Bright Stores. Our City.

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Shoppers in Soho.

Autumn in New York
Why does it seem so inviting
Autumn in New York
It spells the thrill of first-nighting

New York is certainly not a ghost town. New stores are opening up, even in these trying times. I am drawn to ones with humor and attitude these days. While you can shop all these stores on the web, they are well worth a visit in person. Do not fret as it is safe to shop — hand sanitizers, frequent cleaning, and a limit to the number of customers allowed into these smaller stores respects all guidelines. If you need to add some items to your Fall wardrobe (sweatpants and athleisure beware!), why not visit these happy boutiques?!

The Black Sheep Sweater.
The Black Sheep sweater at Rowing Blazers.

Rowing Blazers was started as a collection for men. Featuring rowing blazers and rugby shirts at the beginning, it added other categories. Women gravitated towards the designs, so a new women’s collection was launched in October.  Princess Diana has always served as an inspiration and a style icon for owner Jack Carlson. Diana wore this famous Black Sheep sweater to many polo matches back in the ’80s. The original sweater was designed by two young women who owned the label Warm and Wonderful, and sold from a stall in Covent Garden. Carlson tracked them down and worked with them to reproduce the original design — instead of stealing it. The style is so popular that it is now only available for pre-order for men and women.

The Women's Collection is A New Addition.
The women’s collection is a new addition.

The women’s collection includes blazers, rugbys, pants and shorts, as well as the sweaters. It is a tribute to iconic British style from the ’80s.

A Statement Sweater for Men and Women.
A statement sweater for men and women.

This sweater (above) was also worn by Diana. The sweater is labeled Gyles & George x Rowing Blazers, as Carlson is also working with the original designers. This piece is also on preorder only. Jack Carlson also penned the book sitting on the coffee table, Rowing Blazers, written to celebrate his passion.

The Front of the Store is bright
The front of the store sets the mood.

His passion became his business. The three-time member of the U.S. rowing team, Henley Royal Regatta champion and World Championships medalist, Jack wrote his book while studying for a doctorate in archeology at Oxford. The line is a vintage-inspired, ironic, tongue-in-cheek mash up of British and American student life that tweaks preppy style and mixes it with street style and sports.

A Store with a Sense of Humor.
A store with a sense of humor.

The Clubhouse, as the store is known, is a quirky collection of clothing and one-of-a-kind decor. Come on in and hang out. Find an oversized chess set, pool and ping-pong tables, as well as a sofa.

Signature Rugby Shirts
Rowing blazers signature rugby shirts.

The signature rugby shorts are at the back of the store. These are rugby shirts with personality.

The Men's Collection for Fall.
The men’s collection for fall.

Blazers and sweaters are a staple for fall. The are preppy with a twist.

A Corner of Men's Clothing
A corner of men’s clothing.

If you don’t want a rowing blazer, there are scarves, t-shirts and sweat shirts for sale as well. Take the time to study the objects that are placed all over the Clubhouse. Some vintage pieces are for sale. If you need team blazers (and hats, scarves, shirts, etc.) for your group, you can have them made to order.

Collection of Vintage Books and Magazines.
Rowing Blazers has an extensive collection of vintage books and magazines.

There is an ever-changing selection of vintage books and magazines. If you didn’t keep your copy, you can find the original Sloane Ranger Diary, as well as The Preppy Handbook.

Lots of Hats and Accessories.
Lots of hats and accessories.

There are plenty of hats and bags, as well as masks, on display.

Shirts, Books and A Real Coke Machine.
Shirts, books and a real Coke machine.

Rowing Blazers does collaborations. They have worked with Fila, Lands End, Sperry and United Arrows (so far). One of my favorite corners has a vintage Coke machine and is papered in Tintin cartoon pages.

Many Fun Items For Sale.
Many fun items for sale.

This sheep has the right attitude. Let’s shop and enjoy it.

Rowing Blazers, 161 Grand Street at Centre Street

The Entrance to The Boutique
The entrance to Farm Rio.

Farm Rio has taken up residence in New York. The brand was founded by Brazilians Katia Barros and Marcello Bastos. They started selling locally made goods from a small stand in an independent designers market in Rio. The vibe is “toes in the sand” and very colorful. A good portion of the floor in the store is covered in sand.

