My NYC shopping finds
I'm excited to share what came home in my suitcase following my incredible full-day personal shopping excursion with NYC Image Consultant extraordinaire, Carol Davidson.
We started downtown with smaller boutiques, independent artisans and sample sales before making our way uptown to the iconic New York department stores - Saks and Bloomingdales. Here's our route:
I am certain I tried on over 50 pieces and there were so many gems (due to budget constraints) that I left behind. Budget aside, I am very mindful of the pieces I add to my wardrobe. While there are many things out there I'd love to wear, I feel anxious when my closet starts to feel overstuffed.
In our pre-meeting, I told Carol that I'd love to find a pair of trousers/pants that I could wear to work (or to dress up) that would combine well with my existing wardrobe; but that aren't black. I know that black pants are a staple in many wardrobes - but, I don't wear a lot of black and, historically, my black pants tend to collect dust (instead I reach for my black vegan leather pencil skirt). I also was on the hunt for a few unique pieces that I hopefully couldn't find here in-person in Vancouver. Something special that would combine with what I already have at home.
Here's what I ended up with and from where:
Sezane: Sezane is a Parisian brand that I frequently visit on-line. I've ordered a few pieces in the past, but have been charged what feels like a hefty duty. Stepping into the gorgeous shop in SoHo, feels like shopping into a Parisian boutique. It was so wonderful to see and try on these beautiful pieces in person. The femininity of Sezane's clothing aligns very much with my style personality - so many pretty pieces. Here is what I picked up at this shop:
I love the scalloped ruffle and embroidery details on this top. It's a cotton linen blend, so can hopefully serve me well in late Spring, Summer and early Fall. It pairs well with these navy culottes, but also with denim, shorts/skirts, or even my new pink pants (also purchased at Sezane!). It's something I can wear to work, or wear out socially (this is always a consideration for me, I want my pieces to suit a range of lifestyle activity).
These high waisted, straight-leg trousers ticked the box of my first request. The colour may not feel neutral - but surprisingly, will pair with so many pieces in my wardrobe. They will work well with both sneakers, block heels (as close to a heel as I get these days!), or ankle boots. I've already taken them to the tailor. Thank goodness Carol had hem clips with her so I could envision how they might look. They are a new silhouette for me, so I may need to really put some time in when figuring out outfit combinations - but...that is something I love to do!
A dear friend introduced me to this brand recently and it's become a new favourite. I've ordered two pieces on-line and, like Sezane, it was nice to actually see the clothing in-person.
Quilted reversible bomber jacket:
Interestingly, on my shopping excursion in Paris with a personal shopper, I also purchased a reversible bomber jacket (which I still wear and love 5 years later - let's hope this one serves me just as well!). One side of the bomber is the same fabric of a blouse I recently purchased on-line. I love this print and, in the quilted version, I think it will have more multi-season wearability. The selling feature for me on this jacket was its fit. Being a petite frame, clothing can often overwhelm. The proportion of this works very well on me. So - 2 jackets in one with the potential to dress up or down (for work, casual or elevated casual).
This shop was so fun and definitely something I would not have found on my own. It is basically an ongoing sample sale featuring a rotating cast of NYC and International designers. The staff was very enthusiastic that they had just received a shipment of denim from Paris.
I fell in love with these jeans! High waisted, fabulous wash, front pocket detail with a fun braided belt. These feel like a modern silhouette and an elevated basic. And, under $100 for a pair of jeans...my cost-per-wear bells were ringing!
While we can shop Kate Spade here in Vancouver, Carol recognized (rightfully so!) that the brand aligns very well with my personal style. The shop in SoHo is huge, and she'd scoped out a few pieces in her pre-shop she felt were worth a try on.
I've always felt that sequins aren't just for the festive season (I wear them year-round) and they are also having a real moment. I love this print and this particular piece has so much styling potential with items in my closet. I've already played around and come up with many "happy accidents" (as Carol would call them) of fabulous, multi-season outfit combinations. It's a piece that will live far beyond sequins being a current trend.
When I was shopping for a client here in Vancouver the other day, I passed our Kate Spade shop and this tank caught my eye. That being said, I would have never purchased it here. Though I love the brand, I really only pop in to treat myself on special occasions (or, if shopping for a client). Being with Carol in NYC, I gave myself permission to splurge and this is a piece I know I will wear and love over time.
Saks Fifth Avenue:
I told myself on this trip, I would treat myself to some pieces that may be in a higher price-point than what I would typically spend. Not outrageously so, but I was willing to sneak up a bit. Because I was shopping with Carol in NYC (and just turned 50), and because I am trying to invest in pieces that I will wear and love over time.
The clothing and the experience at Saks is exquisite. Excellent service and gorgeous fitting rooms. I tried on so many beautiful pieces that Carol had pre-selected from a range of brands. I had to leave almost all behind...but they were so fun to try!
Cherry print house dress:
This was my splurge item. I immediately fell in love with the whimsical print (it's my best red), the silhouette, and the quality of fabric and construction. It feels modern, yet timeless at the same time. I tried it on several times, but just couldn't leave it behind. I know I talk a lot about cost-per-wear, but I also feel strongly about love-per-wear (and wrote a post about it here. ). This is definitely a love-per-wear piece. I LOVE wearing it and get excited thinking about wearing it again. Sometimes a piece connects to a memory and a moment in your life. This embodies my love of NYC, shopping with Carol (at Saks), and my wonderful shopping experience gifted by Mike.
By the time we'd reached Bloomingdales, I was feeling I had everything I needed for a successful shopping excursion. My budget was nearing its end as was my energy-level! But, I still wanted to spend some time navigating this NYC institution with Carol. I am so glad I did because this is a store I hadn't really spent much time in, and I would definitely visit again when shopping with girlfriends in the future. A less chaotic vibe than Macy's and not as upscale feeling as Saks. It carries brands that hit a mid level pricepoint as well as the higher ones I was trying on at Saks.
Whistles elevated basic tee:
I did try on quite a few pieces at Bloomingdales in a range of designers I love. But, feeling content with what was already in my shopping bags, I was trying to mindful of what I was spending. I ended up with this t-shirt from the London brand, Whistles. My friend and I had stumbled upon this brand in Soho a few years back and loved so much of what they carry. Unfortunately, the Whistles boutique closed over the pandemic and now can only be found in the department stores (this was the case for so many of the smaller brands I love). This t-shirt is what I would refer to as an elevated basic. There is some texture to the fabrication, it has an interesting collar detail and a slight puff sleeve. This is an extremely versatile piece I can wear on repeat.
I've had so much fun since I've been home dreaming up potential outfit combinations. I've come up with a lot, and I'm sure you'll see them worn again and again in the years to come (which was my intent!).
There was just a slight moment of stress when I had to claim at the airport that I'd exceeded my personal exemption (by quite a bit). The Custom's Officer asked what was my most expensive item. My response: a dress! He waved me through and said I wouldn't need to pay any additional duty or taxes. A perfect end to the perfect shopping adventure!