A New York Guide to Dressing Like a Tourist and Shopping Like a Local

Harling Ross styles a shoot around fashion's current tourist trend

It’s never been easier to be a tourist. Google Maps makes navigating a breeze; booking a hotel takes less time than snoozing your alarm clock; heavy guidebooks have been replaced by pencil-thin smartphones and, most recently, the signature trappings of traveler attire that were historically deemed “tacky” have been granted a seat at the table of high fashion. After gracing the runways of an increasing number of top luxury brands (Gucci! Chanel! Fendi! Marc Jacobs! Balenciaga! Oscar de la Renta!), fanny packs, windbreaker jackets, ugly sneakers and bucket hats are no longer the stuff of dad-on-vacation punchlines. It’s never been easier to be a tourist, but it’s also never been chicer.

1. Rachel Comey

95 Crosby St, New York, NY 10012 (Nolita)

Recommended by: Leandra Medine, Founder

Why? I don’t shop very much IRL anymore, but find that there are a few shops in New York that are better in person than they are online. Rachel Comey in particular allows me to find things that I wouldn’t see online, which I mean kind of figuratively, because sometimes it really does take seeing a garment in person to connect with it. Also, the store is beautiful and really lets you get wrapped up in Rachel’s world. It has tricked me into thinking I am a clogs-every-day person like three times, for example.

Eyeing anything right now? SO FUNNY YOU SHOULD ASK because, yes, a sequined loose fit long-sleeve shirt, which I actually went in and bought last week.

Any tips? There are a couple of styled looks that hang in the back where the dressing rooms are — I frequently purchase garments off those looks, which I know I’d gloss over otherwise. And for what it’s worth, they maintain steady supporting roles within the broadway show that is my closet.

2. Martine’s Dream

681 Nostrand Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11216 (Crown Heights)

Recommended by: Nora Taylor, Managing Editor

Why? Everything is brightly patterned and flowy. Everyone who works there is really nice (and very cool). It’s my go-to for wedding outfits because I know I’ll show up with something no one else has on, will be super comfortable the whole night and can grab more earrings I don’t need while I’m there.

Eyeing anything right now? Any and every jumpsuit. There are always new ones every time I go in.

Any tips? Watch your head in the dressing room if you’re over 5’10”! Otherwise have funnnnnn.

3. Maryam Nassir Zadeh

123 Norfolk St, New York, NY 10002 (Lower East Side)

Recommended by: Haley Nahman, Deputy Editor

Why? I spend less time shopping in New York than I imagined I might before I moved here — there are so many other things to do! But visiting MNZ feels less like shopping and more like a New York activity. I like to peruse, hang out, try on fun things in the dressing room, imagine what it would be like to own this bag or that dress. I rarely buy anything (the story carries mostly designer brands along with its own MNZ line), but the space is kooky and delightful and piques the imagination enough to make me feel like I left with something anyway.

Eyeing anything right now? These MNZ Palma High Sandals in white.

Any tips? Take a friend on a sunny day.

4. Creatures of Comfort

205 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10012 (Nolita)

Recommended by: Also Haley!

Why? Creatures of Comfort, like MNZ, is another brand I love but own almost nothing of. I guess I’ve become a window shopper in New York. But unlike my appreciation for MNZ, my adoration for CoC is much less fanciful than it is genuine. Creatures of Comfort is very close to how I dress in my head. I love walking around the store, feeling the satisfyingly thick or soft fabrics, seeing how the clothes hang, using them as inspiration for how I’d like my clothes to hang. It’s a great store to wander around if you’re in Nolita — especially because it sits just outside the busy shopping bubble of Soho.

Eyeing anything right now? This Bruce top, and it’s on sale!

Any tips? Wave at the Man Repeller office while you’re there; we’re around the corner!

