Best of Westchester 2011: Shopping

Shops that keep our wardrobes — and our homes—ahead of the trends.



Eco-Centric Gifts

REcologie
Larchmont  |  914.315.1535  |  recologie.com
 

Photo by Cathy Pinsky

We’re loving this fun-to-browse green gift boutique, which recently relocated to a roomier and more prominent location in the charming and (fingers crossed) rebounding main shopping district in Larchmont. Spotlighted is a fresh and clever collection of eco-friendly apparel, accessories, and home furnishings by independent designers and fair trade collectives from locales ranging from Brooklyn to Brazil. The majority are made from recycled or repurposed materials such as wet suits, juice boxes, pull-tabs, MTA transit maps, comic strips, newspapers, seat belts, and 35-millimeter film reels. What we recently spotted: a chair featuring recycled golf clubs, a cool rocking chair fashioned from a surfboard (shown here), and whimsical chip bowls that were once old vinyl records.

 

 

New Equestrian Shop

Twisted Bit Saddlery
Scarsdale  | 914.437.7576  |  thetwistedbit.com

photo by Phil Mansfield


Raising—or packing off to camp—a horse-
crazy young barn rat? This shop’s a winner—and an especially welcome addition to lower Westchester. Launched by Danny Riley, the former longtime manager of fixture Horseman’s Corner in Eastchester, this bright, well-organized boutique offers the same knowledgeable and attentive service to both the kids who trot around the ring and the pros who compete in 50 shows a year. It’s all here: a full selection of apparel (Ariat boots, KEP helmets, RJ Classic show shirts, etc.) and gear (bridles, halters, bits, etc.), including everything from 99-cent horse combs to $4,000 leather saddles from Europe.

 

Men’s Casual Apparel

Tom’s
Katonah  |  914.232.3187
 

photo by Phil Mansfield

 

“It’s nice to see men properly dressed…somewhere,” declares Tom Antonecchia, an attorney who opened this eponymous men’s clothing boutique last year, just a few doors down from his law office. “It can’t get much worse.” Thanks to Tom’s, men may even improve their look. The corner shop’s focus is on casual apparel—polo shirts, dress shirts, cotton pants, soft-shoulder blazers, and tees and hoodies. Basic alterations are included in the price. “We’ve managed to fit some very interesting physiques,” Antonecchia notes. And, apparently, dressed some of the area’s bold-face-name stars. But ever the attorney, he won’t breach the attorney/client privilege.
 

 

 

Scuba Shop

Abyss Scuba
Mount Kisco  |  914.244.3483  |  abyss-scuba.net
Whether you want to peer beneath the surface of a local lake or plunge into the cool blue waters off Fiji, Abyss Scuba in Mount Kisco will get you scuba-ready—even if you don’t know a regulator from a barrier reef. The shop, which opened in 2009 and sells gear along with giving lessons and leading dives, is the only one in Westchester that can give you a lifetime, worldwide certification from both of the major diver training organizations. It also carries all manner of gear—from buoyancy compensators to baggage for your whole setup—in brands like Apeks and Aqua Lung (Jacques Cousteau’s scuba-establishing company). Oh, and if that plunge off Fiji sounds good to you, start training now: Abyss will be leading a trip there next year.

Women’s Designer Boutique

Angela’s
Rye  |  914.481.5894
For the seriously stylish—with the requisite resources. The shop’s vibe—chic, sophisticated, and elegant with a touch of edge—reflects the superb taste of its namesake, Anglea Guitard, honed through her years spent outfitting clients for special events at fashion boutique Richards in Greenwich, Connecticut, and heading up the designer department at a Nordstrom. You’ll find a carefully curated selection of top-drawer labels, à la Barney’s or Saks, with many exclusives. Offerings run the gamut from casual tunics and tees to cocktail attire, and includes Veronica Beard linen blazers ($840); gem-embellished Canfora sandals ($350; Guitard discovered the line in Italy and hers is the only shop in the nation to carry it); flirty frocks by Bibhu, Tibi, and Andy & Debb; and vibrantly hued knitwear from Chris Benz ($300-$1,200), plus—natch—designer denim.

