Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Ciao, Manhattan
My first summer in New York City was 1999. Fendi baguettes, pashminas, and Indian-inspired fashion were all the rage; Jennifer Lopez's "If You Had My Love" was the song of the summer; and the economy, flush with dot-com cash, was, in a word, great. It was the summer I discovered Sex and the City, morning coffee carts, sample sales, and my favorite drink to this day, Stoli Vanil and ginger ale. It was the summer I fell in love with Manhattan. I was here for a magazine internship, and I dragged two of my best friends, EF and JS, with me. We toughed it out for a month in NYU housing and then, almost effortlessly, found a sublet in the East Village, a quirky fifth-floor walk-up a block away from B-Bar, where we inevitably ended up every night. We threw a blowout party and narrowly avoided being busted by the cops. I walked to work, in Gramercy Park, every day. At the end of August, my internship over, I cried in the taxi on the way back to the airport.

I came back to stay less than a year later. My roommate CW and I ended up in the most random apartment ever, in Murray Hill, but it had a washer and dryer in the kitchen, and from the apartment, you could get anywhere in Manhattan in 20 minutes. Really. I got a job in magazine publishing; I went bar-hopping; I shopped. September 11th happened, and my love for New York only deepened. CW left the city for law school and I moved to the West Village, to my favorite apartment to date, a small but quiet aerie overlooking the neighborhood. If the wind was blowing in the right direction, I'd get a faint whiff of burgers from Corner Bistro, a scent that, trust me, is simply divine, even when it's in your apartment. I spotted celebs while running errands--Julianne Moore at the dry cleaner, Liv Tyler at the deli, Amy Sedaris at the coffee shop. While browsing the remainder tables at Biography Bookshop, I turned up my nose at the tourists waiting in line for Magnolia Bakery (I'll take the banana pudding over the cupcakes any day). I'd wander the small, irregular streets, trying to get lost on purpose, just so I could find my way home.

Most importantly, the West Village is where MW and I fell in love. Which was why, when we decided to finally move in together, it was really hard for me to leave. At the time, moving to the East Village seemed logical: We could get more space for less money, we'd be closer to more of our friends, and we wouldn't have to deal with the entitled masses who were now clogging the West Village's once-neighborhoody bars and restaurants. And, hey, I loved living in the East Village several years ago. But as we discovered, just because you love something when you're 21 doesn't mean you'll love it when you're 29. Also, the neighborhood has changed a bit since I lived here last. Gone are the quiet, hipster-clogged bars and undiscovered hole-in-the-wall restaurants; the East Village is now where everyone in the city goes to get drunk. Not drink--I mean get drunk. Case in point: on New Year's Eve, one of our guests observed a girl, dress hiked up and underwear in hand, peeing on our front stoop. Add that to the fact that half the crazy people in the neighborhood appear to live in our building--our downstairs neighbor likes to drill at 2 a.m., our next-door neighbors yell at each other all day long without ever growing hoarse--and MW and I concluded that drastic measures were required.

So we're moving to Brooklyn.

Sure, people have been complaining about how Manhattan has become a playground for the rich, that it's turning into one big mall, that it's played out and boring. All of these things are partially true, but they're not why I'm leaving. Maybe it's because I'm getting old and all I want is peace and quiet; maybe it's because Manhattan has a way of wearing me down; maybe the best way for me to truly appreciate Manhattan is not to live in it. I don't really know why I'm leaving, to be honest, but what I do know is that I'm over it. Sure, I'll miss being able to walk anywhere. I'll also miss all the health-food stores and vegan-friendly restaurants. And the nice Chinese lady who passes out the A.M. New Yorks every morning at the Second Avenue subway stop. And let's not forget the shopping. But I won't miss the noise, the people everywhere at all hours, or the anxiety that both of those things cause me. But you know what? If I do miss any of these things, I'll just take a subway ride back. After all, Manhattan is only a bridge (or tunnel) away.

