In the Market Report: “Cheap Thrills”

Joe Fresh red,white, &
blue striped t & skirt

“There are those expensive purchases that demand some thought and consideration, and then there are the ones that by virtue of their unbelievably low price tags (and classic timeless nature), are “no brainers”. I am an equal opportunity shopper, subscribe to both ends of the totem pole, and am not above a ‘cheap thrill’ “. 

I have previously mentioned that I almost never walk out of a Joe Fresh ( store without purchasing something and this past Saturday was no exception. I was at their Flatiron location (16th Street and 5th Avenue), a study in clean optic black & white with an emphasis on stripes (right up my alley and as far as I’m concerned, you can never have enough of either; especially at those prices). Within minutes, I picked up two horizontally striped short sleeved bateau neck t shirts in thick, soft Ponte cotton: one, in black with white stripes, the other, crisp and nautical, in wider stripes of red, white, and blue (each $39).

Joe Fresh Contrast Buckle Loafer

My eye immediately gravitated to the handsome, eye-catching shiny black patent loafers with contrasting white soles and white “enamel” horse bit buckle (a la Gucci, except for the price, that is – marked down from $59 to $39). Then I saw a shelf filled with simple, chic pumps on a 2 ½ kitten heel (very Manolo Blahnik/ Jimmy Choo). I selected the ones in black textured linen, which set me back $89. (They are also available in navy and camel suede and in a textured linen plaid).

Joe Fresh large striped tote

I paid and was on my way out, when I spotted an enormous structured tote bag (9 ½ inches high, 7 ½ inches wide, 19 ½ inches long) covered in graphic, wide black & white stripes. Upon inspection, I noticed it was made of crisp cotton poplin, fully lined, with a zippered compartment and a few more for cell phones, etc. Not only was the price right, $39, it was practically weightless, and I surmised it would be perfect to schlep around town. Not to mention that you could pack an entire summer wardrobe for a weekend jaunt out of the city in it, and would make one helluva chic beach bag. And since I was heading over to the Union Square Greenmarket, I decided to take the tags off and use it immediately, so I could fill with my fruits and vegetables.

Pavilion building
(photo Milo Hess)

By the way, Saturday was a gorgeous sunny spring day, the kind of day when the market is at its best. It could not have been a more perfect day to take note that what had previously been a grand but empty concrete pavilion, had been wisely converted into a restaurant, the first one to open in Union Square since 2006. The Pavilion, Located at 20 Union Square West, (212 677 7818), it has already been compared to Tavern on the Green as you don’t feel like you’re in New York (its inspiration is the French Riviera).

Inside there are gorgeous chandeliers and palm trees, and the outside is lined in hibiscus bushes (you can dine alfresco shaded by large orange umbrellas: the patio seats 100 and offers view of the park). Best of all, much of the produce used by Chef Mario Urgiles, comes straight from the Union Square Greenmarket. The market café is open daily and serves brunch, lunch, and dinner. FYI, while it’s not exactly a “cheap thrill”, by New York standards, prices are reasonable.

Marilyn Kirschner

I am a long time fashion editor with 40+ years of experience. As senior market of Harper's Bazaar for 21 years I met and worked with every major fashion designer in the world and covered all of the collections in Paris, London, Milan and New York. I was responsible for overall content, finding and pulling in the best clothes out there, and for formulating ideas and stories.

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