Despite efforts to the contrary, it's becoming apparent that even a grand recession like this can't prevent the cyclical necessities of shopping. It happens: sunglasses get sat upon and umbrellas get lost. When you find yourself digging your one black skirt (which is actually a repurposed tube top) out of the laundry only to notice it's developed three holes in it, certain truths become apparent: You legitimately need to go shopping. Otherwise you'll develop crow's feet, and drive to work every time it rains. And frankly everyone should probably have at least one good black skirt.
Such realizations can be intensely freeing, giving the guilt-ridden shopper license. You can buy a pair of shades with the same righteous entitlement with which you flick your Visa card at the supermarket—everyone needs to eat, too. So with the stars and society all aligned approvingly in your favor, you have the luxury of choice. There are two obvious roads to choose from: high and low. With this in mind I took a trip up to NW 23rd recently to seek out two new store locations: Sweet Jayne (826 NW 23rd) and IDOM (827 NW 23rd).
Sweet Jayne opened its first location back in March ["Booked!" Sold Out, March 12], at 1914 NE Broadway. Its hook is a frequently updated trove of designer samples, overstock, and factory closeout refugees, and nothing is priced over $18. Patience, motivation, and an indifference to manufacturing origin will yield wearable throwaways like a flouncy white dress that you won't care about getting picnic watermelon on, for instance. And if you can look past the cheesily ass-bedazzled selection of denim you'll find a few "normal" pairs of jeans, though I won't vouch for the fit. (Alternatively, I actually think ass-bedazzled jeans would be excellent candidates for some irreverent summer cut-offs).
Across the road is the bigger, brighter new location of IDOM, one of Portland's most likeable stores. Filled with juicy colors on dresses and separates, punchy handbags, and big funky jewelry, IDOM is long on charm. Proprietress Modi Soondarotok designs the in-house line, whose production is done in her native Thailand by 10 women Soondarotok knows personally, employed basically as rescues from the sweatshop system. The diversity of color and silhouette reflect a well-traveled sensibility and the sizing allows for a forgiving range of figures—you will, however, be hard pressed to find much for $18.
I'll leave it up to you whether to take the IDOM high road or to lowball it at Sweet Jayne. It's just nice to know that, despite it all, we still have the luxury of options.