Not to insinuate that you are easily swayed by alcohol (ahem), but sometimes it takes a little fanfare to remind us when and where to shop. Luckily, the world of commerce is keen to spur you on, plunging into the pre-holiday season of shopping events, where sales, performances, special deals, and (often free) booze are deployed to lure even the most resourceful Portlander out of their thrifty cocoon.
The first event of this kind is nigh: Fashion by Flashlight. A neat little evening tour of 12 shops along NE Alberta, each participating location will be illuminated by spotlights and mini flashlights handed out to illuminate your path. While specific plans are subject to the loose-y goose-y-ness that defines the laidback neighborhood, most will feature sales or trunk shows, and—here's the clincher—gratis cocktails from sponsor New Deal Vodka. Just start at either end of the street, sampling cocktails and goods as you work your way down.
Frock (2940 NE Alberta)—Frock is stuffed with clothing and jewelry, with heavy emphasis on local and handmade items. The featured designer for the night is Cathy Pitters, whose Bossa Nova Baby incorporates silkscreening and embroidery on simple tops, colorful, eclectic A-line skirts, belt buckles, and—confoundingly—shrines made from found objects. Contemplate over a pomegranate martini.
Foundation Garments, Inc (2712 NE Alberta)—This event features two trunk shows, one for local Leanne Marshall's Leanimal (Leanne is also a graphic designer for the Mercury), whose tunics and dresses have been flying out of the store. The other is North Portlander Troy Linden, who silkscreens unusual images such as internal organs and "free!" signs onto vintage men's shirts, ties, and T-shirts. Additionally, the store will be offering 10 percent off of items from the Greenbaum line, as well as all jackets and coats.
Ella's Boutique (2529 NE Alberta)—Also featuring two trunk shows, they will have new designs from WeMa, and high-end silk dresses from Amai Unmei.
PedX Shoe Shangri-la (2230 NE Alberta)—At press time, the proprietors of this shoe/bag/jewelry/hosiery store hadn't decided which line they were going to feature, but they had settled on a cocktail: cosmos.
OFFICE (2204 NE Alberta)—OFFICE's featured designer is ACME Made, a local bag producer whose laptop bags are carried in the store. For the trunk show, ACME's first ever, there will also be backpacks, iPod cases, and messenger bags in new colors and materials, all at 10 percent off. Try the vodka tonics while you're at it.
Close Knit (2140 NE Alberta)—This knitting store will feature Habu, a rather avant garde Japanese fiber line that incorporates stainless steel and linen paper in their sweaters and scarves, plus material and kits to try yourself, all at 10 percent off.
Bolt (2136 NE Alberta)—Bolt has fresh, cheerful prints; sophisticated, quality fabrics; and a few charming readymade items, like duvet covers. Look for outfits specially created by the staff (which includes John Blasioli of popular line a broken spoke), and sales.
Tumbleweed (1804 NE Alberta)—Tumbleweed boasts owner Kara Larson's own dress-centric Kara-line, plus adorable slips and separates. Look for sale-priced jeans, cords, and cashmere, and "the Babe": vodka and soda with a splash of cranberry and pineapple.
Donna + Toots (1631 NE Alberta)—Featuring the house line, Donna + Toots (feminine, but not super frilly), plus other small, local designs, edible treats, and 25 percent off socks.
Garnish Apparel (1524 NE Alberta)—This new headquarters of designer Erica Platt just opened this week. Stop by for her Garnish line, including new items for fall, at sale prices.
Mabel + Zora (1468 NE Alberta)—This relatively new shop features Angela Arnold, whose jewelry is their best-selling line. Handmade with semi-precious and precious stones that Arnold hunts down herself, she will bring about three times as much merchandise to the event than is normally available at the store. Plus, look for surprise sales (hint: shoes). Don't spill your lemon drop.
Imp (1422 NE Alberta)—A shelf of fancy French soap (everyone loves fancy soap) sits on one wall of this giddily eclectic store, where lovely, tiny sets of glasses, bed linens, jewelry, clothing, knickknacks, candles, and more fight for attention on the brimming shelves. They'll be having a storewide sale, featuring Edge apparel like aprons and hoodies, plus a vodka concoction incorporating blood orange, lime, and ginger ale. (Fashion by Flashlight, NE 12th to 31st on Alberta, Thurs Oct 12, 6-9 pm, free)Take the bus, drinky (new) pants: email@example.com