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Thursday, December 28, 2006

Shopping in NYC 3: Delightful Department Stores

"I never think people die. They just go to department stores."--Andy Warhol

Generally speaking, if you're in need of anything--be it a shiny pair of peep-toe stilettos to an eye catching coat to a sparkly party frock--you can find it at a department store.
New York has several flagships, and while they all offer the same general options, certain stores 'do' certain departments better than others.
Thus, The Fashion Bomb presents: The Delightful Department Store review (New York City edition):
First up is my absolute FAVORITE:

Lord & Taylor (424 5th Ave at 38th street)
*Pros: The dress selection is *sick* and the coat floor always has great options. Sign up online for their promotions, and always get at least an extra 15% off your purchases.
*Cons: Cashiers are at times stingy with the discounts if you don't have the actual coupons (silly, because you can usually get a booklet on the 7th floor).
*Bonus: Older women know what's up, but younger women generally don't. This translates to a glut of Nicole Miller, French Connection, and BCBG Max Azria at good prices. I blogged about this one! Read about it here.

Next Bloomingdales (1000 3rd Ave between 59th Street and 60th Street):

*Pros: While Lord & Taylor has a great dress selection, Bloomy's is unmatched in that department. From bridesmaid dresses to cocktail LBD's, Bloomingdales has it all.
*Cons: Sales are too few and far between, and are typically reserved for Bloomy's card holders.
*Directions: N, R; 4, 5, 6 to 59th St
*Bonus: Check out their other, smaller location in Soho (504 Broadway between Broome Street and Spring Street) for a more intimate vibe and a pretty good shoe sale section. Directions: N, R to Prince St; B, D, F, V to Broadway-Lafayette.

You can't come to NYC and not visit Macys (151 W 34th St between 7th Avenue and Broadway):

*Pros: This century old mainstay has arguably the best shoe department in the city. It's also a great place to find work clothes, and has frequent markdowns and promotions.
*Cons: The flagship store gets cruiseazy on the weekends.
*Directions: 1, 2, 3; B, D, F; N, R, Q, W to 34th St
*Bonus: Stop in their food court if you need to refuel. Stimulate your shopaholic taste buds with Starbucks, Auntie Anne's Pretzels, Au Bon Pain, and more. The surrounding area is also prime shopping stomping ground. Drop into the nearby Banana Republic, Forever 21, or Victoria's Secret.

Saks 5th Avenue on 5th Avenue (611 5th Avenue at 49th Street):

*Pros: Go to their quarterly jean sale to get those Citizens, Sevens, and True Religions you've been eyeing all year.
*Cons: The perfume sprayers and makeup applicators on the first floor can be overbearing.
*Directions: B, D; F, V to 47th-50th Sts-Rockefeller Ctr
*Bonus: 5th Avenue in Manhattan is a great shopping/window shopping strip. After visiting Saks, drop into Kenneth Cole, Cole Haan, H&M, or Armani Exchange. Walk uptown towards Central Park and salivate over the Gucci, Dior, and Fendi window displays.

Henri Bendel (712 5th Avenue)

*Pros: The amount of 'greeters' at the entrance is a bit much, but I like the customer service-y feeling. They have great sales if you get the inside scoop.
*Cons: Prepare yourself for slight sticker shock.
Directions: 4, 5, 6 to 59th St.

There are a few department stores I *don't* frequent because they either seem a.) intimidating or b.) way out of my price range. Still, it might be fun to take a dip and twirl around!
Check out Barney's New York (660 Madison Ave at 60th Street):

*I had heard...Millionaires like Beyonce and Mary Kate Olson shop at Barney's. Hey, the promise of celeb stalking might make your trip worth it.
*Directions:N, R, W to Fifth Ave

Last up: Bergdorf Goodman (754 Fifth Avenue between 57th and 58th Streets)

*I had heard...Bergdorf's clothing displays are breathtaking. Visit to gaze upon the beauty of everything, but be prepared for clutch-my-pearls prices.
*Directions: F, N/R/W, 4/5/6 to 59th Street/Lexington Avenue.
Hope that was helpful:)

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Shopping in NYC 2: Vintage Paradisos

Greatdayandmornin' fashionistas,
Hope y'all are ready for installment 2 of shopping in NYC: Vintage Paradisos!
There are more vintage stores in New York than I can cover in one post. I've stopped in a few pretty good ones in my day...I'll review the ones I've been to, then give you a short list of others if you're feeling adventurous!
Let's get to it:

First super cool vintage paradiso would Housing Works Thrift Shop (157 E 23rd St):

*Pros: This thrift stores features work clothes, separates, and purses at reasonable prices. I found vintage Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior bags during my last visit.
*Cons: Shoe selection leaves a bit to be desired.
*Directions: 6 to 23rd street.
*More Deets: Visit their official website at and find locations (or check out their auctions) at They have numerous locations throughout the city.
*Bonus: Proceeds go towards providing healthcare, housing, advocacy, and job training to homeless New Yorkers living with AIDS. I blogged about my visit to Housing Works here.

