Little Italy, NYC neighborhood guide
Nolita offers several standout boutiques, and many of them are our personal favorites. Among the best shops in the neighborhood, you’ll find stellar jewelry and shoe stores, which master the art of accessorizing. And in Little Italy, don’t pass up the chance to seek out the few remaining Italian food stores for fresh mozzarella and other delicacies once the shopping fatigue sets in.
RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Little Italy and Nolita
Best shops in Little Italy and Nolita
After launching a successful Soho pop-up in 2013, this Chicago footwear brand has finally opened its first brick-and-mortar in Nolita—and we’re kind of stoked. The gimmick here is artwork for your feet (no, really). And although we generally consider all shoes to be masterpieces, the ones at this shop are hand-designed by a rotating set of contemporary artists—for truckloads less than a Matisse. Check out sneakers and slip-ons for women ($64–$95) and men ($68–98) by talents such as Jimmy Sheehan, JC Rivera, Meera Lee Patel and more. Plus limited-edition prints from designers the likes of Taka Cooper and Sentrock will also be up for grabs, in case you need your walls to match your shoes.
Shop owner Loriann Smoak has racked up a lot of stamps on her passport (she traveled to 19 countries last year alone!), and now she’s bringing her worldly finds to this Nolita boutique. The bright, white, marble-detailed space is decorated with plants and greenery, and it’s loaded with garb from local and international designers. Eco-friendly silk tanks by Amour Vert come from France ($72), Ghost Dancer beaded bib necklaces are inspired by Native American culture ($178), Juma bird-printed scarves are made in India ($175) and cult photographer Neil Krug’s Pulp Art Book of grainy Polaroid-film photos can decorate coffee tables ($50).
Slip-on moto boots ($475) and round-toe suede booties ($435) are cobbled in Coclico’s Mallorca factory before being shipped to this simplistic women’s boutique. Born into a family of French shoemakers, Coclico founder Sandra Canselier fills her shop with leather shoes marked by wood and cork accents. Head here if you’re ready to splurge, as tall boots with a contrasting vachetta heel ($585) will be hard to leave behind.
It may be the former home of the 12th police precinct, but the only thing criminal about Jade Lai’s Nolita store would be passing up its hip merch. A spin-off of the five-year-old Los Angeles boutique, Creatures of Comfort has made a name for itself by scouting up-and-coming labels from near and far. Now that it has expanded to the East Coast, you can browse pricey but oh-so-cool statement pieces from avant-garde lines such as MM6 and Zucca, plus bohemian basics from Lai’s Creatures of Comfort in-house collection. Items worth the sticker shock include head-turning Rachel Comey suede studded clogs with ankle straps ($380) and outfit-making Anntian silk mosaic scarves ($270). Don’t forget to sashay on back to the swanky garden patio after your plastic cools off.
Seamstress-turned-jewelry-designer Erica Weiner sells her own bronze, brass, silver and gold creations alongside vintage and reworked baubles in her first-ever, eponymous boutique. Weiner combs estate sales and New England auction houses to line the shelves of her cozy shop with antique engagement rings, earrings, necklaces and bracelets, all of which have unique stories behind them. Her wares are often casts or modified versions of old objects, such as 1930s cocktail stirrers from the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel that she fashioned into polished brass necklaces ($85). Even better, much of Weiner’s jewelry can be scooped up for less than $100.
Lori Leven, owner of sister tattoo parlors New York Adorned (one located in the LES and the other in Williamsburg), has expanded her brand to include a new jewelry haven: Love, Adorned. The third spin-off chainlet houses a treasure trove of baubles, home goods and trinkets. Though splurges such as Jeeyun Ha dainty gold-chain necklaces accented with feathers ($380) are scene-stealers, cheap thrills like Alyssa Ettinger porcelain milk bottles ($40–$70) make us equally giddy.
The Canadian brand that built a following on comfy-as-hell sweats has put down roots at a 600-square-foot storefront in Nolita. Step inside the concept shop—the store plans to rotate new collections and one-off collabs on the reg—and you’ll feel like you’re glamping (that’s camping for the glamorous). While admiring rustic log stools, driftwood shelves and a large photo mural of woodland sceneries, snag classic sweaters ($60–$80) reppin’ the Roots logo, handcrafted leather totes and travel bags (starting at $128) and tees ($24–$38). The store offers monogramming on carryalls.
Guys with a penchant for preppy-with-an-edge basics will love this Amsterdam men’s clothier. In the space that was the former Soho home of Christian Audigier, Ed Hardy shirts have (thankfully) been replaced with simple menswear boasting jazzy details: Slim-cut blazers ($235) feature patterned fabric under the collar and inside the sleeves for decorative popping and rolling, collared shirts ($125) have fanciful buttons and embroidered Scotch & Soda badges above the chest pockets, and roomy plaid pants ($103) look and feel like pajamas but are actually designed for street wear.
This Dutch womenswear brand, founded by designer Olcay Gulsen in 2004, opens its first stateside store. The modern space features light-colored wood floors, painted-brick walls and minimalist white sofas for lounging. The label’s tailored and trend-driven collection includes snakeskin-print maxidresses ($156), long-sleeve tops with glitter collars ($117) and faux-fur-lined jackets ($312). There are also select items from in-house lingerie line Madame SuperTrash, including polka-dot push-up bras ($59) and high-waisted lace panties ($52). Don’t miss the small but chic selection of accessories, including wallet-friendly beaded hoop earrings ($26).
The charitable brand behind your comfiest kicks recently opened its first NYC shop—a brick-walled space in Nolita housing shoes ($48–$159), eyewear ($98–$189) and TOMS’ newly launched handbag line ($28–$298). Find perforated open-toe booties ($98) and men’s linen slip-ons ($54) at the outpost, which also features a coffee bar, outdoor patio and a book-swap shelf for browsing, borrowing and donating titles. Sip a cup of joe while eyeing ikat-print purses ($78) and striped-canvas totes ($78); the bags offer a new way to give back via TOMS—every purchase helps pregnant women in need.
Vintage specs are a huge trend, and since each piece of eyewear designed by this NYC brand is inspired by the 1920s, you’ll find every retro frame imaginable (all shades cost $129, plus shipping). Beyoncé is particularly partial to the cat-eye trend (yes, we creep on her Instagram like everyone else, too), so you should probably scoop up a pair, like, now.
Husband and wife Rob Magnotta and Winnie Beattie have opened their first boutique, filled with eclectic women’s threads ($97–$2,000), accessories ($41–$2,500) and vintage books ($13–$80) meant to imbue a cozy feeling. The space retains the original hardwood floors from its past life as an olive-oil factory and uses an antique post-office mail sorter for merchandise. Zebra-print rugs and tropical plants give it a nature-inspired vibe. Shoppers can also nab home goods such as Auntie Oti towels ($41) handwoven in India and beach-scented Apothia candles ($55). Embrace your inner romantic with Roseanna lace tops ($212) and Vanessa Bruno Athé chambray dresses ($306). Extra trimmings include Locals flip-flops ($18), which are native to Hawaiian drugstores; Jerome Dreyfuss linen-and-leather handbags ($288); and VK Lillie necklaces ($667) filled with healing crystals.
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