O Printêmps

May 1, 2008 at 5:51 am Leave a comment

Guest Blogger: Marais

Former Parisian Marais spent her student days window shopping on the Faubourg St. Honoré, eating macaroons, and reading French Elle with religious devotion. She tries to look at Forest Hills through the same rose-colored glasses, but usually a glass of vin rosé does the trick instead.

Les jours sont comptés si clairement—André Breton

Parting the curtains, I stood in front of my closet in despair. The bold, unforgiving sunlight of spring made everything in my wardrobe feel shabby. The lilacs were in bloom. Children fluttered in the parks. And all those pilled, woolly sweaters I’d curled up in during the dark days of winter now looked like they needed to be packed up in a trunk, mothballs and all, until November. It was even time to bid adieu to my suede boots, wrap them up in tissue paper, and go for a pedicure.

Spring is a time for renewal. Just as our taste buds crave the citrus tang of asparagus, lemon, and fennel rather than starchy stews and those divine truffles that sustained us throughout the winter, so too are we overcome with the desire to dress in colors that lift our spirits higher than a glass of veuve cliquot. Call it enslaved to the laws of fashion. Or, call it instinct. Regardless, we need a change.

So, I stand before my closet and take pitiful stock of my unseasonal wardrobe. Its drab hues look as though I raided a vicarage—mossy greens and mousier browns, and a gray sweater I’m fond of even though it does nothing for me. I need to update my wardrobe, whatever it takes.

Catalogs float into my mailbox with regularity, but are like mini-fantasies in which my Perfect Self dressed in white capris rides up Queens Blvd. on a vespa. Doesn’t quite scotch with reality, which more often than not means a frustrating trip to the post office with a return. I don’t have the time or patience to navigate a mall, and I definitely don’t feel like getting on a subway—or a plane. But why be a snob? Though it’s not the Faubourg St. Honoré, why shouldn’t I step out onto Austin St. and see what our local couturiers has to offer?

First stop, O Boutique. Whether the O stands for Oxygen Network, orgasm, or the more cryptic Story of O that constitutes high porn for literary New Yorkers, O Boutique sets the right tone in this nabe through a minimalist aesthetic and alluring, fresh styles. Updating the basic structural elements of a wardrobe is like going to Restoration Hardware and finding the right fixtures—pas necessaire to re-do the entire kitchen. With O’s collection of white blouses, reminiscent of the chic boutique Anne Fontaine (there is also one located in Soho), gray-overall dresses, and black separates, plus some chromatic surprises, a few new additions will make you feel as if you’ve updated your closet without having to gut it. A very French motif if ever there was one.

I picked out a green top, pretty and demure in a not-your-J.Jill-assembly-line-cut kind of way. And when I checked out the price tags, I walked away without feeling too guilty.

O trends in the right direction and may inspire other Forest Hills store owners who specialize in flashy cruise wear for the well-heeled grandma set, or Pink Uggs for their jr. counterparts, to tone down the glitz just a notch and provide clothes you might actually want to wear. But I wouldn’t bet on it.

Next: Marais offers her sartorial take on the chains of Austin


Entry filed under: Forest Hills.

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