The Hot List 2013: Shopping

By Jennifer Wells
In Guide, Style

 

See The Hot List 2013 in its entirety in the June issue of ALIVE, or in the digital edition.

 

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Best Boutique: Esther

The ever-chic Esther boutique delivers the atmosphere and designer options usually reserved for those on the coasts. After racking up numerous accolades since opening in 2011, one might assume the Esther crew is content with the status quo‰ÛÓau contraire. The constant addition of new lines (Rag & Bone, anyone?), mixed with the boutique’s consistent focus on classics such as Current Elliott, Elizabeth and James and Rebecca Taylor make Esther the place to shop in St. Louis. The boutique’s latest conquest? Getting a “foot” up on the competition by offering more summer sandals, including those by trendy California-based footwear company Koolaburra. Ladue, 314.432.5300

Best Women’s Boutique: Cha

From early on, it was the intention of Cha owner Sarah Garlich to dispel the public’s perception that Ladue boutiques are laden with pomp and circumstance‰ÛÓand she’s succeeded. A friendly and knowledgeable staff‰ÛÓcoupled with a well-stocked selection of wearable apparel‰ÛÓmakes Cha one of the area’s most accessible and noteworthy boutiques in St. Louis. Shoshanna, Wildfox and Joie are definite draws, as are elusive labels such as Chan Luu and Black Orchid. Plus, the convenient Ladue locale makes popping in and out a breeze, enabling one to haul out loads of fashion-forward looks worthy of girls’ night, date night or anything in between. Ladue, 314.993.8080.

Best Home Accessories: Niche

The ultimate in home furnishings for tastemakers and the style-conscious, Niche‘s remarkable statement pieces abound and delight those seeking high-quality, classic home accessories. And while the items themselves are undoubtedly crave-worthy, the styling of said merchandise is half the fun‰ÛÓand in turn provides much fodder for home design inspiration. The setting (subtle music and fabulous lighting) also does its part to up the ante for a pleasurable shopping experience. The icing on the cake? A truly friendly staff that is happy to help solve all your most pressing design dilemmas. Downtown, 314.621.8131.

Best Designer Brands: Vie

If you’ve ever felt a twinge of envy for celebrities and their endless access to incredible high-end merch, seethe no more. Instead, make the quick trek to Vie, where you’ll find a bevy of amazing labels like Nicole Miller, Alice + Olivia, SW3 Bespoke, T-Bags Los Angeles and Analili. The glam boutique even stocks an assortment of statement jewelry (complete with a few diamond pieces) to thoroughly round out your ensemble. While you’re there, be sure to check out the bright and vibrant scarves by Theodora and Callum‰ÛÓjust add a white tank, aviators and a grande latte, and you just might be mistaken for a celeb yourself. Ladue, 314.997.0124.

Best Luxury Department Store: Saks Fifth Avenue

It’s hard to improve upon perfection, but if one retailer has proven it can be done, it’s Saks Fifth Avenue. Not taking a moment to rest after a glamorous, art-inspired renovation of the shoe department, Saks decided to shake things up in the beauty section as well, with a reimagining of the Chanel beauty experience. The new Chanel BeautÌ© pays homage to the Chanel legacy with the chic accoutrements and sense of style one would expect from a leader of the industry. All of these changes fall on the cusp of Saks celebrating 60 fabulous years in St. Louis‰ÛÓwe’ll toast to that! Frontenac, 314.567.9200.

Best activewear: Lululemon

Fitness and fashion haven’t always been on the best of terms, so when a label screams stylish femininity with a sporty edge, women tend to take notice. Always one to present trendy and timely athletic apparel, you can count on Lululemon for the latest “it” colors, cuts and fabrics intended for ultimate form and function. And while they’ve got the art of dressing women down to a science, it should be noted the brand’s extensive men’s line has managed to shine as well‰ÛÓexuding masculinity in modern, clean finishes that are completely flattering to the male physique. That makes reason No. 101 to love the brand. Frontenac, 314.994.7662.

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Best One-Stop-Shop: The Collective at MX

Perhaps one of the most innovative retail concepts to hit St. Louis‰ÛÓwell‰ÛÓever, The Collective at MX is 3,400 square feet of mouth-watering space filled with a little bit of everything. Apparel, home dÌ©cor, beauty products, artwork, furniture, accessories, gifts and more are all thoughtfully selected from more than 40 local boutiques, designers and retailers and stylishly housed under one roof. The MX shopping destination is curated by local style maven Nicole Benoist, whose fashion background adds cred to the exciting venture, while each vendor (Ivy Hill, Lori Coulter, KayOss, East + West, Wai Ming‰Û_need we say more?) undoubtedly brings its own special something. Downtown, 314.241.5420.

