Window Shopping: Leal

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

It's also cultivated an image of opulence.

"I think a lot of people have this image that we're very expensive," said owner Connie Leal. "We've brought in some T-shirt lines, or great little black leggings, or great accessories - necklaces, scarves are huge."

Most of that reputation has to do with the fact that quality reigns supreme at the Upper Arlington clothing store. Stylish investment pieces from designers like Nicole Miller, Diane von Furstenberg and White + Warren are staples. And trends might be incorporated, but they're through Leal's lens.

"I don't feel good about selling someone something that I know they're going to be sick of in six months," Leal said of quick-to-fade trends.

Leal said she wishes the store was better known for its clearance selection, which fills the lower floor and includes plenty of items from the previous season at 75 percent off.

"There are some great steals down here," she said.

For winter, Leal brought in lots of textured scarves, studded and sequined handbags and belts, coats in updated silhouettes, fur jackets and sheer layering tops. Cocktail dresses aren't as much of a focus as they once were, but the selection of mother-of-the-bride dresses remains strong, Leal said.

Spring collections should begin arriving in mid-December.

When she first opened, boutiques and even major department stores were scant in Columbus, and the lines Leal brought in were some people's first exposure to many designers. She's since moved on from some labels as they've become more mainstream.

Leal prides herself most on her staff knowing their customers - whether they've been coming in for 16 years or six months - well enough to have their preferences and home wardrobes memorized.

"I just feel like if somebody makes the effort to drive here - we're not at Easton, we're not at Polaris, you don't just happen by us - they're here for a purpose, and part of it is our opinion," she said. "We don't sell over the internet for that reason, because we do think you lack service then."


2128 Arlington Ave., Upper Arlington



Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday; 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday