Posts Tagged ‘Ten Thousand Things’
This Ten Thousand Things enamel charm—so warm and beachy on its simple length of leather—is the perfect little indulgence for anyone looking to buy a little happiness on a day as rotty and stormy and definitely-coming-down-with-something as today.
I was feeling a little sad yesterday that this holiday season, all of my gift guide energy went into compiling guest posts for other sites (which you can see here, here and here) and none of it went to you, my endlessly loyal readers who I adore. So I’ve decided to put together one last guide, composed entirely of items on my own list, because how much fun is that? For starters, here’s something I’ve wanted forever: this cabbage rose necklace from Ten Thousand Things. It’s one of their signature shapes, and is so classic and elegant and could be worn with anything—like a more modern version of an Elsa Peretti heart.
The skull and crossbones is its own kind of classic, and I do like how very clever it looks on crisp and proper Smythson note cards.
An itsy dish for one’s bedside earrings and change and whatnot.
I’m not usually a fan of cocktail ring proportions, but the appeal of this moonstone confection can not be denied.
I developed a taste for caviar after I started receiving it every year at the holidays from a particularly beloved former boss. “Share it with no one,” he would always instruct me. And I never did.
I’m moving apartments soon (much more on that later) and one of my main goals for the new place is to not have a junk drawer. This Vitra toolbox will help me accomplish my objective. Not the most glamorous gift on my list, but one I’m dying for nevertheless.
My number one gift shopping rule is that you should always try to buy a person something they will absolutely love, but would never buy for themselves. For me that means this ostrich feather Margiela pen. It amuses me endlessly, and I’m certain would make me feel like I was a 1940s film star at her chic little desk answering fan mail every time I sat down to pay the bills.
I am so tired of my boring old scarves. This multi-print number from We Are Owls would fix all that.
A trio of hearts, presented in order from delightfully cheap to splurgetastically fabulous. First up: I love the old-school-printing-press feel of this John Derian pocket mirror.
Graffiti artist Curtis Kulig‘s famous tag, set against the prettiest background imaginable.
An enamel heart, dipped in gold and so damn elegant I could die, from Ten Thousand Things.
I’ve shopped all over this town; these are the places I like best. Next up in this series will be a roundup of big name designer and chain stores, followed by one on beauty and home. Some of these stores have more than one location; I’ve indicated which below, and have included the address of the one I like best. Check websites for further information.
A Detacher You don’t often see a designer holding court at her own store, but Mona Kowalska can often be found at her low-key Nolita boutique. Her coolness always intimidates the hell out me—even though she’s quite nice—and I have a huge soft spot for her dresses, even the simplest of which have something rather smashing and deconstructed going on. Some of the stuff can be on the scary side—jumpsuits and cullottes are not dirty words here—but comb the racks carefully and you’ll find some gorgeous cuts and memorable prints. 262 Mott Street, Nolita
Anna Way back in the 1990s, before there were cool Brooklyn girls—and even before there were cool Lower East Side girls—there were cool East Village girls, and many flocked to Kathy Kemp’s East 3rd Street shop for her cute party dresses, lace minis, and camisoles. Kemp and her customers (and I was an early, ardent one) have grown up a bit since then, and now she runs a sleek operation on 11th Street, full of sophisticated dresses with the kind of feminine, womanly cuts that have less to do with what’s on the runway and more to do with exactly how you want to look. 330 E. 11th Street, East Village
Bird If you’ve only got time to visit one of Jen Mankins’s trio of Brooklyn boutiques and really want to get the gestalt of the place, choose the Williamsburg outpost: it’s the newest, coolest, and biggest. It’s also—in keeping with the neighborhood— stocked with pieces meant to appeal to the younger set (did I just write that? Wow). So if it’s serious shopping Girls of a Certain Age-style that you’re after, do like I do and visit the jam-packed-with-awesomeness Cobble Hill store. 220 Smith Street, Cobble Hill, Brooklyn
Blue Tree It’s a bit of a hike to get up to the slice of Upper East Side known as Carnegie Hill, but a journey to Blue Tree is worth the shlep. The boutique/general store is owned by Phoebe Cates—she of the countless Seventeen Magazine covers of our youth and Fast Times at Ridgemont High—and I am amazed every time I go by her ability to dig up pieces by designers—mostly European—I’ve never heard of before. The jewelry, housewares, and gift selections are also outstanding. 1283 Madison Avenue, Upper East Side
Castor & Pollux One the few truly indie boutiques left in the rapidly chain-ifying West Village, Castor & Pollux had its start in Brooklyn, and a little bit of that Brooklyn vibe still exists: there’s an emphasis on clothes that are both cool and comfortable, and the tight, well-edited selection—of Gary Graham, Alasdair, Ter Et Bantine, and their own eponymous jewelry line— packs in more style than stores three times its size. 238 w. 10th Street, West Village
