Tuesday 23rd January 2018
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Posts Tagged ‘Shopping’

If you could shop for free at one store for the rest of your life, where would it be?

leather tote paper

I’m cheating and choosing two: Amazon for practicality, and Bird for fashiony good fun.

Posted on June 18th, 2013 33 Comments

Racked’s boutique scorecard

Racked has just posted its ranking of the 38 best indie stores in New York. And the lineup confirms what I’ve been suspecting:  it’s time to get reacquainted with the G train—at least once or twice, in order to check out a few list-makers I’ve been hearing about for a while, like Raised by Wolves, Alter, and Dalaga. (In God we Trust has the Lafayette Street location, so I get partial credit there.)

A few shops they love that I love too:

  • Fort Greene’s excellently edited, warm and neighborhoody Stuart & Wright.
  • No.6: Land of clog boots and safely edgy apparel, where I always get ignored but continue to return.
  • Castor & Pollux, one of the West Village’s few destinations for smaller, slightly riskier lines.
  • The Williamsburg Bird, about which I have already rhapsodized.
  • Dear Fieldbinder, a store so compelling I’ll brave Smith Street on a Saturday for it.
  • Love, Adorned, Lori Leven’s brilliant and eclectic home goods/accessory/apparel emporium/tattoo parlor.
  • Jumelle, another Williamsburger whose virtues I recently extolled.
Posted on May 23rd, 2012

Do maxidresses scare you as they scare me?

Generally speaking, I am not a fan of the maxi. They do almost no one’s body any favors, bunching  unattractively from behind and only camouflaging your stomach until a stiff wind blows—at which point even the most spin class-addicted among us runs the risk of coming off a bit Second Trimester.  Think about all of the pictures in Us of movie stars in them. Even they look a little frump. And yet I get the instinct: they are the soul of comfort. You throw one on, you’re out the door.

Call me crazy, but I actually think this Mexican print Rodebejer dress—which I found after Beso blogger Albertina Rizzo raved about the San Francisco boutique that carries it, Acrimony—could actually work. You’d need to belt it, definitely. But it’s made of a lightweight viscose, which falls a lot more gracefully than the stretchy cotton jersey too many maxis are made of.  And the print is definitely not something you’re going to see yourself coming and going in.


Posted on May 16th, 2012 9 Comments

How hard can it be to find a well-priced sophisticated floral print dress?

I love me an Erdem pattern

So very, very much harder than it should be. They can go wrong in so many ways: luridly tropical; aggressively Palm Beach-ishly unfeminine; garden party Stepford.  And while it is true that I am pickier than most regarding this category, it’s only because I believe there’s a benefit to setting the bar so high. A fantastic floral-print dress—one with a well-considered color palette or unexpected shape—is a very, very useful thing to have up one’s sleeve. And potentially quite flexible as well: you can do the whole winter/ fall layering trick  and wear them with tights and boots and a little jacket. One easy step and you’re not wearing only black anymore—which sounds obvious but in fact isn’t—and as I’ve noted, is a valuable quality for any article of clothing to bring to the table.

Of course the dress I am most in love with is the one I am least likely to spring for, because it clocks in at a dizzying $995. (It’s from Derek Lam’s 10 Crosby line, and I would like to take a moment to state that we are traveling nowhere as a retail culture that I care to go when a piece from a designer’s diffusion collection almost breaks the four-figure barrier.) But there is just so much to love.  The drop-waist, the grown-up length, the shirtdress elegance from the waist up, without the (frequently unflattering) waist-down consequences that a shirtdress can bring with it. And above all else, that pattern—there is nothing more elegant than sticking to a  simple color palette—and that whole reversed-out thing, which is just so impossibly good.

At first, this Cacharel number looks maybe too young and too and short, but the model pictured is 5’10”, and upon closer observation this seems like it might be one of those summer dresses you could wear on the weekend all loose and comfortable, and then if you were actually going to leave the house and see people, you could just belt it and look like you made an effort.  Zoom in and you’ll see that the poppy print has an impressionistic feel, which which ups the sophistication factor a touch too.


Chris Benz, a man who never met a bright he didn’t like, loves his florals. And he’s really pushing outer limits of bright on this one, but it works, mostly because he played it so clean and simple with the shape.


A good stealth floral, like this one from Cosmic Wonder, is the rarest of finds.

And last,  from our friends at J. Crew (via Net a Porter): a lovely watercolor floral that one wishes, given the season, could be just a touch cheerier color-wise, but can be yours for  a—comparatively reasonable—$200.

Posted on May 9th, 2012

The stylist’s bicycle thief

This is me (on the right) and my friend Sharon at a party maybe three years ago. Isn’t she pretty? She’s a stylist and a very good artist, a dog lover and—although she comes off a bit Scary Rock Chick when you first meet her, the nicest ever. On a late afternoon at the very end of winter, I ran into her at Barneys. She’d gotten off work early. My main activity that day had pretty much been going to Barneys.