Next up is Angel Street Thrift Shop (118 W 17th St):

*Pros: This hip Chelsea find has Burberry trenchcoats, cute tweed skirts, fun fashion jewelry. I spied Versace and Prada with my own eyes.
*Cons: None!
*Directions: F, 1, or 9 to 14th St.
*More Deets: Visit their website here. They also have locations throughout the city.
*Bonus: Proceeds benefit individuals with substance abuse problems, HIV, AIDS, and mental illness. I blogged about this one too! Read about my finds here.

City Opera Thift Shop (222 E 23rd Street near 3rd avenue):

*Pros: This consignment/thrift shop carries big name shoes like Salvatore Ferragamo

and Stuart Weitzman

This is also the place to go to get some great furniture for next to nothing.
*Cons: Clothing pickings are slim in quantity and in size.
*Directions: 6 to 23rd St

Next: Andy's Chee-pee's (691 Broadway bet 3rd and 4th street)

*Pros: Fun seventy inspired t-shirts. Cute summer dresses.
*Cons: Great for playing dress up, not so much for every day clothes.
*Directions: 4,5,6, F, S to Broadway/ Lafayette
*Bonus: Read a few Citysearch reviews here.

In Brooklyn:
Beacon's Closet (220 Fifth avenue near President Street):

*Pros: Gently used finds with a mixture of fashion jewelry and accessories. Bring your old digs here and make a little cash.
*Cons: Hit or miss, as most vintage stores are.
*Directions: M, R to Union St. Check out their Williamsburg Location at 88 N. 11st Street (L to Bedford Avenue)

There's also, Reverse Clothing (175 5th Avenue):

*Pros: Great place for shoes, belts, and jewelry

*Cons: Cramped, seemingly disorganized space
*Directions: N,R to Union, 2,3 to Bergen.

Last up: Hooti Couture (321 Flatbush Avenue at 7th Avenue):

*Pros: Discount Furs, smashing bags, status scarves, and fashion jewelry.
*Cons: Alex Kuczynski of the New York Times visited, and complained of so-so customer service.
*Directions: B,Q to 7th Avenue. 2,3 to Bergen Street.
*More deets: Visit their blog/website here.
That does it for my visits!
Other vintage spots of interest:
Cheap Jack's (841 Broadway at 13th Street)

*I had heard... Cowboy boots, leather, and coats at less than retail. A quick look at their online store, and things seem to be a little more expensive than the name 'vintage' would imply. A black cotton souvenir jacket is $520, and Ladies Western Show Boots are $150. If this stuff is secondhand, I expect not to pay more than $50 for it!
*Directions: N, R; L; 4, 5, 6; Q, W to 14th St/ Union Sq.
*More deets: Visit their website,

Screaming Mimi's (382 Lafayette Street between West 4th and Great Jones St)

*I had heard...that the sales staff is whack and prices are sky high. BUT their windows are the place to spot creative ways to wear accessories, layer, etc.
*Directions: B, D, F, Q, V to Broadway/ Lafayette St; 6 to Bleecker St

*Atomic Passion (430 East 9th Street between 1st Avenue and Avenue A)

*I had heard...chocked full of dresses, outerwear and whatnots. Find shoes in great condition for low prices.
*Directions: 6 to Astor Pl

I missed a *bunch*, I know. Write and tell me your favorites!
PS Stay tuned for tomorrow's department store rundown!
PSS If you go to Union Square then just walk downtown on Broadway, you'll run into vintage stores on every corner. Bonus: You'll eventually hit Soho's shopping strip for even more fashion fun!
PSS Thanks to FashionTribes, Jargol, and NYC Pulse for info and jpegs of vintage stores I haven't visited! Visit their sites and show 'em some love!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Shopping in NYC: Discount Designer Dens

New York City bubbles at the brim with amazing shopping opportunities.
There are discount designer havens where Nanette Lepore skirts and Theory Jackets bob up on on crowded racks; Vintage Paradisos where another's castaway turns into your treasure; large department stores where coupons and options abound; and outer borough boutiques where 'just for me' finds await.

I'm going to try to cover it *all* this week (yes I am). Yay-lucky-you-that-I-love-you-so-much!!!

