Well, life is the art of the possible. The following day I visited a few J.Crew stores, a Madewell store, and an Urban Outfitters palace. I hope I'm not the only one to notice a distressing trend in retail - high and challenging flights of stairs. J.Crew at Fifth Avenue and 16th Street has a staircase that is suitable for climbing up on horseback if you want to make a statement or survey the potential possessions laid out on the ground floor. Madewell, nearby, is also in formerly industrial premises, meaning very high ceilings, meaning a short but vigorous climb is necessary if you want to see more than the items on the ground floor - but you have to be motivated. UO on Third Avenue and 60th Street (it was on the way home, and a good thing it was!) has a huffy-puffy staircase as well. However, UO's staircase has a very large landing with some choice merch displayed on it, so you can look like you're browsing as you stop to catch your breath. And an awful lot of the pretties at the J.Crew Collection store on Madison Avenue and 66th Street are down one flight... . A little more of this and we may no longer need vanity sizing.
I don't think enough people enter the 66th Street store, and this is a pity, because the staff is uniformly lovely and helpful and cheerful, and you won't see a lot of these Collection items at any other store, at least not at this time of year. This store got a bad rap when it opened as the Wedding Store, with Dracula's ex-butler at the door and appointments required to meet with a "consultant" and pick out your wedding gown from samples or from a book. The whole "come in and order without trying on" routine reminded me of Montgomery Ward's old catalog storefronts, and yes, I have been in one, because there were still a couple on the East End of Long Island when I was very little. You know, back in the Dark Ages, before the publicists changed the name of the East End to "the Hamptons." Hm, you can tell we're getting ready for summer out here .... Anyway, now the little JC store is just charming and you should visit it. Pale green color denim high-waisted skirt, loved. Big bright "Crusader" print items, the print just looked loud.
So, what I liked in the Collection Store: colors, lots of blue and green tones, corals, lovely corals. I've already commented on the Studded Standing-Up Pants. There were long party skirts and lots of capris, different florals, did not see Liberty shirts, though. Loved the featherweight cashmeres. I'm tired of salmons and oranges. I do not want to dress like health food.
On to Rockefeller Center, reported to have expanded the shoe/bag section. I do not believe that for a minute. Let's see, I looked at the Linen Slicker. The fabric is very shiny, the heavy-duty clasps are too heavy for the fabric. Left it there. I had hoped it would be a summer raincoat, because I have a feeling this summer will be wet. However, the material is a linenish base coated with polyurethane. I don't think it will be wearable in conditions of heat and humidity. A few air holes might have helped. Pleasantly light weight, though, which is a plus. I'll wait for markdowns on that one. I will pass over the Dove shirt. There's a legend that when one of his generals said that a particular maneuver was "Impossible," Napoleon replied, "Impossible? ce n'est pas français!" or "impossible isn't French!" Well, guess what, the words on the Dove shirt are impossible.
Jumped on the bus and went down to 16th Street. The famous installation of gloves on the staircase walls has grown. Many of the gloves are old and worn, making it look more and more like The Great Lost & Found in the Sky. Here: bandanna tees in four (4) colors, I wasn't loving any, thought the henna had possibilities. Looked at chambray shirt (over-priced), Western denim shirt (cute, but given JC's history with buttons, I'm suspicious of their ability with snaps. I can sew on a button, but a snap ?) Tweed linen jacket and pants - hmm, loved the fabric in the abstract, but several jackets were already out at the elbows from having been tried on. Linen is not a forgiving fabric. What else? Striped tees, plaid shirts--still loving the collar of the boy shirt, skimpy-looking denim jacket, bright paisleys. No surprises.
Virtuously walked back uptown a few blocks to Madewell. Here I definitely wanted to study chambray. Now remember, the more something costs, the more I expect from it. I couldn't fall in love with either of the shirts with buttons, the collar details didn't speak to me, and the western (snaps) looked short. I had also wanted to check out the 7 different colors of the Shrunken Oxford Shirt, which I kept wanting to call Frobisher. I don't know why. The collar is great, love all of the colors though only 6 were in residence, but there is some serious "shrunken" going on there. Loved the storybook scarf, loved the "GeorgyPorgy" scarf, would have bought them both but for the fabric. It is not cotton, which is my preferred scarf fabric for warm days. C'mon, people, even Hermès makes printed cotton scarves. Madewell's offering a warm blend of something and wool, or something and rayon, maybe cotton and something.. No sale, even though the Alphabet (GeorgyPorgy) is so cute I didn't even bother to check the French. Yes.That.Cute. Also adorable and very comfortable at Madewell, the striped Keds, and believe me if you are stuck home with little ones who have colds on a dark March day, you should wear these. They'll help. Well, some.
So I wound up not buying anything, but back uptown I passed Urban Outfitters, and on a whim checked out their chambray shirts. I'm wearing one now. It's all cotton, has natural color sewn-on buttons, no gimmicky collar thingies, and I was able to try on a bunch to find the one with the best fading for me.
I also bought two - two! of this tank top. It's 100% cotton, fits TTS I'd say, and recites the Seven Deadly Sins in French. I find it hard to resist one of same (Gluttony)
but all seven at a go? Of course I brought it home.
but all seven at a go? Of course I brought it home.
Waiting for me at home was the J.Crew denim dress, which I'd ordered out of curiosity. This was a pleasant surprise. The zipper up the back was inoffensive on, the fit was great, loved the sleeves and neckline, and I think it could be very wearable. A fabric placket under the zip keeps the teeth away from your skin. It's on 60-day probation, but I think it's a keeper.