Rounding out the sneaker brand offerings on the last block of Newbury Street before Mass. Ave. is the first freestanding outpost of this Japanese footwear label. The brick storefront with charming arched wooden windows is intimate yet still offers all the frills, such as gait-analyzing gadgetry and neighborhood running clubs with complimentary post-workout refreshments.
328 Newbury Street, Boston, 617-351-2484, asics.com
Outlet malls usually pick locations far from large cities to not compete with their
full-priced counterparts. Not so for Somerville’s Assembly Row, easily reachable by public transit. Big-name brands include fashion powerhouses Saks Off 5th, J.Crew, Banana Republic, Kenneth Cole, Lucky Brand, Steve Madden, and Brooks Brothers; athletic favorites Converse, Nike, Reebok, Adidas, and Puma; kiddie retailers OshKosh, Carter’s, Stride Rite, and Gymboree; plus Kay Jewelers and many more.
100 Foley Street, Somerville, 617-440-5565, assemblyrow.com
BHLDN Bridal Shop
Translating its boho luxe aesthetic to the wedding market, Anthropologie recently launched BHLDN (for Beholden), a store-within-a-store concept now in Chestnut Hill. Enticing fashion-loving brides is the convenience of one-stop shopping for everything from the dress to tabletop accessories, decorations, stationery, and gifts. Dreamy gowns are well priced — starting at $600 and rarely exceeding $2,000 — with many choices in coordinating headpieces and jewelry. And, yes, the bridesmaid dresses can be worn again.
Chestnut Hill Square, 220 Boylston Street, Newton, 617-527-3081, BHLDN.com
Looking for understated luxury minus the logos? That’s Bottega Veneta’s bread and butter, with butter-soft leathers its calling card. Known for the tagline “When your own initials are enough,” the high-end Italian company (helmed by creative director Tomas Maier) produces heavenly bags in its signature intrecciato (interlaced) weave, along with inventively modern ready-to-wear and accessories. The Boston store showcases men’s and women’s leather goods, shoes, jewelry, eyewear, and fragrances, along with Maier’s oh-so-sophisticated women’s apparel.
The Heritage on the Garden shops, 300 Boylston Street, Boston, 617-960-0880, bottegaveneta.com/us
Nothing too good for your bundle of joy? Take a spin at the locally owned Carousel Kids, home to pricey Quinny Moodd strollers (Giselle and Tom used one), Moncler puffy jackets and snowsuits (New England does get cold), and cuddly Little Giraffe baby blankets (only $30). Your kids (up to size 14) will flip for the designer apparel (such as Junior Gaultier and Paul Smith Junior), craft classes, cupcake decorating parties, and affordable toys and books.
The Street, 23 Boylston Street, Newton, 617-277-5437, carouselkidsusa.com
Jewelry designer and artisan champion Lana Barakat expands into Beacon Hill with a second location following her South End shop. Aiming to introduce brands unknown to the Boston market while forging meaningful relationships with the makers, the boutique is a destination for those with an edgy Brooklyn aesthetic and sensibility. Personally curated but brimming with finds, selections feature home accessories, handbags, and jewelry, including Barakat’s own pieces.
88 Charles Street, Boston, 617-982-6802, decemberthieves.com
Design Museum Boston Store
Epitomizing its mission of illuminating good design, a multipurpose space serves as this nomadic museum’s welcome center, shop, and event space (the retail fixtures are on wheels). In addition to design books, posters, and T-shirts, you’ll find modern gifts and toys, ceramics, throws, and plenty of jewelry, including pieces by local lines Nervous System and Black Spruce. Outside are benches from a recent design competition, and each season a local designer will draw murals on its windows.
70 East India Row, Boston, 888-287-0167, designmuseumboston.org
Dolce & Gabbana
Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana have two reasons to celebrate this season: one, finally being cleared of tax evasion in Italy, and two, the opening of their beautiful new Boston store. Though the pair describe their line as timeless and modern, it’s the fantasy/luxury aspects that fans adore. The men’s level covers day-into-evening with ritzy weekend wear and elegant, slim suiting, while women can drool over the jet set-style ready-to-wear, handbags, and glam shoes.