Creatures of Comfort I’m going to go out on a limb here and state that Creatures of Comfort is one of the few truly standout spots in boutique-littered Nolita. It carries a number of more familiar indie names—Acne, Rachel Comey—but the real reason to visit is to check out the more esoteric offerings from Bernard Wilhelm, Cosmic Wonder, Christian Wijnants, and the like. As with many stores that traffic in the risky and interesting, the sales are fantastic. 205 Mulberry Street, Nolita
Maryam Nassir Zadeh I don’t know that I’ve ever actually bought anything at Maryam Nassir Zadeh, but I never view a visit there as a waste of time. Think of it as Manhattan’s more downtowny, smaller-scale answer to Colette in Paris, as much gallery as boutique (the display changes constantly) and full of some of the most interesting jewelry and clothes on the island. 123 Norfolk St., Lower East Side
No. 6 Most widely known as the store that launched the clog boot craze, No. 6 also has a quite feminine in-house line of dresses and tops, and carries a number of indie designers of the boundary-pushing and architectural persuasion. There’s a small and carefully chosen rack of vintage pieces, a stellar selection of costume jewelry, and a handful of—always highly covetable—bags. 6 Centre Market Place, Little Italy
Oak Trends come and trends go, but a girl can always count on Oak to bring the best of everything black, white, grey, drapey, and asymmetrical. And I mean that in the best possible way. 28 Bond Street, Noho
Opening Ceremony File Opening Ceremony under places you have to visit even if you do not buy a thing: just 11 years old, OC has helped transform the downtown shopping scene and spawned countless imitators. The owners work harder than just about anyone in the business to find what’s new, wherever on the globe it may reside. 35 Howard Street, Soho
Otte I suppose Otte qualifies as a chain —there are four locations in Manhattan—but everything still feels boutiquey and carefully selected. The lines they carry are mostly on the commercial side—Current Elliott, Helmut Lang, Equipment, Elizabeth and James—but the buy always feels fresh. I both love and loathe that I live so close to one. 121 Greenwich Avenue, West Village
Steven Alan Like Otte, Steven Alan is a mini-chain—with branches in Brooklyn, LA and beyond—and right now my favorite location is the one on Tenth Avenue just north of the Meatpacking District. In addition to Alan’s hipster-fied classic button downs, you’ll find R13 jeans, cute little tops by Sea, and Clare Vivier bags like crazy. 140 Tenth Avenue, Chelsea
Ten Thousand Things One of my favorite places in the city. Spend two minutes in this shop and you’ll understand why David Rees and Ron Anderson’s jewelry line has attracted so many famous fans, and made its way onto so many fashion magazine editorial pages: it is wholly original, breathtakingly beautiful stuff. Their shapes are organic, impossibly chic, and somehow instantly personal: I’ve got a trio of Ten Thousand Things stacking rings that I haven’t taken off since the day I bought them five years ago. 423 W. 14th Street, Meatpacking District
Zero + Maria Cornejo If I had unlimited funds, and was forced to shop just one designer for the remainder of my days, it wouldn’t even be much of a competition. Maria Cornejo is the only one whose pieces I buy in multiples, because unlike other designers—whose focus on cranking out the new overwhelms considerations of quality—she’ll bring back popular shapes in different fabrications season after season (which is not to say that you won’t always encounter something new and wondrous, because she’s mastered that, too). Cornejo is a genius at draping clothes in a way that is uniquely flattering to a woman’s body, and her prints are without peer—but definitely not for the meek. 33 Bleecker Street, Nolita
Images via Racked, Refinery 29, Illume, Stylesight, Shopikon, and various store websites.
If you’ve ever read any publication’s “Best Of” issue, know that in the end, it all comes down to the editors making the most well-informed, carefully considered, completely arbitrary decision they can. How is one to determine the ultimate cheeseburger, or end-all mascara, or band of the year? Every once in a while, you get your Beatles or your Joy of Cooking, but even their genius is, in the moment, rarely felt unanimously. And so it has been with the Girls of a Certain Age/Ten Thousand Things challenge, in which you were asked to describe the piece of jewelry that meant the most to you. There were over 200 entries, and from the first day—from the first few hours—I knew I was in for it. Your stories were so insightful, so moving, and so very often really funny that the notion of picking any one—or even any ten—as the very best became impossible to imagine. To be hideously trite for a moment, these stories are the stories of your lives, and quite often the very most dramatic moments of your lives: marriages, deaths, births, personal breakthroughs and difficult relationships at long last resolved. And good lordy, so much more. If you haven’t taken a look at all of the entries yet, by all means, do. They’re fascinating. You might cry.
