Best of the new: shopping & services

Best of the New: Shopping and services (Globe photo / Wendy Maeda) Converse store
By Best of the New contributors: Jenn Abelson, Ellen Albanese, Ami Albernaz, Kathleen Burge, Karen Campbell, Maria Cramer, Geoff Edgers, Jeremy Eichler, Devra First, Jan Gardner, Alyssa Giacobbe, Meredith Goldstein, Jolyon Helterman, Carolyn Y. Johnson, Susa
December 19, 2010

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AllSaints Spitalfields

AllSaints continues Boston’s British fashion invasion, stocking the kind of hip, understated clothes and accessories you’d find in an indie band’s closet. Decked out like an abandoned sewing machine factory, the roomy store caters to street-chic guys and gals, with a smattering of tiny tykes sizes thrown in.122 Newbury Street, Boston, 617-517-0894,


You thought the two-story shop on Boylston took time to conquer? Well, Anthropologie addicts beware: The new outpost in Harvard Square (formerly home to Crate and Barrel) is a five-floor fashion and home-accessory haven. This company has mastered inventive merchandising, and here the store’s enchanting levels mix faded denim with chunky crystal candlesticks as if they belong together – all against backdrops of geometrically patterned walls and industrial-chic details. 48 Brattle Street, Cambridge, 617-354-3031,

Artisans in the Square

“Shop local” takes on new meaning in this Hingham store, where every item is handmade by a South Shore artist: sterling and beaded jewelry, sand and sea-colored pottery, baskets, paper, textiles, and fine art. And if you spot something that’s “almost” what you want, many artisans will create custom items. 63 South Street, Hingham, 781-749-2590,

Back Bay Veterinary Clinic

The 10-year-old practice’s new digs on Newbury are bigger, more high tech, and a whole lot cushier than the old place up the street. The move added exam rooms, lab improvements, and – key if you have four very short legs – a staircase at a much more reasonable pitch than the one in the old space. Small pets – from dogs and cats to birds and turtles – are examined by natural light in pleasant quarters. You can hardly smell the patients. 288 Newbury Street, Boston, 617-247-2273,

Blank Label

This Boston-based website allows men everywhere to “co-create” custom dress shirts online by choosing fabrics, detailings, and styles from a wide variety of options, then plugging in their size. The finished shirt arrives within three to four weeks. The cost? As low as $45 per shirt. And get this – if there are issues with your shirt, such as incorrect sizing or the wrong fabric, they’ll remake it from scratch.

The Boston Shaker

When it was part of Grand, Adam Lantheaume’s cocktail-supply shop (he’s pictured at right) got lost in the mix. But served straight up in its new Davis Square location – with barware from the everyday to the decadent, along with hard-to-find bitters, books about cocktails, and more (like book signings and regular tastings) – the store is Valhalla for mixology connoisseurs. 69 Holland Street, Somerville, 617-718-2999,

Brooklyn Industries

Featuring laid-back, artsy clothes for men and women, this rustic-looking shop is designed to sustain both the planet and the need for effortless, casual fashions. Decorated with used furniture and environmentally safe materials, the Boston store is one of the latest outposts of a company that stresses urban, eco-friendly style. 337 Newbury Street, Boston, 617-266-7757,


This North End boutique is like two high-end shops in one, divided between trendy designer collections (like hard-to-find lines from LAmade and Three Dots) and la-di-da consignment clothes and accessories (with labels such as Chanel and Hermes). If you’re consigning, the store gives clients an unusually high 60 percent cut of the selling price. 101 Endicott Street, Boston, 617-242-1212,


Massachusetts-based Converse opened its first US store in home turf Beantown. It’s Chuck-full of classic and limited-edition kicks, including SoWa, Beacon Hill, and Allston neighborhood-branded exclusives on All Stars, and graphic T’s. Sneaker collectors will love the design-your-own customization center. Complete the look with the hot-off-the-presses new line of streetwise apparel and outerwear. 348 Newbury Street, Boston, 617-424-5400,

Diane von Furstenberg

DVF is still going strong decades after her iconic wrap dress debuted, with the 63-year-old namesake designer serving as a fashion role model for all ages. Furstenberg’s stated mission is to empower women with day-to-evening fashions that are both strong and sexy, exactly the styles that fill this new boutique, including many exclusives. 73 Newbury Street, Boston, 617-247-7300,


Owned by jewelry maven/collector/designer Donna Soodalter-Toman, DIVA stands for “Donna’s Infinite Variety of Adornments,” and this gem of a jewelry shop lives up to its name. Check out the amazing array of contemporary designer, estate, and one-of-a-kind vintage pieces, with prices ranging from a mere $15 to many thousands. 331 Walnut Street, Newtonville, 617-916-2063,