11 Newbury Street, Boston, 857-254-0669, dolcegabbana.com
Fabulous Frocks Bridal
Fabulous Frocks Bridal brings its Southern charm to the Northeast with this luxury boutique concept high on service but low (or reasonably so) on cost. While all the gowns are off-the-rack (no ordering), there’s loads of loveliness at 30 to 70 percent below retail prices. A combination of samples from top labels, gently worn (just once) designer confections, and ordered-but-never-worn high-end dresses (boohoo!), the inventory is impressively diverse. Shopping is by appointment only to guarantee one-on-one service, and high-end consignments are accepted.
The Westin Copley Place, Boston, 617-536-0951, fabulousfrocksbridal.com/boston/
Stepping into the swank Furla boutique in Copley Place is like a trip to Milan. The store itself is the height of cosmopolitan elegance, with sleek gold and glass fixtures artfully displaying the covetable bags, scarves, and accessories. Known for beautifully made Italian leather goods, the label offers a wide range of colors in mostly structured shapes. Hardware is refined, logos discreet, and prices comparable to Coach. The sales staff is very welcoming. Bene!
Copley Place, Boston, 617-236-0446, us.furla.com
Energized and encouraged by the eBay business she launched after taking a break from the corporate grind and moving to Brookline, 27-year-old Hilary Marino went brick-and-mortar with a super-cute 500-square-foot store in Coolidge Corner. H.C.B., which stands for Her Closet Boston, offers on-trend, absolutely affordable (pretty much everything is under $60) pieces set against walls stenciled in gray and mint, with accessories showcased in modern cube shelving. Current faves include flirty dresses, stripy sweaters, tasseled clutches, and crystal statement necklaces.
234 Harvard Street, Brookline, 617-860-6580, shophcb.com
March marked the second coming of America’s favorite potter turned lifestyle guru with the opening of a suburban outpost of Adler’s namesake boutique in Chestnut Hill. Larger than the colorful slice of a space on Newbury Street, this one is replete with gifts for all, enticingly displayed along a stretch of wall. Giftables include candles, tabletop trinkets, and bar accessories, as well as the designer’s recently introduced fashion accessories, from punchy handbags and velvet-backed needlepoint eyeglass cases to reversible bow ties for the guys. There are several room setups, in which lacquer consoles stand alongside sleek sofas and sinuous armchairs strewn with witty pillows, and brass sputniks shine from above.
The Street, 33 Boylston Street, Newton, 617-232-0502, jonathanadler.com
Kate & Theo Home
Interior design mother-and-daughter team Paula and Kate McCusker of Theodore & Company have added “retailer” to their impressive resume with their new Beacon Hill boutique, showcasing an imaginative personal aesthetic, by turns elegant, dramatic, mod, and humorous. Room-making furniture and accessories — such as leopard-print rugs, wrought-iron side tables, and sleek, contemporary seating — are smartly scaled to fit the average modest-size Boston apartment.
96 Charles Street, Boston, 617-227-1915, kateandtheohome.com
Kate Spade Saturday
Who looks forward to Mondays? Certainly not the 25-to-35-year-old demographic Kate Spade Saturday is after with its new lower-priced concept store. “Saturday is no alarm clock” signage is just one of the cheery visuals greeting young(ish) working gals who’ve been scooping up the girly weekend wear — both comfy casual and date-night fare — complete with day-to-evening shoes, jewelry, and, of course, handbags, all more wallet-friendly than the iconic Mother Ship.
The Shops at Prudential Center, Boston, 617-587-9867, saturday.com
This San Francisco-based company’s playful, beautifully constructed cocktail dresses have earned spots in Martha Stewart Weddings, Marie Claire, and Cosmopolitan Bride. Happily for us, cofounder Phoebe Davison relocated to Marblehead last winter and opened a showroom there, featuring special-occasion and bridesmaid dresses in rich colors and sumptuous fabrics and “little white dresses” for brides. Ruffles, pleats, and other feminine touches abound, yet nothing looks overdone. All of the dresses are made in the United States.
