Best places to go shopping in NYC
Williamsburg’s beloved indie-brand boutique recently opened a sister store in Nolita to help fierce feminists suit up for the resistance. Be your best ally and shop for female-designed goodies, such as embroideries of plus-size bods, pins with pithy phrases and “I Ain’t Sorry” Beyoncé QUEEN tees.
We know: Brooklynites have been bemoaning the arrival of big-brand chain stores for the past few years. But guess what? The borough has been home to an awesome minichain for quite some time. Bird, the fashion-forward women’s boutique where prices run the gamut, has been in business for more than 15 years and shows no sign of stopping. Four locations exist; fingers crossed that more aren't too far behind.
There are many reasons why vintage lovers shop The Break, but here’s the gist: The owners believe in the power of a well-curated stash, and they understand what shoppers really want—low prices. Aside from excellent, avant-garde branding and an extremely pleasant in-person shopping experience (on a recent visit, we were given a gratis glass of rosé and were invited to join an impromptu dance party while trying on throwback threads), the merchandise you'll find on the racks is incredible. From teddy faux-fur coats to oversized, pinstripe blazers and floral blouses straight from the ’70s, the shop is loaded with real deal steals.
Shop for downtown-chic clothing, art and jewelry from a slew of vendors at this large indoor bazaar that is a cross between Chelsea Market and Artists & Fleas. When the shopping fatigue sets in, visit the food hall serving bubble tea by Boba Guys and dim sum from Nom Wah Kuai. The space also hosts events, such as panels led by established authors.
This online plant purveyor has filled its first brick-and-mortar with various seedlings in stylish, locally made pots. The store focuses on greenery that’s easy to care for, so no green thumbs required here. Stand-alone plants start at $4; pre-potted ones go for $38 and up. Experts say keeping a houseplant in your home can improve your health and help purify the air. Sign us up!
You guys love Artists & Fleas (it’s one of the most searched-for stores on our website)—and it’s easy to see why: Every weekend, a rotating selection of around 60 vendors, including local craftspeople, designers and artists, sets up shop in a Williamsburg warehouse. The browsable mix includes everything from original T-shirts and handmade jewelry to home-decor items and even pet accessories. There are two other locations (one in Chelsea Market and one in Soho) which means we now have triple the opportunity to scoop up one-of-a-kind finds.
Sure, Brooklyn’s decor scene is a bit of a cliché: Most shops are strewn with Edison bulbs and mason jars filled with wildflowers. But this ’Burg joint, with its bold colors and cheeky posters—is "Constantly fucking challenge yourself" motivational enough for you?—feels like a breath of fresh air.
No shop in New York understands the need to express yourself through a cold-weather protector than one of Manhattan's new vintage shops Spark Pretty. After the success of the store's '90's Forever pop-up, owners Amanda Dolan and Meagan Colbyput down permanent roots in the East Village. Spark Pretty describes its aesthetic as “I Want My MTV” meets '80’s hair bands, crossed with the flash of '70’s glam-rock. We can dig it. We're particularly loving the Lisa Frank denim jackets for sale, in addition to other rare vintage styles such as a crystal-encrusted, hand-painted Tony Alamo designer jean jacket. You'll also find other throwback apparel items including bellbottoms, studded skinny jeans, pins, patches and shoes.
Get your plastic ready because you’re about to overload your closet with casual-cool duds at this shop. But, don’t worry, this splurge will hardly make a dent in your bank account. Why? Because Primark—the trendy, dirt-cheap, UK fashion brand—now has a store in New York! (Er, well, the Staten Island Mall.) The massive outlet (55,100-square-feet, with 41 fitting rooms) has all your wardrobe essentials, including apparel, shoes and accessories for both men and women. You can even nab home goods and beauty products, too. Best of all? You can leave with multiple bags filled-to-the-brim with new clothes without feeling any shopper’s remorse. (Seriously, you can get a pair of shoes for $12.)
If you love vintage-style duds and wish your entire apartment was an extension of your closet, think of this as your one-stop shop for retro and repurposed furniture. Expect to find barnwood frames ($20–$95), metal-locker baskets ($20) and recycled rugs ($40–$65).