Fall Clothing with The Veja Sneakers Collab.
Fall clothing with the Veja sneakers collab.

They do a full range of clothing for all seasons. The uber-hip sneaker brand Veja has done a collaboration with them and it is COLORFUL, like pretty much everything in the store.

Bright Colors Fill The Store
Bright colors fill the store.

This corner offers plenty of red clothing and accessories. The clothing reflects the local color of Brazil.

Colorful Parkas For Winter.
Colorful parkas for winter.

These are among the liveliest parkas I have ever seen. Something bright to tide you through the winter.

Bright Mosaic Prints and Patterns.
Mosaic prints and patterns.

All the prints are designed in Brazil. You won’t see anything like this in the city.  New deliveries arrive frequently. They make almost everything with local Brazilian artisans.

A Mix of Looks For Sale
A mix of looks for sale.

Overalls and jeans sit with sweaters, blouses and dresses for fall. The clothes are also sold to other stores around the country like Neiman Marcus and Anthropologie.

Denim is mixed among the prints.

There are denim jackets, too. The space is populated with cute reminders of jungle life.

Easy Going Clothing.
Easy going clothing.

The sand is very grounding. There are small wooden lily pads so you can move around the store without getting sand stuck in your toes if you do not so desire. The brand is eco-conscious. They invest part of the profits of the group into planting new trees in Brazil. As of May 2020 they have planted over 50,000 trees in those precious jungles.

Dressing Rooms at the Back of this bright store
One-of-a-kind dressing rooms at the back.

When the store reopened over the summer, they had a wonderful selection of bathing suits and beach wear — a Brazilian specialty. Those should be coming back soon for the resort season. I also find the dressing rooms charming. Made of layers of twisted ropes, they fit the mood of the store.

A Collection of Brazilian Crystals
A collection of Brazilian crystals.

At the front of the store there is an everchanging display of crystals from Brazil; planters, some real plants and dried plants and other earthy curiosities.

Crafty Accessories.
Crafty accessories.

The accessories change all the time — bags, jewelry, scarves bracelets, earrings and much more. When you are craving color with a conscience, this is where you should shop. No sad moments here.

Farm Rio, 113 Prince Street

Bright masks for sale
Buy some new masks with your clothing at Arias.

Arias boldly decided to open this summer during the pandemic to show support for New York. The small store, about 1,500 square feet, is full of contemporary clothing. Of course, there is a selection of masks for sale.

Nina Sarin Arias, the founder and creative director of the brand, is an art collector as well as a designer. She has partnered with the nearby Andrew Kreps Gallery to show rotating displays of the gallery’s artists. The clothing in the store is minimal yet has a feminine edge.

An Edited Collection in the store
An edited collection.

All the clothing is made in New York City. This is eco friendly fashion. Only a few shoppers are allowed in at one time, as the space is small. You can also book a styling appointment for a unique experience.

Arias, 466 Broome Street

The Entrance to The Bright Boutique
The entrance to the boutique.

L’Agence, a Los Angeles based brand, recently opened a boutique in SoHo. The soaring space is very open and inviting. And the clothing is not shoved together on racks.

Contemporary clothing brightens the wall.

All the pieces are designed for an LA lifestyle with a Parisian sense of style. The line is cleanly chic.

New arrivals in a store
Merchandising new arrivals.

The pandemic sort of messed up many supply chains, so new merchandise arrives regularly. And as you can see, the staff is masked and hand sanitizer is available.

A Spacious Shop
A spacious shop with discrete spaces.

Mannequins line the passage to the back. You get to see many more looks on mannequins than you would in a traditional store. L’Agence is known for their slim fitting denim and a contemporary look.

Clean Shelves in a bright store
Clean shelves with knitwear and jeans.

The passage also contains shelves with sweaters, tees, shirts, accessories and more.

The Spacious Back of The Boutique is bright
The spacious back of the boutique.

The elegant back of the store contains the dressing rooms. Nothing in this boutique feels cramped.

Looking Out From the Back
Looking out from the back.

Style, design and decor mix perfectly in this boutique. As fashion slows its cycle down to a human scale, it is more comfortable and enjoyable to shop in places like the L’Agence boutique.

L’Agence, 45 Greene Street New York,

Barbara Hodes is the owner of NYC Private Shopping Tour, offering customized tours in New York and Brooklyn. 

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