BOSTON GENERAL STORE
305 Harvard Street, Brookline, 617-232-0103, bostongeneralstore.com
This folksy shop is brimming with simply designed, high-quality kitchen, garden, office, and personal goods. Take a trip down memory lane with stainless steel ice cube trays, WWII-inspired mending kits, period barware, and tree swings made from reclaimed wood. Or choose from a host of beautifully packaged teas, honeys, syrups, and cocktail mixers. Great cooking utensils are plentiful, as are splendid gift items, from refillable leather journals and terrariums to pampering bath products and retro toys.
Tired of the same ol’, same ol’ bridal shower or girls night out? Owner Alice Rossiter provides a new kind of experience combining cocktails with the art of floral design. Groups can attend an event at a local restaurant or have a private affair brought to them, with guests taking home their lovely creations. For pre-wedding bridesmaid bonding, gather to make bouquets, centerpieces, or aisle decorations guided by a pro. For anyone looking to score big points with a sweetie on a regular basis, Alice’s also offers a subscription floral delivery service.
77 Central Street, Wellesley, 781-235-2100, avapavaboutique.com
After departing from his upscale Tess & Carlos clothing chain, Carlos Pava opened Ava in Wellesley. Named for his youngest daughter, the store exudes the minimal design aesthetic (concrete floor, raw plastered walls, and backlit stainless steel signage) Pava is known for. The clothes, which include Peace of Cloth pants from New York and cashmere from Germany’s Henry Christ, serve one of fashion’s most underserved markets: women over the age of 40.
BALANS ORGANIC SPA
216 Newbury Street, Boston, 617-424-1500, balansorganicspa.com
In her treatments, Balans founder Marie Aspling uses a 100 percent organic plant-based product line by Maria Akerberg, from her homeland of Sweden. But what makes this white and pale wood oasis interesting are offerings that go beyond basic spa fare. In addition to an organic facial or body treatment, take advantage of nutrition consulting or flotation therapy in a shallow pool filled with Epsom salt-saturated water that encourages you to relax and heal.
BAUER OWN THE MOMENT HOCKEY EXPERIENCE
34 Cambridge Street, Burlington, 781-552-4650, bauer.com
New Englanders have ice in their veins when it comes to hockey, so no surprise that one of the sport’s top equipment brands chose Burlington as one of its first two locations in the US. Designed with an arena feel, the whopping 20,000-square-foot store has dedicated areas for every equipment need, from skates and protective gear to gloves and sticks, all staffed by experts committed to getting you the perfect fit. And you can try-before-you-buy on their 2,500-square-foot indoor ice rink. Score!
197 Eighth Street, Suite 750, Charlestown, 617-337-5853, bestdressedcharlestown.com
Designer dress rentals are no longer an online-only affair. Sisters Nikoleta and Vicky Lirantonakis have taken the concept to brick-and-mortar in a Charlestown boutique. Born of their own frustrating searches for special occasion options, the shop is filled with party frock labels such as Milly, Tibi, Shoshanna, and Rebecca Taylor. The rentals range from $40 to $150, with dry cleaning and minor repairs included.
214 Harvard Avenue, Allston, 617-731-7935, bfresh.com
This new concept store from Ahold, also the owner of Stop & Shop, sells Brookline quality at Allston prices. With fresh meals prepared at an in-house kitchen, a fully stocked deli and bakery, and a plentiful produce section, bfresh brings a dose of farmers’ market freshness to one of Boston’s youngest neighborhoods.
699 Boylston Street, Boston, 617-918-7767, bfxstudio.com
The owners behind Boston Sports Clubs, Town Sports International, have planted a sneakered foot in the boutique fitness arena with BFX Studio, designed to deliver a dynamic cross-training experience. The studio’s Ride Republic area hosts classes that incorporate cycling. Other offerings include a boxing and kettle bells class, and high intensity interval training sessions. The perks? Spa-like locker rooms, a client lounge with a tech bar, and digital kiosk check-ins.
CH CAROLINA HERRERA
Copley Place, Boston, 617-266-0213, carolinaherrera.com
The beautifully appointed CH concept store houses more affordable investment pieces from the glamorous high-fashion brand. Chic separates, dreamy coats (many reversible), and stunning cocktail dresses make up the bulk, with posh leather goods, silk scarves, costume jewelry, and Herrera signature fragrances in tow. A cosmopolitan menswear collection and winsome children’s clothes are a surprising bonus.
