LONE TREE — People who usually buy their Wrangler jeans and shirts at a department store, a Western-wear retailer or any of the other 865-plus places the brand is sold
might do a double-take when they walk the lower level of Park Meadows these days. That's because the company recently opened a free-standing store at the mall that on first glance looks more like a Lucky Brand or American Eagle location.
The new space is decked out with a dark wood exterior and light wood floors. A photo mural of the Maroon Bells near Aspen stretches across the back wall, above neatly folded stacks of women's jeans.
Customers will find many iterations of Wrangler's jeans, from the ever-popular men's "cowboy cut" and women's Q-Baby riding jeans, but there's also an assortment of on-trend items made specially for the store, including sweaters and knit tops.
Women's jeans with blinged-out back pockets will appeal to young fashion customers, as will long necklaces, leather wrap bracelets and wide belts. They're also carrying trendy Western boots from such vendors as Freebird by Steven and Seychelles.
Among the novelty items are the 1947 Limited Edition straight-leg jeans for men and a boot-cut style for women. The jeans are completely American made, using denim from the Cone Denim White Oak Plant in Greensboro, N.C. Selling for $119, the jeans are more than double the price of a typical pair of Wranglers.
About 40 percent of the clothing is exclusive to the store, according to Jennifer Graves, merchandise manager for the brand.
Patterned cotton cardigans are displayed with dresses and T-shirts in the women's department, and a zip-front sweater is paired with a coordinating retro plaid shirt in the men's area.
The intent is to hew to the "authenticity of the brand" while appealing to a more mainstream audience, said Kevin Spencer, Wrangler's senior manager for in-store marketing.
Manager Suz Garrette-Duquette says she's seeing a wide range of shoppers, including the dedicated fan of Western wear as well as a more mainstream fashion follower.
And she knows her Wrangler consumers. Garrett-Duquette just finished five years of managing Wrangler's first-ever free-standing retail store in a center on the perimeter of Park Meadows. It was launched as a prototype offering the full range of retail products made by the brand, from clothing to accessories, as well as goods such as boots and hats from outside vendors.
The idea was for the store to function as a lab, to see consumer behavior and what advertising and promotions worked, a Wrangler executive said at the time.
Using what they learned in that 5,000-square-foot space, the company downsized to about 2,000 square feet, eliminated such categories as Western hats and children's wear, and added more fashion merchandise.
The Park Meadows location (on the lower level near Macy's and across from Sundance) is now the second dedicated Wrangler store. (A location opened in Dallas in late October.) Wrangler is owned by VF Corp., which operates more than 30 brands, including The North Face, Timberland, Lee and Nautica.