Shop, drop, shop, drop

Vacation was for fun, not working, but I am pretty much in constant fashion-observation mode. It makes me happy to be that way, and I think it's useful. I want always to be learning. I watch for good street fashion. I do my share of shopping as well, of course, but sometimes that's more about browsing and observing than buying, unless I find something I really want.

My favourite places to shop in Vancouver are boutiques of local designers or that sell apparel and accessories from local designers. I think people who have not yet "made it big" or who have chosen to remain regional are doing some of the most innovative work around. And if there are designs that you can get only here or in some other city and not elsewhere, all the better.

It took a bit of explaining to our friends in Philadelphia before they understood what I was looking for. No, not vintage, although we went to some really interesting vintage stores. No, not consignment, although some of those were really interesting as well. I did find evidence of local design, but nothing that really grabbed me. It would probably take more research to find out exactly where to locate those kinds of stores.

We had only limited shopping time in New York City. Sweetie's cousin recommended that we check out Nolita, "North of Little Italy." Nolita is a hip, happening place just below East Houston, bounded by Lafayette Street on the west, Kenmare on the south, and the Bowery on the east. It's full of boutiques and restaurants. Sweetie, Aunt, Uncle, and I spent several hours last Monday afternoon going from shop to shop.

There is a wonderful shop called Bag on Mulberry that sells Italian leather bags, and they were having a sale. Sweetie bought a really cute small cross-body bag with an angled zipper at the top. I really should have bought the lovely small messenger bag I saw. Or maybe the one Sweetie bought in a different colour. They had so many colours!

We went to several other stores along Mulberry, Mott, and Elizabeth. I saw some things I liked, but the few times something really grabbed me (like a gorgeous digital print dress at Emmett McCarthy EMc2 on Elizabeth from I can't remember which designer), it was not available in my size. The boutiques of Nolita skew young, which is really not surprising. That doesn't mean nothing is for me, but it tends to narrow the selection.

Many stores were having summer sales, but some were already into autumn. Rag and Bone had some interesting pieces for autumn, as did Rebecca Taylor. Curiously, we really weren't impressed with F/W 2012 from Tory Burch. Lilith was an interesting shop with lovely fabrics and a well laid-out design, grouped by colour rather than style, and they were still selling summer wear. Shoe on Mulberry smelled great, and it was great to see leather goods being manufactured right in the city, but I did not find the designs very interesting. It was amusing to see a John Fluevog store, and I know Aritzia's new flagship store is not far away in Soho.

I could have gone through Nolita boutiques in even more detail, but for that I would have to have been by myself. As it was, Sweetie and the Aunt were doing really well, and the Uncle seemed to find ways to amuse himself, all too often walking back to where the car was parked in Little Italy.

The place I actually bought two dresses was at Lord & Taylor in Scarsdale, where we went Tuesday morning. They were having a really good summer sale. I like boutique shopping better than department store shopping, but the experience wasn't bad. Sweetie was my stylist that day. She found an adorable flower print from BCBGenerations with a flirty split in the back between the top and the skirt, and a lovely cotton tie-dye dress from Hard Tail, which mostly makes yoga wear but also has some other casual wear.

Since we stayed in Framingham, Massachusetts the next night, of course I had to visit my favourite candy, er, discount shoe store, DSW. But I was quite restrained. I bought only a pair of neutral pumps (which I needed, really!), a small cross-body bag from Nine West to replace one I'd mistakenly left behind in a hotel, and a pair of patterned tights. I almost fell for the Charles by Charles David Avenger Booties. I'm totally down with the five-inch heel and half-inch platform (I did a lot of test walking), and the stretch fabric was really cute, but the slick sole would have made them completely impractical in wet Vancouver.

I wish I hadn't already maxed out my suitcase by the time we spent an evening in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Portsmouth has a lot of great little shops, and I saw evidence of local design, although probably more in jewellery than clothing. Still, it would have been fun.

I was watching for street style everywhere I went, of course, especially in New York. And I found it. It's really not hard to find things that are more interesting than in Vancouver, sad to say. Even in the middle of a 37-degree heatwave, some New Yorkers at least have style. I saw a lot of a trend I thought would not be evident until autumn, especially with it being so hot—open-toed booties, usually flat. I'm afraid I wasn't in street style picture taking mode.

But I was definitely in learning mode. And I realized something that I hadn't been paying enough attention to before. That's for the next post.

1 comment:

holly said...

yay fashion! i feel like i got to take a mini-vacation just by reading this. so glad you found some fun items!