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Best of the New

Best Boston shopping and services of 2011

Jeans gurus, burbs chic, and the rise of the manly boutique.

Best of the New, Boston-based designer Britt Ryan’s first signature store, with its cotton candy-colored walls and crystal chandelier, perfectly highlights her preppy (but not too) feminine frocks. The well-priced pieces, in their brightly colored, geometric-patterned glory, are just what local gals gravitate towards for weddings, parties, and weekends on the Vineyard. David L Ryan/Globe Staff

77 kids

For budding hipsters who want to dress like their older sibs, American Eagle Outfitters offers similarly spun baby-, kid-, and tween-appropriate designs. There are faux-leopard fur vests, graffiti knit hoodies, and even faux-leather moto jackets. The in-store vibe is cool, with interactive touch-screen kiosks and custom soundtracks, as the company aims to engage not just parents but also its pint-size customers.

Burlington Mall, 781-272-2678; Natick Mall, 508-647-5109; South Shore Plaza, Braintree, 781-843-0926;

Addo Novo

After four years selling a stylish mix of mid-century modern and newly designed furniture in Portland, Maine, Brian Latham and Shawneric Hachey have brought their show (along with greyhounds Belle and Bobby) to Boston: Eames leather lounges, marble-topped Saarinen tables, contemporary creations from Blu Dot and Foscarini. The pieces and the partners’ personal attention are a pleasure, as is the free design consulting.


1313 Washington Street, Boston, 857-284-7071,


Mixing vintage with modern fashion requires great skill to avoid a costume-y effect. Artifaktori owner Amy Berkowitz manages to make it look fun, glamorous, and very cool (just check out her blog). Her Beacon Hill store is a mix of retro-inspired current pieces and carefully edited items from the past.

121 Charles Street, Boston, 617-367-5854,

Baby Koo

With choices from organic ointments to clean-lined cribs, Karina Meleger has created a boutique addressing all the needs of the (ultra-pampered) modern baby. Specializing in eco-conscious furnishings, gear, and gifts, this one-stop shop in Newton serves up coveted furniture brands ducduc and notNeutral, fashionable Quinny strollers, and the latest bathing and feeding gadgetry from boon.

188 Needham Street, Newton, 617-467-5860,

Bike Boom

Check this Davis Square shop’s blog for a steady stream of refurbished used bicycles suitable for commuting. Owner Roy Ornath sells multispeed, fixed-gear, hybrid, and mountain bikes, and does repairs and tuneups, too.


420 Highland Avenue, Somerville, 617-803-7543,

The Blues Jean Bar

Inspired by a friendly neighborhood pub, this Newbury Street shop keeps more than 40 lines of denim for men and women “on tap.” Knowledgeable “bartenders” take your order for desired style, wash, and size – and serve up the perfect pair.

85 Newbury Street, Boston, 857-350-4683,

The Bridal Center

Think of it as a design center for brides, with nine showrooms of wedding services blissfully located under one tasteful roof in Andover. Couples will find photographers, DJs, florists, limousine services, tuxedo rentals, bridesmaids dresses, wedding gowns, lingerie, a honeymoon travel agent, and even a nutritionist – because you’ll need your strength to sort through it all.

1 Main Street, Andover, 603-340-3907,

Boston Bridal Lounge

Having hit one too many frenzied wedding conventions, Kerri Esposito-Bruneau and Eleni Granas became convinced that brides should be able to source vendors in peace, if not luxury. The duo has created a Newbury Street research library of high-end caterers, cakes, flowers, photographers, and more – all meant to be perused while sipping champagne.

125 Newbury Street, Boston, 617-236-0005,

Britt Ryan

Dresses by this Back Bay-based designer are well priced and, in their brightly colored, geometric-patterned glory, are just the thing for weddings, parties, and weekends on the Vineyard. Ryan’s first signature store carries her jackets, skirts, and blouses – all made in the United States – and jewelry, too.

291 Newbury Street, Boston, 857-284-7196,



A favorite of budget-minded teens, Buckle features well-priced jeans for men and women (both the store’s own and popular brands) and a staff delivering top-notch customer service.

Natick Mall, 508-651-8720,

Delicious Designs

Roberta Sobran discovered her calling helping friends decorate for fun. Then “they told two friends, and they told two friends,” and so on. The array at her Hingham Square shop includes mercury-glass pendant lights, gilt votive holders, rich landscape paintings, nailhead-trimmed benches, and reclaimed-wood demi-lune tables. Delicious, indeed.

88 North Street, Hingham, 781-556-5269,

Durty Harry’s

Michelle Fournier opened her first Durty Harry’s Doggie Boutique and Dog Wash in Charlestown a few years back and this year opened a shop with partner Anne Tiffin in Brookline. In addition to washing, grooming, and obedience-training classes, store offerings include dog food, toys, collars, beds, and an assortment of “beauty” products.

