Goldilocks goes shopping. Again.

Why Goldilocks? Because she liked her own way, was probably the first fussy shopper in literature, and shopped till she dropped. I'm not blonde, but girls with mouse-brown hair don't have those traits in fairy tales, which is of course why they're fairy tales. My first stop was the Ralph Lauren Collection Store on Madison Avenue. This was actually a scouting expedition for a friend who'll need something to wear to a gala at which she's being honored, so I was doubly delighted to help her out by skipping through the pretty rooms. In case you're wondering, yes, a lot of the runway "just a dream" items are here, and are being happily tried on by women who apparently need really fine suits, really great jackets, lovely suedes, as well as event clothes... It spoils you for ordinary retail. My most recent RL purchase is the Quinby jacket, which is a leather shirt jacket and is busy getting acquainted with its new friends, my skirts, slacks and jeans.

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.

shrunken
shirt
another
shrunken
shirt

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.


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.




15 comments:

  1. You had quite a day! Glad you like the denim dress. That one has been on my radar. The UO tank is fabulous!

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  2. Love it. You'd make an excellent shopping partner - informed, discriminating and no-nonsense.

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  3. Hi, JulieStyles, yes, thanks to our busses, which actually take you where you want to be, I covered a lot of ground . Let me add that there's.a fabric placket under the zipper on thal llttle dress so the teeth don't meet your skin.

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  4. Hi, Raina Cox, thanks! I learned the hard way - from my mom. If she were with us now, she'd fall down dead all over again from sticker shock. Mom if you can read this where you are, you know this is true.

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  5. Southern Belle Ph.D.March 12, 2012 at 4:11 PM

    Thank you so very much for taking us along on your shopping adventure. You did cover a lot of territory! Hope Himself had something special and relaxing waiting for you when you arrived home!!

    I ordered the shrunken Madewell shirts (2) and sized up. Good thing. I had to keep them as I loved the colors. I also kept a chambray shirt as well but probably should not have sized up. These were my first Madewell purchases so we shall see. Many posts ago, you mentioned Brooks Brothers in passing. I am relying more and more on them as the quality diminishes at J Crew. Do you ever shop there? Many feel they are too frumpy or old ladyish but I suppose I disagree. They have a sale coming up on March 30th and I think I am going to spend some bucks there!

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  6. H, Southern Belle Ph.D., in a strange way, shopping at BB is like shopping at JC. Seriously - you have to be careful in your set elections, at JC to avoid poor workmanship and low-end fabrics, at BB to avoid the country club look when you don't want it. At BB, however, the seams and hems are generally generous enough to allow for good tailoring. And if you want a Mad Men look, the only source more authentic than BB is thrift or vintage. And BB's pricing is reliable. There's a large BB with a good women's department right across the street from the JC at East 45th Street and Madison, so it's actually easy to compare.

    I loved the colors of the Madewell shirts, and I may try them again later in the season when more reviews are are in!

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    1. oops, I meant "selections," not "set elections." auto-correct snuck that one in on me.

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    2. Southern Belle Ph.D.March 13, 2012 at 12:23 PM

      Wellfedfred, Thank you for the thought-provoking response! I truly am what I consider to be a Southern lady so I had to laugh a bit. We are actually a dying breed, I think. I never thought about a "country club look" but you are absolutely right! I am not a CC member nor will I be but I suspect I do portray that look just by my dress. Interesting...I do wear my MM pearls with just about everything, sweatshirts and tees even, though they are worn underneath each. I am "known" for my pearls, sweatshirts, and flip flops! Further, I am about to move within 25 miles of one of only four Country Club BB stores!!!

      Thanks again for getting my attention. I will be thinking about this all afternoon!

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    3. How lovely to have such a wonderful signature piece of jewelry!

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  7. I feel like I was with you for the whole day that was so well-written. Those stairs were tiring. The tank was liking finding buried treasure! It's so you! And a JC dress that you like waiting at home, miracles can happen.
    Hmph I also like that linen slicker but it does sound furnace-like. I question heavy hardware on light material. Don't the designers, who went to school for that, understand that the hardware will pull the fabric and throw off the alignment of the whole piece?
    Thanks for the great post.

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  8. Dani, thank you! I think the slicker will see at least one major markdown or promo, and then it might be worth having something cute but of possible utility. I think it's also possible that the hardware could set differently on different bodies.

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  9. And no errors on the French T? Awesome. V. cute casual dress. Is it really midthigh in length as it looks on the model? You friend is lucky to have you vetting her gala look. I am easily overwhelmed.

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  10. Hi, Lane, the dress comes to the top of my kneecap. I'm 5'4, 5'5. As to the French, I bought the tank at Urban Outfitters where I am about 2 or 3 times as old as their average shopper and am therefore treated with the utmost respect and courtesy. Ahem. I'm not a theologian but even I can recognize that something's up when a shirt calls my name.

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  11. You're my kinda shopper. If I'm up just for window-shopping, I'd walk for hours on end. I tried on the Shrunken Shirts at MW too. I sized up to a medium and it still felt a bit fitted. Nice construction though. Thanks for sharing your shopping trip with us :)

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  12. Hi, Closet Crisis! I cheated by saving energy (mine), took buses. I may go look at those shirts again in a few weeks. I'll see how the markdowns go.

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