There are a lot of mixed reviews about Family Jewels. I happen to find the place a pleasant place to shop for some authentic vintage clothing that is both superior in price and make. A lot of people seem to bark about the prices – but in my opinion, I believe it’s worth shelling out a few extra bucks for something totally unique and eye-catching rather than a frumpy old same-old dress that will do nothing to help you stand out in a crowd. And in New York, that’s what it’s all about: standing out in the crowd.
While the service at Jewels isn’t exactly up to par, the good thing is that staff members are not crawling all over you as you browse – which is a total turn-off for many shoppers. And some of the prices at this boutique are so excellent, be careful not to swoon when you check out the tags. I mean, dresses for $60, a silk, butterfly-patterned scarf for $11 (which I bought), a Leave it to Beaver-esque kitchen apron for $35 and tons of other trinkets, accessories and home décor at just as affordable prices.
Some history: Family Jewels has been glittering Chelsea with quality vintage items since the early 1900’s. These guys really know there stuff. They even have racks assembled according to era whether it be 20’s-30’s, 40’s – 50’s or some more contemporary stuff including classic cocktail dresses from only a decade ago. A friend of mine recently had a Jazz Age themed wedding to attend, and she found the absolute perfect Chantilly lace, ecru colored dress for less than $200. Although the dress was in the 40’s section, she was able to “flapper” it up with some costume jewelry, a short cut, blunt wig and of course a cigarette holder. (The fact that she knew how to dance the Charleston didn’t hurt either).
The boutique itself is a bit stuffy and if you’re ultra-sensitive, you may be bothered by what smelled to me like a lingering mildew. Also, Family Jewels is usually packed with customers, which certainly doesn’t help the fusty ambiance. But I certainly wouldn’t let that deter you from checking this place out – you are guaranteed to find an ageless piece of wonder that you probably won’t land anywhere else in NYC.