Housing Works Thrift Shop. Photo: Matthew Williams
New York City has a reputation for being fashion-forward. The five boroughs are glammed up and celeb-driven, and when NYC is dressed to the nines, no other city can compare. Whether dining out, attending a cultural event, hitting a hot club or simply strolling around an LGBTQ+ friendly neighborhood, men and women, gay and straight, dress well year-round.
You’ll find cool stores throughout New York City, though there’s a larger concentration of gay-oriented shops in Hell’s Kitchen and Chelsea—essential pit stops for those in the know. Below, see a few of our favorite spots to stock up before we step out in the city that knows how to put together a look.
259 W. 19th St., 212-691-6067, Chelsea
This homegrown label sells sportswear and fetish, club and street apparel. It’s worth a visit to Chelsea for Nasty Pig’s one-of-a-kind “shredders,” hand-distressed and handcrafted sleeveless shirts sold in-store only. No other brand designs underwear, jeans and jocks with such an innate understanding of what’s sexy and comfortable on the male body, and the friendly sales crew are always helpful in conceiving looks that work.
470 Park Ave., 212-355-2414, Midtown East
This Park Avenue boutique offers a well-edited selection of items, curated by a brother-and-sister team with impeccable aesthetics. Their selection of home decor, accents and gifts is brilliant, sexy, whimsical and clever: a burst of Studio 54–esque fabulousness in the more traditional environs of Midtown East.
328 E. 11th St., 212-475-0666, East Village; 161 Grand St., 212-966-0026, Little Italy; 106 Greenwich Ave., 212-243-4724, West Village
Odin’s wares—stylish modern apparel and accessories, among other items—appeal to fashion-forward men. Pieces here range from the experimental to the traditional, featuring labels like Engineered Garments, Common Projects and Comme des Garçons.
353 W. 47th St., 212-333-7732, Hell’s Kitchen
This gay-owned shop, a quirky Hell’s Kitchen staple, is stocked with kitschy goods, like Vladimir Pootin lavatory mist. Brighten up your home with everything from Golden Girls–themed candles to a ceramic cat, dog or frog planter complete with a tongue that laps up water.
176 Ninth Ave., 212-989-4245, Chelsea
When you need a new swimsuit for Fire Island, you come to Parke & Ronen, a stylish boutique that’s been taking care of in-the-know gay boys and their metrosexual friends for years now. The Chelsea-based brand stocks vintage-inspired swim trunks and European-style swim briefs; other original apparel including a variety of tops and pants; and accessories.
220 Smith St., 718-797-3774, Cobble Hill; 85 Lafayette Ave., 718-858-8667, Fort Greene; 316 Fifth Ave., 718-768-4940, Park Slope; 203 Grand St., 718-388-1655, Williamsburg
Bird caters to the trendy female, curating rare, hard-to-find, handmade threads, jewelry and bags. Along with local brands, each location of the shop offers hip labels like Proenza Schouler, Rachel Comey and Acne Studios. There’s a cool, queer vibe about the stores, with helpful employees and a dog-friendly atmosphere.
30 Howard St., 212-627-7222, Soho
The designer’s minimalist boutique is sleek and severe, a posh outlet that takes glamour to unconventional extremes, matching haute fabrics with bizarre and unconventional craftsmanship. The result is fashion that bucks the trend.
Courtesy, Screaming Mimis
240 W. 14th St., 212-677-6464, Chelsea
When you’re looking for a dress from the ’50s, a sleek fedora or a pair of suspenders your dad would wear, you come to Mimis. It’s a little pricier than your usual vintage shop, but amid the panties and ruffled pirate shirts, you’ll find some old-school treasures. The shop, which recently relocated from its longtime outpost in Noho (and dropped the apostrophe from its name along the way), is an institution, famous for being the place Cyndi Lauper worked before her debut album hit the big time.
