ALICE AND OLIVIA
166 Newbury Street, Boston, 617-297-9060, aliceandolivia.com
Last summer, the almost 15-year-old brand Alice and Olivia by Stacey Bendet, known for colorful, girlish silhouettes, opened its 20th freestanding flagship. The 1,300-square-foot Newbury Street space resembles a young woman’s on-trend apartment decorated with vintage rugs and furnishings and whimsical bird drawings by illustrator Elizabeth Graeber. Everyday clothing and party frocks hang from suspended white and brass pipe rods; shoes, handbags, and other accessories also abound.
ALL TOO HUMAN
236 Clarendon Street, Boston, 857-350-3951, alltoohumanboston.com
For edgy high fashion — yes, at equally high prices — All Too Human is a trend hive of what’s new, next, and special for men and women. The brainchild of Boston natives Jessica Knez (formerly a buyer for Bergdorf Goodman) and Joseph Morrissey (past creative director and head buyer for Riccardi), the airy three-level Back Bay boutique integrates rotating art installations with emerging and coveted designers like Delpozo, Proenza Schouler, J.W. Anderson, Roksanda, and Jacquemus. Accessories are killer.
352 Newbury Street, Boston, 617-421-8601, arcteryx.com
Taking up residence on the last block of Newbury along with other well-known cold-weather brands is the high-end Canadian outerwear and outdoor label Arc’teryx. Behind its textural stone and brick facade with black metal-framed arched windows lie 3,600 square feet of jackets, base layers, and climbing, hiking, and ski gear for men and women. The name refers to the earliest known bird, the archaeopteryx lithographica, and the company’s distinctive logo is based on its skeleton.
Prudential Center, Boston, 617-236-5818, aritzia.com
When it comes to good looks, Canada boasts more than the Trudeaus. The Vancouver-based Aritzia puts a modern spin on well-made feminine classics and free-spirited sportswear — the kind of styles many women reach for first every day. The house labels within the brand suit a variety of budgets and lifestyles, such as Babaton’s minimally elegant work-to-weekend wear and Wilfred’s unfussy boho styling. Fabrics are soft, colors are rich, and the sales associates are very helpful.
115 Newbury Street, Boston, artlifting.com
Talk about power shopping! This business with a social conscience sells artwork by people facing homelessness or living with disabilities, and each purchase nurtures a cycle of empowerment that generates income and self-confidence. The Boston-based artists’ marketplace opened its first brick-and-mortar gallery in November. The bright, airy third-floor space above Alex and Ani sports a variety of paintings and photographs as well as affordable handmade gift items like tote bags, cellphone cases, notecards, and hard-cover notebooks. Open by appointment and noon to 4 p.m. Saturdays.
94 Van Ness Street, Boston, 857-250-4115, blodryboutiques.com
In recent years, hairstyles have arguably become more significant than cuts, which explains the rise of the blow-dry salon. Local stylist Michael Manzo launched BloDry Boutique in the Fenway last fall. The streamlined black and white space has wood floors and blow-dryers suspended from the ceiling, plus a selfie station where you can document your new do the minute your stylist is done. The menu offers an array of looks, including finger waves, flat-ironed, braids, and updos; makeup application is available, too. The team will even travel to a client’s home or hotel room.
Got a glove compartment stuffed with unpaid parking tickets? A new app makes it easy to get them off your conscience. Last January, Mayor Martin J. Walsh introduced Boston PayTix, a no-frills resource that helps motorists in Boston, Cambridge, and neighboring towns pay curbside fines instantly, tag unpaid charges with handy reminders, and record personal ticket history. To date, more than 44,000 Boston tickets have been settled using the free app, available now for Android and iPhone users. Here’s hoping you won’t need it.
