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In Defense of Getting Pierced at Claire's

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Claire’s Is Still the Best Place to Get Your Ears Pierced

As a kid, I didn’t get my ears pierced at Claire’s, the mall accessories store that was everything to tweens in the late ‘90s and early 2000s. My mom took me to the doctor’s office to get it done instead, and I remember that the piercing gun they used was so tremendously loud I was terrified to have my second ear done.

Cut to about 20 years later, when I was at a party for a jewelry brand that was offering free (!!) ear piercings by one of New York City’s most popular piercers, who also just so happens to be maybe the most handsome man I’ve ever seen in my life. He pierced my right ear with just a needle — no gun this time — and put in the earring I had just bought, a tiny black diamond. I had been pierced by a famous piercer! And I didn’t even have to pay for it!

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The placement, though, was a little off, and for whatever reason my ear hurt so much during the healing process that I ended up taking it out well before it was ready, which caused the hole to close up instantaneously. I squandered a free piercing from New York’s most in-demand hot piercer like an idiot.

That was over a year ago. Last month, I walked by a Claire’s by our old office in midtown while waiting for a friend. And guess what: Claire’s still does piercings! I know this because I went inside and asked, and subsequently got pierced.

Claire’s charges $30 and some change if you just want a sterling silver post, and a little over $60 for a gold stud. I opted for the sterling silver set, because I (foolishly) planned to swap it out with my own jewelry (don’t do this) once I got home. As a result, I couldn’t get one of the posts back through, so I had two glasses of wine and forced it.

They use a gun at Claire’s, but it was more like a small white stapler. When I sat down, I was… kind of terrified? The gun was so loud when I was a kid! But I had to suck it up. Not for my pride or anything like that, but because a very young child was next in line and her mom actually whispered to me, “Please don’t cry.”

Despite my night-of mishap, my ears healed really well — a lot better than I expected after getting pierced in a store that sells plush stuffed animals and tiaras, and where every item of jewelry is always on a three-for-$6 promo.

So if I had a Yelp account, what I’d write in my review of Claire’s is this: It’s the best piercer in New York City, even better than that hot guy. Tiffany Yannetta, shopping director

Like It or Not, Kitten Heels Are Cool Now
Kitten heels

Before you say anything, we know that the kitten heel hasn’t had the best rep in a really long (long) time. Until recently, the style originally introduced in the ‘50s as a “trainer heel” for teens has been unanimously considered anti-fashion — the ultimate frumpy symbol of being unwilling (or worse, unable) to commit to a more significant height.

But those days are over, and thanks to brands like J.W. Anderson, Dior, and Céline sending refreshed versions of the style down the runway, you don’t have to just take our word for it. Following in the practical-turned-trendy footsteps of the Birkenstock and all of its comfort-first affiliates, the kitten heel is a comeback not to be slept on.

Rest assured, these aren’t the same shoes your grandma wore, mostly because we’re lightening up just a little on that strict, under-two-inch height qualification of the classic shoe. Even more than a change of heel, you’ll find updates of the style in the form of mules, slingbacks, ankle boots, and more in bright colors, patent shine, croc detailing — the list goes on.

See 13 of our favorite pairs to buy now >>
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Supreme Starts Frenzy at New York Subway Stations
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A New York subway station is one of the most vile places on earth. I walked by a man, to put it delicately, pleasuring himself in one during my morning commute today. Just a couple hours, later I watched as hordes of guys, a couple of women, and even one mom stood willingly in various stations for hours, chatting and strategizing like they were headed into battle together.

We were all there for a flimsy piece of plastic that New Yorkers use every day: a MetroCard. The difference was that today, a handful of machines were spitting out cards made with cult streetwear brand Supreme, turning the everyday item into a valuable collectible. The MTA set off a massive Charlie & the Chocolate Factory-like experience when it tweeted early Monday morning that these cards were randomly stocked at various stations around the city. (Before today, the cards already carried a resale value of up to $100 after retailing at the Supreme store for only $5.50 last week.)

Over 1.76 billion people ride the subway in New York annually, and 3.9 million follow Supreme on Instagram. While that's not perfect math, it illustrates how insular Supreme is when it can take over a fan’s days while others are just trying to get from one station to the next and have absolutely no idea a golden ticket just popped out of the machine.

Keep reading >>

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Just One Thing
The Perfume I Love Is Inspired by Whale Vomit

Juliette Has a Gun Not a Perfume, $100

I’m not a signature scent person. I have a lot of fragrances that I rotate through depending on my mood and the season. But there are three or four that I grab regularly. One of my favorites is by an indie brand called Juliette Has a Gun and the name is Not a Perfume. So hipster.

This fragrance house was started by Romano Ricci, who is the grandson of the late fashion designer Nina Ricci. According to Fragrantica, a great website for perfume geekery, the name Juliette is an ode to Shakespeare. She’s “armed but equally as romantic as before.” I know! I’m rolling my eyes just writing it.

It gets worse. This one is called Not a Perfume because instead of being a mixture of a lot of different notes, it’s just one. Sephora calls it cetalox and Fragrantica calls it Ambroxan, a synthetic version of ambergris (gray amber). Ambergris was traditionally used as a base for many perfumes, with other notes layered in. But here, the base is the perfume. (Or isn’t, if you want to go ahead and accept the name.)

Ambergris sounds chic. It’s not. It’s the waste of the endangered sperm whale. Per National Geographic: “Scientists still don't know for sure the exact origins of ambergris. They do know that when sperm whales have a stomach or throat irritant, often a squid beak, they cover it in a greasy substance and cast it out. It was once thought the ambergris was ejected by mouth. As of now, the argument seems to be weighted toward the back end of the whale.”

It costs tens of thousands of dollars and is illegal to use in the US now. Also, yuck. Hence the synthetic version.

For a perfume that isn’t a perfume, this sure smells like perfume to me. And it smells great, whale waste history be damned. It has a woody, warm, soft smell that’s not spicy at all, and just a little powdery. Most importantly, there’s not a hint of floral (or squid beak) in it. It smells sophisticated and subtle, and it lasts most of the day. The bottle, which is matte white with silver and red script, is really attractive, too.

Not a Perfume, also not real whale poop. (Sephora sells a travel size for $28 if you want to try it before committing to a big bottle.) —Cheryl Wischhover, senior beauty reporter

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