Sorry for the lack of posts this week; I'm taking the rest of the week off to move. But I'll be back, better than ever, on Monday, coming to you from leafy, sleepy, and, yes, quiet Cobble Hill, Brooklyn.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Posts coming Tuesday night
Please check back then. Thanks!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Some like it haute: where to shop high-end fashion online
One shopping genre that's been slow to hit the Internet is high-end, designer clothing. This is due to several reasons--designers want to maintain the exclusivity of their brands and they also worry about knockoffs and counterfeiting, which the Internet disables and enables, respectively. The pioneering website in the luxury fashion world, of course, is Net-a-Porter, which stocks an excellent mix of high-end and contemporary clothes and accessories, like Chloe, Miu Miu, Marc by Marc Jacobs, and Paul & Joe. And while Barneys, Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf's, and Saks give the site a run for its money in terms of accessories, no site matches Net-a-Porter's fashion assortment. But two established websites are trying to take a piece of the high-end pie with new designer additions. And here's where things get interesting.

eLUXURY, which is owned by fashion conglomerate LVMH, has long carried Louis Vuitton handbags and fashion from Marc Jacobs and Gaultier, as well as contemporary lines like Citizens of Humanity and Ella Moss, but they're now stepping up their game considerably. Case in point? You can now find up-and-coming and critically hailed lines from Doo.Ri and Nina Ricci, plus Thakoon, Zac Posen, and Peter Som. Of course, dropping $1,000 online on a handbag is a bit different than doing the same on a dress (like, say, this awesome Doo.Ri bubble dress), so when in doubt, check the return policy before placing an order.

The other site hopping on the high-end bandwagon is one of my personal favorites, shopbop.com. Their new Designer Boutique isn't fully shoppable yet, but you can click through the "look book" for a taste of what's to come: Chris Benz, Jenni Kayne, Derek Lam, and other hot labels on every cutting-edge fashionista's wish list (shoes, handbags, jewelry, and lingerie are in the works as well). There's no ETA on the Designer Boutique, but, rest assured, it should be up and running in time for your fall fashion shopping spree; you can also sign up to be notified when it launches. (Or you can just keep checking back here, because I will definitely be covering it.)

So, high-end online shopping might not be the same experience as, say, a trip to Jeffrey, but if you're stuck at work (or in the middle of nowhere, fashion-wise) and jonesing for a new frock, it might just be your best bet.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

In praise of Nordstrom
I could probably talk for hours about why I love Nordstrom. They're famous for their customer service--deservedly so--and for their something-for-everyone merchandising. I think they have the best beauty gift-with-purchases, the best store credit-card rewards, and even the best bathrooms. But what Nordstrom really deserves praise for is the Anniversary Sale, which comes every July (and in fact just started last weekend). Most stores carry full-price merchandise at the start of the season and, as time goes on, they gradually mark it down until, at the end of the season, when merchandise can go up to 80% off, they're basically trying to get rid of it at cost. Retail math is a complicated labyrinth of markdowns and markups. Nordstrom, however, smartly avoids the pricing dance with their Anniversay Sale, which is, in effect, a rare pre-season sale. Fall merchandise gets marked down roughly 30%, which allows you, the customer, to stock up on fall items ahead of time, rather than waiting until the end of the season to score stuff on sale. Nordstrom benefits too by selling more units at prices at which they still make a handsome profit, ensuring that they'll have fewer big markdowns at the end of the season, and thus maximizing their profit. So, you spend less on more clothes that you can wear for the entire season, and Nordstrom makes a lot of money up front. See? Everyone wins!

I have my eye on this straight-from-the-runway sequined Nannette Lepore shift dress, pictured above. Um, and this 3.1 Philip Lim wool coat. Hurry--styles are selling out already (the wide-leg Habitual jeans I was drooling over are long gone), and prices go up August 6th. And it's a long, long way to go until the next round of sales. Now if only Nordstrom would open a Manhattan store...

Monday, July 23, 2007

The week in shopping
Peter Som's modern, elegant clothes are $75-$500 (were $400-$5,000) at this sale. 7/25-7/27; 9-7, 9-2 Fri.; 260 W. 39th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), 5th fl.

Stock up on ultra-luxurious soaps, candles, and home products at Lafco New York's can't-miss sale. 7/25-7/27; 10-6; 161 6th Ave. (Spring & Vandam Sts.).

Christopher Deane and Sophia Eugene, plus Melanie Dizon handbags and shoes from Etro and Missoni are up to 80% off. Through 7/29; noon-8, noon-6 Sun.; 37 Cornelia St. (Bleecker & W. 4th Sts.).

Hit the Miss Sixty/Energie store for spring/summer merchandise on supersale--$50 for dresses, $65 for jeans, and $25 for accessories. 7/25-7/27; 1-7 Wed., 11-7 Thurs. & Fri.; 901 Broadway (at 20th St.).