38 Newbury Street, Suite 603, Boston, 800-691-0952, brilliantearth.com
It was like coming home for MIT grad Beth Gerstein when she opened an intimate, by-appointment Boston showroom for her ethically sourced and eco-friendly fine jewelry company. After having difficulty finding a “100 percent guilt-free diamond” for her own engagement ring, Gerstein and Stanford grad school classmate Eric Grossberg launched Brilliant Earth, offering beautifully crafted, customizable diamond engagement/wedding rings and jewelry featuring a range of gems and precious metals (some quite affordable), guaranteed to be responsibly sourced.
24 Union Park Street, Boston, 617-936-4082, coucou-boston.com
Named after the French word for the game of peekaboo, this locally owned South End children’s boutique is chock-full of irresistible, globally sourced clothes, handmade toys, and products for ages up to 8. While you shop, kids can have fun using a play space featuring arts and crafts tables, a make-believe kitchen, and puppet stages. (Or you can pay to use the space longer.) There are even scheduled yoga classes for a fee. Decorations for nurseries and kids rooms are delightful, and the irresistible window displays are a neighborhood fave.
CRANE & LION
460 Harrison Avenue, Gallery C2, Boston, 617-982-7145; 40 Charles Street, Boston, 857-239-8170; craneandlion.com
In yoga, the crane pose requires strength and balance, while the lion helps one relax — apt names for a women’s athleisure-wear brand that combines function and fashion for workouts or kicking back. The signature look throughout the new stores is understated and clean, featuring an earthy, neutral color palette and versatile styling, from sleek activewear to softly draped knits. Oprah wore their workout wear on the cover of her magazine, O. Need we say more?
CURIO SPICE CO.
2265 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, 617-945-1888, curiospice.com
Inspired by an assignment while an undergrad at Oberlin, Claire Cheney dove headfirst into the world of spices. After graduation, she worked on a saffron farm in northern Greece before following her nose to spice regions around the globe. She began selling her first blend, a saffron and herb concoction, at farmers markets and specialty shops in 2015 and opened Curio Spice, her brick-and-mortar, last month in North Cambridge. There you’ll find more than 50 pure spices — ranging from the local (paprika from Meggie’s Farm in Rehoboth) to the exotic (peppercorns from the Kampot region of Cambodia) — each sourced and researched by Cheney, who is happy to share all she knows of her aromatic wares with customers.
66A South Street, Jamaica Plain, 857-318-2799, faithsnaturalsbeauty.com
When traditional skin care products didn’t help her childhood chicken pox scars, Faithlyn Scarlett developed a silky organic body butter that she found also cleared her son’s chronic eczema. A business was born. In her new store, she personally introduces visitors to a variety of hair and skin products, from lip balms and natural deodorant to men’s after-shave lotion — all handmade from natural ingredients, many imbued with subtle, delicious fragrances. The tiny sliver of a store also features jewelry, candles, teas, and mugs.
345 D Street, Boston, 857-496-1350, shopfete.com
A one-stop shop for celebratory endeavors, Southie’s paper cum clothing and gift boutique Fete Collection infuses fun into event preparation for hosts and guests. In addition to custom invitations and ready-made paper products by little-known indie lines, co-owners Julie Pike (who has worked in party planning) and Eileen Sherman curate other goodies. There are dresses for day and night, canvas duffel bags, and monogrammed champagne flutes, all set in an inviting space dotted with Eames chairs and a gold cocktail cart.
FIT BODY BOOT CAMP
24 Cambridge Street, Charlestown, 617-337-3738, fbbcboston.com
Longtime exercise addicts and newbies alike find themselves hooked on 30-minute workouts at the city’s first Fit Body Boot Camp franchise, which opened not far from the Sullivan Square T Station in Charlestown last spring. Owner Carol Fernandez and her staff run efficient, power-infused group trainings that use all manner of paraphernalia, including resistance bands, balance balls, kettle bells, sandbags, and ropes. They run slightly longer sessions outdoors at the Bunker Hill Monument and in a yoga room, too.