417 Harvard Street, Brookline, 617-860-6154,

Forever 21

Take the chain store out of the mall and look what happens: a gorgeous brick four-story flagship on Newbury Street lends a few style points. Being able to pluck here-today trendy pieces like enamel feather necklaces and flirty floral skirts without worrying about the price tag makes shopping on the cheap practically glamorous.

343 Newbury Street, Boston, 617-262-0212,

Golf Town

At each of this Canadian golf retailer’s six new area superstores, golfers can test-drive clubs on high-tech video simulators and spacious putting greens. Or just spoil a good walk with a trip around one of the vast stores. The selection is so massive – with everything from tees to Happy Gilmore DVDs – that you might need a caddy to lug your bags home.


Locations in Avon, Bellingham, Northborough, Reading, Seekonk, and Watertown; 866-942-4653,

Goorin Bros.

What do Brad Pitt, Tom Brady, and Usher have in common? They’ve all bought hats from Goorin Bros., a 116-year-old company based in San Francisco. Now open in Boston and Cambridge, the stores carry hip, high-quality hats for men, women, and children, ranging from fedoras and Panamas to cloches and bowlers.

130 Newbury Street, Boston, 617-247-4287; 43 Brattle Street, Cambridge, 617-868-4287;

James Perse

A longtime favorite in Hollywood, James Perse is a Southern California fashion line right at home in Boston’s Back Bay. Perse’s “casual opulence” aesthetic means super-soft knits and the latest sporting equipment. There’s also a smattering of chic furnishings.

17 Arlington Street, Boston, 617-369-4570,

Kids Footstop

Eric Keough, a dad and former ad exec, understands the value of catering to the customer – in this case, kids. While proven shoe and boot brands like Merrell, Primigi, and Ugg appeal to parents, a treat tree, television, and toys entice children to cooperate. As an added service, kids can walk out of this Winchester store in their new kicks, leaving behind old ones the Footstop team will donate to charity.

553 Main Street, Winchester, 781-729-3137,

Levi’s Newbury

This is the place to go for iconic 501s as well as hip vintage and updated denim styles. Don’t miss Levi’s “Made Here” collection of uniquely crafted items like rope belts and dip-dyed scarves, all handmade by up-and-coming US artists and designers.


131 Newbury Street, Boston,617-262-0135,

Lipstick Boutique

The Brits just keep on coming. Hot on the high heels of Ted Baker and Reiss, girlie-girl import Lipstick features sexy, stylish dresses, tops, and accessories for day-into-evening wear. The sales staff is very helpful and the prices quite reasonable at this Newbury Street shop.

293 Newbury Street, Boston, 617-267-6900,


Proclaiming “matching is mundane,” this tween-targeted retailer encourages sartorial individuality with signature sock trios – meaning three socks, not three pairs – of dots, stripes, and checks in corresponding, but by no means matching, colors. The rest of the collection carries the same spirit: Getting dressed can be fun!

Burlington Mall, 781-273-0725,

Marbles: The Brain Store

Launched in a mall outside Chicago in 2008 by Ipswich native Lindsay Gaskins, Marbles opened three new retail stores this year in the Boston area, selling games, puzzles, and other brain trainers. At monthly game nights, customers are welcome to come in and play before they buy.

Natick Mall, 508-545-2648; Northshore Mall, Peabody, 978-531-1776; South Shore Plaza, Braintree, 781-843-2065;

The Marimekko Shop at Crate & Barrel

This mod Finnish label is enjoying a revival, and its signature prints, in every decor-ready incarnation, are now available on the second floor of Crate & Barrel in Back Bay. You’ll find tableware, bedding, pillows, purses, and fabric by the foot in patterns that span the ages, from the iconic “Unikko” poppy to new designs destined to be classics.

777 Boylston Street, Boston, 617-262-8700,


Having relocated her gifts and home decor shop to Belmont Center, Leigh Standley tripled her space, filling it with journals, candles, artisan jewelry, scarves, cookbooks, pillows, and even mod custom-upholstered seating. Standley says of the stock, “It’s all over the place, and we love it!”

63 Leonard Street, Belmont, 617-484-0093,

MassArt Made

The art, jewelry, accessories, and wares at the MassArt Made store are designed by alumni, students, and faculty and are carefully curated by a committee, so you know that the crocheted statement necklaces, one-of-a-kind teacups, and screen-printed T’s are the height of cutting-edge hip.

625 Huntington Avenue, Boston, 617-879-7407,


Yulia Khrapunova opened this neighbor-hood boutique in Brookline to answer the lament that clothes for girls either come with a too-high price tag or a chain-store provenance. Focusing on ages 6 to 16, Khrapunova sources super cute casual and dressy looks from Europe while keeping prices accessible.

