Olive & Bette's

Olive & Bette's

Photo: Cititour.com

Neighborhood: East 80s
Type of Place: Women's Clothing


Olive & Bette’s has a slight reputation for being a fashion Disneyland for young, trendy teenage girls – particularly preppy ones. But step through the threshold of this boutique and you’ll find yourself awash with bright colors, more supplements to your wardrobe, and reasonably priced articles suitable for ladies of all ages.

Customer service, especially in a limited space, is crucial to a thriving shop and Olive & Bette’s is swarming (not overly so) with salespeople who have always gone the extra mile to help. The first time I shopped there, after not being able to decide between two tees (both Michael Stars, each $100), I asked for a business card. There was none at the front desk, so the sales girl took it upon herself to rush down to the basement and sift through whatever’s down there to come back ten minutes later, slightly winded and with a fresh, unblemished card. That alone secured a mental note for me to revisit this boutique.

The salespeople are also incredibly adept at assembling outfits for clients. The way a dress looks on a hanger is rarely indicative of how it will fall on my petite figure, and the business-card sales girl picked out several pieces that I would never have thought to try on, but lo and behold, looked fabulous on me. I ended up purchasing a Trina Turk 70s-style jumpsuit swept with colors reminiscent of a desert sunset and detailed with V-neck draping and wide-leg pants for $225. I wear it at least once a week.

Other designers here are AG, Nanette Lepore (lots of sportswear separates), Free People, Theory, Autumn Cashmere, footwear by Joie – and of course, UGGs. Though I am not an UGG girl, I have plenty of friends who are and Olive and Bette’s seems to be the only place to procure these boots long after other stores have sold out.

The main vibe at O & B’s is a sassy, prep-school kid attracting venue with lots of figure-hugging numbers. You’ll find the perfect tight-fitting, staple black leggings here are well as cashmere hoodies, a massive selection of tees and tanks in splashy colors, and if you start burrowing into their impressive collection of denim in the back corner of the store, you may never be able to claw your way out.

The store also carries a plethora of odds and ends that may seem a bit overpriced but make perfect last minute gifts. Plastic, vibrant colored bracelets run at $25/each, lip gloss compacts for $16/each. My daughter’s birthday just passed and I bought her a couple of plastic cupcake holders filed with lip gloss, each for $6 (I spotted the same item at Bloomie’s for $8 each).

The return policy isn't great. You have seven days to exchange for credit only, but in the long run it’s okay, because you’re bound to spot something you want or need at Olive & Bette’s the next time you visit. O & B also has multiple locations throughout the city including SoHo, the Upper East Side and the Upper West Side. Clothing here turns over quite rapidly, so don’t take too much time deciding on an article, it might be gone the next time you visit.

  - Janice Bevilacqua

Olive & Bette's
1070 Madison Ave
(80th & 81st St)
New York, NY 10028
(212) 717-9655