182 Newbury Street, Boston, 857-250-2497, illesteva.com
Last spring, New York-based luxury eyewear brand Illesteva, favored by celebs such as Beyonce and Reese Witherspoon, took over a small storefront previously occupied by a big-name sunglasses chain. The space has been refitted with pale wood shelving and rustic wood panels, an earthy foil to polished concrete floors. Fashion-forward glasses, made in Italy and France, mix classic and contemporary shapes, colors, and materials. Leather bags and eye-catching umbrellas are also for sale.
579 Tremont Street, Boston, 617-936-3808, kodomoboston.com
Kodomo owner and mom Jasmine Punzalan frowns on children’s wear covered in excessive logos, cartoon characters, and trite slogans. And don’t get her started on scratchy fabrics and over-the-top embellishments. Instead, Kodomo carries US and European lines that are playful, offbeat, and, above all, comfortable, with many enchanting prints. Having spent time in Japan, Punzalan chose the Japanese word for “child” as her store name and insists everything she carries be ethically manufactured.
LAND OF NOD
Natick Mall, 508-650-3901, landofnod.com
Parents looking for stylish options to outfit kids’ bedrooms and playrooms are thrilled that the first Northeast location of Land of Nod has landed. This offspring of Crate & Barrel offers brightly colored vintage-style wood beds, whimsically patterned rugs, and contemporary lighting along with tepees, toys, and party decor, making it a fun family destination. Need some help pulling it all together? Take advantage of complimentary design services.
134 Newbury Street, Boston, 617-236-5921, M0851.com
New England weather is unpredictable. Happily, M0851 makes dressing for the elements a stylish affair with sleek outerwear for men and women that is sophisticated in design while innovatively functional. The Montreal-based company uses luxurious but practical materials, such as tech-coated cottons and silicone polymer-primed leathers, that are water-resistant yet supple. Styles include fitted zip-up jackets, car and swing coats, hooded parkas, boiled wool and leather moto jackets, and a range of sturdy leather bags.
142 Newbury Street, Boston, 857-277-1647, marinelayer.com
Marine Layer founder Mike Natenshon had a light-bulb moment the day after his girlfriend (now wife) threw away his favorite worn-out shirt. Why not set up shop selling nothing but supremely comfy shirts? That grew into a casual-classic concept chain with a California-inspired aesthetic featuring feel-good, custom-blended fabrics in weekend-wear staples from sweats, polos, and patterned shirts to knit dresses, jackets, and at-home loungewear.
MARGARET O’LEARY SAN FRANCISCO
49 Charles Street, Boston, 617-535-9144, margaretoleary.com
Sweaters are a New England staple, and if they’re luxurious, unpretentious, and versatile, so much the better. Worn by relatable celebs like Kate Hudson, Jennifer Garner, and Halle Berry, O’Leary’s posh knits are made from long-wearing fine yarns, such as Scottish cashmere and wool/alpaca/silk blends, in styles mixing California’s relaxed aesthetic with inspiration from the designer’s Irish roots. Also in store are slinky knit dresses, hip outerwear, slimming leggings and jeans, and embellished investment handbags.
MILK STREET CAFE
50 Milk Street, Boston, 617-542-3663, milkstreetcafe.com
Baristas can make your lattes look pretty, but if you want your logo or a special message incorporated into the foam, head to the Milk Street Cafe in the financial district. At this food hall-style eatery, a countertop 3-D printer using coffee extract as edible ink turns the steamed milk into a foam canvas. The service is free (with drink purchase), and customers can select from designs stored in the machine or upload a personal photo, logo, or message. No marriage-proposals-by-java yet, but one customer asked his buddy, “Groomsman?”
