Christen Drexler is a fashion industry veteran with more than 20 years of experience under her belt. Lucky for us, she’s brought her expertise up north to the Hudson Valley, and created OAK 42, a contemporary fashion and lifestyle boutique in Kingston.
Christen’s vision for OAK 42 is simple: clean, contemporary apparel, accessories, and home goods at an affordable price point.
Christen officially opened OAK 42 in August 2016. She and her husband had relocated upstate a few years earlier, eventually settling in Kingston in 2015, and Christen had entertained the idea of opening a boutique for some time. When OAK 42’s location became available, Christen was still working in corporate fashion in New York City. But the storefront—a cozy spot with beautiful tin ceilings, tucked away on John Street in Uptown Kingston—reminded her of the boutiques she loved in Nolita and Brooklyn.
It was too perfect to pass up, she says. Plus, Kingston was in need of some more retail destinations. “I wondered, ‘Where do people shop around here?’” she recalls. Christen’s vision for OAK 42 is simple: clean, contemporary apparel, accessories, and home goods at an affordable price point. Nearly everything in the store is priced under $100, save for coats and sweaters.
OAK 42 carries popular, contemporary brands like Project Social T, BB Dakota, and Bel Kazan—fun, easy fashion that’s “cute and chic, but not complicated.”
But Christen doesn’t sacrifice quality or stylishness for a price tag. Her fashion industry experience has helped her forge valuable connections with sellers at showrooms in New York City’s Garment Center. She carries popular, contemporary brands like Project Social T, BB Dakota, and Bel Kazan—fun, easy fashion that Christen describes as “cute and chic, but not complicated.” “It’s cliché, but when people walk into the store, they say, ‘Oh, it’s very SoHo-looking,’” she adds with a laugh.
“It’s clean-looking, but with a twist. And I keep my inventory very tight and curated.” Customers at OAK 42 really run the gamut. (Christen says she’s sold the same thing to “a woman in her 60s from Kingston and a young girl from the city!”)
This is what Christen loves most about running her boutique—meeting new people every day, and being part of the eclectic Kingston community. Her favorite thing to hear from returning customers is that they’re still loving and wearing the clothes or accessories they purchased from OAK 42 months ago.
In the New Year, Christen plans to expand the storefront, install new dressing rooms, and continue bringing in new brands. She doesn’t have any radical plans to transform OAK 42, but that’s totally OK with her: “If it works, it works.”
34 John Street, Kingston