Made-by-Women Crafts

Brigit
Mamaroneck  |  914.630.2031  |  brigitbrigit.com
Breda (the name’s Gaelic for Brigit) Leahy calls the works featured in her new gift gallery “ethereal objects to wear, treasure, and give.” We call them exquisite pieces of art handcrafted by talented artists, primarily women, from around the globe, representing such disparate locales as Mamaroneck and Morocco. Global handicrafts include Fabergé-like decorative eggs made by South African tribal women—they use copper wire salvaged from old telephone lines ($37.95); hand-beaded and -embroidered cotton tunics created by a women’s cooperative in Peru ($69.95); and leather belts woven by Morrocan mothers ($50-$125). The equally talented women of Westchester are represented by Asian-inspired bags ($25-$70) and wall hangings by quilter Meta Lau of Mamaroneck (from $150); the semi-precious jewelry of Larchmont’s Pam Older ($28-$400); and giclée prints ($75-$195) and oil paintings by Jo Jayson of Rye Neck ($795-$995).

New Women’s Accessory Shop

Clutch
Handbags & Accessories
Larchmont  |  914.315.1434  |  clutchlarchmont.com
We’re high on this new boutique. Owner Judy Graham (she also owns Pink on Palmer, the fab beauty boutique next door) showcases “new and interesting designers’ accessories that you can’t find in the department stores,” she says. Some people bring back tacky souvenirs from their journeys; lucky for us, Graham picks up mementoes like gorgeous purses and cross-body bags instead. These include the standout Vanessa Bruno sequin-and-canvas totes she discovered while visiting her daughter in Paris ($108-$283) and the light and elegant B. May handbag collection—also available made-to-order in such materials as python skin—she happened upon during a vacation in Northern Michigan ($80-$2,000).

Fair-Trade Gift Shop

Aurora FT
Chappaqua  |  914.238.8050
Do some good for others less fortunate around the globe and get a gorgeous handcrafted work of art in return at this mini-bazaar-like shop that sells largely fair-trade goods, that is, those made by artisans who are fairly compensated and work in safe conditions. “With fair trade, twenty to forty percent of the profits go back to the villages,” says owner Dawn Greenberg. Prices are nice and fair, too—with most items costing less than $75.

Vintage Apparel

CoutureDossier
Chappaqua  |  914.777.2838  |  couturedossier.com
Forget the Dragon Coaster-like stock market and on-life-support real estate market. If you’d rather invest in exquisite vintage couture in mint condition—some never worn and in original packaging, all significantly discounted and bearing labels like Chanel, Hermes, Prada, and Dior—this is your place. The creation of Wall Street veteran Yulia Omelich—as delightful as she is stunning—it draws upon her background in high finance to offer the ultimate investment dressing: luxury classics that only increase in value, offered at far less than those designers’ newest stratosphere-priced designs. After you walk the red carpet, flanked by gleaming brass stanchions with red velvet ropes, you’ll find clothing—including some samples, pearls, and such stunners as the Lady Christian Dior black lambskin satchel ($1,500) and double-chain flap purse by Chanel ($1,500) we spotted recently, displayed like the true works of art they are.

Fashionista’s Favorite

Crave
Port Chester  |  914.305.1600
As the sister shop to a pair of boutiques on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, Crave comes by its New York City fashion cred honestly. Its take on the latest hot looks—be it sequins or one-shoulder designs—at not-crazy price points has won it a fierce following among the prom, bat mitzvah, and Sweet 16 set. (FYI: the shop launched its own label line, the star of which is the jersey Infinity dress, for $129.) Party guests’ MILFs (moms-I’d-like-to-friend) are also snapping up pieces of the trend du jour, say sheer gem-encrusted tunics and anything coral or white lace. Check out Cynthia Steffi’s dresses in silk and cotton ($200+), the colorful-patterned silk tops from Aysha Mahal, and tunics and dresses from Parker, Hype, and Minuet ($150-$295).