This lifestyle shop in Williamsburg sells high-quality goods during the day, but will host occasional trunk show gone turnt at night. The 1,300-square-foot boutique carries menswear, womenswear and home goods from emerging brands and well-known designers such as Samantha Pleet and more.
Okay, we’ll admit the prices at this London import aren’t exactly budget-friendly, but that doesn’t stop us from visiting this Murray Hill mecca of high fashion. Dover Street Market features seven small floors of cutting-edge wares by big-time designers and a few up-and-comers. Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons carefully culls the merch, which includes loads of exclusives, including a few (sort of) reasonably priced graphic tees for under $100. Shopping here is like visiting a contemporary gallery, and we don’t just mean the sleek clothing.
The revamped space at this sneaker and streetwear emporium feels like a brand-new store. In the fall of 2014, it added an additional 3,000 square feet, and includes glassed-in mannequins and a long entranceway boasting white plaster sneakers hanging from the ceiling.
We were bummed to see local fave Pixie Market (trendy clothes! übercheap prices!) close up shop. But before we could settle into a deep depression, the owners reemerged with Frankie. Think of it as the mature and ultra-chic version of Pixie Market. The shop caters to the career-minded woman, so instead of cocktail dresses or crop tops, you’ll find more sophisticated items from international indie labels.
Quirky products rule at this Village charmer. Founder Jan van der Lande collaborated with Kevin Brynan, the owner of now-closed gift shop Mxyplyzyk, to create the first store for Kikkerland, which has been churning out must-have utilitarian gadgets for the past 20 years. All the items sure to put a smile on your face.
It’s only a matter of time before Astoria becomes a true shopping destination. (A bevy of hip bars has opened in the ’hood—boutiques have to be next, right?) And when more stores arrive, hopefully they’ll be along the lines of this small vintage shop, which sells everything from badass boots to sparkly sweaters but specializes in gently worn dresses from the 1950s through the ’90s.
Owner Magdalena Jaworska worked as a buyer and manager at Williamsburg shop Otte before opening this contemporary womenswear store, stocked with reasonably priced threads and accessories from indie designers. O.N.A., a play on “she” in Jaworska’s native Polish, features clothing racks made from galvanized pipes, and reclaimed-wood tables and shelves. Top picks include Blank Jeans, Olive & Oak frocks and Greylin cutout blouses.
If you struggle with the art of mixing trendy duds with basics, consider the contemporary styles found at this Upper East Side boutique, the key to unleashing your inner mixologist. While the brand is considered a fast-fashion chain due to its affordable pricing, the shop carries bohemian designer labels, including BB Dakota, UNIF and For Love & Lemons, giving the store a leg up on its competitors H&M and Forever 21.
After running a successful online shop and flea-market booths, Brian Davis found a permanent home for his curated collection of vintage men’s classics in Red Hook. The store focuses on military items (versions of De Niro’s Taxi Driver jacket go for about $150), outerwear and Americana gear for guys from as early as the 1930s. Sweaters start around $80; small items like wool caps are $10 and up.
After spending time as a shop-in-shop at Henri Bendel, this popular high-end dress-rental service has a freestanding store in the Flatiron District. For $25, you can book an appointment and meet with a personal stylist who’ll help you find the perfect designer dress for your next big event. The store features a rotating selection of dresses from more than 200 designers like Opening Ceremony, Vera Wang and Marchesa. Wedding parties can also rent out the shop for the day.
The addition of a coffeeshop within a clothing store was a major trend in 2014, but American Two Shot was already ahead of the curve when it opened a couple of years prior with Café Integral at the front of the shop. Grab an espresso and browse the latest indie-label offerings for men and women. And the java will come in handy: The downtown shop often hosts late-night parties.
File this under “If it’s good enough for Jay Z…” Harlem Haberdashery was founded by the folks behind clothing label 5001 Flavors, which dressed the rapper for his “Empire State of Mind” video. For those of us who aren’t shopping for locally made urban-meets-preppy clothes to wear in a music video, there are graphic T-shirts and custom-tailored suits. Fun fact: The boutique is housed in a brownstone where Malcolm X once lived.