CONVERSE LOVEJOY WHARF
160 North Washington Street, Boston, 617-248-9530, converse.com
When Converse moved its corporate headquarters from the sleepy suburbs to the heart of the city in 2015, the Boston shoemaker added a flagship store to the ground floor. Overlooking the Zakim Bridge, the shop offers the brand’s most exclusive collaborations and a first-of-its-kind workshop that lets you customize your Chucks, picking the materials, rubber toecaps, laces, eyelets, and other details. Some more traditional All Star styles play off the brand’s new address at Lovejoy Wharf, featuring a local map in the footbed or a red stripe across the bottom — a nod to the nearby Freedom Trail, of course.
320 Boylston Street, Boston, 617-482-8707, hermes.com
Doubling its former size, the newly reopened Hermes store now boasts 8,700 square feet of sleek, contemporary selling space on two expansive floors. In addition to its coveted silk scarves, leather accessories, and collectible enamel baubles, indulgent goodies include apparel and footwear for both sexes, swank home furnishings and tableware, equestrian finery worthy of a Triple Crown winner, and even an extravagant bicycle in Hermes’s signature burnt orange. Magnifique!
119 Braintree Street, Allston, 617-851-1151, creativeconsignor.com
Around the corner from New Balance’s new HQ lies an Allston consignment store stocked by self-proclaimed “uber consignment shopper” Shelly Lamborn. The showroom is a brick-and-mortar hub for used upscale items from designers like Tory Burch, Marc Jacobs, Chanel, and others. Looking to sell? Lamborn will come to you for what she calls a “closet cleanse,” handpicking the items that’ll get snapped up in an instant.
338A Commercial Street, Boston, 617-564-1558, extology.com
After 16 years of experience, in-demand salon stylist Allana Fabrikant-Kanevsky has hair extensions down to a science. That’s why she calls herself “The Extologist,” though “wizard” would be equally applicable. Certified in extension application from all the best human hair brands, she knows the perfect match for every hair type to add luxurious length and fullness to any ’do. She’s equally adept at masking thinning or chemotherapy hair loss in her inviting, intimate salon.
FRANK & OAK
220 Newbury Street, Boston, 617-778-2373, frankandoak.com
“Look sharp & shop smart,” urges this Montreal-based menswear company, which opened its first US location in Boston in May. Frank & Oak designs and produces its house label’s versatile suiting, weekend attire, and accessories, and limits availability of each item. That allows the retailer to introduce a new collection at wallet-friendly prices each month.
85 Newbury Street, Boston, 857-277-0585, indochino.com
A quality custom suit for under $500 is hard to come by, unless you’re thumbing through the fabrics of this Canadian company’s Newbury Street store. Having experimented with tailoring pop-ups in the past and operated a successful online business since 2007, the label’s brick-and-mortar shop can custom tailor a men’s suit to your exact measurements. You won’t want to go back to off the rack.
KIT AND ACE
208 Newbury Street, Boston, 844-548-6223, kitandace.com
Throw your cashmere in the washing machine? Yes, you can if you bought it at Kit and Ace, known for its “Technical Cashmere,” a unique knit fiber blend that can take a tumble in the soapy stuff without transforming into a sweater for your dolly. The time-is-precious mantra is the retail foundation for cofounders, former Lululemon lead designer Shannon Wilson and her stepson, J.J. With a neutral palette and mix-and-match separates for women and men, the brand is elevating the basics in a way that resonates with pragmatic New England shoppers.
I AM BOOKS
189 North Street, Boston, 857-263-7665, iambooksboston.com
This cozy shop in the North End caters to lovers of Italian culture. Cookbooks and children’s books — including Dr. Seuss in Italian — are top sellers. Co-owner Nicola Orichuia, the Italian-born founder of Bostoniano magazine, offers a busy schedule of book signings (Italian cook Mary Ann Esposito and children’s author Tomie dePaola were especially popular) and a monthly children’s story time in Italian. In addition to 1,200 titles (mainly in English, running the gamut from history to fiction), the shop carries Italian comic books and magazines, as well as ceramics, handbags, and perfume made in Italy.
380 Washington Street, rear entrance, Wellesley, 201-247-0767, legitactivewearonline.com
The athleisure trend isn’t going anywhere, and owner Lisa Goldberg’s new shop specializes in carrying chic options, fit for both gym and street. Since its April opening, she’s already expanded the Wellesley space, where women can check out the latest sports bra styles and active attire from brands like Stella McCartney for Adidas, L’urv, Strut-This, and Splits59. Brightly patterned leggings ranging in price from $72 to $400 fly off Legit’s racks.