Place to Rent Jewelry

D’Errico Jewelers
Mount Kisco 914.864.2688 and Scarsdale 914.722.1940  |  logcabinjewelers.com
Beautiful brides, kvelling bar mitzvah moms, and stylish Sweet 16 celebrants can take a page from red carpet regulars and make a smashing entrance at their own gala affairs in show-stopping jewelry “borrowed” for the occasion from this longtime family-owned jeweler. Okay, unlike with Angelina and J Lo, there is a cost involved: three percent of the purchase price, or about $300 for a $10,000 necklace. Anything in the shop is available for rental. And, no worries—everything is insured by the store.

Plus-Sized Fashions

Fashion To Figure
Yonkers  |  914.376.7610  |  fashiontofigure.com
The brainchild of the great-grandsons of Lane Bryant—founder of the iconic, plus-size Lane Bryant chain—this retailer specializes in fashionable clothes for women size 12 to 26. The mix includes denim by Fragile, Fashion Exit, and C’Est Toi, plus tops, bottoms, day and evening dresses, and accessories bearing the store’s own Figure label—all at such affordable prices like $34 for jeans, $24 for tops, and $36 for dresses.

Fitness Wear

Lv2bfIt
Armonk  | (914) 765-0555
lv2bfit.net
Looking the part is half the fun when it comes to working out. Exercise instructor Patty Palmieri launched Lv2bfit (“live to be fit”) after many people inquired where she got her workout clothes. She’s stocked her tiny shop with exercise pants, sports bras, warm-ups, and yoga wear. Rounding out the mix is another of her passions—designer handbags. Perhaps you can lug your sweaty socks in one of the shop’s Chanel-esque Lena Erziak bags. Very chic.

Shop Reinvention

Outerluxe
Larchmont  |  914.834.2345  |  outerluxe.com
This sleek specialty shop—a former Best of Westchester winner for high-end outerwear—still sells sumptuous sables and other luxurious outer garments. But since its launch 10 years ago, it has evolved into a full-scope fashion boutique for both men and women.

Finds at Great Prices

Sky Star Jewelry
Pleasantville  |  914.747.0717
Tarrytown  |  914.366.7440
Savvy bargain hunters know that there’s a veritable trove of tchotchkes, trinkets, and treasures, many at embarrassingly low prices, at Sky Star Jewelry.For the cost of a Starbucks and a muffin, you can accessorize an outfit. How about a $15 beaded jadeite choker or a $10 pair of earrings? You can find rings, bracelets, bangles, antiques, and quirky vintage oddities here, and, since most items had a life in another time and place, half the fun is imagining the back-story of a vintage purse or knickknack.

Judaica

The Aesthetic Sense
Mount Kisco  |  914.244.4429
Wish a hearty—and meaningful—Mazel Tov! to the new bride and groom, homeowner, or bar or bat mitzvah child with a little something from this gift gallery, the only one in the tri-state area devoted solely to Judaica and Israeli art. Whatever the simcha you or yours are celebrating, you’ll find something here with which to mark it, including a handsome inlaid wood mezuza ($90); a sleek aluminum tzedeka or charity box ($140); and whimsical teal-and-coral resin flower Shabbat candlesticks ($130). Particularly noteworthy: its extensive selection of traditional and contemporary tallitot, i.e., prayer shawls, and custom ketubot, or illustrated marriage certificates.

