By Sarah Bennett

What's black and white and dubious fashion-wise all over? Oak NYC.

I’ve written before on my mixed feelings about goth. My trepidation about Oak is mainly due to my fear of looking like I work at the Halloween Adventure, but also like I’m about to go to Limelight in 1991.

If you’re familiar with that particular club/era and think I’m talking about looking like a baby in a polka dot diaper or an outerspace monster covered in blood or something fun and K-hole-y like that, I’m not talking about old school club couture, but the ready-to-wear version: baseball hats with words in large type, billowy, shiney button-down shirts with odd cut-outs and fasteners, and harem pants or short, jersey skirts. These are the kind of clothes that in the ‘90s TV would sometimes mistaken for “what hip high school kids wear, right?”, so you’d see “the cool kid” on some TGIF show dressed like he was about to deal E outside of Tunnel.

Some of Oak’s stuff looks vaguely Rick Owens-y (and they actually sell some Rick Owens’ pieces, but they’re ten times more expensive than the in-house stuff), and I did get a funnel-necked, asymmetrical black denim jacket there during their post-Sandy mega-sale that I look forward to wearing once the winter passes at some point in 2015. (Incidentally, everything is in the white/grey/silver/navy blue color palate, so all of the denim is black or crazy dark, which I sort of think is a bad sign.)

For every piece like that jacket, however, there’s a way-too expensive leather bomber, or a shirt with a mystery slit, or some platforms that, despite being all black and minimalist like everything at Oak, still seem rave-ready. And until I can make sense of those sorts of styles at Oak, I’m not ready to approve of the boutique overall.