Black Parrot, Portland

Posted on November 26, 2012
By Mara Higgins


When you visit an art gallery or museum, you go for the experience. It’s not a rushed process. Rather, it involves studying every item, looking at it from different angles, gazing intently, and most importantly, taking your time.

Shopping at Black Parrot evokes this same feeling. Each item is a work of art. As opposed to a mad dash to pick up an outfit for the night, you will find yourself leisurely shopping the store, stopping to feel the gorgeous fabrics, sifting through the racks one item at a time. This is exactly what happened when I visited Black Parrot, and I loved every minute.

Rather than heading right for the apparel as I usually do, I started my trip by dabbling in the accessory and gift sections. I flipped through a couple of coffee table books, smelled some French soaps, and tried on a beautiful ring by local jeweler and MECA grad, Jen Burrall. I even slipped on a pair of adorable fur earmuffs by EMU Australia, which immediately had me wondering to whom I could gift them. I soon learned that Black Parrot’s goal is to be a destination for one-of-a-kind clothing and gifts, not just during the holidays, but year round.

Before I could move onto anything else, I found myself caught up in Black Parrot’s hat selection. These aren’t your standard cable-knit snow hats. These are stunning statement hats, from cloches to feather-trimmed fedoras to leopard-print (my personal favorite)—and all of them are classy, sophisticated, and movie star-worthy.

When I finally made my way to the apparel, I immediately noticed the multifariousness of Black Parrot’s featured brands. These are not traditional brands one sees at Saks, Neimans, or even Barneys. These are hand-picked designers from all over the world—Japan, France, Germany—that can be found nowhere else in Maine.

Of course I couldn’t leave without trying on a couple of things. At the urging of the gal working, I tried on an ivory shift cocktail dress by Vancouver designer, Obakki. Honestly it wasn’t something that grabbed me off the rack but I was assured it was gorgeous on. Of course she was right. It was classy and sophisticated, the kind of dress that can take you from work to a wedding, and one you’ll have in your closet for years.

The store associate also brought over a short-sleeved jacket by POPE—a one-woman designer out of Brooklyn—in the softest mohair I have ever felt. At first glance I thought it was black, but upon a closer look discovered it was a beautiful deep teal. I tried it on with what I was wearing for the day (skinnies with over-the-knee gray boots) and it was stunning. Once again, another piece with so much versatility.

Next time you find yourself gazing at their alluring window, follow these instructions: To truly experience Black Parrot, clear your schedule and take your leisurely time admiring all of the style and beauty it encompasses.

Whether you find yourself with a fancy cocktail dress or a thoughtful gift, you’ll love the experience that is Black Parrot.


191 Middle St. | Portland | 207.221.6991 |

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