Handmade Soaps

Luisa New York
Rosehill Shopping Center
Thornwood  |  914.495.3799  |  luisanewyork.com
Before you scoff at the notion of another shop touting “handmade soaps,” know that Gili Zilca, the owner of this pretty, fragrant, bijou boutique, is not just a soap maker—she’s a chemist; no really, she has a master’s in applied chemistry. But it’s not the science we’re so enamored with; it’s the art. Inside this white-shelved shop are Zilca’s one-of-a-kind creations, such as delicately aromatic slices of olive oil or glycerin soaps cut from loaves, in symbiotic scent combos like peppermint eucalyptus and ylang-ylang and lily of the valley. There are also gorgeously wrapped gift soaps; whimsical soap “cakes” and “cupcakes”; sensuous massage oil (the lavender-vanilla is particularly divine); and a variety of sprays, scrubs, creams, and lotions. Soaps for babies and men are available, as are custom orders. And soap-making classes and parties are held in the back of the store.

European Shoes for Women

Chiara Scura
Mount Kisco   |  914.241.0864
Need to put your best foot—ahem, shoe—forward? Find the right pair at Chiara Scura. Owners Jo and Neil Pearlman travel to Europe to source their shoes directly from the same factories that supply the shoes for Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, Jimmy Choo, et al. But the Pearlmans sell theirs with the factory’s label (or their own) at a much more affordabble price.

Hostess Gifts

Say Cheese and Thank You
Dobbs Ferry  |  914.591.6277  |  saycheeseandthankyou.com
If you’re stumped for a way to express your gratitude, look no further than this adorable shop, which, in addition to providing photography services (hence the “Say Cheese” part of the name) and presenting an exhaustive array of classy, first-rate stationery, offers a well-edited selection of gift items to suit virtually everyone. “We can meet anyone’s needs—and everyone’s budget,” declares owner Darci DeMatteo. Items range from paperweights and journals to photo albums and decorative pillows. The store’s most popular merchandise includes Jonathan Adler items, Archipelago candles, hostess trays and platters, vases, pitchers, cutting boards, coffee-table books, decorative pillows, planners, lotions and potions, and soaps. “And,” says DeMatteo, “a lot of our items can be personalized or monogrammed.”

Family Jewelry Shop

R&M Woodrow Jewelers
Rye |  914.967.0464  |  woodrowjewelers.com
It’s a family affair over at R&M Woodrow Jewelers, with brothers Robert and Michael Woodrow running the gem of a boutique together. And, when you go there, they treat you like family, too, keeping no secrets as they freely—and patiently—share their knowledge of the ultra-high-end jewelry lines they represent in the store. Believe us, with names like Buccellati, Aaron Basha, Baccarat, Roberto Coin, Judith Ripka, and Breitling, this is a family you’re going to want to be a part of.
 

Custom-Made Shoes

KGS-Katonah General Store
Katonah  |  914.232.6400  |  kgs1.com
When only the best will do, women seeking shoes like no others—literally—come to June Goldfinger’s store for a pair of her custom creations. “My world is custom—it’s all I’ve ever done,” says Goldfinger. “I grew up having custom clothes. I don’t know any different. I’ve taken the same principles of haute couture and applied them to making shoes. I have more than a thousand fabrics to choose from. After I do the designs and measurements, I send them and the fabric to my cobbler in Paris, and he sends back the finished product.” Custom shoes run $650—“but they will wear like iron, and they’re outstandingly comfortable.” She adds, “I won’t put up with anything that isn’t comfortable. Who wants to be dressed up only to feel like you can’t wait to run home and change into your robe and slippers?”
 

Performance Apparel for Women

Cross Sport Woman
Katonah  |  914.401.9200  |  crosssportwoman.com
You can go to one of those big-box sporting-goods stores for your sports bra and get a one-size-fits-all piece of Spandex with straps. Or you can go there for maternity sportswear and get snickered at by the teen boy manning the register who’s not quite sure what you mean. If you don’t want to deal (and why should you have to?), go instead to Cross Sport Woman. Owned and operated by Bettina Sementilli, an experienced marathoner, cyclist, and all-around athlete—and a one-time design director for Polo Ralph Lauren—this shop is staffed by women, stocked by women, and caters to women. Here, you’ll find name-brand apparel, gear, shoes, and accessories (Asics, Brooks, Lucy, Sugoi, Tyr, FuelBelt) for cross-training, weightlifting, biking, running, yoga, and more.

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