1378b Beacon Street, Brookline, 617-682-0998,

Pouf! Pop-Up Store

Identifying the silver (or, in this case, gold-embroidered) lining in what could have been a dark cloud, Mika Nakafuji, former manager of Mohr & McPherson in Cambridge, took over the lease when the showroom closed. Through June, she will fill the space with colorful Indian wares, including patchwork poufs, knotted rugs, and fabric-covered benches.

120 Alewife Brook Parkway, Cambridge, 339-222-3057,


For mid-century pieces with perfect patina, Bostonians rely on Pamela Watts, who has expanded her vintage-furniture empire to include a second location in the South End. Watts’s daughter, jewelry designer Nicole Rueda Watts, is a partner here, infusing offbeat finds – an Ethiopian headrest, ’70s-era spun-fiberglass pendant lights – into the mix.

1409 Washington Street, Boston, 857-350-3594,


Habitat for Humanity, the nonprofit organization that builds affordable housing for low-income families, has opened its first Boston ReStore, filled with donated building surplus – much in “like new” condition –  from contractors, big-box retailers, and homeowners, offering renovators fabulous prices for quality materials (and a way to support the charity with their remodeling dollars).

1580 VFW Parkway, West Roxbury, 617-327-1170,

Room 68

Design aficionados Eric Portnoy, Brent Refsland, and Nick Siemaska sell furniture and accessories by emerging artisans and designers, including locals Jacob Kulin and Debra Folz. That doesn’t mean you’ll find $39 chairs or other “disposable furnishings” at this JP shop; the idea instead is that today’s indie talents are creating tomorrow’s coveted collectibles.

68 South Street, Jamaica Plain, 617-942-7425,

Sanela Salon

After years spent working in other people’s Newton and West Roxbury hair salons, Sanela Catovic has opened her own shop in Brookline with three former co-workers. Known as a listener and hairdo problem solver, Catovic creates flattering cuts that are both modern and fuss-free.

1706 Beacon Street, Brookline, 617-608-3774,


Thrift-store junkies will delight in this huge secondhand store in West Roxbury. Wares are beautifully organized and the selection is terrific, especially clothes, linens, and household items, with an occasional big furniture find. Prices are excellent, with additional discounts on Mondays (25 percent off) and Tuesdays (seniors 25 percent off).

1230 VFW Parkway, West Roxbury, 617-323-8231,

Scoop NYC

This New York-based retailer, now in Boston, offers men and women a mix of high-end, established labels with hot up-and-comers. Another big selling point: the highly trained, helpful sales force.

177 Newbury Street, Boston, 617-874-4400,

Sermoneta Gloves

Sermoneta, now on Newbury Street, has long been synonymous with super chic gloves, offering everything from funky fingerless and ladylike fitted styles for women to driving gloves and cashmere-lined suede-calf mixes for men. All the leathers are Italian and sumptuous and are available in loads of colors.

115 Newbury Street, Boston, 857-284-7788,

Soma Intimates

This elegant chain store, from the people behind Chico’s, sells more than 50 bra styles ranging in sizes from 32A to 42DDD. A fit expert ensures appropriate coverage and support, not to mention maximum comfort.

The Mall at ChestnutHill, 617-244-4392; Natick Mall, 508-651-0985; South Shore Plaza, Braintree, 781-348-4980;

Soul Amour

Recognizing the Andover shopper’s appetite for fashion, Amy Finegold, who also owns dresscode, and partner Stephanie Sipley offer midrange labels in their shoe shop, which leans toward classic glam styles. Fall looks include tricolor platform pumps by Vince Camuto and a beautiful Badgley Mischka sling-back.

10 Post Office Avenue, Andover, 978-409-1541,

Spirit of ’76²

E-books. Amazon. An uneven economy. What independent bookseller would choose to expand right now? The North Shore’s Hugo Bookstores, taking over a former Borders in Swampscott and adding to its mini-chain of indies: The Andover Bookstore, Newburyport’s The Book Rack, and Marblehead’s original Spirit of ’76. Owner John Hugo’s keys to success? Engaged, knowledgeable staff, wide-ranging books, homey atmosphere, and the requisite – readers who buy books.

450 Paradise Road, Swampscott, 781-581-7676,

Stitch on Two

Interior designer Kate Maloney has a great eye for the whimsical and unexpected. Previously available only online, her found treasures are now for sale in her Cambridge office (just call for an appointment). In addition to room-making furniture, lighting, and rugs, the shop features decorative accessories from finials to vintage toys.

875 Main Street, 2d floor, Cambridge, 617-784-1437,

The Store @ Charles River Apparel

Charles River Apparel, the activewear maker, has a new store in its Sharon office-warehouse complex. Open only on Fridays and Saturdays, it stocks brand favorites like cozy fleece, rain gear, and New England Patriots merchandise. Look for past-season bargains for men, women, and kids.

