Rummaging with: Gretta Monahan

The trendsetter, entrepreneur and TV personality shows us what works this season-and which fitting rooms have the best lighting.

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“I call Tim Gunn my work husband,” says Gretta Monahan, Gunn’s fashion accomplice on season two of Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style.

But the petite powerhouse, who splits her time between New York City and Boston, is more than just a sidekick. She’s a frequent guest on the daytime talk show Rachael Ray as well as a personal stylist; she owns Grettaluxe boutiques and Grettacole spas and salons; and she launched an eponymous “cheap and chic” shoe line this year. We tagged along—in an eco-friendly OZOcar—as she hit up some of her favorite shops to give us the lowdown on interpreting trends and when to splurge (yes, even in this economy).

1

Reiss


387 West Broadway between Broome and Spring Sts (212-925-5707, reiss.co.uk)
“This store is a little expensive, but the clothes are modern—not trendy—so they’ll last,” Monahan says. “Plus, the flattering fitting-room lights will put you in a good mood.” She picks out a skirt with bright blue ruffles and a pleated “tuxedo-inspired” waistband ($190), which she says will “give you the illusion of a little booty if you’re boy-shaped.” A collection of feather headbands ($40--$50) also grabs her attention. “Feathers have been all over the runway lately, so this is a great way to get a bit of the look without going over the top.” Before we leave, she just can’t resist purchasing a pair of striped cigarette pants with a zipper at the ankle ($215), so they’ll fit over her shoes—a trick Monahan uses to elongate her figure.

2

H&M


515 Broadway between Broome and Spring Sts (212-965-8975, hm.com)
Upon entering the store, Monahan spots a strapless black lace dress ($39.90). “Prada made lace famous, and now you can get it for just $40,” she muses. She then finds a gray jersey dress ($34.90) that’s “reminiscent of a DVF.” She loves how soft and comfortable it is, but decides to replace its matching belt with a wide black one ($14.90) to make it look “more expensive,” finishing the outfit with a magenta clutch ($16.90). Monahan says she could wear this outfit on Rachael Ray, so she buys it—and the black lace dress, which she likes for “the red carpet.”

3

Court


178 Mulberry St at Broome St (212-925-1022, courtshop.com)
Monahan, a regular at this Soho shop, says, “I love how this boutique has unique new and vintage finds.” She picks up a printed-silk top with ruffles by Parker ($145). “I’m a print girl,” she says, admiring the greyhound pattern, and she notes how the blouse’s “vertical line of ruffles” makes it very flattering. Her next find is a pair of black lace leggings ($115) by Kova&T, which she tops with a vintage black oversize cardigan ($85). “This is comfortable but unexpectedly sexy,” she says and buys all three items.

4

Ina


15 Bleecker St at Elizabeth St (212-228-8511, inanyc.com)
This designer-consigner store is one of Monahan’s favorites because “everything is very carefully selected and in excellent condition.” On this visit, she can’t get enough of their shoes. She pulls out a pair of Jimmy Choo zebra flats ($64), gold-studded and bead-embellished flats by Miu Miu ($75), and navy-and-gold satin-and-leather pumps by Tory Burch ($190). “I’m a shoeaholic,” she says. “Self-admitted and not seeking therapy.”

5

New York Vintage


117 W 25th St between Sixth and Seventh Aves (212-647-1107, newyorkvintage.com)
“Katie Lee Joel turned me on to this place,” Monahan says. The collection includes garments and accessories used in films, including the signature feather hairpiece that Sarah Jessica Parker wore as Carrie on her wedding day in the Sex and the City movie. That item is actually not for sale, which is okay because Monahan is already onto another find: a pair of 1980s Valentino chandelier earrings ($550, but you can rent them for a fraction of the price). She also finds a Christian Dior silk-and-velvet cape with blue and green cock feathers ($1,500, again, available to rent for less). “If you want to make sure no one else will show up to the party wearing what you have on, go with this,” she advises while modeling the plumey garment.

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