Sunday, October 07, 2007

Double Trouble

I'd like to warn our readers about an area of the city I call the danger zone. The danger zone is a 3 block corridor between 16th and 18th, Sansom and Walnut Sts. Non-shopaholics may simply see this as the French Quarter or part of Rittenhouse Row. It is the home to some very fine boutiques, harbours of high fashion and my own personal shopping oasis. It is also where I often part with my discretionary income.

There are more stores in the danger zone than I can mention in one post so I will concentrate on two personal favorites: Echochic and Kimberly Boutique. Echochic is an urban fashionista's mecca, teeming with bohemian caftan-style dresses, avant-garde accessories and graffitied vintage handbags, cutting edge designers like See by Chloe and L.A.M.B. Over the years I have
found many great pieces, including a butter yellow sundress for my rehearsal dinner, a super-soft Rachel Pally cotton baby doll mini dress, and a few signature vintage pieces that always make an impression. The staff are stylish and helpful, and will actually tell you honestly if a piece is right for you. Echochic is also not a place for a woman whose style errs on the conservative side. Echochic is for the Carrie in us, not the Charlotte.

Which brings me to Kimberly, which is great for the more staple wardrobe "musts" and investment dressing - the LBD, the trench coat, the cropped wool jacket, classic Charlotte-friendly separates by designers such as Susana Monaco and Cynthia Vincent, peppered with the occassional LaRok or Nguyen to keep it exciting. I walk by Kimberly every day on my way to work. I have had many a close call with other commuters (and a few street food vendors) as my gaze gets stuck on its window displays when I should be watching where I am walking. Recently I coveted this fabulously mod Tibi dress for 3 weeks before succombing to its call to me. I knew if I walked in and tried it on, I would have to have it. I was right. In fact I also had to get a new hair cut to match the dress.

There are other shopping corridors around the city that can suck you dry of your savings. But the proximity of this particular area to my place of employment makes this one my own personal danger zone, filled with the pleasure of finding the next best thing and the pain of having to put it back on the rack and resist. Some power lunch, I power shop at lunch. It feeds my addiction.

Echochic, 1700 Sansom St.

Kimberly Boutique, 123 S. 16th St.

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