The Hot List: Shopping
St. Louis has yet to be named an official fashion capital, but these stores are set to put us on the map.
See the full Hot List feature in the June issue of ALIVE, or in the digital edition.
Best Women’s Boutique: Blush
There’s a certain confidence that comes from shopping a boutique stocked by someone with killer taste—which likely explains much of Blush’s overwhelming success. Established by the notoriously stylish Sarah King in 2006, Blush has since remained home to an expertly curated lineup of clothing and accessories by such of-the-moment lines as House of Harlow, Free People, Amanda Uprichard and Alternative Apparel. Confused as to which will work on you? Just ask the fashion plate at the counter. 110 N. Clay Ave., Kirkwood, 314.965.4411.
Best Casual Wear: Meka Boutique
If you’re a little bit country, a little bit rock ‘n’ roll, Meka Boutique‘s well-stocked selection of better-than-basics and superwearable separates will read like music to your ears. Among the shop’s biggest hits are Hard Tail tees, Big Star denim, Wildfox Couture staples and Old Gringo boots. Based on both her unique inventory and her many repeat customers, it’s obvious that owner Meg Meyer has succeeded in selling her belief that “easy” and “edgy” go hand in hand—like chocolate and peanut butter, or Donny and Marie. 1634 Clarkson Road, Chesterfield, 636.536.6300.
Best Celeb Looks: Cha
So, you don’t have Rachel Zoe or Kate Young or any of the other famed Hollywood stylists on speed dial. It doesn’t mean you can’t look every bit the celeb. Just ask Cha Boutique‘s many regulars. Thanks to owner Sarah Garlich’s carefully chosen array of star-beloved styles—like feminine Shoshanna dresses, cool James Perse casual wear and flirty Wildfox Couture separates (including the Sparkle Heart Baggy Beach Top, worn by everyone from J-Lo to Taylor Swift)— shoppers have come to count on the fact that they can fly in just before any event and leave with a perfect, camera-ready look. 9666 Clayton Road, Ladue, 314.993.8080.
Best Luxury Department Store: Saks Fifth Avenue
In the midst of a makeover set to transform the store from fabulous to off the charts, Saks is clearly a retailer that doesn’t settle. As if Chanel handbags, Gucci heels, David Yurman jewelry and Armani ready-to-wear weren’t enough, the Frontenac staple is receiving first-time shipments of such industry-cherished pieces as Yves Saint Laurent stilettos, Miu Miu pumps, Celine handbags and more daily. When it comes to high-end fashion, it seems serious shoppers have found their match. Finally, a store that understands the need for “more, more, more!” 1 Plaza Frontenac, Frontenac, 314.567.9200.
Best Boutique: Sole & Blues
The name is somewhat deceiving— after all, it’s a men’s and women’s fashion mecca, with no obvious musical connection. But, it’s safe to say that Tammy White marches to her own beat. The brains behind the innovative sibling stores’ concept, she has remained established in a territory that few boutique owners have braved and many have fled: fashion-forward. It’s evident in her buys of G-Star ready-to-wear, Sam Edelman shoes, Ben Sherman menswear and more. Together, they’ve earned her an impressive following of trendsetting fans— which is to be expected of anyone who rocks the boat. 6317 Delmar Blvd., The Loop, 314.863.3600. www.soleandblues.com/
Best Men’s Boutique: Moris Fashions
After just one visit to Brian Smith and Michael Pagel’s 7-years strong menswear boutique, many are inclined to dub them supermen— the duo seems to be extraordinarily attuned to the closetfocused needs of their every customer. As such, they maintain a revolving selection of pieces by Ted Baker, Hugo Boss, John Varvatos and more, and oft nix the need for fashion-savvy St. Louisans to shop New York and LA; why spend the time and money needed to shop the coasts (that is, unless you come equipped with a cape) when the same stellar merch can be found locally? 26 Maryland Plaza, Central West End, 314.361.6800.
Best Contemporary Selection: Ivy Hill
You’ve finally admitted you have a shopping addiction— and have since realized that Ivy Hill is your choice drug. Dealing French Connection dresses, Trina Turk separates, House of Harlow jewelry and Oryany handbags, owner Hillary Dutcher has successfully created the ultimate temptation for those with a weakness for contemporary trends. Shopaholics, beware. 304 N. Euclid Ave., Central West End, 314.367.7004.
