Re-Tales: confessions of a shopaholic

Night Owl

imageWhen shopping for clothes, I always look for three things: quality, convenience and customer service. Call me lazy, but since I live within spitting distance of the bustling Union Square hood, I frequently stroll over to Owl’s Lab (formerly known as Addict), an haute East 12th St. hideaway that consistently fits all of my fashion criteria.

Nestled in a neighborhood saturated with crowded mega-chains like Strawberry, DSW and Forever 21, Owl’s Lab is a refreshingly chic shopper’s retreat. Ideal for working city gals who do give a hoot about what they wear, this sleek boutique regularly stocks a stellar selection of day-to-night staples. Rather than crowd the racks with a mishmash of merch, Owl’s Lab prides itself on handpicking a selection of brands that seamlessly work together to create utterly stylish and wearable wardrobes. Just last month, I visited the store on one of my personal-shopping tours with a client who bought some snazzy going-out essentials such as a silky LaROK halter shirt, wide-legged Citizen jeans, a billowy Development blouse and an Ella Moss sweater dress. If she wasn’t paying for my services, I’m sure we would’ve duked-it-out over Alice & Olivia’s sequin strip dress, C&C California’s casual tunic tops (because you can never have enough basics), Chaiken’s cashmere trench, Rodnik’s to-die-for purple popcorn dress, a smokin’ Eugena Kim fedora and a cinched Kooba shoulder bag.

Thanks to the staff’s undivided attention and hands-on approach (ask for Liza and she’ll personally pull items for your body and budget), Owl’s Lab has garnered a cult following. In fact, even indie celebs’ Maggie Gyllenhaal and Parkey Posey make regular pit stops. But you need not be a local to dress like one, now that your favorite Owl’s Lab frocks can be found online. Now isn’t that wise!

Exclusive deal just for YOU!
Owl’s Lab is offering Fashion Junkie subscribers 20% off any online purchase of your choice from Friday, October 5th through Friday, October 12th, 2007. To redeem this special offer, simply go to owlslab.com, make your selection and enter the promo code “FJFIX” upon checkout. Happy shopping!

  • Ow’s Lab
  • 20 East 12th Street (btw University Pl. and 5th Ave.)
  • 212-633-2672
  • 12-7pm, Monday-Sunday
  • owlslab.com
  • $100-$600
  • returns or exchanges on merchandise* within 10 days of purchase. Final sale on discounted purchases, shoes, handbags and accessories. *Merchandise does not include final sale on discounted purchases and accessories.
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Filed: Shop Talk

High-Brow

imageThanks to a regular routine of waxing, threading and tweezing my brows since my teens, I’m now stuck with thin, alien-like arches. Since eyebrow hair rarely grows back on its own as we age (and at 35 I’m no spring chicken), I’ve turned to Brow Boost, an au natural follicle enhancer. Perfect for women who have a tendency to over-pluck, Brow Boost’s protein-packed formula gradually conditions, repairs and even restores hair growth.

Try Brow Boost and you just might be able to sport those sought after Brooke Shields brows you’ve been dreaming about. Like a Chia Pet for your peepers, Brow Boost, when regularly applied above your lids, will magically sprout thick ’n healthy strands you haven’t seen in years. Simply swipe the handy applicator wand to any sparse areas along your brow line and in less than one month, you’ll begin to see new hair growth. And since a well-arched brow can radically improve your appearance, Brow Boost can be a low cost, non-surgical alternative to an eyelift. Plus, it’s safe for all skin types and contact lens wearers.

For a real eye-opening experience, it’s worth investing in the complete Brow Babe Kit. For only $44.95, you’ll get Brow Boost (overnight hair stimulator), Brow Powder (blonde, taupe and raven hues for sculpting your new-found brows), Brow Gel (for holding pesky strays in place and a polished finish) and Brow Brush (an angled tool that perfectly blends brow powder).

Because a face is like a work of art and deserves a great frame, stop brow-beatin’ and give ‘em the nourishment they need.

  • Billion Dollar Brows
  • 800-763-4919
  • billiondollarbrows.com
  • $19.95 for Brow Boost; $44.95 for Brow Babes Kit w/Brush
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Filed: Beauti-Fixation

The Shoe Box

imageWhen shopping for shoes in New York, even I’ve been overwhelmed by the seemingly endless array of options. Department stores are crowded and impersonal and trendier downtown retailers often play deafening club tunes that make it impossible to make sound decisions. That’s why I favor smaller, boutique-y shops with more civilized service, like that found at The Shoe Box. A consumer-friendly, family-run business with 9 U.S. locations, The Shoe Box prides itself on knowing each customer on a first-name basis (myself included). In fact, they’re even happy to call you right before anything new goes out on the floor, so you’ll never miss out on the hottest merch.

Whenever I’m in need of a footwear fix, The Shoe Box’s Murray Hill location (a residential hood known mainly for its abundance of Indian restos) perfectly fits the bill. An unpretentious oasis of calm that carries a surprisingly choice selection of multi-label kicks, The Shoe Box even stocks several reasonably priced finds that perfectly fit my bony, AA-width feet. Some current styles on my radar screen include Loeffler Randall (suede, peep-toe pumps with pleating), Modern Vintage (racy ankle boots with ruching), Nanette Lepore (burgundy peep-toe covered platforms), Marc Jacobs (‘80’s-inspired leather booties) and Michael Kors (knee-high motorcycle boots). And since a girl can’t survive on shoes alone, The Shoe Box also stocks a smattering of haute handbags from Rebecca Minkoff, Luba J (I snagged the stunning glazed leather shoulder bag in gray), Anna Corinna (the hipster Jetsetter tote) and Lauren Merkin (classy clutches) to name a few.

