This month we’re celebrating our 35th Anniversary, so we took a moment to jog our memories and forage through our files to create this Throwback Thursday post about fun, fashion and friends.
Barbara & Company was started by Barbara Heimlich in April 1983 with a small space in Tamarac Square, a high-end shopping mall that was home to local boutiques, a few anchor department stores and a movie theater. Only six years later, she expanded it to 3,000 square feet of classic fashions in all hues of neutral. At the time, suiting was in high demand as were natural fibers, cotton sweaters, a grand array of belts and foundational wardrobe pieces from brands like Michael Stars that we still embrace today (in a few more colors).
In fall of 1999, Kathy King came on as a buyer for the store but ended up buying the store instead! Less than a decade later, when it was announced Tamarac would be redeveloped, Kathy seized the opportunity to move the boutique into a charming, walkable neighborhood — or two. In August 2008, she opened the Boulder Store on the east end of the Pearl Street, followed shortly by the original boutique moving to Old South Gaylord Street. The Denver store became a little cozier when it shifted locations, but a few years later the store doubled in size. We had a little fun with the construction phase in our adverteasing… um… advertising.
Over time we’ve seen the ups and downs of hemlines, the transition from trousers to skinny jeans to leggings, and the evolution from boxy to soft to structured asymmetrical silhouettes. New fabrics with easy care options have reduced our dry cleaning bills dramatically — reimagined natural fibers like linen blends are washable and packable as well as beautiful and fashionable. Our 2018 fashions are more casual and comfortable than the career suiting of the 1980s. We’ve imported a European sense of style, born from inspirations like art and architecture, in to Colorado. Pulling the best from the coasts and overseas, our collections now reflect a mix of classic, contemporary, genuine, unexpected and very wearable designs.
A few things haven’t changed—our gray and cream bags, our trademark personalized service and our connection to our local community. Fashion may be fleeting, but friendship and fun are timeless. Thank you for joining us all these years. Cheers!