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Two Sole Sisters
The goods This shoe boutique brings to Boulder a fashion selection worthy of New York City—but with comfort fit for mountain chicks. We tried on a pair of Modern Vintage stiletto-platform booties that actually felt like running shoes on our feet (well, almost). Turns out the foot beds were injected with silicone.
The wallet damage Scoop up some shoes for $120 and still have some left over for the beckoning jewelry case…or drop $375 on one killer Modern Vintage pair.
Why we’ll go back Owner-sisters Laurel and Lindsey Tate also fill the shelves with fun and funky accessories, like the J.P. & Mattie crocheted-flower handbag we were obsessing over a few months back. 1703 Pearl St., Boulder, 303-442-0404, www.2solesisters.net
The goods Eco-excellence spills from this shop, from the local love (Colorado designers) to the manufacturing policies (recycled or organic materials). The owners stock brands that give back to the environment and other causes; purchase a Serendipity tote—which looks stellar over your shoulder—and the proceeds go toward cervical cancer research. The Baggy Shirts reusable bags, made from recycled threads, can double as purses or shopping bags. And the hand-sewn “Be the Change” shirts from KDS out of Boulder seem like wardrobe essentials this election season.
The wallet damage Printed tees will run you $28, while jeans, dresses, and funky blouses can approach $200—but you’ll leave with a clean eco-conscience.
Why we’ll go back The homey digs. Hardwood floors and a brick fireplace make for a welcoming environment that renders shopping here a relaxing experience, not a chore. 1455 S. Pearl St., 720-570-5076, www.unityboutique.com
Rock the Cradle
The goods You’re that hip musician couple that’s suddenly found yourselves with a mini-me and too much fuzzy-bunny-cutsie baby attire. This shop’s got you covered, from stylin’ bibs to Bob Marley-inspired lullaby CDs. Your little guys can rock out in baby and toddler looks by Mini Rotation, Kicky Pants, and Kate Quinn Organic. Find local lines here, too, like DadGear bags, Space Monkey diaper balm and baby powder, and handmade dresses by Bella Sera Baby.
The wallet damage Baby clothing tops out at $40. Affordable DIY option: Buy a blank onesie for $12, pick out a $5 iron-on patch, and adhere it right at the counter.
Why we’ll go back Rock the Cradle seems to truly understand its customers; the merchandise is fun—in a trendy, printed-image kind of way—without being cliché and overdone (no message tees or “Spit Happens” here). Plus, there’s a kids’ corner and even a private nursing station. 18 S. Broadway, 303-733-3707, www.rockthecradlebaby.net
The goods This sun-drenched shop in Olde Town Arvada features ethically and ecologically made goodies from fashion lines like Stewart Brown, Splendid, Ella Moss, and Joe’s Jeans, as well as ephemeral jewelry from Lafayette-based Candori.
The wallet damage An über-soft organic cotton frock will easily cost you a C-note, but wardrobe basics—like a $24 Alternative Apparel crewneck T-shirt—ring up as eco-fashion deals.
Why we’ll go back Stop in on Sunday mornings and you’re likely to get the undivided attention of co-owner Hallie Wastell, who will guide you to styles that complement your body type and your environmental ethics. Plus, all the packaging is made from recycled materials. Kudos. 7405 Grandview Ave., Arvada, 720-379-5739, www.lovelyboutique.net
Oliv You & Me
The goods This tidy olive and espresso boutique in Boulder is jam-packed with as many as 50 extra-virgin olive oils hand-picked from all over the world, plus olive-themed kitchen goodies like ceramic serving platters, cookbooks, and gourmet pasta.
The wallet damage $11 gets you 250 ml of Spanish oil, and so on up to the $48 Italian variety (500 ml). Sure, it’s pricier than you’d find in the grocery store, but this stuff is imported, top-shelf quality.
