Cheryl Soho stores
Four notable new stores have recently opened their doors in Soho, just in time for holiday shopping. Here's what's worth your time...and what's not.

MNG by Mango
In the former Kate's Paperie at Broadway and Prince is Spanish retailer Mango's long-overdue (if you ask me) first NYC store--for some reason, they started rolling out stores in California and the Midwest before finally coming east. Regardless, this is a very exciting development, because I love Mango. Their prices and quality both fall somewhere in between H&M and Zara, and the clothes are trendy without being fashion-victimy. I am also a big fan of their shoes, which are made in Spain, although I was a bit sad to see a pair that I bought while on vacation in Europe this fall--hopefully I won't be seeing them all over the city. The store itself is all black lacquer and mirrors--very 70s disco revival--and, thankfully, way more spacious than its fast-fashion neighbors. When I was there last week, Mango had a lot of sparkly dresses, tops, and accessories, all perfect for the holiday party season.

Madewell's actual two-level store at Broadway and Broome ran into construction delays, but until it opens early next year, you can score the line in a temporary shop in the old Scoop store at Broadway and Spring. An offshoot of J.Crew, Madewell is aimed at a younger, more fashionable customer--think J.Crew meets American Eagle with a little Urban Outfitters thrown in. And while prices are mostly under $100, quality is definitely up to J.Crew's standards. There are some great tissue-weight wool sweaters, gorgeous riding boots that give Frye a run for their money, and simply cut jeans in nice-looking washes. The store is a little densely packed, but in a cozy way. Stop by this Saturday between 3 and 7--Ultragrrrl will be spinning songs to get you in a shopping mood. Of course, the clothes are so cute, you probably won't need much arm-twisting.

You know how they say brand loyalty no longer exists for people of my generation? I beg to differ--this might be a condition of being raised in Chicago, but I am a loyal Crate & Barrel customer. So I was extremely excited for the arrival of CB2, C&B's younger, more modern sibling, and I was not disappointed. Everything is fun and colorful, and unlike its big sister a few blocks north, housewares and furniture are fully mixed together throughout the store. Prices are a bit more expensive than, say, West Elm, but the quality is much better. And unlike West Elm, CB2's employees are engaging and helpful (must be the Midwestern roots). I have my eye on the white leather bed; let's hope Santa is extra-good to me this year.

Muji, the "Japanese IKEA," arrived last month with a healthy dollop of hype--too much hype, if you ask me. I know I'm not a fan of the whole Japanese-minimalism thing, but the store is incredibly drab and dull. Like IKEA, Muji sells all manner of household items, although I didn't see much in the way of furniture; unlike IKEA, however, the prices are not cheap. Like, you're better off taking the bus to Jersey or waiting for the Red Hook store to open. In fact, they had a lot of acrylic organizing-type things that I think might even be cheaper at the Container Store. There are also clothes at Muji; I found them to be kind of boring, on the small side, and, yes, expensive. In fact, according to my coworker, all the price tags have the prices in yen--and apparently there's quite a markup. So I don't think I'll be going back to Muji anytime soon, but thankfully there are enough new stores in Soho to hold my attention!

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