Today, the Fashion Bomb presents Shopping NYC 1: Discount Designer Dens.
Your first stop for marked down labels should be Century 21 (22 Cortlandt Street between Church and Broadway).

*Pros: Century 21 carries top of the line brands like Gucci and Pucci for 50%-75% off retail . I bought this Emilio Pucci cutesie bathing suit at Century 21...

...for about $70. Pucci suits retail for $430 at Bergdorf Goodman. Riiight.
*Cons: The crowds are *insane* on the weekend, and expect to wait super long for the 'open forum' 'no door' dressing rooms. Dedicate a day to just going there and sifting through the what nots.
*Directions: A, C, E to Chambers St; N, R to Cortlandt St. Visit their website here for more details.
*PS Wear comfortable shoes and cute undies!!

Next stop:

Loehmann's (101 7th Avenue between 16th and 17th).
*Pros: The 3rd floor is chock full of designer dresses (Diane Von Furstenberg, Vera Wang, and BCBG Max Azria), and the 4th floor carries brands like Theory, Walter, and Marc Jacobs.
*Cons: Brutal crowd territory as well (especially on Saturdays), open dressing rooms, and a 'shoot me now' shoe and bag section.
*Directions: 1, 9, 2, 3, to 14th St; L to 7th Ave. Visit their website here for more details.
*Bonus: I found a few good finds at Loehmann's that I recorded in one of my first entries! Read about it here. Ah, memories.

Filene's Basement (620 Avenue of the Americas between 18th and 19th)

TJ Maxx (620 Avenue of the Americas between 18th and 19th)

and Burlington Coat Factory (116 West 23rd Street on 6th Avenue)

are all in the same area as Loehmann's, so you might as well check 'em out.
*Pros: Deep price cuts on coats, cashmere, and home stuff.
*Cons: You're lucky if you find Miss Sixty in there! I've generally been underwhelmed with the big name selections.
*Directions: F, V to 14th or 23rd streets. L to 14th Street. 1,9,2,3 to 14th street.

Last designer haven:

DSW for cute shoes at a discount.
*Pros: Plenty of Nicole Miller, Stuart Weitzman, and Charles David for less than retail.
*Cons: Is it just me, or do the shoes err on the small side? It's pretty hit or miss, but with frequent visits you can unearth a diamond.
*Directions: Visit their website here for a DSW location near you.

There are a few more discount designer havens that I haven't been to *yet*:


Hmm..why haven't I been to Daffy's. It just doesn't seem that hip from the outside.
*Pros: My friend's boyfriend goes to Daffy's frequently and apparently finds great work clothes and what nots. They advertise big names like Prada for 'next to Nada.'
*Cons: I read a review of Daffy's at the Budget Fashionista's website here. Dirt Stains? Junk Damaged?? Ewwwww.
*Directions: Find a Daffy's location near you by going here.

And lastly, Gabay's (225 1st Ave Between 13th Street and 14th Street).

I've been meaning to go there forever, but 14th and 1st avenue seems so far away!
*Pros: My shopaholic friend said the following, "[Gabay's] had Chloe and Mulberry bags, and Prada shoes for $150. I also saw Manolo Blahnik, Marc Jacobs, and Jimmy Choo. I saw a lot of high-end designers you would find at Bergdorf's, Saks and Neiman Marcus for a fraction of their prices. Still way out of my price range, but a jewel for the lucky gals who can afford it!"
*Cons: None that I know of...anyone got a review?
*Directions: 4, 5, 6; L; N, R to 14th Street.

I think that does it for discount designer havens in NYC. If I left anything out, let a sista know!
Stay tuned tomorrow for vintage paradisos...
Sales, Sales:
*Everything is on sale today. Everything. Hit the pavement and gets ta shopping.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Happy Holidays!

"And if it ain't too much to ask can you leave me a little extra cash/ Cuz I ain't gon lie, all these Christmas lights got my light bill high/ Ain't got no chocolate chip to go along with no glass of milk/ I got some chips and dip baby/ Too late to sip baby/ I'ma leave the club around a quarter to 4/ And all I wanna see when I hit the do'/ Is 12 things on my Christmas list, and it goes a little something like this..."--69 Boyz "What you Want for Christmas"

My Lovely Holiday Fashionistas,

Wishing you a very happy, healthy, and safe holiday!!!

The Fashion Bomb

PS Lots of downtime means lots of time for shopping! Stay tuned *this week* for a NYC shopping rundown.

