Exploring the New Fox's

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A former bargain mecca is transformed into a new shopping destination

By Laura Shanahan

We welcome feedback!" Ooh, don't you love it when a store manager talks that way?

Today we're at the brand-spanking-new Fox's, at the southeast corner of Broadway and 80th ? the long-shuttered site of the late, great Filene's Basement/SYMS Tailored & Tux, now shuttered no longer. We're chatting up a manager at this women's off-price designer label emporium (yes, much like its predecessor), and he's totally impressing me with his eagerness to serve the neighborhood ? he didn't know I was a reporter disguised as a mild-mannered shopper, so he wasn't best behavior'ing me.

When I noted the neighborhood ? indeed all of Manhattan ? is a late-night kind of place, he nodded in agreement, pointing out that this outpost of Fox's, the first and only one in Manhattan, is open until 9 p.m. (Monday through Saturday, until 7 p.m. on Sunday), contrasted with the much earlier closing time of other branches. (Fox's is in Brooklyn and Queens in the metro area, plus more outlying areas/states.)

If you like to sparkle plenty, you'll love this place, with its preponderance of embellished fashions. Find lots of sequins, studs, silver stitch-work, faceted beads and other frills and furbelows glamming up the goods. Like bold in-your-face baubles? As the old Prego commercials (sorta) went, they're all in there. Jazzed-up jeans? Check.

But there are also classic tailored pieces, even genteel ones, among the glitz. Consider the soft, like "buttah," wool-with-a-touch-of-cashmere-and-nylon fitted blazers by Louben in a gentle sky blue, camel or chartreuse. Featuring a neat notched lapel, side slash-pockets and a single button closure, the garment's body-conscious fit follows the contours of the waist and hips. Perfect for a mild spring day, the silky-lined lightweight jacket is $99.99 ("compare at $348" invites the tag).

It's still glove weather, however, and if you can use an extra pair, check out the your-choice-$19 selection by International Leather Industries. I'd say the gloves' leather is glove soft, but that would be dopey, right? Let's put it this way: These aren't the ugly bulky kind you wear on frigid days; they're more chic and dressy accessories that at least cut the chill. Choices include a clean-lined style with no cluttering detail in mid-gray; a tomato red pair with a bow-centered gathering at the wrist; a glossy black-patent-leather pair with a thin plush lining; and mittens in chocolate or tomato with a thicker plush lining. Yeah, real leather mittens; go figure.

Nicely transitional is the Elie Tahari pearl-gray knit cardigan in a creamy silk-and-cashmere blend with a graduated hemline ? long in back, tapering upward in front. A spill of detailed-stitch-work ruffle accents one side of the softly draping shawl collar; $59, please.

Skipping back to the spring stuff ? the season kicks off in less than two weeks (wheee!) ? there are diaphanous organdy Swiss-dotted sleeveless shirts by Double Zero. The see-through pale aqua fabric is made more demure by chest pockets, but it's the kind of thing you'll almost certainly wear over a camisole or tank ? please, there are children on the street; $24.
Now this screams better-days-are-coming: the P. Luca Milano skinny stretch jeans in sunshine yellow splashed with posies predominantly in pinky peach, brown, gold and white; $29. They'll really see you walking down Broadway in these ? so practice your strut and your smile.

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