Category Archives: Merrick’s Princeton

Fashion Forecast 2009 – by Edie Locke

komarov_purpledressWhen does Spring begin? Groundhog Day? Valentine’s Day? The official 1st day of Spring? None of the above! Spring begins when we long to shed the layers, the earmuffs, the mufflers, the grungy rubber boots…when we need a fashion booster that makes us feel optimistic, fresh, young, attractive, happy with ourselves, regardless of climate (including the financial one) or temperature….when we yearn for feel-good clothes like feel-good movies.

Spring 2009 comes in both as a LION and a LAMB…for Spring’s colors are both: full-strength pulsating or quietly diluted. magidbernard21Think purple/lavender, hot or blush pink, orange peel/orange sorbet, string-bean/celedon, lemon juice or egg yellow. You get the idea! Or mix the two…hots and pales..great new duos!

And then there are the non-colors, the always perfect neutrals, like light khaki, sand, ivory…combine those with white for a fabulous new combo! Pure white….white heat for a cool summer look. For crispness it’s sharp white and black, especially in graphic prints like grids, graphs, dots, stripes.

flax_gingham1Speaking of prints: all the good ‘ole American classics are back: the nautical stripes, picnic checks, ginghams, polka dots. Again, the fun is in the mix, a fashion-y scramble of two or three…with some flower-strewn numbers tossed in as well. Try for eclectic, unorthodox fashion stews!

Now, seriously, you’d better opt for a new jacket…or two. There’s the faithful boyfriend (great with slim trousers or the age-appropriate mini)…the cargo or safari-chic jackets…long ,lean and fluid toppers… short and nipped in ones…boleros (great over tanks or sleeveless metallictrench1dresses) and sleeveless jackets/cardigans…trenchy jackets always (the trench coat is a perennial now ), and dressier versions embellished with cowl necks, bordered in delicate ruffles, lacey trims, a touch of metallics, of glitter, of lame. Everyone needs a “shining” moment sometimes!

Shoulders are sharper…. just a hint of the 80’s ( not Dynasty!) and with the importance of the jacket, hello to the monochromatic suit,

whether you opt for a skirt or trousers. Which brings us to pants:

tribal_whitecrop1The newest are comfy-wide on top, tapered, pegged and chopped a the ankle. Not to panic, because trousers… wide or slim… are always with us! As for shorts…. also called “mini with legs”… if you’re young, toned and hip, you might take them into town with a great jacket…or confine them to your sportier moments! When it comes to skirts…. chose the shape that works best for you: straight, A-line, flared…and yes, the circle skirt returns to fashion : think gingham with the ubiquitous white shirt! Let’s face it… there’s nothing like a great white shirt, always!

And then there is the dress, which couldn’t look better this season….Along with the classic shift/sheath and the shirt dress, there’s lots of news: the sport-dress, T-shirtdress , polo-shirt dress and some softer more fluid shapes; curvy, belted, with more rounded skirts. Plus more constructed numbers, geometric like sculpture in motion….and even double-breasted coat dresses.

safari_tribalLike colors, fabrics have a split personality: cottons/linens that are wrinkled/crinkled/rumpled and fabrics that shine/shimmer, like gorgeous silk charmeuses , lacquered linens and organzas, metallic linens, silk jacquards, summer brocades. Yards of chiffon.

komarov_blkdressLate-day is a case of hide and seek: subtle cut-outs and transparency, revealing a bit of skin under a veil of sheer. … playing with nudity not flaunting it… like sheer hemlines revealing a bit of leg, sheer insets here and there. Or dipping hemlines, short in front long in back. The cold shoulder is hot….one-shoulder looks reign . The newest night extra is fringe: lots or little, it’s sexy, it moves, it’s pure glamour.

The extras: belts, corset-high or classics firmly circling the waist.

Bold, bold,bold jewelry: piles of big necklaces, chain-links, pendants, jeweled bibs… wrist-loads of bangles, cuffs …statement earrings. banglebracelets

Slouchy satchels, hobos, unusual totes, chain-handled lady-bags. And make it something reptile, albeit fake!

BUZZWORDS FOR SPRING 2009: the real suit…the spring/summer jacket….safari/expeditionary airs…ethnic influences

(Morocco, India)….the jumpsuit….town shorts….the lwd ( little white dress)….Americana ( gingham et al)….discreet transparency…unexpected marriages/eclectic combos ( stripes +dots, tailored jacket +chiffon skirt, hot + cool colors).

We need OPTIMISM (it’s recession-proof)…we need feel-good clothes….we need Spring in our lives. So for once in your life try being a sort of realistic Shopaholic. We’ll keep your secret! Enjoy!