5. Brooklyn Flea

241 37th St, Brooklyn, NY 11232 (Industry City)

80 Pearl St, Brooklyn, NY 11201 (Dumbo)

Recommended by: Emily Zirimis, Visual Manager

Why? The vendors are often the same but come with new items every week. It’s like a treasure hunt that never gets boring.

Eyeing anything right now? Nothing I’m eyeing right now, actually! The last time I was there (about two weeks ago) I got a vintage clear PVC bag for $15.

Any tips? Be sure to check out John’s Living Room. Every week he comes in with a great new haul of mid-century pieces (both furniture and decor) for reasonable prices. He’s super friendly and approachable (and offers free deliveries in the NYC area). Even if you aren’t looking to buy, it’s fun to see how he sets up the new “living room” each week.

6. Malin Landaeus

157 N 6th St, Brooklyn, NY 11211 (Williamsburg)

Recommended by: Elizabeth Tamkin, Market Assistant

Why? It’s the BEST vintage shop on earth — a favorite of Betsey Johnson’s, as a matter of fact. You can see why as soon as you enter, given the preponderance of one-of-a-kind flared overalls and embroidered smock dresses and platform embellished shoes.

Eyeing anything right now? Their denim is amazing, but their lace blouses are in a stack by the door and I wouldn’t mind one or eight of them. They also have hand-dyed silks that are gorgeous.

Any tips? Malin and her daughter are both so loving and knowledgeable about their products. They have amazing stories about some of the pieces (including the items Betsey Johnson borrowed or purchased).

7. In Support Of

250 Elizabeth St, New York, NY 10012 (Nolita)

Recommended by: Edith Young, Photographer & Photo Editor

Why? It used to be decorated with astroturf! Also, the store sells clothes by independent designers whose work is so inventive, there are pleasant surprises aplenty when perusing the racks — and these smaller labels can often be hard to try on without shopping online. The store has evolved since I started shopping there, but it used to be one of the few places in Manhattan where you could find Calle del Mar (Aza Ziegler’s brand), Samantha Pleet, Steven Tai and SCAPES NY.

Eyeing anything right now? Carleen’s pair of Nellie Jeans is my current temptress, and I’m definitely thinking about a Nikki Chasin dress for an upcoming wedding I’m going to. Plus this Kurt Lyle jacket is on sale, and it’s the perfect shade of burnt marshmallow…

Any tips? Spoken as a methodical solo shopper, it’s one of those rare places where it’s more fun to go with a friend.

8. 10 ft Single by Stella Dallas

285 N 6th St, Brooklyn, NY 11211 (Williamsburg)

Recommended by: Jasmin Aujla, Director of Partnerships

Why? I’ve found all my favorite vintage Levi’s here for $30 – $35!

Eyeing anything right now? They are constantly restocking the shelves with new inventory, so I always go with an open mind.

Any tips? Be prepared to rummage!

9. Grahame Fowler Original

138 W 10th St, New York, NY 10014 (West Village)

Recommended by: Amelia Diamond, Head of Creative

Why? This menswear store feels like something I imagine you’d expect to find while wandering the side streets of London more than New York for some reason. It’s small and funky and organized in such a way that everything feels like a one-off, or like a discovery. I go in for the made-in-NYC button-downs. They’re expensive but really cool. Full disclosure, I’ve never bought one, but it’s always on my list. I also love their Chelsea boot selection; if you have a foot size that tends to fit into men’s shoe sizes, this might be fall footwear heaven. The accessories and trinkets in this store are cool, too: Dopp kits, collar stays, cologne…The fancy future version of me would like to do a lot of her gift shopping here.

Eyeing anything right now? Any one of their striped button-downs.

Any tips? It’s right next to a Jack’s coffee shop if you need a snack!

10. Outlette

228 Columbus Ave, New York, NY 10023 (Upper West Side)

Recommended by: Matt Little, Head of Operations

Why? According to the first and only Yelp review I’ve ever written (circa 2015) after visiting the store for the second time, “I love Outlette! Ruth is super friendly and SO helpful. She’s got an eye for detail and gives honest input into what works best for the individual. With a carefully curated selection of unique items at a variety of price-points, Outlette is a go to for special pieces in NYC.”

