The scoop on the Soho Bloomingdale's
Due to extreme hangover slowness, I didn't make it down to Bloomie's until 6pm; apparently everyone else decided to go there after work as well, because the line stretched around the block, halfway down Crosby toward Broome (the Bloomie's store is on Brodway between Spring and Broome, closer to Broome). I ended up waiting in line for over an hour, but I didn't mind too much, because it was still nice outside and I had my trusty New Yorker to keep me company. (Although, strangely enough, once I got into the store, it wasn't crowded at all--I didn't even have to wait in line for the fitting rooms.) Once I got inside, I was like a kid in a candy store. Basically, the Bloomindale's Soho is a distilled version of all the hip stuff at the 59th Street store, plus some items that they don't have at all at 59th St. Everything is pretty upscale, but accessible--there's no Ralph Lauren or Tommy Hilfiger section, but there's no Armani or Chanel either. My floor-by-floor analysis:

Lower level: Men's. Um, sorry, I didn't have time to check this area out. But from what I can tell, they have Theory, denim, and the like.

First floor: Beauty and accessories. All of the makeup counters are on the trendy (Stila, Paula Dorf, Nars) and/or expensive (Jo Malone, Chanel, Prada) side--there's no Estee Lauder here, folks. There's a small perfume section toward the back, again, with "younger" scents (they seemed to be pushing the already-ubiquitous Angel by Thierry Mugler). The back corner houses a scaled down jewelry department, where pretty much everything is in glass cases, i.e. a lot of semiprecious designer jewelry. There was some costume jewelry by A.V. Max and the like, but certainly no racks of $12 earrings. They also had a section with silk scarves, including much Pucci, which made me very happy.

Second floor: Housewares, bags, and shoes. The housewares section reminded me of Chelsea Passage at Barneys--small, but full of items that would make great gifts. As for bags, there's an ample Coach department, and a rather large section for the unfortunate Juicy Couture bags (uggg-lee!), then the rest of the bags are in small groups by designer. They have some Chloe and (I think) Moschino and Celine bags in glass cases; those were the more expensive offerings. They have Sigerson Morrison, Rafe, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Lauren Merkin, and a few up-and-comers; I'd say the majority are $200 and up. The shoe department is genius. I get really annoyed at the 59th St. store because half the shoes I like are on the second floor (Steven, Charles David, etc.) and the other half are on the fourth floor (Sigerson Morrison, Hollywould, Marc by Marc Jacobs). But here they are all together, and I'd say Steven is definitely on the low end of the price range. However, like the 59th St. store, the shoe department was an absolute mob scene, although the salespeople seemed much less surly.

Third floor: Denim and activewear. In denim they had the standbys (Seven, Citizens of Humanity, Diesel, AG) and some intriguing newcomers (Notify, Sacred Blue), in a variety of lengths and styles. There is a huge Juicy Couture section with what looks to be the full spring line. This is also where all of the T-shirts (C&C, Michael Stars, etc.) and activewear (Hard Tail, Puma, etc.) are found. Clearly, if you need a T-shirt, or if you're from L.A., this should be your first stop. I was very impressed by the range of sizes they had in everything; granted, it was their first day of business, but usually at the 59th St. store you have to pray for a T-shirt bigger than a size Small, so I was pretty pleased by the selection.

Fourth floor: This was one of my favorites. They had See by Chloe, Miss Sixty, and Marc by Marc Jacobs mini-boutiques, then a huge Aqua section (this is a Bloomingdale's private label that makes cute, trendy, not-too-expensive stuff). They didn't have quite as much Marc as the 59th St. store, but I'm not complaining. As for Aqua, they had a ton of cute clothes, many of which were knock-offs (say, of the Ella Moss Elmo skirt), but I got a purple bias-cut drapey top with a silk flower attached, and I'm quite pleased with it. There's also a tiny lingerie section with Calvin Klein, Cosabella, and such.

Fifth floor: Also known as the girly floor, with D&G, Theory, DKNY, Anna Sui, Rebecca Taylor, Free People, Joie, Sass & Bide, and a dress section. (Actually, the dresses might have been on the fourth floor and the lingerie might be on the 5th; my memory got a bit hazy at this point.) I didn't spend much time here, because at that point I was pretty damn tired, but I plan to revisit it soon. This floor was definitely the most quiet.

My conclusion: I definitely don't need to go to the 59th St. store anytime soon; everything I could possibly want is at this store, and the selection seems way better. While Soho can be obnoxiously crowded on weekends, so can the 59th St. store. So I'll save myself a 30-minute-plus subway ride and instead take a 20-minute walk to Soho. Yay! Now that the opening-weekend excitement has calmed down, definitely check out the new store; whether you're a boutique fiend or a department store lover (in case you haven't guessed by now, I'm the latter), Soho Bloomingdale's will appeal to everyone. Well, everyone with a bit of green to spend.

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