Best Kids’ Apparel: Verde Kids
You’ve made attempts to go green in most areas of your life—you buy locally grown produce, you’ve given up bottled water, you’ve even learned to take shorter showers for the sake of saving water. But, unfortunately, your kiddos have flown under your radar. Maybe you didn’t know that “cute” and “organic” could come hand in hand in the kiddy department, and so proceeded to buy up itty-bitty dresses, jackets, headbands and more from any store with a cute style and a sale. You should probably sit in the corner—or simply transfer all future “little me” shopping to Verde Kids. From toys and games to garments and accessories, all is sustainable—and decidedly darling. 27 S. Old Orchard Ave., Webster Groves, 314.962.5437.
Best One-Stop-Shop: Klutch
If you’ve ever watched one of those makeover shows that grants a sartorially confused lady or gent a lump sum to shop one store, chances are you’ve wondered where in the world you’d go—because no girl can reinvent herself with new denim and dresses alone. Klutch owner Liz Irwin understands, and so has equipped her chic boutique with all of the pieces necessary to transform anyone from geek to chic, plain to pretty, tired to trendy…you get the point. Shoppers of every style can score shoes by Zodiac, handbags by Ivanka Trump, BelleStyle jewelry, Meghan Fabulous frocks and more. They might walk in a “don’t,” but leaving a “do” is practically a given. 1126 Town & Country Crossing Drive, Town & Country, 636.220.6110.
Best Shoe Selection: Nordstrom
It’s safe to say that shoes replaced diamonds as a girl’s best friend years ago. Disagree? Seek out any modern woman with a credit card, and compare her closet to her jewelry box. She likely frequents Nordstrom to regularly indulge in Jimmy Choo stilettos, Valentino heels, Kate Spade flats and a number of other casual to luxe styles. Multiple locations, nordstrom.com.
Best New Boutique: Esther
She’s the new girl in town, but she’s making friends fast. If you have yet to become acquainted, you’ll want to meet Esther. She stands out from the crowd, thanks to her winning personality (she’s upbeat, yet sophisticated) and killer good looks (the décor is as inviting as its inventory). She consistently works Rebecca Taylor dresses, Mother denim and Elizabeth & James separates, providing inspiration on the daily (visit seven days a week). If only all gal pals were so chic. 1556 S. Lindbergh Blvd., Ladue, 314.432.5300.
Best Custom Jewelry: Mavrik Jewelry
Your excitement over a new fashion find tends to fizzle the minute you find out someone scored the same thing—like when that girl walked in wearing your Wang dress, or your sister thought it would be great to copycat your car. You are an individual, and—admittedly— you like to stand out. Consistently buying custom jewelry is one way you dodge blending in, and you count on Mavrík Jewelry to deliver just what you’re looking for. Whether you have an idea for a pendant necklace, want to redesign an heirloom piece or price stones for a show-stopping new ring, you’ve come to believe that owner Igal Alon never disappoints. If only he could paint cars, too… 200 S. Kirkwood Road, Ste. 104, Kirkwood, 314.909.6818
Best Classic Jewelry: Albarre
Ever since one willpower-less jewelry shopping experience—which resulted in you splurging on enough statement accessories to appease Elizabeth Taylor—you’ve been hesitant to hit any glass counter. Clearly, you haven’t visited Albarré. A tradition since 1976, the Ladue-based jeweler has long been a go-to for special occasion presents and heirloom-worthy pieces. From three-stone diamond rings and cultured pearl necklaces to bold estate earrings and custom engagement bands, the store’s fine-tuned selection caters to a wide variety of budgets and tastes—and the knowledgeable staff is refreshingly helpful. In other words, they won’t sell you five cocktail rings if you’re really on a mission for a men’s watch—even if your lack of willpower is glaring from the get-go. 9711 Clayton Road, Ladue, 314.997.1707.
Best Classic Looks: Eileen Fisher
It’s hard to fall in love with your wardrobe if it’s only comprised of u?ber-trendy pieces that you’ll inevitably desert for something new six months down the road. The key to an improved relationship with your clothes? Become attached! As Eileen Fisher‘s numerous devoted shoppers know well, falling for pieces that never go out of style means you’ll never have to say goodbye. Many have allowed the store’s multiple experts to set them up with casual knitwear, timeless suiting, elegant dresses and more—and they’ve never been more content with their looks. Ah, the power of eternal love. 84 Plaza Frontenac, Frontenac, 314.983.0975.
Best Handbags: Neiman Marcus
You’ve never been one to switch your handbag on the daily; you decide on a style, and stick with it for a season—that is, until you walked into the handbag department at Neiman Marcus. Ever since, you’ve been keeping an abundance of clutches, totes, messenger bags and more in constant rotation—as though they were socks or skivvies. Understandable. Your newly-acquired Fendi pouch, Prada purse, Gucci hobo and others were clearly meant to be seen—and equally so. When it comes to fabulous high-end accessories, one should never play favorites. 100 Plaza Frontenac, Frontenac, 314.567.9811.
