11-13 Holyoke Street, Cambridge, MA | Directions 0213842.372260 -71.118409
Spirit Turned Outward – My favorite store, I am not a habitual shopper so don't get to "LOOKS" frequently, but it's where I go to buy.
I suppose the owner and her choices have grown up with me, but here I am in my mid 50's and it's the one store I shop where I can still be entertained by the process -- I have never walked out of there without success -- whether I am trying to figure out what I can wear to the "over the top" Bat Mitzvah for my niece in LA ( an event I had mixed feelings about attending and yes, it was as wild as I expected -- no understatement, but a blast) or for a variation on an old favorite. My basic wardrobe requires little effort or store hopping (an activity I dislike and really won't do). I thrive on small wearable intrigue. Such purchases made over the years at LOOKS are still interesting thrown on with a pair of black jeans; they often garner a comment - a compliment. If you associate style with an icon -- Audrey (or Katherine) Hepburn -- Coco Chanel -- Diane Keaton -- the choices are endless, and if you're looking to update or to maintain your variation on that "certain Cambridge look" -- What is it?-- "Bohemian aging gracefully" -- "Hippie old, but chic" -- you can do that here too. Really. I've discovered that women who make it a point of going to LOOKS when they must buy, seem to discover each other out and about. More for the subtle style choices that lead us to ask where something was purchased -- than recognizing one another as frequent shoppers. Most of the LOOKS women I've met don't shop as an activity but do care about what they wear and know where they will be able to buy the clothes they're really going to wear-- so there's a small sisterhood. I'm sometimes embarrassed that my interest in clothes has never waned, but a young woman in my writer's workshop shared a phrase "Style is spirit turned outward" and It stuck with me. I'm okay with the idea that some of my spirit is worn -- and I can cloak it at LOOKS.
They Should Call It "Dirty Looks" – The clothes seem interesting at first but the cuts tend to be matronly, and the women on staff couldn't be less cool or less helpful, in spite of the fact the store is almost always empty. Don't bother interrupting their incessant self-absorbed conversations to get some customer service -- not worth the trouble.
Funky clothing in Harvard Square. – The Scene
Small and cozy, Looks is neatly organized. It also feels like a salon or a parlor, with stylish decorating sense that incorporates display and furnishings like chairs and fireplaces as if someone lived there.
There are some great shoes and bags, and the jewelry and hair accessories are beautiful. But the clothing is the real showcase. Unusual printed T-shirts with embroidery and beading, gorgeous dresses and skirts, suits in sumptuous silks and wools--everything has a distinctly urban and cosmopolitan sensibility. It's also very simple; there isn't a lot of frou-frou ruffles and lace, but there is enough embellishment to make the clothing interesting without being overdone.
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