Shopping

By P.J. Gach

I had an epiphany at a sample sale! There I was, trying on this cute pastel plaid shrunken Chanel style jacket, at a whopping ten bucks, when I looked in the mirror and went, “Oh!” The jacket fit, looked cute, and is soo in for fall, but y’know I felt uncomfortable. I realized that even at that great price, I’d never wear it. I almost fell into the “But it’s on sale” trap. We all do it. We’re wandering around in a shop somewhere, having that must buy urge, and we see something really cute on sale. We try it on, it fits, we’re not that crazy about it and yet it’s ON SALE. It whimpers softly in the dark, because you haven’t paid any attention to it. You look at the item sadly, and think to yourself, “one day, some day, soon I will wear it.”

In the end you’ve wasted closet space, money, time and are now stuck with an item you’ll never use. Stop and think before you buy a sale item. If you find yourself staring at the mirror feeling slightly uncomfortable, walk away. It’s better to say no to something you really don’t love than buy something that will sob quietly in the corner of your closet at night, knowing it’s unloved and unwanted.

Here’s a quick update about Hannah Nordgen – seamstress and designer extraordinaire. She now has a website that’s chock full of information, pictures and other goodies that you can use. Check it out at http://www.hnordgrenatelier.com

If you’ve hit the stores or picked up a magazine, or even read my column last month, you’ll notice that the vintage look is hot. Not near a vintage shop? One is only a mouse click away Fashion Dig, http://www.fashiondig.com has everything from flapper frocks to 70′s Gunne Saxe dresses. There’s a local shop finder, online member shops, community and a vintage clothing expert who can answer any question you might throw at her.

Speaking of shopping on the ‘Net; you may want to check out http://www.PetEdge.com. There you’ll find kitty townhouses for $22.99, dog sweaters from $2.99, Bella pet carriers starting at $14.99.There’s tons of grooming and health items, and a variety of toys for your fur child.

School’s here, and you know that means new back to school stuff for the wee ones. If you’re looking for a fun and cool lunch box, check out these sites; http://www.wickedcoolstuff.com, http://www.themacbethcollection.com, http://www.getzooked.com, and http://www.pokkadots.com.

You’ll find unique, retro and amusing lunchboxes for big and little kids.
Lulah (http://www.lulah.com) has hand knit and cashmere sweaters for your future fashionista. Don’t forget that Halloween is just around the corner and it’s never too late to start planning your child’s costume. You can find Raggedy Ann and Andy, Wednesday Addams and other characters at http://www.halloweenstreet.com. Other neat costume sites are http://www.charliecrow.com and http://www.starcostumes.com.

Once the weather gets colder, you may want to spruce up your interiors. After all when it’s cold it’s nice to nest in a comfy, luxurious space.

What’s nicer than a duvet cover or bedspread that has charming floral appliqués is in a bright array of colors and is only $65 for Queen? A lot of chocolate! Or you could buy the matching curtains for $40 for one panel, or two panels for $75.00. Seriously, you may have walked by Dress-Shoppe a thousand times I the East Village and noticed the beautifully hand made clothing from India, but all along the walls and the back of the shop are the most lavish curtains, accent pillows and bedspreads this side of Pratesi. Silk embroidered curtains (think silver on white) are $100 each or two for $50.00. Accent pillow coverings start at $5.00 and if you don’t have a pillow to toss in, $10 and up get you the duo. Now’s the time to make your boudoir exciting, sexy and glorious so you can snuggle when it gets colder outside.

If you’re looking for after five, check the back wall. There I spied an exquisite floor length lavender silk skirt with embroidery you don’t see everyday. And the price…soo affordable darling.

Dress Shoppe
83 2nd Avenue (between E4th & E5th Streets)
212-228-1463 or 212-260-4963
Mon-Sat 12PM-10:30PM
Sunday 12PM–8:30PM

When it’s colder we need to take better care of our skin. The cold elements are just as damaging as the sun in summer. If you’ve been thinking about microdermabrasion, fotofacails, or laser hair removal head on over to the American Laser Center on 80 5th Avenue, Suite 1607 between 14th and 15th Streets. The office is part of a national chain http://www.americanlasercenters.com. Every procedure is overseen by a doctor. Their permanent hair removal by lasers and skin rejuvenation (microdermabrasion) works just as well for darker skin tones as it does for fair skin tomes. You can use microdermabrasion to get rid of rosacea, age spots, telangasia, lesions and fine wrinkles. Their hair removal treatments have a two year written guarantee. If any hair grows in after the final treatment, they’ll remove it for free. Each body part (binki, back, chin, lip, underarms, lower legs) takes six treatments to get rid of unsightly hair. So, it would make sense to pay for six treatments, right? If it turns out that you need more than six treatments, you don’t pay for any additional treatments. Now that’s rare in the medical field. Call 1-888-645-3312 for a free consultation.

