867 Madison Ave.
Upper East Side
Housed in the Rhinelander Mansion, one of the last, grand turn-of-the-century homes in New York City, Ralph Lauren’s Madison Avenue flagship is the prototype for all the other Lauren boutiques. Dark mahogany, sumptuous rugs, exquisite artwork, cashmere upholstery, and camel hair draperies help evoke an aristocrat’s private estate, instead of just one store in the designer’s ever-burgeoning retail empire. While the men’s selection focuses on preppy tweed blazers, the ever-popular polo shirt, plaid pants, elegant suiting, and dapper shoes, Lauren also knows a thing or two about making a woman feel like a goddess. Glamorous gowns, dresses, and luxurious separates fill most of the racks here; for styles that blend in a bit more utility and accessibility, head downtown to the Soho or West Village locations. The downtown stores focus on brightly colored sweater sets, paisley ties, golf gear, and RLX, Lauren’s solutions for the adventurous but stylish man, including cowboy boots and boating sneakers. Women can step out in delicate silver suede heels or a super soft calf-leather driving shoe. The stores also offer swimwear, a children’s collection, leather goods, jewelry, and linens; not bad for a Bronx–born boychick who traded Lifschitz for Lauren and Mosholu Parkway for Madison Avenue.