by Karen Alberg Grossman


AI5A5768MR Karen MSince Karen Murray is known for her sense of style (and her spectacular vintage dresses at Marfans galas) and since we began our interview at breakfast in her Upper East Side apartment, we asked if we could peek into her closet. Although somewhat embarrassed, she reluctantly agreed.

A closet to end all closets (the size of a bedroom with spectacular views of the NYC skyline), each outfit (most with some sort of nautical tie-in; navy is her black!) is hung with coordinating accessories. Knit tops are folded and arranged by color (whites to ivories to creams etc.) and shoes (more than 100 pairs) take up an entire wall (with piles of boxes on the floor for “shoes in waiting” that have not yet found space on the shoe wall). We won’t even talk about the jewelry or the handbags or the additional closet in her Nautica office, but trust us: this is a lady who embraces fashion!

“Actually,” she insists, “I’m a good shopper. I grew up at Loehmann’s so for me, it’s not necessarily about spending a ton of money. I shop everywhere, from consignment shops to vintage stores to fast fashion chains like Zara and T.J.Maxx. Of course I have my splurge stores where I buy a few great pieces each season (I bought this blazer in three colors because I loved the fit) but I recycle everything, which is how I rationalize spending too much. My key stores are Shari’s for expensive outfits, Diane B. for shoes (Craig, my fabulous sales guy, brings out every navy shoe he has in my size and he’s even had shoes made for me in Italy…), Penny Pincher (in Bedford, NY) and Second Time Around for special vintage pieces.

AI5A5797MR Karen M

“True story: when recently shopping in Portofino, I saw this fabulous camel cashmere coat with a sable collar that I just had to have, but with such a ridiculous price tag, I couldn’t do it. But the next time I went into Penny Pincher to recycle some clothes, I noticed this plastic garbage bag filled with clothes that was just dropped off by a famous actress. I asked if there might be coats in there so the sales associate dumped out the entire contents of the bag and pulled out a gorgeous camel cashmere coat with a sable collar that fit me like a glove. It was so similar to what I’d been dreaming about but at a fraction of the price, so I bought it on the spot!”

Editor’s note: Please don’t mention, when you see Karen in her spectacular camel cashmere coat this winter, that you read in MR magazine that she discovered it in a plastic garbage bag.