My One and Only Uniqlo

I have absolutely no reason to visit New York. No weddings to attend, editors to meet or agents to schmooze with. And even if I did, those things would be just an excuse for me to go to Uniqlo.

Uniqlo is a Japanese based clothing chain that, currently, has one (open) U.S. location which is in, of course, Manhattan. The chain's best known for its well priced basic cashmere sweaters in a rainbow of colors. Also on the racks are jeans, t-shirts, skirts and dresses as well as menswear and kid's clothes. Uniqlo is uniform dressing at its most neat and tidy with a definite simple aesthetic.

Last year German designer Jil Sander put out a capsule collection priced from $10.50 t-shirt to $149 coats. Of course, I missed it and have missed Uniqlo's Spring offerings because I live in Los Angeles and can't justify a trip to New York just to go shop at one store. (Really, it's the one store I would go to and the rest of the time I'd spend walking around and hanging out with my dear friend John.)

Typing of my dear friend John...Since I can't go myself I have to make the next best thing happen. I'm sending John to Soho. It's a favor to ask, but he'll do it because just the other day I talked him through a relationship issue by explaining to him how and where to buy thigh-high fishnet stockings. I've sent him a little list of things I want and have promised him a check to pay my bill in full, including the postage to mail my little piece of Uniqlo to me.

Here are four things that he's been sent out to find.

Top left: I have a thing for v-neck cardigan sweaters. This dark gray one is a merino wool with a touch of cashmere, but not too much cashmere or else it wouldn't be an affordable $49.90. The v-neck part is important because some of us gals with sizable gals can't do the high crew neck thing. It just makes us look like all chest and nothing ruins neat and tidy faster than looking top heavy. So it's almost always v-neck for me with the occasional boat necks, which work on my frame, making up the rest of my sweater and t-shirt wardrobe.
Top right: There's no way I'm letting my friend John walk out of Uniqlo without getting me at least one solid black item of clothing. This v-neck chiffon trimmed (at the hem) tunic sweater is a grin inducing $29.90 and will look great over skinny jeans and leggings. (Yes, I've fully given myself over to the skinny jean and legging thing, but only with certain brands and cuts. My thighs aren't toothpicks and I'm not 5'10" so I have to be careful not to squish myself into a tragi-pants situation.) There is the temptation to ask him to get me this sweater in every color, but even I know that too much of a good thing just turns boring after a while.

Bottom left: I like stripes! I do! I do! I know stripes are a risk for any gal (or guy) who is bigger than a B-cup, but I can't help but want this blue slub crew neck long sleeved t with a little ruching at the cuffs and waist, $15.90. The dog will be so not embarrassed when I take her for a walk in this shirt. I'm smart enough to not fall in love with the red or black and white version. I know my stripe limit and the blue t is right at the line of what nature will allow me.
Bottom right: There is no getting around that this off-white smock shirt with three-quarter sleeves and some minor lace detail is a major in-the-mood killer. It's just not sexy in the slightest and won't get me laid, but it will look super nice with my slim cut black just-at-the-ankle pants in my closet (and I got two of them) from gap with my J. Crew ballet flats. At $29.90, I'm tempted to call John up and tell me to get me a half dozen so I can wear that same outfit for a few years to come. Which means I won't be getting much for a while if I insist on wearing this particular uniform.

By the way, Uniqlo wisely tweaked their sizing so it's on par with say Banana Republic. The first time I visited the store in 2007, the sizing wasn't American ego friendly and the cuts were super slim with little give. By my next trip in 2008, they'd accounted for Big Mac and Pizza Hut meals that are consumed between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and adjusted their patterns accordingly.

What I'm not making my friend John buy me are seamless thong underpants, $7.90, but only because I still have a never worn stash from my last in-person visit to Uniqlo. I'm running low, though, and something is going to have to happen to get me to Manhattan before the end of the year. Maybe I'll ask the husband how his great-aunt is doing. Last I heard, she was feeling under the weather.

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