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Issue Date: November 2006 Issue


Shop Talk

You can learn a lot about a city through its shopping scene. Grab your credit cards. Your guidebook is in the bag.


edited by Candace Goforth, with stories by Jennifer Bowen, Mary Gygli, Tom Kondilas, Amber Matheson, Colleen Mytnick, Kim Schneider, Beth Stallings and Tori Woods
Photography by Franck Boston/FOTOLIA

Shopping in Cleveland has its traditions: Hunting for treasures at Unique Thrift. Picking out the holiday ham from a West Side Market vendor. Killing an hour or so at Big Fun in search of the perfect gift for the friend who has everything — except a Star Wars lunch box and a pooping-cow key chain.

But, the retail scene here isn’t all ethnic butchers and novelty shops. Whether it’s the swank of Legacy Village, the funk of Ohio City or the family-oriented comfort of Aurora Farms, Greater Cleveland’s boutiques and department stores offer something for just about everyone — if you know where to go.

So start here, with our guide to some of the region’s most interesting shops; some are unexpected, others familiar.

Because shopping is more than just the process of acquiring goods. It’s a hunt, either for a rare extravagance or an unbelievable bargain or an experience you simply couldn’t have in Columbus or Pittsburgh — or even New York or Chicago.

But we realize serious shopping can be complicated, maybe even a little intimidating.

With that in mind, we answer the questions that perplex even the most sophisticated shopper. We also peek into other people’s shopping bags and query a few notable Clevelanders about their most memorable purchases.

If you’re starting to feel the itch, explore the list of our favorite stores and boutiques to plan your next shopping adventure. There’s no telling what treasures and encounters await you in the exotic reaches beyond the neighborhood strip mall. (But we do know where you can find some interesting key chains.)


Buy•ology
(bi äl´ e je) 1 The science that deals with the origin, history, physical characteristics and habits of shopping  2 The study of the highs and lows brought on by retail  3 Giving our writer $400 of company cash to conduct some experiments of her own

Illustration by Nathalie Dion

There are three boxes filling the trunk of my car. Having learned that it’s no fun to shop with kids, I found myself shopping online more and more. But a red toile dress that I bought for my newborn turned out to be made with a type of cotton that required heavy ironing. A knit play dress for my toddler was way too big. And the black boots I bought for myself just didn’t look nice enough in person to warrant the money. So back they all go, to Gymboree.com, HannaAndersson.com and Zappos.com.

Lesson learned: Looking good takes more effort than can be exerted from a desk chair.

It’s time, I thought, to try actual shopping again. And not just down the street at the usual retail suspects. Everyday
T-shirts from Old Navy or Gap are fine, but I also needed something more original.

So I considered it kismet when my editor asked me to write a story on shopping. The hook was that I’d have $400 to buy something for me, my 2-year-old and 2-month-old daughters and my husband. I’d have to buy at least one thing that qualified as a splurge and one as a bargain. I agreed — on the condition that I wouldn’t necessarily have to buy anything for my husband, who won’t wear square-toe shoes, boot-cut jeans or sweaters of any sort. He also rules out 75 percent of all clothes just by touching them. (It was a real victory when he could finally hold our first baby when she was in her fleece pajamas.)

My editor agreed. Before I take off, I assess my closet. It’s full of ill-fitting pants that I either ordered online or bought without trying on, cheap tops from Old Navy and Target (the absolute closest places to my home to buy clothes), and lots of things I bought on sale because they seemed nice enough to warrant the price. The goal? To find good stuff that fits my postpartum body now. To only buy bargains if I love them enough to be willing to pay full price. To be a little more daring in my selections. And, of course, to have fun.

Destination:Knuth Shoes
Joining me:Natalie, 2 months
Goal: A splurge for me
Magazine money spent: $51 plus tax
As soon as I walk in, I spot the giant rack of Michael Stars shirts to my left. As much as I loved the first Stars shirt I ever had — a black turtleneck that I picked up in Chicago — I never bought another one because I usually don’t shop in the boutiques that carry them. Here, though, I find the same stretchy, slightly shiny fabric in a slew of fresh colors for fall. I start grabbing.