Best Accessories: Ivy Hill

Nearly anything in bar form is good (candy bars, sports bars, Bloody Mary bars), but our favorite bar of all is undoubtedly the one dreamed up by Ivy Hill owner Hillary Dutcher. The jewelry bar‰ÛÓwhere an assortment of gemstones, charms and other precious baubles await your personal design and creativity‰ÛÓtook shape at Ivy Hill’s newest location on Ladue Road, but it’s just one of the many fun accessory options at your whim. Handbags, hats, scarves and a selection of other trendworthy ready-to-wear jewelry are also available, in addition to Leona, a hot new line exclusive to the Ladue location and the STL shopping scene at large. Multiple locations, ivyhillboutique.com.

Best Fine Jewelry: Albarr̩

If diamonds are a girl’s best friend, then pearls, rubies, sapphires and emeralds are surely the ladies in waiting. But there’s no need to pick from your besties when you can shop for them all at Albarre. Diamonds fit for a princess come in many forms‰ÛÓbracelets, necklaces, earrings and stunning engagement sets. Colored stones are a great way to show off your “royal jewels” while Albarre’s unique collection of pearl statement pieces also delivers king-sized sophistication. We tend to favor the unique hues like Natural Lavender Freshwater Pearls and Tahitian South Sea Chocolate Pearls‰ÛÓwhich, true to their names, look good enough to eat. Ladue, 314.997.1707.

Most Innovative Selection: 10denza

It’s not just the current trends that have us heading to 10denza‰ÛÓit’s the knowledge we’ll get a sampling of next season’s most sought-after looks. 10denza always manages to stay just far enough ahead of the curve to keep its clientele among the best dressed in St. Louis, while simultaneously keeping onlookers in awe. Past uniquities to grace the shelves include pumped-up kicks by Adidas Originals, black patent leather Puma Zandys, plus other fun little goodies like Pura Vida bracelets, Nixon watches and our favorite of 10denza’s offerings, a collection of colorful bullet shell necklaces. Central West End, 314.361.1010.

Best Custom Jewelry: Mavrik Fine Jewelry

The ultimate in gift giving (and receiving), a custom piece from Mavrik Fine Jewelry is a dazzling way to mark any special occasion‰ÛÓand is even more appreciated if it’s “just because.” Whether you’re the designer type with a ton of ideas, or you just want a truly one-of-a-kind piece, the brilliant jewelers at Mavrik can help you craft a bauble that will make her head spin. From engagement rings to push presents, creating a custom piece can be as affordable or extravagant as your taste and budget allow. For those who already have a complete jewelry collection (is there such a thing?), Mavrik also offers redesign services intended to bring your sentimental treasures into the new millennium. Kirkwood, 314.909.6818.

Best Place to Buy USA-Made: Devil City

In an era of homogenized everything‰ÛÓincluding shopping‰ÛÓDevil City stands out as a boutique with a definitive point of view. Part pinup, part rocker and a whole lot of cool, Devil City’s fashionista is chock full of attitude and knows how to rock anything from a Schott leather jacket to a curve-hugging wiggle dress. There’s an intentional nod to “new vintage” in a remixed kind of way, but one thing Devil City has never remixed is the boutique’s steadfast commitment to buying quality apparel while supporting American brands as often as possible. The Loop, 314.863.8080.

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Best New Boutique: CLR-MNSTR

Worrying about whether it’s a gallery that sells apparel or a boutique that features art is futile‰ÛÓyour focus would be better served deciding which fabulous piece (neon moto jacket or original print?) you’ll be taking home. Shoppers have become enamored with the affordable, yet relevant apparel and accessories offered by the new CLR-MNSTR (pronounced Color Monster). Owner Tricia Thurman’s unique, eye-catching window displays have done their part in keeping Washington Avenue vibrant. Plus, impromptu parties, champagne events and consistent support for the local art and fashion scenes only further validate CLR-MNSTR’s newfound fashion status in STL. Downtown, 314.241.1930.

Best Men’s Boutique: East + West

With the intention of introducing a bevy of new designers to the St. Louis area‰ÛÓand a focus on American-made brands‰ÛÓEast + West has canvassed the nation in search of men’s apparel and apothecary items that appeal to the most discerning Midwesterner. These travels have resulted in a store chock full of such in-demand labels as Billykirk, life/after/denim and, most notably, Baldwin‰ÛÓa label straight out of Kansas City that was recently honored with GQ’s “Best New Men’s Designer of 2013.” (For the record, fashion-forward East + West owner Brian Simpson was a fan long before all of the accolades.) It’s this eye for style and awareness of the “next big thing” that makes East + West a must-stop shop for the men of STL. Kirkwood, 314.835.1419.