1 State Street, Marblehead, 781-639-1726, kirribilla.com
Ku De Ta
By offering a lot of fashion bang for the buck, Boston natives Nicole Cronin and Heather O’Connell built a loyal following for their trendy South Boston boutique Ku De Ta (a play on the French word for overthrow). Their second shop in tony Chestnut Hill also boasts a style-savvy mix of day-to-evening dresses and sportswear, but with the addition of more upscale labels like Lavender Brown and 525 America. The pink and chocolate decor is ooh-la-la feminine.
The Street, 33 Boylston Street, Newton, 617-383-5095, kudetaboston.com
Last Call Studio
Legacy Place is home to Neiman Marcus’s first Last Call Studio in Massachusetts. Unlike the company’s Last Call outlets, this new retail concept doesn’t carry past seasons’ leftover designer markdowns from Neiman Marcus stores. Instead, you’ll find current, in-season apparel, shoes, and accessories for men and women (plus home goods) bought directly from top fashion vendors like Vince, BCBG Maxazria, Diane von Furstenberg, Ben Sherman, and Michael Kors, with everyday pricing at significant savings.
Legacy Place, Dedham, 781-326-0310, lastcall.com
Classy and not a bit boring, the ladylike clothes and accessories at British retailer L.K. Bennett make a posh and polished statement. Think the understated glamour of the label’s longtime fan Kate Middleton. (The Duchess of Cambridge made the company’s “Sledge” platform shoe a bestseller.) Copley Place offerings include chichi footwear in a wide variety of styles and heel heights, beautifully made leather handbags, feminine officewear, alluring cocktail dresses, and luxurious yet practical coats.
Copley Place, Boston, 857-317-8090, lkbennett.com
Lou & Grey
Ann Taylor’s parent company enters the loungewear-for-every-day arena with Lou & Grey. Drapey T’s, slouchy drawstring pants tailored enough to wear outdoors, nubby linen popovers, and cozy moto jackets, all in a subdued neutral palette of gray, oatmeal, and indigo, with shots of burgundy, combine to form a wardrobe of easy-living pieces with just enough edge. On-trend jewelry, handmade by artisans who hail from Brooklyn, Austin, Portland, and the like, offers indie cred, as does the Natick Mall location’s decor, which boasts wood plank floors, copper pipe clothes rails, and succulents in asymmetric brass pots.
Natick Mall, 508-650-2918, louandgrey.com
Luigi & Lola
North End resident Charlene Love felt her neighborhood could use a fashionable shoe store and decided to fill that void herself. In addition to a fabulous range of footwear — from glam stilettos to cobblestone-friendly boots — the former television producer/editor also stocks high-end leather goods for men and women, enticing day-to-evening jewelry, and some vintage (gently used) Prada and Louis Vuitton bags. The store is named after her two ever-present pups.
404 Hanover Street, Boston, 617-227-0501, luigiandlola.com
Zoning in on the party-dress market is this Newbury Street newcomer. The boutique is chock-full of feminine frocks in the $120 to $200 range and the embellished topper coats to pair with them. A generous range of moderately priced baubles and hair accessories makes for attractive gifts, as do the unique (albeit random) Tibetan blanket wraps sourced by the shop’s owner for $60 a pop.
306 Newbury Street, Boston, 857-239-9500
Made in Fort Point
Dedicated to helping neighborhood artisans promote their work, this newly relocated retail space showcases paintings, photos, prints, cards, books, ceramics, furniture, lighting, and jewelry, all created nearby. Founded and run by the nonprofit Fort Point Arts Community, which works with more than 300 local artists, the spot also hosts art-related events and community gatherings.
315 on A, South Boston, 617-423-1100, fortpointarts.org
You can indeed purchase a 3-D printer at MakerBot, as well as cute 3-D-printed gifts, but the business’s primary purpose is to introduce an increasingly tech-savvy public to the tool’s innovative uses. Pop in to the Newbury Street shop and watch how objects take shape, or sign up for hourlong classes, including jewelry design for $25 and a kids’ series for just $10.