Need a hostess gift? How about a wonderful hand painted plate with dancing fishes, classic sun and moon, or a Moorish abstract? Check out Marrakech East-Importer of Fine Moroccan Crafts. Hanging metal chandeliers start at $75, hand painted goatskin lampshades are $100, those hand painted plates start at $35.00. And there are tiny coffee pots, Objet D’arts and lovely hand carved wooden tables as well.

Marrakech East: Importer of Fine Moroccan Crafts
434 East 11th Street, (between Avenue A & First Ave)
212-387-9630
Open Everyday 1PM – 10PM, but sometimes they have insomnia and are open till 1AM.

Willow Stream The Spas At Fairmont is a world-renowned spa with salons at all the Fairmont hotels, including Southampton, Turnberry Isle and Scottsdale. Not only are their spa treatments excellent, they’ve also come out with a wonderful line of products, Willow Stream Energy. Their energy line is perfect for the revved up life we lead in the fall. The scents used are lemongrass, ginger and sandalwood. I tried the lemongrass energy soap and have decided that I’m going to marry it. When I opened the box, I was transported to a lemon grove. The soap contains shea butter, lemongrass, ginger and sandalwood. It gives you luscious suds, washes off quickly and makes you feel refreshed and clean. After a hard day of shopping, I slipped into the tub using their ginger scented Hydrating Sea Salts. Aaah, relief! There’s also an Avocado Wrap; it’s body clay that’s applied to thin or drying skin. Smooth it in and let it go to work.

Just in time for the busy birthday season, Willow Stream has marvelous selection of gifts and gift packages. There are treatments for golfers, skiers, fashionistas, moms and babies and more. Take a look at their website http://www.willowstream.com for a full list of their complete line of products and treatments. It’s beautiful and informative.

When you climb down a short flight of stairs, you’re in vintage heaven at Centricity, 63 East 4th Street, 212-979-7601. There you’ll find everything from Vintage Pucci to neat tops by a designer who’s only sixteen. This small shop is crowded with (and I mean floor to ceiling) with vintage shoes, bags and clothes.

On the Upper West Side? Check out Columbus Vintage Boutique, 945 Columbus Ave, between 106th and 107th Streets, 212-280-2002. This tiny marvy shop has everything Brady to vintage furs and a wall of bags. After you’re done shopping, take a break at A. This tiny restaurant has all of NY raving with its mix of French and Caribbean cuisine. Be prepared to wait, it has very few tables and a huge crowd that adores the café. If you want vino with your meal, it’s strictly BYOB.

Can’t figure out if you want vintage or new? Head on over to Tahir, 412 E.9th Street, 212-253-2121. The store is an eclectic mix of modern young designers and vintage wear from Givenchy, Gucci and more.

Need a gift for your fav hipster? Check out Loftworks, 300 Lafayette Street 212-343-8088 or wander a few stores down to Stackhouse 276 Lafayette Street 212-925-6931. Both shops have edgy clothing and accessories that you won’t see anywhere else.

When you’re getting dressed, the most torturous item to struggle into is pantyhose. You’ll wiggle your leg in, pull up, only to find that you’ve got the toes wrong. Or have you ever successfully put on a pair, only to look down and see the snag from hell? Use Air Stocking instead. Air Stocking Premier Silk are spray on stockings. With just one whoosh, you’ve got a pair of flawless gams. The air stocking comes in various shades, (natural, terra cotta, bronze and coco). It takes just a few minutes to spray on and lasts all day. One 4.23 ounce can has 20-25 days of great looking legs. If you want a sexy look for night, use their Jewel air stocking spray. You can wear it on a bare leg, or over one of their shades for a cool, glitzy glam look. You’ll legs will shimmer with thousands of sparkles.

This fall, fashion is all about glamour. It’s glam for day and extra pizzazz for night, which is wonderful for the diva in all of us. The next time you’re heading out for a party and really want to make an entrance use a PutOnPiece by Hair U Wear. PutOnPieces are the coolest hair accessories. Everything from hair bands to ponytails to falls, and they’re made with synthetic hair so people will think you spent major bucks getting those rhinestones or beads placed just so in your hair. I mean, why should celebs get all the fun? Try the Plush with jewels to a party and feel trés chic. Plush with jewels are short open curls that’s gathered together and attached to your head with a claw clip. The Strategically placed rhinestones along the hair make wonderful twinkles in the light every time you move your head. Check out the entire line and be the diva you knew was lurking inside of you.

