From the Met's Costume Institute to a make-your-own jewelry shop, these 10 picks are bound to inspire.
Fashion Walk of Fame
In 2000, some 75 industry leaders voted to honor eight great designers--Geoffrey Beene, Bill Blass, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Rudy Gernreich, Halston, Claire McCardell, and Norman Norell, with a sidewalk plaque in the Garment District. Today, there are 24 plaques, each featuring a sketch by a designer anda note on his or her contribution to fashion. Walk on the east side of Seventh Avenue (a.k.a. Fashion Avenue) between 35th to 41st Streets. Look down and you'll see a series of white bronze plaques honoring fashion's greatest stars. 212/398-7943, fashioncenter.com.
Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute
The Met has an extraordinary collection of more than 80,000 costumes and accessories from five continents and as many centuriesthe largest collection of its kind in the world. Items range from an intricate early 1620s French doublet to a 1927 House of Chanel coat to Miguel Adrover's dress I Love New York (2000). Pieces from the permanent collection are incorporated into several exhibitions each year. While the Institute was founded in 1937, it was legendary fashion maven Diana Vreeland who brought vision to its exhibitions, creating such important shows as "Hollywood Design" (1974) during her tenure as a special consultant (1972-1989). 1000 Fifth Ave., 212/570-3908, metmuseum.org, $20 recommended admission, closed Monday.
Prada Flagship Store
The store is a high-tech pricey, 25,000-square-foot fashion temple that's been likened to a museum. Opened in 2001 in the same SoHo building that housed the Guggenheim Museum's downtown annex, the Rem Koolhaas-designed space is anchored by a round elevator, a giant zebrawood wave, and a rotating stage. Even if you can't afford a $400 Prada belt, take a gander at the magical, sliding glass changing-room doors, which act as one-way glass mirrors, frosting over from the outside while remaining clear from the inside. 575 Broadway, 212/334-8888, prada.com.
At this West Village yarn boutique, you can learn how to make your own gorgeous creations, such as scarves. More advanced classes will teach you about cable stitches and more. No time for a class? Then peruse the beautiful nubbly skeins of hand-dyed yarn and enjoy tea and cupcakes at The Point Knitting Café. A one-week class starts at $50, which includes yarn and needles. 37a Bedford St., 212/929-0800, thepointnyc.com.
Girls Love Shoes
Heaven in heels. Zia Ziprin's vintage shoe store is stocked with more than 2,000 pairs, half of which are for sale. The other 1,000 she rents to designers and photographers. Her shoe archive, featuring features fabulous footwear from 1800 to the 1990s, will make any shoe lover swoon. An appreciation of classics runs in the family--Ziprin's hippie mom had a vintage store in the same neighborhood in the 1960s. 85 Hester St., 917/250-3268, glsnewyork.com, closed Monday to Wednesday.
Garment Center Walking Tour
Since the 1930s, the bustling Garment Center (between West 35th and West 41th Streets, between Fifth and Ninth Avenues) has been the center of the women's clothing industry in the U.S. It's full of factories, designer showrooms, and wholesale fabric and trimming stores. Shop Gotham's friendly, informative tour takes you behind the scenes at wholesale showrooms, sample sales, hidden fragrance importers, and handbag designers; savings can reach as high as 80 percent off retail prices. The shopping-heavy tours, which top out at 12 people, last about three hours. 212-209-3370, 866/795-4200, shopgotham.com, $65, Wednesday and Friday.
When you feel fantastic you look fantastic, and this hidden Koreatown oasis is just the spot for some affordable pampering. Rejuvenating remedies from around the globe are administered 24/7. Even world-weary spa vets get slack-jawed over its Jade Igloo sauna. Just $65 buys four-hour access to the sauna and tubs, a diamond-shaped glass steam room with Chinese herbal infusions, a detox sauna made of yellow clay, and a soaking saturated with ginseng, seaweed, or tea. Massages from $75 for 30 minutes. 25 W. 32nd St., 5th Fl., 646/733-1330, juvenexspa.com.
New and Almost New
Maggie Chan handpicks every accessory and piece of "slightly used" clothing she sells in her Nolita designer consignment and resale boutique. She refuses to stock trendy items and focuses solely on well-made classic formal and casual wear that's affordable (there's virtually nothing over $300) and that never goes out of style. The shop's popularity ensures a constantly changing inventory. Look for monthly sales, when Chan reduces her already low prices by 20-50 percent. 166 Elizabeth St., 212/226-6677.
It's fun to flash fabulous baubles, but it's even more satisfying if you've made the jewelry yourself. In late 2002, Lindsay Cain, who used to make her own versions of designer jewelry, opened a cute store where other DIY types could unleash their own mix-and-match styles. Cain supplies everything you need, including unique beads and semiprecious stones, and sells designer creations, too. Necklaces from $50, earrings from $20, individual stones from $4. 280 Mulberry St., 212/625-1611, femmegems.com.
Still cool after all these years. A longtime model hangout that's worked hard to earn its reputation as one of SoHo's best bars and bistros. The black-and-white minimalist decor is accented with eclectic art, fruity cocktails, and heaping plates of yummy nachos (proof that models do eat!). The kitchen stays open daily to 1 a.m. The see-through unisex bathroom doors are a must-see. 89 Mercer St., 212/274-0989, bar89.com.