Manhattan’s Upper East Side has come to epitomize luxury in all of its facets. Anchored by New York City’s big-name department stores and fashion brands of Madison and 5th Avenue, the Upper East Side has become the perfect platform for building a luxury brand. At the turn of the century, the world’s top designers and luxury fashion houses staked their claims into the prime real estate among 5th Avenue, Madison Avenue, and 57th Street. Barneys and Bergdorf’s represent luxury goods in their truest sense on the Upper East Side. Having introduced many of Europe’s top designers and collections into the American market, they have essentially influenced what luxury department stores are today. Both of these New York department stores feature ample Men’s and Women’s Ready to Wear Collections in addition to accessories, shoes, beauty, and home goods.
The Upper East Side has also witnessed the evolving influence of American designers like Tom Ford and Tory Burch. After ushering Gucci’s epic revival in the 1990s, Tom Ford departed from the brand in 2004 to create his own line of luxury menswear. In 2007, his concept shop launched on Madison Avenue, stocking both men’s and women’s ready to wear, accessories, and cosmetics. The stunning William Sofield designed concept shop features a fire place, beaver rugs and butlers in addition to appointment-only made-to-measure suit salons and a mirror lined perfume bar.
Aside from the aesthetically pleasing and beautifully crafted luxury boutiques and flagships of the Upper East Side, there are many unique consignment and vintage boutiques filled with rare gems from classics fashion houses like Chanel, Versace, Balenciaga, and Lanvin among others. We stumbled upon Roudabout Couture, a consignment and resale store with an incredible selection of pre-owned designer goods from America's best closets and “new” designer pieces from past seasons up to 70% off retail. As we perused through their beautiful selection, we came across a pair of silky, crème pajama-like pants with lace detailing from Balenciaga along with a yellow sequined Chanel Flap, and a classic Chanel tweed coat. We also encountered a pair of 7-inch fuchsia Giuseppe Zanotti pumps that Zoë attempted to walk in.
Next, we stopped by Michael’s, a consignment shop for women, which specializes in dressing women in high-end designer clothing and accessories for a fraction of the price. All of the pieces are curated by the Michael’s team who have years of merchandising experience in the high end market. Only items of the highest quality in mint condition actually make it onto their floor. Expect to be immersed in endless Chanel, Hermès, and Louis Vuitton.
Lastly, we stopped by the Metropolitan Museum of Art to take a look at their newest exhibit: Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination. This magnificent exhibit features a dialogue between fashion and medieval art from The Met collection in an effort to examine fashion's ongoing engagement with the devotional practices and traditions of Catholicism. Papal robes and accessories from the Sistine Chapel sacristy served as the foundation of the exhibit , particularly special, as many of these items had never been seen outside of the Vatican. Without a doubt, this exhibit memorized us, having just witnessed the fashions of the Met Gala.
In finality, our trip to the Upper East Side was quite successful, and we look forward to returning soon. Check out photos below!
Harlem's fashion scene differed quite vastly from that of Greenwich Village.
As we strolled amongst Harlem's eclectic streets, we came across beautiful brownstones but also streets that had been largely commercialized. However, though extremely different from any other area we'd ever visited in Manhattan, we still came across some unique shops that seemed to epitomize Harlem fashion.
We first stumbled upon NWC Thrift & Vintage. This boutique contained many unique pieces that are sourced from the past few decades. Some of my personal favorite pieces included a beige suede chest-like bag and a creme woven jacket. All the prices were extremely reasonable with all the proceeds funding the Neighborhood Women’s Collective programs and activities. This thrift store works as a multi-functional space where programs are held, work readiness is acquired, entrepreneurship is practiced, creativity is nurtured, and community activism is supported. The collective's objective is to empower women and girls who are vulnerable to social and economic challenges through their various programs. Who doesn't love shopping while supporting a worthy cause!?
We also stumbled upon a more classic Harlem Boutique specializing in African clothing, jewelry, and art. We perused the many unique and intricate, hand-made pieces that reflect traditional African garb. The boutique featured many colorful clothing pieces and interesting jewelry. We particularly enjoyed browsing the boutique because of the vibrant colors and patterns featured on all of the pieces. See photos below!
For decades, the Greenwich village has served as a hub for hipsters, rebels, and creatives alike. Nearly a century ago, Painter John Sloan and the Surrealist Marcel Duchamp ascended upon the Washington Square park tower and declared that this district be known as the “Free and Independent Republic of Greenwich Village.” Since this official declaration, the Greenwich village has been a haven for freethinkers with countless artists and authors choosing to make these streets their homes.
Greenwich Village fashion is still defined today by this rebel attitude that manifested in the 1960s; biker jackets, raw denim, and camo in addition to cheap, unique pieces can be found in abundance. Much of the Greenwich Village fashion scene has been shaped by its vintage clothing stores and close proximity to NYU and the New School. Many of the fashion conscious students at these institutions seek style on a budget, making cheap, curated vintage shops extremely high in demand.
Beacon’s Closet has become a favorite to many, be it TV-stylists, students on a budget, or the extremely keen fashion trailblazer. Since its inception in Brooklyn, this female founded company, focused on sustainability and ethical business practices, has expanded with multiple outposts throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn. Expect to be overwhelmed by the myriads of racks stuffed to the rim with everything from that classic Jill Sander Cotton Sweater to that ruched feathered purple top you never knew existed. Beacon’s Closet has much to offer with all the prices being close to $20 with certain designer pieces being closer to $50. However, Beacon’s closet is a treasure chest with the treasures needed to be dug up. If you really dig, you will find gold! Some of my pieces that I have found at beacons closet over the years include a bondage R13 Flannel, a vintage Camel Cigarette t-shirt, and green silky jacket, and a forest green Marni bomber sweater jacket.
On my most recent trip, I found an old New York Department of Sanitation Jacket. On one side of the chest was the name A. Engleman written and on the other “DSNY” with a reflective construction strip running along the entire jacket. This jacket was especially cool, as Heron Preston, a new and upcoming designer committed to innovation, experimentation and unpredictability, recently collaborated with the NYC Department of Sanitation on a series of zero waste themed clothes and accessories. Many of the pieces featured the same “DSNY” embroidery that this faded green jacket had, making this piece a true vintage gem.
Besides Beacon’s closet, we visited Starstruck Vintage, a shop dedicated to showcasing an array of timeless styles from the 1930’s to the 1980’s. The store is filled with vintage t-shirts including band tees from 70’s and 80’s in addition to vintage denim, leather jackets, western wear, military wear, and Hawaiian shirts. The staff is extremely knowledgeable, warm, and kind. At this more curated vintage shop, there is not as much digging that needs to be done. Rather, every piece is a gem in its own way.
Undoubtedly, the Greenwich Village has much to offer in terms of unique fashion and vintage shops, and hopefully, you will consider checking it out during your next fashion craving.