Sep 26, 2019 | By Jane Boddy
Jul 20, 2016
Forget everything you think you know about the Hamptons. Banish any assumptions about a stuffy, posh place full of resort frocks and over-priced bikinis (although there are some of those.) The Hamptons will surprise you with its localised charm and unique perspective on retail – I promise.
Why? Because of an aura of exclusion – and I mean that in the best way possible.
An exclusion (by and large) of mall chains, of fast-fashion and big box retailers – an exclusion of behemoth departments stores and tourist traps. Save for one strip mall in Bridgehampton there is a complete void of typical retail tropes.
Instead, shops are quaint, often independently run, feature revolving pop-up collections and highlight local designers. And when you do encounter the J.Crews, Ralph Lauren’s and Club Monaco’s they are befitted in floral disguises, tucked away along garden paths, made up like beach houses, blending into their surroundings instead of jutting out like a commercialised beacon of commerce. In short – the Hamptons are charming and full of local flavour, making the shopping experience unique and overwhelmingly pleasant.
Sag Harbor – The Main Street is a blend of general stores, antique shops, higher-end indie boutiques and interior design havens. There’s more of a laid-back feel here than in East or Southampton, which is reflected in the retail gems found there such Joey Wolfler’s Styleliner boutique and Shelly Bredau’s Addo. Each shop holds curation at a premium, gathering local artisans, global influences and on of a kind garments into a stylised experience.
The Styleliner tops my list of must-see shopping in the Hamptons, offering a brick and mortar companion to the original mobile store concept.
Immediately jewellery from Greek designer Katerina Psoma caught my (evil) eye –
As did handbags from Wolfler’s own line, like these embroidered mini satchels with boar tooth clasps (love) –
East Hampton – East Hampton is where you’ll go for the contemporary finds. The main drag of shops surrounding Newton Lane boast high-profile boutiques and brands such as Intermix, Milly and Blue & Cream – alongside your ‘elevated basics’ at ATM by Anthony Thomas Melillo, James Perse and Theory. Newcomer Tory Sport feels at home in East Hampton, blending elements of boutique fitness with a bright, preppy collection of athleisure separates. It’s impossible not to want something in this store. Besides the stellar merchandise, the interior design knocks it out of the park– replete with vintage copies of Sports Illustrated to peruse in their surf-inspired lounge area.
And for that quaint Hamptons charm I was referring to earlier? Feast your eyes on Ralph Lauren’s RRL shop. This store is a denim and/or vintage enthusiast’s dream. The two-story barn is merchandised within an inch of its life, as you might expect from the master of visual merchandising himself. A curated collection of vintage 40s-era clothing sits alongside RRL merchandise in seamless fashion – surrounded by a treasure trove of curiosities literally hanging from the rafters.
Even the sales associates are dressed to the nines-
Right across the garden path you’ll find a tiny shop with a truly global presence. Figue, a boutique owned by Stephanie von Watzdorf, both inspires and seduces with its wanderlust-iness – sourcing goods from around the globe from hand-beaded Masaii cuffs to artisan sandals from India. Check out that evil eye again! I’m sensing a trend here…
Amagansett – You’ll be drawn here to check out the much-hyped summer pop-up of NYC’s The Line, or perhaps you’re just on your way to Montauk – either way take time to explore this small but diverse patch of shops. Centered around Amagansett Square, an outdoor shopping centre and community lawn, the boutiques range from kid-friendly retailer Pink Chicken to sustainable beauty brand Botanica Bazaar. But if unique indie jewellery and highly-giftable curiosities are more your thing (can you tell they’re mine??) then pop into Love Adorned.
The NYC retailer with an already devoted fanbase opened up shop in the Hamptons this year, bringing their unique blend of jewellery brands with them including standout collections from Anthony Lent, ManiaMania and Manon.
Southampton – With a downtown that closely mirrors East Hampton, South offers up the essential boutiques and brands with a few irreverent twists. New York Sunshine Surf Club is one example – a small menswear boutiques of graphic tees and trunks that offers a notable departure from your typical Hamptons fare.
Similarly, Cabana Southampton features an edgier dose of brands than most including sunglasses by Freeway, apparel from Assembly New York and footwear from Matt Bernson.
Across the way on Jobs Lane you’ll find a limited-run space aptly named Pop-Up Collective. The shop is friendly and warm, with an energetic group of hands-on women running the collective show. Citing a strong Greek and Turkish influence, you’ll again see an abundance of evil eye accessories here – featured on brightly striped tote bags from A to Z Greek and Agua D’ Mar.
Also make sure to check out the goods from The Bazaar Project – a Miami-based boutique selling unique (and adorable) accessories at the collective like this dancing flamingo phone case from Wiggle. (which I 100% purchased)
Montauk – You’ve finally reached the tip of the Island! Congratulations! Take a load off at one of the water-front boutique hotels that double as homes for some of Long Islands best rotating pop-ups. The Surf Lodge, although small, offers a choice selection of trendy wares at their guest boutique, Surf Bazaar – which kicked off the summer season in style with a Studio One Eighty Nine collaboration co-founded by none other than Miss Rosario Dawson.
Gurney’s offers another key destination for summer pop-ups (or just a place to kick your feet up and have a cocktail) with a revolving collection throughout the summer featuring Hamptons heavyweights such as Mara Hoffman, Kiini and Otte.
Love shopping? Follow Sidney on her retail adventures here.
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