Why we’ll go back We never miss an opportunity for a midshopping snack; the boutique is also a cafe that whips up espresso drinks and offers handmade sandwiches with ciabatta, prosciutto, and cheese. 2043 Broadway, Boulder, 303-444-1118, www.olivym.com
The goods Trendy thirtysomethings with slim frames and fat wallets will fall in love with A.Line. Labels like M Missoni, Catherine Malandrino, and Ella Moss hang elegantly along the walls of this chic yet industrial-looking shop. Silky T-shirts from Velvet by Graham & Spencer and killer denim from Goldsign and Genetic offer casual looks, while gorgeous flirty dresses from Gryphon make you wish you had a party to attend.
The wallet damage Ouch. You’ll be hard-pressed to find anything for less than $80.
Why we’ll go back Whether it’s for an ex’s upcoming wedding or a 20-year reunion, every once in a while we need a to-die-for outfit. This is the go-to spot for the ensemble of your dreams. Plus, with the new Ella Bleu just a few doors down, we can hit two great shops in one trip. 5375 Landmark Place, Greenwood Village, 303-773-8200, www.aline-online.com
De Stijl Clothing
The goods De Stijl—Dutch for “the style”—is tastefully stocked with a well-edited selection of Los Angeles-inspired urban looks. The store keeps tabs on up-and-coming, underground designers of the sort that celebs are hip to: Think short cotton-silk dresses and artsy faux-shearling fisherman’s vests by Charlotte Ronson, Modal and cashmere Kain Label T-shirts, and plenty of funky-yet-functional men’s blazers from Amsterdam’s Scotch & Soda.
The wallet damage Pieces run around $130 on average; most are under $250, and the occasional find, like a plain tank, goes for as little as $19.50.
Why we’ll go back More than 30 percent of the designs are eco-friendly, meaning the garments are made from organic fabrics and sustainable materials. 300 Fillmore St., Suite 2A, 303-321-1585, www.destijlclothing.com
Pink’s, Straight from L.A
The goods A bulletin board layered with magazine clippings of the latest and greatest in fashion serves as a little reminder that Pink’s is in-the-know when it comes to girly clothing trends, and the shop carries an ever-changing inventory of Los Angeles-based brands like Big Star Jeans and Niki Viki Apparel.
The wallet damage Nothing in the store is more than $100—reasonable enough to give the ol’ wardrobe a monthly facelift.
Why we’ll go back Trying stuff on is a kick in the hot-pink, tentlike dressing rooms—especially when it looks better on you than on the rack. Bonus: The sales staff keeps bowls of Good & Plenty’s and pink M&Ms filled to the brim. 745 S. University Blvd., Denver, 720-570-2486
The goods High-end and rising designers like Lauren Merkin, bocUe, and Treesje fill this unpretentious and super-friendly boutique, known for its collection of one-of-a-kind handbags. Pick out a sweet dress or feminine top to complement your chosen purse.
The wallet damage Find a funky bracelet for $18 or drop a bunch of Benjamins on a lust-worthy bag—up to $800.
Why we’ll go back Every time we visit, it feels like we’re in on one of Denver’s best-kept secrets. It’s the only shop in Denver that carries items from the collections of SBG Designs and Jewelry by Beth Lauren: semiprecious stone earrings woven together with delicate gold wire, and sophisticated necklaces hand-layered with 14-karat gold chains, metallic threads, and lace. 2432 E. Third Ave., 303-322-3531, www.dsadditions.com
The goods Quirky and artisan-made cards line the walls of the three-room converted Highland house-turned-papeterie. Need to send an irreverent birthday wish? Try Bald Guy Greetings for smarty-pants witticisms. Want to send a note to your eco-freak pal? Invitations by Smock are made from organic bamboo and pesticide-free veggie ink, and even come from a studio that’s wind-powered. Don’t miss the handmade gift wrap imported from Nepal, Thailand, and India.
The wallet damage Single cards start at $2, while custom letterpress can run from $150 all the way up to $2,500.
