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A force in fashion

A'Maree's is a noteworthy clothing boutique that's become an 'international fashion force.' It has stayed family owned.

November 15, 2010|From Latimes.com

In 1991, A'Maree's moved to a larger space on Westcliff Drive, where they stocked cashmere from Lucien Pellat-Finet and jeans by Current Elliott.

"For us, finding new talent is the most exciting thing," Dawn said. "We don't want to compete with designers who have opened at South Coast." (Bouchra Jarrar is a new favorite.) "And I can't tell you the number of things I've sold off my back. We've learned to keep tags on the things we wear in the store."

Even though Nancy retired a decade ago, she still dresses out of the store. "Except for these shoes," said Denise, covering up her mom's scuffed flip-flops with her own Golden Goose sneaker. "I just came off the golf course!" her mother protested.

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Shoppers at A'Maree's are far from the "Real Housewives of Orange County" stereotype. They are buttoned-up women in wool slacks and cashmere sweaters, carrying Birkin bags and buying Lanvin ballet flats.

The sisters wouldn't share how much the store renovation cost, and they acknowledge that the last two years have been challenging for the retail enterprise, given the slumping economy. (A'Maree's recently opened a sale shop on Balboa Island.)

Still, they are hopeful about the future.

"We have an edge on big department stores because we know our clientele," Dawn said. "People who shop here buy everything here, from their fine jewelry to their Wolfords to their cheese platters they are giving as gifts. We want to have the best of the best."

A'Maree's is at 2241 W. Coast Hwy., Newport Beach. For more information, call (949) 642-4423 or visit http://www.amarees.com.

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