The 2010 Hot List: Shopping
200+ things we love about St. Louis
Compiling a list of the city’s top spots to eat, drink, dance, shop and play is no easy feat. And this year, we had an endless list of buzzworthy newcomers, rediscovered classics and established spots that have stepped it up a notch to choose from. Not that we’re complaining; in fact, we’ve never been more proud of our city’s restaurants, shops, clubs, gyms and cultural institutions. If we could write St. Louis a love song, it would go a little something like this.
We love St. Louis because if shopping is your hobby, you’ll never get bored. With boutiques consistently expanding their brand offerings and restocking their shelves with the lines we know and love, bouncing to stores in every shopping area in St. Louis could be a thoroughly entertaining past time.
Best Boutique: Valerie Mills Fine Apparel With of-the-moment, celeb-backed lines like Elizabeth & James (by Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen) and Halston Heritage (Sarah Jessica Parker is president and chief creative officer), Valerie Mills earns her customers’ love by continuing to expand her boutique’s high-fashion offerings. Clayton, 314.727.4545.
Best Buyer: Sarah King (Blush Boutique) That Wildfox Couture tee? The same worn by Victoria Beckham on the cover of Glamour. The Kardashian’s collection for Virgins Saints & Angels? That’s it, in the jewelry case. Blush owner Sarah King knows what in-the-know shoppers want and consistently stocks her store with the latest lines and top trends. Kirkwood, 314.965.4411.
Best Place to Play Carrie Bradshaw: Wish Shoes The need be surrounded by the newest styles by Tory Burch, Giuseppe Zanotti, Sam Edelman and Diane von Furstenberg is the perfect reason to hit Wish. As for an excuse to make a purchase? You don’t want your feet to feel left out, right? Ladue, 314.432.0800.
Best Upscale Resale: Women’s Closet Exchange With hundreds of new items hitting the floor every day, Women’s Closet Exchange is never the same store twice. From boutique brands to your favorite high-fashion labels—all at resale prices—you’ll want to shop again and again to ensure you’re first to a Fendi for-less. Sappington, 314.842.8405.
Best Bet for “It” Brands: Klutch New-kid-in-town Klutch is still growing, so it keeps customers guessing as to what hot line will be in-store on their next visit. One week it’s Meghan by Meghan Fabulous; another, L.A.M.B., though every day it’s overflowing with young-and-fresh denim, dresses and accessories. Town & Country, 636.220.6110.
Best Men’s Boutique: Moris Fashions It used to be that men’s clothing options equated to slim pickin’s. Today, there are nearly as many strictly-men’s boutiques as there are women’s, like Moris. Shop the standout CWE store for an abundance of options, including on-trend pieces by John Varvatos and Boss suits. Central West End, 314.361.6800.
Best Custom Engagement Rings: Mavrik Jewelry Sometimes you don’t even know what you want until someone shows it to you, which is why so many brides-to-be visit Igal Alon at Mavrik. While a beautiful, unique ring is undoubtedly the objective, Igal will show you styles you’ve never seen or considered—and will make something spectacular just for you. Kirkwood, 314.909.6818.
Best New Boutique: Cha It’s not often a new store causes an instant jump-up-and-down reaction upon first sight, but that’s exactly what Cha spurred when it opened its doors just months ago. From the uber-girly décor to hot, head-to-toe lines at every price point, from Fumblin’ Foe to James Perse, if you have yet to visit, I warn you; try and contain yourself. Ladue, 314.993.8080.
Best Dresses to Impress: Vie The answer to a socialite’s daily dilemma of what to wear, Vie has dresses for every occasion. Stock up on party-perfect frocks by Alice + Olivia and gala-worthy gowns by Mark & James by Badgley Mischka. Ladue, 314.997.0124.
Best Better-Than-Basics: Essential Elements You know those days when you need to get ready in a pinch, but want to look put together? Apparently Elizabeth McGee of Essential Elements does, as she’s stocked her store with casual go-tos and jeans that look as easy as they do chic. Ladue, 314.872.5600.
Best Place to Score the “It” Bag: Saks Fifth Avenue Most woman invest in a killer handbag and carry it all season, which makes sense; changing purses is a pain, and—as it’s something you’re going to wear every day—it better be good. Saks gets it, so they keep their shelves piled high with Chanel, Gucci, Marc Jacobs bags so fab, you may want to carry your pick for consecutive seasons. Plaza Frontenac, 314.567.9200.