Photo: Alex Lopez
235 W. Broadway, 212-226-5476, Tribeca
How cute is this haberdashery? Let’s see. The space, formerly the historic Liquor Store Bar, has been reimagined by the J.Crew folks to be a mellow, old-timey charmer of a clothing shop. Exquisitely curated socks, boxers, shirts, ties and pants are neatly stacked and folded, displayed on the original wood bar, hand-carved wood tables and vintage suitcases.
449 W. 14th St., 212-206-1272, Meatpacking District
Jeffrey takes Bergdorf Goodman staples (Prada and Jimmy Choo, for example) and showcases them in a swanky boutique atmosphere. It’s a clothing store so famously highbrow and exclusive that it was once the subject of a series of . The expertly edited collection includes men’s and women’s formalwear, casual apparel and shoes, from designer labels like Saint Laurent, Lanvin, Gucci and Chanel.
Photo: Alexander Thompson
35 Howard St., 212-219-2688, Soho
This ultracool Soho shop stocks wares by myriad coveted designers, many of which are otherwise impossible to find stateside. It’s ideal for when you need a new pair of sunglasses or boots, and the staff is friendly (if at times a little aloof).
472 86th St., 718-748-3266, Bay Ridge; 445 Albee Square, 718-246-2121, Brooklyn Heights; 61-35 Junction Blvd., 718-699-2121, Rego Park; 22 Cortlandt St., 212-227-9092, Lower Manhattan; 1972 Broadway, 212-518-2121, Upper West Side
If you don’t want to spend a month’s rent on this weekend’s outfit, visit Century 21, where you can find trendy fashion for a fraction of the original price. (Pro tip: its loyalty programs can snag you tremendous additional savings.) There are locations in Brooklyn and Queens, on the Upper West Side and in Lower Manhattan, plus a store (also in Lower Manhattan) specializing in high-end brands. If you're in Brooklyn, the one in Bay Ridge is only steps from the 86th Street stop on the R train.
453 Broome St., 212-828-7250, Soho; 635 Madison Ave., 212-259-0400, Midtown East; 1000 Third Ave. (at Bloomingdale’s), 212-705-2139, Midtown East
This Amsterdam-based retailer scores major points with its smart bespoke suits, contemporary and well-made. The best part? They’re reasonably priced; you can easily leave with two suits for less than a grand! Suitsupply offers top-notch tailoring at each location as well.
801-803 Greenwich St., 212-989-7612, West Village
Maison Margiela is a West Village favorite for both men and women, a cool minimalist space of white walls and unfinished floors to complement its avant-garde style. Stop in for extraordinary dresses, slim-fit pants and funky footwear. It’s pricey, but the pieces are truly special.
933 Broadway, 800-564-1227, Flatiron District
As the name references, clothing here is made for guys who are 5'8' and shorter. So for those cute, compact boys who struggle to find well-fitting apparel—think jackets, dress shirts and chinos—here’s a stylish outpost to perfect that all-American look.
Courtesy, 2nd Time Around
94 Seventh Ave., 212-255-9455, Chelsea
The Chelsea location of this consignment-shop chain is popular among the gays, and why not? The collection of vintage goodness is one of the best in the City, and the staff is always attentive. It’s an awesome space for all genders to find secondhand threads at reasonable prices.
Photo: Brittany Petronella
478 Broadway, 212-966-9555, Soho; 608 Fifth Ave., 212-757-8240, Midtown West
Topshop, a London import that’s become a cornerstone of the NYC fashion scene, is stocked with a well-curated selection of apparel and accessories for men and women. Topman, on the other hand, carries affordable tailored suits and trendy outerwear for the guys. The Fifth Avenue store sells pieces you won’t find at any other location.
Photo: Matthew Williams
143 W. 17th St., 718-838-5050, Chelsea
Housing Works has a network of 13 well-maintained thrift shops (and one bookstore-café) throughout the City, selling upscale vintage clothes, some unique accessories and an impressive collection of used books and records. Profits go to supporting the fight against HIV/AIDS and homelessness.