Everybody knows that shopping can be addictive, but when I get home, I read on the Psychology Today Web site that dopamine floods the brain when someone experiences something new. “A rack of designer dresses, apparently, holds the promise of the new and unfamiliar,” the site reads. “And so a ‘shopping high’ is the result.”

Unfortunately, dopamine is also known to cloud one’s judgment. You want what you want (whether it’s a drug or a nice leather handbag) and you often execute poor judgment in pursuit.

Back to Knuth’s, where I head for the dressing room. Most just don’t fit quite right (a good lesson here, as I’d previously considered simply ordering directly from the Michael Stars Web site), but there is one — a gathered scoop neck with three-quarter-length sleeves — that I think looks good on me.

The problem is, at $51, it’s certainly not a bargain, but it doesn’t quite qualify as a splurge either. Though it is just a cotton/nylon shirt, it’s the kind of top you could wear to work with tailored pants, out to dinner or even with jeans while running around with the kids. (I imagine myself in all three scenarios — having a great time and looking fabulous.)

Before I leave, I check out the sale rack. When I read that you get half off the price of the first sale item you buy and then get a second item of equal or lesser value for only a buck, I begin to feel a little anxious, like I need to find something. I grab three pairs of black pants, a pair of jeans and a pink turtleneck. The trousers almost fit — close enough to see they’d be great on me once I drop the last of the baby weight. Despite my vow not to buy anything that doesn’t fit now, the real reason I don’t go home with these pants is because they’re a half inch too short.

I’ve now got all my hopes pinned on the originally $179 Juicy Couture jeans and the originally $50 Michael Stars pink turtleneck — $229 worth of high-end apparel that I’d get for $90.

The jeans are too big, the shirt too small.

My spirits plummet, but begin to soar once more as I find out they can order the Michael Stars shirt I like in a color called Money. Although it’s neither a deal nor a splurge, I love it, and the credit card comes out.

I must still be in consumption mode, because I leave and go next door to get a mint-chocolate chip single dip from Mitchell’s. This won’t help me lose the baby weight, but the endorphins from the sugar mix nicely with the dopamine from the shopping.

Destination:Aurora Farms Premium Outlets
Joining me:My mother and Natalie
Goal:Bargains
Money spent:$7.98 plus tax
Seven hours. Seventy stores. One purchase.

It’s from The Children’s Place — a striped skirt for my baby to wear next summer and matching shorts for her big sister, Audrey. Originally priced at two for $20, the skirt and shorts cost me $3.99 each. Hardly a steal, but a pretty good price.

There are lots of other things I like: pants at Ann Taylor, Mary Jane tennis shoes at Stride Rite, a cardigan with a bird on it at OshKosh B’Gosh, a gorgeous berry-colored silk shirt by Lafayette 148 at Off 5th Saks Fifth Avenue. But something keeps me from buying each one: It’s not quite the bargain I’m looking for, I simply didn’t need it or, in the case of the silk shirt, it turns out to be snagged — a flaw I didn’t notice until I got it under the bright lights of the dressing room (that explains a $278 top for $28.98).

In the end, my savings aren’t worth the gas money. But on this, the first day I spend shopping with my mom since I bought my wedding dress more than five years ago, I rediscover shopping’s relaxing side. I’m looking for nothing in particular and have no other place to be. As my mom points out, nobody else seems to be in a hurry either. Normally, the only free time I have to talk with my mom is when I’m driving. That leaves her with the ugly choice of either never talking to her only daughter or (as she sees it) jeopardizing the lives of her only daughter and granddaughters by endorsing my on-the-road cell phone usage. Even then, I’m always in a hurry.

Not today. We shop. We chat. We take turns holding the baby when she’s fussy, pushing the stroller when she’s not. Hour after hour slips by pleasantly.

We stop at Subway for sandwiches. The baby has fallen asleep, so we extend our lunch with a little ice cream. Families are everywhere, kids begging their parents to let them feed the ducks in the pond or play on the playground nestled in the middle of this villagelike outdoor shopping mall.

It’s a nice day.

