Olivia Palermo

The City star and budding style maven takes us shopping for affordable accessories.



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  • Olivia Palermo

  • Banana Republic

  • Housing Works

  • Pippin Vintage Jewelry

  • Zara

  • Express

Olivia Palermo

Banana Republic (111 Eighth Ave between 15th and 16th Sts; 212-645-1032, bananarepublic.com)
Contrary to her icy, pampered persona on MTV’s reality series The City (season two premieres Tuesday 27 at 10:30pm), when Olivia Palermo arrives at Banana—lugging her own garment bags—she’s all smiles and ready to dig. The socialite has a serious soft spot for accessories (she recently partnered with Roberta Freymann to create a collection of beaded bib necklaces, $175--$270) and immediately narrows in on the gold Eclipse Streamer necklace ($60), exclaiming, “The fringe! I needed a fringe necklace the other day to go with this gray leopard shirt.” Next, she points out the chunky gold Arabian etched dome ring ($40) and the delicate turquoise Aurora dome cocktail ring ($40), before moving on to pav stud earrings ($39) that are “perfect for every day” and shine like little disco balls. While trying on the gold interwoven Eclipse necklace ($50), Palermo’s eyes wander to a display of finely beaded Heritage bracelets ($20) and she coos, “These are great for girlfriends to give to one another [as friendship bracelets], and if you stack them, they’re so cool.” But she’s not done until she’s tried on sunglasses, eventually settling on a pair of oversize Vanessa tortoiseshell shades ($118). “I love Wayfarers, but I do have a thing for the big Jackie Os,” she says. “Every girl should own a pair.”

Housing Works (143 W 17th St between Sixth and Seventh Aves; 212-366-0820, housingworks.org)
Palermo, a self-professed “huge vintage shopper,” goes straight for a tray of sparkly baubles, isolating a metal-link collar necklace lined with rhinestones ($22), a square pocket watch that she envisions repurposing as a necklace ($12), a rhinestone-strewn necklace ($10) that she wraps around her wrist as a bracelet, and a chunky hardware-heavy bracelet ($14). “When I have a replica of a vintage costume piece, I put it in the sun and let it age for a month, just to have it tarnish,” she says. Palermo moves on from jewelry to rifle through a basket of scarves, digging out a gossamer black-and-white pocket square ($4) and a vibrant lime-green-and-cayenne paisley shawl ($6). On our way out, she stops in her tracks and starts stripping the mannequin of its black jacket with white piping and feminine bows ($40). After slipping it on and checking herself out in the mirror, she buys it on the spot. Score!

Pippin Vintage Jewelry (112 W 17th St between Sixth and Seventh Aves; 212-505-5159, pippinvintage.com)
Though the drawers, cases and curios chock-full of glittering vintage and estate jewelry at Pippin might be overwhelming to the average consumer, Palermo has no trouble finding exactly what she likes. “This would look really nice if you needed a slight detail on a dress or a shirt,” she says, holding a slim filigree 1910 pin ($42) to the lapel of her blazer. “The trick with this is when it gets too dull, you take an old toothbrush and toothpaste and just lightly go over it; you’ll bring the shine back without ruining the tarnish.” She also discovers a gold flower pin ($55) and a silver 1950s--60s interlocking-leaf necklace with blue gems ($48), but it’s not until she stumbles upon a never-been-worn peach beaded collar necklace ($18) that she gasps, “I found what I’m looking for!” Yet she seems most jazzed about spotting a gold turban ($48). “I want to wear [turbans] all the time—I really do,” she says. “With little capri pants and a cute sweater and just a turban, Auntie Mame style.”

Zara (101 Fifth Ave at 17th St; 212-741-0555, zara.com)
“We’re headed into dangerous territory for me now,” Palermo jokes en route to the Spanish chain. She tries on a basic black blazer ($60) before slipping into a military-green cotton parka ($90) and pairing it with a pale pink cashmere scarf ($80) to soften the look. “I need to find a belt for this,” she says, eventually locating the right finishing detail: a neutral beige-and-brown woven stretch number ($30). “What do you think?” she asks, holding up a slate blue bowler bag ($90), which she ends up buying. Palermo is also drawn to a gray studded leather shoulder bag ($80), though she opts to use it as a clutch instead, tucking the strap inside. Lastly, she slips out of her sky-high Charlotte Olympia heels to parade around the store in a pair of strappy nude suede wedges ($99) that are equally height-enhancing.

Express (130 Fifth Ave between 18th and 19th Sts; 212-633-9414, express.com)
Palermo makes a beeline for the hosiery, wondering aloud, “Do they have any gray ones?” The store has her choice hue in stock—and the tights are just $15 a pair. A neon-yellow python-print skinny belt ($30) also catches her eye, and she dashes over to wrap it around her waist. “If I find a belt and I don’t like the clasp so much, I’ll get a bigger size and then knot or twist it so that the buckle isn’t as visible,” she says. She picks up an ikat-print sequined clutch ($45), noting that “it’s within the tribal trend for the season,” before moving on to the rotating displays of jewelry. There she spies a gold-ball bracelet ($30), a multistrand disco-ball necklace ($36), three gold-and-black fringed tribal necklaces ($30 each) that she layers together, and a silver tassel necklace ($35). “It’s knotted, so half the work is done,” says Palermo. “I will take anything and rework it.”

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