Jennifer Kim is a senior at Seattle University, where she's majoring in diagnostic ultrasound. When she's not studying physics in preparation for a career in the health-care industry, she's looking cute at trendy bars—or shopping at Nordstrom.
V-NECK MINIDRESS, $48 at Nordstrom (500 Pine St, 628-2111).
The empire waist on this colorful number, which Kim says she adores because "if I go out and eat, then I can hide my belly," came into fashion during the time when Napoleon I ruled much of Europe. He did not, however, have dominion over Sweden, where the Nordstrom family originated. "Nördstrom," which means "north river," is the 60th most popular surname in Sweden. Sweden is famous all over the world for its cars, blonds, and porn.
SILVER APPLE BAUBLE PENDANT WATCH, Marc by Marc Jacobs, $150 at Nordstrom.
This adorable splurge also broadcasts Washington pride: Apple trees had arrived in the state by 1826, predating Nordstrom founder John Nordstrom's arrival by 70 years. Currently Washington is the number-one state for the harvest of apples (along with sweet cherries, hops, spearmint oil, and wrinkled seed peas). Silver apples—while not an extant variety of fruit—are common motifs in fairy tales and poetry, from W. B. Yeats's "silver apples of the moon, / golden apples of the sun" in the early poem "The Song of Wandering Aengus," to the fairy tale "The Golden Crab," in which a disguised prince throws his wife gold and silver apples as a sign of his true identity. Gold and silver are frequent companions in literature, but in the world of fashion, their friendship waxes and wanes. However, in the 1964 holiday classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Burl Ives sings movingly of his desire to see "silver and gold" decorations on "ev'ry Christmas tree."
LEGGINGS, $12 at Nordstrom.
Though Seattle natives haughtily remind newcomers that "Nordstrom" is not a possessive, archival photos show that as late as 1950, the sign on the side of the shoe store did read "Nordstrom's." Next time you're corrected, just say you remember the good old days, when the children's section featured a live monkey in a cage. These sassy leggings are "like tights with the feet cut off," according to one source cited by the Oxford English Dictionary in a draft addition posted at oed.com only last month. Less prosaically, the OED includes the following quotation, from London's Metro in 2004: "In stretch T-shirt and nasty cotton leggings, you're all prosciutto pins and deli belly." Through the haze of meat imagery, it is possible to discern the powers that this fashion writer assigns to leggings: a slimming function formerly reserved for girdles. Or something.
"SIGNATURE" WRISTLET by Coach, $40 on sale at Nordstrom.
In contrast with Nordstrom, the handbag company Coach was founded not by a man named Coach but by leather artisan Miles Cahn, who named his company after the quality leather found in baseball mitts (how sporty!), and later sold the company to make goat cheese in New York's Hudson Valley (yum!). The resurgence of the formerly staid brand at the end of the late '90s is attributed to a luxe makeover by designer Reed Krakoff, late of Tommy Hilfiger, while the recent uptick at Nordstrom came at the reins of fourth-generation family member Blake Nordstrom.
OPEN-TOED SHOES by Nine West, $75 at Nordstrom.
Nordstrom sold shoes exclusively until 1963, when it purchased the women's clothing store Best Apparel and expanded into clothing.
RED NAIL POLISH by Revlon, $4 at Target (302 NE Northgate Way, 494-0897).
This thin veneer of paint is the one thing Kim is wearing that did not come from Nordstrom.