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Manhattan - shopping for dresses, where to go?

Manhattan - shopping for dresses, where to go?

Old Jan 2, 12, 9:23 pm
  #1  
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Manhattan - shopping for dresses, where to go?

I'll be in NYC this weekend, and wondered if anyone could suggest a dress shop, as in a place that sells primarily dresses. Not gowns, suits or separates, but dresses. You know, the sort of things women used to wear most days and now are next to impossible to find.

I used to love Liz Claiborne dresses, but that line is dead and gone and I can't find anything to fill the gap. I'm not looking for designer, top end stuff, just normal, everyday dresses. Please don't say Macy's, because they don't sell dresses anymore, or at least what I call dresses - spaghetti straps and a thigh high skirt in the dead of winter aren't me.

Ideas?
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Old Jan 3, 12, 12:25 am
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For a long time Lord & Taylor was my go-to shop for dresses. Try them, also the other big guns on 5th Avenue (Saks, Bergdorfs etc).
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Old Jan 3, 12, 2:19 am
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Lord & Taylor is very big on dresses. They advertise a "dress event" every spring.

In recent years, summer dresses have been back in vogue so many upscale trendy boutiques such as Scoop! and Calypso may have some in stock. At this time of year the stock will be mostly limited to sale & clearance items.

Are you looking for any specific type of dress? Knit? Silk? Any particular style?

There is a store on Madison Ave called Marchesa or something in the 70s (east side of Mad Ave) by the Arche shoe shop that specializes in Audrey Hepburn-styled dresses. Calypso will have the Butter by Nadia dresses both formal and casual lines as well as Chance (Indonesian rayon batik beach coverup style) and their own house line of duponi silk dresses. The BCBG boutique and Cache will also have some of their signature form-fitting daytime-glam dresses as well. Eileen Fisher boutique on Madison also has everyday dresses in plain basic styles but at Eileen Fisher prices (approx $299+) in materials such as merino wool, silks, cotton blends and velvets. Thomas Pink almost always has shirt dresses but again are a bit $.

Unfortunately most places that have dresses tend to be pricey and the dresses usually fall into the "fancy" category.
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Old Jan 3, 12, 12:39 pm
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Check out Shabby Apple online.
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Old Jan 9, 12, 9:15 pm
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Century 21 is my go to place... although it's got EVERYTHING and not a specific dress shop... you can always find what you are looking for.

Otherwise, Kate Spade if you like her designs.
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Old Jan 11, 12, 2:04 pm
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Originally Posted by tcl View Post
Lord & Taylor is very big on dresses. They advertise a "dress event" every spring.

In recent years, summer dresses have been back in vogue so many upscale trendy boutiques such as Scoop! and Calypso may have some in stock. At this time of year the stock will be mostly limited to sale & clearance items.

Are you looking for any specific type of dress? Knit? Silk? Any particular style?
Well, the trip to NYC got postponed - the swim coach forgot to tell parents about a half day event last Saturday until 48 hours before the fact. So I have more time to plan the Great Dress Hunt.

What type of dress?

What my mother would have called a "day dress" which means not a "house dress" or "cocktail dress" or "evening dress" if that clears it up any. The other goal is not to look "like mutton dressed as lamb" to push these metaphors well into the distant past.

I'm over 30 - and proud of the fact, and not built like Audrey Hepburn, alas. I want something stylish but not trashy or trendy. Think lunch out in the city, a symphony concert, going to church, maybe a business event or two. I have a kid and 3 cats - silk is not practical, or nor is knit. Wool or better quality synthetic would be nice.

Originally Posted by tcl View Post
Unfortunately most places that have dresses tend to be pricey and the dresses usually fall into the "fancy" category.
Ye$$, I've noticed the price$ can be a bit outrageou$. Makes me miss the Liz Claiborne line all the more.

I did look at Shabby Apple and Zapelle, and wish I could combine the features of the two. The styles of Shabby Apple in the colors and fit adjustments of Zapelle are just about what I want.

All tips appreciated!
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Old Jan 11, 12, 6:28 pm
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Originally Posted by CDTraveler View Post
I did look at Shabby Apple and Zapelle, and wish I could combine the features of the two. The styles of Shabby Apple in the colors and fit adjustments of Zapelle are just about what I want.

All tips appreciated!
Have you considered finding a seamstress who can make exactly what you want?
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Old Jan 11, 12, 7:51 pm
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The chain White House Black Market always has some nice dresses closer to the Lis Claiborne price point. I, too, miss that line of wearable dresses and pant suits.

Last edited by Tizzette; Jan 11, 12 at 7:53 pm Reason: typo
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Old Jan 11, 12, 9:36 pm
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Originally Posted by scoow View Post
Have you considered finding a seamstress who can make exactly what you want?
They're extinct!

Well, at least on this side of the Pacific. If I had time and money for a trip to Hong Kong, I'd do exactly that. But the budget and calendar run more to a weekend in Manhattan.

Here in Pennsylvania, I can't even find someone qualified to darn a special sweater that has a small hole. My mother was great at that sort of thing, but I never learned darning, which takes a certain talent.
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Old Jan 11, 12, 9:40 pm
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There aren't many places that specialize in dresses anymore, but since dresses are in vogue (sadly mostly knit dress in maxi and baby doll styles) several places "could" and "likely" have dresses. Century21 is a NY discount staple but be prepared to really dig through heaps of stuff that is even more disorganized and messier than usual this time of year. The one downtown used to restock Thursday evening and Friday morning.

