While New Yorkers spend plenty of time in our iconic department stores—hey, there Saks Fifth Avenue and Macy's—and regularly frequent the posh designer flagships and high street offerings throughout the city, there's something to be said for indie boutique shopping. Often housed on adorable retail and restaurant lined blocks in Soho, Nolita, the West Village or Williamsburg, Brooklyn, small multi-brand outposts are the optimum destinations to find the latest, hippest under-the-radar labels, score unique pieces that someone else won't be wearing at the party, and support our local neighborhood economy.
But thanks to modern technology, you don't have to book a flight to LaGuardia or live in one of the five boroughs to shop the best of New York boutiques. As a matter of fact, you don't even need to leave the comfort of your own home (or change out of your PJs). Because these six amazing boutiques that we raid on the regular in person also have really fantastic shoppable websites for any fashion girl, anywhere in the country to browse.
American Two Shot
American Two Shot, founded by two cool downtown girl BFFs, Stephanie Krasnoff and Olivia Wolfe, just feels like a place you can hang out. It doesn't hurt that the shop also houses a hipster coffee bar, Cafe Integral, so you can chill out, sip a cortado, and slowly browse the racks filled with a diverse range of international indie labels, like Dusen Dusen, Won Hundred, and Lena Dunham's friend Rachel Antonoff. So charge up your own espresso maker (or crack open a cold brew) and start clicking.
Nowadays, Brooklyn is famous as one of the most fashionable neighborhoods in the country and that's largely to do with Bird, which former Steven Alan buyer Jen Mankin opened in Park Slope (and not Williamsburg) in 1999. Since then, the store has grown to three locations—adding Cobble Hill and, yes, Williamsburg to Mankin's mini-empire. Bird is the place to shop fashion girl go-to favorite brands like Isabel Marant, Rachel Comey, and Mansur Gavriel, plus peruse expertly edited finds from buzzy, up-and-coming designers cherry-picked by the founder, including Kara, a minimalist bag line founded by a Parsons grad.
A Soho shopping institution since 1999, Kirna Zabête is basically the designer destination for the chicest, most discerning of downtown girls, adventurous uptowners and in-the-know tourists. The two founders (and former sorority sisters) Beth Buccini and Sarah Easley stock the store (and website) with their select finds from a laundry list of the most brag-worthy labels—from Azzedine Aläia to Delpozo to Saint Laurent.
Maryam Nassir Zadeh
Maryam Nassir Zadeh, the store, has become a downtown retail destination ever since Maryam Nassir Zadeh, the designer and entrepreneur, set up shop in the Lower East Side in 2008. Fashion aficionados flock to the cult favorite to peruse pieces edited and selected with Nassir Zadeh's minimalist-chic aesthetic in mind. Think: a streamlined camisole dress by Suzanne Rae, a pinstriped sculptural cut-out top by Jacquemus and spring-y open-toe, block-heel slides from Nassir Zadeh's own collection.
There's kind of a theme going on here: Cool girls open cool shops, and the same goes for Otte, which has five locations all over Manhattan—uptown and downtown. (But to give credit to founder Kay Lee's eye for style and real estate, she opened up the first Otte location, not in Manhattan, but in Williamsburg, Brooklyn 15 years ago.) Now New Yorkers don't need to travel far to shop their closest Otte storefront for curated clothing and accessories from the likes of Alexander Wang, Jonathan Simkhai, Ryan Roche, and Otte's in-house label full of updated classics and luxurious knits. And you only need to commute to your computer.
This South Williamsburg boutique was opened in 2013 by a cool married couple, Briana Swords and R Smith, in a former factory space, which basically means it's really hip. The 2,000-square foot-plus space houses the partner's handpicked selection of pieces from 75 menswear, womenswear and accessories labels, including, Samantha Pleet, Samuji, and Stutterheim unisex outerwear—and their website virtually houses it all, too.