Popular Highbar Boutique on Palmer Square Offers Engaging Selection of Women’s Fashion
FASHION FORWARD: “We focus on quality, style, versatility, wearability, and the right price. We offer boutique lines not found in department stores,” says Jill Wargo, owner of Highbar Boutique on Palmer Square. “What I have in the store is something I would wear, buy, want to receive, or give as a gift.” Shown is one of the store’s holiday window displays.
By Jean Stratton
What is your fashion style? Your best look? Your signature color?
A visit to Highbar Boutique, the charming women’s boutique at 7 Palmer Square West, will both help you underscore your established style, or if you need advice for a new look, assist you in discovering your best fashion focus.
The pop-up store opened in October, and offers a fascinating selection of women’s apparel, accessories, and gift items. Owner Jill Wargo is also proprietor of a second Highbar Boutique, which she opened in Cranbury in 2017. The Princeton pop-up is scheduled to be open through December 31.
Wargo’s fashion story is intriguing. After a 25-year career in health care administration, she wanted to make a change. “The time was right to start something new, and I always loved fashion and design,” she explains.
After a success story in Cranbury, she decided to open another shop in Princeton.
“We have many customers from Princeton at the Cranbury store, and they said they would love to have us set up a Princeton location. We believe we are filling a need here. Our customers like the idea of a specialty shop, and they like a carefully curated selection of women’s apparel and gifts. They are looking for an individual style and for good quality that is timeless. And they really appreciate our customer service.”
They will certainly find all of the above at Highbar Boutique. An engaging selection awaits: a variety of jackets, tops of all kinds, dresses, pants, ponchos, sweaters, and wraps as well as scarves, hats, handbags, jewelry, and assorted gift items.
It is a perfect place to visit for holiday gift shopping or to find just the right fashion ensemble for a party or event.
“We have choices for all ages — our customers tend to be between 30 and 80!” points out Wargo, adding that one will definitely not see someone else wearing the same outfit. Highbar Boutique emphasizes individuality, not department store mass marketing.
“The most important thing about Highbar Boutique is the fit,” emphasizes Wargo. “Everything we have is flattering to a woman’s body, and the look is appropriate and stylish. We definitely offer appropriately-fitted apparel. You will get the right fit and the right size here. Our sizes range from 2 to 14, extra-small to extra-large. Also, with our items, you can easily dress up or dress down.”
“Our philosophy is to emphasize what looks good on you — color, cut, length. It’s very individual. You don’t need to follow fashion trends. After all, they can change year to year, or next season.”
To find just the right selection for her clientele, Wargo travels to several fashion shows — including in New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Dallas — at least four times a year. Making choices at these shows can be challenging, but she has definite standards, and customers, to consider.
“In my mind, I’m buying for a specific customer. I have come to know my clients’ tastes and style. Customers often tell us they feel as if we are their personal shopper. We know what they are looking for, we know what they look like, and we know their price points.”
Quality is extremely important, and, as she notes, that focus was instrumental in the selection of the boutique’s name.
“In my previous career in the health industry, my colleagues always told me that I keep the bar high. Standards are important to me, so I chose the name Highbar Boutique.”
Her customers have certainly come to appreciate her dedication both to the quality of the selection and to them, with the emphasis on superior customer service.
“We have absolutely great customers. They have been so supportive. They will often ask for advice about what to wear for an upcoming party or event, and then they’ll come back and tell us all about it. We know the customers by name, and they love the one-on-one shopping experience we offer.”
Because the Highbar Boutique selection is special and unique, there seems to be a customer for everything, she adds, and there are some current favorites. “Wraps are an especially big item for us. They are always popular, and they can fit a variety of figures. A great idea for the holidays is our baby alpaca wrap, a real specialty.”
Other items in demand include a lovely olive velvet top, which is a superb look when paired with pants in a gentle floral pattern in the same color motif.
An embroidered jacket featuring a black, white, silver, and gold theme with mesh accent is another outstanding look, especially with black pants — perfect for holiday party.
Another show-stopper is the ruffled collar feature seen both on dresses and tops in colorful patterns. “This brings flattering detail and attention to the neckline, and really frames the face,” says Wargo. “It is very popular with the younger to the older customers. They have all been really clamoring for it!”
Chenille sweaters, embellished jeans, and jackets galore are also mainstays of the selection. The eye-catching fitted faux leather Moto jacket, available in several colors, features stylish hardware, and is a big favorite with shoppers.
Highbar Boutique offers items in every color, with red always a holiday and winter favorite, notes Wargo. There are red cloaks and capes, and in the window display, an irresistible red poncho, accented with rhinestone detail.
Accessories include an array of scarves in all sizes and looks, including the popular oversized “boyfriend” style, as well as the infinity scarf.
Jewelry is another highlight, with bracelets, earrings, and necklaces offered in all sizes and styles. Chunky and delicate, dramatic to subtle — all are an individual statement piece.
The selection of gift items offers a range of choices appropriate for hostess and holiday gifts. Many feature Princeton orange and black and tiger themes, which will certainly please University alums, faculty, and friends.
Beautifully-packaged soaps are offered along with lotions and hand creams; also, popular Mariposa napkin boxes and weights, and a water bottle with tiger and colorful floral motif, are among many other choices.
Prices cover a wide range, from $38 to $275 and everything in between. There are also frequent sales. In addition, a VIP program offers special savings, and customers will also appreciate the elegant gift packaging. And for last minute shoppers, a gift card is always an excellent choice.
Wargo is delighted with the warm welcome Highbar Boutique has received, and looks forward to having a permanent home on Palmer Square and to becoming an integral part of the Princeton community. She especially wants customers to know that “Highbar Boutique will always be here to help you present your best self.”
The shop is open seven days, Monday through Wednesday, and Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Thursday and Friday 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.; and Sunday 12 to 5 p.m. (908) 337-3737; it can also be found on Facebook.