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John Jannuzzi has had one impressive career, and it shows no signs of slowing down. The man with the strong eye for fashion and the even stronger voice to tell us about it has edited at the likes of Lucky and GQ with lots of other fun projects, writing gigs, and his successful Textbook blog along the way. And we've followed John on that whole journey, thanks to Twitter.
Even those not avidly plugged into fashion may have developed serious fan status for John on the social media platform. It's where he delivers his refreshingly honest views on everything from fashion to trendy salad spots, and his particular brand of smart humor and friend-to-friend tone garnered attention at the corporate level. His current gig? US Deputy Lead for Twitter Moments.
Though Twitter now means business for John, he's still shelling out personal observations that include snapshots of the mouthwatering cookies he bakes and the crazy-adorable bulldogs he hangs out with. That mix of style, humor, and opinionated good taste also applies to where he hangs out in and around his Nolita 'hood on the weekend, so we got him to briefly pause his Twitter fingers to show us around.
SLEEPY JONES: 25 HOWARD STREET
The truly perfect Saturday starts with a lazy morning, even on a busy shopping day. John knew the easiest transition from PJs to a downtown adventure would be to look at more PJs. Sleepy Jones's seriously cool ones are coveted by just about anyone who likes sleep — in other words, no one can resist. Plus, the downtown shop is stocked with other fun things we find ourselves unable to leave without.
"Sleepy Jones is one of those stores that's full of stuff you didn't even know you wanted," John says. "Silk pajamas? Yeah, sure. Glycerine soap that smells like your childhood? I'll take five, thank you. A bathrobe made of suiting material? How many mediums do you have? That sort of thing."
Even if you're shopping strictly for sleepwear, Sleepy Jones seems to get that everything in its store should stir up a sense of dreamland — like a Muhammad Ali-emblazoned bathrobe that enables the fantasy of becoming a legendary boxer.
Had things ended up a little differently, you might have seen John while doing holiday shopping in years' past. "True story: When I was between jobs, I very seriously considered auditioning to be the store Santa Claus, but ultimately chickened out."
CARSON STREET: 20 GREENE STREET
Immediately after its 2013 opening, Carson Street became the designated clubhouse for the It Guy set in fashion — anyone that knew menswear recognized its brilliantly selected stock and appreciated how welcoming the store made its customers feel — so we're not surprised in the slightest that this is the next stop on John's itinerary. But it's bittersweet, since Carson Street is now set to close.
"These guys, who I've become pretty tight with over the years, sadly have announced that they'll be closing at the end of June. My heart, it breaks. It was one of the few spots in the neighborhood where you could get a good edit of brands like Ami and Orley — two brands you should familiarize yourself with, by the way. But, silver lining: there will most likely be a very good sale soon. RIP."
Carson Street's new setup in South Soho is not an in-and-out shopping trip. A comfy seating area and free water and beer invite you to settle in and really get to know the both what's on the racks and the other menswear aficionados that might be shopping at any given time. In addition to perfect button-downs, we loved finding Greg Lauren's grunge-leaning designs, Tim Coppens's graphic knits, and moccasin-sneakers from Visvim — and will be checking back for such items as liquidation continues.
ELIZABETH STREET GARDEN: ELIZABETH STREET BETWEEN SPRING AND PRINCE STREETS
Even if you haven't been to the Elizabeth Street Garden yet, you'd probably recognize it from Instagram. The peaceful stretch of bright green grass dotted with antiquity sculptures and flower patches is just the place in Nolita to take a quiet break during a day of hitting the many stores, restaurants, and bars in this bustling area. It's one of our guide's favorite gems, so we hit pause on shopping to take a stroll.
"My first apartment in this neighborhood was a small studio — like, 230-square feet small," John says. "But, it was across the street from this garden, and that pretty much sealed the deal. A few years ago when the park was threatened by the city, the neighborhood kicked into gear to save it, improve it, and bring more programming to it. It was always open to the public, but now it's become more of a presence and is one of the few remaining green spots downtown — something definitely worth enjoying while you can."
This little paradise is sadly always at risk of being snatched up by developers in trendy Nolita, so it's not a bad idea to take an active role in being a visitor by checking the website for ways you can help the garden stick around.
LE LABO: 233 ELIZABETH STREET
"At this point, Le Labo is hardly a secret," John says on the way to our next stop. "Every other fashion assistant wears that one fragrance — Santal, I think. Ubiquitous as some of their stuff is, that doesn't make it a bad place to shop."
Stepping inside the rustic-meets-industrial space to be greeted by a mix of light, delicious scents is a perfect mini-relaxation break. It reminds you to breathe. And there's something special in picking your own scent, watching a mixologist get to work on it, and receiving a bottle with your name on it — the personal touches kind of make you feel like a celebrity. But if you're on the busier side (like our guide typically is), the ready-to-go scents and candles are more than worth the visit, promising instant olfactory satisfaction for you or your apartment.
"If you're going for candles, I'd steer you towards Cedre," John recommends. "It's woody and not so common as a few other options here. Of course, you could always go the custom route, but who has the patience for that? Bonus: they have giant candles you can put in your apartment and pretend you're a giant."
LOVE, ADORNED: 269 ELIZABETH STREET
For our last shopping stop, our guide leads us to Love, Adorned, the open and airy boutique space from Lori Leven of New York, Adorned — but no, we're not getting tattoos today. "I don't come here often to tell you the truth, but it is one of the best spots in the area to find gifts for people who are hard to find gifts for," John says.
"There's plenty of jewelry, but then a whole host of weird things you'd never buy for yourself but would love to be given. It's best to sort of go in with no idea what you're looking for and then wander through all the stuff. You may end up with a beaded skull, a rug, or some kind of talisman — only you can take this journey."
With John as our sherpa, we explore amazing-smelling soaps, knickknacks that look like they've been picked up from a market halfway around the world, pocket knives, travel accessories, and, of course, dreamcatchers. But we can't help but be distracted by that jewelry collection and decide that a delicate necklace or gem-studded ring is something we should buy for ourselves.
BACK FORTY WEST: 70 PRINCE STREET
We end our shopping spree with the perfect place for doing our two favorite Saturday activities at once: consuming something delicious while people-watching. For that, we follow John to Back Forty West.
"Hands down, this is my favorite spot for a drink after work. It's never too crowded, but never too empty, and the bartenders are chatty, but not like, ‘leave me alone' chatty," he says. The food is fresh and often healthy, but it's still comfort food at its farm-to-table best. Appeal to your weekend cravings with snacks like pretzels with cheese and pumpkin crostini and main dishes like grilled octopus and roasted squash salad. For drinks, you can't go wrong with a Negroni, or something refreshing and unexpected like the Red & Black: tequila with black pepper sour, lime, and strawberries.
"A couple of months ago, my friend and I got into a pretty tense argument here with this woman next to us who kept insisting that the fashion industry essentially degraded women for years. She was...well, I'll call her 'spirited.' Despite our evidence against her outrageous claims, she kept pushing and eventually walked out. After that, we got a free round from the bar, so you know the crew knows what's up."