456 Hanover Street, Boston, 857-284-7763, mystryde.com
Too often treadmill workouts turn into a monotonous slog accompanied by the same old playlists or subtitled cable news. Boston’s first running studio, located in the North End, changes all that with treadmill-based fitness classes. Beginners to marathoners can choose from one of three options: Endurance (45 to 60 minutes for a tempo run-style workout), Stryde (45 minutes, filled with sprints and hills), and Power Stryde (50 to 60 minutes, with a calorie-burning focus and exercises on and off the treadmill). Half marathon and marathon training packages are also available. Everyone goes at his or her own speed and intensity. Perfect for a city where cold, snow, and precious little daylight can make outdoor winter running a risky endeavor.
NEW ENGLAND FARM TO FIBER
Boston Public Market, 100 Hanover Street, Boston, 617-973-4909, newenglandfarmtofiber.com
Many restaurants serve up farm-to-table meals to enthusiastic locavores. Now knitters can have the equivalent experience with their yarn. New England Farm to Fiber, owner Genevieve Day’s new shop in the Boston Public Market, is devoted to selling undyed yarn made from the wool of local sheep. Choose from freshly spooled braids labeled with the farm name and location — from Savage Hart Farm in Vermont to Greenwood Hill Farm in Massachusetts. Also in stock are knitting patterns and kits, notions, how-to guides, and magazines.
121 Charles Street, Boston, 617-982-7962, ouimillie.com
Delightfully quirky with utterly original apparel, accessories, and home goods, this concept boutique is the brainchild of local interior designer Millicent Cutler, offering charming European lines you didn’t know you needed. (Beechwood and goat-hair computer brush, anyone?) Colorful Reiko jeans from France and kicky city-chic styles from Denmark share space with room-making Parisian bed linens, Belgian and Danish kitchenware, French jewelry, carryalls, and children’s toys, and even a comfy sheepskin bike seat cover.
Current pop-up stores at Copley Place and Legacy Place, 617-545-5500, aruby.net; ongoing pop-up shop in Willey Boston, 8 Union Park Street, Boston, 617-424-6700, willeyboston.com
Local designer Avra Myers, formerly of Club Monaco and J. Jill, created A Ruby to simplify women’s wardrobe options. Starting with the “Quintessentials” — the perfect white shirt, flattering black pant, layering tank, etc. — the line expanded into athleisure wear like comfy T’s, refined knits, versatile fleece jackets, slimming leggings and jeans, and the new Av-Ra performance line, all available online and in rotating pop-up shops.
Prudential Center, Boston, 617-437-7704, samedelman.com
With designer shoes often costing an arm and a leg, Sam Edelman’s easier-on-the-wallet prices are a welcome change of pace. A cofounder of Kenneth Cole, Edelman knows how to deliver the season’s hottest trends in scads of colors, materials, and heel heights. Already popular at local department stores, the 12-year-old brand went big with its Boston store: 2,800 square feet of uncluttered displays and living room-style seating in a rustic/industrial mix of wood, brass, and concrete.
Prudential Center, Boston, 617-262-3400, shinola.com
Gotta love Shinola for its dedication to bringing world-class manufacturing jobs back to Detroit and the USA. Starting five years ago with retro-cool precision watches, the company has continued to support high-quality American and international suppliers. Product lines include premium leather goods, bicycles produced in partnership with Waterford, jewelry designed by Pamela Love, and handcrafted pocket journals with on-site mongramming. The beautifully appointed Boston store offers a well-curated representation of Shinola’s carefully curated inventory.
284 Newbury Street, Boston, 617-236-1444, skinspanewyork.com
After opening seven Manhattan locations in the past 10 years, Skin Spa expanded to the third floor of a Boston brownstone last spring. Treat yourself to facials, waxing, laser hair removal, microdermabrasion, sunless tanning, anti-aging treatments, or massage in one of the spa’s 14 serene rooms with painted white brick walls and windows looking down on Newbury Street. Prices are reasonable, and monthly memberships tout discounted treatments meant for both repair and relaxation.