Work-friendly Canadian line Tevrow+Chase is $40 and up at this one-day blowout. 7/26; 10-6; 416 W. 13th St. (9th Ave. & Washington St.), ste. 313.

Score incredibly well-made shirts, suits, and shorts for men at 16 Sur 20's semiannual sale. Through 7/28; 11-7, noon-6 Sun.; 243 Elizabeth St. (at Prince St.).

Treat your kids to fancy clothes from Giggle and hope they don't spill on them. Hey, at least they're 50% off. Through 7/29; 10-7, noon-6 Sun.; 120 Wooster St. (Prince & Spring Sts.).

Score a pricey designer gown--think Amsale and Reem Acra--for up to 70% off at bridal mecca Kleinfeld's. 7/24; 5-8 p.m.; 110 W. 20th St. (6th & 7th Aves.).

Statement-making pieces from Pleats Please by Issey Miyake are 50% off. 7/26-8/5; 11-7, noon-6 Sun.; 128 Wooster St. (at Prince St.).

This week, Clothingline has Prohibit and Red Monkey collection. See website for details. 7/24-7/26; 10-7 Tue. & Thurs., 10-6 Wed.; 261 W. 36th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), 2nd fl.

Take the man in your life to Rothman's, where suits from Hugo Boss, Canali, and other heavy hitters are on mega-sale. 7/26-8/9; 10-7, noon-6 Sun.; 200 Park Avenue South (at 17th St.).

Mod--but accessible--Ted Baker London clothes for men and women are on sale. Through 7/28; 11:30-7; 107 Grand St. (at Mercer St.).

Luxe dresses and eveningwear from Shalini are below wholesale (normally four figures). 7/26-7/27; 1-7; 363B W. 18th St. (8th & 9th Aves.).

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Recommended reading
There are designers I greatly admire and want to wear if I had the financial wherewithal--Marni, Lanvin, Olivier Theyskens--and then there are designers who I appreciate and respect, but who don't quite appeal to me on a personal level. I am not a sexy dresser (I'm from the Midwest after all) so the latter tend to be the more sexual, body-conscious, and even "loud" designers: Gaultier, Dolce & Gabbana, Cavalli, etc. Of course, no one personified this "sexy" category better than Gianni Versace, who pushed so many boundaries in his career, all the while tailoring with an incredibly sharp eye and a strong identity. I was incredibly upset by his death, which, as Cathy Horyn notes in her nuanced article from today's Times, was 10 years ago this month. Donatella Versace has since soldiered on, through a divorce, a cocaine addiction, an eating-disordered daughter, and major financial difficulties, and while she clearly doesn't share her brother's prolific talent, she has managed to make the company profitable once again, subtly transforming the Versace customer from a jet-setting party girl to a strong, sexy, confident woman. But that's not what the article is about. It's Horyn's personal memories of the siblings behind the brand and the strangeness of the events following Gianni's death. It's not the tidy memoir you'd expect, but rather a loose, sad, yet moving reminiscence, and by far the best piece I've read on Versace in awhile.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Buy it: Boots No7 Restore and Renew Serum
One of my favorite things to do in foreign countries is to go to drugstores. Seriously. I find them fascinating. They're also the best place to find excellent skincare lines such as Vichy, La Roche Posay, and the pride of Britain, Boots. Thankfully, CVS now carries all three lines, saving us all a trip across the pond. Which is very good news, because Boots has created a new anti-aging serum called No7 Restore and Renew, which is so amazing and effective, it warranted its own documentary on the BBC. The so-called "miracle serum" immediately sold out in the UK, with a waiting list to follow, and tubes now go for upwards of $100 on eBay. Intrigued yet?

The CVS at 53rd and Lex is receiving a special delivery, and starting Wednesday at 8 a.m., you can get your hands on a tube for a mere $21.99--one per customer, of course. The first 50 people in line will get an additional $50 worth of Boots products for free. Wrinkle-free skin and gratis products? Sounds well worth the wait to me.
MasstigeWatch!
When I first reported back in March on Libertine as Target's next Go International designer, I must admit, I was a bit underwhelmed by the collection. It seemed like a Vivienne Westwood-lite mix of punky and preppy, with a little Victorian thrown in--three genres I tend to stay away from. Now that the collection is live, however, I have completely changed my tune: It is damn cool, a vast improvement over the ho-hum Patrick Robinson collection, and quite possibly one of the best Go International collections to date. The strange punk-prep-Victorian vibe is still there, but it all somehow works. The looks, which seem more British-inspired to me than anything else, are presented as either East Coast or West Coast; when viewed this way, I definitely prefer the East Coast looks, but there is something for everyone in both.

