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The Hill Center in Green Hills is one of the most pleasurable shopping experiences in Nashville.  You can grab lunch, stroll the sidewalks and do a little window shopping or the more serious kind, then hit Whole Foods for their incredible $14.99 family meal deal.
There are lots of words to describe the shops in the Hill Center:  unique, eclectic, and fashionable. Now, I want you to add another word to that descriptive list: Bargain.  What?  Bargain?  Yes, you heard me right.  Recently, while clothes shopping for my 14-year-old daughter Lucy, who’s growing about one shoe size every six months, I stumbled into Francesca’s.  Since I know Lucy’s clothes will only fit until her next growth spurt, which are happening with increasing frequency, I’m always on the lookout for an affordable option.  I have found a fantastic one in Francesca’s.

Friends of mine have been singing the praises of Francesca’s for some time.  They adore the jewelry, the dresses and the low prices. Their high praise for Francesca’s is totally warranted.  Francesca’s is quite an affordable gem located smack dab in the middle of the Hill Center.  Who knew?

Francesca’s is actually a large chain with locations in over 32 states.  Considering they opened in 1999, they are in a phenomenal growth mode (too bad it’s a privately held company).  What is great about Francesca’s is that you get no indication that it’s part of a “chain” when you walk through the front door.  It has the vibe of a shop born and bred here in Nashville.  In fact I went in hoping I could meet Francesca herself.  But ultimately, the test is whether they offer lovely, quality clothing at extremely reasonable prices, and Francesca’s definitely delivers.  And for a mother of a young teen, there are clothes here at prices that will make you drop to your knees and cry.

Most of the dresses and tops in Francesca’s cost between $30 – $50 and the accessories are equally as reasonable.  Where Forever 21 can be overwhelming and lack a certain quality, Francesca’s whimsical and fun merchandise has the feel of a one-a-kind boutique.  Rather than cram the racks with tons of merchandise, they have a couple of dresses and tops in each size.  Most of the salesgirls are cute and under 30; all of them have definite opinions about putting together great outfits with jewelry to match.

The jewelry is a bargain with earrings priced from $9-$18 and the necklaces are slightly more.  You may find a piece of jewelry for over $50, but that is rare.  Scan the shelves top to bottom and you will find gift items like candles, frames, notebooks and more.

What’s funny about Francesca’s is that the most expensive item in the store is their popular Miss Me jeans.  Miss Me is usually the brand that is the least expensive in higher end boutiques.  Yet, in keeping with their mission to keep prices low, Francesca’s offers another line for about $38 a pair.

Don’t miss the “Miss Me” jeans

While, unfortunately, I am too old to shop here except for gifts and accessories, all three of my daughters love the place.  Yes, with 14, 9, and 7  year old girls to clothe, I will be  handing over my credit card at Francesca’s for years to come.  Many, many years.

Lucy and Ali

And because this post is mostly about my oldest daughter Lucy, I thought I might take a moment of motherly pride to share a recent accomplishment.  Lucy and her friend Ali Landsman decided to take on the Richland Creek Greenway for their 8th Grade “change” project.  They wanted to see a sign installed to alert drivers of pedestrians crossing to enter the greenway.  If you have ever been on Cherokee Road and Sloan Road approaching McCabe’s Golf Course, you know how dangerous that stretch is as a pedestrian due to the curve.  With lots of research and persistence, they were able to get a caution sign installed.  You can read more about it in the Tennessean.  Job well done, Lucy and Ali!

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