Best High-End Footwear: Neiman Marcus Neiman Marcus is basically a shoe-lover’s dream. Feel free to openly ogle and gush over the glorious stilettos, sandals, boots and more by Christian Louboutin, Manolo Blahnik, Miu Miu and more, but, if you must pinch yourself, do it on the down-low; it’s weird. Plaza Frontenac, 314.567.9811.
Best One-Of-A-Kind Jewelry: Summit Jewelers With a “jeweler’s workshop” located on the lower level, you can rest assured that you won’t spot the stunning accessory you select from Summit on anyone else, that is, unless you want Martin Hassing and his crew to make you a gold pendant like the one you spotted on Kevin Federline’s chain. They would, but don’t. Webster Groves, 314.962.1400.
Best Red Carpet Bling: Elleard Heffern Fine Jewelers Whether you’re on the red carpet or on a dinner date, every girl loves to hear the four magic words, “What are you wearing?” If lucky enough to score beautiful bling from Elleard Heffern Fine Jewelers, there are an abundance of possible responses, including “Stephen Webster,” “Oscar Heyman” and “Roberto Coin.” Clayton, 314.863.8820.
Best Fashion Jewelry: Alixandra Collections In some cases, a small, nightstand-size, table holds the extent of a boutique’s jewelry offerings. Pretty pitiful. As for Alixandra Collections? One-half of the mega-store is strictly jewelry, with trays and shelves full of baubles and gems by such lines as CC Skye, Chan Luu and Viv & Ingrid. That’s more like it! Ladue, 314.997.2360.
Best Consignment: Back on the Rack It’s true that one person’s trash is another person’s treasure, which is why Back on the Rack is so genius. Stylish women can shop a vast selection of upscale women’s apparel and accessories from other stylish women wanting to add to their wardrobe allowances; it’s like an ongoing closet swap. Brilliant! Brentwood, 314.963.7575.
Best Personalized Gifts: Dazzle If your go-to gifts are candles and scented lotion, you haven’t been to Dazzle. Surprise your friends and family with a more-meaningful gift on their next special day; from knick-knacks to wearables to decor that can be monogrammed,’ there’s something everyone, from kids-to-adults, will love. Frontenac, 314.991.3200.
Best Loose Diamond Selection: Decor Interiors & Jewelry When it comes to her engagement ring, a bride-to-be is most often all about the diamond. If it’s big, she’ll stop at the homes of everyone in her Blackberry to brag; if it’s smaller than expected, she may show her mom. Make the upcoming nuptials newsworthy with the biggest stone for your buck at Decor, where the selection is stellar. Chesterfield, 314.434.4022.
Best Place to Play Ring Designer: Diamond & Jewelry Brokers’ Most dream about their wedding days from the time they’re little girls, down to the detail, including the style of ring. If she had her heart set on an impossible-to-find style, fulfill her fairytale with a custom ring from Diamond & Jewelry Brokers. Manchester, 636.391.6622.
Best Unique Selection: Mary Jane’s A colorful mecca for girly girls who love their shoes, jewels and head-to-toe fashions, Mary Jane’s consistently offers the eclectic and cool. Shop Naughty Monkey shoes, DKNY lingerie, Gentle Fawn separates, denim, dresses and cutesy gifts for her. Central West End, 314.367.8867.
Best Online Shopping: Pulse Sometimes, a day off can feel more hectic than a workday. Slow down, and log on. Need to stock up on new clothes for summer? Go to pulsestl.com for Jenny Han and Ella Moss dresses, J Brand jeans and Melie Bianco bags—then wear them looking refreshed. Chesterfield, 636.519.4022.
Best Runway Looks for Less: Express The designers for Express obviously study up on the season’s runway trends, as the mall staple is constantly stocked with looks comparable to the designer styles being hyped in the hottest glossies. High fashion for less, and with a food court next door? Perfect! Multiple Area Locations, express.com.
Best Place For Kids’ Clothes: Jillybean Children’s Boutique If you’ve seen Suri, Kingston, Shiloh or Pax, chances are it’s carried at Jillybean. Specializing in unique designer clothing for children and infants, be sure to set a spending limit before you walk in; everything is so cute, you’re bound to want one of each. Ladue, 314.872.2988.
Best Shopping for a Cause: NCJW Resale Shop There’s a classic episode of “Friends” in which Phoebe insists there’s no such thing as a selfless good deed. Shopping the NCJW Resale Shop furthers her claim. Sure, your spending will support the National Council of Jewish Women’s community service and advocacy programs, but you’ll be walking away with a fab accessory or clothing item for yourself. University City, 314.692.8141.