A lot of the items have trendy graphic prints--skulls, birds, etc.--but I like the starkness of this tree-print tee.


These bermudas have a bat print that makes them a bit more edgy than your typical short--J.Crew bermudas these are not.


I'm not quite sure that I could pull off this military jacket, but I love its rock-and-roll look.


But not everything in the collection is so casual--I was surprised by how sophisticated many of the pieces are, like this gorgeous crepe dress.


This subtly sexy tank dress looks like Alaia!


There are several secretary-esque tie-neck blouses, but I like this one better--it almost looks like (dare I say?) Chanel.


And, of course, it wouldn't be a Go International collection without "signature prints"--Libertine's turns up in a shirt and in this delicious silk scarf--a bargain at $16.99.


Also, I should note that the Devi Kroell bags are now live, and judging by the customer reviews thus far, the bags appear to be very well made considering the circumstances. I think I'm going to order the Anthracite hobo. For $34.99, why not?

Monday, July 16, 2007

In praise of Posh
So, I have a confession to make: I love Victoria Beckham. Back when my college roommates and I dressed up as the Spice Girls for Halloween, I got to be Posh Spice (after all, she had the best outfit). I loved that Posh never sang solos, and that she always looked a little awkward doing the dance moves. I was bummed when the Spice Girls broke up but secretly happy when Posh surpassed all the other girls in stardom. Okay, so she became a huge star by marrying an even bigger one, David Beckham, but what I found truly fascinating was how she managed to remain in the spotlight all these years. Posh and Becks are ginormous celebrities in Europe but not so much here in the States, and now that he's playing for the Los Angeles Galaxy, you'd think the couple (and their three sons) would move here and enjoy, for once, a relatively paparazzi-free existence. But no. Their drawn-out move to the U.S. has been marked by a Bennifer-level publicity blitz, culminating in tonight's Victoria Beckham: Coming to America special on NBC.

Slightly ashamed of my lowbrow taste in TV, I decided to put the show on in the background as I typed up this week's sales, but it ended up being so entertaining, I had to put down my laptop and just watch it. The hour-long special was originally intended to be a reality series about Victoria navigating her family's move to L.A.; I would like to know what idiot made the decision to condense it down, because it was an hour of pure joy. Victoria rolls with a makeup artist, a hair stylist, and the new addition, a chipper American personal assistant; she also appears to have at least two security guards and to travel in a two-Escalade motorcade at all times. She always wears high heels (even the sneakers she wore to throw a pitch at the Dodgers game were wedges) and she never smiles--in public. But--and this is the best part--she totally realizes how ridiculous her life is, and she has an incredibly dry sense of humor about it all (and if you had packs of paparazzi following you wherever you go, you'd have to). Case in point: She meets with an obviously shocked Perez Hilton and pokes fun at herself, saying that she can't be photographed eating or laughing. We then see her everywhere from a Beverly Hills luncheon with overly face-lifted housewives to the DMV, where she hilariously asks for photo approval on her ID photo and asks to whom she should make out her signature. I was even surprised by her gracious manners--although I suppose she's called Posh for a reason. She's even good with kids. She's so much fun, you can see why Katie Holmes clings to her so.

I totally have a renewed appreciation for Posh. I can only wish that for everyone's sake, NBC reruns the special. Well, and for mine--I want to watch it again! Until then, I have the new issue of W, which has pages upon pages of sexy, sexy photos of P&B. Of course, considering the publicity blitz, it's not like we won't hear about them soon...
The week in shopping
It may not be as cheap as their Target line, but at Proenza Schouler's sample sale, you can score their haute line for a mere $100-$850 (normally $500-$4,500). 7/19-7/20; 10-7; 120 Walker St. (at Centre St.), 6th fl.

Who doesn't love Lulu Guinness's quirky-girly accessories? Lucky you, they're $10 and up at this warehouse sale. 7/18-7/21; 10-7; 260 W. 39th St. (7th & 8th Aves.). 11th fl.

Hello, Brooklyn: Find clothes and accessories from Loeffler Randall, Lover, and Isabel Marant for up to 75% off at at Jumelle. 7/19-8/31; 1-7:30 Mon., noon-7:30 Tues.-Sat., noon-7 Sun.; 148 Bedford Ave. (at N. 8th St.), Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

James Jeans don't fit me, but if they look good on you, score a pair for $25-$90 at this sale. 7/17-7/19; 10-7; James Lounge, 500 Greenwich St. (at Spring St.), ste. 202.

