The main draw of the Hamptons each summer is, of course, the beautiful beaches, see-and-be-scene, and the charming farm-stand dotted landscape. But once you've reached this ritzy resort community, it's easy to find other attractions to enjoy, particularly—as you might expect from an area that's a magnet for the rich, fashionable, and famous—irresistible boutiques. Here's a handful of the Hamptons' top shops, including several that are perfect if you're on a houseguest's budget.
Sag Harbor's MONC XIII has quickly become a tastemaker favorite for its hand picked selection of stylish home furnishings and house gifts that are chic and much more original than a bottle of wine. It feels more like a Soho boutique than something you'd find in a laidback resort town (which Sag Harbor, considered by many Hamptons regulars to be the area's most charming and relaxed town, really is). It's an ideal place to browse on a rainy day. Don't miss the lovely smaller home items like Cire Trudon deeply scented candles.
Sag Harbor Variety Store 5 & 10
A short stroll away is the Sag Harbor Variety Store 5 & 10, which is about as un-glitzy as a shop can get. This is the ideal place to inexpensively buy everything beachy you forgot at home, like basic rubber flip-flops, sun block, or a Styrofoam cooler. Plus, if you're traveling with kids, find essentials to keep them busy, like toys and a wide selection of jigsaw puzzles and crafts. The shop is beloved by Hamptons regulars, perhaps since it evokes a feeling of a time when things were simpler and slower. But even for first-timers, it's well worth a visit.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, if you're lucky enough to have swanky poolside plans for which your old Speedo just won't do, there's Sunbarth, a sleek little store on Job's Lane in Southampton. The focus here is guys' swimwear, with in-the-know brands like Orlebar Brown. This shop began as a pop-up store last summer, but was so popular it's now open full-time. (And if you're looking for a suitably chic women's bikini to match your new menswear purchase, look no further than French brand Eres' East Hampton boutique.)
Whichever Hampton you're visiting, one of the best ways to spend an afternoon is lounging in the sunshine with a great book. If you've left all your reading material (or Kindle) at home, the area's excellent mini-chain of bookshops, Bookhampton is the place to go. In all its locations (Southampton, East Hampton, and Sag Harbor, plus one on Long Island's nearby North Fork), Bookhampton is staffed by people that love to read, so you can walk in not knowing what you want and leave with a suitably enjoyable page turner. As you'd expect, they also stock lovely coffee table books (easy host gift) and children's books for families at the beach.
Of course, wherever you go in the Hamptons, there seems to be no shortage of hot, new convertibles and designer clothes. If you're looking for a splurge-y purchase to become one with the latter, head to Gail Rothwell in East Hampton. This inviting boutique stocks clothing and accessories from some of the world's top designers and fashion brands, like Jason Wu, Celine, Lanvin, and Oscar de la Renta. No, it's not the place for a bargain, but a purchase from here could just be the ultimate Hamptons souvenir. (For a less pricey selection of equally grand labels, Collette, with locations in Southampton and Sag Harbor, sells gently used high-end designer items by the likes of Chanel and Hermes as decidedly non-Hamptons prices.)
Thinking of a trip to the Hamptons?
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Photo Credits: Monc XIII: Courtesy of Monc XIII; Beach Accessories: Beach Accessoriesvia Shutterstock.com; Swimwear: Swimwearvia Shutterstock.com; BookHampton: BookHampton by Rob GrambauAttribution License; Shopping: Shoppingvia Shutterstock.com