Later that week, I hit Avon Commons to pick up two white
T-shirts at Old Navy to complete the girls’ outfits. I also grab two spools of coordinating pink and orange ribbon for the girls’ hair for 50 cents a piece at Michaels.

The outfits cost $8.49 each.

Destination:Old River
Joining me:My friend Kara and Natalie
Goal: Splurges for me and the girls
Money spent:$104 plus tax
After bargain browsing in Aurora, it’s time to zero in on my splurges. Wouldn’t it be fun, I think, to let my toddler pick out her own outfit? She’s beginning to develop her own preferences, even if they usually track closely with the fashion sense of the 5-year-old girl next door.

When I tell her the plan, she isn’t all that excited. “I wanna pick out snacks,” she says, followed by: “I wanna push the cart.” Clearly, if she thinks shopping for clothes involves a cart, we’ve been spending too much time at Old Navy.

So I leave her at home and, instead, take my go-to friend, Kara, who has helped me pick out virtually every pair of sunglasses I’ve owned since I was 15.

Our first stop is the children’s boutique Hopscotch. I’d checked out the shop before, but never actually purchased anything. It’s not that I don’t appreciate expensive children’s clothing. I love Baby Lulu for its cozy chenille, Baby Nay for the adorable dresses with leggings, Sweet Potato, Le Top and lots of others, too. And I will confess to having spent hours scouring boutique Web sites for summer dresses and winter leggings sets. But the thing is, I usually get them off-season and on sale. And there are hundreds of choices. Hopscotch has some nice things, but the selection can’t compare to what I can find on my computer.

Still, I am drawn to a mauve dress with flared cuffs and a tiered skirt by One Kid. It’s knit, so it feels comfortable enough for play and doesn’t need to be ironed — two qualities that mean it’s likely to be worn a lot. At $44, it’s expensive, but it’s the matching $25 tights that push it solidly into splurge territory. Those $25 leggings will probably stop me from letting her wear the outfit while playing on the wooden play sets all over our neighborhood. Imagine the snags. Usually, I buy backup tights if they are part of an outfit, but not at that price.

While we’re in Old River, we walk down the street to Girl Next Door, a shop billed as “the authentic L.A. boutique in Cleveland.” It’s time to splurge on me.

While they have a nice selection of jeans and racks of James Perse tees and tops, a splurge has to be something distinctive. That’s when I see it — a wool-blend gray jacket by Nanette Lepore. It’s fitted and looks neat and polished, but it’s soft enough and has enough give to be comfortable. I could wear it to work with black trousers, out at night with a cami underneath or even to a play date with jeans and a tee. It’s the kind of thing that could be worn once a week for the next five winters. At $360, that means it would cost me about three bucks every time I wore it. I can justify that.

The jacket fits beautifully. I’m finally ready to splurge, when I feel it. The jacket is lined, but the inside of the collar obviously is not. And it itches. “Do you want to try it on with a long-sleeved shirt?” the saleswoman offers. The jacket is so lovely, so usable, so perfect — not to mention that despite more than a decade of professional employment I have managed to avoid buying anything even resembling a suit — that I almost bite.

“Still,” counters Kara, “long sleeves wouldn’t help with the itching around the neck.”

She’s right. And if she weren’t here, I probably would have bought it anyway and been limited to wearing it with turtlenecks. No nights out with cute camis. No fall afternoons over a tee. It would have become just another buy I regretted. But it would be a much more costly mistake than any other in my closet.

I’m feeling kind of let down when I spot a little basket full of teeny little tops. I buy a pink onesie for Natalie with a white bunny on it. It’s $35. The clerk wraps the onesie in black-and-white-checked tissue paper and places it in a tiny shopping bag with rope handles. Nice touch.

Two splurges down, one to go.

Destination:Beachwood Place
Joining me:Natalie
Goal: A splurge for me
Money spent:$65.40 plus tax
Where better to splurge than Beachwood Place, the mall where people dress up (way up) to shop? We even saw a 12-year-old whipping a credit card out of her Burberry handbag to buy a $300 dress.