As a typically very decisive person thrown into a vortex of indecision, this has been nothing short of torture. I actually called upon a couple of friends for input, and they made matters worse, disagreeing violently on my final choices. And so in the end, I went with one that felt particularly resonant, by a reader named Kim.
I’ve been given two pieces of jewelry in my life; both rings.
My parents had me when they were barely out of their teens. They were very young and were distracted by the things that they wanted to be and to do. Also, maybe they were too puzzled by the shy, moody, bookish girl that I was, to know what I needed. But my grandmother loved me unconditionally, fiercely. Although, out of necessity, she was frugal, when I was about ten years old, she gave me a gold ring, with a small topaz, my birthstone. I recall being disappointed that my birthstone wasn’t a sapphire, because blue was my favorite color and at first, I wore the ring mostly out of politeness. But, I came to love that ring. I wore it for years, switching it to different fingers as my hands grew. I remember looking down at the ring and seeing that the stone had fallen out, after so much wear. I found the stone later and put it and the ring in a box, vowing to one day have it fixed and resume wearing it. Decades later, despite my best efforts, that ring is long gone, but still with me as a reminder of being really loved, really treasured, during an otherwise difficult childhood.
The other ring was my wedding band, hastily purchased by my then soon-to-be husband, who was late to work and leaving me to finish the sales transaction, while he rushed off to a meeting. The marriage did not fare well and I stayed much longer than I should have. But, finally I got the courage to leave. I’d stopped wearing the ring years before leaving. I wasn’t married in the ways that most mattered to me and the ring had come to feel like a mockery of me and the person I’d become, the life that I had. Like the topaz ring, the wedding ring was put into a box. It wasn’t something I treasured, but I wasn’t ready to get rid of it. Then, while looking for hairbands, I was surprised to find the ring in a plastic shoe box. I knew I still had it, but had forgotten where I’d put it. Without further thought, I picked up the ring and tossed it into my kitchen garbage can. It felt good, freeing, forward looking.
So, for one ring, the magic was in the having and wearing; for the other the magic was in the gradual letting go.
Not the most upbeat story of the bunch, to be sure. But so many of you wrote about pieces given to you by parents and grandparents that brought you courage and strength or, like Kim, just reminded you that you were loved. So it felt right to pay tribute to that. And I admired the spirit of everyday fortitude in Kim’s story, because in many ways that is the most difficult kind to summon. I know that for many of you, the notion of tossing a perfectly good wedding band might seem like throwing money down the drain, but for me, that was part of what made the tale so human. Pieces that we attach meaning to often come to represent something quite different along the way, but the fact that this new meaning might be painful or sad doesn’t always make them any easier to part with. That she chose to put the band in the trash, as opposed to something more dramatic like tossing it off a bridge or throwing it into a fire, spoke to a woman at peace.
So congratulations, Kim. I’ll be in touch. The rest of you can have at me in the comments.
Before Ten Thousand Things became part of my life, I never quite related to the peculiar kind of spell that comes over a women when she encounters a ring, or a bangle, or a pendant she needs suddenly and desperately to own. But that’s because previous to Ten Thousand Things, I never quite understood jewelry’s power to transform. No other adornment is nearly so personal, or has the capacity to make us feel not just prettier or more stylish, but actually more self-assured and stronger, too. David Rees and Ron Anderson, the designers behind Ten Thousand Things, have gotten this from the start. Their shapes are very feminine and organic, and elegant as the day is long. You feel more like a woman the moment you put them on.
Which is probably why they’ve managed to amass one very fabulous following—several members of which agreed to be shot by Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin for a special 20th Anniversary portfolio featuring special one-of-a-kind pieces—which are all being auctioned to the charity of the wearer’s choice.
How fantastic does dancer/writer/all around legend Heather Watts look here? There are some hot young cookies in this portfolio (Kristen Stewart, a couple of super-big models), but to me, the most compelling shots are all of ladies who’ve been kicking around the block a for a bit. You look in their eyes, and you just know there’s something interesting going on behind them.
And now we get to celebrate too! In honor of their big birthday, Ron and David (who, full disclosure, are my pals, and two of the loveliest and deathly funny guys this town has ever seen) have given me this gorgeous keshi pearl necklace to give away to one very lucky reader. All you need to do is describe in the comments below the most meaningful piece of jewelry you own. Those of you who don’t wear jewelry can get creative and describe anything in your life that has tailsman-like powers. Deadline is noon Thursday.