While there are excellent clothing stores scattered all over the city—from legendary designer emporium Louis in the Waterfront district to mix-and-match boutique Mint Julep in Harvard Square, they’re most concentrated in the South End and Back Bay. While you’re in the area, don’t overlook the upscaleCopley Place mall for luxe designer boutiques and some of the city’s best department stores, including outposts of Barneys New York and Neiman Marcus.
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Boston’s premier concept store migrated to the still-developing Waterfront in 2010. The open-plan, warehouse-like space has sweeping harbor views, and clothing is hung on rolling racks for maximum flexibility. Louis started life as a menswear store, which is reflected in its impeccable Italian tailoring, but there are also young labels such as Greg Lauren (yes, the nephew of a certain other American designer), Belgian-born Tim Coppens and NYC duo Public School. Womenswear features such au courant names as Thomas Tait, Simone Rocha, Jonathan Saunders, Jason Wu and Suno. You’ll also find carefully selected beauty products, scents and candles, home items, shoes and accessories. An outpost of celebrated snipper Mario Russo’s salon is on site, as well as an excellent restaurant, Sam’s.
A one-stop shop for the fashion-conscious male, with a good selection of smart shirts, casual jackets, shoes and cheeky belt buckles. Uniform also stocks a line of Freitag messenger bags and wallets, made from recycled truck tires, and selected shaving products (from the Art of Shaving and Jack Black).
At first glance, it looks like any other convenience store, the window lined with faded bleach bottles and paper towels. Something's odd though—the kid behind the counter is a little too stylish, the water stains on the ceiling are too perfect, the horse race on the TV seems to be caught in a loop and none of the bottles of detergent seems to have moved in months. Step in front of the faux Snapple vending machine, to activate the hidden sliding door and reveal the secret store within a store. Inside is the ultra-modern interior of Boston's flyest sneaker shop—carrying rare kicks from Nike Tier Zero and Adidas Consortium, as well as deluxe streetwear and books on art and design.
Opened by a mother-daughter duo, this South End boutique is the perfect place for ladies of all ages to try on girly wares from hard-to-find designers, with an emphasis on proprietor favorite Lauren Moffatt. Tucked away just off the main drag of Tremont Street, the shop's rustic, whimsical decor is positively enthralling.
A highly browsable combination of casual clothing from the likes of Ella Moss and Velvet, jewelry and accessories, unusual toiletries, stationery and decorative homewares such as picture frames and ceramics. Some of the items, such as hip jewelry by Flauxy and Wardmaps' mousepads, printed with 19th- and early 20th-century maps of Boston (including the North End), are locally made.
Looking for the perfect little retro-styled dress? This jam-packed boutique is a good bet, with an almost overwhelming array of frocks in various prints and cuts by Milly, Nanette Lepore, Rebecca Taylor and Tibi, as well as separates, jeans and T-shirts from Vince, Velvet and Splendid. The house style is somewhere between well-groomed preppy and urban sophisticate.
The first branch of this women's boutique was launched by two Harvard graduates in Brookline in 2004, swiftly followed by a larger Harvard Square shop. Mint Julep offers an appealing melange of labels (both European and American), styles, prints and prices—the only unifying factor is an underlying postmodern country-club aura. You'll find lots of retro-influenced dresses, cool T-shirts and colorful accessories by the likes of Tibi, Milly, Orla Kiely and Kenzie, as well as less expensive brands.