PSS Find cards 1 and 3 at

Friday, December 22, 2006

Friday Real Style

My friend Crystal is one of the best dressed gals I know.
We went out a few weeks ago, and I had to snap a pic of her fabulousness:

Tres Chic. She paired a BCBG long sweater with Diesel skinny jeans, and a Club Monaco wide belt. Her bangles, clutch, and sultry curls rounded out her look, and her peekaboo bra brought sexyback. Makes me want to go shoppping...
*Hope everyone has a great holiday! I'll be checking in with 'Shopping in NYC' posts next week.
Have a good one:)

Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Thin Thing

"What you two don't seem to realize is that inside of me, inside of me, there is a thin person just screaming to get out."--Jennifer Saunders as Eddie in Absolutely Fabulous

So I read Women's Wear Daily...daily. And for the past two weeks every other headline has been about weight regulations for runway models.

A couple issues sparked this debate.
First, and sadly, this model, Ana Carolina Reston...

...died of complications due to anorexia at the age of 21. She weighed 88 pounds.

Also (perhaps as a result), Italy's Chamber of Fashion...

...has been pushing for models to have a license guaranteeing that they are healthy before walking in Milanese fashion shows, they're at least 16, and have a healthy Body Mass Index (18.5). All of this will be regulated by doctors, nutritionists, psychologists, experts, etc.

Most designers have been mum on the issue, probably because they know that the industry just won't change. I mean...Tyra totally stopped having the one token 'plus sized model' on America's Next Top Model...

...perhaps because they realized that putting the 'big girl' through all the hoopla was a waste of everyone's time.

I am the number one supporter of healthy weight. When my sixteen year old sister (Lord Help Her!) wrote me the following, "Hey if you have any model gigs you know of....hook me up puhlease because im losing the weight and really want to do it!" my other sisters and I proceeded to figuratively shake her and scream, "WHY are you trying to lose weight??" Thankfully my younger sister has more sense (I hope), and will simulataneously pursue her education while healthfully pursuing her modeling dreams.

Here's my argument: There are certain types of vocations that you have a natural predilection for. I like to write. I've written all my life. Therefore I'm a writer. Not so good with numbers, so I don't work in finance. Though I'd LOVE to get a phat check (and matching bonus) like an I-banker, I'm gonna go ahead and stash those dreams away...because I can barely carry the one.
Modeling is great, but if you're not one of those rare women who can eat a full buffet and not put on a pound, opt out of the big fashion business.

Do what you can do. Everyone has a path. Follow it.

And my honest suggestion for big women who want to model?
Eat a chicken wing....

...and land the cover of King.

*Gucci signed a lease for a 45,000 square foot, three level store at 725 Fifth Avenue in the Trump Tower. Sounds like a Fashion Bomb wonderland!

One of my dreams is to go into a Gucci store one day and play around as Mariah and Andre Leon Talley did in the LV store in the 'Say Somethin' Video. Don't remember it? Here it is:

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Did you Know? Stephen Burrows

"In his heyday, which was the 1970s, Burrows set a historic precedent. He was the first African American to gain stature as an international designer. He built a profitable company capturing nonchalance, effervescence and sweaty indulgence in matte jersey dresses that looked best on lithe young women slouched in the corner of a disco in the wee hours of the morning."--Robin Givhan

Hey Guys,
So I was flipping through Essence Magazine's January 07 issue and came upon a pic of Vanesssa Williams in a smashing dress:

I took at look at the credits, and it turns out this $790 fuchsia gown is a piece by Stephen Burrows, a very prolific, yet little known African-American designer (among peeps my age anyway):

In this picture he's receiving a special CFDA Award (Council of Fashion Designers of America) presented by Alva Chinn (left), Pat Cleveland and Bethann Hardison.

Burrow's has been around since the 70's and has dressed celebrities such as Naomi Campbell, Oprah, Iman, and Kate Moss. As in the quote, Burrows was the first African-American designer to reach worldwide acclaim and has won several Coty awards (high fashion honors). He's on the level design wise of Christian Dior, Hubert de Givenchy, and Oscar de la Renta. No Joke. Honestly when I think of African-American designers, the only name that springs to mind is Tracy Reese. But there are many more (whom I plan to talk about in later posts), and Burrows is one of the most influential.

So why haven't we heard of him? Fashion is as much a creative field as it is a business, and not all designers have the business savvy to keep their clothes in the forefront. Most labels need a flashy spokesperson (like Tom Ford) or lots of media buzz (Viktor & Rolf) to help move products off the shelves. Burrows is a quiet force, but...I'm feeling his clothes.

I took a look at his website ( and found a lot of great looks:

Impeccably stylish, hip, and edgy. I'll inquire about prices (and maybe a lower line) and get back to you.

Want to know more? Robin Givhan wrote a *great* article about him here.