Re-Tales: confessions of a shopaholic

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
  • $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


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
  • $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
  • $40-$500
  • exchange or credit note only
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Filed: Shop Talk

Style Social

imageReady to shop like an A-list celebrity? For a mere $25, you can gain entrance to Style Social, New York’s most talked about shopping soirée of the season. Purchase VIP passes for early access to dreamy designer clothing, jewelry and accessories with savings up to 50% off retail, not to mention schmoozing, hors d’oeuvres and an open bar.

From fabulous Fall finds to classy resort collections, this red haute fashion extravaganza offers bargains galore from dozens of heavy hitters including Adrienne Landau, Nieves Lavi, Pink Tartan, Helen Wang, Rafé New York, Catherine Rapetti, Dyanne Belle and more. Plus, Fashion Junkie, your shopping chaperone, will be on hand to offer expert tips and tricks for building your wardrobe.

You can shop without the guilt, knowing your donation is going to a worthy cause. A percentage of the proceeds will go to charities including Rosie’s Broadway Kids and Gilda’s Club Worldwide.

Don’t delay…. RSVP today! Make sure to mention Fashion Junkie at check-in.

  • The Retail Details!

  • What: Style Social Shopping Event
  • When: Thursday, October 4, 2007 from 6pm-9pm
  • Where: Opera Gallery, 115 Spring Street (btw Greene & Mercer Streets)
  • Ticket Price: $25 at the door or $500-$1000 for VIP Pre-Benefit Sale & Cocktail Reception
  • Phone: 800-960-1736
  • Email:
  • Website:
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Filed: Shop Talk

Polish With Personality

imageWhen it comes to selling cosmetics, it’s all about marketing. Truth is, most lotions, potions and polishes produce the same end results, regardless of brand name or price. That said, I’ll admit, I’ve always been a sucker for pretty packaging and clever names, no matter what ingredients are listed on the label. That’s probably why I’m tickled pink over Carolyn New York – an eye-catching nail polish line inspired by life in the Big Apple.

Created by celebrity manicurist, Carolyn Cianciotto, a native New Yorker who wanted people to experience the greatest city in the world “first-hand,” Carolyn New York is much more than just another pretty polish. A diary in a bottle, Carolyn New York’s dazzling array of 46 hues vividly recounts a series of personal events that happened to Carolyn in each of the five boroughs. Even the packaging is emblazoned with a gleaming gold Manhattan skyline. For instance, Blackout in the Bronx (a matte black) perfectly captures the essence of the ’77 power outage that left the city in total darkness; Cheating in Queens (a red brick shade) is named for Carolyn’s cheating ex-boyfriend who left her for a stripper in Queens (ouch!); Staten Italy (a hot pink) symbolizes Italian-American girls’ weekend ferry rides into Manhattan for a night out on the town and NY Stock X (a creamy pink neutral) to cover the fingertips of conservative Wall Streeters. My personal fave is Mulberry Street, a dark brown shade reminiscent of coffee and canolis.

Kitschy concept aside, Carolyn New York’s long-lasting formula has seriously nailed the competition. The sleek glass vials have a goof-proof rubber grip and wide applicator brush that glides on smoothly, sans streaks and air bubbles. Plus, you needn’t worry about inhaling any funky and harmful fumes – Carolyn New York’s polishes are made from a DBP-free formula that’s hydrating and adheres to nails. I brought a bottle of Brooklyn to my manicurist and miraculously, the deep red hue managed to stay chip-free and shiny for a full five days. A helpful hint: for maximum maintenance, apply a topcoat every other day, don dishwashing gloves and slather on cuticle oil.

Try all the Carolyn New York colors and you’ll get to know every neighborhood like the back of your hand.

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Filed: Beauti-Fixation