My Fashion Fantasy Island

Signs like this are all up and down Newbury Street in Boston these days. Signs like this are all up and down Newbury Street in Boston these days.

Permit me a moment of indulgence, if you will.

See, ever since the economy tanked, I’ve been noticing a lot of empty storefronts. And sometimes, I can’t help but think how much nicer they would look as my own little boutiques.

Okay, never mind that the last time I worked in a clothing store was almost 20 years ago, just after high school, at the Express at Quincy Market (that Express is long gone now, that floor of the building empty, the last time I passed by). I never quite got that folding thing down with the Stalin-esque precision I was supposed to,  although I was darn good at putting together outfits for customers.

And never mind the fact that the sole cash I have to invest in a business is about $450, which it now looks like I will have to tap for a paint job, since some goober keyed the word Ass into the hood of my car.

Also, I know nothing about inventory, buying, supply chain management, accounting, or hiring salespeople.

What should we call my fashion mecca? What should we call my fashion mecca?

It’s a fantasy here, people, work with me.

This vacant space in the chic Meatpacking District of New York City. It beckons me. This vacant space in the chic Meatpacking District of New York City. It beckons me.

As long as I’m sharing, I’ll have you know that I’ve especially fantasized about a particular space about in a town called Natick, about 40 minutes west of Boston. Until a few months ago it was a kind of one-floor mini-department store called Barber’s.

A long ranch-style building, Barber’s had room after room of scented candles, fancy bath gels, Vera Bradley floral luggage and Brighton jewelry– just to name a few examples. I used to call it the suburban mom emporium, and most of the stuff wasn’t quite my style ,but that’s not to say I don’t have a few choice finds from there in my jewelry box or my, ahem, handbag collection.

One of the things that always impressed me about Barber’s was that  even though there was no other shopping around it — it was mostly surrounded by offices and trees —  the folks at Barber’s sold enough good stuff that they were a draw in their own right. That place was always busy.

Thing is, Barber’s has been sitting empty for months now. And sometimes I think, if they can do it, I can do it.

The only time I could get there to take a picture was at night. I see this as a bustling clothing emporium by day, though. No? The only time I could get there to take a picture was at night. I see this as a clothing mecca by day, though. No?

In my mind I’ve turned the room that used to be the Yankee Candle collection into the shoe section, full of slouchy boots and adorable ballet flats.

The room that sold the quilted floral handbags and wallets –well, those shelves could be filled with gorgeous sweaters– some chunky cardigans, some cashmere crewnecks, as well as soft cotton t-shirts of the Splended and LA Made variety.

When I’m meandering this way around Fantasy Island (minus Tatoo and the Boss, thank you very much, that show scared the crap out of me when I was a kid), I like to think about what my price point would be (okay, I’ve just exhuasted the one retail term I know).

I think I would have a mix of well-priced lines; some Kensie, perhaps, with sweaters running about $70, and then more high-end pieces by Marc Jacobs or Nanette Lepore.

I’d also, of course, feature plenty of local Boston-area indie designers, especially in the jewelry, bag and shoe departments.

I’d stock plenty of basics and have multiples of all sizes. And there would be a glorious section dedicated to, of course, denim, with yours truly making sure every jean-related shopping experience was crisis-free.

My fabulous shop would be a one-stop shopping for all– young and old, rich and poor (okay, not too poor, I’ve got to make a meager profit here, people), and the world would be a better place because I’d be in charge of outfitting it.

Anyone interested in making an investment in my own personal fantasy island?

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