Best shops on the Lower East Side for fashion, vintage and more

The former tenements are now stuffed with fashionable boutiques, but which are the best shops in the neighborhood?

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The old center of the rag trade used to be associated with discount stores. These days, you’ll find some of the best shops in the city for new designers and vintage on the Lower East Side. The pushcarts are long gone, but there are still some old-school food purveyors, including smoked-fish specialist Russ & Daughters and the vendors of Essex Street Market. Also be sure to check out the seasonal Hester Street Fair, which is among the city's best flea markets.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Lower East Side

Alife Rivington Club

  • Critics choice

It’s easy to miss this small but well-appointed unmarked shop, which has been dishing out street-inspired menswear since 2001. Ring the buzzer for access to solid, long-sleeved button-ups ($110) with a small, embroidered red heart and yellow lightning bolt on the front collar, and classic cardigans ($118) with front pockets and the brand name running vertically down the left-front side. Vibrant screen-printed logo tees ($35) have solid or camo lettering, while others bear

  1. 158 Rivington St, (between Clinton and Suffolk Sts)
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Bluestockings

This self-proclaimed “radical” bookstore and café hosts readings and discussions on health, race, class and sexuality, featuring stellar writers such as graphic novelist Alison Bechdel and Christian-right watchdog Michelle Goldberg.

  1. 172 Allen St, (at Stanton St)
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THECAST

  • Price band: 4/4

Owner Chuck Guarino traded his (literally) underground location for a weathered sliver of a storefront on Orchard Street, but the new shop maintains the neogothic vibe. At the core of the unabashedly masculine collection is the trinity of well-cut denim, superior leather jackets based on classic motorcycle styles, and the artful T-shirts that launched the label in 2004. This spring the ladies get their own line, Aloha from Hell, covering similar ground.

  1. 71 Orchard St, (between Broome and Grand Sts)
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Doyle & Doyle

  • Price band: 4/4

Whether your taste is Art Deco or Nouveau, Victorian or Edwardian, gemologist sisters Pam and Elizabeth Doyle, who specialize in estate and antique jewelry, will have that one-of-a-kind item you’re looking for, including engagement and eternity rings. The artfully displayed pieces within wall-mounted, wooden-framed cases are just a fraction of what they have in stock.

  1. 189 Orchard St, (between E Houston and Stanton Sts)
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The Dressing Room

  • Critics choice

It’s hard not to love a spot that combines our two favorite pastimes—drinking and shopping—and that’s exactly what this Lower East Side bar-boutique does. On the street level of the two-floor emporium (which stays open late to encourage boozing and browsing), you’ll find a co-op boutique for emerging local designers. Among the brief but varied collection of men’s and women’s clothing, highlights include Alissa Chapman corset dresses ($245), Out of Print graphic tees

  1. 75A Orchard St, (between Broome and Grand Sts)
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Economy Candy

  • Price band: 1/4

Since 1932 Economy Candy has been selling sweets, including the entire line of Joyva products, on the LES.

  1. 108 Rivington St, (between Essex and Ludlow Sts)
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Edith Machinist

An impeccable assemblange of leather bags, shoes and boots is the main draw here, but you’ll also find a whittled-down collection of clothes, including a men’s section.

  1. 104 Rivington St, (between Essex and Ludlow Sts)
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End of Century

  • Price band: 4/4

When selecting the name for their Lower East Side boutique, friends Chantal Chadwick and Lara Hodulick wanted to convey a period of new beginnings. End of Century, from the French term fin de siècle, seemed like a natural fit for a store that showcases local up-and-coming artists and designers trying to burst onto the scene. Putting their respective college educations in design, fashion and art to work, the duo has curated what they hope will be a full sensory shopping

  1. 237 Eldridge St, (between E Houston and Stanton Sts)
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Epaulet

  • Critics choice

This Brooklyn clothing boutique brought its mostly men’s indie wares to Manhattan by setting up shop on the always-in-vogue Lower East Side. The minimal aesthetic of the warm, open space, with its hardwood floors and unadorned, cream-colored walls, complements the ruggedly classic, well-made menswear and small selection of simple ladies’ looks, all of which hang on six rolling racks. You’ll find Epaulet’s house collections, designed by owners Adele Berne and Mike Kuhle,

  1. 144 Orchard St, (between Rivington and Stanton Sts)
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Honey in the Rough

