The best chain stores for unisex basics in NYC

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Lightweight sweaters from Uniqlo
At its three-story, 36,000-square-foot flagship, the big-box emporium has a massive wall near the entrance dedicated just to tops and knits. Pick one up, throw it in your bag and you’ll be prepared for every chilly city evening.546 Broadway between Prince and Spring Sts (917-237-8800, uniqlo.com)

T-shirts from American Apparel
Despite its sleazebag rep, this antisweatshop chain is synonymous with ultracomfy, frill-free staples, and is the largest T-shirt manufacturer in the U.S. Stop into its obscenely lit outposts to scoop up fine-jersey short-sleeved styles ($15) in more than 30 colors, and unisex track shirts ($18) that blend cotton and rayon to skim your silhouette. 712 Broadway at Washington Pl (646-383-2257, go to americanapparel.net for more locations)

A light spring jacket from H&M
The reigning leader of cheap and chic megastores, H&M always carries the runway trends—just a few weeks later. Stop in for lightweight blazers, trench coats and jean jackets, but be prepared to throw a bunch of other impulse items into the mix. When prices are so low, it’s inevitable. 640 Fifth Ave at 51st St (212-489-0390, go to hm.com for more locations)

Underwear from Gap
This haven for khakiwear was founded in 1969, but GapBody didn’t open until 1996. Now there’s at least one underwear display for men and women in pretty much every Gap in America. And, if your mom was anything like our mom, you know the importance of having clean underwear in the event of an emergency (“What if you get hit by a car and the paramedics see your dirty panties?!?”). Get some fresh skivvies and watch out for traffic! 60 West 34th St at Broadway (212-760-1268, go to gap.com for more locations)

A crisp white button-down from J.Crew
Everyone needs a perfectly-pressed white button-down for layering under sweaters and on top of T-shirts. And no one does the business-casual look better than the preppy-yet-flirty J. Crew. 30 Rockefeller Center at 49th St (212-765-4227, go to jcrew.com for more locations)

A perfect-fitting pair of jeans from Levis
Brilliant German immigrant Levi Strauss single-handedly invented blue jeans in 1873, and his company’s iconic red-tabbed 501s have been donned by such fashion mavens as James Dean, Elvis and Marlon Brando. Today, its rustic shops offer up Strauss’s riveted classics along with freshly minted, well-priced goodies like eco-friendly skinny pants ($78) for lasses and slim 507s (from $46) for lanky dudes. 25 W 14th St between Fifth and Sixth Aves (212-242-2128, go to us.levi.com for more locations)

Sunglasses from Urban Outfitters
Shield those baby blues (or browns) from harsh UV rays with a cheap-but-effective pair of shades. With racks of shades for men and women ranging from about $16 to $24, they’re practically giving away “specs appeal.” 999 Third Ave between 59th and 60th Sts (212-308-1518, go to urbanoutfitters.com for more locations)

Comfy socks from Sock Man
You can’t wear flip-flops all the time—well, unless you’re unemployed; then you can do whatever the hell you want. Anyway, some of you will need coverings for your little tootsies. Try the Sock Man, a staple on St. Marks Place since 1983, where you can find novelty prints, solid colors and more for utterly reasonable prices. 27 St. Marks Pl between Second and Third Aves (212-529-0300, thesockman.com)

Belts from Club Monaco
Belts aren’t just for holding up pants: They go over dresses, long shirts, skirts and more to make women’s waistlines look tinier. Stock up on skinny, thick, sparkly, or suede belts to cinch anything. Men, there’s not much we can do for your silhouette, but a functional belt will help prevent exposing your bottom. 1111 Third Ave between 65th and 66th Sts (212-355-2949, go to clubmonaco.com for more locations)


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