While downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn are prime areas for indie boutiques, handmade jewelry and affordable shopping, Midtown and Uptown Manhattan have several gems hiding among the glamorous chain stores. Tourists may seek the upscale retail centers of familiar brands, but for those who want to purchase something uniquely NYC, we profile ten uptown boutiques worth browsing.
Traveling down from Vermont to four locations across New York City, this popular boutique has spread its influence far across Manhattan. Olive & Bette’s Upper West Side location is pleasant, gleeful, and a joy to shop around in. Products range from silk apparel and patterned maxi dresses to casual tops and pants for daily wear. For late-summer shoppers, there are pool party shorts, bikinis, and tank tops. They also host several charity sales throughout the year, from a bracelet sale to benefit the World Wildlife Fund to a spotlight on Play Nice tees, where 20 percent of each sale went to the Mother + Kind Campaign’s Anti-Bullying Awareness.
Trunk Show Designer Consignment, New York | Image Courtesy of Clothingline
Located up in Harlem, this consignment store sells designer clothes and accessories, each with a unique story. Trunk Show Designer Consignment strives to provide its customers with the absolute best of any product, be it a simple tote or a lavish cocktail dress. This shop also promotes sustainability through reuse and maintenance of big-name designer items. Although the prices are higher than a typical secondhand store’s fees, they hold regular sales.
For more affordable shopping and a thrift store experience without the ‘vintage’ feel, pay a visit to Clothingline. While it carries independent brands and the work of emerging designers, this boutique also makes an effort to offer products at 50 to 80 percent off normal retail prices. Every week brings a new line of clothes, new stock from another designer, and special sales. These events rotate like gallery exhibitions, so any visit to Clothingline will be special.
Pookie & Sebastian rides the hippy-chic movement on the Upper East Side, with racks of inventive five-way tops, loose dresses and intricately-beaded necklaces. The metallic gleam of fitted sequin dresses may catch your eye, if not the trendy patterns on their signature strap pillows. If you’re unable to visit any of its Manhattan locations, or you want to keep up with the ever-changing repertoire, check out their online store. There are also stores in Scarsdale and Roslyn, NY, but if you want to really strut your new outfit before the eyes of millions, stick to the city streets.
Phoebe Cates Kline’s brainchild, Blue Tree, is a little store along Madison Avenue bursting with quirky clothing items, accessories, and some one-off surprises along its shelves. The store’s maxim is, ‘There are no rules. And we are always re-inventing, recreating in the hopes of delighting.’ Their products are fun but utilitarian, experimental and sometimes even homemade. For those with some extra money to spend, check out the Lucite products: glass bags and boxes with intricate carvings by Manhattan-based artist Joyce Francis. Or, sample from Blue Tree’s own line of accessories, fragrances, and house ware.
DejaVu Boutique’s repertoire is sure to catch any window shopper’s eye. A distinctive feature is its extravagant gallery space, located on the second floor and open to the public. It was once the Bodley Gallery, a renowned NYC gallery in the heyday of the Modernist and Successive artistic movements. The designers carried here are chic and on top of the latest trends. This year’s Fall/Winter collection is especially alluring. With a flagship on the Upper East Side and another branch in the East Village, DejaVu has opened its doors to shoppers all over Manhattan.
In the spirit of boutiques planted in historical sites, Creel & Gow is located in the former home of architect Grosvenor Atterbury. This boutique sells eclectic, stylish objects from avid collectors Jamie Creel and Christopher Gow. Statues, rare minerals, decorations and other striking accessories can become welcome adornments in any home. The predominating oceanic objects are particularly special, and there are plenty of items available for under $150. Objects can also be requested via mail order.
Advertised as ‘The only Brazilian-themed store in Manhattan’, Búzios presents its customers with an assortment of authentic Brazilian products. The flip-flops are bright and energetic, and several accessories are emblazoned with the Brazilian flag. Also in stock are DVDs, magazines, flags, sports jerseys, hats, sarongs and exotic bikinis, perfect for a hot summer beach day. For those seeking beauty products, brows a selection of Brazilian-made lotions, bodywashes, and perfumes. Fashion is only a portion of what Búzios offers; there is also a full stock of Brazilian snacks, coffee, sodas, and local cheese rolls. In the heart of Little Brazil, this is a go-to place for all.
Though the space is small, this family-run store is packed full of practical apparel, perfect for a ready-to-wear look or a formal night out. If compiling a business wardrobe for a new job, this is a necessary spot to check out. Liana’s staff is widely praised for their sincere feedback and genial attitude, making all customers feel comfortable in anything they try on. They will even aid you in composing your ideal outfit for any purpose.
With locations on both the Upper East and Upper West sides, ShiShi is a upscale boutique for anyone’s inner fashionista. As the owner greets new customers, employees hang new, comfortable yet cute clothes on the racks each day. After posing in front of the mirror for some time, check out the work of local jewelry artists. Fairly-priced, homey, and impossible to leave empty-handed, ShiShi is truly an independent boutique that appeals to all.