226 Columbus Ave., nr. 70th St.; 212-875-0500
The newest outpost of this local chainlet (joining the Cobble Hill and Park Slope shops) is dependable for park- or beach-ready maxi, T-shirt, and tank dresses for $100 or less. Browse comfy shapes from BB Dakota, Blue Bird, and Plum, as well as the in-house label.
1196 Madison Ave., nr. 87th St.; 212-837-2220
The French label brings a slew of chic throw-on-and-go frocks to its U.S. flagship. The lower-priced Soft line offers shifts and jersey maxi dresses (from $120), while the main line’s breezy silks and chiffons are sweet but still grown-up (from $200).
18 Jay St., nr. Greenwich St.; 212-775-0077
Designer Juliana Cho has a knack for making her dress-wearers look effortlessly put together. Her genius is combining luxurious fabrics—a citrus-colored brocade for spring, say—and flattering silhouettes, whether a demure shirtdress or a swingy style (from $525).
355 W. Broadway, nr. Broome St.; 212-938-0811
At designer Gaby Basora’s recently opened Soho spot, the statement patterns for which she is known are splashed across new styles both sophisticated and slinky, along with small-batch revivals from the archives and one-off designs (from $300).
- Z Spoke
875 Washington St., nr. 14th St.; 212-691-1926
Zac Posen’s offshoot excels in dresses that are elegant yet unstuffy (from $425). Though the line is lower priced than his primary label, Posen doesn’t skimp on his signature shape-flattering details, from seamed bodices to tastefully plunging necklines.