It stands to reason that a neighborhood as fashionable as Chelsea would be home to a number of apparel shops that will delight even the most persnickety fashionistas. Whether you are in need of bespoke formalwear or want to add to your collection of designer sneakers, you have a number of stores to choose from.
112 West 27th Street #502 (between Sixth and Seventh Avenues)
“Artisanal, bold, and classic” is the aesthetic of this atelier, which creates bespoke suits, shirts, trousers, jackets, and formalwear primarily for men, though women are certainly welcome. You can select from an array of fabric swatches, and the staff will make suggestions regarding not only fit and detailing but also the footwear, ties, and other accessories to complement your apparel.
101 Seventh Avenue (between 16th and 17th Streets)
The fabled retailer was founded in Chelsea, and in 2016 it returned to the same block on which its first shop, a discount menswear store, opened in 1923. An impressive 58,000 square feet spread out over five floors, it boasts a sleek, luxe-minimalist look similar to that of its uptown flagship but on a slightly smaller, more intimate scale. Designers run the literal gamut of A (Acne Studios, Alexander Wang) to Z (Zimmerli, Zoe), with apparel, footwear, and accessories for men, women, and children. Along with a dizzying array of cosmetics, fragrances, and skincare offerings, the lower level is home to a branch of the Blind Barber, where men can quaff a beer while getting a trim. If all that shopping gives you an appetite, you can refuel at Freds, the in-store restaurant; a bowl of Estelle’s Chicken Soup and a side of its acclaimed French fries will have you ready to hit the shopping floors again.
520 West 22nd Street (between 10th and 11th Avenues)
Comme des Garçons. Image: Forgemind ArchiMedia/Flickr
You could easily walk past Comme des Garçons’ Chelsea shop several times before realizing that the brick archway surrounded by graffitied handbills pasted on the walls is in fact the entrance to the avant-garde boutique. Even if you are not a fan of designer Rei Kawakubo’s often stark, architectural apparel, the shop is worth a visit simply to walk through the silvery tunnel that connects the rough-hewn exterior to the gleaming gold-clad interior. One might even see in the contrast between the outside and the inside a metaphor for Chelsea before the art boom and now.
449 West 14th Street (between 9th and 10th Avenues)
The designers sold at this apparel emporium for women and men include couture standbys from the likes of Balenciaga, Givenchy, Gucci, and Prada, newer entrants to the world of high fashion such as Christopher Kane, Neil Barrett, and Rodarte, and luxe interpretations of streetwear from the likes of Mr and Mrs Italy, RtA, and Yeezy. If you need both Adidas sneakers and Manolo Blahnik stilettos but find yourself overwhelmed by the options at Barneys or other full-fledged department stores, this is your one-stop shop.
429 West 14th Street (between 9th and 10th Avenues)
Joie offers dresses and separates that are on-trend—but not slavishly so. The result is apparel that cannot be pegged to a specific year but will always look au courant. While most of its assortment can be categorized as upscale casual, Joie also offers a selection of cocktail dresses along with spangled and satiny tops that can be paired with business suits by night and jeans by day.
236 West 27th Street (between Seventh and Eighth Avenues)
Lindsey Thornburg first came to the attention of fashionistas with a collection of cloaks inspired by Peruvian knits and Pendleton blankets. She has expanded her line to include separates and gowns with a decided gypsy-hippie sensibility. All items are handcrafted here in her Chelsea atelier, which is open by appointment only.
132 ½ West 24th Street (between Sixth and Seventh Avenues)
Most bespoke menswear shops create only business apparel and formalwear. At Sebastien Grey you can order custom suits and tuxedos—as well as jeans, polo shirts, even outerwear. The studio also has a curated collection of ready-to-wear button-downs and polo shirts along with ties, scarves, cufflinks, and other accessories. Sebastien Grey even has a loyalty club: For an annual fee you receive discounts and invitations to special events.
140 10th Avenue (between 18th and 19th Streets)
In addition to its own brand of casualwear and eyewear for men and women, Steven Alan sells apparel and accessories from a few carefully chosen outside brands. The look is insouciant luxury: oversize sweaters of alpaca wool and mohair knitted in Peru, chinos with tapered legs, smock dresses tailored to drape just so.