The best independent lingerie stores in NYC

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Orchard Corset

Orchard Corset Photo: Francine Daveta

RECOMMENDED: Best shops in NYC


Azaleas

Catering to girls who just want to have fun in the bedroom, owner Cindy Kahng handpicks each frilly number to grace her store’s racks (before they grace those of her customers—har). The result is a collection of bathing suits, lingerie, loungewear, clothing and jewelry that strikes a balance between playful and sexy. You might like Elle Macpherson’s Cupcake contour bra ($68) or Stella McCartney's Marguerite riding contour bra ($110), though be sure to sift through the bargain basket up front for items at 50 to 70 percent off. Slightly more practical: double-sided Flash Tape ($8) for keeping plunging necklines in place.

  1. 223 E 10th St, (between First and Second Aves)
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Brazen Lingerie

Anina Young caters to fuller cups, carrying sizes up to 46K, and makes sure nothing in her stock surpasses the $80 mark—especially sexy items like MalgoMargo satin lace thongs ($25), Empire corsets ($59–$68) and come-hither marabou-feather heels ($47)—because “you’re going to be wearing it once in a while; you’re not wearing it to work,” according to Young. The boutique is also new-mom-friendly, with an entire section devoted to nursing bras and, on the first Tuesday of every month, a breast-feeding support group led by a local lactation expert.

  1. 253 Dyckman St, (between Payson and Seaman Aves)
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Brooklyn Fox

Amid textured antique wallpaper and chandeliers is all a gal needs to look and feel, well, foxy—including garters, corsets and the store's own glow-inducing lavender shea butter ($15). Requisite silky, lacy things by Chantelle, Huit and Dirty Dolls hang alongside more outré options like Bebaroque Bows ($69) and Suki ($65).

  1. 132 North 5th St, (between Bedford Ave and Berry St)
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Cosabella

  • Price band: 3/4

This Italian lingerie brand, best known for its 30-plus vibrant colors of underwear in luxe fabrics like tulle and lace, opened its first NYC boutique following an Atlanta opening. The shop boasts white canvas seating under grandiose black chandeliers, with red brick walls clashing fashionably against glossy gray floors. At the front of the store, lingerie lovers will find low-rise bikini bottoms ($22–$48), lace thongs ($22–$65), bras ($52–$112) and semisheer printed chemises ($78–$225). Offerings in the shape-wear category consist of bamboo-fiber camis ($70) and booty-shaping briefs ($48).

  1. 220 Lafayette St, (between Broome and Spring Sts)
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Deborah Marquit

  • Price band: 4/4

Though lingerie designer Deborah Marquit’s incredibly sexy unmentionables are sold at stores like Barneys, you’ll want to make a special trip to her quirky boutique, which doubles as a design studio where she hand-dyes, cuts and sews every piece. Not only will you get to see a genius at work (Singer sewing machines and mannequins share space with the racks of merchandise), Marquit will personally fit you to make sure her bikini briefs ($75–$115), thongs ($5–$85), boy shorts ($95–$115), garter belts (lace $115, vinyl $185) and bras ($165–$225)—up to size 38D—adhere to every curve. The creations come in flashy fluorescent neon, jacquard daisy-print, and black vinyl, yet somehow she manages to make even the most extreme colors and fabrics look classy and tasteful.

  1. 158 W 15th St, (between Sixth and Seventh Aves)
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Intimacy

If you haven’t had a proper bra-fitting since you were a tween, head over to Intimacy’s flagship store, where lingerie experts are ready to make you over Tim Gunn–style. Staffers have all been through owner Susan Nethero’s “bra boot camp,” and they’re ready to size you up in any of the 11 dressing rooms or teach you why (bra) size does matter during a free 30-minute consultation—however, we recommend making a reservation online to avoid a wait.

