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Posts Tagged ‘A Detacher’

The Girls of a Certain Age list: New York City boutiques


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 detacherA 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 storeAnna 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 storeBird 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 storeBlue 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 storeCastor & 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 storeCreatures 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 storeMaryam 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 storeNo. 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 storeOak 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 storeOpening 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 storeOtte 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 storeSteven 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 storeTen 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 storeZero + 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.

Posted on July 9th, 2013 9 Comments



Rather lot to pay for a summer flat, to be sure. But that utilitarian red strap is the kind of really unusual touch that almost never pays off—but totally does here, don’t you think?

Posted on May 8th, 2013 30 Comments

Shopping for pretend: two Los Angeles spots I keep missing

mohawk general store

Mohawk General Store is in hipsterville Silver Lake—a place I used to know well back when I read Dirty Plotte and dated skinny angry boys with huge LP collections, but where I literally do not think I have ventured more than twice since I turned 40. I should not have stayed away: this boutique is working a very gracefully grown-up hipster look I can completely endorse.

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The aesthetic  is kind of monochrome bohemian, but tomboyish and a touch deconstructed, if that makes any sense. Very easy shapes with an emphasis on comfort before cool (which is, of course, deeply cool). And very little in the way of color, which is so refreshing for LA.  This dress is by A Detacher, and is so totally out of my playbook, what with the very clean shape, and then the one quite interesting flourish.

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I love this gauzy henley (remember how we all used to have tops like these, but in colors like baby blue?) though I’d wear mine unbuttoned.

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This sundress  is a wee bit on the young side (although the inched-in straps grow it up a bit) and would require a strapless bra for all but the very flattest among us, but I’m a sucker for that asymmetrical hem.


I’ve got no good excuse for never making it to Tenoversix: it’s right on Melrose, a boulevard on which I can be said to have have clocked some miles. Does this place not look divine?

karen walker

It all continues to be about a big cheery, cheeky sunglass for me.

rope bracelet

This rope bracelet looks very French luxury house, but is in fact it is just over $100.


I almost don’t even care what these Henrik Vibskov perfumes smell like. The fact that they come in knitted cozies is more than enough.


It’s quite fitting that this card holder is from Want Les Essentiels de la Vie because I do not know if I can proceed even one more day of my vie without it.


Look at it from the back, with the money clip! So clever.

Posted on April 18th, 2013 10 Comments