The fall fashion season is my ultimate fave. I adore coats and jackets as you might’ve deduced from my prior posts. So shopping for outerwear leads me to the bellwether of style and prestige, Barney’s NY.
This year, I decided to bring a new found friend to Barney’s, my Lumber Jack Barney plush doll. My goal is to restyle this unfortunate soul who suffers from a lack of sophistication. (You might remember my plush Barney doll in this Lumber Jack post.) Plush Barney’s uniform of choice is the Overall. I hate Overalls, which I consider to be denim’s depressed diaper counterpart. The only appropriate place to wear that shapeless tarp is thatching a roof or riding cross country on a freight train with a bandana satchel toting wedges of stale bread and chewing tobacco. Unfortunately, Overalls have insinuated their way back into streetstyle fashion. I’m hoping this trend will meet its demise shortly.
We arrived at Barney’s NY on a balmy morning and decided to video at the storefront on Madison Avenue. To my dismay, plush Barney was not pleased with the store’s pretentiousness and whispered that he would rather be at H&M (Hemorrhaging & Manipulating) or Forever 21 (Forever Crap). As you can see in my video, I was unforgiving and belligerent in my response. I almost beat him to a pulp over his choice of shopping destinations. Luckily, I am a forgiving person, restrained myself and proceeded to take on Barney’s NY.
(click on video)
Right away, I headed toward the hat section. I wasn’t impressed by the two lean racks. Each season, I am hopeful that women will embrace the hat, the best accessory aside from shoes that a women could buy. But it never happens since women are baffled how to wear hats. They feel they don’t look good in them, but I will attest that they do. It’s a matter of finding the best shape to suit one’s style.
Barney’s can be intimidating on account of 9 floors purely dedicated to fashion, accessories, home goods and Fred’s restaurant. However, the spaciousness of each floor layout and carefully curated items make the experience enjoyable rather than overwhelming. If you want to be overwhelmed, visit lower-end department stores where garments are strewn about, multiple rows of racks which can barely be navigated, surly shoppers and bored employees who look homicidal.
Next stop, shoes. Shoe departments continue to expand exponentially in size vying for a woman’s undivided attention and maximum credit card limit. Barney’s is no exception. They want women to drool over their enviable offerings. As diverse as the choices may be, I would like to see the stiletto section be given a fool-proof birth control method for a few years. Sure stilettos are sexy, but there are way too many of them. Women traipsing around in shoes that will eventually give them bunions the size of a cronut exasperates me. My foot temple of choice has either a chunky heel or is in the brogue-flats family.
As someone who loves coats and jackets, this plaid one by Celine greeted me with open plaid arms on my favorite floor–the third. You can also find Thom Browne, Zac Posen and Lisa Perry.
My second favorite floor is the 8th and one where I bought a jacket I have been eyeing since February on the Fall Fashion Runway. I was so excited to see this Carven in person. I love the coated fabric, fur lapel, zippered sleeves and iridescent texture which reminds me of something in the beetle family. The minute we greeted one another this Carven knew it would make its way back home with me.
One employee who helped me with my purchase chuckled over my love for something inanimate. The garment will never express gratitude and will eventually hang in my closet competing with a few dozen jackets for my attention. I am fine with this notion since a beautiful item of clothing will always remain faithful, will be complementary and will attract admiring glances for years to come.
My sojourn to Barney’s was a success. As always the employees were courteous, helpful and knowledgeable of the brands they represent. As for the offerings in general this season, I was not enthused. Retail has played it safe over the years, so I didn’t see brands other than ones that create a stir. Where are the under-the-radar designers Barney’s once sold? Most of the garments I saw can be found at my favorite online shops like TheCorner, MyWardrobe, Net-a-Porter and MatchesFashion. How long will brick-and-mortar stores be able to compete with online-only stores that sell the same designers, and are willing to take risks by selling brands not in the spotlight? I hope brick and mortars survive since I still love the tactile experience and connecting with salespeople.
Upon returning home with my new French jacket, I did what most people would probably find odd. I propped my Carven jacket in bed to admire and wake up to the next morning. “Good morning gorgeous Carven” I uttered the next morning. There it was in graceful repose, my LumberJack Barney doll and Mirdle, the Chihuahua gazing quizzically at the object of my affection. Sadly, after only a few weeks of unflinching devotion, I will grow tired of my jacket and will place it deep into the recesses of my closet. I will admit that I am comforted by having beautiful options to choose from in the months ahead. One day I will pull out the glossy, textured Carven and gaze at it as adoringly as I did the first day I discovered it. I may be as hedonistic as the next person, but I am always grateful to be given the opportunity to wear works of art that I cherish and will remain a stylish constant in the capricious world of fashion.