My new local Sephora is on a particularly frenetic block of Lower Broadway in Soho, and it’s never not mobbed. Because of this, I have taken to leaving to the last minute my visits to stock up on essentials. So last Friday, when I discovered that my Josie Maran Argan Oil was down to its last few precious drops, I steeled myself for the journey.
True to form, the place was in deep lunacy mode when I arrived. I soldiered through the crowds to the Josie Maran area, procured my oil, did a quick scan of the shelf to see if there was anything new, and found this: Argan Infinity Lip and Cheek Creamy Oil. While the notion of oil on your lips might at first seem rather ick, the stuff actually feels really light and much less gloppy than gloss (alas, on the cheeks, I found it a touch heavy). I bought a tube in a shade called Always Cherry, which is actually as pink as it is red, and pleasantly sheer.
Until I was 40 or so, my makeup routine consisted of taking a quick mascara swipe at my lashes before I ran out the door. These days, mascara application is but one of several steps in my maquillage, and it is always accompanied by eyeliner. I mess around with new ones from time to time, but always return to YSL Eyeliner Effect Faux Cils Shocking, because instead of a brush, which can be so challenging for the unsteady-of-hand, it has an actual felt tip, and is therefore much more difficult to mess up. One tube lasts for an unsanitarily long time, and I was well overdue to pick up a new one, so into the basket it went.
Lately, in the interest of saving time, I have graduated (or regressed) from eyebrow pencils to Gimme Brow from Benefit. It’s actually a gel packed with microfibers that help create the illusion of a fuller brow, and it comes with the eensiest little applicator you’ve ever seen, and it is simple, simple to get right.
Then it was off to Zara across the street, because if there’s one Lower Broadway store that is more insane than Sephora it is Zara, and I suppose I figured that since I’d already gotten my head into the right place for Lower Broadway crazy, I might as well go for it. I saw some cute stuff—and as usual, found their selection of jackets and coats to be superior to anything else in the store; they’re just of a higher quality—and then I spied this little baby and just about died. It’s kind of Isabel Marant-ish, but reminds me even more of Dries Van Noten, who does such great things with ethnic beading and embroidery. And it’s got everything I dream of in that type of piece: strong, graphic patterns, a tight, bright color palette, and a clean, minimal cut. I grabbed one in a size medium, made for the nearest mirror, whipped off my coat and slipped the jacket on (my policy at Zara is to avoid the dressing room experience at all costs). It looked fantastic, but felt tight in the shoulders. I asked a nearby sales associate if they had any larger sizes, and she responded that it only came in small and medium. Under any other circumstances, this would inspire my righteous indignation—any retailer who makes a garment in just two sizes isn’t thinking right about the American market. But I was so obsessed with this jacket that all I could wonder was whether it might be worth it to give up a considerable amount of range of motion in order to wear it every once in a while. I didn’t buy it, but had a feeling I’d be back.
There were other stores I might have checked off my Lower Broadway list—Uniqlo, H&M, even the mini-Bloomingdale’s—but this seemed like a good moment to quit. So I cut over to Crosby Street, one block east of Broadway and largely untrodden by the Sohotic masses. There are some great, non-chain-y stores on Crosby—beauty emporium MiN New York, jeweler Jill Platner, designer Tess Giberson. All tempting, but I just kept walking, until I came almost to the end (technically, the beginning) of the street, where you can find the menswear and surf shop Saturdays Surf. I visit a few times a week, because they brew cappuccinos that taste just like Italy, have a staff of uniformly attractive young men, and let me bring in the dog. There’s also a courtyard out back for enjoying your coffee, and a young hipster DJ who is almost invariably playing the Doobie Brothers (ironically? I’ll never know). Some days I’ll linger, but today I got my cappuccino to go and kept on moving. Visions of that crazy perfect jacket dancing in my head.