There’s a homespun charm to all the goods and services at the delightful online party shop Lusterity. Created and curated by two Dorchester residents, the socially conscious site offers everything from Martha Stewart-worthy tabletop decor, handmade paper products, and offbeat gift items to vendor suggestions for scrumptious meals and memory-making entertainment. Feel good knowing your purchases support local-, women-, and minority-owned businesses that value sustainability, fair trade, and giving back to their communities.
MARKET STALLS AT BOSTON DESIGN CENTER
One Design Center Place, Boston, 617-439-6902, bostondesign.com
While renovating its second floor, the Boston Design Center set aside a 10,000-square-foot space for a boutique-style market of local dealers offering an eclectic array of vintage, antique, and modern wares from the 17th to 20th centuries. And you don’t need a designer to get in: While the rest of the complex is to-the-trade only, the new market stalls are open to the public. Allow lots of time to peruse the exceptional furniture, lighting, home accessories, and art.
141A Newbury Street, Boston, 617-933-0397, joie.com/boutiques
With an understated SoCal vibe that doesn’t veer into the hippy dippy, this distinctly American brand with a French sounding name (it’s pronounced zhwah) is a favorite among women who strive for casual cool. The narrow 2,000-square-foot space, which borrows details from Parisian interiors while sticking to a Scandinavian palette, features washed oak herringbone floors and white resin accents that show off the tunics, silk tops, and pants to perfection.
MAX & RILEY
226 Newbury Street, Boston, 617-236-1431, shopmaxandriley.com
A combined 15 years of fashion and retail know-how led to Max & Riley, a contemporary womenswear boutique owned by mother-daughter team Susan and Hope Roussilhes. Their taste is a mix of feminine and edgy; collections from SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker, Hunter Bell, and Rachel Zoe mesh well with labels on the rise, like London-bred Misha Nonoo and Axara from Paris.
450 Harrison Avenue, Boston, 617-858-0805, molteni.it
The Italian furniture manufacturer’s Boston store appeals to aesthetes who go for sleek interiors studded with cutting edge pieces that originate overseas. Behind its black-framed glass doors lie pieces by storied designers and contemporary superstars, including Gio Ponti, Patricia Urquiola, and Ron Gilad. High-end closet systems and custom wall units are available, too.
89 Brighton Avenue, Allston, 617-254-7564, popallston.com
Located in a weathered building on one of Allston’s busiest streets, this unique new community space exudes a fresh, youthful energy that befits the student-dominated neighborhood. Pop Allston’s four floors house a free indoor skatepark, yoga studio, weekly vintage open market, and a bicycle co-op — sort of a year-round SoWa on a pizza and Pabst diet. Use it while you can: Opened in September, Pop Allston has a lease for a year — beyond that, its future is hazy.
MOHR & McPHERSON WAREHOUSE
604 Pleasant Street, Watertown, 617-744-5224, mohr-mcpherson.com
Since the early ‘90s, Kevin McPherson has been sourcing exotic furnishings for Bostonians who relish interiors with global appeal. Like the SoWa flagship, the company’s new 8,000-square-foot warehouse showcases Eastern and Near Eastern woven carpets, carved Southeast Asian furniture, live-edge wood tables, leather poufs, and one-of-a-kind antique accents. Bench-made upholstered pieces by Cisco Brothers round out the offerings, ensuring eclectic rooms don’t forgo comfort. The best part? Warehouse prices run 20 percent or more off retail year-round.
10 Summer Street, Boston, 617-350-5232, primark.com
Your options to buy a $10 party top have once again expanded in Boston with the US debut of Primark, an Irish retailer known for fast fashion at ultra-low prices. Set above the former site of the original Filene’s Basement in Downtown Crossing, the four-floor megastore incites shopping by the bagful for $8 sweaters, $10 skinny jeans, $40 winter coats, and $5 flats — plus home goods to warm a dorm dweller’s frugal heart. Built with the tech-addicted shopper in mind, each floor features lounge areas complete with charging stations and televisions.
RIGBY & PELLER
Copley Place, Boston, 857-277-7887, rigbyandpeller.com
The lingerie boutiques called Intimacy experienced a British takeover this year when parent company Van De Velde converted them into Rigby & Peller locations. Known for creating made-to-measure undergarments for the Queen of England and entertainment “it” girls alike, Rigby & Peller built its foundation on providing properly sized brassieres. Bra fittings (a.k.a. lingerie styling sessions) are still offered; cup sizes range from A to K. Look for luxury brands Stella McCartney, Prima Donna, Marie Jo, Chantelle, On Gossamer, and more.