Best Loungewear: Julie Lingerie & Loungewear
The brains behind Jule know that we ladies are much more likely to be found lounging in a Honeydew cami set, a Cosabella robe or colorful pajamas by Eberjey than lacy push-up bras and gstrings— and so have complemented their amazing everyday-tosexy lingerie selection with plenty of shorts, chemises and more— all of which would prove much more practical if a pillow fight were to break out…except that doesn’t happen, either. 1590 Clarkson Road, Ste. 105, Chesterfield, 636.536.9777.
Best Accessories: Codi
If you can’t help but regard Coco Chanel’s popular quote as blasphemy (why on earth would anyone want to take off one piece of jewelry before leaving the house?), then CO DI Jewelry is for you. In your opinion, more is more—which is why choosing between designer Courtney Hopson’s covetable spread of bracelets, necklaces, earrings and more has never been a problem. You regularly pile on her “funky for day, fancy for night” pieces, boldly mixing accessories featuring freshwater pearls with those heavy in Swarovski crystals and semi-precious stones. In fact, if it means being made to minimize, you’d rather just stay home. Multiple locations, codijewelry.com.
Most Innovative Selection: 10Denza
It looks like a sleek nightclub (indeed, there is a DJ station), it feels like a clean showroom, and its inspired inventory makes anyone who enters excited to stay. Meet 10denza. Furnished with art books, fashion magazines, trendy sneakers by Puma, colorful wristwear by Toy Watch and Nixon, AIAIAI headphones, Ksubi sunglasses and racks of ready-to-wear (think Scotch & Soda for him, Shakuhachi for her), it’s no wonder that the Central West End’s rookie store has already earned a slew of regulars— who actually are welcome to stop in and hang out. To think that at the mall, it’s called loitering. 44 Maryland Plaza, Central West End, 314.361.1010.
Best Locally-Made Fashions: Skif
If you have yet to venture into the confines of Skif’s expansive design studio-slash-store, but are determined to see the “cool sweaters” you heard are made on The Hill—then get excited. You’re not going to find the traditional cableknits, vests or crewnecks typically found at The Gap and J.Crew. Instead, you’ll be greeted by an assortment of avantgarde knits in shapes that range from asymmetrical tops to colorful frocks. Nina Ganci and her fellow crafters have maintained an outsidethe-box approach to their made-to-order designs since 1994, and it has clearly worked. Today, their unique apparel is sold in more than 300 boutiques nationwide. 2008 Marconi Ave., The Hill, 314.773.4401.
Best Denim: AG Adriano Goldschmied
For many, shopping for the perfect pair of jeans is comparable to trying on swimwear at the start of summer; they’d rather get a teeth cleaning. That is, until they’ve visited AG Adriano Goldschmied. While not entirely dedicated to denim (browsers can buy cool tees, button-downs, dresses and more), it’s the store’s specialty. On any day of the week, guys and gals are guaranteed to find classic to cutting-edge jeans in shapes made to fit and flatter. In other words, they won’t cause a muffin top—which will brighten the mood of anyone who shopped elsewhere first. 36 Maryland Plaza, Central West End, 314.361.6161.
Best Vintage Gear: Retro 101
Maybe you’re having a Holly Golightly moment. Or, maybe you’re feeling inspired by Don Draper’s décor. Either way, it’s nice to know that Retro 101 is right around the corner—and fully equipped to fulfill any throwback want or whim. Whether you simply need a break from your overly contemporary style, or you have long been obsessed with retro fashion and mid-century modern furniture, you’ll be happy to find a huge selection of ’40s dresses, ’80s accessories, vintage fur coats, couches and more at your fingertips. As for actually having breakfast at Tiffany’s? Good luck. 2303 Cherokee St., Cherokee, 314.762.9722.
Best Eyewear Selection: Erker’s
You’ve never been one to commit. But, like it or not, there are some things you find yourself forced to live with for extended periods of time—your car, your house, your cell phone plan…Luckily, as you’re an avid shopper of Erker’s Fine Eyewear, your glasses aren’t one of them. You’ve long looked to company owners Jack and Tony Erker to keep your eyewear styles exciting—and, right now, they’re stocked with a wide variety of current frames by Barton Perreira, David Yurman, Judith Ripka and more. As a result, “statement glasses” have prevailed as your signature—which is definitely a more desirable calling card than your current “variety”-defined love life. Multiple locations, erkers.com.
