As I mentioned earlier, you all sent in a bounty of quality questions, so I’m extending the Week of Requests by a week. What follows are my current favorite boutiques in New York, starting with the Mother Ship, Zero + Maria Cornejo. All of my most favorite clothes—not just the special-occasion ones, but also those I wear into the ground on a daily basis, come from here. Nobody designs for a real woman’s body the way Cornejo does, and women from their 20s to their 70s look great in her stuff. It doesn’t come cheap, but her epic sales are worth waiting for.
I don’t quite know how I managed before Clare V came along; she makes bags just how I like them: classic but modern, uncluttered by hardware, and durable too. And the store’s got a fun selection of jewelry, tees, Vuarnet sunglasses, ceramics, and beauty products, too.
I never write about Warm because they don’t have e-commerce, but this is one fantastic little store, full of great indie brands like Giada Forte, Isabel Marant, Raquel Allegra, as well as others I’d never heard of before discovering them there. They’ve also got an excellent in-house line, which features the most gorgeous prints.
No 6 is justly known as Clog Central, but that’s just half of the story here: the store also has a stellar in-house line strong on dresses with grown-up hemlines, and they carry a ton of designers who are on the edgier end of the spectrum. Also, while there, visit their vintage outpost a few doors down,
Every neighborhood in Manhattan, it seems, has a Steven Alan, though my local outpost—the Elizabeth Street one in Nolita—is among the smallest, they manage to cram in plenty of the good stuff. I go there for Organic by John Patrick tees and sweaters, R13 jeans, Another Feather jewelry, and chic, functional pieces from Alan’s own line.
Calliope is in the far West Village, which is a trek for me these days, but I make it over there regularly because this is one special place. It’s a housewares shop with a distinctly eclectic approach, combining vintage and contemporary pieces in a way that’s really fresh. I routinely find stuff there I’ve haven’t seen anywhere else—which is something I always think is worth pointing out, because that’s tough to do in a town like New York.
I have been patronizing CO Bigelow for decades now, and even though I don’t live in the neighborhood anymore, still have all of my prescriptions filled with them. It’s the type of place where the pharmacists remember you, and Colleen behind the cosmetics counter always has a treat ready for your dog. But it’s also just a lovely, old-school institution, a wonderful, browse-able shop full of great beauty products, hair doodads, candles, and fragrances, exotic European toothpastes and such.
I make special trips out to Brooklyn just to visit Bird every once in a while, because I think owner Jen Mankins has such a great eye. Her stores are such chic, happy places, full of color and pattern and fun.
Chances are, when I make a truly dangerous splurge on jewelry, Love Adorned is to blame. The pieces on offer at this store—which also offers housewares and accessories—are elegant, beautiful, interesting, and very modern.
I have a soft spot in my heart for Blue Tree because it is owned by Phoebe Cates, who graced a thousand Seventeen covers when I was an avid reader of that magazine, but it is also a really interesting, super-cool store where, again, I routinely discover brands I’ve never seen anywhere before. The mix is eclectic in the extreme: there’s everything from housewares to jewelry to beauty products, and you can fall down a serious rabbit hole browsing there.
If there is one group of readers who have made clear their dissatisfaction with me, it is the those on the busty end of the spectrum. Repeatedly I have been informed that my choices on this blog do not work for them. But I’m a lifetime B-cup, with no experience in these matters. So I farmed out the solution to my friend Andrea Linett, author of the fabulous book The Cool Factor: A Guide to Achieving Effortless Style, With Secrets From the Women Who Have it and the most stylish person I know, because she just had a baby, and has been confronted with the style challenge of being suddenly voluptuous. “I’ve never had this situation before now, so I’ve been forced to figure it our pretty damn quickly!” Andrea says. “The trick is in finding a great low-cut piece that isn’t too revealing. Anything too high makes my bust look too low on my body. It’s a delicate balance. Plus, I wear a lot of necklaces, so the lower necks are key.” First up: “The Great U-neck tee. Kim bought me this for my birthday and I’ve never stopped wearing it.”
A Detacher Tiara sweater. “This piece has saved me all winter so far. You can wrap it as low or as high as you want. Try it over tees, dresses, anything!”