Another place to pop your head into might be Intermix (for trendy dresses) and New York Look for anything from cocktail to office (their stock changes frequently). Catalogues that might be of interest might be Chadwicks of Boston, Boston Proper (for trendier, borderline-trashy-if-unbuttoned-and-worn-with-those-thigh-high-boots-that-model-is-wearing form fitting dresses), and Garnet Hill.

As a backup there's always Dressbarn that sadly doesn't seem to have that many actual dresses in their stores (but lots online).

Theory also has been churning out fine gauge sweater dresses that can be machine washed in a laundry net & flat dried these past few years.

Last edited by tcl; Jan 11, 12 at 9:57 pm
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Old Jan 11, 12, 10:00 pm
  #11  
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Originally Posted by CDTraveler View Post
They're extinct!

Well, at least on this side of the Pacific. If I had time and money for a trip to Hong Kong, I'd do exactly that. But the budget and calendar run more to a weekend in Manhattan.
*A has an Asian fare sale on now. CO/UA approx $1000 r/t EWR-HKG. Time for a MR plus dressmaking?
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Old Jan 12, 12, 11:51 am
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Originally Posted by CDTraveler View Post
Well, the trip to NYC got postponed - the swim coach forgot to tell parents about a half day event last Saturday until 48 hours before the fact. So I have more time to plan the Great Dress Hunt.

What type of dress?

What my mother would have called a "day dress" which means not a "house dress" or "cocktail dress" or "evening dress" if that clears it up any. The other goal is not to look "like mutton dressed as lamb" to push these metaphors well into the distant past.

I'm over 30 - and proud of the fact, and not built like Audrey Hepburn, alas. I want something stylish but not trashy or trendy. Think lunch out in the city, a symphony concert, going to church, maybe a business event or two. I have a kid and 3 cats - silk is not practical, or nor is knit. Wool or better quality synthetic would be nice.

Ye$$, I've noticed the price$ can be a bit outrageou$. Makes me miss the Liz Claiborne line all the more.

I did look at Shabby Apple and Zapelle, and wish I could combine the features of the two. The styles of Shabby Apple in the colors and fit adjustments of Zapelle are just about what I want.

All tips appreciated!
I personally haven't shopped at Boden, but I have a friend who swears by their stuff. I get the catalog and they always have lots of cute dresses that sound like they meet your needs...
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Old Jan 13, 12, 9:17 am
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There are always the discount stores. If Century 21 is too daunting, you can try Daffy's (18th and 5th, or 44th between 7th-8th), or Loehmann's (7th Ave. at 17th St.--don't bother with any of the other stores in the chain). Daffy's quality is not as high, but then you might not care. Loehmann's is similar to Century 21, but the piles of dross that you have to sift through are smaller. They have mid-priced brands as well as some higher-end stuff.

It's too bad that the Syms on Park and 53rd is no longer--that place was a gold mine, and in a neighborhood where you wouldn't expect one. And Filene's is gone now too. Sniff.
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Old Jan 15, 12, 8:51 am
  #14  
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Originally Posted by CDTraveler View Post
What type of dress?

What my mother would have called a "day dress" which means not a "house dress" or "cocktail dress" or "evening dress" if that clears it up any. The other goal is not to look "like mutton dressed as lamb" to push these metaphors well into the distant past.

I'm over 30 - and proud of the fact, and not built like Audrey Hepburn, alas. I want something stylish but not trashy or trendy. Think lunch out in the city, a symphony concert, going to church, maybe a business event or two. I have a kid and 3 cats - silk is not practical, or nor is knit. Wool or better quality synthetic would be nice.

Ye$$, I've noticed the price$ can be a bit outrageou$. Makes me miss the Liz Claiborne line all the more.

I did look at Shabby Apple and Zapelle, and wish I could combine the features of the two. The styles of Shabby Apple in the colors and fit adjustments of Zapelle are just about what I want.

All tips appreciated!
You can shop almost anywhere here in the city. If you prefer the kind of stores you have at home, there are department stores like Lord & Taylor, Macy's, Bloomingdales, Saks and JC Penney. Forget Burgdorff Goodman...even when there is a sale. Then there is Ann Taylor, Ann Taylor Loft, Talbot's, smaller mall type stores scattered through Manhattan. Ralph Lauren is on Madison and 72nd.

If you like Nordstrom but want to save money, there is a Nordstrom Rack on 14th Street at Union Square. I always liked them better than Syms anyway. Besides Century 21, there are 2 other discount chains dotting the city called Daffy's and Strawberry which are like Dress Barn.

If you're looking for something trendy, browse the stores in SoHo on Prince Street.

Hope this helps. I know I've forgotten stores but this is what I can think of now on a Sunday morning.
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Old Jan 15, 12, 10:27 am
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Originally Posted by travelmad478 View Post
It's too bad that the Syms on Park and 53rd is no longer--that place was a gold mine, and in a neighborhood where you wouldn't expect one. And Filene's is gone now too. Sniff.
I so wish Marcy Syms hadn't bought Filene's. I miss Syms. Sy Syms' great store "where an educated consumer is our best customer"....I very much miss it.
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