Natalie and I arrive early and head for Nordstrom to do the first in-person shoe shopping I’ve done in years. While I confess that I can happily burn two hours on Zappos.com, you can’t smell leather online. I try on a pair of $315 riding boots. Thankfully (as they would have blown my entire budget), they bulge awkwardly at the ankles. I move on.

My next stop is Sephora, where I’m looking for eye shadow. When I tell Kristephan, the in-store makeup artist, that I’d like to spend less than $20, he sighs.

Around $20,” I quickly add.

Maybe it’s the dopamine, but at this moment, I’m sold on the transforming powers of Kristephan, who communicates with his co-workers via a black headset. After studying my eyes, he comes up with a suggestion. Meanwhile, he steers another woman to the same selection. He opens the drawer to get us our goods, then drops the bombshell that there is only one left, but more can be ordered.

“How far away do you live?” I ask the woman, raising my eyebrows playfully. “I came from Avon.”

She fixes her dark eyes on me. This very coiffed, bejeweled woman, also dressed entirely in black, despises me and my joking West Side ways.

“I’m teasing.”

For that, I get another look.

I leave the store without the eye shadow.

My spirits are quickly restored by the sight of a 70-percent-off sign at BCBG Max Azria. I quickly grab a $118 skirt on sale for $30 — truly a bargain. It’s a sage and cream wrap skirt with subtle gold sparkle. I could wear it in summer with a tank and sandals or in winter with a sweater and boots.

Back to Nordstrom, where I look for a cream tank (Kenneth Cole Reaction, $30), to go with the skirt. There, I’m looking at a black blazer, when I notice that Snooty Eye Shadow Lady is right next to me.

“Oh,” I say, snatching it up just to get it out of her clutches (I put it back once she’s gone), “looks like it’s the last one.”

I wish I’d said it out loud.

Destination:Crocker Park
Joining me:My husband, Gary, and Natalie
Goal: To shop for Gary
Magazine money spent:$0
Personal money spent:$118 on me, plus a couple hundred on him
We are in and out of J.Crew, Gap, Banana Republic and Eddie Bauer in less time than it takes Kara and me to go through the sale rack at a single store.

At one point, I am even accused of not being “focused” enough after Gary catches me trying on a coat when I’m supposed to be looking for shorts for him. We find no splurges, no bargains, but Gary does go home with four shirts, two pairs of shorts and a pair of jeans that are not interesting enough to spend my magazine money on. He declares his shopping done for the next year or so.

Happily, I do manage to sneak in a $118 black down jacket with a faux fur collar for myself at Eddie Bauer that the saleswoman says I was “lucky” to get before it was snapped up.

I earnestly agree. Gary smirks. Later, he cracks a joke, saying that jackets must be a limited commodity because they are mined deep underground.

Walking back to the car, I ask if the dopamine has kicked in for him, because I’m riding high on the thought of my warm, yet lightweight jacket that will be comfortable — and cute — for running errands with the kids.

“I’m happy,” he says. “I’m happy because I know I don’t have to try on any more clothes.”

When we get home, I try my jacket on again. Just for fun.

Destination:Legacy Village
Joining me:Kara and Natalie
Goal:A splurge for me
Money spent:$168 plus tax
By this point, I’ve pinned all my hopes on Lush, a boutique that’s been blurbed in both Elle and Lucky magazines. I’ve set my sights on one of the Diane von Furstenberg wrap dresses that my advance scouting tells me they have.

Inside, I’m disappointed. Maybe I’ve simply caught them at a low inventory time, but just about everything I’m interested in — the wrap dresses, a colorful sweater vest, a fitted black jacket — isn’t available in anything larger than a size 6. Still, they do carry a nice selection, from French Connection to Michael Stars to Bianca Nero. Their denim includes Joe’s Jeans, True Religion, Paige and Juicy Couture.

The things I like don’t fit.

Simultaneously, Kara and I spot a chocolate brown knit top with short, slightly puffy sleeves with orange flowers embroidered on them. It’s cute. At say, $40, I wouldn’t think twice. The shop girl suggests I pair it with a smoothing camisole by Cass and Co. They only have it in a size small, but she assures me they run big. I try the combo on with a pair of jeans with a wide waistband, “so you don’t get that muffin-top spillover,” she says. Blond, lithe and stylish, this girl’s more cupcake than muffin. And, really, only a fellow muffin should mention another girl’s spillover. She is, however, right.