Eyeing anything right now? I love their edit from K/ller Collection and have been eyeing this Engraved Partridge Skull necklace for awhile now. My birthday is in October if anyone’s looking for ideas.

Any tips? The owner, Ruth, is truly a gem (see above) — ask for her opinion or tell her your general vibe, and she’ll gladly help you find the perfect item.

11. Artists and Fleas

568 Broadway, New York, NY 10016 (Soho)

88 10th Ave, New York, NY 10011 (Chelsea)

Artists & Fleas, 70 N 7th St, Brooklyn, NY 11249 (Williamsburg)

Recommended by: Starling, Social Media Assistant

Why? You know when you go to a flea market and have to carve out at least three hours of hunting just to find one item that really speaks to you? Well, Artists and Fleas basically takes care of the hunting for you with its one-stop market full of amazing items. In addition to the permanent vendors, they have a cycle of temporary vendors that keep things feeling fresh. With plenty of vintage clothing, handmade items and natural beauty products, it’s the perfect place to buy a unique gift.

Eyeing anything right now? A vintage white blouse and an embroidered bag from Thriftwares.

Any tips? Go on a Saturday (to the Williamsburg location) and swing by the Smorgasburg food festival for some good food after your shopping expedition.

12. Opening Ceremony

35 Howard St, New York, NY 10013 (Soho)

Recommended by: Imani Randolph, Editorial Assistant

Why? There have been countless times when I think I’ve stumbled across a new brand on Instagram, only to subsequently find out it’s already sold at Opening Ceremony. I think it’s really awesome they don’t bother themselves with the politics of popularity; OC will buy into a brand regardless of whether or not it has amassed a giant following yet.

Eyeing anything right now? This adorable little shopping bag-style purse from Medea!

Any tips? There are four different levels to the store so make sure that you have a good chunk of time to shop.

13. Beacon’s Closet

10 W 13th St, New York, NY 10011 (West Village)

74 Guernsey St, Brooklyn, NY 11222 (Greenpoint)

92 5th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217 (Park Slope)

Recommended by: Crystal Anderson, Operations Manager

Why? It’s not your typical thrift shop. They’re pretty choosy about what they accept, so you’re guaranteed to dig through the best of the best of New York’s castaways. Once a season I bring in the stuff from my closet that I no longer love and they give me cash or store credit. Win win!

Eyeing anything right now? I mean, I go once a week and if I eye something, it goes home with me, because it definitely won’t be there next time I come.

Any tips? Make sure to check out the glass cases in the front — that’s where they house all of their designer shoes and accessories, and I’ve found some straight-up gems! The Greenpoint location is my favorite. That’s where I found my patent leather brown circle skirt that I’m ALWAYS wearing.

14. Sincerely Tommy

343 Tompkins Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11216 (Bed-Stuy)

Recommended by: Harling Ross (a.k.a. me), Fashion Editor

Why? Whenever I travel to a city I’ve never been before, I try to suss out the stores that are unique to that place — i.e., stores I couldn’t find anywhere else. Sincerely Tommy is one of those places. It’s a concept store that sells local, Brooklyn-based brands in conjunction with pieces from around the world, complete with a little coffee bar in the front. It’s truly a hub of discovery — and I call it that very intentionally because as someone who works in the fashion industry, I’m exposed to a lot, but whenever I visit Sincerely Tommy, I come across something I’ve never seen before.

Eyeing anything right now? I surely am! One (or five) of these beaded necklaces.

Any tips? Follow the Instagram first — I get so many good ideas just from the way things are styled.

Photographed by Sabrina Santiago; Modeled by Taj of Nova Management and Anita of Jag Models.

Harling Ross

Harling is a writer and was most recently the Brand Director at Man Repeller.

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