Should you find yourself paralyzed from the abundant selection of shoes, don’t sweat it. Fama (the adorable Murray Hill store manager) and the other style savvy shop girls will surely help you find your footing.

Exclusive Fashion Junkie Deal Just For YOU!
Receive a 15% discount off any The Shoe Box items of your choice at the Murray Hill store on Third Avenue when you present a print out of this email upon purchase. Offer valid from Tuesday, October 2nd through Tuesday, October 9th, 2007. Happy shopping!

  • The Shoe Box
  • 537 Third Avenue (@ 36th street), NYC
  • 212-937-5750
  • Mon.-Thur. 11-9pm; Fri. 11-8pm; Sat. 11-7pm; Sun. 12-7pm
  • theshoeboxonline.com
  • $99-$1,500
  • Refunds within 7 days of purchase; exchange or store credit after 7 days (excludes sale items)
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Filed: Clothes Encounters

Sure-Footed

imageA bonafide New York urbanista, I’m always on my feet. And since I’m vertically challenged (barely 5’2”) and refuse to wear flats, I’ve mangled countless pairs of prized pumps simply from stepping onto the city’s sidewalks. Harrowing “heel offenders” such as hidden cracks and metal grates keep me in a constant state of panic. Call me paranoid, but once a sliding subway door even managed to close on my foot and slice off the heel of one of my brand new patent leather Sigerson Morrison pumps. But those were the days before Smart Heel, a portable and inconspicuous plastic stiletto protector, came into my life.

The ultimate armor for shoes with spikes, Smart Heel has become a saving grace for fashionable femmes on the fly. After damaging dozens of her own designer heels from walking outside, founder Stacie Urbach felt compelled to invent something durable to shield against abrasive surfaces that tear, scratch and ultimately destroy stilettos. A clever plastic covering designed to clamp onto thin 4” heels, Smart Heel will save you from wasting time and money at the shoe cobbler. Simply slide the sleek protectors onto your hottest heels before heading out the door and pull ’em off when you want to showcase your favorite footwear. Partial to kitten or chunkier heels? Smart Heel will soon be introducing additional models to cater to a wider range of styles. Plus, they’ll be available in a host of eye-catching hues that complement the color of your favorite shoes.

Ever since test-driving the clear “Tango” model on my Pedro Garcia booties, I’ve become sure-footed enough to even stroll along the cobblestone streets of the Meatpacking district. Be forewarned, since Smart Heel is designed to mold to the shape of each heel, you’ll need a set for every pair you own. But at only $9.95 a pop, Smart Heel is still a lot less than what you’d pay for repairs. You just might want to read the handy Smart Heel instruction booklet and idiot-proof YouTube demo before jumping in… ‘course I had to replay it five times ‘til I finally got it right.

  • Smart Heel
  • info@smartheel.com
  • smartheel.com
  • $9.95 per set (available in clear and black)
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Filed: Clothes Encounters

Heaven’s Closet

imageA rough ’n tumble hood rife with gangsters, speakeasies and boundless bordellos, Hell’s Kitchen was one of those places I avoided like the plague as a kid during my visits to the Big Apple. Now that I’m grown up and its seedy image has since subsided, I fearlessly frequent the area for off-Broadway theatre, hip bistros and surprisingly, fashionable frocks like the ones found at Lyd.

An off-the-beaten-path boutique that’s easily spotted by its striking blue facade, Lyd is sought out for its choice selection of modern merch coupled with unparalleled service. Owner, Mia Gonzalez, is a designer with such a sharp sense of style and hands-on approach (she’ll personally build your entire wardrobe) that’s she’s earned the distinct reputation as the “neighborhood stylist.” Unpretentious and inviting, Lyd attracts a loyal customer base of busy corporate types (yes, I’m talking about you Ellyn!) and creative characters who don’t have the time or stamina to scour the racks at those snootier uptown stores for seasonal wardrobe staples. Even celebs like Julia Stiles and Rachel McAdams have frequented Lyd for its of-the-moment, multi-purpose labels.

During my last shopping sojourn at Lyd, I was rendered speechless by the bevy of cutting-edge brands including Corey Lynn Calter (the polka dot dress and matching capelet is killer), Ella Moss (billowy striped tops), Amanda Uprichard (silk charmeuse shifts), Myth & Ritual (tunics with an edgy twist), Twig (cozy cashmere sweater dresses), Rachel Mara (an haute swing coat with a detachable hood) and Raven (my fave wide-legged trousers). That’s just for starters. Lyd also carries Deener (a cult denim label), C&C California (tons of tees in a host of hues), Matt Bernson (must-have ballet flats) and Orla Kiely (laminated canvas bags). With daily deliveries and VIP treatment, Mia will make sure you don’t head out the door empty handed.

Exclusive Fashion Junkie Deal For YOU!
Yummy mummies listen up! Isabella Oliver, the luxe London-based maternity label I profiled earlier this week (read the newsletter here) is offering Fashion Junkie subscribers a 15% discount off any items of your choice from Friday, September 28 through Friday, October 5, 2007. Click here to redeem your special offer and make sure to enter the code “FJFIX” upon checkout. Happy shopping!

  • Lyd
  • 405 West 44th Street (btw 9th & 10th Aves.)
  • 212-246-8041
  • Tuesday-Saturday, 12-7:30pm; Sunday 12-6pm; closed Monday
  • lydnyc.com
  • $40-$500
  • exchange or credit note only
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Filed: Shop Talk