03 November 2009

STORES I LOVE: The Dressing Room, NYC

Last time I was in New York I kept hearing a lot of buzz about the Lower East Side and the constellation of great stores that have popped up over the past couple of years. I headed on down to Orchard Street, grabbed an iced-cap from a grassroots cafe and began to sleuth. I came across this little gem of a store by complete accident, and was immediately struck by how unique of a place it was.

The Dressing Room is a a part co-op/ part bar/ part vintage boutique that made me feel at home from the second I walked in. They showcase a lot of local NY designers, most from the LES area. There is also a  bar on the main floor which apparently has a pretty bumpin happy hour scene. The clothes were unique and wearable without being too "I'm a fledgling New York designer trying to be too edgy and too many things at once but before you go let me run up to my sixth story alphabet city walk up studio and get some coke." Lots of great colors, and some really beautiful cocktail dresses for the ladies.

My personal favorite part of the store was the "clothing exchange" in the basement. You have to fight for your life to get down a narrow, steep set of back stairs which dumps you into a basement which, decorated with overstuffed couches and candy dishes for your enjoyment, feels more like someone's parlor or -lol- dressing room. I instantly ran to the men's rack and began pawing through. And then, like an epiphany, I saw the light: a vintage Yves Saint Laurent whtie dress shirt, the fabric in a sort of very slight herringbone pattern. Fit me perfectly. Heaven. And then I saw the pricetag-- $38. I died.

I kept looking through the vintage section and, although the YSL dress shirt was the best menswear piece I found, there were lots of great womenswear pieces-- vintage Prada and Weitzman pumps for under $70. Beaded purses and pretty little things, all for extremely reasonable prices.

I went upstairs to purchase my shirt, and before I knew it, was striking up conversation with the store owner. She told me to go home, give the shirt a quick steam, toss it on and come back for their free peach sangria party later that night. Unfortunately I had a train to catch. But I rest assured, there is at least one great niche in the LES where I can come back to and know I'll find a friendly face and fashionable treasures.

The Dressing Room is located on the Lower East Side, at 75a Orchard Street between Broome and Grand.

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