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Posts Tagged ‘otte’

Capsule wardrobe: spring pants

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I have received a few requests from readers to share my must-have list of spring pants—much like the one on tops I quite recently provided for you. And I’m actually glad you asked, because I’m looking to stop defaulting to denim so constantly and rotate in some new options, many of which already exist in my closet, lonely and starved for attention. First up: The easiest thing in the world to sub in for jeans is a pair of casual chinos; they’re always so nice and unexpected in a color other than khaki. Traditionally, I have liked them sized up and super-slouchy, but lately that’s striking me as possibly a bit sloppy. This pair from J Brand is roomy enough to let me feel like myself, but tailored enough to look neat.


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What could be better than the classic black trouser being given the elastic waist pull-up treatment? This wins my vote for the pant I most want to wear on a plane when I need to look good after the flight. (Check out this less pricey option)

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Seasons come, seasons go, my love for cargo pants  remains. They’re a classic by now, and nothing looks better than when you wear them with a white tee or button down and a big pair of earrings. (here’s a somewhat more casual pair I love from Current Elliott).

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I am coming around to the idea that we might all be better off with one wildly printed pair of pants in our closets. These have such a classic cut that it keeps the crazy in check—which is what makes them work.

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A classic black cropped pant never hurt anyone.


Posted on March 20th, 2014 22 Comments

Print of the week

msgm top otte

This is what we call a good mood in a top.

Posted on January 15th, 2014 5 Comments

Cheap(er) and chic of the week: Shopping the sales part 2

msgm boucle chain jacket

On our first sale outing before the holidays, I covered the classics; now it’s time for the fun, not-quite-everyday stuff. Like this boucle jacket with chain details, which sits right at the intersection of French lady and rock and roll.

thakoon addition coat

I’ve been obsessing over short-sleeved coats  lately, and have had my eye on this one in particular all season. The leopard print is nice and faded out, which keeps it from coming off too costumey or retro, and the cut couldn’t be cleaner, which ditto.

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True, I might never actually wear them. And yet part of me feels I must have them.

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There’s nothing that comes off as surprisingly sophisticated as a well-executed dot print, and this Equipment top in red and navy gets it just exactly right.

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There has been much discussion of the more down-the-rabbit-hole aspects of J. Crew’s collection this season (sequined sweatshirts; T-shirts studded with leather flowers; bejeweled button-downs) and this silk-embroidered cashmere sweater is definitely part of the lunacy. It looks a bit like wearing a rug on your chest—but in a way I’m actually sort of digging.

Posted on January 2nd, 2014 6 Comments

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

Say it loud

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I like a nice, sophisticated floral: not anything that shows too much restraint,  mind you, but one with a clean color palette and not all that much going on in the way of trickery. And I’ve never gone for anything too bright, or pink, or rosy, because that can skew so mumsy, or Lily Pulitzer, or upholstery-ish, or—not infrequently—all three.  And yet! I have not been able to get this Tsumori Chisato top off my mind since I saw it at at Otte earlier this week: yes, it totally looks like there was an explosion at the flower shop, and yes, every shade is just a touch more lurid than one sees in nature. But possibly that’s not such a bad thing: maybe we all need room in our closets for at least one print that says f*** you to careful good taste (while still managing not to be in actual bad taste) and that makes you happy the minute you put it on.

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This tank almost gets away with being quite straightforwardly pretty—but then those big wild yellow bursts come along and save it from such a pedestrian fate.

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I know, a knife pleat seems awfully lady. But I’m convinced this would be the kind of easy, comfortable top a person might reach for all season long.

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Hats off to J. Crew for bringing us the most Go Big or Go Home Liberty print maybe ever.




Posted on February 28th, 2013 13 Comments

When in doubt, wear what you wore yesterday

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French fashion editors always wear what they wore yesterday. Photo via The Cut

A friend advanced this rather European philosophy to me back in college, and I’ve been a fond—if not constant—adherent to it ever since. Indulging too literally isn’t necessarily advisable (not to mention hygienic) but allowing yourself  to simply rotate a number of pieces over the course of a few days can be such a welcome departure from constant rounds of morning wardrobe stress. Back when I worked in an office, there were more than a few weeks when I wore the same one or two pairs of jeans with maybe two different blazers, taking care every day simply  to swap out different tops, of both the classic and statement-y variety. You’d be surprised how little it takes to look like you made an effort: throw a cardigan and a skirt into the mix and you’re positively aces. The Wear What You Wore Yesterday rule is excellent for travel, which is why it must be on my mind. I inevitably end up rotating the same five things the whole time I’m on a trip, and in fact if only I could figure out in advance what those five things were going to be, I’d really be in business. Here are my best guesses.


A classic-but-not-too-basic white shirt like this one from Otte.  It’s silk and hangs beautifully, and is all you need to dress up a pair of jeans.

Jeans, because obviously. Right now I am deeply fixated on this moto pair from Rag & Bone; they’re the best moto jeans I’ve seen, and I’ve been looking.


A big roomy cardigan is always part of the mix; this one is very light, which is nice when you want a thin layer under a jacket, but I like them big and huggy too.

leng shawl

You can’t go wrong with a basic  J. Crew schoolboy blazer, but it’s fun to play with shape and proportion sometimes, and this Helmut Lang shawl jacket is as elegant as a blazer, but infinitely more comfortable and packable.

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Now you’ve got to throw in some color:  I love any print that works in poppy orange as masterfully as this Madewell one does.

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And I’m still feeling bright green big time.



Posted on January 11th, 2013 6 Comments