Best Casual Wear: Klutch

Touting in-demand daywear‰ÛÓand a number of party frocks, too‰ÛÓKlutch is a go-to for chic street-style apparel fit for those in the know. For owner Elizabeth Irwin, it’s all in the details‰ÛÓa clever cutout here, a statement color there‰ÛÓthat make each reasonably-priced piece truly special. From the latest rocker-inspired tee to this summer’s must-have tie-dye top, Klutch is the easy solution to your daily wardrobe woes. Your only potential problem? Deciding whether to share your fab new frocks on Instagram or keep Klutch all to yourself. Town and Country, 636.220.6110.

Best Shoe Selection: Neiman Marcus

If Carrie Bradshaw (classic or spin-off version) were to hit the streets of St. Louis in search of a glamorous, upscale shoe-shopping experience worthy of a New York fashionista, you could bet your pink tutu that Neiman Marcus would be at the top of her list. Classic Carrie would undoubtedly favor Manolo Blahnik, Christian Louboutin and Jimmy Choo selections, while speculation dictates the latest adaptation of Carrie would be all over styles by Nicholas Kirkwood, Alexander McQueen and B Brian Atwood. But no matter which Carrie you prefer, when shoe shopping at Neiman Marcus, you’ll always hit it “Big.” Frontenac, 314.567.9811.

Best Contemporary Selection: Blush

Blush epitomizes the community’s shift to boutique shopping in St. Louis. Consistently great clothes, an inviting and accessible retail environment, and a commitment to excellent customer service are just a few of the many reasons this boutique is considered an STL mainstay‰ÛÓafter all, Blush recently celebrated seven successful years in the business and snagged the Rising Star Retailer Award from Fashion Group International. While we love the boutique’s longevity, for us it’s all about the current season‰ÛÓright now we’re falling hard for Blush’s easy, breezy summer tops, chic jumpsuits and boho-inspired maxi dresses. Kirkwood, 314.965.4411.

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Best One-Stop-Shop: The Collective at MX

Perhaps one of the most innovative retail concepts to hit St. Louis‰ÛÓwell‰ÛÓever, The Collective at MX is 3,400 square feet of mouth-watering space filled with a little bit of everything. Apparel, home dÌ©cor, beauty products, artwork, furniture, accessories, gifts and more are all thoughtfully selected from more than 40 local boutiques, designers and retailers and stylishly housed under one roof. The MX shopping destination is curated by local style maven Nicole Benoist, whose fashion background adds cred to the exciting venture, while each vendor (Ivy Hill, Lori Coulter, KayOss, East + West, Wai Ming‰Û_need we say more?) undoubtedly brings its own special something. Downtown, 314.241.5420.

Best Accessories: Ivy Hill

Nearly anything in bar form is good (candy bars, sports bars, Bloody Mary bars), but our favorite bar of all is undoubtedly the one dreamed up by Ivy Hill owner Hillary Dutcher. The jewelry bar‰ÛÓwhere an assortment of gemstones, charms and other precious baubles await your personal design and creativity‰ÛÓtook shape at Ivy Hill’s newest location on Ladue Road, but it’s just one of the many fun accessory options at your whim. Handbags, hats, scarves and a selection of other trendworthy ready-to-wear jewelry are also available, in addition to Leona, a hot new line exclusive to the Ladue location and the STL shopping scene at large. Multiple locations, ivyhillboutique.com.

Best Fine Jewelry: Albarr̩

If diamonds are a girl’s best friend, then pearls, rubies, sapphires and emeralds are surely the ladies in waiting. But there’s no need to pick from your besties when you can shop for them all at Albarre. Diamonds fit for a princess come in many forms‰ÛÓbracelets, necklaces, earrings and stunning engagement sets. Colored stones are a great way to show off your “royal jewels” while Albarre’s unique collection of pearl statement pieces also delivers king-sized sophistication. We tend to favor the unique hues like Natural Lavender Freshwater Pearls and Tahitian South Sea Chocolate Pearls‰ÛÓwhich, true to their names, look good enough to eat. Ladue, 314.997.1707.

Most Innovative Selection: 10denza

It’s not just the current trends that have us heading to 10denza‰ÛÓit’s the knowledge we’ll get a sampling of next season’s most sought-after looks. 10denza always manages to stay just far enough ahead of the curve to keep its clientele among the best dressed in St. Louis, while simultaneously keeping onlookers in awe. Past uniquities to grace the shelves include pumped-up kicks by Adidas Originals, black patent leather Puma Zandys, plus other fun little goodies like Pura Vida bracelets, Nixon watches and our favorite of 10denza’s offerings, a collection of colorful bullet shell necklaces. Central West End, 314.361.1010.