We were in the Co-op shoe department. She was trying on these wild-ass boots, which looked great on her. Seriously, she made them look like a completely reasonable wardrobe choice, in that way that stylists can do. But after gazing at them with great intensity and from every conceivable angle told the salesperson she needed to sleep on it and moved on.

Meanwhile, I bought these  sandals, which I know I’ll wear all summer, but which also certainly don’t scream Style Queen at the top of their lungs. There’s no point in lying to oneself about where one lies on the fabulous spectrum, a lesson I have learned the pricey way.



As we proceeded through the rest of the floor, Sharon held forth on her Spring wardrobe strategy, which centered around the purchase of a few key Raquel Allegra pieces. Among them this 3/4 lace tee.

And this light-as-air layering dress. There would be a great deal of layering, she said. And leggings, in order to turn  too-short dresses  (and possibly a few realllly long jersey-ish tops) into acceptable work attire.

I listened and learned. We proceeded to the Helmut Lang section, where she pulled this skirt thing off the rack and   proclaimed it perfect. Asymmetrical in the extreme, way too short to wear on its own—particularly because her bike is her primary mode of transportation and Sharon is a lady—but completely workable with leggings. She pulled it on over what she was wearing and it looked fantastic. I pulled one over what I was wearing and it looked OK. A salesperson came by and pointed out that the skirt worked quite well on Sharon. Sharon thanked her and said she’d have to sleep on it.

It was time to go. Sharon had purchased nothing, but had the air of a completely satisfied shopper. She’d loved so many things: the boots, the Raquel Allegra pieces, the Helmut Lang skirt. But she was not quite ready to pull the trigger  on anything. I was mystified and impressed.  This was a whole new model for shopping. A careful and restrained model, so very different than my own.  I pictured Sharon’s closet as a perfect little world where all of her pieces lived in symbiotic harmony, combining and re-combining to create an endless array of perfect Sharon outfits. Never had I felt like such an amatuer at the whole game of shopping for actually leaving the store having bought something.*

We walked out to the sidewalk, where Sharon unchained her bike and put on her helmet. (I love somebody who puts safety first. What are the rest of these ladies thinking, riding around the lawless streets of New York City without helmets on? That the Sartorialist is about to jump out from behind a parked car and shout “HOLD THAT POSE!”? Sometimes I think that’s exactly what they’re thinking, I really, really do.)

Did I mention that Sharon was wearing the most amazing jacket? This big white ball of fluff that was pretty much the highlight of the whole outfit. You can catch just a glimpse of it here, in a picture Sharon posted on Facebook yesterday, in fond remembrance of her bike. Which was stolen! Which is awful and hideous. Here’s hoping you find a suitable replacement fast, Sharon. Although I have a feeling your browsing period might be protracted.

*It usually takes at least a day for the regret to set in.

Posted on May 3rd, 2012 6 Comments

The swimsuit issue

Farrah did it

One day last summer, feeling particularly pudgy and sitting by the pool with a couple of women who were decidedly not,  I decided it was at long last time to make the switch to one-piece swimsuits. It was not a happy moment. One-pieces are uncomfortable when it gets really hot, and finding a cute one is hard: They all either look too Swim Team, too Alexis Carrington-in-San-Tropez, or too Grandma-in-Aqua-Aerobics-class. And you can’t go halfway with boy shorts or 50s-style high-waist bottoms: they might give you stomach coverage, but at the price of really hideous thunder thighs.

So I ordered a fairly cute one from J Crew (the secret to happiness, I have found, is NEVER to enter a dressing room with a swimsuit; this is precisely the kind of transaction that online shopping was built for) and was  happy enough. And a few weeks later, I was feeling kinder to  myself, and was  back in my bikini. But at this stage in the game there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with having options on those too-hideous-to-gaze-upon-one’s-torso days. So I’ve lined up some options. Some are cute, some sexy, some fashiony. But all are very just-as-hot-as-any-other-girl-on-the-beach, I think.

Employing ruching to camouflage figure flaws is the most obvious trick in the book, but it sure does work like a charm. And also seems quite organic to the retro glamourpuss feel of this particular J Crew suit. I also like how you get a touch of that fun skirty look, but with a flattering, higher cut on the thighs.

This DVF suit dips way down—and is therefore probably best suited to the flatter-chested among us—but  the fact that the thighs are cut  somewhat modestly balances things out and keeps it from transmitting too much of an I-own-a-Bedazzled-cellphone vibe.

Check out the happy Fiorucci-esque pattern on this one from Miu Miu . Doesn’t it look like something that would have been in Seventeen back in 1979? I actually halfway feel like I owned it, in fact.


Were I ever to spend $800 on a swimsuit, this is the $800 swimsuit I would buy. Because nobody knows their way around making a leopard print  look less cheesy and more fashiony than Dolce and Gabbana.


Opening Ceremony has a swimwear line and it is both deeply cool and infinitely wearable. This model comes in a few patterns, but the red just feels so thoroughly happy and right.

Posted on May 1st, 2012 8 Comments