144 Newbury Street, Boston, 617-307-7828, makerbot.com
Make Way for Ducklings
Fans of the World’s Only Curious George Store in Harvard Square will love this new kid-friendly bookstore, also owned by Roslindale couple Adam and Jamie Hirsch. Four times larger than the Cambridge shop, the Faneuil Hall locale stocks literature-themed kids’ clothing (there’s a focus on ducklings, naturally), children’s books by hometown authors, amusements, and puzzles for kids big and small. The shop also hosts community story times, creating a small-town feel in a highly trafficked area.
Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Boston, 617-573-9888, makewayforducklings.com
Dava Muramatsu closed her Newbury Street location in 2011 but has reopened with this new space in Sudbury. Her concept, encouraging people to live a style-enriched life, has remained constant, as has the Zen vibe of the boutique. Dark wainscoting, honey-colored wood floors, and softly lit crystal chandeliers create an enchanting environment where customers can indulge in drapey black jersey dresses, heavenly scented candles, handmade jewelry, and pretty decor like porcelain Japanese cups.
92 Boston Post Road, Sudbury, 781-609-2022, davamuramatsu.com
This sweet store is a godsend for Charlestown’s growing families — owner Kathryn Peck, a mom herself, wanted to give urban parents a place to shop without hopping in the car. She caters to both mom and baby with decor (hand-painted nursery art), gear (hand-sewn diaper pouches), eco-friendly toys, and maternity clothes. Quality control is key: Peck sells only products that she’s tried and loved. Regular story times and monthly craft gatherings help neighborhood families mingle.
219 Main Street, Charlestown, 617-242-0210, mockingbirdstore.com
New Balance Factory Store
New Balance’s headquarters are right here in Boston, and as such, the sneaker giant has retained a loyal following at its factory store, which relocated around the corner and has expanded to a massive 26,000 square feet. While the exterior is sleekly modern, the interior has the feel of an old gymnasium, with original wood beams and exposed brick. New Balance-branded athletic apparel and footwear for pretty much every sport, including lacrosse and hockey, share space with the company’s other labels, Aravon, Dunham, and PF Flyers. Befitting this sports-loving town, there’s a dedicated kids’ department.
217 North Beacon Street, Brighton, 617-779-7429, newbalance.com
For cyclists, especially bike commuters, who could use an extra push, head to NexGen Bicycles. The Dorchester shop sells company-made NexiBike electric bicycles. With one, you can pedal to work without worrying about hills or showing up drenched in sweat. The NexiBike is a portable model with on-call electric power and puncture-proof tires that can be tucked away on the T or at work. Batteries let the bikes reach top speeds close to 20 miles per hour.
121 Boston Street, Dorchester, 617-506-7544, nexgenbicycles.com
NIC + ZOE
This popular women’s contemporary line long found in upscale department stores nationwide now has its first freestanding boutique in Boston, not far from the company’s Natick headquarters. Founder Dorian Lightbown, who named the brand after her two kids, is experienced in creating her own yarn blends, evident in the line’s imaginative knit sportswear, capacious wraps, and cozy home accessories.
The Shops at Prudential Center, Boston, 857-263-7777, nicandzoe.com
Longing for the days of the neighborhood bookstore? That’s what JP resident Kate Layte had in mind when she left the publishing world to open a homey and eclectic bookshop. Though only 500 square feet, the inviting space is chock-full of a diverse range of tomes, leaving just enough room for a comfy couch and tables to encourage lively conversations and ample perusing time. Book readings and live music add to the neighborhood feel.
5 Green Street, Jamaica Plain, 617-522-3404
The ever-creative Patch NYC design team of John Ross and Don Carney is branching out further in its delightfully quirky decor and accessory business. First is a sparkling collaboration with the iconic Miriam Haskell costume jewelry brand — flora, fauna, and insect motifs make for dramatic and colorful baubles, candlesticks, and napkin rings, all handcrafted. The duo have also opened a gallery across from their South End shop where they’ll host art shows and workshops.
