By Elizabeth Eadie
I first spotted Form over the summer while enjoying the fire pit at Woodberry and knew I’d be back to find out more. The boutique is located in the Woodberry-Clipper Mill area right next to the local favorite, Woodberry Kitchen. When I stopped by to learn more, the first thing I noticed was the wide range of brands and styles. The second thing that struck me was the comfortable atmosphere created by the layout and textures throughout the space. This is a high-end store without the pretentious don’t-touch vibe.
Aimee Bracken, the boutique’s owner, sat down with me to discuss Form’s founding and what makes her store unique. Bracken, a former art director in advertising who worked on fashion accounts, wanted to give Baltimoreans a “New York shopping experience.” She wanted creative professionals like herself (and me!) to have somewhere to buy edgy, artistic, fashion-forward clothes in Baltimore rather than having to drive to D.C. or New York to find what they liked. So, in April 2007 she opened up her shop in the Hampden neighborhood and very quickly found a following.
And it’s no surprise that Form gained such popularity among women in Baltimore. Form is one of only a handful of retailers that carries Diane Von Furstenberg, a line that is known for being highly selective of their retailers. Milly, while more readily available, is also a popular brand with shoppers. Form also carries JBrand jeans, Shoshanna and Alexis Bittar. But the true fashionistas shop at Form for Robert Rodrigues, Tucker (which I love), and in spring 2012 Rachel Roy. Form is currently the only store in Baltimore carrying these lines.
Like me, Bracken is a fan of building a wardrobe by mixing price points. The year 2010 brought about some exciting changes for Form that would allow customers to do just that. In May 2010, the shop started offering designer consignment pieces in order to expand the price points of the items in the shop. These items, often scarcely worn (if ever), are available at a fraction of the retail price. For example, a pair of Prada pumps that would cost $500 at retail will sell for $168 in the Form consignment collection. Bracken also introduced a limited line of her own, “Form by Aimee” which completely sold out.
In addition to cutting edge fashion, Bracken is known and trusted throughout Baltimore for her honest feedback and constructive styling advice. She is a personal shopper for many women in the Baltimore area and also provides wardrobe consultations for those stuck in a rut. Bracken teaches retail buying at Baltimore City Community College and is on the advisory board at Stevenson University.
So what does this leading fashion voice predict will be in style for spring 2012? Bracken expects lady-like sexy looks to continue to dominate. Skirts will keep their lengths and will remain fitted. Color will be essential, as it is most springs, but prints will be more organic appearing like washes or watered down. Shrunken blazers and cropped blazers will remain continue to provide a chic layering essential.
The next time you’re looking for something unique or if you need a true professional to point you in the right direction, shop local and check out Form.
Hours:Monday: Closed, Tuesday – Wednesday: Studio Hours, Thursday – Friday: noon-7 p.m., Saturday: 11 a.m. – 8 p.m., Sunday: noon – 4 p.m.
Elizabeth Eadie lives in downtown Baltimore. She is a Baltimore graphic designer, a maker of watercolor stationery and a design blogger.