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Shopping Tips

A NYC Shopping Marathon, a.k.a. Field Research

Mr. Real Life Style called me in NYC last Tuesday morning from DC to ask what Kyle and I had on our schedules for the day. No clients, I said, but we are going to the Met to see the Versailles Exhibit (there would be clothes) and to some stores downtown. “So you are playing in New York all day?”, he asked in a slightly amused tone. I say slightly because he was alone with our two young children for 3 days while I was in New York “working.” Trying not to sound too defensive, I explained that we needed to go to some stores to feel and try on the clothes to better serve our clients when ordering online, and that I also had a meeting with Adi Yair, the Israeli designer I had met in Tel Aviv, while she was in town for a few weeks. “So you are doing Field Research?” he asked. “Why yes, we are!” I said enthusiastically.

Mr. Real Life Style suggested all of our stops would make a great blog post. I agreed that would also make our entire day seem a little more like work, and a little less like playing all day in Soho. Not that there is anything wrong with that! So here you are, dear readers. And in case you are wondering how hard we pounded the pavement for our clients, check out the shot of my Fitbit at the end of the day.

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AYR

Did you know that AYR has the softest, stretchiest jeans out there? AYR stands for All Year Round, and the store delivers on fashionable, wearable wardrobe workhorses. The salespeople at the now permanent store on Lafayette street were super welcoming and knowledgeable. Also, one of the women shopping there had the cutest baby we were dying over!

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Koio

Fur trimmed sneakers? Yes, please. Seriously though, Koio had stylish, grown-up sneakers at what passes for reasonable prices in the crazy designer sneaker world. This brand was a big discovery in our research day, although I have to admit I have absolutely no idea how to pronounce it!

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The Flour Shop

The Flour Shop is very popular among Instagrammers of the world and now I know why. I’m sure their treats (such as the rainbow cake push-pop) are as delicious as they are beautiful, but what struck me most was the genius of designing a store to be so Instagrammable that you never had to pay for publicity. Even Kyle couldn’t resist taking her own rainbow framed picture.

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Nickel and Diner

We originally wanted to have lunch at the hipster hot spot, Jack’s Wife Freda. However, the line was long and our stomachs were very empty. We ended up at Nickel and Diner, where I had these amazing thick-cut fries and a steak burger. And I got to pay $6 for a Mexican Coke. Gotta love NYC.

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Glossier

As you may have read here before, we love Glossier skincare and makeup, especially their Boy Brow product. You probably don’t know that the brand maintains a penthouse lair that allows customers to come try, feel and smell all the products they desire. Kyle and I had so much fun! I had just stocked up I so didn’t buy anything but I fell in love with their clear lip gloss and their fragrance, called Glossier You. I couldn’t stop smelling my wrist all day! Kyle got her own Boy Brow, the Cloud Paint blush, and the tinted Cherry Balm Dot Com for lips. As fun as this “non-research” stop was, I felt pretty old amongst the millennial set in the store!

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Opening Ceremony

Opening Ceremony is a legendary NYC boutique. The owners are now designers, in charge of both the store’s private label line as well as the French brand Kenzo. Getting your clothing or accessory line into Opening Ceremony is an indie designer’s dream come true, and doing a collaboration with them is a stamp of cool approval for mainstream brands like Fossil. I think I’m getting old. While I did like a lot of the merchandise, I found a lot of it just plain weird, and couldn’t imagine one of my clients buying such high priced merchandise in such a non-glamorous setting. Again, this store made me feel old. I’m just much more comfortable in a store like Bergdorf Goodman or Barneys at this stage of life! I have to say though, there was a pair of Repetto black satin flats there that I can’t stop thinking about…

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Roman and Williams Guild

Guild by Roman and Williams is one of those stores I’ve been reading about a lot in magazines like Vogue and Architectural Digest. A cool restaurant attached to a large, luxurious “home furnishings as art” store, I wanted to move in. Ok, this stop counted as just fun too 🙂 Next time I’m in Soho I want to make time for lunch at La Mercerie, the uber fashionable restaurant. See more in the New York Times article.

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The Webster

The Webster is another store I’ve been reading about a lot in Vogue. Started in Miami, The Webster brings together new and established designers into a carefully curated store with a residential feel. If I only bought designer clothes, this is where I’d shop. The shoes were especially amazing.

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Kirna Zabete

Kirna Zabete was one of the first high-profile multi-designer stores in Soho. Although in a new location, the store retains its aura of high-end cool with a large, dependable selection of the best new and well-known designer lines. Kyle and I especially loved their very Instagrammable wall of neon quotes.

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The Ordinary

The tiniest retail space in Soho has been taken over by The Ordinary, the cult/affordable/effective skin care line as previously featured on the blog! We love this stuff.

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Flying Solo

We met Adi Yair, a young designer I purchased an amazing vest from in Israel, at her new retail outlet, Flying Solo. The store allows young designers they choose from around the world to rent only a rack in the store, giving them a retail presence on West Broadway in NYC. Kyle and I had a blast doing our own impromptu, mini-photo shoot with Adi’s fabulous clothes as they came out of the boxes. Look out here or on Instagram for some more great shots of Kyle wearing Adi’s handwoven designs! And look closely at the jeans below to see the trick 🙂

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Chobani

At one point we needed some refreshment. Check out our Garden Lemonades from the Chobani Cafe (yes, like the yogurt!) on West Broadway. They were so delicious we are going to start asking other places to combine lemonade and green juice for us! My mouth is watering with the memory…

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M. Gemi

Our stop at M. Gemi was pure field research. Really. I’ve been seeing ads and reading about these shoes forever, but really wanted to see and feel them in person. Italian made designs in every silhouette you could possibly want, I can tell you now for sure these shoes are a beautiful value for the money. Kyle and I were especially excited to see the V-neck slingback pumps! Even the sneakers seemed super comfy and uber chic!

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Everlane

More research! Everlane is a super-millennial type of site, advertising their transparent manufacturing practices and pricing. It was such a treat to be able to see and feel the clothing in person. I have their backpack, as do a bunch of our clients, but I’ve hesitated to order shoes (or their new underwear!) without seeing it in person first. Neither category will disappoint. Lucky for me, all the sample shoes out were about my size so I could do a lot of trying easily. I was floored by the comfort of the shoe they call the Day Glove (pictured below). Try it on and you will see why. Buy them now!

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Deciem

We found a full size Deciem store, which is the parent brand of The Ordinary. I stocked up on my favorite full-coverage foundation. See below 🙂

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Credo

Ok, ok, this stop was also more personal research but we knew you would also be interested! Have you ever wished that everything in Sephora was natural so that you didn’t have to sift through the product lines? Well, Credo is literally a beauty emporium with only cruelty-free, natural beauty lines. You’re welcome.

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The Fitbit tells the real story.  Kyle and I visited even more stores than we could fit into the blog. Let us know if you hit any of our stops yourself and what you think!

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Lani Inlander is a personal stylist who has been working with clients who want to feel their best and look put-together every day for 20 years. You can find her in the Washington, D.C. and New York metropolitan areas. Are you looking for professional training to become a personal stylist? Learn how you can train with Lani at The Stylist Studio. 

You can find Lani Inlander and Real Life Style on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

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