This week's Thursday Styles finds Critical Shopper Jon Caramanica thoroughly nonplussed by the much heralded Nordstrom Rack now occupying part of the Virgin Megastore's carcass on Union Square. As he desperately combs the store's packed racks for something, anything to buy, he comes to the conclusion that shopping off-price is not unlike shopping at thrift stores,
Boosters of shopping for used and vintage clothing like to portray it as a thrilling hunt, but really it’s a series of compromises: Will you find a piece that’s not exactly what you came in the door looking for, forgive its flaws and take it home?
After hours of rummaging, Caramanica discovers a shirt he can live with from the kind of mystery label that seems to live only in off-price stores. Overall, he surmises that even the deeply discounted offerings from familiar designers at the Rack are typically hopelessly flawed.
A silvery lambskin jacket by John Varvatos ($800, from $2,595) fit perfectly, but it glowed bioluminescently under the drowsy lights. Its tag marked it as a limited edition, No. 25 of 52, though a fuller search of the rack turned up Nos. 2 and 6 as well. Somewhere, a protean boy band is without its next stage outfit. A black Burberry trench coat ($400, from $1,195) was slick, but its padded lining gave it a Kevlar-y bulk.
And so the initial glow of novelty appears to have faded from the Rack as it fades into the growing morass of off-pricers (TJ Maxx, Filene's Basement, Syms, Century 21, etc.) now dotting the city.
Can we just have a real, full-line Nordstrom now?Critical Shopper | Nordstrom Rack: Bargain Hunting Begins to Wear on You By Jon Caramainca (NYTimes)
Nordstrom Rack 60 East 14th Street between Broadway & Fourth Avenue, Union Square