Best Custom Jewelry: Mavrik Fine Jewelry

The ultimate in gift giving (and receiving), a custom piece from Mavrik Fine Jewelry is a dazzling way to mark any special occasion‰ÛÓand is even more appreciated if it’s “just because.” Whether you’re the designer type with a ton of ideas, or you just want a truly one-of-a-kind piece, the brilliant jewelers at Mavrik can help you craft a bauble that will make her head spin. From engagement rings to push presents, creating a custom piece can be as affordable or extravagant as your taste and budget allow. For those who already have a complete jewelry collection (is there such a thing?), Mavrik also offers redesign services intended to bring your sentimental treasures into the new millennium. Kirkwood, 314.909.6818.

Best Place to Buy USA-Made: Devil City

In an era of homogenized everything‰ÛÓincluding shopping‰ÛÓDevil City stands out as a boutique with a definitive point of view. Part pinup, part rocker and a whole lot of cool, Devil City’s fashionista is chock full of attitude and knows how to rock anything from a Schott leather jacket to a curve-hugging wiggle dress. There’s an intentional nod to “new vintage” in a remixed kind of way, but one thing Devil City has never remixed is the boutique’s steadfast commitment to buying quality apparel while supporting American brands as often as possible. The Loop, 314.863.8080.

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Best Gifts: K. Hall Designs

What’s that amazing fragrance? If you’re at K. Hall Designs, it could be any number of irresistible scents. Maybe it’s one of the brand’s many candles or diffusers (lavender, verbena, peony and washed cotton are favorites for summer), or perhaps it’s the intoxicating aroma of K. Hall’s bath products (bath salts, bubble bath, body wash and eau de parfum are all possibilities). But in our humble opinion, it’s most likely the sweet smell of success that’s driving your sniffer wild after you’ve created a perfect gift basket for that special someone. Multiple locations, khalldesigns.com.

Best Denim: Sole & Blues

If there’s one timeless, seasonless staple for both men and women, it’s undoubtedly the right piece of denim. If you find yourself daunted by the endless variables (like fit, tailoring, wash, color, style, length and rise), consider hiring a personal stylist‰ÛÓor just shop Sole & Blues and snag one for free. The shop’s many labels are a definite draw (think AG Jeans, BB Dakota, G-Star, Diesel, J Brand, Joe’s Jeans, Hudson Jeans and more), but it’s the unbiased, honest feedback from a pure professional that is most valuable. The Loop, 314.863.3600.

Best Western Wear: GiddyUp Jane

You don’t have to be the Annie Oakley type to get a kick out of GiddyUp Jane. Yes, you can lasso enough cowgirl staples to keep you riding high for days (like belt buckles, boots and hats), and yes, the store’s motif is decidedly Western in nature. But truth be told, there’s so much more to this Ladue shop than one might expect. From trendy Southwestern prints to crisp equestrian-appropriate button-downs, turquoise baubles and woven handbags, GiddyUp Jane is undoubtedly the cure for a case of the city-girl apparel doldrums‰ÛÓhorse sold separately. Ladue, 314.993.9944.

Best Vintage: Borough Vintage

A magical treasure trove where Mad Men meets mod meets ’70s street style, Borough has a little something from the 1940s and up. And while stock moves quickly (blink and your fave piece could be gone), when we perused, the shop was filled to the brim with amazing finds‰ÛÓlike a 1960s lemon maxi that looked like it could have been plucked straight off Louis Vuitton’s spring runway‰ÛÓplus a bevy of amazing ’70s handbags, the likes of which Rachel Zoe would go bananas for. We love the fact that you can shop online (boroughvintage.com), but are even more excited that you can shop by decade. Central West End, 314.884.8436.

Best Eyewear Selection: Eye Roc

That famous childhood comeback‰ÛÓ”Four eyes are better than two!”‰ÛÓrings as true as ever when shopping at Eye Roc. Whether you’re seeking readers, full-timers or just something for poolside lounging, choose from brands like Derapage, NW77th or one of our faves, Eye Roc’s self-titled signature brand. In terms of trends, Eye Roc experts contend the retro look is still in full effect, and we agree. We’re currently crushing on the store’s ’80s-inspired Barton Perreira “Barnett” frames that look amazing in champagne. Central West End, 314.361.9900.

Most Unique Frames: Eyes on Ladue

Doe-eyed Audrey Hepburn peeking out from behind her enormous black shades…Anna Wintour, front row hiding behind her signature sunnies. Who would these women be without their frames? Get your own statement-making accessory at Eyes on Ladue, an eyewear boutique that has quickly become known for its selection of unique frames for both men and women. Designer brands include all the big names‰ÛÓRay-Ban, Dolce & Gabbana, Coach, Prada, Calvin Klein and more‰ÛÓin styles ranging from chic-geek and vintage-inspired to ultra-modern celeb favorites. Ladue, 314.993.4399.

 

Photo credit: Jennifer Silverberg

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