The Courtyard at 46 Waltham Street, Boston, 617-426-0592, patchnyc.com
This appropriately named jewelry store offers one-on-one design consultations, allowing you to create unique pieces, custom wedding rings, or updated gems from vintage hand-me-downs. Co-owners of the 10-year-old company, Margarita Druker and master craftsman Gary Shteyman, left Kenmore Square’s Hotel Commonwealth and are now headquartered on Beacon Hill. Their new store carries one-of-a-kind offerings from a host of international artisans, as well as luxury watches, handbags, fine china, and gift items. Jewelry repair is also available.
62 Charles Street, Boston, 617-266-3003, personastyle.com
Few would suspect that this squat building capping off a dead-end street in Waltham holds 10,000 square feet of treasures. The 12-shop collective of antique and vintage furniture dealers, as well as individual craftsmen and artisans’ work, allows those who covet Apartment Therapy-like style to outfit their abode eclectically and economically. Vendors offer a multitude of finds, like tufted chesterfield sofas, tiled amoeba-shaped coffee tables, refined French antiques, and hand-knotted Persian rugs, along with one-of-a kind reclaimed metal animal sculptures and oil paintings.
39 Green Street, Waltham, 781-790-5260, ramblemarket.com
Room & Board
Let’s face it: New Englanders want what they want. Known for high-quality contemporary furniture, Room & Board is big on customization. In addition to selecting fabrics, customers can also choose from a variety of wood grains and dimensions. And with more than 90 percent of the products made in this country, orders don’t take months for delivery. The Boston store is a massive 39,000 square feet, featuring five floors of showrooms and accessories, plus an outdoor terrace.
375 Newbury Street, Boston, 617-351-0020, roomandboard.com
The Sliding Door Company
Specializing in statement-making and — thanks to a patented tracking mechanism — supremely functional sliding doors, walls, and panels, this company offers fixes for tight or sun-starved spaces. They’ll find a solution, whether you’re creating a pantry, hiding a laundry, separating an entry, or building a closet.
409 Harrison Avenue, Boston, 617-982-6700, slidingdoorco.com
Considered the modern-day girdle, billionaire Sara Blakely’s ingenious undergarments have become must-haves under all even slightly fitted looks. Now Bostonians can choose their waist-cinching, booty-lifting, thigh-squeezing shapewear at the area’s first freestanding Spanx store, located in the Natick Mall. The retail venue is fittingly outfitted with the pink pedestal-like “Tower of Power,” a nearly floor-to-ceiling circular storage space encasing all the hosiery selections a gal could ever want or desire.
Natick Mall, 508-651-4981, spanx.com
There was much rejoicing when Uniqlo entered New England in a big way. Starting with a Boston summer pop-up store, the Gap-like Japanese megabrand opened four permanent suburban locations, with shops in Faneuil Hall and Newbury Street coming up next. Operating 1,500 stores worldwide enables the company to buy huge quantities of high-quality fabrics dyed in a boatload of colors. The result is can’t-miss casual styles — and prices — for men, women, and children.
The Mall at Chestnut Hill, Natick Mall, Northshore Mall in Danvers, Legacy Place in Dedham, and Faneuil Hall Pop-Up store, 877-486-4756; uniqlo.com
Though its design studio is in LA — where it seldom gets cold — Vince has long been a men’s and women’s go-to label for chill-chasing knits, outerwear, and hip sports separates. In addition to all the versatile woolens, cashmeres, silks, leathers, and denim, the Newbury Street and Chestnut Hill boutiques also carry the brand’s sleek handbags, street-chic footwear, and too-cool-for-school kidswear. (Think faux suede leggings, luxe knit ponchos, and leather moto jackets for 7-year-olds.)
71 Newbury Street, Boston, 617-279-0659, and The Street, 33 Boylston Street, Newton, 617-991-9068; vince.com
Local artist Amber Waterhouse had to seek no further than her own name to find the ideal moniker to hang over the door of her new venture. Situated a few blocks from Hingham Harbor in the town’s historic shopping district, the spot purveys vintage and antique home decor, from sparkling chandeliers to silver oyster forks. Fine art from 10 area artists, including the owner, graces the walls.
