Friday, February 18, 2011

Fashion Week

During my first job out of college, I traveled quite a bit to conferences and industry meetings, covering new technologies for a trade magazine.

It was the perfect job for me -- satisfy my curiosity, change up the routine a bit, and go to cities I'd never visited before.

My first business trip was to Manhattan, and to make it in time for an early-morning conference start, I'd arrived a day earlier, a Sunday. Leaving my bags at the hotel, I ventured out.

But I was prepared.

This was the days before the Internet, but I'd done some reconnaissance on shopping in New York, and it was research that paid off handsomely.

Beyond window-shopping, I wasn't too interested in high-end shopping, mind you, which is easy to come by in New York. I needed stuff I could actually afford on a journalism graduate's salary.

And I proceeded to have a mind-boggling shopping experience at Shulie's, a plain-Jane store on the Lower East Side, supposedly run by the sister of designer Elie Tahari. It promised discounted Tahari fashions from "last season," which I'd long ogled from afar.

After discussing my budget, the two saleswomen brought me loads and loads of clothes. Dresses. Jackets. Trousers. They patiently helped me piece together a 5-piece purchase that was more than I'd ever spent on clothes, but that served me well for at least 10 years, including a dress that made me feel fantastic each and every time I wore it.

So I have a special place in my heart for Elie Tahari. I still have to watch my budget, and buy anything made by the label on steep discount or deep markdown.

But I love to watch the Fashion Week shows online, and his line this year is just gorgeous. Shulie's is long gone, but I'm sure there's a deal to be found out there, somewhere.