I EXPECTED TO WAIT IN LINE. The Japanese chain opened its second U.S. store, on 53rd Street and Fifth Avenue on Friday the 14th, following an ad campaign that blanketed Manhattan (on buses, in the subway, on packets of tissues handed out on street corners). But, having timed things well (10 A.M. Tuesday), I walked right in. The glass-walled space has three levels, futuristic lights, booming music, nice clean bathrooms, and (for the moment) imperfect escalators. The copious and agreeable staff seems always to be refolding clothes or asking if they can help.
It’s fascinating, the democratic-chic image (“Made for All”) that Uniqlo is cultivating. There’s a rather lengthy booklet available at the store that identifies the clothes with an independent kind of celeb (John Leguizamo, Susan Sarandon, the founder of Tumblr, the movers-and-shakers who brought us the Highline), thus upping its cool/community-minded quotient; it also lets us know that the Uniqlo parent company now owns Theory, which has a similar aesthetic on a more luxurious (read; expensive) level. They seem to be after a style universe wherein the 99 percent and the 1 percent can mingle.
Happily for the 99 percent, including me, the grand-opening specials were still on. I got $10 jeans and a $10 HeatTech camisole, both a creamy taupe or khaki (which sounds more of-the-moment?), and a dark green v-neck cashmere for my husband, $60. Since I seemed to be on a taupe tear, I made one last Jil Sander +j score: a long, shapely shirt in superior cotton ($50). So much for black.
Now I’m thinking: Why didn’t I get a cozy plaid flannel tunic? Or one of their shimmering puffer jackets? Nor is it too early to think holiday gifts.
Clearly, Uniqlo is addictive. I’m going back. Winter is coming (as they say on Game of Thrones, my favorite new TV show). It’s just lucky that I’m allergic to cashmere.