106 North Street, Hingham, 781-749-0173, waterhousedecor.com
Without Walls From Urban Outfitters
Forget Match.com. Gyms, running paths, and hiking trails are now dating central. That’s where Without Walls activewear comes in, a new “fashion that functions” tech-savvy line from Urban Outfitters. There are loads of cool yoga, fitness, surf, and trail styles for men and women alongside on-trend offerings from top brands like Patagonia, Vans, and Manastash. Only nine Urban Outfitter stores were chosen to house Without Walls shops, with Harvard Square making the “fitness” cut.
11 JFK Street, Cambridge, 617-864-0070, withoutwalls.com
> Agostino Salon
Long known on the Boston beauty scene, stylist Agostino Lombardi brings his high-end hair salon to Beacon Hill, in Newbury Street style. Located smack in the middle of Charles Street, the sleek white space has polished wood floors, boxy black leather chairs, and plenty of natural light. Seven stylists offer all the fixings, including cuts, color, extensions, updos, and Keratin treatments.
70 Charles Street, Boston, 617-262-2029, agostinosalon.com
While other salons dedicated to eyelash extensions have come and gone, lash and brow specialist Andrea Starr has been quietly perfecting her technique, training at Elizabeth Grady, managing LuxLash, and building a private clientele. Now she’s opened a full-blown solo endeavor in a cozy brownstone on Newbury Street, with gray walls, a fireplace, and framed photos of inspirational beauties such as Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe. Starr uses surgical tools and medical-grade adhesives to apply each individual extension — there are 200 in a full set — creating customized, lush, and natural looks that last up to six weeks.
291 Newbury Street, Boston, 857-233-2034, eyestarr.com
Launched in Berlin in 1945, this professional makeup company serves those needing highly pigmented waterproof makeup, from onstage performers and newscasters up against high-definition technology to those simply hoping to hide edgy tattoos. With more than 16,000 products in 750 colors, there’s got to be a formulation for every customer in the area’s theater and film circles, not to mention those seriously devoted Halloween revelers.
31 St. James Avenue, Boston, 857-991-1115, kryolan.com
Need variety in your workout routine? Want Pilates one day? Zumba another? ClassPass can help. Launched in Boston in February, the gym-membership alternative provides access to a variety of fitness classes around the city and suburbs. For $99 per month, ClassPass users gain entry to 140-plus fitness studios. They can take an unlimited number of classes at studios in the ClassPass network, though only three sessions at the same place during each monthlong membership cycle.
> Orangetheory Fitness
In a city that knows how to get its geek on, scientific theory has moved from college labs and high-tech startups to workouts. Each 60-minute session at this gym pushes exercisers into target heart-rate zones. The workouts don’t require advanced math, just a heart-rate monitor and a combination of treadmill intervals, indoor rowing, resistance training, and weights. The goal: Produce what the program’s creators call an “afterburn effect.” Long after workouts end, they should keep metabolisms revved up, burning extra calories.
375 Market Street, Brighton, 617-208-8378, orangetheoryfitness.com
The arrival of SoulCycle upped the cool fitness quotient in town. Known for their celebrity clientele — Oprah, Madonna, Lady Gaga — and candlelit studios, these indoor cycling classes promise a full-body workout accompanied by “great music” and “inspirational coaching.” SoulCycle started in New York City, then expanded across the country. The Chestnut Hill studio features nearly 3,000 square feet filled with 55 bikes. And so riders look good while sweating, it also sells SoulCycle’s original clothing line.
200-230 Boylston Street, Newton,617-658-9010, soul-cycle.com
Best of the New contributors: Sara Mason Ader, Ami Albernaz, Cheryl Alkon, Kara Baskin, Ellen Bhang, Karen Campbell, Gary Dzen, Devra First, Colin Fleming, Patricia Harris, Sheryl Julian, Marni Elyse Katz, David Lyon, Rachel Raczka, Catherine Smart, Shira Springer, and Tina Sutton. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.