West Africa native and Harlem resident Bernard Oyama ditched his banking career to open his first Soho boutique in 2003. The classy menswear store has since relocated uptown, where the suits are immaculately displayed against an orange wall and wood floors. Take a nod from R&B star Ne-Yo (who has been known to frequent the shop) by picking up colorful cotton button-down tops with B. Oyama signature collars, which are two and a quarter inches higher than typical ones ($125–$175). Nine-to-five types will gravitate toward striped suspenders ($85–$125), printed silk ties ($105–$135) and colorful ascots ($85). Ladies can get in on the action with made-to-order shirts ($110–$150), dresses ($130–$180) and suits ($550), available in bright, femme prints. If you need a little extra help getting dressed, Oyama himself and a team of stylists will come to your home or office and offer outfitting tips ($50 per hour).
The recession may have slowed the growth of Harlem’s retail scene, but upscale boutiques, grooming emporiums and the neighborhood’s first designer consignment spot have taken root. Our guide to the best shops in Harlem points you to our local favorites. It’s also worth checking out authentic African bazaar, Harlem Shabazz Harlem Market. When shopping fatigue sets in, retire to one of the many bars or grab a bite.
RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Harlem, New York