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Fashion

Tina Dragone

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1687 Post Road, Westport

This oddly located store houses fun bits and pieces of “now” designers, as well as costume jewelry, ever-popular Alexis Bittar, and lots of t-shirts. The staff is helpful if you don’t have kids.

Robin’s note: I found the same chic Robert Rodriguez jacket at Roundabout—within the same week—for a fraction of Tina’s price.

Who you’ll see shopping here: Women 30-55 who enjoy dressing up more than they enjoy bargain shopping.

Their specialty: Cocktail party separates.

What you should buy: Unique designer cardigans.

What you may not know but should:
  1. Lots of candy dishes and a small coffee bar.
  2. Their merchandise is better than their window displays.

Fashion     Westport    
Wednesday, June 08, 2011 • Permalink

Snappy Gator

Snappy Gator, Fairfield

1438 Post Road, Fairfield

I was, understandably, wary of this store, as the name simultaneously evokes the haunting legacy of ‘80s prep-school “fashion” and its lockjaw vernacular. So I was very pleasantly surprised to discover a jewel of a store with a beautiful collection of flirty party clothes.

Robin’s note: All of these clothes make me desperate for a dazzling party, from Trina Turk frocks to Johnny Was tunics and, of course, the requisite ruffled cardigans.

Their specialty: Colorful day-to-cocktail dresses

What you should buy: Patterned and embroidered tunics.

What you may not know but should: They carry a chic line of affordable jewelry.
http://www.snappygator.com

Fashion     Fairfield    
Friday, May 27, 2011 • Permalink

Mitchells/Richards

Mitchells, Westport

670 Post Road East, Westport
359 Greenwich Avenue, Greenwich

Connecticut’s highest-end department store, Mitchells is infamous for their apocryphal $450 t-shirt on sale, spectacular designer frippery, and free M&Ms. While Mitchells focuses on popular designers, Richards, the (larger) Greenwich offshoot, tends toward the classic.

Robin’s note: While shopping for my husband, I overheard Brian Williams encouraging a baffled sales associate to visit Iraq.

Who you’ll see shopping here: Men and women who love clothes and have an unlimited budget, and men and women who don’t care about clothes so entrust a stylist with their unlimited budget.

Their specialty: Aspirational designer clothing.

What you should buy: Just one Missoni or Pucci dress can improve your social life, so if you have the funds, buy the frock.

What you may not know but should:
  1. Each season they ship the sales merchandise to the tent sale in Westport and cut off an additional 60%.
  2. They now carry a small collection of more reasonably priced clothing (Theory, Vince, Wang, Burch, etc.)
http://www.mitchellsonline.com

Fashion     Greenwich     Westport    
Wednesday, May 25, 2011 • Permalink

Tanah Kalb

Tanah Kalb, Westport

http://www.workshop61.com

Nothing says “I’m a selfless, loving mom” like a solid gold necklace. Putting your children’s initials on a 14K gold (or silver) charm and stringing them around your neck symbolizes your commitment to family and looks great with just about any outfit.

I’m proud of my family and wanted to, for want of a better term, advertise it (public tantrums attract plenty of attention, but not positive attention), so I set out to find my favorite signet-necklace designer. Though I ventured out of Fairfield County, my favorite designer, Tanah Kalb, was right under my unadorned neck in Westport.

A jewelry designer since 1983 and former creative director for Barneys NY and Eileen Fisher, she works in sterling and 14K gold. Her charms have just the right heft, and the initials are beautifully hand-stamped. She’ll customize a necklace with stars, angels, and precious stones and string them on a leather or gold chain. Best of all, the prices are very reasonable, especially given the cost of gold these days. Fortunately, you can’t put a price on motherhood.

Robin’s note: You can see Tanah’s fabulous, understated designs at Dovecote in Westport, or contact her directly to customize necklaces, earrings, and rings.

Who you’ll see wearing her jewelry: Moms, sometimes daughters.

Her specialty: Charm necklaces.

What you should buy: I fell in love with her rectangular pendants on gold chains.

What you may not know but should: Tanah’s jewelry has been featured in many prestigious magazines, including Vogue.
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Fashion     Westport    
Tuesday, May 24, 2011 • Permalink

Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren, Greenwich

265 Greenwich Avenue

UPDATE: Check out “What you may not know but should” for exciting, new information!

