The very significant upside of my day job is that I get to travel to some of the most amazing places. It is because of this that I have practically been given freedom of the city of Miami. Since Thursday last I have embarked on the latest
US adventure. First stop…Boston to visit my friend Julie who told me she was going to convince me that Boston (aka Ireland on Tour) is the latest must visit spot on the fashion map. I am no stranger to Boston having done the college-swearing-in-process that was a J1 visa to Newport, RI back in 2003. I used to take regular bus trips up to Boston just to hang out in Harvard. I figured that if I ran into people like Michael Porter or Henry Mintzberg (two of Harvard’s most famous Business lecturers whose many papers on strategic management and organisation structures were the bane of my existence during my time at Trinity) that I could magically convince them that I was an ideal candidate for a scholarship for a Masters at the best business school in the world. I had the speech prepared and I headed out on the T to Cambridge a couple of times to hang out. I even had a great idea ready for my thesis….the strategy of fashion. I haven’t given up just yet on the idea of an MBA. But maybe not in Harvard. I never did make BFFs with Michael or Henry and the whole Harvard thing didn’t happen. Nevertheless, I’m pretty happy with my lot and I land in Boston ready to take on the city of my early twenties.
Friday morning we check out the Prudential centre which is probably Boston’s biggest mall, housing everything from stand alone Gucci and Michael Kors shops to Wet Seal (similar to F21). The mall is spans over a couple of streets and each area of the mall is linked with very fancy glass footbridges over the street. Given that Boston is FREEZING anything that keeps you out of the cold is a good thing. Speaking of cold, Julie was rocking the New England must have, Hunter wellingtons. At $125 (€85 approx) these are an investment but here they are a necessity along with some UGGs or UGG equivalent. We hit The Tannery, an amazing shoe shop full of every shoe imaginable to see if I wanted to speculate on these babies. I try them on and I admit they look great, but unfortunately they not suitable for my very narrow feet. Still I highly recommend them if you intend on visiting this part of the States during Winter (or should Ireland get freak snow showers once again). One thing to note about the peeps of Boston, is that although the weather can suck, this city does not stop. Snow ploughs are out, pavements and roads are clear, before you hit the snooze button for the first time. It’s astonishing and forward thinking.
Day two, Saturday, Julie takes me to, what I am officially calling, the best vintage store in the world, aptly titled, “The Garment District”. This store is so in tune with the vintage world it even has sections specifically for the 70s, 80s and 90s, along with a great selection of designer vintage. I did come across this great pair of Ferragamo pumps but I resisted the temptation. This is a Boston must-see! After a little R&R at a nail bar, we take a trip back to Europe by looking through the sales rails at H&M. Wow is it cheaper here. I picked up a great white silk shirt (shirts are a staple this season) and a skinny tan belt to match for $20 (€16 approx). It’s a steal. With an exchange rate of about $1.34 to the euro your money goes further, hence, for every white shirt you buy at H&M, you can buy an accessory to match!!!! The day ends with an amazing dinner at trendy downtown eatery Atlantic Fish. The who’s who of Boston hang here and if you wanna be seen in your best dress, take it for a night out here. My evening attire consisted of a pale pink satin shirt from Penneys, black cigarette pants from Awear worn with some loose curls in my hair (Julie is great for a quick hair do!).
The lazy Sunday in Boston requires you to do one thing…eat Brunch. According to my tour guides, South Boston is the latest trendy area (formerly one of the worst) to live and eat and shop. With a stroll through a beautiful neighbourhood we pop into gorgeous boutiques like Looc (who had an Isabel Marant coat reduced to $200!) and Flock. It’s also great for the furniture lovers with some of the city’s best modern and antique stores.
The gems of the day however, have to be Galvinised and Bobby’s of Boston. Galvinised is the shop and workshop of Milliner Marie Galvin, originally from Mayo and now an established designer in the city, whose pieces have featured in the top US fashion magazines. Marie has introduced the fascinator to the US market and the response has been overwhelming. Starting with hairbands from about $20 to commissioned pieces, Marie told me that she gets customers from all over the US. How great is that for an Irish Designer? We had a giggle trying on some beautifully crafted creations adorned with feathers, at Marie’s consent. Hidden away in South Boston, this store has to be my favourite so far. Bobby’s of Boston takes vintage to new levels in my eyes. Primarily stocking Men’s vintage clothing, the store carries just a small collection of womenswear , mainly accessories. This was like a treasure trove and Bobby himself, though not young, still works in the shop he set up decades ago.
So I am convinced. Boston has a lot to offer, aside from the mainstream more commercial stores. Taking a trip to an up and coming area opened my eyes to a more fashion forward city, that appreciates great design and aesthetics. The shops are pristine and unique, owned by friendly people all of whom were more than willing to engage in a bit of chat.
I’m writing this post onboard an American Airlines flight to Miami where I begin chapter two of the trip. Highlights on this stay will be attending the launch of Miami Fashion Week on January 27th. I can’t wait! Oh and stay tuned to http://www.stylenation.ie where I will be bringing you all the latest fashion news for the week!
The captain just announced that the New York Jets are beating the New England Patriots 21 to 11 at the fourth quarter. God bless America.
PS this post is dedicated to Julie for being such a wonderful friend. x