Maria Cornejo Lena top. “I love a Maria Cornejo top for dressing up jeans. This silver one has the right neck and a crazy fun factor.”
Striped V sweater. “Just a perfect little striped V-neck that’s not too high and not too low. Very French!”
Silk pajama shirt. “This one has a great low cut and is very au courant. I like it with jeans, but it’s equally fetching with a nice black trouser.”
Cami to wear under anything. “I find that skinny little camis are always good when you want to be a bit more modest. I like them under button-downs and low-cut sweaters and this line has the bonus of being longer in the body.”
Jolie Laide Roll & Tuck Tee. “I know I’m biased because I make this one, but it worked for me before and it still works for me now. The low neck and supreme drapiness make this one a no-brainer.”
Many, many, many of you are looking for help when it comes to what to pack. And it’s a real challenge to assist you meaningfully, because every destination requires something slightly different. So I’ve chosen to share the items I tend to pack over and over again, as well as my number one tip, which is to choose a very tight color palette and stick with it. I tend to go with black (natch) and then throw in some blues and greys on the side. Let’s start with the one thing that never doesn’t get thrown in the suitcase: a good short-sleeved tee. Right now, as you know, I’m liking the Vintage Tee—specifically the scoopneck—over at J. Crew.
I always travel with a cardigan—one that is on the thin side, for layering purposes.
If I’m headed somewhere warm, I make sure to bring at least one very easy dress, one that doesn’t wrinkle too easily, or that at least doesn’t look awful if it does get a little wrinkled. Maria Cornejo makes dresses in a jersey fabric that I like a lot; this one is on sale at the moment.
You never know when you’re going to be confronted with a hotel room that smells a little funky, so I make certain to bring along a mini-candle from Red Flower. Usually I choose Lavender because the scent is calming at bedtime, but their Wanderlust candle is fantastic as well.
Most hotels supply them and so it’s arguably just a big waste of space in my suitcase, but bringing along my own robe makes me feel at home wherever I am, so I almost always do it.
I feel similarly about bringing along my favorite jeans—as long as they’re along for the ride, nothing can go too far wrong.
On actual travel days, I usually wear some manner of clog—they’re easy-on-easy-off at security, and comfortable, and I can walk for ages in them once I get where I’m going.
Of course some days when serious walking is called for, nothing will do but sneakers.
For warmer weather, I like gauze shirts from Xirena—they’re breezy, flatteringly cut, and you don’t have to worry about wrinkling them.
I rarely exfoliate at home, but I feel like air travel really messes with your skin, so I always make sure to pack this stuff from Kate Somerville. My skin is always just impossibly smooth and glowy after I use it.
And one more thing: While it’s true that I do crave a Rimowa suitcase like nobody’s business, the reality is that my Briggs & Riley serves me quite well. It is expandable, which comes in handy for when I engage in a little shopping at my destination—as I am wont to do—and it’s incredibly sturdy, and easy to maneuver, and I can cram an awful lot into it.
So, so many of you chimed in asking for this one that there is really no way I could have weaseled out of doing it. All of the following are under two inches high, starting with this really quite cool pair from Rachel Comey.
These are nice and sturdy, and I like the mix of materials.
There is kind of a fun new wave thing going on here that I appreciate.
You couldn’t ask for a more elegant pump than this.
…or a more classic pump than this.
Grey suede is always so cool, and I love the knotted detail here.
Another day, another lipstick: just an excellent pinkish red, and a little less matte than I typically go for.
These grey wool Stan Smiths are pretty fantastic.
This clog sandal is marked down at The Dreslyn, and I’m very intrigued, as I tried them on a few months ago at A Detacher and almost bought them. Part of me thinks they bring to mind my brother’s assertion that my taste in shoes is “tricky,” but part of me doesn’t care.
Also on sale and capturing my imagination: this beyond-adorable cape.
I bring you cute printed tops under $100, starting with this fun dotty number, which I think works because the dots are all irregular in size, which keeps things interesting.
From J. Crew: a quite universally flattering neckline, with a very winning Liberty print.
I love this for its stomach-junk-concealing silhouette.
This plaid feels just a little bit blurry, which is cool.
I typically don’t like such a high neck, but this is sweet.