The Universal Shopping Dilemma: Is This Cute or Fugly?

Lauren McGrath, Philadelphia Magazine, Shoppist, Cute or Fugly?

A few cute or fugly wardrobe items in question. | Photo by Lauren McGrath.

I’m not usually one to go all philosophical on matters of life (let alone shopping), but this dilemma has been plaguing me since I started buying clothes at the mall in middle school and persists on every retail venture to this day. I’m talking about that moment when you see that moody, floor-length Morticia dress or those platform oxford creepers that remind you of a sassy old British professor and your mind goes, “Oooh that’s cute! Wait, is it cute? Hang on, this might be kinda hideous. But something in me still likes it…I actually can’t decide – is this cute or fugly?” Read more »

The Revisit: Is the Philly Bloomingdale’s Outlet Still Worth Shopping?

sale rack

Scenes from the sale rack. | Photo by Lauren McGrath.

When we got a sneak peek inside the new Bloomingdale’s Outlet Store in the Shops at Liberty Place back in December, it’s safe to say we were impressed with the selection, especially the relatively small space. There were loads of fun furs, racks of denim, and a curated mix of home goods, all impeccably arranged for the grand opening. But in most stores, the pitch-perfect displays and militant organization of opening weekend doesn’t last too long. So we popped by the Outlet this week for a surprise revisit to see how things are shaking out a few months in. Here is the good, the bad and the, well, see for yourself. Here’s what we found:

Market East: Gallery Rehab Won’t Be Finished Until at Least 2018

The Gallery - under renovation

The Gallery under renovation earlier this year. (Photo: Dan McQuade)

The Gallery won’t re-open as the Fashion Outlets of Philadelphia anytime soon.

Macerich and Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust, who are co-developing the transformation of the mall, say the project won’t be finished until 2018 or 2019 now. The news was first reported by The Philadelphia Inquirer; Macerich VP Robert Perlmutter revealed the news in a conference call with analysts last week.

The Gallery, originally hailed as generator of urban rebirth, had lost its anchor tenants in recent years, and storefronts on upper floors were generally vacant. Though the mall still had a lot of foot traffic and generated respectable sales per square foot, its reputation, quite frankly, stunk.

The eastern half of the mall is closed; the western half (Gallery II) is slowly clearing out for redevelopment. When that’s done, PREIT and Macerich will rehab it into the Fashion Outlets of Philadelphia at Market East. Read more »

Where to Shop Warm-Weather Vacation Gear Right Now


Styles currently in stock. | South Moon Under [1] [2] [3].

One of our editors recently fled our suddenly harsh winter for Puerto Rico. Before she left, she shopped around the city for warm-weather, vacation-appropriate pieces like swimsuits, coverups, lightweight dresses. Her findings? A whole lot of sweaters, coats, boots and thick scarves … and nary a bikini in sight.

Philly is a buy-now, wear-now type of city – while we can preorder spring/summer pieces now, very few of us actually are – which means that finding off-season merch is often an uphill battle. But we tried: We surveyed many, many stores to find you the one that stocks the most warm-weather pieces now, perfect for a mid-winter jaunt to sunnier shores. And we found it, your pre-vacation HQ: South Moon UnderWhat you’ll find.

New Lululemon Walnut Street Store Opens Today — With Free Hot Cocoa for All!

The time has come: Time for Lululemon Walnut Street to open the doors to their new digs at 1720 Walnut Street, just a few steps away from Rittenhouse Square (and dangerously close to the Philly Mag offices). The new Lululemon store opens at 10 a.m. today, and there’s no shortage of fun for folks to experience throughout opening week, from free yoga to a love-letter-writing workshop of sorts (intrigued?). The fun starts today with a DJ on deck and — wait for it — free Saxbys coffee and hot chocolate for shoppers throughout the morning. Because shopping just isn’t as fun when your fingers are numb and your lips are frozen shut, right? Read more »

5 Stylish Reasons to Give Netflix a Break This Weekend

Weekend Shopping Report

Images via Third Street Habit, Occasionette and Eaves (by Carolina Palmgren).

You made it! Happy almost-weekend! While I won’t blame you if your plans for the next two days include nothing but an interminable Netflix binge (it’s been a long week), might I also suggest taking advantage of some of the awesome post-holiday sales that are kicking off this weekend? (I’ve even got details on where to find free yoga while shopping!) Here are the shopping events that should be on your radar.  Read more »

Stop What You’re Doing and Shop This Major Shoe Sale Now

Image via Style Maniac

Image via Style Maniac.

Did you get some extra cash for Christmas that’s burning a hole in your pocket? Let me help you get it off your hands! Quick, get yourself to Bus Stop (the charming shoe and accessory boutique at 727 South 4th Street) and check out its just-launched winter sale.

The entire men’s and women’s winter collection is 35 percent off from now through Monday, January 11th. But, as always, the sooner you get there, the better steals you’ll find. Go. Buy yourself something nice. (Psst: Can’t bear the cold? Shop online and use code ‘MAJOR.’)

A Day in the Life of Branding Guru Marc Brownstein

DITL marc Bownstein

A few of his favorite things. | Photography by Courtney Apple.

It takes a lot to be the President and CEO of one of the top branding agencies in the city, but Marc Brownstein makes it look easy. Running the show at Brownstein Group, Marc fields over 200 emails a day and 40 meetings per week and, somehow, still manages to clock in some major miles on the bike (110 weekly, to be exact). He juggles regular lunches with his father Berny, sits on multiple charity boards, and maintains great style all the while. Find out where he shops, what he drinks, and how in the world he gets so much energy to do it all.  Read more »

Study: Center City Retail Rising

A map of some new retailers in Center City. (Courtesy of Center City District.)

A map of some new retailers in Center City. (Courtesy of Center City District.)

The Center City retail market has been on fire recently, with a young-yet-affluent customer base sparking more than $740 million in retail demand, according to a new report from the Center City District and Central Philadelphia Development Corp.

Thirty-three national retailers have opened locations in the area since 2013. With Walnut Street rents rising, Chestnut Street has been particularly vibrant with retailers like Bloomingdale’s Outlet, Old Navy, California Closets and Target Express all announcing that they’ll launch new locations there. They’ll join Uniqlo, Nordstrom Rack, Indochino, Five Below, Banana Republic Factory Outlet and Forever 21, all of whom opened within the last year. The Uniqlo, Five Below, and Old Navy stores are all flagship locations. Read more »

4 Major Holiday Markets to Shop This Weekend


Images via The Eve Tree.

At a loss for where to find the best holiday deals and most one-of-a-kind gifts for your friends, coworkers and loved ones? Head to one of these weekend markets featuring Philly’s most talented artists and favorite local boutiques. With savings from 20 to 50 percent off on handmade jewelry, decorative prints, and vintage treasures, you don’t want to miss out. We promise: It’s way cooler than what you’ll find at the mall. Read more »

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