Best Men’s Watches: Simons Jewelers One of the only accessories you wear regularly, watches are as important to you as handbags are to the lady in your life. So, shop Simon’s, where fabulous Rolex, Cartier and Panerai timepieces are always in store. Pick a fave, and don’t worry; they needn’t match your shoes. Clayton, 314.725.8888.
Best Jewelry Gifts: CODI Diamonds With freshwater pearls, Swarovski crystal, Bali beads and more, “funky for day, fancy for night” CODI jewelry by local designer Courtney Hopson is feminine, unique and, therefore, a perfect gift for any girl in your life, even if she‘s more “fancy for day, funky for night”. Trust me. Ladue & Town & Country, codijewelry.com.
Best Sweaters: Skif International Nina Ganci and her Skif crew are doing amazing things with knitwear and beyond. Outfitting characters in the original The Matrix movie, the team’s sweaters are best described as avant-garde pieces of art that can be worn most everywhere— apparently, even a “dream world.” The Hill, 314.773.4401.
Best Party Wear: Laurie Solet Party girls have earned a bad rap, thanks in part to Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton’s repeated dancing-on-the-bar routine. Help set things right in appropriately-sexy frocks and slinky separates by LaROK, Mike and Chris, Foley+Corinna and more. Then, for Pete‘s sake, wear underwear. Clayton & Town & Country, lauriesolet.com.
Best Shop For West Coast Lines: jeccastyle.com When compared to the East Coast, West Coast style tends to skew more rocker, more beachy and, therefore, sexier; it’s likely what launched The Beach Boys’ obsession with “California Girls.” So, Jessica Young was smart to focus her online store on those hot Cali and LA-inspired lines ladies love. Shop designer denim by Ringspun, graphic tees, swimwear and more, and work the pieces from coast to coast.
Best Platinum Selection: Curt Parker Jeweler An engagement ring is an investment. If you buy something that’s too trendy, chances are you’ll be buying a replacement a few years down the road. Invest in something she’ll love for life at Curt Parker, where you’ll find ever-popular platinum in styles galore. Ladue, 314.989.9909.
Best Store for Wardrobe Staples: Eileen Fisher Wardrobe staples are just as important as seasonal shoe and handbag investments; you’re going to be wearing them time and time again, so you best purchase quality pieces you love, which is exactly what you’ll find at Eileen Fisher. Score classic button-downs, sophisticated skirts, chic sweaters and more. Plaza Frontenac, 314.983.0975.
Personalized Service: Nordstrom Shopping with a friend is always best; they tell you what fits best and what looks ridiculous, and they get you additional size options when you’re juggling pieces half-naked in a dressing room. If you need to shop solo, head to Nordstrom, where the super-helpful workers make fab friend substitutes. West County Center, 314.255.2000.
Glamour Gowns: Boutique Calla Lily It’s a rarity when, post-prom, one finds an excuse to get decked-out. If you do, be sure to hit Boutique Calla Lily. Specializing in formals for dances, pageants and more, you’ll find fabulous frocks by Jovani, Sherri Hill, Basix Black Label and more. Central West End, 314.367.6353.
Traditional Jewelry Store: Albarre Jewelry You know those longstanding, family-owned stores in which the workers treat their customers like gold? If not, you haven’t been to Albarre, where you’ll find an abundance of fine jewelry in traditional-to-modern styles (not limited to gold). Ladue, 314.997.1707.
Best Something-for-Everyone Resale: Designer Resale A girl whose main thrill in life is to find buried treasures in vintage and resale stores may be torn upon first sight of the racks upon racks of organized-by-size (0-3x)-and-style clothing at Designer Resale. While there is some fun in a complicated hunt, ease of shopping may make her reevaluate. St. Peters, 636.279.3968.
Best Classic Jewelry Pieces: Tiffany & Co. If there is a movie that is more “classic” than Breakfast at Tiffany’s, I have yet to view it. If there is a jewelry store more chic than Tiffany & Co., I have yet to visit. Thanks to providing lovely shopping experiences and extra-special pieces, seeing a little blue box daily is in most women‘s dreams. Plaza Frontenac, 314.692.2255.
Best Brand Selection: Susan Lynn’s Whether you’re more the bright-and-cheery Lilly Pulitzer or retro-girly Milly type, an eclectic-vintage Leifsdottir lover or a more casual tees-by-Michael Stars gal, Susan Lynn’s carries head-to-toe looks you’ll love. Town & Country, 636.530.7337.