Pucci, Gucci, and Blumarine, oh my! (And up to 80% off, too.) 7/19-7/20; 10-6; 20 E. 76th St. (5th & Madison Aves.).

This week, Clothingline has shoes from Plaza Too--think Cynthia Rowley, Marc by Marc Jacobs, and Frye--for mega-cheap. 7/17-7/19; 10-7, 10-6 Wed.; 261 W. 36th St. (7th & 8th Aves.).

Chase the trends from yesteryear--vintage clothes are 20%-40% off at Marmalade. 7/19-7/31; noon-8:30; 172 Ludlow St. (Houston & Stanton Sts.).

Say hi to my old apartment, then swing by Darling to score skinny jeans, dresses, and other summer staples on sale. 7/19-7/31; noon-8, noon-6 Sun.; 1 Horatio St. (at 8th Ave.).

When was the last time you, um, treated yourself? Head over to Babeland and indulge in a new toy for 20%-40% off. 7/20-7/22; 43 Mercer St. (Spring & Broome Sts.), 94 Rivington St. (Orchard & Ludlow Sts.).

Brave trendier-than-thou boutique I Heart and score Isabel Marant, Tsumori Chisato, and 3.1 Philip Lim for 30%-50% off. Noon-8, noon-7 Sun.; 262 Mott St. (Prince & Houston Sts.).

Funky Soho boutique Key has hard-to-find designers (and J Brand) on sale through July. Through 7/31; noon-7; 41 Grand St. (at W. Broadway).

Retro-glam Mischen clothing is up to 85% off. 7/19-7/20; 10-5; 255 W. 36th St. (7th & 8th Aves.).

Ylli has Vince, Trovata, Sass & Bide, and other hot designers on sale. Through 8/6; 11:30-8:30, noon-7 Sun.; 482 Driggs Ave., Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Save 20%-50% at MoMA Store's summer sale. Through 8/12; see website for store hours and locations.

Take 20% off your order at ShopLAStyle.com when you enter code starfish at checkout through 7/18.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Recommended reading
I read two excellent posts today on two of my favorite fashion blogs.

First, Fashionista sent two interns to a variety of stores--Intermix, Old Navy, Opening Ceremony, Club Monaco, Ina--to investigate vanity sizing. I thought this was a really interesting concept--we all know there are certain stores (ahem, Banana Republic) where the sizes are almost too good to be true, and on the other end of the spectrum, European designers, whose clothes run scarily small (for example, I have a D&G top that I cut the size tag out of, because whenever I wore it, I felt bad about myself, even though I looked hot in it). And this is basically what the interns find: chain stores large, designer clothes tiny. What's more interesting, however, are the comments on the story--like in many of Fashionista's posts, the comments end up being an intelligent discussion of size and body image.

I also recommend Lauren Goldstein Crowe's semi-rant about Miu Miu, which in recent seasons has become prohibitively expensive. I have quite a few Miu Miu pieces in my closet, but all are at least three years old and were purchased on sale at Saks or Barneys (Miu Miu used to be sold on the Co-Op floor there!), and, like Crowe, I'm frustrated that the line is no longer within my reach. This is because Prada is obviously repositioning the brand as more luxury, less secondary, but still. At least there's the Prada outlet at Woodbury Commons...
Cheryl shops...Space NK
It seems everyone has been all atwitter over the opening of the first U.S. Space NK, a British apothecary chain, for two primary reasons. The first is that people--okay, retail industry folk--are curious to see what kind of impact it has on Sephora's business, especially since Space NK is planning an aggressive nationwide expansion. I don't think Sephora need worry--while there is some product overlap, the two stores are completely different, from the stores' physical size and layout to their respective philosophies and ideologies. If anything, Space NK is more similar to Bigelow Apothecary--the spinoff Bigelows as interpreted by the Limited Inc. and found in upscale malls such as Water Tower Place in Chicago and Copley Place in Boston, not the actual Bigelow on Sixth Avenue. But Space NK is pretty unique, which brings us to the second reason why everyone is so excited about it: The store is simply awesome.

