critics' choice

One feature I enjoy reading in the New York Times fashion and style section is "Critical Shopper", where a journalist goes into a shop and...shops. And writes about the experience, often in a wickedly funny, slightly mocking way. It doesn't matter whether I'm interested in the shop at all, it's the writing that brings the experience alive.

Take this week's feature on Kesner (a menswear multi-label boutique) for example -

"Be careful walking into this place. You may think you have traveled through time and give yourself whiplash. The d├ęcor, the clothing, the atmosphere will have you convinced you have slipped backward five months to a more affluent era when Men’s Vogue was being published monthly, Orlando Bloom was a style icon and finance guys were eager to spend dubiously earned bonuses on velveteen suits and stylized sunglasses to wear at exclusive coke ’n’ cocktail parties on borrowed helipads.

When I visited, the only other people in the store were two salesclerks: a handsome, talkative young man and a very beautiful long-haired woman. As I walked around the shop, they chattered about the Hamptons and the hot guys walking by on Hudson Street.

At first, much of the merchandise I found was on par with this trivial conversation. A rack of clothing from the label Gilded Age included a Kurt Cobain-style flannel shirt for $195 and a wool vest in black and white plaid by Spurr for $495. Both were way too casual to merit their price."

Funny! I also enjoyed one particularly humorous piece on the Hugo Boss boutique, which can be read here.

I like these pieces because I pay a lot of attention to the environs in which I shop, even if they are just mass-market chains, probably similar in decor worldwide. I can have endless dissections on service, decor, lighting, fitting rooms, the hangers, the location of the cashiers, the organisation, the displays, the availability of mirrors etc etc etc.

Wouldn't it be fun to write one of these features...I would love to have a purpose that would give me courage to walk into a really swank boutique and try on the merch without feeling intimidated by the price tags and sales staff.

Image from vogue paris


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