Saturday I saw my friend D, who was in town for work from LA. I’m always up for a good hang with D: she is one of those friends who you pick up with exactly where you dropped off no matter how much time has passed. She’s also deeply loyal, and whenever I’ve had an issue with some guy I’m involved with she will—without pausing to consider both sides or suggesting I do the same—blame the guy. D is also just about the smartest person I know when it comes to consumer culture, so it’s always fun just to walk around stores and listen to her go. I was looking forward to an afternoon spent the way we often spend our time: lounging around her cushy downtown hotel, then having a lengthy walkabout that involves visiting shops in one downtown neighborhood or another.
D had other ideas. She was already uptown at Barneys shopping for holiday gifts when we texted at 11, and had a punch list of other nearby spots she wanted hit. There was almost nothing about going to that particular corner of town—so close to Rockefeller Center, which is belly of the beast during the holidays—that appealed to me. But off I went. Because quality time with D is quality time all around, and because one of the stops she wanted to make was the fearsome Uniqlo Mothership on Fifth Avenue, which I’ve wanted to visit for a while now.
Uniqlo makes some of the lightest and warmest down jackets around, in any number of iterations, and they are literally all over the store. (I have yet to figure out if departments actually exist in anything but name at Uniqlo.) The standard model is very Michelin Man, but some cuts are quite sophisticated. I am nuts for this three-quarter sleeve jacket with its puffy collar and the dufflecoat buttons. It’s just crazy how much fancier it looks than it is.
I spent ages going through all of the items made of Uniqlo’s Heattech material, which is composed of some lightweight super-extra-techno matter that keeps you very warm. This tee also comes with long sleeves. And in cami form. And about a dozen other ways, too. It’s completely synthetic, but very soft and not at all cheap-feeling next to your skin.
Also: Everyone makes super-seamless underwear these days, but I’ve never seen it as inexpensive as it is here.
Uniqlo’s cashmere is famously inexpensive, and I like it just fine. But if there’s one thing I learned during my days among the fashion ladies, it is this: there is cashmere and then there is cashmere. Don’t go expecting Loro Piana and you won’t be disappointed by the solid layering option that is this V-neck cardi.