Gumps. Isn’t that an amazing name? It’s a department store in San Francisco.
It’s one of my favorites, although I’ve only been in it once. It has one location — San Francisco — no branches.
I’ve known about it since childhood. My mom was a big fan because she loved pearls and jade and that is something that Gump’s has specialized in since its founding in 1861 by the Gump Brothers, Solomon and Gustav. Its early success was due in part to the California Gold Rush. The newly rich bought mirrors and had their art framed at the store and the brothers expanded into art, decor, and jewelry.
They were also pioneers in the use of catalogs to sell merchandise, publishing their first one in the 1950’s. I think that’s when my mom must have become a fan.
I’m a fan because I LOVE THEIR CLOTHES. I mean I LOVE them. They are aimed at women my age and shape and are reasonably priced — well, on the high side of reasonable, but worth it. All the things that appeal to me — timeless, elegant, wearable, with a touch of the unexpected. The kind of clothes I love. And there is an influence of the far east in much of their merchandise.
Here’s some items from their Fall clothing catalog that I particularly admire.
And speaking of investments. Do you know about cost per wear? I learned about that concept from my friend Lyn, years ago. The September edition of O Magazine had a short piece on cost per wear (cpw). They compared the cpw of a pair of $595 Manolo Blahnik shoes with a pair for $75 that you wear once. Assuming you wear the Blahnik’s three times per week, the cost is $4 per wear in one year and $1 per wear in three. The cpw of the cheaper shoes is $75 since you only wear it once. A good deal, you say.
Doing the math on that coat, wearing it three times per year, comes to $16 per wear, since you wouldn’t wear it all year round. Still a good deal, really. This is actually a purse. Not sure if I would ever use it, but I love the whimsy.
And this is just the fashion. Wait until you see the jewelry (and the lamps, pillows, flower arrangements, furniture, jade objects, etc.)
As their website says, “After all, there is just one Gump’s.”