Delivering a licensed and vetted therapist to your doorstep seven days a week (including holidays) from 8 a.m. to midnight, this massage service is straightforward, simple, and sublime. Choose from Swedish, deep tissue, sports, or prenatal massages for singles, couples, or groups for 60, 90, or 120 minutes. Book with as little as one-hour notice and pay a flat fee ($99-$169), gratuity included. Therapists come dressed in a company T-shirt with a portable table, fresh linens, and friendly attitude in tow.
480 Tremont Street, Boston, 617-670-0631, swetstudio.com
Having trouble getting jazzed for the same old group exercise classes? The South End’s Swet Studio aims to breathe new life into your workouts, with such offerings as hip-hop yoga, a Bollywood-inspired class called Bollyx, and other dancey options, including a monthly LGBT-friendly same-sex ballroom class. When the sweating’s done, get centered in “Levitation,” where participants can meditate while suspended in a silk hammock.
28 South Street, #1, Hingham, 781-385-7907, trellishome.com
Following well-rounded careers in media, marketing, fashion, and finance, childhood besties Allison Mattison and Liza Sharp reunited on a Cape Cod beach where they dreamed up a plan for a retail studio and design showroom dedicated to helping customers create a colorful and happy home. At their Hingham store, furnishings with a South Shore sensibility are available for sale alongside furniture samples from the likes of Bungalow 5 and Society Social. A well-stocked fabric and wallpaper bar and in-home design services are also available.
1341 Boylston Street, Boston, 857-317-5220, target.com
With longer hours, fresh groceries, booze, a pharmacy, an optician, and a Starbucks, plus smaller sizes of hard-to-lug items like laundry detergent, the chain’s first East Coast urban concept store blends the familiarity of its suburban offerings with convenience geared for city dwellers. The stacked-not-sprawling 160,000 square feet of floor space, just a stone’s throw from the Green Monster, is laced with plentiful odes to its location, giving this big-box store a neighborhood feel. Look for circa 1950s Fenway Park seats, a view of Gate D, and Boston sports team merchandise. Have wheels? Spend $30 and get discounted parking at the Van Ness Garage below.
WHITNEY + WINSTON
113 Charles Street, Boston, 617-720-2600, facebook.com/whitneyandwinston/
Rebecca Hall and Laura Macris never had room to sell gifts at Crush, their fashion boutiques in Beacon Hill and the Back Bay. So the pair opened Whitney + Winston, named for Hall’s 11-month-old daughter and Macris’s corgi puppy. Inside are presents with personality for men, women, babies, and dogs. Though the shop has a Charles Street address, the vibe is updated prep, with plaid blanket wraps from Standard Form, hand-poured candles from DemiLune, and flasks with pithy phrases like “Best Intentions” and “Duck Duck Grey Goose.”
299 Newbury Street, Boston, 857-263-7554, woolrich.com
Given last winter’s record-setting snows, trusted label Woolrich John Rich & Bros. opened in October to a collective sigh of happiness from Bostonians angling for reinforcements for their cold-weather wardrobe. A mash-up of luxury and 185 years of heritage, the store carries the brand’s iconic pieces, including wool blankets and famed arctic parkas. The latter, designed for Alaskan pipeline workers in 1972, are touted to maintain warmth to minus 40 degrees Celsius. Bring it on, Mother Nature.
YOUR DREAM BRIDAL
730 Boston Post Road, Sudbury, 978-443-0810, yourdreambridal.com
Revered for her patience, planning skills, and astute sense of style, boutique owner Malinda Macari meets with just one bride at a time during leisurely 90-minute appointments. Lines exclusive to New England include Truvelle, Belle Badgley Mischka, Astrid & Mercedes, and Lis Simon. Macari also carries Celia Grace, billed as the only fair-trade collection in the country.
TWO SURPRISING OFFERINGS ABOARD A BUS
Does a spin class aboard a bus sound like a goofy good time? BikeBus offers individuals and groups customized rides, during rush hour or any other time, anywhere within a 25-mile radius of Boston. It’s a one-of-a-kind opportunity to develop killer quads while someone else copes with the traffic. The bus, with its eight stationary bikes and a professional instructor, can also be hired for private events like bachelorette parties or after-work company outings. Along with physical fitness, BikeBus gives the rider some pretty unusual bragging rights, that is, until the (hypothetical) CrossFit bus rolls into town.
> Mobile Cuts Boston
Correction: Due to reporting errors, a previous version of this story incorrectly identified bfresh’s relationship with Stop & Shop and the address for Hermes.