Space NK is home to a number of high-end skincare, makeup, and haircare lines, many of them U.S. exclusives, such as Eve Lom and Zelens. There are familiar brands--Frederic Fekkai, Laura Mercier, and Dr. Brandt among them--as well as harder-to-find cult lines like By Terry makeup and Christophe Robin haircare. The store is bright, airy, and uncluttered, and it's organized by skincare, fragrance, haircare, etc. I found the in-house line of bath and body products particularly intriguing; the scents are named things like "laughter" and "soulful," and while they all smell lovely, I found "compelling" the most, er, compelling.

While you can spend a lot of time browsing the store on your own, I found that, unlike Sephora, it helps to have a salesperson assisting you, if only because so many of the products are new and unfamiliar. After being assailed by a saleswoman whose idea of customer service was to spew too much technical information about anti-aging ingredients at me, I found a much more mellow shopgirl named Bianca, who helped me pick out a new lipstick from Poppy King's cult Lipstick Queen line. She also managed to sell me on the most expensive lip balm I've ever bought (Darphin, $25) and entertain me with a story about how their stock guy was trying to hook her up with the store's consultant (and, in a very Legally Blonde-like development, the consultant slipped Bianca his digits as she was ringing me up). I also walked out with a sample for a Darphin anti-aging serum, which so far has done nothing for my fine lines but at least makes my skin very soft--and I will admit that I'm a sucker for samples, so I am always a fan of stores with liberal sample policies.

So while Sephora is a great one-stop shop for all manner of beauty products, Space NK is a much more luxurious experience, from the serene environment to the products themselves, which are more well edited. There's also something to be said for the level of service; Bianca told me to come back anytime and she'd do my makeup. Of course, I'm not sure that my wallet can handle another shopping binge at the moment, but when I'm in need of my next beauty indulgence, I'm going straight to Space NK. After all, I need to find out what happened with the consultant.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Cheryl Shops...Tanger Outlets
"It's the thrill of the hunt!" You know, the jingle for the Tanger Outlet Center ad, the one that's on NY1 every morning and gets stuck in your head for the rest of the afternoon. Anyway, last weekend MW dragged me to a chess team barbecue on Long Island, then to his reading at a North Fork vineyard (which, okay, was actually fun, and not just because I got free wine at 11 o'clock in the morning), and my reward was that on Sunday afternoon, I got to go to the Tanger Outlets in Riverhead. I use the term "reward" loosely, however, because while shopping the outlets wasn't exactly painful, it wasn't the best experience either. In other words, there's a reason Tanger Outlets has to advertise.

Granted, few outlet malls can compare to Woodbury Commons, and while Woodbury and Tanger have several stores in common--Off 5th and the Barneys New York outlet among them--shopping at each is a completely different experience. If Woodbury is a chauffeured Town Car, Tanger is a used Toyota. First of all, Tanger's layout is cumbersome and hard to navigate--there is "Tanger I" and "Tanger II," neither of which is a perfect circle, and you're better off driving from one section to the other (I'm guessing "Tanger II" was an expansion, but it could've been better-designed). Woodbury, on the other hand, is much more conducive to pedestrian traffic, and if you keep walking in circles, you eventually hit all of the stores. There's also the issue of the merchandise; when I go to an outlet, I expect overstocked merchandise from the actual store, but a lot of the stores at Tanger had lower-priced, lower-quality merchandise manufactured specifically for the outlet. This is a pet peeve of mine--I'm going to an outlet because I want the real stuff for cheap, not because I want a crappier version of the real stuff for not-so-cheap. Granted, Woodbury can suffer from this malady at times, but to a much lesser degree. Finally--and I don't know how to say this without sounding like a huge snob, but--the clientele is a bit less upscale at Tanger, which is probably due to the fact that the stores aren't as nice (no Prada or Chanel here!). There are a lot of teen-oriented stores like Claire's and American Eagle, and I was called "ma'am" a bit more than I would've liked. There's nothing like feeling old when you shop.

So, is Tanger worth the trip? If you're out in the Hamptons, no--shopping in East Hampton is much better (and, yes, much pricier). If you're in the North Fork and it's raining and you're sick of going to vineyards, then, okay, maybe. But I'm going to stick with Woodbury Commons as my outlet mall of choice. Which reminds me, I'm due for a trip there soon...
Website of the week
New Yorkers pride themselves on their clothing. We think New Englanders are too preppy, West Coasters too casual, and everyone else in between too boring to matter. This may be because New York City is the fashion capital of the country, or it may be that most of us don't have fancy cars to drive around in, so we let our clothes speak for us instead. Regardless, we've got an attitude about our clothes. Which is why the blog Ugly Outfits New York is so entertaining -- it proves that not all New Yorkers are straight out of Vogue. A sort of anti-Sartorialist, the blog highlights fashion faux pas from unsightly undergarments (visible bras appears to be the writer's #1 pet peeve) to overexposed body parts to, well, simply hideous outfits.