Best Poolside Apparel: Lori Coulter Made-to-Order Swimwear If you equate getting into a bikini with your naked-and-everybody’s-laughing-at-you recurring nightmare, then you have yet to shop Lori Coulter, where the style options are vast, colorful and on-trend, and made to fit you! Macy’s at Chesterfield Mall, 314.727.9879.
Best Women’s Underwear: Jule If you have years-old underthings you refrain from wearing until laundry day as they’re basically hideous (stretched-out waistbands, faded, etc.), it’s time your prettied-up your panty drawer by shopping Cosabella, Eberjey and Hanky Panky at Jule. Ladue, 314.983.9282.
Best Men’s Underwear: Boxers Ever since David Beckham flexed his pecks in a pair of tighty whities, it seems STL men have stepped up their game. First, via trips to the gym; second, by Calvin Klein, 2xist and more at Boxers. Downtown, 314.454.0209.
Best Sunglasses: Solstice Sometimes you wonder if your constant stepping on, sitting on and scratching your shades subconsciously on purpose, as you love nothing more than an excuse to hit Solstice for the latest sunglasses by Prada, Tom Ford, Marc Jacobs and more. Saint Louis Galleria, 314.488.2247.
Best Source for Eye Glasses: The Eye Bar You always want what you don’t have. When you were a kid, you wore a paperclip in your mouth because everyone else had braces; as an adult, you shop The Eye Bar for popular specs by Oliver Peoples, Face a Face and Badgley Mischka, which you wear without a prescription. Central West End, 314.367.1848.
Best Creative Eyewear: Eyewearhaus If, like Lisa Loeb, Anna Wintour or even Sally Jessy Raphael, your eyewear is your signature, Eyewearhaus should be your source. Score a retro or modern eclectic frame that complements your unique style. Creve Coeur, 314.567.7423.
Best Collaboration: Blues/Sole/G’Sell Three of your most-visited boutiques moving into one space is comparable to three of your favorite artists collaborating on one song; it would be great, but you won’t hold your breath. Thanks to Blues/ Sole/G’Sell‘s new location—where you’ll find some of The Loop’s hottest shoes, clothes, gifts and more under one roof—you can hold on to the hope that Tommy Lee, Carrie Underwood and Lil’ Wayne will one day join forces. The Loop, 314.863.3600.
Best Casual Wear: AG Adriano Goldschmied For that coveted, casual, “I’m put-together, but I didn’t try too hard” look that works for day and night, head to AG Adriano Goldschmied for the latest in jeans, jackets, tops and tees. Central West End, 314.361.6161.
Best Western Wear: Giddyup Jane From cowboy hats and cowboy boots to belt buckles and Western wear by such brands as Johnny Was, GiddyUp Jane houses everything a true cowgirl or ranch-bound city slicker could need—except for any necessary weapons, and straw; a cowgirl should always be chewing on a piece of straw. Ladue, 314.993.9944.
Best Streetwear: I Am…! There are a few things that have put I Am…! on the map. One, it houses cool tees, jackets and sneakers, plus hot denim by such brands as Diesel and True Religion. Two, football players and hockey players call it their style source, and they can pretty much shop anywhere they want. University City, 314.726.2224.
Best Trendy Teen Apparel: Paperdolls For a dance-worthy dress, designer denim or that jacket Kristen Stewart wore in Twilight, head to Paperdolls. Between handbags, shoes and jewelry at a variety of price points, young and fresh lines like BB Dakota stock the shelves. Kirkwood, 314.965.3655.
Best Vintage: Tag Timeless Authentic Garments If you too fear a hunchback, carpal tunnel and impaired vision due to hours spent sifting through vintage clothing, shoes and accessories on such sites as eBay and Etsy, start hitting tag instead—where you’ll find a plethora of cherry-picked fashions you’ll love. The Loop, 314.721.1370.
Best Style Steals: Tantrum If you haven’t been back to the new and improved Tantrum, you’re missing out; there’s a new owner and new brands, yet the same prices you’ve come to expect from the corner clothier. Stop in for dresses, shoes and more by lines like Kensie Girl and Nick & Mo. The Loop, 314.783.0527.
Best Silver Jewelry: The Silver Lady Whether you’re loyal to silver jewelry or like to mix your metals, head to The Silver Lady for the best selection of silver accessories in town. Carrying earrings, rings and things in simple to striking styles, members of Team Gold obviously have yet to visit. The Loop & Central West End, thesilver-lady.com.
Best Resale: Clique Some shop Clique because resale prices are cheaper than retail; others, as a convenient means of shopping all of their favorite brands (H&M, Free People, Miss Sixty). You shop for both reasons, as well as the fact that you’ve always wanted to be in a “Clique.” Sappington, 314.729.0883.
