Tell Me a Story

Tell Me a Story

As an editor of IN New York magazine’s shopping section, I jump at the opportunity to see the latest in the world of fashion and retail. My job revolves around seeing what’s current, which requires many hours spent browsing lookbooks, checking out new stores and interviewing designers—and it’s a lot of fun. But with so many incredible items out there, new products need to do more than look cool or interesting to stick in my mind—they need to have a story, something that tells about the personality of a designer or the culture of a place that makes it special.

Enter designer Nora Gardner, whom I met last night at a new pop-up store in Midtown. She spent nearly six years working as an investment banker on Wall Street, where she struggled to find clothes that were conservative enough for the workplace, yet stylish enough to give her confidence. So she decided to create her own and recently launched a line of professional dresses that are flattering, functional and affordable. They come in a variety of styles and colors, the most chic of which was a classic little black dress— thick shoulder bands, a V-neckline and above-the-knee cut make this sleeveless dress wearable both in the office and on the town. And just in time for the holidays, Gardner revealed her new “dress-in-a-bag” concept: a black satin pouch with a wrinkle-free, stretch velvet dress in either midnight blue (as seen in the photo) or jet black. She's certainly got a handle on what professional women in NYC need in their wardrobes.

Nora Gardner dresses are usually only sold online (noragardner.com), but they’re available in-store at a limited pop-up shop at 501 Lexington Ave. thru Nov. 21. The pop-up also features a few other neat items, including purses with lights on their interiors and jewelry made with rough diamonds. Stop by for some early holiday shopping, or to pick up something new for yourself.