Saturday, November 14, 2009

"Mistress Boutiques"

In my neighborhood, there is always retail shops and restaurants opening and closing.  Whenever I walk past a newly vacant retail space, I often pray that the new shop will be either:
1. A cool cafe, hip hangout - please not another Chinese restaurant!
2. Or any type of shop which can provide the occasional retail therapy I need - shoes, clothes, film cameras, home decorations, soaps, hair products, cosmetics etc which can provide me with retail therapy in close proximity to my home.

Sadly, my neighborhood seems to be recent target of either:
1. (More) Real Estate agents
2. Or what I call "Mistress Boutiques".

What is a "Mistress Boutique"?
- It is a boutique which sells unsophisticated-yet-flirtatious fashion and accessories catered to women in their late 30's/ early 40's, typically worn by middle-class mistresses, hence suspected to be owned by some rich married man to give his mistress some past-time.
- The merchandise typically has some or a lot of bling bling, glittery element to it
- The shop usually has much higher dress to pants ratio, material and stitching not of very good quality.
-  Store fixtures and decorations typically show bad taste - 80's looking mannequins, cheap plastic hangers,  very poor (unflattering) lighting, etc.

Recently there was another newly vacant store space just a block from my home.  While the shop was under renovation, the entire window was covered with South China Morning Post (English newspaper) which led me to think that it could break the spell.  Two weeks later, the newspaper was removed, showing through the shop window another "Mistress Boutique" with a bling bling Hello Kitty display on one of the shelves facing the stop front.

If Elements Mall can refuse to lease their space to fast food stores since they would "cheapen" the mall's image (not that I agree or anything), why can't we - as residents of this quaint neighborhood - have a say in what shops we want?  Our neighborhood is so saturated with real estate agents, hair salons, food spas, Chinese eateries, English pubs, auto shops, pet grooming services, nail bars, laudromats, and of course these "Mistress Boutiques", we'd all be excited to frequent any new type of shop!

In the meantime I'll just have to praying.

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