Hidden Treasures and Simple Pleasures: Albertine

When I left high school a couple of years ago, I remember toying with the idea of going travelling. So many fellow leavers had it atop their agenda, and I always wandered whether I was being foolish in missing out. Nevertheless when London came knocking, a city with such promise for an aspiring fashion journalist, I decided to put to bed any distant dreams of exotic travels in favour of cosmopolitan career pursuits. Though I do not regret my decision one bit, as I approach my third year in London I have begun to wonder what will come next.

I suppose one should never say never to exploring pastures new and I certainly hope that there is opportunity for me to travel while I am still young. I would hate to live my life between two cities, rarely exploring anything outside my comfort zone.

Just a few years back I did not appreciate or even understand how anybody could fall so madly in love with travelling, but I have come to realise that it all boils down to the inevitable discovery of hidden treasures and simple pleasures. 

This week, the boutique travel company Tuscany Now contacted SW Fashion regarding a new competition based around such hidden treasures. Although the competition requires just one spot, I felt that this could make for a nice continual feature. On my travels to date- however limited- I have found some fantastic places that I long to visit again, and there is no one I would rather share these with than you.

In keeping with this month's Holiday Wardrobe posts, I felt it apt for me to share a little boutique gem from my brief time in New York city. 

For Manhattan locals, I am sure that the darling boutiques around the West Village and Nolita are daily haunts rather than hidden treasures. However, for visitors to the grand city it is all too easy to get overwhelmed by the shopping options and end up missing out on the best of the city.

In one of the charming streets just off Greenwich Avenue sits Albertine, an inconspicuous treasure trove of all things girly. Blink and you'll miss it, the clear glass facade is every bit as discreet as the inviting pieces in the window display. 

Albertine was born from the vision of Kyung Lee back in 2003. Lee sought to create an elegant womenswear boutique offering smaller brands exposure, and allowing the sartorially savvy shoppers of the West Village to discover new local and international designers. 

It must be said that the boutique is wistfully feminine, from the carefully curated rails of feather light attire through to the twinkling pendants hanging in gilded frames on the walls. The shopping environment is intimate but not remotely intimidating, complete with decorative cushioned seats allowing weary shoppers to rest their Dolly-clad feet. 

Each golden rail is composed with demure dresses dancing alongside bias-cut satin skirts and watercolour prints. On the surrounding dove grey shelves sit trinkets aplenty. Drop earrings adorn a bronze birdcage, while a minimal glass cage showcases statement bibs and cuffs decorated with smooth sculpted ribbons of gold.

Canvas pumps and ankle boots are peppered around the store, but the focus must remain on the flawless ready-to-wear edit and the uniquely tempting jewellery.

Only one garment of each piece is displayed- usually the smallest size- to allow for ease of browsing. The pieces are varied and graceful, but the true charm comes as you check the label and discover a brand new designer to covet. It is this element of discovery which makes Albertine such a diamond in the West Village shopping scene.

As is typical, my eye was immediately drawn to a rail on the far left of the store. With ivory lace and blush silk, the pieces were reminiscent of vintage lingerie and ethereal 1920s nightdresses. While I gazed longingly at a dusky rose column gown with a v-neck lace bodice, I ultimately could not resist a crepe shirt dress in cream with eyelash lace detailing. A timeless piece with just a kiss of prettiness, the dress shall forever serve as a reminder of my first trip to the big apple. 

Unique pieces with labels not to be found elsewhere, Albertine is my personal favourite boutique in NYC. It is a grown-up's dolls-house  of unashamedly feminine future classics. 

Albertine can be found at 13 Christopher Street, Manhattan, NY 10014. You can check out their website at and follow them on Twitter @AlbertineNYC 

Find out more about Albertine here and Tuscany Now here
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