Let’s face it; we’ve become hooked on the makeover shows we see on TV. I know I’d like someone to take me in hand and stop me from making fashion mistakes. If you’d like to get the assistance that you’d receive from a fashion, etiquette, speech and bodywork expert, but don’t to be seen on TV, you now have a choice. Yes, you can get all those experts to visit you at home, anytime day or night. How? By picking up UDefineU: Foundations of Grace and Elegance. It’s an instructional video series (DVD or VHS) that teaches you how you to become polished poised and sophisticated. Think of it as a “finishing school in a box.” You’ll learn how to carry yourself (poise and posture), foundations for a never-go-wrong- classic wardrobe, etiquette (so important for business functions), and how to speak correctly. In this competitive economy, it takes more than just a degree to get ahead, think of UDefineU as your secret weapon for any corporate or social event.

An expert in her field teaches each section. Maria Verdeja teaches posture and Poise. She’s a professional ballerina who danced in many lead roles including Swan Lake, The Nutcracker and Giselle. Ms. Verdeja also owns and operates her own school in Miami, Florida.

Joyce Sarandon teaches voice and Speech. Ms. Sarandon teaches at the prestigious Lee Strasberg Theater Institute, as a professional speech, voice and diction, monologue and dialect coach. She has also worked with On and Off Broadway productions and has taught in England and Australia.
Patricia Stephenson teaches etiquette. She is the president and founder of Patricia Stephenson & Associates, Inc.; it’s a professional image and etiquette-training firm based in Palm Beach, Florida. Her client list includes private clients, governmental agencies, large corporations, professional associations and colleges.

Fundamentals of Style are taught by Victoria Lopez-Castro, an haute couture designer with her own salon. Her designs have been featured in Italian Vogue, W, Harpers Bazaar and more. Her clients are celebrities and socialites from Palm Beach, New York and Europe. She trained and worked in Carolina Herrera and Fernando Pena, and Raoul Arango’s fashion houses.

The kit also comes with a handy purse sized mini-binder of style cards and a mini-poster style guide, and a reference guide with tips on posture, speech and etiquette. Now you can carry their advice wherever you go. To sign up for free weekly grace and elegance tips or to find out more about the product, go to http://www.udefineu.com.

de~luxe is a brand spanking new line of personal care products that are 100% ingredient driven. They won’t compromise on quality; they want to give you the best products that won’t break your budget. They’ve created everything from soaps to hair care to skincare. They have six scents; lavender, lemon verbena, melon, almond, vanilla citrus and rosemary mint. The soaps are triple milled with a vegetable base of palm, coconut, glycerin and shea butter. You can buy either an exfoliating or non-exfoliating soap. The scents are heady and the lather is rich and creamy, yet gentle enough for sensitive skin. There’s also a luxury aloe and glycerin body wash (I tried the melon), a foaming body scrub (I used the vanilla citrus) and a luxury body crème made of soy, milk protein, shea butter, ale and Vitamin E (tried the lavender). I spent so much time in the shower that my poor roomie was banging on the door to get in. But everything smelt so wonderful and the products were so amazing, that I had a hard time leaving!

de~luxe has also created three products that utilize the healing properties of shea butter. Shea butter is made from a fruit that’s grown in Africa. It’s long been known for its curative properties and is an excellent treatment for extremely dry skin. de~luxe has combined shea butter with lavender oil. Lavender oil has curative properties and can be used for everything from burns to insect bites. De-luxe claims that their shea butter products can be used on mild cases of eczema and psoriasis for an intensive moisturizing experience. I know that many people slather shea butter on their face and body to prevent wrinkles, get rid of stretch marks and maintain a healthy complexion. As I write this, I have de~luxe’s shea butter on my face. You know what? It’s not sticky. Go to http://www.truescents.com find where you can buy de~luxe products in your neighborhood.

If you’re entertaining at home or need a nifty hostess gift, look no further than Archipelago’s AB Home Collection soy wax candle collection. There are eight welcoming scents; caramel, chocolate (has a hint of orange), expresso, vanilla (with a touch of apricot), amber (blended amber and sage), clove, juniper (has a touch of lavender) and lemongrass. The candles burn for 90 hours. They’re available nationwide or hit the web http://www.spashoppe.com.

How’d you like to meet Laura Mercier, Tracey Reese, and Michelle Smith of Milly, Vicky Tiel, Rebecca Taylor or check out trunk shows for Isaac (sigh) Mizrachi, Zac Posen, Michael Kors, Derek Lam and other hot designers? You can almost any day of the week at Bergdorf Goodman. October is overflowing with in store appearances by your favorite designers and the latest looks in fashion, accessories, jewelry and cosmetics. Simply go to http://www.bergdorfgoodman.com, click on events, walk through the door and enter the party.

Till next month!

Originally published October 2004
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