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.

6. Self Edge
East Coast denim freaks no longer have to fly to San Francisco to worship at the Self Edge temple: The cult destination has finally opened a second shop—this one in New York. Brands like Iron Heart, Sugar Cane and Co., Dry Bones, and Imperial Denim are surrounded by Persian rugs, hardwood floors, and a rich armoire, which give the room a gentleman's-study feel. Bonus: Self Edge will shorten your jeans on its vintage Union Special chain-stitching machine, which maintains the authentic roped hem. 157 Orchard St., 212-388-0079; selfedge.com

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