Shopping in New York has been something I have wanted to do since like forever! Being a fashionista is not something I claim that I am. However, I do like clothes and I do attempt to stay current. I am not sure I succeed but I shop for things that suit my lifestyle and that fit my overburdened figure.
Last year we were on the west coast and in Hawaii. No doubt the shopping was good but I found I didn’t know the labels or have the confidence to throw myself in. In addition, hours in and out of change rooms is not my idea of fun. Sure, I love to purchase but a quick try on is all my patience is capable on. Yes, I have vowed to work on that.
This trip there would be no children. No children means no time frames or limitations on what I needed to find. I say need, let’s change that to want. In Australia, I find you are limited to what is in season, amongst other shortcomings. If it’s a red season that will be all you can buy in store after store. Remember the purple seasons, yuk! We are limited to sizes as well. Many of my favourite labels only go to a 14, which in real life is actually a 10. Judge however you want. I have curves, always have and need to buy accordingly.
I wanted jackets. A good leather basic jacket. Some modern accessories different to what everyone is wearing and whatever else caught my eye was also on the list. I didn’t want to spend hours or days shopping. This was my first trip to New York and I wanted to see as much as I could not spend hours trawling through shops. My sister has a beautifully curated dress shop so special finds, I can get through her. Click here to have a look at her store, you may be surprised how unique her finds are.
Tackling shopping in New York
Shopping in New York has to be able to be done with a personal shopper no? I researched and found almost every store had a personal shopper in store to help you. You could pre-book appointments or just turn up in store. I was certain I didn’t want to be restricted to one store. The sty;list needed to be neutral and happy to go to many stores. Most important, I didn’t want some funky young thing making me feel old and daggy. I wanted someone who could help with how things fit and what to wear them with. What I found delivered so much more than what I had expected to achieve.
I decided to hire a personal shopper/stylist that was not affiliated with any department store. I found Joyce Bartle who was so much more than what I had wanted. Click here to contact her. She was once a Bond girl so that was enough for me to think she knew how to dress. Gosh knows why when she had very little clothes on! Seriously, she was able to adapt to my needs. She had originally started looking for highly professional style of clothing having told her I work for the government. Having explained my dress code was not like the White House but greatly more casual, she adapted and we were off.
We started in Bloomingdales and can I just say that the displays in this store are off the charts. Merchandising done so so well and just walking around was a exciting. Here we bought 3 pairs of Not Your Daughters Jeans. If you have not tried them – get some. They are the best! My super tiny friend that travelled with us was over in Madewell getting her jeans, but my behind hasn’t been that size since primary school! Jeans down, pants, a few shirts and tops and two bags later we were done.
We went to two great little shops on Lexington to get ‘statement’ shoes – who knew there was such a thing! (I did, but not like this! Wow how I wish I took a photo) Lots of similar styles to the big fashion labels and embellishments and brocade work. Next door for a store laid out in colour code of lovely precious things. You want hot pink earrings in a variety of shapes, styles and metals, this is your place. This lovely elegant French woman working in the store designed many of the creations. I could of spent hours in here, it was fabulous.
Don’t settle – stick to your own style
One thing I learnt from this adventure was that you don’t need to settle. I think in Australia we are limited as to what we can find and source that we settle for an earring shape that doesn’t suit our neck or ear lobe. (Do you like how I generalised that to make my compulsiveness seem like a population issue?) I bought two statement necklaces. One in semi-precious stone and the other in a synthetic material. Two pairs of earrings of which one was a large clip on and the other a delicate gold drop earring. I could have seriously filled a suitcase. I will continue to purchase form there.
Saks 5th Avenue
That was adventure number one and I had resigned to meet again later in the week. My husband had been off exploring museums whilst I did this so he was thoroughly entertained. The following day Joyce called me and asked to spend an hour with me at Saks 5th Avenue. I arrived and she had already pulled all the clothes and was waiting for me win a fitting room with a salesperson. Candice, the lovely girl came running in and out with sizes, as Joyce dressed me. Candice wanted to learn as well so she helped Joyce with fittings and listened to my tailoring details. The wonderful Helmut Lang leather jacket was left behind. I will order on line when it goes to 40% off. With exchange rates and the amount I would wear it, I am happy to wait. I did buy an amazing white lace jacket. Super great summer wardrobe addition. Saks own label too!
The following day we returned to SAKS but this time to SAKSoff5th. Here I found the Karl Lagerfeld label. It’s kind of like Missoni for Target. I hear all the fashionistas tuning out and stating – eeewww! Doesn’t worry me. This was seriously great stuff and so much that I liked. I bought cardigans with lace detail and tops with leather detail. I bought jackets and a skirt or two. We skimmed the shoe section, but I am not sure why I just couldn’t get my head into shoe shopping whilst I was there. I think too much choice.
A morning/afternoon shopping with a personal shopper is a few hundred dollars. If you have the time of course you can find all these things yourself. I was time poor and in unfamiliar territory. There are dozens of more labels I could explore. Joyce is able to adapt to all budgets. Having worked at Armani she knows about fit and fabrics. She knows how to tailor and how to get the sales assistant to work with you and help. Joyce will always get the best deal for you. In addition to all of that she was pleasant and enjoyable company. I felt like I was shopping with an old friend. She is pragmatic and sensible. I can’t recommend it enough.
Engaging a Personal Shopper
If shopping in New York is something that is on your list. I highly recommend you engaging in conversation with Joyce. Saks has a service in house, as does Bloomingdales. If you prefer less department store, they tell me H&M (I can’t find a link for this one but if you google there are so many blog reviews and articles about it, you could just contact store to find out) and Top Shop New York’s personal shopping service is off the chart. Of course, in Australia there are these services, at David Jones, but I have never thought to use for outside of shopping for an occasion. I have included the links – just click on the stores name.
I’ve been back for over a week and most of my purchases are at the tailors. Despite that, I have a spring in my step and I am walking out the door without a frumpy thought at all. Do it is what I say.
Click here for a link to a number of recommendations in Time Out for personal shopping in New York.