The whole combo costs $342 — $174 for the jeans, $96 for the top and $72 for the camisole. After several weeks of boutique shopping, I’m over my sticker shock for the jeans and the top. It’s the camisole that gets me.

“This is insane,” I whisper to my friend.

“That’s the point,” she says. “It’s a splurge.”

I end up buying the top and the camisole, but can’t pull the trigger on the jeans

With the shopping project complete, I feel a little let down that my mission was to splurge and the best thing I got for myself was a knit shirt. Yes, it’s a really nice shirt, but it’s just a shirt. To put it to the test, I wore it to a party. Not a single compliment. Maybe that’s because I was tugging at the too-small camisole all night, pulling it up, then down in a futile quest to be tucked in all over. What’s more, I discovered a snag right on the front of the $72 mistake.

I also have some regret about the onesie. Maybe if it were made of, say, organic cotton, I could justify paying $35 for something that normally can be found in packs of three for less than 10 bucks. Still, it is cute and $35 isn’t the end of the world.

My toddler’s outfit, however, looks adorable on her. The knit fabric and darker color assure that it will get a lot of use for everyday play, though it is certainly nice enough to be worn on more special occasions. My only regret is that the tights weren’t cheaper so that I could have bought another pair.

The coordinating skirt and shorts I bought for the girls are hands-down winners. In fact, all of the children’s stores (and the fun things for kids to do) at Aurora Farms Premium Outlets make me think it’s worth a trip once or twice a year. Stride Rite, especially, offered some great deals — up to half off.

As for my “bargain” BCBG skirt, it’s gorgeous and timeless. I can’t imagine regretting it. I got something beautiful and well made, but didn’t pay a lot. There’s no better shopping success. You get the high without the subsequent remorse.

So the big question is, have I succeeded in becoming a better shopper? I’d say, a little. I think I’ve learned to shop more intentionally and less impulsively. Maybe buy a little less, but better quality. The best way to do this, at least for me, is to go out and do actual in-person shopping at interesting stores and to take a friend who is able to put the brakes on when I get caught up in the moment and try to buy something that “almost” works.

And that’s fine, because shopping with someone else is more fun anyway. Certainly more fun than sitting at my computer.


Dilemma in Denim

Are designer jeans worth the price? The writer poses that very question to a discriminating jeans jury.

The quest: Jeans that look great, feel even better and hold up well all day. A pair that strike somewhere south of high-waisted “mom jeans” and north of the styles that ride so low, bending over isn’t a family-friendly option. Not so tight that you get that dreaded muffin top. But tight enough that you’re not pulling them up all day. Above all, they’ve got to make your butt look good.

The editors wondered, must we pay three-figure prices for jeans that fit these criteria? Are designer jeans really any better than chain-store jeans that can be had for a fraction of the cost? 

My assignment was to find out. So I went to five stores and bought the pair of jeans at each one that looked the very best on me. I tried on more than 100 pairs and brought home five. Then, I ran them by my jeans jury, a panel of experts comprised not of professional stylists but of the people who see me every day — and whose opinions actually count. They rated them, one (cut them up for dust rags) through five (never take them off).

As payment for this task, I would be able to keep the pair of jeans that was most flattering on me. This left open the possibility that I could spend a week running around town pulling on pair after pair of jeans for less than the cost of the tank of gas I burned through in the process. Still, the prospect of finding the perfect jeans was worth the gamble.             