And while having a laugh at the fashion-challenged might be a bit cruel, I'm actually more intrigued by people who are trying just a bit too hard--and failing--with their outfits. Take, for example, this anonymous lass, about whom the blogger succinctly commented, "I had a strange craving for tiramisu after I saw her." True, Ugly Outfits may not be as well written as, say, Go Fug Yourself, but its fashion victims are real people--not celebrities--and while their outfits are just as cringe-worthy, the simple setting works. And while the blog is best suited for a procrastination break at work, I'm going to check it on a regular basis--to make sure I don't end up on it.

Monday, July 09, 2007

The week in shopping
Sadly, Find Outlet is closing after eight years of sample sales and indie-designer overstocks. This two-day sale takes place at a special warehouse. Cash only. 7/11-7/12; 11-7; 144 W. 36th st. (Broadway & 7th Ave.).

Sigerson Morrison's big sale starts Sunday: shoes and bags will be 50% off at the main store and at Belle. 7/15-7/30; 11-7, noon-6 Sun.; 242 Mott St. (at Prince St.), 28 Prince St. (at Mott St.).

Groovy West Village shop Mick Margo has coveted lines Isabel Murant, Vena Cava, and Borne for up to 80% off. 7/13-7/17; noon-7 (noon-6 Sun.); 19 Commerce St. (west of 7th Ave.).

Romantics, rejoice: Lyell's pretty, vintage-inspired clothes are under $200. 7/14-8/5; noon-7; 173 Elizabeth St. (Kenmare & Spring Sts.).

Fancy designer shoes--think YSL, Chloe, Jimmy Choo--are 60% off at Chuckies New York. 7/10-7/22; 1073 3rd Ave. (63rd & 64th Sts.), 1169 Madison Ave. (85th & 86th Sts.).

Score Cheryl Shops fave Nanette Lepore at wholesale prices and below. 7/11-7/12; 9-6; 225 W. 35th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), 4th fl.

Catherine Angiel's pretty semiprecious jewelry is up to 50% off. Through 7/23; noon-7, noon-6 Sun.; 43 Greenwich Ave. (Charles & Perry Sts.).

Hit Olive & Bette's one-day sale for Rachel Pally, Susana Monaco, and more. 7/13; 8-7:30; 246 Columbus Ave. (near 71st St.).

West Coast Invasion Part 1: Ya-Ya's casual cool separates are under $100; dresses are $130. 7/10-7/11; 11-7:30; 80 W. 40th St. (at 6th Ave.), 7th fl.

West Coast Invasion Part 2: Save up to 50% on LaRok's spring line. 7/10-7/12; 10-6; 250 W. 39th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), ste. 1701.

Dependably stylish Nicholas K clothing and accessories for men and women are $30-$200 at this cash-only sale. Through 7/15; 10-7 Tue. & Wed., 10-3 Thurs., 10-7 Fri., 11-7 Sat. & Sun.; 27 W. 27th St. (Broadway & 6th Ave.), 6th fl.

This week, Art Of Shopping has jeans from 7, Joe's, Earnest Sewn, and more. Through 7/15; 11-7, noon-5 Sun.; 76 Greene St. (Spring & Broome Sts.).

Monday, July 02, 2007

Happy Independence Day!
I'm taking the rest of the week off. Coming next week: my review of the new Space NK boutique in Soho.
MasstigeWatch!
Late last week, Fashionista broke the first photos of the Go International Erin Fetherston for Target collection, and my first thought was, "How adorable!" And then I thought, "Wait, Cheryl, you're supposed to dress your age now." Fetherston's aesthetic is very innocent and girly, which I love, but on a woman of my age and body shape, it looks more Lolita than Eloise. And at this point, I'm kind of over the whole dress-like-a-6-year-old look. The coats are cute, though. The collection hits Target stores in November (Libertine is next, on July 15th, followed by Temperley in September).

And speaking of Target, if you go to the website and type in "Devi Kroell," you can preorder her excellent Masstige collection, which is due to hit stores next week. I like the clutch (pictured here).

