The best independent shops for sunglasses in NYC

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Fabulous Fanny's

Fabulous Fanny's

Artsee Eyewear

  • Price band: 3/4

As evidenced by the way proprietors Oleg Rabinovich and Julio Santiago treat their inventory like objets d’art—only 100 or so frames ($375--$5,000) are displayed on illuminated shelves at a time—this well-curated space is for the serious sunglass collector. The stock changes every two months and includes custom-made buffalo-horn rims and avant-garde shapes.

  1. 220 Murray St, (between Northwest Ave and West St)
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Bond 07 by Selima

  • Price band: 4/4

Eyewear designer Selima Salaun’s spacious East Village shop stocks her full range of frames, alongside a collection of vintage designer clothes, accessories and jewelry. Nostalgic styles, including square and curvy cat-eye 1950s-inspired shapes and 1970s-vibe large rounded frames, come in a variety of eye-catching color combinations, and you can have your prescription filled on site.

  1. 7 Bond St, (between Broadway and Lafayette St)
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Eye Shoppe on 7th

  • Price band: 2/4

Don’t let the unassuming storefront fool you: Veteran optician Michael Stoff’s smallish shop has been framing faces on the Slope for more than 17 years, and his informative (if at times brusque) staff won’t rest until you’ve found the perfect pair. The walls and glass cases are jam-packed with offbeat shades from obscure European brands like Theo, Face à Face and Anne et Valentin. Prices start around $100.

  1. 133 Seventh Ave, (between Carrol St and Garfield Pl)
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Fabulous Fanny's

  • Price band: 4/4
  • Critics choice

Whether you’re channeling Brigitte Bardot or Benjamin Franklin, there’s a pair of sunnies to fit your mood at this treasure trove, which carries more than 40,000 vintage specs unearthed at flea markets and from opticians’ dead stock ($40 to $3,000). Chests of drawers display antique frames dating as far back as the late 1800s, and are organized by style and era. If those pince-nez or aviator sunglasses are looking a bit too dated for your taste, the staff will happily reshape or bejewel them with Swarovski crystals. Fanny’s also vends such vintage items as ladies’ pillbox hats and suspenders for lads looking to channel the 1940s (or maybe just Larry King).

  1. 335 E 9th St, (between First and Second Aves)
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Facial Index

  • Price band: 4/4

While heavy on the tortoiseshell and horn-rimmed variety, the architectural frames ($180–$400) displayed on frosted glass at this loftlike industrial space still manage to be impossibly forward and hip. Hand-carved Japanese brands like Spivvy and Lazy Red come with tinted lenses, and are so mod you’ll want to wear them everywhere, even on the subway. But please, don’t.

  1. 104 Grand St, (at Mercer St)
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H.L. Purdy

  • Price band: 2/4

If you’re looking to splurge on shades, eyewear emporium H.L. Purdy is the place to do it. In addition to upscale labels like Oliver Peoples, Paul Smith and Persol ($350 and up), Purdy offers frames that come in solid gold or wrapped in leather. There are three locations and the flagship has been around for 70 years, so the staff knows a thing or two about the biz.

  1. 501 Madison Ave, (at 52nd St)
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Moscot

  • Price band: 2/4
  • 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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Nakedeye Optical

  • Price band: 2/4

Style mavens flock to George Lee and Owen Long’s meticulously curated boutique, which carries cutting-edge designers from around the world, including Bevel from Japan and U.K.-based Cutler and Gross. Their encyclopedic knowledge can also help you locate the vintage Cazal, Carlotti and Alpina shades that are right for you.

  1. 192 Orchard St, (between E Houston and Stanton Sts)
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Silver Lining Opticians

  • Price band: 3/4

If you dig retro-style sun shields but the idea of sporting anything preworn on your face grosses you out, head to this friendly neighborhood shop, which offers roughly 6,000 pristine vintage frames spanning from the ’60s to the ’80s, from labels like Balenciaga and Dior. You won’t find Oakleys here—owners Jordan Silver and Erik Sacher refuse to sell licensed brands—but you can pick up indie European designers such as London’s Anglo American, plus the duo’s own in-houseline ($295--$1,200).

  1. 92 Thompson St, (between Prince and Spring Sts)
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Users say

2 comments
Wilkie Morrison
Wilkie Morrison

British brand Cutler and Gross has just opened on Next door to Judd Foundation on Mercer Street. Eyewear heaven!

Rachel
Rachel

Elijah Peters Optique @1039 Third Avenue 61st Street NYC Upper East Side*****Vintage, Modern, Classy, Chic - excellent selection and service! This indépendant shop is a must see.