Brand

 

AG

 

Ann Taylor Loft

 

The Gap

 

Joe’s Jeans

 

Levi’s

 

Style

 

The Angel

 

Slim Boot

 

Curvy Low Rise Boot Cut

 

The Muse

 

505

 

Where I got them

 

Jupe in Rocky River

 

AT Loft at Aurora Farms

 

The Gap

 

Girl Next Door in Rocky River (also available at Lush in Legacy Village)

 

Kohl’s

 

Fabric

 

98 percent cotton,

2 percent Lycra

99 percent cotton,

1 percent spandex

100 percent cotton

 

98 percent cotton,
2 percent Lycra

 

99 percent cotton,
1 percent spandex

 

Details

 

Distressed, boot-cut

 

Dark wash, straight leg,

bold stitching

Dark wash; wide,

double-button waistband

Dark wash, slightly wider leg and higher waist than other Joe’s

 

Dark wash, straight leg

 

Price

 

$159

 

$54

 

$58

 

$160

 

$29.99

 

Gary,

my husband

3, Look great from the front. But they make your butt look flat.

 

2, The back pocket design is garish.

 

5, Very normal looking — in a good way.

 

4, Stylish. They look as expensive as they are.

 

1, Boring.

 

Kara,

my go-to

shopping friend

4.5, Very flattering.

They look like designer jeans.

2, Bad horizontal “fade” lines on thighs are annoying.

 

3, The looser fit looks good from the front, not so good from behind.

 

4.5, Flattering.

They look expensive.

1,She wrinkles her nose. Says nothing

 

Bonnie,

my mom

(who wears her $20 jeans

exclusively for cleaning)

2, The distressed look

is distressing.

2, Just OK.

 

4, “Very, very nice.”

 

2, The wash is too dark.

 

5, These are good jeans.

 

Stacie,

a neighborhood friend and fit, fashionable mother of two

5, Tight, but no muffin top!

 

3,Very slimming, dressier. Great color.

 

1, Good running-around jeans.

 

2, Nice. Good wash.

 

4, Interesting. Nice fit on the thighs.

 

Totals

 

14.5 — My perfect jeans. They feel great all day. The denim is heavy enough to hold me in, but light and pliable enough to be really comfortable. Plus, Oprah raved about these jeans on her show.

 

9 — I really liked these at first, but the over-the-top stitching started to irk me, coming off as a poor imitation of real designer jeans.

 

13 — Good jeans with

a little flair. Definitely

competes with

more-expensive brands.

12.5I love the way they look, but they don’t feel as good as the AGs. And they seem to stretch out more as the day goes on.

 

11 — Levi’s have come a long way, but still fall a bit short on styling.

 

The Verdict:

 

Designer denim is worth it. That doesn’t mean I’ll buy more than one pair a year or that I won’t try to get them on sale.

But, at least for me, the difference in fit and style was significant enough to convince me that it’s not just about the label.

Jeans Secrets Unzipped: Tips for Finding the Perfect Jeans

  • Wider waistbands hold in less-than-perfect stomachs.
  • Pockets on an angle make your butt look smaller.
  • The right fading slims the thighs.
  • Short gams? Try jeans with flared legs. Straight legs only make you look shorter.
  • If straight-leg jeans are too long - as they are for anyone who isn't runway-model tall - and you aren't handy with a sewing machine, roll up a 5- to 6-inch cuff for a fun fall look.
  • Skinny jeans accentuate bigger hips. Pair them with chunky boots to balance out your figure.
  • Wide-leg jeans with a wide hem are in this fall, and they flatter rounder figures.

 

Objects of Their Affection
You can tell a lot about people by what they buy- and cherish. Eight Notable Clevelanders reveal their favroite things, where they bought them and how much they paid.

Katherine Boyd
General assignment reporter at WKYC-TV and label aficionado

Boyd scored a size-two St. John suit that was originally more than $1,000 for less than half that price on eBay, but her favorite purchase is something any of us regular ol’ folks could wear: a Hermes scarf she bought on a trip to Paris for just under $300. “I hope to be buried in it,” she says. “It is just so beautiful and I thought it was the perfect souvenir from a trip to France.”

Where you’ll see her this fall: Filene’s Basement, coming soon to Warrensville Heights. The store’s focus is high-end goods and designer fashions for incredible prices, and Katherine loves beautiful clothing and is always looking for a deal. 

Joe Cimperman
Cleveland City Councilman (Ward 13)

Cimperman and his new bride, Nora Romanoff, have a secret, no-fail shopping destination: “I am kind of sad to tell you about it, because then the secret will be out,” he teases.

