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 .[Maayan taking some style cues from Lynne]Maayan is also a designer check out her line, “The Lake & Stars”