Category Archives: to market

Malia Mills NYC Sample Sale

I know it’s hardly swimsuit season, but Malia Mills‘ are the absolute best, and usually quite pricey. Here’s my own favorite, bought for $20 at their sale last summer:

The suits are made in New York City’s Garment Center, right across the hall from the sale. Here’s a little window into Malia’s workspace I shot last year, where she talks about the importance of overseeing her supply chain. For more on Malia and the Garment District, read up here! And find the details for the sale below. 

Malia Mills is hosting the ultimate swimwear separates celebration!

For two days, find favorite styles from seasons past for $20 bucks a piece at our Studio Sale Extravaganza. It’s a new year, and we’ve got “newly vintage” Malia Mills mixers galore!

Tops 30A to 40DD, Bottoms 2 to 16


Add to your swimwear wardrobe and 10% of your purchase will go to The New York Women’s Foundation. http://www.nywf.org/

When? Wednesday, February 24th and Thursday, February 25th

10 am until 6 pm

Where? Malia Mills, 263 West 38th St, Floor 16, between 7th and 8th Avenues

Cash, AMEX, Visa, Mastercard Accepted

It might seem a world away today, but summertime is inevitable.

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What Becomes of the Broken-Heeled?

On Valentine’s Day…

Any girl can tell you it’s dangerous out here. We fall, but with a little help from our friends, we get up, brush ourselves off, and fix our broken heels.

The shoe designer Nancy Kim happens to live in my neighborhood, and when I sent her a picture of the damage to my A.P.C. boots from a date a couple of weeks ago, she prescribed a visit to the shoe repair shop on Graham Avenue, just north of Grand Street. (I think it’s called Arthur’s–the photos of it were lost with my old phone on Wednesday.) $27 and 24 hours later, my broken heel was as good as new, both boots were protected with tough Vibram soles and the worst scuffs had been brushed away.

Today I’m wearing them with chili-colored tights and hopping between melting slush-puddles on my way to the fashion shows. I suppose they might break again, but after that last spill, they seem a little bit stronger.

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New Kid on the Block: Wool and the Gang

By now you may know, that when it comes to downtown knitting shops, I love Purl. But on my way there the other day (as I mentioned at the end of this post), I found a new nook to love on Thompson Street: Wool and the Gang. There’s no question that Purl is precious: colorful, comfortable, and populated with kindly experts to help with projects. 

Wool and the Gang, on the other hand, feels stark, modern, and a little edgy at first impression…until one remembers that knitters, by nature, are patient people who appreciate color and craft. And if you, in turn, are someone who appreciates color and craft, then you already have something in common. I had a chat with Jade, their British shopkeeper, who you’re likely to meet again here at Closettour, and picked up a ball of Crazy Sexy Wool for a new hat.

I started it last week at a neighborhood knitting bee, where it was my turn to be the new kid on the block. The group is comprised of three other girls: Melissa, plus two more called Jenny, like me. (One Jenny makes pretty clothing by hand, the other muses about the food she eats.) They watch Twin Peaks while they knit, which would be far too creepy for me to watch alone. It’s sort of nice having a little gang.

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A Clean, Well-Lighted Place

I went to see Breakfast at Tiffany’s at the Film Forum the other night and realized I’ve never watched the entire movie from start to finish. I absolutely loved it, and suffice to say I could identify with Ms. Golightly when she expressed her love of Tiffany’s–not so much because of the jewelry, but because I too have felt that inside certain shops, nothing bad could befall me.

On the way home from the movies, crossing SoHo, we passed Purl, the knitting shop where I bought my first skein of yarn in 2003. It was dark, silent, and freezing on Sullivan Street, but Purl was lit up like a Christmas tree.

It was the first night of the year, and I think they were doing inventory.

I stopped to peer into the window undetected for a moment before continuing to the J-Train. Incidentally, I had a project waiting for me at home, for the very fella who escorted me to the Film Forum. (Well-earned, you may be thinking, but I think he liked the movie as much as I did.) This is it–completed just a couple of days ago. Nevermind that wavy rib.

I started this in California, with the help of  Strands Knitting Studio in San Clemente.

It was a fortuitous find  on my way home from the Casa de Kathy Thrift Shop. I couldn’t resist.

Once hooked, I picked out a skein of charcoal grey Misti Alpaca yarn and the Gwyneth Paltrow-lookalike manning the store helped me work out a pattern.

Strands got me started, but I couldn’t have finished that beanie without popping by Purl, just a couple days after passing by that cold night. (It really takes a village.) I had knit myself into a bit of a corner and needed help getting the hat off the needles at the end. My stitches were too tight. As ever, one of the ladies at Purl was patiently helpful. Maybe she shook her head at me ever so slightly, but it was only as she bailed me out.

You might not believe it, but on my way across SoHo to Purl that very afternoon, for help with the project I started at Strands in San Clemente, I came across yet another amazing, and completely different knitting store.  All I wanted to do was buy the yarn to start another project, but I made myself wait, at least until the charcoal beanie was finished. Now I’m ready for my next project, and dying to return to my new find so I can tell you all about it, but it may have to wait for a day or two.

As Ms. Golightly could attest, this restlessness is exhausting.

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CLOSETTOUR, California Style

I did a pretty good job packing for a California Christmas, with one major exception: I forgot my sunglasses.

Flea Market Sunnies in Rio

I have a couple of great vintage pairs at home,  from Eu Amo Vintage in Rio de Janeiro, including the ones pictured below, but none made it into my suitcase.