360 Newbury Street, Boston, 617-867-4180, tjmaxx.com
Rather than the usual single-floor sea of merchandise, the three-story, 45,000-square foot T.J.Maxx, which opened in May on the corner of Mass. Ave., delivers a distinctly more urbane experience. One enters the space — one of the discount retailer’s largest and shiniest outposts — into an array of beauty bits and bobs, with accessories and registers around the corner. Designer merch greets those ascending to the second floor, which is home to women’s clothing. Menswear and home goods (including an aisle of organic snacks) are at the top. On every floor, the prices are hard to resist.
1386a Beacon Street, Brookline, 857-352-4281, uncommonyarn.com
With the exploding DIY movement, knitting’s clearly not just for grannies anymore. (Right, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kate Middleton?) As a way to bring enthusiasts together, Brookline resident Patricia Coombs opened her store, stocking an ever-changing mix of beautiful, hard-to-find yarns in myriad colors from fair-trade and American independent dyers. Enjoy the welcoming knitters’ lounge any time or get tips at Thursday evening group gatherings.
UNDER ARMOUR BRAND HOUSE
Prudential Center, Boston, 617-236-1723, underarmour.com
“Experiential” is the buzzword for this mammoth athletic brand store, where you can interact with digital displays, test your jumping skills against athletic greats, and take selfies with a gigantic ripped male torso in a second-skin (seasonally appropriate) Boston sports team T. There’s also a 3-D Tom Brady sports wall, branded merchandise for the Pats, Red Sox, and BC Eagles, and, of course, loads of men’s, women’s, and children’s performance-centric clothing and footwear for numerous sports.
Copley Place, Boston, 857-504-6275, versace.com
A name synonymous with high-wattage luxury, this storied Italian brand offers much to covet in its sumptuous new Boston store, which opened in June. The men’s and women’s clothes are famously on the sexy side, but far less overt than you might imagine, often substituting signature bold prints, sensuous materials, and tonal textures for skin-baring silhouettes. Drool-worthy accessories include colorful leather bags with Medusa-logo clasps, steel-heeled stilettos, and outfit-making scarves, with exquisite patterned china, pillows, and glassware also standouts.
THE VIDEO UNDERGROUND
3203 Washington Street, Jamaica Plain, thevideounderground.com
After nearly going under a few years ago, this go-to spot for film enthusiasts was revived as a communal oasis along a scruffy strip near Egleston Square. Now approaching its 15th year, it’s been transformed again by its new specialty coffee and tea bar. Pour-overs with freshly ground organic beans and a big range of espresso/specialty drinks, organic teas, and smoothies reel in more than just cinephiles eager to browse its impressive array of buy-rent DVDs. Owner Kevin Koppes is always ready for a lively chat, and the bar has become a neighborhood gathering spot for conversation and the occasional community meeting.
WINE RIOT SOUTH END
519 Tremont Street, Boston, 617-279-0085, wineriot.com
Wine Riot is as much an educational experience as it is a retailer. Eight-foot-tall maps explaining everything from country of origin to regional soil types help ensure you’ll know a crazy amount about the bottle you leave with. Daily tastings and a section of the store called Social Studies, dedicated to wines from places like Macedonia, Georgia, and Lebanon, help you venture into the unfamiliar and figure out, sip by sip, what you like to drink best.
Best of the New 2016 contributors: Diane Bair, Kara Baskin, Ellen Bhang, Karen Campbell, Marisa Dellatto, Gary Dzen, Perry Eaton, Devra First, Jan Gardner, Patricia Harris, Emeralde Jensen-Roberts, Katie Johnston, Sheryl Julian, Marni Elyse Katz, David Lyon, Dan Morrell, Rachel Raczka, Melissa Schorr, Catherine Smart, Shira Springer, Tina Sutton, Denise Drower Swidey, Ann Trieger Kurland, Ted Weesner, and Pamela Wright. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us on Twitter at @BostonGlobeMag.