VIBRANT COLORS AND SPANDEX: RETAILERS BET ON UPPER WEST SIDE “YOUTH” MARKET


Two retailers are placing bets that the Upper West Side is getting younger, or at least younger at heart.

Athleta, a women’s athletic apparel company owned by Gap, just opened a store at 70th Street and Columbus Avenue last week, selling athletic clothes and some more casual gear (though nothing you could wear without shame while spilling guacamole on your chest in front of the TV). They also offer free hemming, Racked notes, and the clothes are designed by women for women.

The sales people I saw were muscular and wore the tight clothes well, but I instantly worried that I wouldn’t be able to fill out the shirts in an impressive way (also, I quickly realized there were no men’s clothes in the store anyway).

If you’re feeling less muscular, you can also head to the two new Uniqlo pop-up shops, on Broadway between 61st and 62nd Street, and between 87th and 88th Street. The Japanese clothing maker sells puffy vests, colorful $100 cashmere sweaters, men’s and women’s jeans, and $30 flannel shirts. At the 62nd Street location on Tuesday, a bluish spotlight swung around the half-dark store, and at least one of the mannequins had a bowtie on.  I was young once, but I never wore a bowtie.

Uniqlo is smart: city dwellers tend to wear mostly gray and  black, but we crave color, as long as it’s relatively understated and clean-looking. This store scratches that itch.

The pop-up shops will be around until at least October.

Photos of Uniqlo (top) and Athleta (middle) by Avi.

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