My Stripey Blue Ones, pre-purchase at Eu Amo Vintage, 2008

I hate the thought of buying another pair when I’ve got these great ones at home. Borrowing isn’t really an option, since my host is a guy of formidable stature (a bonus when it comes to loaner sweatshirts, but not so much for sunnies.) But while I was taking a little morning walk around San Clemente today, cooling off after a hot yoga class (it seems I always end up closing my practice with second-hand shopping), I came across the Casa de Kathy Thrift Shop. California thrift shops are the greatest, as I’ve mentioned in my reminiscence of Ventura, and Kathy’s was no exception.There were only a couple pairs of sunnies, but I scored these for a grand total of 50 cents.

The Case de Kathy had some other great pieces too, like a pair of high-waisted, pleated, peg-legged Ralph Lauren Country khakis that would be muy cute with wedge espadrilles and a black tank top in New York, were it not 35 degrees farenheit there. They were made in the U.S.A., and the boy working said although they were marked $6, he could sell them for $3.50. It’s something to think about. Maybe after yoga tomorrow. For now I’m kicking back behind my new shades.

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My Neighborhood Mollusk

Yesterday I took the wetsuit search to Mollusk, a surf shop not far from my place in Brooklyn. They didn’t have any loaners hanging around, but I have to admit that on a winter afternoon with vacation just a day away, I sort of just liked the idea of biking to a neighborhood spot. 

I never really thought about the surf shop as community center, since I’ve never been a big surfer (standing up for me, is a victorious day on the waves), but last fall when I made this little audio slideshow there, and one of the guys there told me how in the ’50s and ’60s surf shops served that function, it did make sense.

I think it was my friend, neighbor, and former colleague from LoomstateMoose Huerta (I still like his old blog) who first introduced me to the spot, probably via some summer evening barbeque, or stopping by to replace a broken fin (his, not mine) or something lovely of that nature.

Mollusk was equally pleasant yesterday. As always, it smelled like neoprene inside–an odor that was totally charmless when I lived in Santa Barbara, where surfers’ wetsuits hung in most showers; but is sort of precious now, and coupled with afternoon sunlight bouncing off the snow outside the window, made for a nice visit. Chris Gentile, one of the owners was working, and he told me that they’re moving to a bigger space soon. It’s rather sad they’re leaving the exceptional space that is Monster Island (more to come on that), but they’ll have more room for rental boards and wetsuits, apparel, books, and beyond.

I love the cabin-like corner on River Street where Mollusk lives for the moment, but I imagine they’ll take that neighborhood vibe and neoprene smell wherever they go. 

And in the meantime, I think a wetsuit has materialized in San Clemente.

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Graduation Gift: Inoue Brothers Scarf

As I mentioned the other morning, my graduation gift to myself was an alpaca scarf from the Inoue Brothers, and not a moment too soon. There it is keeping me warm under the picturesque Brooklyn-Queens Expressways as the snowflakes started to fall this afternoon.

I fell in love when I saw a similar one wrapped around the neck of Tomoko Ogura, who knows a thing or two about shopping–she oversees all the buyers for the Barney’s Co-op. When I complimented its rainbow hues she quickly turned over one corner to show me this:

and told me about how the Inoue Brothers, born and raised in Denmark, now based in Copenhagen and London, combine their Japanese heritage and European design sense with the expertise of Bolivian artisans to turn out these wonderful scarves, which she snapped right up on Barney’s behalf.

I resisted for about four hours that afternoon, doing schoolwork before I finally googled the Inoue Brothers and landed on their really lovely website.

I read more about the brothers, got a closer look at the scarves, and decided I better ring Barney’s.
I still liked the grey best, which is what I had seen Tomoko wearing, but I thought the marigold, poppy red, or darker green could do nicely too. But the man at Barney’s told me they only had lavender, pink, and blue left. None would have been quite right for me. It needed to be a cozy color for everyday, and cool colors (as opposed to warms and neutrals) are just not my thing. I went back to the designers’ website, where I found an email address. I sent a message about my crush on the scarf, and asking whether there were any more available. 

17 minutes after I hit “send,” on a Sunday, no less, Satoru Inoue–one of the designers, wrote back saying he would check with the stock guys, who were busy with Christmas orders, and see what he could do. Sure enough, he found me a grey one, though in a slightly different size. He sent me a message outlining the difference in measurements (a matter of several centimeters), and offered to send it at a smaller price, for the smaller size. I said, “yes, please,” and asked for some more information about his company.

The Inoue Brothers, Image from Limited Hype

He sent me their profile, and even better, a link to this interview on Limited Hype, which I thoroughly enjoyed. There are great photos of the brothers (Satoru–at least I think it’s Satoru, on the left, looks strangely similar to Rogan. A kindred soul across the pond), as well as the Bolivian knitters, and a nice outline of their design and production process. I thought this bit was a highlight:

LH: Does putting social responsibility and sustainability first hinder your growth as a brand at all?

Satoru Inoue: Both yes and no. It all depends on how you look at it and how you define value. Business is driven by efficiency and profit. If those two principles are valued in only financial means, then our methods are slow in growth. But valued in human development, quality and creativity, then our methods have been very profitable.

The day before graduation, I got a package notice from the post office. An envelope was waiting for me, with my lovely new scarf folded up inside with a hangtag that told me a little more about its production:

But as the brothers note on their website, “talk is cheap,” and they hope their work speaks for itself.

So far, so good.

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