Edie Locke, my dear friend and fashion mentor, was the editor in chief of Mademoiselle Magazine from 1970 to 1980. She is one of those women with the “gift” of style.  She embodies the ability to interpret fashion’s latest trends in a manner that is chic, feminine and supremely wearable.  Thank you Edie, for once again gracing us with your fashion wisdom!  Love, Barbara


Charles van Sandwyk Books Available at Merricks Princeton!

As a store owner and buyer for over twenty years, I see a lot of stuff . Some of it’s breathtakingly great, some is not so great, some is downright awful. The challenge, as a store owner, is to see through the barrage of merchandise…to find what’s new, unique, beautiful, and totally special.

rab_wish During the last weeks of my vacation at my farm on Prince Edward Island, Canada, I made such a find. I discovered the artwork and exquisite hand-bound books of Charles van Sandwyk. animal-wisdom_sm

It turns out that van Sandwyk is quite a character. Among those who know him, he’s very well known. But it seems he prefers to keep that circle small.

His biography will tell you that he grew up in South Africa, emigrated with his parents to Canada and ultimately found his soul in Fiji.

affairs_sm_nov231 A number of van Sandwyk’s paintings hang in the National Library of Canada, as well as in several important private collections. His books are illustrated by hand and self-published in small, numbered quantities.

Each book is paper bound, beautifully illustrated and embellished, reflecting van Sandwyk’s own motto that:

“Art, indeed life, should be a rich visual feast, restrained only by good taste.”

I am so excited to bring these books to Merrick’s. They are not just childrens’ books (although I have already begun reading them to my own grandchildren). They are books for friends, lovers, family – anyone who has a place in their heart for a fanciful, innocent, wise and more gentle world.

Stop in to Merrick’s to take a look or call us at 609-921-0338 to order by telephone. Prices begin at $40.00 U.S.



Special Occasion Dressing

specialoccasion_marian1We are entering the time of year when plans for engagement parties, weddings, Bar Mitzvahs, and other celebrations start filling our calendars.

Merrick’s has been Princeton’s most exclusive destination for special occasion dressing for over two decades. And by “exclusive” I don’t mean over-the-top expensive! Continue reading

How to Shop for Your Son’s or Daughter’s Wedding Without Losing Your Mind!

No shopping experience seems to create more stress than shopping for the gown you’ll wear to your daughter’s or son’s wedding. Regardless of how laid back you or the bride-to-be might be, everyone wants everything surrounding this wonderful event to be just right – and that includes you! mob2.jpg

No one knows this better than the ladies here at Merrick’s. We’ve not only been M.O.B’s and M.O.G’s ourselves, we’ve been dressing you all for more than 23 years! There’s little we haven’t done – whether a formal ceremony in a candle-lit castle, a Hollywood wedding on the beach, or a fun-filled event in front of the monkey cages at the Bronx Zoo. But while wedding styles and venues come and go, what doesn’t change is how to put it all together and how to make sure that you look and feel your most relaxed and beautiful.

With that in mind, we’ve put together a few tips on how to approach the whole blessed event without ever losing your cool. Continue reading

Fall’s Fashion Essentials

Art of Cloth T Shirts

Art of Cloth T Shirts

Let’s face it… we’ve all had our fill of hot days…bare sun dresses…suntan potions…sand and sandals! Ready for a change of seasons? Those first crisp days of fall and the kick of putting on a new jacket, sweater, a new swinging skirt , a new wider pair of trousers! You’re ready to get “dressed” again…because that’s what this new season is all about. It’s about real “dressing up”.

Fashion is returning to its roots, where good taste counts and where ” anything goes” has truly gone! There is more planning to clothes, more structure, more attention to detail and embellishment, more easy elegance , inherent chic! So take a look at some of the new “looks” in a Merrick’s!

Sarah Campbell Blue/Black Cocktail Dress

Let’s start with color…or rather let’s start with black! “Staying in the black” is the official dictum of fall 2008. Add to that the whole range of purples, the traditional shades of autumn, the burnished tones and deep greens…and some of the colors of royalty, like blues and burgundies.

Lafayette 148 Cashmere Coat

Nina McLemore

Fabrics too go back to fashion’s past: tweeds, all manner of plaids, gutsy flannels and for late-day glossy satins and lace, lace, lace.

Start fall with a REAL suit..newest with a skirt ( trousers are fine too)… the suit is back in business. The jacket is key…long and lean, boxy and cropped at the hip…curvy and fitted…sometimes peplumed… or over sized, as in “boyfriend”. Chose a matching set or play with contrast.

