sweat pants. Andy continues a rich tradition on ACL whereby nothing is ever good enough.

  3. Andrew G.
    on Apr 18th, 2014
    @ 11:23 AM

    @Michael Williams Well said.

  4. wp
    on Apr 18th, 2014
    @ 10:53 PM

    The coverage of this boutique is spot on. The tone is right. It reads more like a feature from Monocle than a typical ACL post. Well written. Interesting. I will definitely make Frances May a stop when next in Portland. I would have otherwise missed it.

  5. clothingmadeinusablog
    on Apr 19th, 2014
    @ 1:12 AM

    That is a fantastic store. Great designers I have not seen before. -Jack A

  6. Patrick
    on Apr 22nd, 2014
    @ 10:59 AM

    @Andy…There is some part of me that can appreciate your consistency. I strive to quell that part on a daily basis. @MW…well said, indeed.

  7. wp
    on Apr 23rd, 2014
    @ 10:13 AM

    @Patrick and @MV –

    I’m with you both – and at the same time, I get Andy’s point. I checked out the Frances May’s website and there wasn’t much that I would buy. (if anything). At the same time, I’d rather know about these places than not know. Moreover, I like the direction ACL is going in — you may not be covering the kinds of designers and boutiques I appreciate (not all the time, anyway), but you’re doing it with increasingly more integrity — and there’s a minimalist approach that I’m coming to find refreshing.

  8. mkj
    on Apr 28th, 2014
    @ 8:09 PM

    While I love these boutiques and glad to see more and more arrive, there are still well established mens stores that have created much of the business that smaller stores owe their existence to today. One of these is Marios on SW Broadway. A second generation specialty store dating back to the 1950′s and the roots of fashion in the NW and still one of the very finest stores in the country.

  9. Maiki
    on Apr 29th, 2014
    @ 4:51 PM

    A great shop. I’m happy to see a bit of different coverage on ACL from time to time, though, I’m not really seeing much of a tie in with the typical ACL fare and this shop.

    That being said, I love FM and Pam is great! One of my favorite shops in Portland that doesn’t get nearly the attention it deserves.

    Also, Mkj, Mario’s definitely have it’s place but I find it to be one of the most pretentious, stuffy and snobby businesses in town. There are probably a dozen other shops in Portland that I’d rather shop.