EcoClean LLC

This personal cleaning service is green and will capably de-grime whatever you specify – from wall hangings, baseboards, and cabinets to vents and blinds. They also do the usual: dusting, vacuuming (with HEPA filters), and washing. No chemical smells, nothing toxic, just clean – with a hint of lemon. Friendly and bonded workers do an amazing and smart job. 617-981-9294,


With the popularity of TV shows like Mad Men, period furniture and home accessories are back in demand. Eddigan’s features vintage and gently used styles from a variety of decades at affordable prices. Whether you want one great piece or a roomful, it’s well worth the trip to Medford. 416 Salem Street, Medford, 781-219-4927,


While working at a kids’ clothing consignment shop, Tracy Farnsworth dreamed of a resale store specializing in the hip European brands her customers constantly requested. Years of scouting locations and collecting items from brands like Mini Boden and Catimini led to the opening of this cozy, colorful Somerville store in August. Most items are in the $8 to $15 range. 327B Highland Avenue, Somerville, 617-623-1399

Faire la Fete at M. Flynn

At this new store within a store at the South End boutique M. Flynn, owners Megan Flynn and Moria Flynn Riordan offer wedding, custom, and “special occasion” accessories, a house line of delicate gemstone pendants, bracelets, and earrings, and bags, hair accessories, and more from Alexis Bittar, Renee Rivera, and Inge Christopher. 46 Waltham Street, Boston, 617-292-0079,

The Fish & Bone

From the pet-accessory hounds of Fetch in Portland, Maine, Back Bay’s Fish & Bone has all manner of chewable animals (squeaky and silent), animal-print collars, and clothing that runs the gamut from functional to for-your-entertainment. Regular pet-and-owner events like art and photo shows make sure you and your furry true companion never get stuck in a rut. 217 Newbury Street, Boston, 857-753-4176,

Forty Winks

This shop is as charming as its name, and Forty Winks brings both basics and ooh-la-la lingerie to Harvard Square locals and students. Enticing styles range from shapewear, pretty bras, and lovely camisoles to naughty-but-nice lacy underthings and nightgowns. The helpful staff will make sure you get the perfect fit. 56 JFK Street, Cambridge, 617-492-9100,


A pint-size spinoff of the (now closed) Gatehouse, this shop brings the same Scandinavian aesthetic, including Marimekko items, to Concord Center. Modern home decor, clothing, and other lifestyle accouterments are displayed along with jewelry, paper goods, and great enticing gifts – like lots of Iittala glass and Kit + Lili organic-cotton kids clothes. 14 Walden Street, Concord, 978-369-0252

Ibex Boston

Vermont outdoor clothing company Ibex chose Boston for its first freestanding retail store, offering functional and attractive styles made of lightweight 100 percent merino wool for men and women. The high-quality natural fibers are from New Zealand sheep farmers committed to sustainable practices. 303 Newbury Street, Boston, 857-277-1932,

Independent Designer’s Market

Seeing a need for a year-round venue for local artisans, T-shirt designer Kimberly Benson (above) launched this indie market in September. It’s held almost every Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the ornate lobby of the South End’s Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology and features a selection of local photography, upcycled jewelry, handmade clothing, and more. 41 Berkeley Street, Boston,

Local Collection

This crafts consignment boutique offers New England designers an affordable venue for selling their wares and customers a place to shop for distinctive handmade products. Located in Faneuil Hall Marketplace, the store carries 30 to 40 different collections at a time, including artisanal apparel, accessories, jewelry, and home decor. 4 South Market Building, Suite 2135, Boston, 617-722-4310

The Loft by Michael Albor

The award-winning stylist – and quite possibly the nicest man on Newbury Street – gives his ever-growing staff some room to breathe in an airy new space (formerly occupied by Vera Wang) just down the street from his old salon. Michael Albor’s own high-style design aesthetic is on prominent display here – ceiling artwork, fashion photography lining the walls – but cut/color prices start in the amazing-for-Newbury double digits. 253 Newbury Street, Boston, 617-536-5638,


The location may be off the beaten path, but there’s no denying that Louis’s new Fan Pier store offers breathtaking views of the waterfront. Smaller than the former Back Bay brick mansion, but still spacious, the modern, light-filled space and decor are a better fit for the cutting-edge merchandise. That leaves room for Sam’s glass-enclosed French bistro on the second floor, offering casual dining with killer vistas. Mario Russo’s hair salon followed Louis to the new spot with its second Boston location. For last-minute party dos, it’s open seven days a week. 60 Northern Avenue, Boston; Louis: 617-262-6100; Sam’s: 617-295-0191; Mario Russo: 857-350-3139;