Zelda Suit

Zelda Suit



Assuming you already own a pencil skirt ( if not, it’s time to add one), the new one to opt for is fuller…flared or pleated or A-line. .. knee-covering length is fine, but the newest ones drop to mid-calf.

Pants go from pencil-slim and the classic, straight trouser to palazzo-wide. Proportion counts:top wide pants with small tops… a big jacket with slim trousers! And just when we thought that pants could not sit any lower on the torso ( indecent exposure?), that waistline and hi-waist pants are on the rise!

If your favorite way of dressing is the dress, opt for a sheath.

The choices are endless: simple or embellished it’s the best alternate to wear under one of the new jackets. The dress-and-jacket combo is a sure fashion bet.

Magaschoni Cashmere

Magaschoni Cashmere

By the way, your new jacket may well be a chic, gutsy knit. Who doesn’t love the wearability of knits…whether it’s a cardigan, a pullover, or a fabulous knitted coat.

Poet's Blouse

Poet's Blouse

And there must be romance in your fashion life! You must go for one
of the romantic blouses, ruffled, ascoted, softly bowed…to top your new skirt or trouser…to go under your most tailored jacket. A romantic blouse = Fashion 101 this fall and winter.

Nicole Miller Sheath

Martini time or not… the real cocktail dress is back and never looked prettier. It’s short, feminine, elegantly sexy …seductive really ( think of those movies of the 40’s and 50’s you’ve rented from Netflix). Most likely it’s a little ( big) black dress….but it may be equally glamorous in one of the rich shades of purple, burgundy, royal blue. It may even be a print! A floral print! Yes, winter florals are blooming on dark grounds and looking refreshingly hot!

Zelda Embroidered Coat

Zelda Embroidered Coat

To top it all ..a new coat for your fall-winter wardrobe: you may want to wrap up in a long coat…button up a princess-seamed one…belt a trenchy style. It can be in a hefty wool…. a chunky knit…or even brocade or glossy satin for evening.

For big evenings on your calendar….you may want to go for something short , great with that infamous one-shouldered neckline….or a full-flown gown in shimmery satin or lace,lace!

The best ornament for fall 08 is the necklace! Dont be shy about piling on the chains by day, the big,chunky stones for evening. Fabulous and bold fakes at yourneck and wrists! Arm-candy …big,bold cuffs, an armful of bangles and beads.

And stay ” muffled and scarfed ” for the sake of fashion! It’s a way to add color and bizas to the simplest outfit. Finally…. those favorite black opaques are back, slimming your legs, anchoring short cocktail dresses. On a dare: experiment with bright color legs when you’re in that little black dress.

Have a wonderfully happy fall and winter this year. Let’s face it: very little makes us happier than putting on some new and exciting clothes!

A spiritual journey of fashion and fun in Los Angeles

 Whew, just back in from a week in Los Angeles, the occasion being the birthday party of dearest friend and substitute “Papa” Ralph Locke (husband of my mentor and dear friend, former Mademoiselle editor-in-chief, Edie Locke). The party was hosted by Ralph & Edie’s daughter Katie and her husband Oren Aviv. Katie is a marvelous hostess and the party was magical – at once glamorous yet low key… delicious organic foods, lantern-lit pergolas, great conversation.   Ralph was toasted and roasted by family and friends, with one of the highlights a fabulous, larger-than-life poster that Oren had some of the folks at Disney make of Ralph as “Pirate of the Caribbean” – a reference to Ralph’s long career operating Ralph Locke Islands, which books exclusive, often private island vacations in the Caribbean.

I love visits with Edie, because her fashion sense and intuition for what’s hot and what’s not is always impeccable. This time, as usual, Edie had something new up her sleeve for me to see – and buy for our little shop in Princeton. After our appointments at several chic salons in L.A.’s fashion district, Edie and her friends Ali McGraw and Barbara Brown took me on a tour of L.A.’s more spiritual locales – including an eastern temple. “Indian is in”, she commanded. And she was right! I picked up a shopping bag full of intricately embroidered women’s tunic-length caftans, an arm load of gossamer scarves, and a bundle of amber-colored bangles. I flew back to Princeton with them yesterday, and they’ve flown off the racks! While summer’s Dog Days are still with us (as well as a few beautiful scarves and tops) stop in and take a look. If nothing else, it will transport you back to a serene time and place. Namaste, Edie & Ralph. Can’t wait to visit again soon! Barbara

Fall 2008 Trunk Show Schedule


Mark your calendars for an amazing line-up of Fall Fashion Trunk Shows from designers including: Nina McLemore, Due Sorelle Jewelry, Lafayette 148, Emmelle and Yansi Fugel.  See our EVENTS page for dates and details.