Looking for something sweet and charming? Hit this cozy, ultrafemme boutique. Owner Ashley Hanosh fills the well-worn spot with an excellently edited lineup of local indie labels including Mociun and Samantha Pleet, as well as international up-and-comers like Ivana Helsinki and Tsumori Chisato, alongside a carefully selected assemblage of organic apothecary items and uncommon baubles. Some lines are exclusive to the shop, such as Japanese-Parisian designer Yukie Deuxpoints’s

  1. 161 Rivington St, (between Clinton and Suffolk Sts)
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Moo Shoes

  • Critics choice

Cruelty-free footwear is no longer a crime against fashion. Moo stocks a variety of brands for men and women, such as Vegetarian Shoes and NOVACAS, plus styles from independent designers such as Elizabeth Olsen, whose arty line of high heels and handbags is anything but hippyish.

  1. 78 Orchard St, (between Grand and Broome Sts)
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Moscot

  • Critics choice

Ever since Hyman Moscot started selling specs from a pushcart on Orchard Street in 1899, this family-run institution has been the most recognizable name in New York eyewear. Now run by fourth-generation brothers, the three sleek shops sell well-known labels, as well as their own two collections: vintage-inspired Moscot Originals and Moscot Spirit, the more modern line ($225—$255).

  1. 118 Orchard St, (at Delancey St)
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Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Creator David Klasfeld founded OCC in the kitchen of his Lower East Side apartment in 2004. The makeup artist has since expanded his 100 percent vegan and cruelty-free cosmetics line from just two shades of lip balm to an extensive assortment of bang-for-your-buck beauty products. The animal-friendly brand has bid Klasfeld’s kitchen adieu and set up shop in a downtown flagship, filled with exposed brick, antique metal and reclaimed wood. Browse more than 30 shades of nail

  1. 174 Ludlow St, (between E Houston and Stanton Sts)
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Old Hollywood

  • Critics choice

If the party frocks ($50–$150), printed tees ($32) and handmade accessories ($20–$850) stocked at this Manhattan branch of a popular Greenpoint boutique represent the Hollywood of yore, we’re ready to travel back in time. The small shop packs a lot of charm with antique kitsch such as an old typewriter and vintage suitcases decorating the exposed-brick space. Clothes and accessories made by local designers account for the majority of the merchandise, including Chaser

  1. 250 Broome St, (between Ludlow and Orchard Sts)
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Pixie Market

  • Critics choice

Gaelle Drevet and Magda Pietrobelli­ decided to start Pixie Market while vacationing in India, and since 2006, the store and thriving e-commerce site have developed a cult following. Shoppers flock here for the deftly curated selection of pieces from up-and-coming designers: statement accessories by Transvestite Japan, Daydream Nation and Iosselliani; shoes by Where, ParkLane and Maud; and night-on-the-town threads by Carin Wester, Seneca Rising and Motel.

  1. 100 Stanton St, (at Ludlow St)
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The Reed Space

  • Price band: 4/4
  • Critics choice

A go-to spot for fresh indie gear since it opened in 2003, the Reed Space mostly stocks its own in-house label, Staple (or STPL). But you’ll also find designs by other well-known brands, like Stüssy, Mishka, Only NY, aNYthing and Acapulco Gold, whose tag line reads “A Sunny Place for Shady People.” Go the old-school route with Staple camo-print cargo pants ($150) and graphic tees featuring a Reasonable Doubt–era Jay-Z in front of the World Trade Center ($36). The look

  1. 151 Orchard St, (between Rivington and Stanton Sts)
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Salvor Projects 

Since 2003, Ross Menuez has been designing and producing his line of men’s and women’s clothing and accessories on the Lower East Side, just a few blocks from his first shop (previously, the brand was only sold at upscale retailers like Barneys New York). The sleek, modern boutique offers his entire collection of guys’ and gals’ urban, colorful apparel ($38–$333), scarves ($140–$240) and bags ($180–$400). Every detail of the interior is made out of a gray, smooth

  1. 172 Forsyth St , (between Rivington and Stanton Sts )
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Victor Osborne

  • Price band: 4/4

Victor Osborne’s Lower East Side shop and atelier opened its doors in 2009 with an ample selection of handmade hats for men and women. In addition to collaborations with Diesel Black Gold, Trovata, Andrew Buckler and the Blonds, Osborne partnered with Opening Ceremony on a capsule collection of spring pieces. Non-custom hats range in price from $100 to $225.

  1. 160 Orchard St, (between Rivington and Stanton Sts)
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