Dedicated to celebrating family rituals, traditions, and customs in life, White Jasmine dedicates itself to the most popular ritual of all: food. Beyond offering a variety of spices, teas, and flavored gouda cheese in the store, the staff conducts cooking classes in which they impart skills in everything from handling traditional Pakistani woks to converting staples such as rice and bigger rice—also known as potatoes—into gourmet meals. The store's president, Huma Siddiqui, also produces a half-hour cooking show, Everyday Cooking, seen on Madison TVW every Sunday morning.
Stocking shelves with new and recycled duds since 1971, Ragstock fortifies wardrobes with a storefront brimming with new and recycled men's and women's clothing and accessories. In addition to mainstream garments, stores sling eclectic outfit accouterments such as neon suspenders ($9.99) and thick-rimmed spectacles ($4.99+) that allow shoppers to evoke the air of literature professors without blithely quoting Joyce.
Bead Bin's staff furnishes jewelry boxes with a wide array of well-organized beads and stringing material and teaches the craft of creating jewelry by leading a variety of instructive classes. A smorgasbord of glass pearls and Swarovski crystals populate beading kits available in a galaxy of colors, outfitted with either base-metal or sterling-silver fasteners. After baubles in favorite colors or eye-matching hues have been chosen, guests receive an in-store tutorial on proper bead-slinging techniques to create bracelets that decorate delicate joints like a piñata decorates the interior of a lucky politician's limousine.
Since 1990, Pitaya has fashioned its own line of American-made clothes for ladies looking to stay stylish no matter the season. Fresh merchandise hits the store weekly—stock up on what's hot so you're not forced to design makeshift togas from dead leaves and discarded cornhusks. Annettes can attract admiring passersby with the mesh ballerina skirt ($24), whereas Carols can give their legs a big pair hug with the linen-blend trousers ($39). The polka-dot-print tent dress ($34) emits elegance sprinkled with adventure, like a cocktail party held on the side of a cliff, and the black slouchy V-tee ($22) gives décolletages the social exposure not allowed by tyrannical turtlenecks or stifling scarves.
Lands' End Canvas puts a new twist, and an updated fit, on the classics. Keep limbs limber and dazzlingly denim-wrapped with a versatile pair of women's slim leg jeans ($49.50), whose lithe, fitted look makes it possible to wear them on the job without sacrificing the stretch needed to juggle workplace soccer balls. A shirred v-neck cardigan ($49.50) or chunky cable cowlneck sweater ($69.50) keeps lady torsos tastefully attired, while dapper gents can sheathe their shoulders in the timeless style of a Shaker shawl cardigan ($59.50). Men looking to winterize can don a wool pea coat ($170), whose plentiful pocketry eliminates the need to tote car keys in clunky male purses or on easily tangled leashes. A broad array of accessories, including shoes, bags, scarves, and gloves, provides the cherry on top of any sartorial sundae.