Best of the New 2012

Best of the New: Shopping on Newbury Street

Street-chic print dresses, Romygold leather handbags, and understated urban cool.

Best of the New contributors: Jenn Abelson, Ami Albernaz, Cheryl Alkon, Kara Baskin, Karen Campbell, Matt Casey, Devra First, Tim Flynn, Ethan Gilsdorf, Alice Gregory, Lucia Huntington, Katherine Hysmith, Carolyn Y. Johnson, Susan Johnston, Sheryl Julian, Joseph P. Kahn, Marni Elyse Katz, Scott Kirsner, Ann Trieger Kurland, Dan Morrell, John Powers, Sebastian Smee, Shira Springer, Tina Sutton, Rachel Travers, and Glenn Yoder


> 324 Newbury Street, 617-536-1949,


Old-school shirtmaker Gant has grown into a cool brand of modernized all-American men’s and women’s classics. There’s loads of attention to detail, such as contrasting cuffs and colorful linings, form-fitting silhouettes, and bold pattern mixes. A partnership with award-winning designer — and Babson College graduate — Michael Bastian has made the collections even hipper.


> 301 Newbury Street, 857-233-4698,

Named for British tennis legend Fred Perry, this brand is known for preppy-with-an-edge sportswear featuring the company’s signature laurel-wreath logo. There’s a cult-like following for the form-fitting knit polo shirts and skimpy dresses; the men’s messenger bags, scally caps, and work-wear collections are bestsellers in Boston.


> 299 Newbury Street,

The Colorado Rockies are the birthplace of Jiberish, a street-savvy menswear line that combines urban design with an outdoorsy vibe. Hence the campground decor of the company’s new Boston shop: stacks of wood logs, real and faux birch trees, and tented changing rooms — all with hip-hop blaring on the sound system.


> 264 Newbury Street, 617-424-0010,

Known for alluring day-to-evening fashions and accessories, Crush on Charles Street now has a sister store in the Back Bay with many new lines from New York and Australia added to the mix. The emphasis continues to be on trendy but sophisticated styles — sheer bow blouses, keyhole back openings, sexy cocktail dresses, and colored denim, all at reasonable prices.


> 251 Newbury Street, 617-566-1990,

Zia caters to an often underserved demographic: 30-plus women looking for a fashionable, but not faddy, wardrobe. Owner Lesia Stanchak stocks artsy woolen coats, French street-chic print dresses (great for travel), and edgy little black dresses from mostly new-to-the-area lines. The handbag collection is a standout, including plaid wool totes and colorful you’d-never-know-they’re-really-pleather purses.


> 223 Newbury Street, 617-266-2610,

After nearly three years of nurturing the boutique in its native South End, Ann Dingwell, who bought Turtle in 2009, has moved it to Newbury Street. With a little more space and a lot more foot traffic, the shop, which caters to fashion-forward women, can be expected to thrive. Dingwell continues to showcase the work of emerging designers, including clean white silhouettes by Eve Gravel and, next spring, contemporary urban pieces from Tina Blossom.


> 218 Newbury Street, 857-233-4809,

There’s far more to this expansive shop than designer jeans, including local exclusives, for men and women. The store’s affordable private-label collection of day-to-night silk blouses and peplum jackets, an in-store Majestic Paris knit shop, and sumptuous Romygold leather handbags up even Newbury Street’s fashion quotient.


> 201 Newbury Street, 617-585-1460,

Once the badge brand of London punks, Dr. (Doc) Martens have come a long way from those days of in-your-face industrial boots. While staying true to its working-class roots, the company is now a fashion-filled bonanza, with kicky footwear, unisex satchels, and cleaned-up rugged sportswear. The women’s borrowed-from-the-boys looks (with input from hip Brit model Agyness Deyn) are a big draw.


> 172 Newbury Street, 212-899-3450,

Australia-based Aesop brand is a favorite of women who prefer great skin to great makeup. The soothing, largely plant-derived face, body, and hair-care products are antioxidant-rich (and smell yummy) and designed to take on a wide variety of complexion and potential age-related issues. Even the artsy, modernistic store designed by MIT assistant architecture professor William O’Brien Jr. is calming.


> 144B Newbury Street, 617-262-1776,

Ball and Buck expands its outdoorsy made-in-the-USA product lines in its new, improved (it’s seven times larger than the old one) Boston store. Additions include private-label rustic shirts, jeans, colorful bow ties, and patchwork T’s; hunting and camping goods; audio equipment; and toiletries for the “rugged gentleman.” There’s even a barbershop in the back.


> 140 Newbury Street, 617-247-2500,

Marimekko, the Finnish design company and classic mid-century brand, has had its own store in Cambridge for the last six years, and a presence in the area for even longer. But this August Marimekko brought its iconic bright, patterned textiles and home goods, plus fabulous women’s dresses, to Boston’s most fashionable district. The looks are even more appealing after all these years.


> 111 Newbury Street, 617-536-6700,

For understated urban cool, you can’t do much better than Rag & Bone. Its denim, sumptuous leathers, textured shirts, and outerwear manage to look old and new at the same time. While the brand is represented in local stores, the Newbury Street shop carries the entire line and many exclusives. Did you know Brad Pitt wears their jeans?


> 91 Newbury Street, 2d floor, 646-896-1212,

Alton Lane marries Old World bespoke tailoring with New Age technology in a clubby Back Bay space complete with a 3-D body scanner that makes fitting its made-to-measure men’s suits a snap. Service is top-drawer and by appointment only (book online or call the New York office), with friends welcome to lounge, enjoy a drink, and assist in fabric, detail, and style selection.


> 32 Newbury Street, 857-233-5016,

Named after the iconic 1950s “Queen of the Pinup,” this pert, pink boutique is strictly PG-rated and sure to be a hit with fans of the femmes fatales on Mad Men. It’s hard not to swoon over the flirty dresses, form-fitting skirts, twin sets, and girls-just-want-to-have-fun period accessories at Bettie Page.

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