Shopping NYC With a Fashion Insider
Milly’s glamorous designer Michelle Smith shares her favorite boutiques in New York City.
It is almost impossible to find clothes that manage to feel cool and cutting-edge while also being incredibly wearable—but the blouses and flowy skirts from Milly strike that balance perfectly. After training in Paris for three years, American designer Michelle Smith launched the line in 2001, debuting clothes that combined Parisian atelier techniques, contemporary fabrics, and innovative, feminine cuts. With shops located in Tokyo, Dubai, and Manhattan’s Upper East Side—and a growing collection that now includes swimwear and children’s clothing—Milly has been steadily expanding ever since.
One of Smith’s constant influences is New York City, where the designer lives with her family. She resides on the Upper East Side close to her flagship store on Madison Avenue, but finds inspiration throughout the city. When it comes to shopping, she has a few favorite sources—unique spots for beautiful blooms, vintage fashion, and cool jewelry. Here are her top picks:
If I’m in a pinch and don’t have time to pick up a gift, my go-to is a gorgeous bouquet from Flower Girl on the Lower East Side. The small shop is owned by a native New Yorker, Denise Porcaro, who creates the most stunning arrangements every single time. She can also include one of her homemade soaps or candles on the side.
Flower Girl: 245 Eldridge Street; 212-777-0050
I’ve always been into vintage finds for my personal wardrobe, but recently I’ve been on the hunt for vintage denim and leather to customize for my friends and family. It makes the perfect gift for that friend who has everything. I could seriously spend hours in Designer Revival on the Upper East Side. You can find anything from Hermès to Levi’s to Gucci tees. It’s a serious gem.
Designer Revival: 324 E. 81st Street; 212-734-3639
Accessories and Housewares
For one-of-a-kind jewelry and unique home accessories, I’m obsessed with Love Adorned. They are down in Nolita and also have locations in Amagansett and Santa Monica. The curations in each store are different and they integrate the best artisans. One of my favorite purchases from there is a dainty gold chain earring. And you’ll find me in Byredo, in SoHo, at least once a month, stocking up on Cotton Poplin Candles. They’re in every room in my house.
Love Adorned: 269 Elizabeth Street; 212-431-5683
Byredo: 62 Wooster Street; 212-219-1584
Cap’s curation of indie brands makes it easy to shop, and the employees are always on point with their recommendations. The West Village shop’s huge offering of mostly organic brands makes it easy for me to find the perfect products for my sensitive skin.
Cap Beauty: 238 W. 10th Street; 212-227-1088
Whenever I’m on the East Village I make it a point to stop by Mast for rare classics. I’m a big reader, and I recently purchased a first edition hard cover copy of Patti Smith’s memoir Just Kids. I love having original editions for my library, even if I’ve already read them.
Mast Books: 66 Avenue A; 646-370-1114
The Met Breuer has to be my favorite spot to spend the afternoon on a rainy Saturday. I can’t imagine not living nearby! And for food, I’ve been stopping by Sant Ambroeus on my way to the office for years—and now I have my kids addicted. I always order an Americano or cappuccino freddo with the veggie omelette, and the little ones go crazy for the banana pancakes.
Met Breuer: 945 Madison Avenue; 212-731-1675
Sant Ambroeus UES: 1000 Madison Avenue; 212-570-2211