Modern Millie

At the Newburyport outpost of the popular Salem vintage and consignment boutique, owner Christine Robidoux uses a girly-girl eye to sift through pristine castoffs and give new life to vintage and current clothing, jewelry, and accessories. Consignors get 40 percent of profits and – better yet – timely checks. 41 Pleasant Street, Newburyport, 978-961-1569,

Monkey & the Bug

The children’s boutique in Back Bay clothing store Stel’s (owners Tina Burgos and Dave Nauyokas’s twin daughters are the eponymous Monkey and the Bug) features eminently giftable stuff for cool-kid babies, toddlers, and children, including dolls hand sewn in Brooklyn, books, and blankets. Clothing by domestic and imported indie favorites like Nico Nico and Atsuyo et Akiko can make even the most hardened hipster pine for a mini-me. 334 Newbury Street, Boston, 617-262-3348,

The Orange Hanger

Massachusetts College of Art grad Natalie Zekos’s cheerful clothing boutique adds a little spot of sunshine to Arlington Center. Collaborating with her mom and store manager, Dorothy, Zekos picks stylish, affordable pieces from BB Dakota, Sanctuary, Ronen Chen, Alex and Ani, and others. Whether you’re 25 or 75, it’s easy to find something to love here. 675 Massachusetts Avenue, Arlington, 339-368-7264

Patch NYC

Local designers John Ross and Don Carney have made a national hit with their Patch NYC vintage-look graphic pillows and plates. Those decorative home goods, along with the company’s popular boho scarves and jewelry lines, are now available in a tiny, delightfully quirky retail shop in the South End. The Courtyard at 46 Waltham Street, Boston, 917-292-2640,

Raven Used Books

The refined tastes of the Back Bay are evident in this well-appointed shop (there’s also a Cambridge location) and its well-curated collection of used books in impeccable condition. Most are half off the original cover price, or more. Art, architecture, photography, classical music, and philosophy are particularly strong sections, with fiction and history not far behind. 263 Newbury Street, Boston, 617-578-9000,


This customer-friendly Winchester boutique caters to busy time-starved moms, with separate areas for children’s clothes and toys, unique hostess gifts, and versatile wardrobe necessities such as a classy cardigan and a little black dress. The owners also provide a “create your own gift basket” service (including delivery) for a variety of occasions. 38A Church Street, Winchester, 781-369-1654,

The Silk Road

Combine the recession with the popularity of TV shows like Project Runway, and it’s no wonder home sewing is booming again. Enter Gay Appleby Rogers, a former fashion design teacher and seamstress, who recently opened The Silk Road in Auburndale to offer beautiful, natural-fiber fabrics, high-fashion patterns, and sewing lessons. 281 Auburn Street, Newton, 617-686-2162,


If you like the idea of facials but can’t abide New Age-y background music and wind chimes, Skoah spa in the South End is for you. Started in Vancouver, British Columbia, Skoah calls its services “personal training for your skin,” with relaxing but no-nonsense spa treatments and facials, along with its own all-natural, high-performance products. 641A Tremont Street, Boston, 857-350-4930,


New to Legacy Place in Dedham is the locally owned Spoil’d boutique, carrying truly chic fashions for women, men, and children. Lines include Robert Graham, Custo Barcelona, Alice & Olivia, and Desigual, with fabulous and flattering dresses – some from small European lines. Also in abundance are coveted premium denim lines. Legacy Place, Dedham, 781-329-2253

Studio Five Showroom

Fashion PR gal Jessica deGuardiola brings a swank New York-style showroom concept to Boston, promoting up-and-coming designers of super-chic clothing, jewelry, and exotic home goods to local buyers and media. Once a month she holds a fab open-to-the-public sample sale; the next one’s this Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. To attend, you must send an e-mail to 560 Harrison Avenue, Suite 408, Boston, 617-426-1806,

Sudo Shoes

This spacious Porter Square store makes it easy to be eco-chic, offering vegan (non-leather) shoes and bags in fashion-forward day-to-evening styles for women and men. Hip, animal-friendly brands include Cri de Coeur, Bourgeois Boheme, olsenHaus, and Neuaura, with some irresistible designs also available for infants and toddlers. 1771 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, 617-354-1771,

Twelve Chairs

Fresh-faced design devotees and BFFs Roisin Giese and Miggy Mason reveal spark and wit in their transformation of a Fort Point warehouse into a home-accessory boutique and interior design studio. The sun-drenched space is at once airy and cozy, conjuring an aesthetic similar to the partners’ flawless offerings, which include capricious stationery, modern hand-hewn pots, and geometric-patterned pillows, all with an eye toward the eco-conscious. 319 A Street, Boston, 617-701-3496,

  • December 19, 2010 cover
  • Best of the New