Last Christmas, my husband and I happened upon a new store in the St. Louis Galleria called Altar’d State. I’d never heard of the brand before, but the exterior was cheerful and inviting, so it drew us in. Altar’d State is a beautifully decorated store with plants, chandeliers, and inspirational quotes on the walls. Think of their merchandise as a cross between Free People, Anthropologie, and Urban Outfitters. The store sells boho chic clothing, jewelry, fragrances, and home decor. They have a faith-based vibe that many other stores don’t seem to have. While the prices are a little high, they are definitely cheaper than Anthropologie. That day I picked up a few Christmas gifts, but didn’t get anything for myself, because you know…plus sized girl.
After we left the mall, I Googled Altar’d State to find out more about the company. They are a Tennessee-based store with around 100 locations throughout the South and Midwest. The store was founded on faith-based principles, and has a strong mission of spreading kindness and empathy. Each location has a Mission Monday, where 10% of the store’s sales go to local charities. The company promotes love, kindness, and positivity. Stores have prayer requests glued to the walls and there is a place online to submit them as well. The company’s mission statement is Stand Out For Good. As a Hufflepuff, and a person who believes in the power of empathy and kindness, this is a mission I want to get behind and support. But the most exciting thing that I found out was that they have a sister brand online called, A’Beautiful Soul , that sells clothing in sizes 14-24. Hooray!
While the ability to buy similar clothes in my size is awesome, it is a pain to always be stuck buying online, waiting for delivery, and then having the hassle of mailing it back if I need to make an exchange or return. The next time I was in Altar’d State, I lamented to the sales associate about how I wished they sold the plus size items in store. She told me something fantastic…the location at West County Center had a brick and mortar A’Beautiful Soul location! I knew that a visit and a try-on was definitely in order.
A’Beautiful Soul has been thoughtfully designed with a plus size customer in mind. It is not just a pathetic corner of the straight sized store shoved in the back somewhere that we have to scout out. Rather, it is a complete, separate store that shares a fitting room and open doorways to go between and check out the accessories on the other side. The store has a beautiful tile floor and gorgeous lighting that makes the clothes standout on the rack. There are cozy seating areas and plenty of room to maneuver between fixtures. That is actually HUGE! Even in plus sized stores, fixtures are sometimes jammed in so close together that I ram into everything with my ample backside and huge purse. And then, there’s the smell… holy cow, does this place smell awesome! The store has a signature scent called, Sanctuary, that fills the place. It reminded my husband and me of the lobby at our favorite resort in Mexico… so we promptly bought some to take home.
One thing customers will instantly notice is the friendliness and helpfulness of the store staff. I was helped on the floor and in the fitting room by two very warm and helpful employees. I also had the opportunity to speak for a while with, Derek, the store manager. He is dynamic and clearly passionate about seeing this brand become a success. His enthusiasm for the mission of A’Beautiful Soul was infectious.
The clothes at A’Beautiful Soul definitely have a dreamy boho vibe. It fits the California, summer festival, Instagram vibe, which is awesome since that style is not really offered in many plus size stores. Most of the clothing focuses on breezy tops and dresses, primarily maxi style. I also found jumpsuits, shorter skirts, swimwear, bralettes, tees, and jeans. Really, the only thing that I found a bit frustrating was that there were very few bottoms to choose from. Since I wear dresses to work most often, this wasn’t a huge issue, but I was hoping to find more to pair with the tops. Maybe the store will offer a larger selection as fall and winter approach. The store had lots of beautiful jewelry, especially layering necklaces and statement earrings. I was really drawn to the inspirational quote necklaces. Sprinkled throughout the store there was a lot of kitschy home decor and handbags too.
The only thing that I didn’t like about the store was their strange sizing system. It didn’t seem terribly standardized. Some items used a numeric 14-24 system. Others employed a letter system… Amazing (A) for size 14-16, Beautiful (B) for 18-20, and Captivating (C) for 22-24. The alternate sizing system was not easy to decipher. It just seems kind of patronizing and odd.
