Oft-overlooked for its more glamorous department store counterparts, Lord & Taylor offers an ever reliable selection of classic brands like Ralph Lauren—minus surging crowds. The men's department is particularly strong, and they offer loads of basics, like lingerie.
With shops in more than 50 countries, Zara’s higher-end sister brand has finally opened a U.S. location. The store offers a variety of unpretentious staples for both sexes ($65–$400). Ladies will find leather bomber jackets ($368), color-blocked sweaters ($99) and pleated maxiskirts ($200). Guys will love classic blazers ($228) and cotton jackets ($368). Beyond ready-to-wear, you’ll find a complete line of accessories ($50–$300), including belts, scarves, handbags and jewelry.
Following the success of several pop-ups around the city, owner Matt Fox opened his first brick-and-mortar shop for the sharp e-commerce menswear brand. The retro decor, complete with ironing boards repurposed as tables, old-fashioned globes, typewriters and collegiate trophies scattered throughout the space, will transport you into another era. Pantherella argyle socks ($29–$65) are displayed in old briefcases, while printed ties ($45–$59) are suspended inside propped-open vintage trunks. Dapper guys can spiff up their looks with neckwear ($45–$65), handkerchiefs ($25–$29), tennis-racket tie clips ($29), paisley bow ties ($55) and striped suspenders ($49–$69).
Vogue photographs featuring the store’s antique garb line the walls at this living-history reservoir, where everything from 19th-century walking suits to neon Vivienne Westwood platforms is neatly arranged by era. Here you can rent a Chanel quilted suit ($1,025) or a Missoni knit dress ($895) for a fraction of the purchase price. Walk-ins are welcome, but it’s worth calling ahead to peruse the appointment-only upstairs area. There you’ll find a priceless ostrich-hemmed 1920s gold lamé gown by designer Charles Frederick Worth, a 1960s chain-link Paco Rabanne vest and Josephine Baker’s rhinestone-encrusted 1920s bra (recently rented by Lady Gaga). Pricing depends on the item and length of rental; there is a minimum fee of $200.
Sure, the Swoosh’s massive flagship is usually clogged with tourists, but where else will space-age chutes deliver your sneakers? Five floors brim with inspiring quotes by coaches (“If you have a body, you’re an athlete”), top-notch athlete’s clothing for both genders and iPod-friendly shoes ($85–$140). Its top floor also hosts the freshly minted NIKEiD studio, where you can customize your kicks.
Named after its original location in London, NYC's Dover Street Market features seven small floors of cutting-edge fashions by big time designers and a few up-and-comers. Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garcons carefully curated the merch, which includes loads of exclusives you won't find any where else. Shopping here is like a visiting a contemporary art gallery, thanks to the high design of the clothing as well as cool art, such as the 60-foot sleeve of yarn by street knitter Magda Sayeg, featured throughout the space.
Billed as the first sex shop for women, by women, Eve's Garden strives to steer female sexuality away from penis-shaped straws and subpar vibrators. The store's founder, women's-rights activist Dell Williams, designed it to be high-class, welcoming and anything but scary. The shop holds workshops and events on- and off-site, with topics ranging from couples' communication to masturbation.
This popular neighborhood boutique is a treasure trove for kitschy housewares like Design Ideas skyline bookends ($43), Jonathan Adler ceramic animals ($47–$200) and high-end beauty goods such as Archipelago Botanicals travel sets ($28). There’s also a small but well-curated selection of cookbooks, including Janet Fletcher’s Eating Local ($35) and Ruth Reichl’s Gourmet Today ($40).
It may not be as glamorous as New York’s other famous stores, but for sheer breadth of stock, the 34th Street behemoth is hard to beat. You won’t find exalted labels here, though—midpriced fashion and designers’ diffusion lines for all ages are its bread and butter, along with all the big beauty names. Fun fact: Herein lies the largest shoe department in the world (63,000 square feet, to be exact) so chances of leaving empty handed are slim. Brave the constant crowd to shop suede and lyrca over-the-knee boots by Kenneth Cole ($159) and equestrian-like rain wellies from Dirty Laundry ($59). While there’s no shortage of trendy options—given tables dedicated to Jessica Simpson, Charles David and Dolce Vita—eternally popular styles, like men’s Timberland roll tops ($120), are just as nice.
Once devoid of gourmet-grocery options, Hell's Kitchen got a one-two punch in 2013 with the opening of both Brooklyn Fare and this block-long food mall. The 15,000-square-foot retail-dining mecca is divided into eight culinary stalls—such as Blue Bottle Coffee, and Brooklyn Kitchen—as well as a full-service NYC Velo bike shop. The food court includes Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop, where the noodle guru offers his famed shio, shoyu and chili-sesame varieties; Little Chef, the salad offshoot of Caroline Fidanza's Saltie sandwich shop; and El Colmado tapas bar from Seamus Mullen (Tertulia). Each stall has communal tables, with garage doors opening to sidewalk seating outside El Colmado and the Cannibal's cocktail-and-charcuterie post.