The thing about Greenwich is – and please stop me if I’m stereotyping – no one really loses their money. It simply shifts to some other soon-to-be-resident through an intricate web of financial transactions. Now, even though money never actually leaves this town, the tastes change, causing some smaller boutiques to go out of business. But if we’re to believe Greenwich Avenue reflects the town’s predilections, then one thing is clear: rich people love Ralph.

Yes, while tiny retailers routinely wave teary good-byes, Ralph Lauren has snapped up one of the most lavish retail spaces on the avenue, polished it to sparkling, and packed it full of gorgeous, breathtakingly expensive clothes. They don’t stock Lauren (“Oh, that’s only our department store line.”), but everything from vintage gems to runway collection, home, and all the purple, black and blue labels for men and women are at your fingertips. Just don’t leave fingerprints.

Robin’s note: Am I the only one who never noticed his chandelier earrings before? I love the diamond, ruby and oxidized gold made-to-look-vintage danglers. Holy cow, they’re fabulous!

Who you’ll see shopping here: Women ages 40-60 and men with wives or small children in tow.

Their specialty: Labeled collections, assorted by color.

What you should buy: Jewelry or select items from their athletic-inspired RLX line.

What you may not know but should:
  1. If you’re shopping, associates are happy to make restaurant or salon appointments for you, walk and feed your pooch, run errands, provide your meals, and keep you caffeinated. They’d probably get you drunk, too.
  2. ALERT!!: Sorry, Big Spender: the fabulous earrings on the mannequins aren’t for sale (if they don’t have a price tag.) No, they’re not from Ralph’s personal antique jewelry collection—they’re from Claire’s right down the street for $12.50!

http://www.ralphlauren.com

Fashion     Greenwich    
Thursday, May 19, 2011 • Permalink

Ann Taylor Loft

Ann Taylor LOFT, Westport

1499 Post Road, Fairfield
100 Greyrock Place, Stamford
17 Main Street, Westport

Three years ago, if someone told me I could either A) shop at ATL, or B) kiss a Madagascar hissing cockroach, I might have paused a moment and thought, “Well, that particular type of cockroach doesn’t bite and is considered among the more docile of the cockroach family.” Yeah. I wasn’t a huge fan of ATL. Then something happened. ATL began morphing into something sort of J. Crew wannabe-ish. Not great, but interesting. Then Gary Muto (formerly of Gap) took over and – holy cow! It’s so much better!

Their silk dresses are chic, feminine, and wearable. The tops are fun with tasteful embellishments, in primarily cotton and silk. The styles flatter by cuts and colors, not by smashing cellulite with built-in girdles or shrouding “problems areas” in tents of poly-blend lace. Plus, the prices and clearance sales are reliably fantastic.

Robin’s note: Gary Muto took over from past-ATL president Donna Noce Colaco who left a season or two before their fashion flourished. Funny enough, she is now president of Chico’s… no additional comment.

Who you’ll see shopping here: Women of all ages and backgrounds.

Their specialty: Silk dresses and embellished t-shirts.

What you should buy: Great cardigans and dresses.

What you may not know but should: ATL operates over 500 stores around the US, so its designs have to flatter a bunch of figures and make customers think they’re thinner than they really are. As a result, sizes tend to run large. 
ww.anntaylorloft.com

Fashion     Fairfield     Stamford     Westport    
Wednesday, May 04, 2011 • Permalink

Consigned Couture

Consigned Couture

134 East Putnam Avenue, Greenwich

Holy Manolos, Batwoman! Blahniks abound at this Greenwich consignment boutique—Blahniks, Choos, and a Burch Reva or two.

This purveyor of low-priced high fashion garments reflects the sartorial habits of its environs: well-established designers for a slightly older crowd, including lots of fur, suits, shiny gowns and, of course, shoes.

The pricing is arbitrary at times: $175 for barely worn Blahniks, then $295 for a cotton Marni sundress (consigned last June, the owner offered an additional 20% off. Most consignment stores offer greater discounts for such long-hanging garments). However, the selection of rarefied labels is exceptional and the fur section is fabulous, with coats from $295 to $2,500—just watch out for ripped seams.

Other notable buys were a pink leather Prada shirt for $295, gorgeous leather YSL jacket for $975, Chloe sweater for $165, and green Reva flats for $95.

