Sometimes what you seek is hiding in plain sight. This is especially true in New York City, where specialty shops thrive in the shadow of Madison Avenue’s iconic storefronts. Sure, Barneys New York, Hermes, Chanel and Prada can serve up some of the finest fashions in the world. But for a truly one-of-a-kind shopping experience in New York City, look beyond the bright lights to some of these stellar little shops:

Aedes de Vensustas

The name translates to “temple of beauty,” and this little fragrance sanctuary does not disappoint. It is a bijou boutique in the West Village, and is nothing short of charming. Aedes de Vensustas is the type of place in which you can lose yourself in wonderful aromas, spending hours admiring the burgundy carpets, larger-than-life candelabras and hand-crafted candles.

Find it in the West Village.

Michele Varian

If you want to know what direction interior design is heading, make sure you make it to Michele Varian. This Soho shop is run by its namesake, who for years has had her finger on the pulse of popular design. She offers the “what’s next” for home interior design in the form of furniture, jewelry, pillows and décor.

Find it in Soho.


Sometimes it pays to shop at Macy’s. This is especially true if you are fortunate enough to wander into Story, a store-within-a-store that features brands from more than 70 small businesses. The inventory is inspired by local artists and turns over completely about every six weeks. That means you will always find something fresh, new and exciting.

Find it at Macy’s.

The Break

This Brooklyn throwback shop is a vintage-lover’s dream come true. It goes beyond what you normally see at such stores because it offers a well-curated collection of vintage clothing – from teddy faux-fur coats to pinstripe blazers to floral blouses – at reasonable prices. And the best part is, it is all authentic, straight from the era it represents, and unlike anything else you are likely to find in New York City. Or anywhere else, for that matter.

Find it in Brooklyn.

The Cast

A leather jacket is an incredibly personal purchase. It has to look and feel just right. It has to fit perfectly. And, most importantly, it has to say something about you. That is why there is only one place to buy your next leather jacket: The Cast. It is a small, out-of-the-way shop on the Lower East Side where jackets are made-to-measure. You pick the size. You pick the style. You pick the leather. They make it personal.

Find it in the Lower East Side.

Ten Thousand Things

With a name like Ten Thousand Things, you just know it is going to have something unique. This is where you go to find one-of-a-kind necklaces, earrings, bracelets, rings, charms and curios that have a nuanced edge. But that’s not all. The Tribeca store also features sculptures, handblown glass, rustic furniture and other raw-meets-refined treasures you won’t find in any of the large department stores.

Find it in Tribeca.

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