This UES family-owned shop has been in the haute couture–recycling business since 1954 and is the place to go if you want to score Dior, Prada and Dolce & Gabbana dresses for 70 to 90 percent off retail price. While you shouldn’t schlep your bags of less-than-luxe stuff here expecting a trade (they only buy first-tier designer labels that are less than two years old and in great condition), come here if you want to treat yourself to something luxurious without breaking the bank.
Ranking among the city’s top tourist attractions, Bloomie’s is stocked with everything from bags to beauty products, homewares to designer duds. The cosmetics hall, complete with an outpost of globe-spanning apothecary Space NK and a Bumble and bumble dry-styling bar, recently got a glam makeover. The compact Soho outpost concentrates on young fashion and cosmetics.
Barneys sets the prodigious record for housing the most progressive, conceptual and hard-to-find labels in the city. You'll find Balenciaga and Commes des Garcons; Lanvin, Azzedine Alaia and Dries van Noten. The ground floor offers an excellent selection of accessories such as Hermes watches, Pucci scarves and an in-store shop from Parisian luggage company Goyard, while the shoe department hosts almost every Manolo Blahnik on over (as well as a range of pairs from Miu Miu, Christian Louboutin and Lanvin).
Boston consignment chain 2nd Time Around sets up its second NYC location on the Upper East Side, catering to the hood with brands such as Dior, YSL and Louis Vuitton. Stop by to peruse the upscale treasures or to unload some designer cast offs of your own. 2nd Time Around's hi-tech take on consigning allows you to check the status of your wares online, or you can opt to receive a text message when your stuff sells. On a recent trip we spotted Chanel logo booties ($200–$300), YSL blazers ($300–$440), Walter blouses ($100) and fur coats (from $350). The shop also regularly receives brand new overstock from Bloomingdale’s, so it pays to check back regularly.
This cozy boutique accepts only high-end designers, so dig out your Pucci, Louis Vuitton and Marc Jacobs, but leave anything with the letters H and M at home. Make sure your threads are in pristine condition (cleaned, sans stains and rips). Your duds have a 90-day shelf life, and you’ll get 50 percent of the selling price.
A life-sized zebra welcomes shoppers at Alexis Bittar’s boutique, a veritable safari of the designer’s most colorful accessories. Best known for his Lucite jewelry (small square bangles, drop pendants, block rings), Bittar has also expanded his collection to include precious metals. Choose from silver, gold or rose-gold pieces, adorned with semiprecious stones and Swarovski crystals.
For nearly half a century, Fred Kooby has been running this prim-and-proper stationery boutique, and though he’s watched as paper companies shrink their lines and e-cards replace formal invitations, his own business has grown from a single storefront to the better chunk of the block. Attribute this to his loyal clientele, who appreciate proper etiquette and classic taste—tenets that are best represented by the wall of Crane & Co. place cards (ten for $9–$100), and selection of Caspari greeting cards ($3–$9) and Charing Cross leather-bound calendars ($32–$49). Kooby’s daughter, Vanessa, oversees the custom-design department, whose shelves are jammed with sample books from lines as mid-range as William Arthur and as elaborate as C’est Papier. Aside from paper products, the store also stocks Kolo photo albums ($17–$50), Tizo picture frames ($17–$150) and fine writing instruments ($39–$495) from Waterman, Parker and Cross.
Classical music greets visitors at this whimsical boutique, where co-owner Michael Walter peddles dazzling dried-flower arrangements, including decorative spheres ($24–$45) made from berries and heather in short green vases ($210), alongside antiques for both the home and garden. Etched hurricane vases ($36) and rustic tole lanterns ($50) will lend a hint of the outdoors to any abode, while antique garden tools ($30) double as creative decor. If your small apartment calls for equally diminutive home accents, opt for miniature ceramic vases (five for $36) in assorted shapes.
Dealing in bold colors and minimalist, architectural designs, Ovando is where celebs go when they need to impress their significant others (Maroon 5’s Adam Levine sent a bouquet from the shop to his boo, Victoria’s Secret model Behati Prinsloo). Arrangements ($165–$375) for the holidays include a heart-shaped wreath of roses on a bed of brilliant red beads, a duo of pink rosebuds and a floral Rosa Mexicana candle, or a fan of roses (akin to those Levine sent to Prinsloo). Even better, you can put off making a final decision until noon on Valentine’s Day.
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. This is the first Manhattan outpost, which opened last week, for the Long Island retailer, and you have every reason to be excited. 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. Shop for Free Spirit layered necklaces ($35), Whitney Eve Windsor crop tops ($52) and Free People Lennon heels ($178)—you’ll want to add these to your wardrobe, stat.