Why we’ll go back To visit the separate outdoor nook, complete with vintage desks and a writing bar, where we can sit with a latte, our thoughts, and a pen and paper. 3180 Meade St., 303-477-9673, www.wordshopdenver.com
Gimme Gimme Pillow Toast
The goods Japano-funksters, this is your mother ship. Behold, an exuberant Asian pop-culture scene (aka “kawaii,” a widespread Japanese trend characterized by sometimes-disturbing cartoonlike cuteness) filled with whimsical trinkets, off-beat decor, and young-at-heart duds mostly plucked from countries like Japan and Thailand. Think anime-emblazoned ringer tees and quirky accessories such as artsy metal lunchboxes and umbrellas plastered with those signature big-eyed “cute” characters.
The wallet damage $9 for a “hamburger bento box”—a clever lunchboxlike snack carrier with utensils—makes a tasty (and affordable) gift for that way-hip kid in your life.
Why we’ll go back “You can get Hello Kitty stuff anywhere,” says co-owner Janene Hurst. “I really strive to have weird Hello Kitty stuff. Like Hello Kitty sleeve protectors, to put over your sleeves when you’re washing dishes. My other favorite thing is this Bruce Lee candle. We just found him in a random place, like most of our stuff.” 445 S. Saulsbury St., Belmar, Lakewood, 303-872-7706, www.gimmegimmepillowtoast.com
The goods It’s rare to find a home store that combines vintage and modern in a perfectly seamless way, but that’s exactly what this treasure trove of “heirloom chic” goodies does. From retro-inspired kitchenware and trendy floral aprons to refurbished furniture and feather dusters straight out of the ’50s, this shop is a jackpot for nostalgic housewares that add a touch of fun to your daily routine. Besides having a solid selection of Earth-friendly and socially conscious items, 95 percent of the products are made by women.
The wallet damage The finds here run the gamut, from $3 fair-trade gift wrap to a restored 1820s butcher block for $1,800.
Why we’ll go back For the (unexpected) custom options; as in, we can’t wait to flip through the in-store catalogue to mix and match quilts, shams, and bedding to revamp our bedroom. The store has a good relationship with retailers, and generally has quick turnaround time on special orders. 2440 W. Main St., Littleton, 303-797-6633, www.chandlerfarm.com
Sous le Lit
The goods Mother-daughter team Judy Bowers and Liesl Beckmann founded this well-edited collection of stylin’ shoes (think along the lines of Jeffrey Campbell, Chinese Laundry, and Dollhouse), oversize purses, funky belts, and chunky jewelry. We think of Sous le Lit—which is French for “under the bed”—as a grown-up version of Forever 21.
The wallet damage We scored a pair of fab, striped, open-toed wedges for $48—that’s full price.
Why we’ll go back Edgy, funky, sleek, or sweet, these accessories keep our look fun and current, and we know we won’t be walking around in the same shoes, toting the same handbag, or rocking the same shades as everyone else. 2340 W. Main St., Littleton, 303-798-0432, www.souslelit.com
The goods In this darling new LoHi nook, look for handmade vintage-fabric cards from Tori Higa, or support local artists like Lauren Kitchens of 7Petals Design who creates fabulously whimsical greeting cards out of discarded paper scraps from her own artwork. You’ll also find planners, notepads, address books, journals, and other must-have paper goods.
The wallet damage For $16, you can score a box of eight handpainted note cards by Happily Ever Annie; for $80, you can hire a calligrapher to make a personalized calligraphy stamp—the perfect way to make 200 professional-looking RSVP envelopes and be cost-effective.
Why we’ll go back Wedding planning. The sophisticated suite upstairs is a bride-to-be’s personal haven for wedding-theme selection, resplendent with binder upon binder of save-the-dates, invites, thank-yous, tips, and finishing touches. Just make an appointment, take a seat on a chic and cozy sofa, grab a bridal book and glass of champagne, and start perusing. 2368 15th St., 303-477-1677, www.scribblespaper.com
Fancy Tiger Clothing
The goods Hipster, fresh, and fancifully fun, this South Broadway hideout is a mecca of screen print and indie fashion. The balance of nature-inspired, leaf-printed threads like Little by Jenny, comfortably chic lines like All-Mighty Clothing, and locally made accessories provides happy relief for those seeking big, bold style from small, independent designers.
