Where to Shop on the Lower East Side

Six hip stores with the latest in hats, sneakers, jeans, and more.

A few years ago the Lower East Side of Manhattan seemed destined to go the way of every other up-and-coming New York neighborhood. First a micro coffee brewer opens shop, and then Marc Jacobs comes knocking—giving mass-market retailers the green light to pounce with 10,000-square-foot megastores. Fortunately, that never happened. Tenements that housed immigrants at the beginning of the last century still stand, as do bargain outlets along Orchard Street. The hipster sneaker stores are still going strong, but now there's a new crop of sophisticated boutiques geared toward adults (the successful, downtown kind). You may not recognize the labels—many of these stores carry collections found only in Paris, Berlin, and Tokyo—but you'll instantly recognize the style.

1. Dear Rivington +
Williamsburg antiques dealers Moon Rhee and Heyja Do had their eyes on this split-level loft for years before finally moving in early this fall. In addition to Dear's own line of drapey jersey T-shirts and drop-crotch pants, the store carries retro Comme des Garçons and Yohji Yamamoto. Plucky curiosities, like throw pillows covered in vintage muslin bank bags and Hugo Guinness prints, make the gallery feel like your grandmother's attic—if your grandmother had incredibly good taste. 95 Rivington St., 212-673-3494; dearrivington.com

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