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This week, the Critical Shopper joins the masses, checking out the Club Monaco on 5th and 21st. It seems that a prior denial of entry into the Flatiron location (due to a private party for photographer Bert Stern, who shot this season's campaign) put a bitter taste into Jon Caramanica's mouth and the taste pretty much stayed as he made his way through the store offerings. Caramanica grudgingly tries on ill fitting suits (sold as separates), a shiny "sharkskin"-like blazer, too-high-waisted and too-wide-leg khakis and unimpressive basics. He does eventually find a gold mine of sweaters, including two Loro Piana cashmere ones, in the sale section all for a very nice $100. Eventually, Caramanica concedes that Club Monaco does have one up on the other mass retailer competitors (i.e. Gap) through offering "unambitious basics for the shopper who finds Banana Republic too risky". [NYT]