  1. 1051 Third Ave, (between 62nd and 63rd Sts)
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Journelle

This fancy French-sounding alternative to Victoria’s Secret is bringing its curated selection of more than 60 upscale lingerie brands (The Lake and Stars, Bordelle, Damaris) to its second NYC location in Soho. Just like at the Union Square flagship, the selection spans from everyday T-shirt bras and shapewear to seriously sexy bodysuits and bustiers in sizes 28AA to 38G. White oak floors, silk purple curtains and a library nook create an intimate setting for perusing undergarments, but it’s the spacious private dressing rooms where you’ll want to linger: Comforts like flattering lighting, Italian chocolates and a fluffy white robe make it enjoyable to try on lace-trimmed Eberjey chemises ($68), alluring Elle Macpherson mesh bras ($80) and matching thongs ($35), and comfy Fleur’t Lulu boy shorts ($35).

  1. 125 Mercer St, (between Prince and Spring Sts)
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Journelle

  • Price band: 4/4

At this Zen-like space, meticulously organized drawers, fresh cut flowers and oversize fitting rooms with adjustable lighting are the antidote to stressful lingerie shopping. All purchases are elegantly boxed and wrapped with a bow, which only sweetens the deal of scoring staples by Wacoal and La Perla. The staff will even tighten an old bra of yours for $15, whether you bought it here or not.

  1. 3 E 17th St, (at Fifth Ave)
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Journelle

  • Price band: 3/4

Silk and lace abound in this luxury lingerie retailer’s third Manhattan boutique, which follows on the success of the Soho and Union Square locations. The high-end shop’s collection of sexy underthings ranges from playful Stella McCartney retro-inspired bras ($175) to delicate Jenny Packham sheer lace and Swarovski-crystal-adorned chemises ($1,180). Wrap yourself up in plush Arlotta cashmere robes ($462), which are exclusive to the uptown location. Women can also pick up basics, including Commandos seamless panties ($20) and Elizabeth Cotton piped Egyptian cotton pajamas ($200). Sheepskin rugs and complimentary bottled water and chocolates in the fitting rooms complete the lavish experience.

  1. 1266 Third Ave, (between 72nd and 73rd Sts)
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Kaori's Closet

This downtown lingerie shop offers Japan-sourced sexy bits plus plenty of fab choices from names like Elle Macpherson and Amulette.

  1. 71 W Houston St, (between West Broadway and Wooster St)
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Kiki de Montparnasse

  • Price band: 4/4

This erotic luxury boutique channels the spirit of its namesake—a 1920s sexual icon and Man Ray muse—with a posh array of tastefully provocative contemporary lingerie in satin and French lace, including such novelties as cotton tank tops with built-in garters and panties embroidered with saucy phrases. Bedroom accoutrements such as molten crystal “dilettos” give new meaning to the term satisfied customer.

  1. 79 Greene St, (between Broome and Spring Sts)
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LainaJane

  • Price band: 1/4

It's so easy to buy the wrong bra if you don't have the proper guidance. The staff at Laina Jane won't let you choose unwisely. They offer each customer the personal attention required for intimates shopping and they'll help you choose bras, bottoms, and loungewear from quality lines like Cosabella and Hanky Panky.

  1. 416 Amsterdam Ave, (at 80th St)
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LainaJane

  • Price band: 1/4

This tiny location explode with enough inner wear to rival a department store; bras and camisoles dangle overhead, and bras and thongs are splayed out on tables. The jam-packed racks are overwhelming but manageable, thanks to an accommodating staff that can help you sift through cotton duds to unearth $13 Jezebel sateen thongs and $34 Montelle bras.

  1. 45 Christopher St, (between Waverly Pl and W 4th St)
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La Petite Coquette

As the wall of autographed celebrity-client photos indicates, “the Little Flirt” (en anglais) has drawn a loyal following since it opened in 1978. Known for her acuity regarding proper bra-fit, owner Rebecca Apsan wrote the book on unmentionables (literally—it’s called The Lingerie Handbook), and appropriately, her store runs the gamut, from practical T-shirt bras and briefs to problem-solving bustiers and an entire section devoted to full-figure coverage. Hanky Panky mesh undies ($18) and vanilla-scented silk heart sachets ($5) made in-house are extremely popular. Items slant toward the classy—although pearl G-strings by Bracli ($69) can’t seem to stay on the shelves.

