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Shopping for Accessories in New York Boutiques

[ NEW YORK, NY - NYC - 2/1/2007 - www.Littleviews.com ]

Handbag display from Clutch! Vintage Purses in New York City>>  While there's something to be said about the convenience of being able to find all the items on your shopping list under the same roof in a mall or a large department store, accessory shopping is a great opportunity to explore New York's spectacular boutique scene. Since you won't be stuck in fitting rooms trying on various pieces of clothing, you'll be able to hit more shops in one trip, AND you're more likely to walk away with a fabulous, very unique purchase.

Bags are one of the easiest accessories to shop for in New York, simply because they're so abundant. From totes to clutch purses, to evening bags, you can find them everywhere (street vendors, boutiques, department stores). But the difficult part about searching for a new bag is finding one that's suited to your personal style and is unique enough so that you won't see everyone toting the same item all over town (without going broke paying for it).

A new favorite of mine is Clutch! Vintage Purses in Soho. Even if you're not on the lookout for a new bag or purse, or perhaps your budget is tight, Clutch! is worth the visit, if only for the fun experience. Most of the bags in this sun-bright yellow shop are dangling from hooks on the wall that are actually plaster hands, shaped in various gestures.

Owner Elisa Casas' stock includes daytime and evening bags from the 20's through the 70's, in the $100-$400 range (Note: the stock in this tiny shop is constantly changing, so if you see something you love, buy it before someone else does!)

During a recent visit, I spotted a beautiful 60's-era brown leather shoulder bag with a matching chain watch attached ($175), a beaded black silk purse perfect for an evening out ($125) and a whimsical black patent-leather telephone phone purse (yes, it works!) from the 70's ($295).

For brand new, feather-weight bags of all shapes, colors, and fabric patterns (and at very reasonable prices), head over to New York's own LeSportsac while you're in the Soho area. Even though you can find this popular brand at a wide variety of stores, the company's private boutiques offer the most extensive in-store assortment. In addition to full-sized bags, their colorful assortment of mini-bag sizes and shapes will help you find inventive ways to keep all your handbags organized.

Picture of New York's own LeSportsac mini-organizers.

Pick the pattern or color of your fancy, then find the LeSportsac bag style to match it. For an even larger selection, visit LeSportsac's flagship store uptown at 165 Madison Avenue (near 80th street). And if you're feeling really adventurous (or particulary choosy), design your own bag on LeSportsac's website.

Vintage Eyeglasses in New York!

Dorothy Parker, one of New York’s wittiest writers, wrote that "Men seldom make passes at girls who wear glasses." As mortifying as it might have been to be part of the "four-eyed" crowd during Ms. Parker’s era, times have changed (thankfully!).

Vintage eyeglasses are sold at New York's Fabulous Franny's.

Today, eyeglasses are as much of a fashion accessory as a stylish hair barrette or a piece of jewelry. Fabulous Franny’s stock of 40,000-plus frames (most priced at $60-$200) is the largest inventory on the east coast, they claim! If you’re in search of vintage eyeglasses or sunglasses, this is THE place to find exactly what you’re looking for—just ask all the costumers from Broadway and Hollywood.

And Handmade Hats

Nothing adds as much life to a dull outfit (or hides the evidence of bad hair day) as a great hat. Over at La Coppola Storta (also on Mott Street), you'll discover a terrific supply of Sicilian-made caps for both men and women in the $60-$130 range. The most popular styles are modeled after the ones you might see older Italian men wearing, but there’s nothing old-looking about the cool assortment of fabrics (wool, cotton, corduroy, even sequined) and patterns (striped, plaid, polka dots, florals).

For slightly dressier selection, be sure to stop in at Barbara Feinman’s atelier in the East Village for her stunning collection of made-to-order hats.

Feinman specializes in beautiful vintage-inspired hats like cloches, fedoras, berets and bonnets ($90-$210), and her gorgeous boutique lends itself to the same romantic feeling of being from another era.

New York Boutiques Listed in this Article

    219 Mott Street
    between Prince and Spring Streets
    212 343-1011

    176 Spring Street
    near West Broadway
    212 625-2626

    LeSportSac's Flagship Store
    165 Madison Avenue
    near 80th street
    also near the Metropolitan Museum of Art

    La Coppola Storta
    Mott Street near Prince Street
    212 226-4104

    Barbara Feinman Millinery
    66 East 7th Street
    between First and Second Avenues

    Fabulous Fanny’s
    355 East 9th Street
    between First and Second Avenues
    212 533-0637

Laura Neilson

Article and photos of Clutch! and Fabulous Fanny's by Laura Neilson. Photo of LeSportsac bags by Karen Little. First published on 2/1/2007. All rights reserved by www.Littleviews.com.

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