Best Trendy, Budget-Friendly Pumps: Bakers Some see runway trends and feel sorry for themselves, knowing that they can look, bet never touch. Bakers shoppers, on the other hand, know that they’ll be walking in the season’s hot, high-fashion wedges, platforms and stilettos before they know it. Multiple locations, bakersshoes.com.
Best Gift Store: Lusso If you’re a buy-it-on-the-way kind of a gal or guy, you’re lucky you can count on Lusso. With delicate jewelry, inspiring books, home decor and more, your hostess, family member or soon-to-be-married friend will think you spent weeks planning the perfect gift. Clayton, 314.725.7205.
Best Place to Outfit Your Abode: Niche If you’ve ever gone to the home of a super-young someone, it’s likely you’ve seen decor consisting of a futon, a TV tray and a mattress on the floor. Thankfully, like many, Niche has outfitted your abode in the best by Gus* Modern, Herman Miller and Knoll, so you can live like a grown-up. Downtown, 314.621.8131.
Best Bike Shop: Big Shark Bike riders have a schedule (Tuesday night Bike night!); they have a uniform (head-to-heel Lycra); they have a retailer who “gets it,” so keeps novices-to-triathletes coming back for all of their biking needs: Big Shark. The Loop, 314.862.1188.
Best Store to Stock Up on Contemporary Decor: Phillips Furniture For some, owning new, modern furniture equates to spending three months’ rent for an end table. They obviously haven’t visited Phillips Furniture; as it turns out, you can shop the look for less and pay your landlord on time. Perfect. Kirkwood, 314.966.0047.
Best Home Accessories: UMA The best place for modern knickknacks and home accessories, add personal touches to your loft or house via UMA. New clocks, lamps, kitchen decor and more will make your home feel like a home, while maintaining your clean or minimalist aesthetic. Downtown, 314.241.9990.
Best Bookstore: Left Bank Books Whether you love international fashion magazines, art books or are part of Oprah’s Book Club, head to Left Bank Books. With a huge selection of monthly publications, best-selling paperbacks and more, you‘re bound to find the page-turner on your list. Central West End & Downtown, left-bank.com.
Best Stationery: The Service Bureau Thanks to The Service Bureau which sells a variety of must-buy stationery for all occasions, it seems traditional (handwritten, with an envelope and a stamp) thank-you cards, birthday cards and invitations will continue to coexist— thank goodness; a “Dear Friends” eblast is somehow less personal. Ladue, 314.991.1104.
Best Bridal Registry: Byron Cade For extra-special wedding gifts, like silver and fine china, head to Byron Cade, where you can browse such brands as Waterford and Vera Wang and buy something you know the happy couple will love. Richmond Heights, 314.721.4701.
Best Unique Gifts: Twigs & Moss If, every time you buy flowers for your home, they end up sitting in a vase for way longer than intended, Twigs & Moss has the answer. Great gifts for yourself or a friend, scoop up dried permanent flower arrangements or botanically-inspired home accessories. Luckily, no water needed. Richmond Heights, 314.454.0447.
Best Selection of Coveted Accoutrement: Ivy Hill Ivy Hill’s Hillary Dutcher knows that the old fashion rules no longer apply; today, it’s, “Before you leave the house, add another accessory.” So, she keeps her customers’ jewelry boxes stocked and closets filled with ample handbags, scarves, hats and more. Central West End, 314.367.7004.
Best Place to Buy Workout Gear: Blue Moon Active Wear If you’re one that gets more excited to go out when you’re wearing a new outfit, here’s a fitness tip; you’ll be more apt to hit the gym if your workout wear is fabulous. Visit the new Blue Moon Active Wear, shop the colorful yoga lines and watch the inches drop. Clayton, 314.256.1823.
Best Kids Resale: The Purple Cow Between spills and constantly growing, kids’ clothes last a season, at best—which is why spending beaucoup bucks on them in the first place is pretty silly. Instead, suit them up in on-trend wearables from The Purple Cow, and don’t forget about the ever-stylish bib. Sappington, 314.843.3888.
Best Furniture Resale: The Exchange Though you may keep your furniture as long as you keep your house, others call on interior designers to revamp rooms on a regular basis. Their loss is your gain; scoop up their like-new leftovers at The Exchange, where you’ll find wooden armoires, cushy couches and more for less. Sappington, 314.842.7300.
Image 2: Inside Moris Fashions
Image 3: Giddyup Jane sells handmade boots by Old Gringo for $435.00.
Photo credit: Photo by Jennifer Silverberg