Most Unique Frames: The Eye Bar
Ever since you stopped into The Eye Bar and bought the most amazing pair of Chanel shades, you’ve been tempted to revert to your 6-year-old self—when you didn’t require braces, but popped a paperclip in your mouth to achieve the effect. luckily, you’re not alone this time around—as buying cool glasses you don’t “need” is, in fact, a trend. Feel free to scoop up those retro Oliver Peoples frames, those fab Face a Face specs and even that chunky, chic-geek style by Robert Marc. They don’t have sharp edges, so you don’t have to worry about being yelled at by mom. 401 N. Euclid Ave., Central West End, 314.367.1848.
Best Furniture: Niche
Ever since you discovered Niche, and gave in to the consequential urge to redo your entire living room, you must admit—you’ve been pretty impressed with yourself. Thanks to your new Herman Miller chair, your expansive GUS sectional and those ultra-modern end tables recommended by an on-staff interior designer, you’ve finally given your place the look you’ve always dreamed it would have. Let’s just say, if you’re cheating on fashion with furniture, there’s no better place to do the deed. 300 N. Broadway, Downtown, 314.621.8131.
Best Gifts: The Service Bureau
In a society overridden by emails, texts and the like, one should never underestimate the power of a handwritten letter. Aided by your choice stationery and maybe even a decorative stamp, it sends the message that you’re thoughtful, caring and way more classy and sophisticated than the average guy or gal. The same can be said of a hostess gift, a thank-you present or most any gift not practically mandated by a national holiday. The brains behind The Service Bureau would easily back all such sentiments—as they’ve built their entire shop on posh paper and a variety of sweet somethings that—unlike any email, evite or well wish text—are guaranteed to earn you brownie points. 9773 Clayton Road, Ladue, 314.991.1104.
Best Home Accessories: Savvy Surrounding Style
You would have thought that any skills needed to outfit an abode would have come about around the same time you stopped looking to “mommy” to pick out your clothes. no such luck. You’re officially lost, without a clue as to which couch pillows complement each other, what dinnerware would look nice on your new kitchen table (luckily, a gift) and what on earth you’re going to put on all of those bare walls. Your best bet? Visit Savvy, where every available lamp, vase and piece of artwork would prove a good buy—as it was chosen by a staff of style-savvy interior designers, who are happy to give advice. Funny how—when it’s not coming from mom—you’ll take it. 9753 Clayton Road, Ladue, 314.432.7289.
Best Western Wear: GiddyUp Jane
It’s true; you’re a city slicker. You get your shirts dry-cleaned, you order takeout on the regular and you freak when your cleaning lady cancels an appointment with your loft. Still, like Billy Crystal’s famous country-loving character, you’ve come to fancy the sophisticated western wear consistently carried at GiddyUp Jane. From the cowboy boots, belt buckles, baubles and hats to the denim, fringe jackets and traditional snap-front shirts, every unique piece serves as a welcome break from your overly modern usual—as well as a firm reminder to take it to the great outdoors every once in a while—if only to break in your new gear. 9670 Clayton Rd., Ladue, 314.993.9944.
Best Activewear: Blue Moon Activewear
It’s that time: swimsuit season. You’re determined to hit the gym—so you can wow when you finally strap on that skimpy bikini. If the thought of six-pack abs isn’t quite enough to get you going, invest in a backup motivator: a killer new workout wardrobe from Blue Moon Activewear—where you’ll purchase a few complete looks by Electric Yoga, a cool jacket by Calvin Klein Performance, bright pants by Lucy, sports bras, a yoga mat and more. Who knew working out ever looked this good? Now, if you can only find a way to get the clothes to lose the weight for you. 159 Carondelet Plaza, Clayton, 314.256.1823.
Best Classic American Styles: Devil City
It’s likely that local rebels with cause to shop have already come to consider Devil City their choice haunt. Specializing in American labels, gals typically go to score pin-up-perfect outfits by way of Pleaser pumps, Switchblade frocks, flirty pencil skirts and swimwear in cute, retro cuts—while guys count on browsing raw denim, rugged jackets and tough boots by the likes of Pendleton, Schott and Red Wing. Let’s just say, you’ll find everything you need to achieve the look of a classic James Dean, minus the cigarettes. 6301 Delmar Blvd., The Loop, 314.863.8080.
Best Local Bookstore: Left Bank Books
There are some places in which you never fail to lose all concept of time: there’s your bed on a lazy Sunday morning, the beach on vacation days…and Left Bank Books. While you typically go to meet with your book club or to hear an author’s reading (both local and national writers are brought in regularly), you always get so sucked into the expertly curated shelves of locally-authored books, indie paperbacks, hardcover fiction novels and international news and fashion magazines, that you find yourself leaving many hours later than you’d intended. If only your phone alarm wouldn’t prove disrupting to fellow bookworms. Multiple locations.
Sole and Blues