The wallet damage No denim for more than $100; great deals on hard-to-come-by duds exclusive to Fancy Tiger.
Why we’ll go back Stress-free shopping that’s intimate without being intimidating—the clerks don’t pressure or push. In fact, most of the salespeople have roles beyond the register, such as designing and buying, that add to the personal boutique experience. 14 S. Broadway, 303-282-6590, www.fancytiger.com
Jesela Blues, A Denim Boutique
The goods Find chic but affordable denim by MEK, William Rast, Lucy, and Dollhouse, plus a small but well-edited selection of tops, tees, and dresses by stylish but lower-priced labels like Peppe Peluso…which all makes Jesela a great place to pick up that last-minute holiday party outfit.
The wallet damage We didn’t see many jeans in the store that cost more than $150. Pretty good in today’s whole-paycheck denim world.
Why we’ll go back Because we might catch another one of the jaw-dropper seasonal sales (once the entire store was 50 percent off). 1855 29th St., Suite 1164, Twenty-Ninth Street mall, Boulder, 303-440-1000
The goods It might be the eye-catching green and orange, oval sign that pulls you in, but it’s the eclectic collection of scarves, intricately designed glam jewelry, and look-at-me clothing that will keep you here for potential spending. Samoë ruffled purses are perfect with the selection of colorful summer dresses. The Stop Staring! line of retro dresses, with designs named after icons like Billie Holiday, is a gold mine for a night on the town or at the theater.
The wallet damage You can buy a clutch, belt, and scarf without spending much more than $100 (unique artisan labels cost more). Plus, most dresses go for less than $150.
Why we’ll go back Because everyone who walks in the door is greeted with a smile—a personal touch that’s a wee bit lacking in certain other retail establishments. 1509 S. Pearl St., 303-777-8912, www.pjsboutique.net
The goods The designer labels at this trendy kids’ (preemie to 14-16) palace make it easy to out-cute the likes of Suri Cruise. Try Petit Joie’s striped cashmere dress paired with black leggings, super-soft graphic tees by Charlie Rocket for boys, and tutu-inspired skirts by Ooh La La for girls.
The wallet damage Pony up $212 for the Petit Joie dress.
Why we’ll go back The young, hip, and super-attentive staff will help you find clothes you’ll adore—but more important, that your kids will love. 3201 E. Second Ave., Suite A, 303-333-3344, www.styleliciouskids.com
The goods All vegan, all the time. There isn’t a scrap of material in this shop that comes from an animal—nor comes out of a sweatshop—and yet the shoes, bags, and belts (guys’ and girls’) actually look like leather (we swear). Our pick: The Crystalyn Kae bags are woven fabric coated with glazed resin and stretched for that subtle crinkled appearance of real leather.
The wallet damage You’ll fork over $99 for a sleek, locally made Vamp Bags wallet—but remember, you just saved the skin on some critter’s back.
Why we’ll go back Each brand displayed on the shelf is accompanied by a placard that explains the company and its practices—specifically, how it makes each item—so you know exactly what you’re buying and why you can feel good about it. 1668 Marion St., 303-860-8344, www.ahimsafootwear.com
The goods These consignment owners are picky, and it shows. Plus, they’re blessed with great consigners; we spotted nearly new Prada shoes, a Louis Vuitton handbag, and a gorgeous Rebecca Taylor dress. And, we love the way-adorable maternity section in the back.
The wallet damage You can get a blouse for less than $15, or a Louis Vuitton bag for less than $700. Both are deals…in their own ways.
Why we’ll go back Half the store, called the Creative Lab, is dedicated to the art of making clothes, with classes such as sewing and knitting almost daily. 2707 Spruce St., Boulder, 303-449-5431, www.commonthreadsboulder.com