Shopping NYC 2016
Back in my retail buying days I spent tons of time in the city, and was always up to date on where to eat, shop, and stay. These days I’m feeling like a bit of a country bumpkin, so I made a few quick trips into the city to see what’s new. Here’s what I found: the perfect soccer mom coat, pants to see you through the season, and fast but fab fashion.
While New York is one of the last places on earth that actually has an abundance of interesting boutiques, this time I mainly stuck to the chains that we don’t have around here. My interest has been piqued lately by COS, the high-end division of H&M. I browse it online but have never made a purchase because I was afraid I’d be disappointed as I so often am at H&M. My trip to the Soho store was a happy surprise. It comes pretty close to boutique shopping (without the service; not one salesperson asked if we needed any help). Racks were well merchandised with crisp white shirts with Peter Pan collars, boxy tees with bow detailing, and cropped wide leg pants. Shapes are very 80’s with lots of oversized tops, skinny bottoms with interesting details and fabrications, plus a strong collection of coats. My sister and I had no problem snagging a few goodies: an oversized green cardigan for her and a fine merino crew neck sweater with sweet scalloping at the hem and sleeves for me. Both look much more expensive than their retail prices. Most items are a wallet-friendly $49 to $99. If I was in need of a new wardrobe, I could find it here.
Kit and Ace
Designed by Lulu Lemon ex-pats, the concept here is genius: use technical textiles for everyday clothing. Really…don’t we all want to sport our yoga wear all the time? Working in stretchy fabrications, this is the shop where you just want to touch everything. You’ll find all manner of tees, from body skimming to boxy, tons of drapey cardigans in a super soft cashmere mix, and the PANTS! These are brilliantly designed with high waists and tons of stretch in a robust Ponte fabric. I kid you not that I wore nothing else in three days in NYC. I packed a few other options of course, but just kept pulling on my Kit & Ace. When I got home, I followed the washing instructions: cold, on delicate, and lay flat to dry, and they came out better than dry cleaned. Warm enough for cooler weather, I’m definitely following up with another pair. There are a few versions in the same fabric, from a skinny style with flattering seams to a more relaxed, pocketed pair. Even my husband indulged in a few items, and if you’ve been reading the list long enough, you know how extremely picky he is.
The Perfect $89 coat at Uniqlo
We always stock up on long underwear and lightweight down vests at Uniqlo. Their prices are irresistible but I tend to find most of their other clothing disappointing, either in fit, quality or styling. But not this coat. I am in love! It’s fuzzy on the inside, weather-proof on the outside, hooded, and has a neat little pull at the waist to give it some shape. While soccer mom days are unfortunately over for me, this is what I would be wearing. It’s perfect.
1. Kit and Ace York Pant $148
2. Kit and Ace Comforter Wrap $198
3. COS Scalloped Merino Wool Jumper, $99
5. COS Oversized Cardigan $99
The Apartment at The Line
On the other end of the spectrum is this intriguing shop on Greene Street in Soho. It’s practically hiding…but just look for the number next to Yves St. Laurent, hop on the elevator and enter, well, an apartment. Sort of like walking into the pad of your rich friend with the best taste in the world, the idea behind The Line is that it’s an actual apartment and the goods are displayed the way they would live in someone’s home. Set foot in the living room and ogle the furniture and objets, then pass through the “closet” lined on either side with high-end designer deliciousness and end up in the bathroom with all sorts of organic and luxurious bath products. The fun thing is, while it’s carefully curated, everything is for sale. You’d expect a snobby sales team, but they were perfectly lovely. By the end my sister and I were drinking wine around the “kitchen table” and buying slim, stunning glasses, just right for Thanksgiving and most likely the cheapest thing in the place at $10 each.
photo credit: The Apartment at The Line
Santiago Calatrava’s Oculus is a must see and it was just a few blocks from our home base at The Beekman. This soaring edifice and travel hub is also a giant and confusing subterranean mall. It’s definitely an architectural wonder, but I had trouble making sense of it all, and spent a lot of time wandering around aimlessly. There’s a ton of shopping here, but I would save it for a rainy day destination, as spending so much time inside in NYC is just, well, weird. Inside the Oculus you’ll find a host of shops (including Kit and Ace and Cos mentioned here), and a long tramp down interminable corridors lands you at the higher end mall which houses the likes of Saks, Diane Von Furstenberg, Vince, Theory and Paul Smith.
There’s a fairly brilliant food court (with an outpost for those crazy Black Seed bagels) with a stunning view of the Hudson, but I chose the dark labyrinth of Le District, a French version of Eataly. While I wouldn’t bother again with their good, but basic, French restaurant Beauborg (there are so many more interesting French eateries in NYC), the bar a vin in the middle is a nice stop for a plate of gooey cheese and a glass of Bordeaux. Those that pass through on their way home to Hoboken and environs are lucky to grab a fat rotisserie chicken or massive lamb chop from the butcher on site, plus all manner of French groceries, but it’s not a must-see, must-do for tourists like me.
Fresh fish at Le District
French(ish) fruits at Le District
If you’re heading in for the holidays, The Winter Village at Bryant Park is a must. This European inspired open-air market features hundreds of pop-up shops and artisans from around the world. There are plenty of snack choices, too, and a skating rink in the middle. It wasn’t open yet on my trip, but I went last year and it’s festive and fun. Find out more here.