Green is good at Moss and Mortar — Houston finally gets more eco options, trendyboutique style
It’s just not the grass that’s greener at the new Moss Boutique just off Westheimer. The clothes are too. And that’s a treat for Houston shoppers who could certainly use more options on the eco-friendly front.
Moss is deceptively larger than what one sees from the street. Located just across from Brasil and connected to Duo, Moss’s L-shaped space is frilly and forward-thinking without being too cutting edge. Assistant manager Danielle Henry likens the boutique to Anthropologie and it’s easy to see why.
The dresses, tops, skirts, cardigans and accessories are decidedly feminine with just the right amount of details such as studs, zippers, sequins, lace and ruffles, but nothing is overdone. And that means something considering I am in the “less is more” camp.
Moss buyers do like color and there’s lots of it: Clothing is grouped by hue. While I immediately gravitated towards the blues, there’s no shortage of prints, pinks, yellows and oranges for that extra zip.
Of course, the draw at Moss is the chemical-free organic cotton, 100-percent silk, silk and cotton blends and other protein fabrics. The boutique opened in early July and is heavy on items perfect for Houston summers, but as it is in fashion, autumn is on its way.
“It’s so hard to transition to fall here in Houston, so we have a lot of things that work now and in a few months,” Henry said. “We have a lot of soft colors and fabrics.”
I was all swoony over a shimmering champagne pink silk bolero jacket with poofy sleeves for $68, a silk blend T-shirt with shoulder sequins for $78 and green silk dress with a loose leather belt for $99. Nothing in the store is more than $100 and the jewelry case is full of turquoise, wood and silver pieces that veer toward the chunky and earthy and make for a nice contrast to the femininely forward clothing.
Bracelets start at $16 and necklaces at $18, so shoppers can pop in for a quick pick-me-up. Sizes range from small to large and those who become GreenBirds and like Moss on Facebook get daily deals.
Just down the street from Moss is Mortar, which gets my vote for one of the best stores to open in 2010. The beautifully simple men’s store was so successful and revolutionary in its approach, owners Iris Trent Siff and Sacha Nelson moved to a larger space just across the street mere months after opening.
The new location on 1911 Westheimer is between The Upper Hand and Firkin & Phoenix and maintains the same commitment to repurposed materials and an easy shopping experience. One- hundred-year-old reclaimed wood floors salvaged from a French Quarter warehouse replace the treated concrete from the former space and exposed Chicagoan fire brick add a layer of warmth to the store. Siff says Mortar’s new home used to be a 1920s plumbing supply shop and the bricks were used in old chimneys, so each one has its own color due to exposure to fire and smoke.
Even if the men’s clothing weren’t a great reason to shop Mortar, the dedication to clean use of materials is. The store's wall covering from New Living called Shikkui is a combination of slaked lime, jute fibers, and seaweed, which absorbs carbon dioxide and other toxins. Antique doors and hardware came from Historic Houston and the familiar pants starchers and steamers from Installations also made the move.