Robin’s note: Leave your kids at home. Dolly, the owner, is easily irritated by the little nippers.

Who you’ll see shopping here: Women 40-60 years old, primarily.

Their specialty: Shoes and fur.

What you should buy here: Check out the backroom for off-season deals. And, of course, the vintage Puccis.

What you may not know but should: A fellow shopper attempted to negotiate the cost of a coat with a tear, but I’m not sure how receptive the owner was to her bartering. My guess is “not very.” However, I have no concrete evidence to back this up.

Fashion     Greenwich    
Wednesday, April 20, 2011 • Permalink

Lululemon

Lululemon, Greenwich

91 Main Street, Westport
151 Greenwich Avenue, Greenwich

I recently joined a gym. But not just any gym: the cheapest gym I could find. So not only am I on the fast track to physical perfection, I have scads of cash left over to ramp up my workout wardrobe (an old Enron t-shirt and my husband’s boxers was cute five years ago; now it’s just gauche.)

Most of my Lululemon “loungewear” looks surprisingly appropriate on an exercise bike, so I splurged on a few more pieces and may never go back to boxers again. The styles detract from fat patches while their special techno-wicking fabrics support one’s wobbly spots, and the Lulu symbol on each item quietly assures onlookers that you spend a lot of money on your shorts.

Robin’s note: Let’s say that your legs are a teensy bit shy of 36” or whatever their fit models are sprouting nowadays. Lulu will hem them up free of charge.

Who you’ll see shopping here: Moms. Some dads.

Their specialty: Power yoga attire.

What you should buy: Great pants for lounging or exercising and relaxed fleece wrap jackets.

What you may not know but should:
  - Crotches are specially designed to prevent “camel toe.”
  - Professional yoga instructors wear and offer designers their feedback regarding each piece.
  - Free shipping on all online orders.
  - Clothes rarely go on sale.
  - They give lots to charities.

http://www.lululemon.com

Fashion     Greenwich     Westport    
Tuesday, April 19, 2011 • Permalink

J. Crew

J. Crew, Westport

126 Greenwich Avenue, Greenwich
24 Elm Street, New Canaan
145 Main Street, Westport

Hey, guys – J. Crew! Ever heard of it? Of course you have. And if you haven’t, you need to put down your paint-by-number of The Last Supper, straighten your bolo tie, and leave your house for the first time in 15 years.

Begun by two men who peddled discount women’s apparel door-to-door, J. Crew earned a solid reputation as a “classic” casual wear catalog retailer in 1983, the heyday of catalog shopping. The sharp increase in postage and paper forced them to re-think their strategy, leading to their first store opening at South Street Seaport in 1989.

Today, over 200 J. Crew boutiques dot our landscape, clogging Fairfield County closets with cashmere sweaters, ruffled blouses, and pants crawling with embroidered sea creatures.

Robin’s note: I may be cursed by the gods of capitalist consumerism for writing this: everything in this store goes on sale. Everything. But you have to follow the sales in-store and on-line to take advantage of it.

Who you’ll see shopping here: Every red-blooded women in the county under 65.

Their specialty: Cashmere and khakis.

Click to read the rest ... "J. Crew"

Fashion     Greenwich     New Canaan     Westport    
Monday, April 04, 2011 • Permalink

Anthropologie

Anthropologie, Westport

1365 Post Road East, Westport
480 West Putnam Avenue, Greenwich

Typically, I’m not one to root for the national retail chain, but Anthropologie is an exception. The store is colorful and spacious with an eclectic mix of styles and fun-to-wear apparel.

Who you’ll see shopping here: Women from high school through menopause who want to be comfortable, eclectic, and sometimes a little sexy.

Their specialty: Anything corporate is pushing. Typically, separates with loads of pattern, color, texture, wraps, and ruffles—all at once.

What you should buy: Girly/sophisticated day dresses and whimsical loungewear. Great ruffled cardigans, too, if you’re not already sick of ruffled cardigans.

What you may not know but should:
  1. Their nightgowns make cute sundresses.
  2. I’m saddened to recently note, however, the cheesifcation of the quality of their apparel.

Fashion     Greenwich     Westport    
Wednesday, March 30, 2011 • Permalink

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