Monday, August 25, 2008

f*ck dc, it's nyc week!

So, after I teared up during the closing montage of the XXVIV Olympiad, I realized two things: 1) My life is truly empty, and 2) I really do miss NYC. Now what do the 2008 Beijing Olympics have to do with my missing New York? I'm not entirely sure, but considering I never cried because a sports event ended before now makes me believe that DC has affected me (read: driven me batsh*t crazy). In New York City, I think (or at least I'd like to) that I'd be too busy doing fun and exciting things to care. In DC, I have nothing else to care about. My life is empty, remember?

But you know what's not empty? My fulfilling memories of my times in Manhattan and Brooklyn a few weekends ago. And so, I dedicate this e-week to those two magical boroughs where the khakis are kept to a minimum and the people can actually stand me. I ♥ NY.

To kick off this week of NYC love, I'll start with something to which DC pales in comparison -- the shopping. There are more stores on one SoHo block that match my aesthetic than there are in the entire District. Actually, let's even throw in Bethesda and all the malls in Northern Virginia, as well. DC and its surrounding environs can keep its Caché, Talbots and Ann Taylor Lofts. In fact, it can even keep its H&M's, Urban Outfitters and Barneys CO-OPs, the stores I find myself most often perusing in the District. Of course I could shop (or stare at longingly in the case of the CO-OP) at those outlets in New York, as well, but I don't have to. Instead, New York offers an array of decently priced wares, and often better made, from stores like Uniqlo and Muji, two Japanese brands whose only North American locations are located in Manhattan.

Both stores balk most trends and instead offer stylized basics, paying great attention to fabric and silhouette. Take for instance these looks from Uniqlo. Notice the absense of both pleated khakis and Crocs (shocking, I know):

And here's a Japanese dance crew wearing Uniqlo and doing my favorite dance and hopefully yours, too -- the Robot. Indeed, much like their style, their sh*t is tight.

Muji keeps it even more simple, opting for mostly neutral colors and 100 percent cotton. My favorite item of clothing in Muji was their crinkley T-shirt, which comes in a vacuum-packed cube about the size of a Rubik's Cube. Although, I'm and idiot and failed to photograph my own purchase in the package, Flicker users Colin and Mitch did:

And even though I bought one of these cubes about three weeks ago now, I didn't open it till this morning after I woke up from a sleepless night of Olympic mourning. Capitalism always makes me feel better.

Capitalism, however, does little for my bird's nest-like hair in the morning. Speaking of bird's nest, I'm now thinking this is my coiffure's inadvertent tribute to Beijing's Bird's Nest Stadium where Usain Bolt won three gold medals and broke the same amount of records. Dammit...I'm tearing up again.

But eulogistic top-knots aside, I invite you to take a closer look at this permanently wrinkled shirt. It is quite phenomenal. (Again, my life is empty.)

Domo arigato, Japanese crinkley shirt!

And xie xie, Chinese Olympic games. *single tear* I'll miss you.


Stevious said...

I shed a tear when Chris Hoy won his third track cycling gold medal of the games because he lives near me (in olympic terms) and rides bikes.

I also shed a tear watching Holy Fuck yesterday but I think that was just because of the hangover.

Boomhauer said...

When I was in Japan Uniqlo looked like Old Navy or the Gap. Did they mix up their style line-up?

BAD said...

OMG I bought the same crinkly shirt just days after you left!!! But in gray.

I would second the notion that Uniqlo is kind of like Old Japanese Navy. Though I like the cashmere. So soft.

Elle Gee said...

I knew I was in trouble of Olympic proportions when my laptop wallpaper became the elfin Shawn Johnson (post my joyous tears at her gold-medal victory on the balance beam).

Idolizing a 16 year old midget at 26 = unacceptable.

And I've no excuse for my life-emptiness--I'm a recent DC-to-NYC emigre. So, my dear Possible Favorite Blogger, keep writing about Thee Greatest Citay in Thee Nation, Possibly World, so I know what the hell to do here. Every day I do nothing rad feels like a lifetime wasted.

Marissa said...


I shed a tear when Chris Hoy won, too. Because he's not from the USA! USA! USA!


I see your point. Perhaps I'm giving it too glowing of a review. I think the whole lower floor of the SoHo store is fairly barftastic, but the first floor (with all the cashmere) is lovely. I think it differs from Old Navy and Gap significantly in quality, however. Although having worked for Gap, Inc. (although at a Banana Republic) in my past, and seen several pieces of clothing arrive ripped or stained, I might be biased. Since I quit in 2006, I don't think I've set foot in a Gap establishment...


Oh snap! Great minds! I was debating between gray and beige and ultimately chose the beige. I am loving it right now. I want to go back and get the gray!

elle gee--

I must admit something about Shawn Johnson doesn't sit well with me. She's so tiny! I think she'd make me feel like the Godzilla if we ever meet, not just because I'm a full foot taller than her, but that my voice is also several octaves deeper. We're not talking Mary Carillo-deep or anything, but I think a chipmunk's voice is less shrill than hers. Despite my psychological hangups, however, I was happy when that tiny bitch tumbled her way to gold on that beam.

And thanks for all the compliments. I will reveal a few gems this week, however, I cannot claim to be an expert. I only lived there proper for a little over six months. Then hell called with a job and I came here. *sigh*

I-66 said...

I do like me some Uniqlo, and did some serious damage there the last two times I was in NYC. Too bad they don't ship.

I-66 said...

PS: You look like whip cream.

maryjanejeff said...

What about us poor saps who may not be thrilled about wearing pleated khakis, but are pretty much forced to wear them because they can't afford dressier pants and/or their employer doesn't allow jeans to be worn, and, well, pleated khakis don't cause you to have to iron them, which requires too much effort?

Those stores look pretty cool. In fact, they're so cool that they can't possibly be found here. Since I'm not that creative, I am in an never ending state of looking for stuff on clearance racks.

But yeah, I'm also more concerned with fabric instead of being trendy, especially when looking for running and workout clothes. No more cotton as a rule, save that for post-exercise. If I ever to go NYC I'll look up Uniqlo.

Marissa said...


Damn, this shirt does look a little bit like whipped cream. Sweet. HA! GET IT!?!?! SWEET! You're welcome.


Oh no! You are misinformed! It is, indeed, possible to dress nicely on a budget. Flat front pants are available at a steep discount at places like Filene's Basement and online. I'm not too knowledgable about the ironing situation, but I think if it's a choice between looking unkempt or looking good, I'd spend the 5 minutes ironing. Don't let the khakis win.

maryjanejeff said...

Whew, I'm saved. :) I think a lot of my khakis are flat fronted too. I like to think I look decent in whatever I can find at TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and or Target. The only Filenes Basement I'm aware of is in Farragut North area so I rarely get there. But Boston Representin'!!! I've found shoes in the past at Target, Famous Footwear Clearance, and DSW. I'll spend more on footwear since health problems follow bad fitting footwear.

It will make you happy to know that I do not even remember the last time I wore khakis on a weekend or even on a rare weeknight out somewhere if I had the chance to change into something else first. Work forces me to wear them, well I can't afford suits et al and unless I'm actually presenting something there's no need to.