  1. 51 University Pl, (between 9th and 10th Sts)
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La Petite Coquette

  • Price band: 4/4
  • Critics choice

Lined with paintings of pin-up girls, this boudoir-y spot, owned by expert bra-fitter Rebecca Apsan, is packed to the gills with both frilly and functional underthings. Choose from brands like Wendy Glez, Hanky Panky and Andres Sarda. The comprehensive website also offers handy fit guides. Be sure to check out the window displays, which often feature fantastical creatures like mermaids, bedecked in bras.

  1. 51 University Place, (at 10th St)
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Orchard Corset

  • Critics choice

This old-school lingerie shop is one of the last bastions of old New York, from the straightforward setup (the walls are lined with boxes upon boxes of girdles, hosiery, slips and, yes, corsets) to the no-nonsense attitude (the staff will size you up by sight and recommend a bra that supports, not festoons). And the prices are practically pre-inflation: Most bottoms are under $16, and bras are less than $35 for standby names (Bali, Playtex, Olga) and sizes up to 56M.

  1. 157 Orchard St, (between Rivington and Stanton Sts), 10002
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Only Hearts

Helena Stuart is known for her intimates, which she calls “inner outerwear”: lace-trimmed camisoles (from $40) and jersey chemises that won’t look tawdry when worn out on the street, as well as bras, cute boy shorts and thongs. The delicate tulle mesh and delectable metallic color palette of many items makes them too pretty to hide. Mixed in with the store’s own label is a small selection of tops, dresses, knitwear and accessories by other designers.

  1. 230 Mott St, (between Prince and Spring Sts)
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Only Hearts

FIT graduate Helena Stuart opened her petite UWS shop with heart-bedecked gifts in the 1970s. Today, she’s known for her intimates, which she calls “inner outerwear”: lace-trimmed camisoles (from $40) and jersey chemises that won’t look tawdry when worn out on the street, as well as bras, cute boyshorts and thongs. The delicate tulle mesh and delectable washed-out color palette of many items makes them too pretty to hide. Mixed in with the store’s own label is a small selection of tops, dresses, knitwear and accessories by other designers.

  1. 386 Columbus Ave, (between 78th and 79th Sts)
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Peress

Completely without the snob appeal of other Madison Avenue boutiques, the down-to-earth, family-owned Peress has been the place for ladies to stock up on classic, affordable underwear since 1927. Comfort trumps trends with froufrou-free brands like Hanro, Cocoon and Private Label for those who don’t aim to look like a cupcake in the bedroom. A luxe cashmere robe ($425–$1,200) is a splurge, but everything else (bras from $45, briefs from $13) is reasonably wallet-friendly.

  1. 1006 Madison Ave, (at 78th St)
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Sugar Cookies

Owner Susanne Alvarado's Chelsea lingerie boutique looks as frilly and girly as the pieces she sells.

  1. 203 W 19th St, (between Seventh and Eighth Aves)
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Town Shop

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Going to this infamous undergarment emporium, which has been around since 1888, is less about playing lingerie dress-up and more about getting schooled in the proper bra fit (sizings and alterations are free). Forget browsing and prepare to be ambushed by a knowledgeable salesperson who will size you up sans measuring tape and who will expertly guide you through the racks of Cosabella, Chantelle, and Wacoal intimates. Busty girls, take note: The store stocks sizes up to K.

  1. 2273 Broadway, (between 81st and 82nd Sts)
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Users say

2 comments
Sandra
Sandra

Nice selection. There is new online place based in New York City. European lace, embroidered and satin bras and panties. All new to US. www.lacyhint.com

Marcie
Marcie

A nice combination of lingerie shops, especially for someone who wants the boutique shopping experience but doesn't know where to start.