And if you're not over it yet, Barneys' website has restocked its Kate Moss Topshop collection. To which I say...yawn.
A tale of two waxes
Brazilian bikini waxes have been around for awhile now, but a good waxer is hard to find. After an initial scary visit to the famed J Sisters Salon (where my waxer told me I had a "beautiful" lady part--ewww!), I loyally visited the now-defunct Ella Baché salon until it went out of business. I then found a trustworthy and gentle girl at Eve on Bleecker Street; after she had a baby and left the salon, I had trouble finding a suitable replacement there. I've since tried the East Village's Go Girl (no privacy whatsoever!), the random nail salon by my office (ditto!), and Spa Belles (great for manicures, not so much for waxing--hello, ingrown hairs!). So I decided to suck it up and try two of the most highly rated--and also some of the most expensive--hair removal specialists.

Armed with a Fashion Week gift certificate for a free Brazilian (thanks, Pegah Anvarian!), I headed to Completely Bare's Flatiron location back in April. CB's owner, Cindy Barshop, is completely press-savvy (hence the swag), so I was expecting a lot of hype and little substance. What I found, however, was a totally luxe, relaxing environment--I felt like I was at someone's trendy loft, not a salon--with friendly employees. My treatment room had a TV in the ceiling, which happened to be playing the Audrey Hepburn movie Sabrina while I was there. My aesthetician was young and cute (and a white American woman--which was a first for me), and we talked about my upcoming trip to Miami while she worked. We collaborated on a perfect shape (I actually prefer something between a Brazilian and a French wax), and I can honestly say it was the least painful bikini wax I'd ever had. Plus, at the end, you get a little wipey thing that makes your hoo-hoo smell like a pina colada. (And who doesn't love it when her hoo-hoo smells like an umbrella drink?) Of course, all this pampering doesn't come cheap--after all, someone needs to pay for Completely Bare's hard-working publicist--a Brazilian is $68, or $75, if you want to go "completely bare." Thank god for gift certificates!

Faced with shelling out $80 (with tip) last week, I instead decided to try Shobha Soho, an Indian salon recommended by Special Correspondent Leighann, and reportedly where Gisele Bundchen herself gets her hoobie waxed. (Hey, if it's good enough for Gisele...) Located in a random Soho office building, Shobha is bright and colorful, and the ladies working there are all very warm and friendly; my only complaint about the space is that if you have to pee pre-treatment, you have to schlepp down the hallway to the building's shared restroom. My waxer got right to work...and work she did, for a whole half hour. Seriously, it was the longest wax I've ever had, a fact not improved by the clock on the wall, which I was able to stare at for my entire treatment. Also, it hurt. A lot. So much that I breathed an audible sigh of relief when my hoob was treated to a cold compress at the end. Also, I am now hairless save for a small Hitler moustache; perhaps I didn't communicate very effectively with my waxer (whom, I'll admit, I had a hard time understanding), because I would've preferred a bit more hair to remain. And with tax and tip, the price came out to be...about $10 less than Completely Bare.

So I've learned my lesson. I know I have expensive taste, but when it comes to certain things--plastic surgeons, steak, shoes--cheaper isn't better. And doesn't my hoo-hoo deserve the best?
The week in shopping
My kind of fireworks: Take $20 off a $100 order, $50 off a $250 order, or $100 off a $500 order when you enter code FIREWORKS07 at Cheryl Shops fave shopbop.com now through 7/4!

All the Aussie and Kiwi clothes you covet (think Karen Walker and Lover) are 50%-75% off at Elizabeth Charles in store and on the website! Through 7/8; noon-7:30, noon-6:30 Sun., closed Mon.; 639-1/2 Hudson St. (Gansevoort & Horatio Sts.).

Schlepp out to Flatbush and be rewarded with shoes by Marc Jacobs, Giuseppe Zanotti, and more for 40%-70% off at Shoes at Esti's. Through 7/30; 10-5:30, 10-3 Fri., closed Sat.; 1888 Coney Islan Ave. (at Ave. O), Flatbush, Brooklyn.

Big Drop has 3.1 Phillip Lim, Rebecca Taylor, and other coveted contemporary labels at this ongoing sale. Through 8/15; 11-8, noon-8 Sun.; 425 W. Broadway (Prince & Spring Sts.).

Take an additional 20% off all sale merch at Urban Outfitters--no promo code needed--through 7/9.

Save up to 50% at L'Occitane's summer sale.

Select shoes are 50% off at Hollywould.

"Vintage" favorites are 20% off at Stila. Click here to shop, through Wednesday.