If you must know, then yes: We love a good, old-fashioned mall shopping spree. (Cue the J.Crew, Gap, and Anthropologie montage!) But this is New York City. While chain stores are good for basics, your statement pieces should, well, make a statement. And not the same one that everyone you pass on the sidewalk is making.
When we need to add some flavor to our wardrobe, we head to these one-of-a-kind New York boutiques. Make a fun shopping day of it—montage style, of course.
Tictail started as an online hub, where independent designers and small businesses from more than 140 countries sell their wares, but it recently opened a downtown brick-and-mortar store with an edited selection of items. We love this because sometimes you just have to try things on. Millennials—trust. Browse clothing from Laura Laval Paris, bags from Barcelona’s Atelier Batac, and clothing for men and kids from across the globe. 90 Orchard Street (between Broome and Delancey Streets), Lower East Side
Launched by jewelry designer Elizabeth Solomeina, this fashion cooperative helps support new and emerging designers. The 70 artists who sell their items here work two four-hour shifts in the store each week in exchange for the retail space. Womenswear designers like Hathairat and Lâcher Prise Apparel share the shop floor with intimate wares from Undertop, luxurious Zynne Cashmere frocks, and organic bodysuits from Weekend Safari. Dibs on these electric green cat-eye sunglasses! 434 West Broadway (between Prince and Spring Streets), SoHo
Want everyone to ask you where you got your supercute jumpsuit? Of course you do. Your answer will be Wolf & Badger, where they stock a sweet selection of office-appropriate one-pieces. Created in 2010 by brothers Henry and George Graham, the curated marketplace sells clothing and accessories from more than 600 independent brands. Their focus is on ethical, sustainable fashion, and Wolf & Badger won’t sell anything with fur or any products tested on animals. Hear that, Anne Hathaway!? 95 Grand Street (between Mercer and Greene Streets), SoHo
Founded in 2012 by childhood friends Olivia Wolfe and Steph Krasnoff, this boutique sells all the basics: undies, dresses, shoes, swimsuits, candles, patches, and pool floats. We’re aching hard for this blousy, sheer rainbow knit sweater from Lazy Oaf. But keep your eyes out for Ouigal shoes and Wolf Circus jewelry, too, plus denim from Australian brand Rolla’s. 135 Grand Street (between Crosby and Lafayette Streets), SoHo
The first Bird boutique opened in Park Slope in 1999, launched by former fashion buyer and Charlotte Corday cofounder Jen Mankins. Today, you’ll find hemp tees by Jungmaven, handmade clogs by No. 6, and fine jewelry from Blanca Monrós Gómez inside its four outposts sprinkled around Brooklyn (stop by on your way to the Park Slope Food Coop!) The company is also committed to sustainable practices—its Williamsburg store received an LEED-CI Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. Locations in Cobble Hill, Fort Greene, Williamsburg, and Park Slope
Owners Tanya Sheikh and Ivan Gilkes have two major goals: support (obviously) designers and promote charitable causes (who said fashion was frivolous?). Here, you’ll find architectural bags from The Common Knowledge, made-in-NYC items from Scapes NY, and “slow fashion” apparel from Combine de Filles. They also run a roving pop-up space, The Turf, for emerging designers to show their wares. 250 Elizabeth Street (between East Houston and Prince Streets), SoHo
Stepping into this shop is like taking a bite out of a very simple, pink-frosted cupcake with no sprinkles. The decor and the clothing share the same aesthetic: feminine minimalism. Simple but chic. We dig it. Look for accessories from Ffixxed Studios, clothes from Yune Ho, and slides from Flat Apartment. 25 Mercer Street (between Broadway and Grand Street), SoHo
We feel fancy just peering into the window of OC, our standby for superchic splurges. This large store features well-known and upcoming designers from around the world, as well as pieces from its eponymous brand. Alongside Kenzo and Proenza Schouler, though, Opening Ceremony sells items from newer names like Charlotte Knowles and Maxine Beiny. 35 Howard Street (between Crosby Street and Broadway), SoHo
This Upper East Side townhouse turned boutique, opened by father-daughter team Claire and Fred Distenfeld, features both up-and-comers and classic luxury designers, including Illesteva (eyewear), Parisa Wang (handbags), and ADEAM (dresses), next to Carolina Herrera, Olympia Le-Tan, and Temperley London. Claire has a penchant for the ’80s, so don’t be surprised to see a shoulder pad or two (two makes more sense). 18 East 69th Street (between Fifth and Madison Avenues), Upper East Side
The vibe at this boho shop is super-approachable and—yay!—the prices are fairly laid-back, too. Browse Kyma sandals handmade in Greece, jumpsuits by Rujuta Sheth, and sustainable lingerie from Baserange. And while you can’t (or shouldn’t, at least) wear it, don’t overlook the lovely tableware. That way you won’t dine like everyone else in NYC either. 9 Greenwich Avenue (between Christopher and West 10th Streets), Greenwich Village