With some coaxing, we got the scoop. The Banyan Tree, owned by Dale and Christie Murdoch, is a Tremont treasure trove, which Cimperman claims has the coolest stuff in Cleveland — including unique jewelry, home furnishings and candles.

“In June 2005, I bought my wife a pair of pre-engagement earrings there. I think they were about $100,” he says. “I had the engagement ring, but I felt like I wanted to do something extra, and I knew she loved the jewelry there.”

Kim Crow
Plain Dealer Style Section and PDQ editor

The girl loves clothes, we all know that. “No shoes, no bags, I drive an old car and I’m not a vacation person,” she says. “I spend all my discretionary money on clothes.”

Her best purchase ever is a $1,265 Moschino jacket with appliqués of flowers that she found on sale for $300 at Nordstrom. “I wore it to the Chanel lecture at the Western Reserve Historical Society and everyone thought it was Chanel. I always get compliments when I’m wearing it.”

Peter Lawson Jones
Cuyahoga County Commissioner

Lawson Jones paints a dapper picture in his suits and ties, but he admits he hates to shop. He and wife Lisa have a ritual: buying his suits “in bulk” at Syms every few years.

He avoids shopping in between if he can. But a July 2006 trip to Ethiopia brought out a different  side of this self-declared antishopper. While in Addis Ababa, he purchased several unique items, including wooden masks, leather goods, scarves — and his most successful find — a blue and white dress for his 14-year-old daughter, Leah.

“I took a real chance,” he says. “The kids never hesitate to tell me how square they think I am. But I am proud to say I chose a dress that Leah actually liked, which shows I am not as out-of-touch as they like me to think I am.”

 

Dan Moulthrop
WCPN/ideastream
host

Moulthrop keeps Clevelanders informed as the host of the public affairs show “The Sound of Ideas,” but his shopping habits aren’t too eclectic. These days he and wife Dorothy Russo, a teacher at Shaker Heights High School, spend time browsing at Shaker Square — at PlayMatters with 16-month-old son Nico or at the farmers’ market.

Four years ago, he picked up a linen suit in Spain. “I saw it in a window — it was the first new suit I ever bought. It’s light green and cost around 150 euros, about $150 to $160. I still have it. It took awhile to find the right shoes to wear with it.”

George Nemeth
Blogger and creator of Brewedfreshdaily.com

Nemeth spends much of his time online, so he digs Zappos.com (shoes as far as the eye can see). But his favorite brick-and-mortar experiences come from the bookstore: “I like to take time in a bookstore, and when I have extra money, that’s where I tend to spend it,” he says.

His favorite purchase didn’t come with a bookmark, however. He and a friend dared each other to purchase “AmeriKilts,” a pleated “man-skirt” made in the USA.

The friend reneged, but George has proudly worn his $100 kilt on a number of occasions, such as the Tremont Art Walk. “It’s fun to wear,” he says, but isn’t telling what he’s got on underneath.

Paul Orlousky
19 Action News reporter

Orlousky hunts down the breaking stories during the day, but weekends find him driving around the West Side in his Jeep Liberty with his favorite purchase in his lap — an 8-pound Pomeranian pooch by the name of Pandy.

“I hate to shop,” Paul admits. “I haven’t bought a shirt, tie or suit in decades. Kim [his wife of nearly 30 years] just picks them out for me. I try them on, and that’s it.”

But that’s not the story with his furry friend, a $400 pet-store purchase. “Pandy and I are buddies. He’s a fireball, loves to play rough, chase the ball or be chased around the house. It’s actually great training and exercise for the way my cameraman and I chase people down the street during a confrontational story.”

Linda Silver
Owner of Mann Jewelers in Beachwood Place

With her reputation as a purveyor and model of the finest gems (selling to sports stars or the occasional visiting sheik), you might imagine that her splurges would be of the platinum and diamond variety. Not so.

“Shoes, shoes and more shoes,” Linda says. “I can’t get enough.” Nordstrom and Saks, especially during the sales, are always on Linda’s shopping list, but her favorite purchase of all sits right between the two department stores in the upscale mall. “My business is my favorite shopping decision. I love what I do every single day.”


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