Lynn Dell of “Off Broadway Boutique”

[Photos Ari Seth Cohen/Text Maayan Zilberman]

Ari first met Lynn on the streets of New York some time ago. After the Advanced Style article in The New York Times he was again put in touch with this fabulous woman, owner of “Off Broadway Boutique”, a store on the Upper West Side and a very glamorous location. Of course our curiosity was piqued by the store’s description, “a playground of style”, but it was Lynn’s passion for bringing out her customers’ inner movie star that had us spending all afternoon playing dress-up in a collection of over 40 years of new or vintage clothing and accessories. When I walk into the shop on a sunny afternoon, Lynn is sitting in a full floor-length costume at a makeshift vanity in the center of the room. She turns her head with a huge smile and generous wave, somewhat like what she would have done in the days when she was a Rockette. (later, when we walked out into the street, she actually did a high kick, which I’m practicing according to her lesson). She asks us to take a seat while she introduces her staff of over 20 years… “Let’s show them… at 39 you can look sensational!”, she says with a wink.Her look is more pronounced with age, she says “I got more confident as I got older, and dared to wear more.” A casual look is brightly colored pieces with “flou”, accessorized to the maximum. “If you can travel easily with it, it’s casual.” Lynn says she personally doesn’t do casual… “We dress for the theater of our lives! Who wants to wear jeans?!”

I wanted to know what Lynn would say about luxury, since these days eveveryone is so fixed on defining it. “You don’t need luxury to have style…accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative! Don’t be proud of fat, just dress for your body…. If I’m doing my thing, I’m wearing my easy knit pieces with gold and sequins any day of the year. But you won’t see me wearing a big straw hat inside.” She is, however, taking kindly to wearing large framed sunglasses indoors. Lynn first discovered how to be stylish watching movie stars like Lana Turner and Ginger Rogers on the silver screen. I asked her what items every woman should have as they mature and “advance” with style: “A woman should just have MORE of everything… more lipstick, more hand cream, more clothes..” What really resonates, though, is her insistence that without poise and good posture, a woman cannot look glamorous. It helps me believe this is the real deal when her husband makes a brief appearance, and tells me he prefers when she’s in “happy colors”. At which point we change into a brighter look…“Off Broadway Boutique” makes these flower petal hats especially for their customers (Roberta Flack walked in as we were chatting, and Elizabeth Taylor’s signed picture is on the wall)… Lynn prefers this look “for the Opera”. Later on, she suggests we make a re-do of the jacket I am wearing, but in taffeta. Lynn is also a designer at heart.One of the best things we do together during this visit is try on all of Lynn’s favorite jewelry. She has pieces you’ve only seen in the movies mixed in with faceted lucite chokers (which she dresses me in over a nylon sack-like one-piece) and macramé chest plates (that are seriously chic, Rodarte style).
Lynn’s talent is not only in knowing what’s good for the right figure, its also in coordinating the right jewelry. I learn through trial and error (in the deco mirror) that large round drop earrings are not good with a turban, you’re better to stay close to the face with dramatic chunky studs. “It’s a finished look…. Try walking into a room with a headpiece and not getting the attention you need.” I also compliment Lynn on her amazing manicure, which appears to have a lifetime of nurturing… “These are mine, honey!”If you’re looking for a pick-me-up, or want to play dress-up with the Countess of Style, I suggest you visit Lynn at her shop. She is an absolute delight and can teach every one of us a thing or two about finding the glamour within .http://www.boutiqueoffbroadway.com/[Maayan taking some style cues from Lynne]Maayan is also a designer check out her line, “The Lake & Stars”
http://www.thelakeandstars.com

  • She is brilliant. I love her style and fashion ethos. I want to come to NYC and visit the store now. Great Post. Thank you.

  • Fantastic interview & a just as fantastic lady. Loved reading this.

  • I'm amazed how you end up meeting all these fabulous women. They dress so individual it's sometimes hard to compare them to someone my age!!! <3

    http://skiepies.blogspot.com/

  • What a doll! I wish I could stop by her shop for a stylish pick-me-up. Love her outfits in all the photos, and especially her hair when it's down and looks like Lauren Bacall. Let me repeat: what a doll!
    melina bee

  • I am pretty sure I have been to this shop and I did not know that this fabulous lady owned it 🙂 Love it!

    PS I am enjoying following your blog and would love if you could follow mine too. I am a brand new blogger.
    http://weddingcrashersguide.blogspot.com/

  • Anonymous

    Wrad72 wonders whether anyone's thought of dressing "up" (via catalogue perhaps?) all those ladies out there who actually WORK – and sweat – for a living. The average farmer or rancher & family in Center U.S.ofA. don't really have time or money for popping by your old bag's (Prada of course) shop. Love, & seriously, thanks for the beautifully done Blog!! S

  • ari

    Lynn celebrates style and having fun and has stuff in all price ranes including a wonderful vintage section in back. Why not enter just for inspiration? Most of the ladies I meet don't spend that much money on clothes, they buy vintage, go to thrift stores, and recycle and refresh what they already have in their closets!

    Ari Seth Cohen

  • supersonique et tres tres chic!

    lovely images of a beautiful lady!

    xo

    justyna

  • Lynn's store is definitely going on my "must do" list for my next trip to NY–she is an inspiration! I am so jealous that you get to spend time with these marvelously creative and super stylish women. We don't have anyone like them here

  • WOW. Love her attitude and philosophy! And that she's wearing head to toe yellow, and looks totally stunning in it.

  • -h

    She is so fabulous!!!! I love it! In my head I dress like her!
    I especially love the first look and then the all black look with that over the top red necklace and flower! Magnificent!

  • carla

    FABULOUS! Column of colors are amazing!!!!, Breathtaking accessories, Fabulous hair and hats!!! Wonderful role model. Thank you for introducing us to this great lady to us!

    Thanks Lynn for being 'yourself!' It gives me even more courage to look fabulous in my own way!

  • I want one of those petal hats!!

    Lynn looks gorgeous in it with her hair pulled away from her face. But she also looks stunning with her hair down a la Veronica Lake and wearing that cranberry beaded breastplate and turquoise cocktail ring.

    I love this blog.

  • Wonderful to see Dell in all her gloriousness.
    Off Broadway is where I get my favorite clothes.
    Dare to be glamourous is their motto!

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  • Love her style, so chic and theatricals <3

  • It would be fascinating to see the evolution of her style. What about photographs of Lynn when she was younger? I'd love to see this!

  • When I first apprenticed with make-up artist Laura Geller in the early 90's, her counter was in Lynn's shop. Shall we say it was fun?

  • Nanci Eisner

    Lynn is not just the glamorista fashionista, she is one of the kindest, most compassionate women I have ever met. I've known her for many, many years and love her a lot.
    Nanci Eisner

  • Reminds me sooooo much of my Great Aunt Madeline who introduced me to NYC and Broadeay, the Rockettes and egg creams…when I was 10!
    Viva la differance!

  • Anonymous

    This lady looks very beautiful because of color combinations of shirt 🙂 i like it very much
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  • Lovely and looks brilliant