1205 Providence Highway, Sharon, 781-793-5323,

Ugg Australia

Ugg and fashion didn’t used to belong in the same sentence, but the style-challenged comfy boot brand has come a long way. The Boston store carries the Ugg Collection, a new line of downright trendy shoes, bags, and outerwear, with Tom Brady proudly modeling the men’s offerings on a giant video display.

75 Newbury Street, Boston, 617-657-0622,

Urban Hound

The South End’s Urban Hound Hotel is a salve for dog owners who can’t vacation in good conscience with their pup in a run-of-the-mill kennel. The luxe treatment includes standard 4-by-6-foot quarters (5-by-6 will cost you a few more bones), trips to indoor and outdoor parks, and an on-site grooming service for pooch mani-pedis. Nail polish is optional.

129 Malden Street, Boston, 617-755-5775,

Victorinox Swiss Army

For anyone about to embark on an outdoor adventure, this Boston store is one-stop shopping, including attractively styled and priced sportswear, outerwear, and travel gear, plus ruggedly handsome luggage, cool watches, and, of course, knives.

Copley Place, Boston, 617-236-4600,

Wakefield Un-Common Antiques

Antiques lovers adore this multi-dealer “group shop,” as owner Nancy Bertrand calls it. Treasure-hunt for hours in three rooms filled with furniture, vintage clothing, jewelry, collectible coins, and china. Antique postcards showcase Wakefield, Stoneham, Melrose, and – eureka! – early 20th-century Boston.

306 Main Street, Wakefield, 781-246-0300,



The rise of the manly boutique

Ball and Buck

Founded by a recent Babson College graduate, this outdoorsy men’s store in the North End sells only US-made products – ones to wear whether you’re heading to the hunt club or someplace closer to Newbury Street. (A certain level of camouflage is advisable in both locales, after all.) Think tough jeans, plaid shirts, rough leathers, and loads of belts, watches, and sunglasses.

3 Lewis Street, Boston, 617-742-1776,


Trendy labels come and go, but Carhartt has been making classic work clothing for 120 years; certain styles even come into fashion every decade or so! At its new Legacy Place store, pick up a lined jacket for shoveling snow and keep your neighbors jealous for many years to come.

Legacy Place, Dedham, 339-204-0260,

Coach Men’s

There’s a bicycle handlebar bag in rugged leather. Deerskin gloves. Totes that go from work to weekends away. Only Coach’s second men’s shop in the country, the Boston store’s offerings are masculine, sophisticated, and – well, many of them are, like the leather tablet computer cases – eminently practical.

Copley Place, Boston, 617-262-0419,

Sault New England

Philip Scott Sault spent 18 years at Banana Republic and Urban Outfitters before opening his own shop for laid-back urban guys. The Boston store’s woodsy-meets-industrial decor matches the casual-cool apparel – some of it vintage – and home accessories like hip shelf brackets. Look, too, for grooming products and Jack Spade bags.

577 Tremont Street, Boston, 857-239-9434,


This 2,500-square-foot Boston store offers the label’s longtime favorites – clothes perfect for, say, hiking to New Hampshire and cutting down a Christmas tree – as well as more fashion-forward innovations, such as boots adorned with Woolrich plaid panels and fleece fabricated from recycled coffee grounds. Come to think of it, the fleece might come in handy on that hike to get the tree.

201 Newbury Street, Boston, 617-247-1478,



What new in Wrentham Village

Bloomingdale’s Outlet Store

New to the discount world, Bloomingdale’s just opened a huge outlet. Merchandise comes directly from the full-price shops at 35 to 70-plus percent off (rather than cheaper lines made just for the outlets), plus manufacturers’ closeouts and overruns.


Ted Baker London

Already a hit with its Newbury Street store, Ted Baker London now has an outlet, too. Though the discount boutique carries the men’s and women’s collections from recent past seasons, the brand’s chic-with-a-twist clothes and accessories still look fresh and are a bargain at 40 to 65 percent off.


Tory Burch Outlet

Ladies, gas up the car. Coveted fashion line Tory Burch has opened its first New England outlet store filled with the ladylike-yet-glam styles the designer is known for. The bargain boutique carries clothes, handbags, eyewear, jewelry, and, yes, those have-to-have-them ballet flats, all at 15 to 60 percent off retail prices.


--Best of the New by Ami Albernaz, Michelle Bermas, Karen Campbell, Jaci Conry, Geoff Edgers, Devra First, Geoffrey Gagnon, Alyssa Giacobbe, Sheryl Julian, Marni Elyse Katz, Christopher Klein, Dan Morrell, Erin Byers Murray, Leon Neyfakh, Shira Springer, Tina Sutton, Visi Tilak, Kathy Tully, and Liza Weisstuch, Ellen Albanese. Send comments to