I found so many gorgeous things to try on, and the store was generous enough to let me take a huge pile into the fitting room with me. Even the fitting rooms in this store are absolutely stunning. There’s a large sitting area for waiting family members. An ample three way mirror stands in the seating area, and there are flowers and plants strewn about to give it a happy, comfortable feeling. The mirrors in the individual rooms are nicely decorated and have inspirational quotes tucked into the plants. The best part though, is the lighting. The whole fitting room has nice, incandescent lighting that doesn’t make you look harsh and green like normal fitting rooms. So, what did I try on? Here’s a little peek into my fitting room and an honest review of each item.
Tropics Jumpsuit: This jumpsuit is comfortable, easy to put on, and flipping gorgeous. I loved how much the cobalt blue color pops. Of everything I tried on, this was ultimately what I decided to purchase, along with a pretty necklace. I can’t wait to style it for vacation.
Mariska Maxi Dress: This is a dress A’Beautiful Soul carries year-round in a variety of colors. It has a romantic, dreamy feel to it and it moves really nicely. I think it would photograph really well. For me, I like the plum color best.
Stay Planted Tank and Abena Distressed Jean: The tank was super cute and comfy. It would be perfect for a summer outdoor adventure. The jeans were also really comfortable and stretchy. Honestly, I would say this style of jean runs a little big, so I would recommend sizing down one size.
Dayla Maxi Dress: I absolutely love the cut and feel of this dress. It is super sexy and would be a great date night dress. However, the plain, blue color looks a bit too much like a bridesmaid dress. Perhaps in a different color or a fierce pattern this would be an addition to my wardrobe.
Embroidered Dress: This dress no longer seems to be available online, and is on sale right now. I loved the color and the embroidery. However, it was rather low cut and would need a cami underneath.
Striped Wrap Dress: I couldn’t seem to find this one online either. I really wanted it to work. The cream and pumpkin color scheme are very pretty and would transition well into fall with a jacket or chunky cardigan. Ultimately, my body and wrap dresses just aren’t friends.
Sasha Dress: I love the Moroccan flair of this dress. It reminds me of Aladdin, and the faux vest is adorable. Pop on some chandelier earrings and this dress would be awesome for going to festivals. This gem is currently on sale too.
Mikkel Pants and Blue Bell Sleeve Sweater: All I have to say about this one is… nope! These were the only other jeans I found in the store. They were extremely long and billowy. The sweater didn’t have a whole lot of structure to it and I was afraid it would stretch out oddly. My husband said I looked like a little girl, dressed in my mommy’s clothes! Can’t win them all.
Another nope… not really sure how on earth this corduroy skirt was a 22/24… it was TINY!!!
Audiranna Maxi Dress: Now let me tell you about my absolute FAVORITE items I tried on. Derek pulled this from the back for me to try. This dress is FIRE. It fits so well and is extremely flattering. It would be amazing for dancing. I found myself twirling and twirling in the fitting room like a flamenco dancer. It was also available in black. I felt like that color would make an excellent concert performance dress. This dress is tops on my priority list of next purchases.
Cubana Swimsuit: The other item I am dying to have is this swimsuit. The color is fierce and the silhouette is super sexy. I want to wear this to the Curves and Waves Pool Party so much! I love it so hard!
My experience at A’Beautiful Soul was awesome! They have lovely clothes, kind people, and an awesome mission. Seriously, St. Louis Plus Sized friends… go here, support this brand, and tell Derek that I sent you! Did you know that we are lucky enough to have one of only four brick and mortar A’Beautiful Soul Locations?! We need to make sure that shoppers are aware the store exists and keep a great place like this in our area. If you don’t have a physical location nearby, check them out online. I have been told the company wishes to expand their footprint in the next couple of years. Buying their clothes online will get your location noticed. I have definitely found a new happy place and will be coming back to pick up new styles in the months to come.